Ecumenical and interfaith approaches to the Genesis Flood story

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Recently, we have heard about a new movie about "The Flood" being produced.   From all accounts, it will be quite innacurate, produced by those who do not regard scripture as accurate.  The production of such a movie by non-christians for general public consumption, will still have influence on the perception of unbelievers and christians alike on what the story of the flood really is.   How do we as Christians get involved in discussions where literalists and "genre-ists"   have different views about Genesis 1-11?   How do YEC and OEC people examine these issues together?  or must they simply build a big fence between them and turn their backs on one another?  

Recently on one of these forums, someone mentioned that many cultures have a "Flood" story, and insinuated that one story is as good as another.   What do you think;  is this true?  

A recent video produced by christianima on youtube, Episode 12, Season 3, gives some documentary evidence of these different stories, and how they are related.   youtube.com/watch?v=wwCSg9MIgQY    You might be surprised how these different stories actually substantiate the veracity of the biblical account.  

John Z

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Participant

I had a quick look at that item on Youtube but, as soon as I saw a picture of the Grand Canyon when "The Flood" was mentioned, I could guess where this video was going.  Call me prejudiced, if you will.  To answer John Zylstra, we must differentiate between YEC and OEC on the one hand, and the extent of a Flood on the other.  You can have an "old Earth" and a more recent global Flood and you can have a "young Earth" and a global Flood, or either an old or young Earth and a global flood (or localized flood).  I think there is sufficient evidence to accept an old Earth with a history of at least 1 billion years (to me, a nuclear scientist, the "clincher" is the Oklo phenomenon).

Perhaps John can give us some indication when the Biblical Flood occurred. If it was a global Flood that indeed wiped out all surface creatures, there must have been a fair bit of time for the creatures from the Ark to repopulate the Earth, all the way from Turkey to Australia.  The kangaroos must have hopped all the way and drifted on logs to get to Australia. If there was a land bridge at the time, there should be some geological evidence.  Again, John should be able to cite an accepted reference.  There must also have been enough time for the descendants of Noah to move to the "four corners" of the Earth and undergo sufficient changes into the different races (Caucasian, Black, Oriental, Native American, etc).  Does this differentiation into the current races take 1000 years, 3000 years, 10,000 years, 30,000 years, 100,000, 300,000 years?  A biologist should be able to answer that question.

Of course, it is always possible that, after a global Flood, God created new creatures and that the platypus is part of that second creation but there is no mentioning of a "second creation" in the Bible.

Finally, I find it a bit odd that CRC folk are willing to consider arguments from people with dubious scientific credentials and reject the writings of recognized scientists in its circles such as Davis Young, Howard van Til, Clarence Menninga,Terry Gray and Loren and Deborah Haarsma.  May I suggest the excellent book "Perspectives of an Evolving Creation" edited by Keith Miller and published by Eerdmans?

The Flood could only be a Global flood as the rainbow was given as a promise that God would never flood the whole earth again.  If it was only a local flood, then what about the promise God made as there have been many local floods since.  Also it wouldn't be necessary to have an ark if the flood was only local.

Prejudice seems to be the case regarding the scientists you list.  There are many more scientists who believe exactly what the Bible says related to origins and the flood etc. Not all scientists compromise regarding the Word of God.

In reality there is only one race, i.e. Adam's race.  As all have descended from Adam.  Science has already ascertained that actual science correlates with what the Bible says, which of course is not surprising as Almighty God is the ultimate scientist.

The Search for Adam and Eve", was a Newsweek article by John Tierney, Lynda Wright and Karen Springen. This article of January 11, 1988 stated: "Trained in molecular biology, they [scientists] looked at an international assortment of genes and picked up a trail of DNA that led to a single woman from whom we are all descended”.

Maternal mitochondria DNA is passed relatively unchanged in the female line only. Over time, mutations occur in the DNA of humans. How many mutations have occurred since Eve? How fast do mutations occur? In other words, what is the rate at which the mitochondrial DNA clock runs? If the number of mutations since Eve were known, then one could calculate how long ago mitochondrial Eve lived.

"Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock", is a ‘Science’ article by Ann Gibson. Article of 2nd January 1998 stated: “Mitochondrial DNA appears to mutate faster than expected, prompting new DNA forensics procedures..." For example, researchers have calculated that mitochondrial Eve - the woman whose mtDNA was ancestral to that in all living people - lived ... using the new clock she would have lived a mere 6000 years ago.

 

If you do not accept this history (Genesis) and prefer to believe that man's body developed as a result of an evolutionary process you are still left with the question of how to explain Eve for the Bible is very particular as to the origin of Eve. D.M. Lloyd-Jones 

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:21-23

Luke traces the family tree down through Heli, father of Mary, mother of Jesus, through David’s son Nathan, until we read in Luke 3:38

“... Seth, who was the son of Adam, who was the son of God.” 

Therefore Adam, the son of God is related to the Son of God (our kinsman redeemer).

As Eve is related to Adam, Eve is also related to our kinsman redeemer.

"And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." Genesis 3:20

This is an example of evidence of a former land bridge: http://notexactlyrocketscience.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/channel.jpg?w=500&h=290

Regarding Keith Miller whose book you claim is excellent, professed on the PBS program to be an ‘ardent evangelical Christian.’ He asserted, without evidence, that there are lots of transitional forms. When questioned, he said that God chose Adam and Eve out of other humans that existed. This just shows that the word ‘evangelical,’ like ‘Christian,’ has become debased currency. At one time it meant someone who believed the Reformation (and biblical) doctrines of the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. This is not always so nowadays, and certainly doesn’t apply to Miller.

Participant

Not having watched the PBS program, I don't know what Keith Miller said but, in his chapter "Common Descent, Transitional Forms, and the Fossil Record" in the book I cited, he presents a lot of evidence of transitional forms: the chapter has 55 footnotes!  As to his claim of being an "ardent evangelical Christian", I am not about to judge him!  From what I have heard him say, I doubt if he would have any difficulties in reciting the Apostles' Creed and that would make him a Christian in my book (note that this Creed is silent on the Flood!). He certainly comes across as being "ardent" so we are left with the question if he is "evangelical".  If you accept Merriam-Webster's definition that includes the "authority of the Bible" we can quibble about which parts of the Bible need to interpreted literally and which parts figuratively (and where common sense comes in). In any case, proponents of a global Flood need to address the wide variety and distribution of land-based life forms and I am still waiting for this explanation.

Tjalle, thanks for your response.  I suppose we are all prejudiced on this topic to some extent, aren't we?  I would suggest the primary issue is not age of the earth, but rather whether evolution is possible or actually happened.   However, there are some problems with polystrate fossils, inability to date new volcanic rock with ancient methods, lack of serious erosion between supposedly ancient layers, and that absence of fossils does not mean absence of animals. 

I understand that there are many stories of ancient land bridge or ice bridge (most likely ice) between the continents, and people crossing.  Interesting also that orientals and native americans are so similar in appearance.   You wonder how long it would take for populations to differentiate and homogenize;  I would suggest it would not take long, given the right circumstances.   In the end, as Joy said, they are still all people.    We are beginning to see many examples of people today who cannot be placed into a particular so-called "race" or ethnicity.   

I have recently read a book by JC Sanford, PhD in genetic biology, who writes about the unlikelihood an impossibility of upward evolution.   The sheer number of deleterious mutations, and the impossibility of "natural selection" to select for beneficial mutations at a genome or organism level, is explained in great detail.  The book is called, "Genetic Entropy, and the Mystery of the Genome".   It is highly technical, but understandable with a bit of background understanding of DNA. 

How do we talk about these things as Christians?   Is it justifiable for evolutionists to ignore the problems with evolution just because YEC do not have an immediate answer for kangaroos in Australia?   Is it justifiable for YEC to ignore the concerns of evolutionary nuclear scientists because evolutionists ignore the problems with genetics or polystrate fossils, or lack of intermediate and transitional fossils?   We seem to be able to agree on the technology of computers, nuclear power, space ships.   On history of sociology, impact of faith, and geological and athropological history there is less agreement.   On God himself, and on scripture, there is less agreement.   What do we use as a basis for commonality on this? 

Participant

We're getting off topic here, from the Flood to evolution but I'm glad to note that you agree that the age of the earth is not the primary issue.  I guess that Bishop Ussher has had his day (a good example why clergy should stick to their trade and, to me, a good example of sphere sovereignty!).

Concerning your comment, "inability to date new volcanic rock with ancient methods", you may be referring to the attempt to date new volcanic rock using the Kr/Ar dating technique. No self-respecting geochronologist would use this technique; it's like trying to measure the length of a grain of rice with a yardstick.

As to land bridges and ice bridges, the presence of either would explain the movement of indigenous people from Asia across the Bering Strait to North America and the somewhat similar appearance between Oriental and North American First Nations. And, certainly, these people could have taken livestock with them.  But it's a bit of a stretch to invoke a land bridge or an ice bridge between Asia and Australia!  To postulate a global Flood would mean that the kangaroos on the Ark would have had to migrate in sufficient number to Australia and then become extinct anywhere except Australia (kangaroos are not native to New Zealand).  

I don't want to get into an argument about the definition of "race".  I accept that we all belong to the human race but we certainly look different.  My question is then one of how long did it take for the descendants of Noah and Mrs Noah to "evolve" (if you'll accept this term) into the Caucasian, Oriental, and Black groups?  Your suggestion that "it would not take long" doesn't cut it for me; I'd like an substantiated, semi-quantitative answer.  I realize that we don't have any photographic evidence but would an indigenous African have been as "black" 1000  or 3000 years ago as she is now?  It would seem plausible to me that, in isolation, groups may "evolve" in different directions and that their features start to differentiate more and more, leading from [probably] similar siblings to the wide range in human features we see now.  These differences start to disappear when these groups come into contact with each other.

How do we talk about these things as Christians?  Tough question, John.  As a scientist, I prefer to have a self-consistent explanation and, to my regret, a literal interpretation of the Bible creates problems.  That's why people have said that "the Bible is not a science book".  To me, the question is not so much as trying to arrive at a 100% concordance between the Bible and the created world but to accept the fundamental truth of the Bible, distilled in the Apostles' Creed and conveying the truth that God sent his only begotten Son into the world to die for our sins so that we will have eternal life.  To me, everything else pales by comparison.  Does it then really matter how sin entered into the world, either by an act of disobedience by a single woman and man or because God, in His wisdom created mankind with the freedom to choose? Or is it more important to accept the fact than mankind is sinful and in need of a Saviour?  Will we be judged if we have trouble with the extent of the Flood?  Will we be judged if we cause a stumbling block to unbelievers by insisting on a global Flood?

I wonder if your comment on "bishop Usher has had his day" is one reason why discussions like this are difficult.  While I agreed that age of the earth is not the primary issue, that doesn't mean it isn't important.  It neither means that I agree or disagree with YEC on that point. 

Not to put too fine a point on it about K-Ar method, but measuring a grain of rice with a yardstick which is well marked, still ought to give a reasonable size, even while it might lack precision.  We would not expect a yardstick to indicate a grain of rice is four inches in size.  An error bar of 400,000 years in a dating method is significant.   Any new rock should measure less than 100,000 years old at max.  A better reply would have been to counter with the abilities of the Ar40-Ar39 method. 

If kangaroos started from two animals, then they could have started anywhere they could have go to presumably, and extinctions on other land areas would not have been necessary....

You are right, the term evolution for separation of people's, is misleading.  There is no new species, and selection of types is merely selection, not evolution.   People are still people.   Selected wheat varities are still wheat, no matter how they look. 

I agree the bible is not a "science" book.  But that is no reason to suppose that it is not essentially accurate.   The bible is not a book about the probable, but about the possible, or even about the impossible becoming possible.  (Thus Lazarus raised from the dead).    Evolution is also entirely improbable;  some would say impossible. 

The truth that God sent His son to die for us;  highly improbable, yet it happened.  Eternal life, highly improbable, yet God's promise for us.  Did sin enter the world through man, or did God plant it into his creation?   Did God create us to disobey, or did he make us obedient originally?   Did God ask man to reject the way he was created?  Or to return to the way he was created?    Is that the choice?  

Participant

My aside about Bishop Ussher was intended to point out the danger of clergy (as well as other disciplines) going outside their expertise.

This is not the forum to debate the various geochronological techniques.  I am well aware of the pitfalls of various methodologies and the error bars associated with them. 

What I am still waiting for from you, is some sense of when, in time, the Biblical Flood occurred. From the Bible, it happened quite some time after Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. If we assume that the Biblical record of the Flood indeed was intended to state that it was a global Flood that obliterated all land-based animals, the entire world must then had to be repopulated with people and animals.  Kangaroos must have hopped all the way to Australia.  Other than a land bridge, the only (to me) plausible way is that some descendants of Noah and Mrs Noah domesticated the kangaroos and took a pair (or more) with them on a raft to Australia where they multiplied and spread out over that continent.  You must admit that this is a bit far-fetched because these descendants must have taken some koala bears as well.  But even then, the other part of the question is the time required for the descendants of Noah and Mrs Noah to spread over the entire world and "evolve" into different groups (trying to avoid "races") with their individual characteristics (colour of skin, amounts of facial hair, etc.).  I'm no biologist or geneticist and have no "feel" of the time required for these changes to occur but it would seem to me that, if one supports a global Flood, one has to come up with some sort of explanation.

On the other hand, if we accept a regional Flood that was limited to the Tigris-Euphrates valley, and "the whole world" is intended to describe only that region, we can explain the diversity in the global distribution of animals and people but, I admit, does not square with a literal interpretation of Genesis 6. That leaves us with a non-literal interpretation.

Just because I have problems with a global Flood does not mean that I have problems with the raising of Lazarus or with the Resurrection.  I do have a problem with proponents of a global Flood continue to cite the Grand Cayon as proof of a global Flood.

As to sin entering the world, again, this is a "whole other topic".

 

Some great videos showing excellent evidence for a global flood:

A Universal Flood (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ0Sp5n9ugs)

Global Flood: Fact or Fiction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4f00OXdj6U)

Raging Waters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XAIK-PfklE)

 

Joy, the first video was fascinating.  Tjalle, there are a number of explanations for how animals got to different places, partly because of movement of continents, and partly the likelihood of huge floating matts of trees and organic debris to carry them.   As far as time to repopulate, 4000, 6000 years was plenty of time for repopulation.   If Noah's individual descendants (each son and daughter pair) were unique to start with, ie., contained unique sets of genetics, then it would not have taken long for different group types to develop from single pairs, or even somewhat small but similar groups after the tower of Babel.   Interesting how the African Americans or Indo-Chinese remain distinctive when they have lived in USA for many generations, simply because they mate with similar types.   It is much easier for this to happen from small similar groups than from large variable groups.  None of these issues seem like big issues to me. 

It would seem much harder to explain geology, petrified trees, historic erosion, ripple effects, carbonate layers, separation of bark and tree trunks, and many other features, without an enormous global flood.  Grand Canyon is used as a reference because it is huge, exposed, available.   But features such as the Dover cliffs, the Rocky Mountains, Mount St. Helens, mammoths with camels in Artic ice,  Iceland flooding due to glacier melted by volcano, and huge coal mines around the globe help to explain the catastrophic nature of most geological features. 

Yes, sin entering the world is another topic, related but yet somewhat separate.   It is related in the sense of how an OEE might explain the difference between murder, and simple survival of the fittest.   It is related in how we distinguish between what is an animal instinct, and what is human disobedience to how God made us and wants us to be.   Tough one. 

Participant

John, I will accept the possibility that animals could have floated some distance on "huge floating mats of trees and organic debris" but we're talking about quite some distance even considering, in the case of Australia, the string of Indonesian islands.  But invoking continental drift is a bit of a stretch because, again, of the time frames involved. Of course, if one holds to a "Young Earth", one has to explain continental drift some other way. I forget where I read this, but postulating an accelerated continental drift would call for a much higher degree of friction and a much higher global temperature. There certainly is geological evidence that South America and Africa were at one time attached but are you suggesting that the Flood preceded the splitting up of Pangaea?  I would consider this odd in that the description of the Garden of Eden mentions specific geographical features in current Iraq.

I think that your argument about African-Americans and Indo-Chinese maintaining distinctive works the wrong way.  We are talking about Noah's children (siblings) whose descendants "evolved" into groups with distinctly different characteristics.  This "evolution" (for lack of a better word) into the current groups must have taken some time unless one assumes that the siblings were alreay quite different from each other (or that their spouses were).  And you still have not given me a time frame when the Flood happened.

The Grand Canyon shows, to me, concrete evidence of stratigraphy, where layers of sedimentary material were deposited over long periods of time.  The geology of the individual layers is quite different, indicating different geochemical conditions. For example, sandstone, overlain by shale and shale in turn overlain by limestone indicate quite different conditions. To argue that the canyon was formed by a single flood event needs to be supported by experimental evidence.  A lot of information can be obtained from sedimentation studies: large, heavier particles are deposited first from flwoing water and clay particles last (look at gravel in streambeds in fast-flowing streams in the Rocky Mountains and silt in the Fraser River near Richmond, for example).  My guess is that a global flood would not have carved these steep canyon walls but that they are the result of long-term action by the scouring action of rivers. But I digress.

As to "original sin", I have often wondered if the concept of sin did not arrive when [hu]mankind "evolved" to the point that he or she would be aware of right and wrong or that God, in His wisdom, placed Adam and Eve in a world where they were the only creatures that were given the freedom to choose between obeying and not obeying.  Dick Fischer has written extensively about this.  If we make the assumption that knowledge of good and evil is necessary to be able to sin (Genesis 3:22: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.").  Animals cannot sin but we can (and do!).

Joy, I have not had a chance to look at the videos but I did note that the first one runs for an hour and I have other irons in the fire. Thanks for the links, though!

 

Tjalle, I appreciate the tenor of your comments.   I think you are expressing your understandings in good way.   It seems that you are expressing much of the traditional understandings of sedimentation, but in a somewhat simplistic way.   For example, a global catastrophic flood would exhibit some principles similar to local floods, but given that the flood lasted a year and 17 days, it had to be much more serious and catastrophic than a mere typhoon, tsunami, or rapid glacier melt (such as Iceland has had).   Mt. St. Helens demonstrates the rapidity with which canyons can be carved and tree trunks deposited in soil in an upright position.  While you are right that various particles separate out from water at different rates, it is difficult for us to imagine what type of particles might have been in the water, and whether they were all there at the same time.   For example, some particles may have been in the water at the beginning of the flood, while others showed up a month or two later.   Particles of sand would tend to settle out within hours, while silt might take hours, and clay might take days or weeks to settle.   But limestone is likely the result of billions of shells settling and turning into calcium carbonate, and that would likely depend on when these snails and shell fish died.   Many clam fossils give evidence that they drowned (unnatural death).   The first video Joy pointed out, gives some potential clues to how these layers settled.  A book by Walt Brown "In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood"  gives some possibilities as well, which are consistent with the evidence.  

In Walt Brown's model, the movement of the continents was relatively quick, and happened at the time of the flood.   The flood and continental drift were part of the same event.    This does not really solve the problem of animal movement, since during most of the drift, the continents would have been inundated.    This is also true for the Creation Ministries model of the flood.  Some of the physics and engineering principles involved in movement, energy, and flow are described.   The video that Joy highlighted, shows Walter Veith (on Amazing Discoveries program) describing the directions of water flow across the continents at different geological layers, and gives his explanation for that in relation to the elevations and uplifts of these layers at different times.  He also explains how similar geochemical conditions are across a geological profile, which indicates that hundreds of feet must have been laid down within 30 days or less, and not over eons of time. 

It seems that sandstone, shale and limestone found in the grand canyon must have been laid down by water, based on the characteristics and flatness of the layers.  Since sediment in water tends to descend relatively rapidly, it does not give evidence of long periods of time.   If long time existed, then long time would have had to exist between layers, but it is difficult to demonstrate time from an absence of something.   That would primarily be a speculation.   Polystrate fossils would indicate that there was not a long period of time between layers. 

What about people?   If we assume that all the genetics existed before the flood, so that Noah and his wife were quite different, perhaps like a Greek marrying a Kenyan native, and their sons also married varied wives, perhaps the three wives were like a Nordic type, an Asian type, and a   Fulani type, then you could see the potential variation already existed.   All that would be required would be for a type of segregation to occur, which would be natural when the languages were confused at Babel, since people would tend to associate with those who would be most like them.   We know that human nature in groups tends to isolate or shun those who are significantly different, and this likely led to the distinction of people's more than any other cause such as environmental adaptation.   Thus we have Dene, a somewhat darker skinned type in the far north in Canada, and Nordic types in the far north in Europe.   Very dark natives in central Africa and Australia, and mildly dark skinned natives in South America and Asia. 

Your hypothesis about original sin is interesting, but inconsistent with scripture since the command to obey came before their apparent knowledge of good and evil, not after.   It seems their knowledge came about because of their disobedience, so that they knew how to disobey.   Our confessions also say that even infants are part of the sinful nature, even though they do not really understand it;  that would be somewhat different than what you are suggesting. 

Tjalle, you earlier asked about a timeline for Noah's global flood.  An interesting youtube video by Ian Juby (Genesis Week, Episode 12, Season 3) highlighting some of the 250 flood legends around the globe, and the similarity of lineages with the biblical account would give some credibility to the fact that the flood was global, not local.   One of the accounts gives a more detailed lineage of Japheth's line  than the Bible does, and it seems some of these stories have been shown to predate missionary activity into Africa or east Asia.   In this episode, he also talks about the genetic bottleneck of mitochondrial DNA, as well as implications for other species.   His episode 13 of Season 3 describes the tropical forest debris found in the high artic, as well as the antartic.   The huge amounts of tree trunks indicate major catastrophes since the roots have been torn away, and many of these trees have not been fossilized, but merely frozen. 

The theological implications of a global flood are quite different than the theological implications of a relatively small local flood.   You can imagine what they might be.   When Israel as God's chosen people began to worship other gods, along with still offering sacrifices to Jahweh, God became angry enough to punish them, but He used other people and nations to punish them.  Then He would also punish other nations and people as well, (see Nahum on the punishment of Nineveh).  But the punishment was never indicated to be global, and did not require a 100 year boat construction project or something similar.   

Participant

John, I apologize for my delay in responding to your last two posts.  I've been preoccupied with a number of other projects but I have not forgotten our dialog! I will try to get back to your penultimate post but I have a few comments on your post of December 05, about a possible timeline for a Biblical Flood, be it local or global.  If we can assume that the Genesis record is sequential (i.e., at least what is recorded in Genesis 2 happened before what happened in Genesis 3, and so on), the Euphrates and Tigris are mentioned in Genesis 2. Unless one argues that these two rivers were not the same as the current rivers of those names in present-day Iraq, the events described in Genesis 2 - 6 must have occurred in that part of the world that we now call Iraq.  To then postulate that continent drifter apart after these events require that the geology of the Iraqi region has not changed even though continents drifted and mountains were created (as a result of the continental movement).  There is ample geological evidence that continental movement led to orogenesis (mountain building) but to postulate that continental drift preserved the - rather delicate - geology of the Tigris-Euphrates basin is a bit of a stretch.

But, never mind all these problems, we are still faced with putting Noah in-time-and-place.  I will grant you that it is conceivable that Noah's immediate family was "of mixed race" and that his daughters-in-law were non-Semitic or whatever Noah and his wife were.  Note that this still requires some time between Adam and Noah for the Adamites (for lack of a better word) to evolve into groups with different skin colour and facial features.

As to the tree trunks in the high arctic, this can also be explained by continental drift and old tree trunks do not have to become fossilized if they are isolated from the environment.  Some clays are very impervious to water and can seal biological material. For example, wood from tree trunks recovered from Dunnarobba in Italy retained its structure and can be carved (I've handled a piece; it looked like a piece from an old barn).

But I digress and must get back to other, more onerous, tasks. As usual, with these discussions, one topic leads to another and we can go around the mulberry bush for a long time. So, I end with rephrasing my earlier question: when did the Biblical Flood take place?  For example, xxxx BC or, if you want to put it into perspective, how long before the building of the pyramids in Egypt?

Tjalle, slowing down a conversation is sometimes a very good thing,   so a bit of a delay in answering a question is okay.  In response to your question about the Tigris and Euphrates, yes, it is possible that they are either different or reshaped.  I am aware for example that there appears to be a former river channel about five or six hundred feet underground in my area, next to the Peace River, which could have served the same function as the Peace, maybe, or maybe not, and if people had been living there, might have received the same name (although in Cree or Beaver tongue, not English).   I don't think this is an issue of vast importance. 

Your second point about evolution of groups:  I simply think the terminology is wrong, scientifically.  The people did not change into something different, no more than a cross between black labs and yellow labs might result in differentiation of offspring, which eventually could be  relatively consistent strains of black, chocolate and yellow labs.   It's just selection or differentiation, not evolution. 

Re your statements about the tree trunks.  It was quite obvious the trees did not grow exactly where they were found.  It is difficult to say where they grew, other than that they definately grew in tropical non-winter environments.  So while continental drift is a possible cause, it must have been associated with flooding and mass movement of tree trunks prior to some formation of ice and snow sheets, wouldnt you agree? 

As far as the timeline for the flood or the pyramids are concerned, they differ from each other possibly by only a few hundred years, and there is debate on the timelines.   The biblical timeline for the judges, for example, seems to indicate overlap of various judges, and apparently the same is possible for some of the egyptian monarchs.   Josephus seems also to indicate that the Israelite slaves were building pyramids, most likely out of mud bricks, rather than cut stone.   Some work with carbon dating seems to indicate up to a 400 year variability on some of the C14 tests on the older pyramids, and of course, dating the wood does not give an absolute on the pyramids, since the wood would of necessity be older.   Depending on conditions, the pyramid could potentially be hundreds of  years younger than the carbon-dated wood. 

I hope this answers your questions. 

 

 

Participant

John, now that Christmas and Boxing Day are rapidly fading into memory, it's time for me to get back into the discussion.  First, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Yes, it's possible that these rivers have been reshaped but, again, I find this argument a bit of a stretch, because they would still be in approximately the same location. As I mentioned earlier, to hold that the drifting of the various tectonic plates would have allowed that valley retain its current form (OK, the form it had during the Biblical Flood) is a bit difficult, considering that the collisions of the tectonic plates led to orogenesis (formation of mountains). 

I did look at one of the websites that deals with Walter Brown's hydroplate theory.  I must admit that his theory of the formation of the mid-Atlantic ridge is clever but there are just too many problems for me. In the first place, Brown would have to explain how a layer of water (density = 1) would end up underneath a layer of geological material (density = ~2.65).  True, an intact layer of geological material could, in principle, remain separated from the layer underneath that layer of water, but the question remains how water got there in the first place. I don't know if Water Brown has an answer for that.

Next, if a hairline crack appeared in this geological layer and caused the geological layer to split, sending all that water to the surface, why would those edges of that layer spread?  The surface of a sphere is finite and it's clever to argue that the release of water caused the astenosphere to bulge upwards and let the geological layer "slide downhill" but where would that layer slide to?  There's no room, unless one postulates that subduction occurs but subduction requires different tectonic plates. Then there is also the temperature of the water to consider (the geothermal gradient is about 25 C/km).

Then there is the question of the age of the basement rock of the Atlantic Ocean.  The rock is younger towards the mid-Atlantic ridge, consistent with a slow process of the movement of the tectonic plates away from each other, caused by magma welling up.

It should also be noted that rock is brittle and rapid deformation of most geological material wil cause fracturing. If the deformation is slow, the geological material can accommodate the stresses and can deform without fracturing.  Thus, a rapid movement of the geological layer would have created a lot of fracturing.

Finally (for now), I'm a bit surprised at your statement about time lines, that "[a]s far as the timeline for the flood or the pyramids are concerned, they differ from each other possibly by only a few hundred years, and there is debate on the timelines."  If they only differ by "a few hundred years" one has to explain how "the family Noah" was able to spread that quickly from eight people to the large number of people that managed to stick together until the Babel episode and, from which, one group moved to Egypt to set up shop, develop a technology that allowed them to build pyramids and develop a society that could marshall enough workers to get these things built. 

Summarizing my comments, then, I find arguments for a global flood weak in the face of geological and other evidence.  Maybe, in time, some scientifically defendable interpretation of the currently available information may shed more light on this topic.  In the meantime, we'll just have to agree to disagree.  There are, after all, bigger fish to fry.

Peace to you and yours in 2014

 

Tjalle, we are getting a lot of snow here, already more so far than we normally get all winter.  Beautiful, but roads are tough to get thru sometimes.  Your question about mountain formation relative to the Tigris is a good one.  There apparently were small mountains before the flood, while the larger ones formed at the time of the flood, but I will have to research that issue further. 

Water ends up under rock all the time, regardless of bulk densities, so I don't think that is a big deal.  Porosity and volume are some of the details, but in principle it would seem to be possible.  As far as how the water got there in the first place, of course scripture says that there was water under the earth, and God created it.  It becomes circular or never ending to ask how something got there in the first place, because in our human limited understanding, it would always have to come from somewhere, regardless of where it came from, so the question would never end. 

Yes plates would have to subduct.  Creation Ministries has a different theory that the subduction we now see is simply the tail end of a very rapid subduction at the time of the flood.  Are you saying that Brown denies subduction, or simply doesn't consider it?  I would think he is well aware of subduction.  I think he also indicates that the crust stretched upward, and some of it disappeared or exploded upwards.

I believe Walt Brown talks about superheated water which is well above the normal boiling point temperature, under pressure, and considerably warmer than the 25C per km you mention.  In fact he suggests the water temp was too high to boil, since it was supercritical. 

It may be true that rock bending slowly enough can bend without fracturing, but that thought goes against common observation.  Or perhaps some rocks and not others.  Much rock fractures even without bending, simply due to contraction and expansion.  In any case, whether it fractures when it moves depends on what surface it is moving on, and whether it can move all at once.  If this surface has moderate resistance on a level surface, and if the friction causes a melting of rock then presumably the layer could move without significant fracturing.  The bending of present sedimentary rock layers in the mountains is also thought to have happened when the layers were yet soft enough not to fracture significantly, either from heat or from lack of hardening. 

The story of Babel does not seem to exactly fit into a chronology in scripture as far as I can see, but regardless, the population growth could be the same whether the tower happened later or earlier.  Noah and his descendants lived long and could have had many children, causing a quick and great increase in population.  From four couples, there could easily have been millions of people in two hundred years, especially if they were still having children when two hundred years old (and consider how long they lived).   Some rough calculations show an exponential possibility of 1.2 million people after only 80 yrs.   Perhaps not likely by our standards, but we know they began having children at 35 years old or younger and didn't even Abraham live to 175 years? 

And the same people or technology that built the ark may have found a way to build pyramids, don't you think? 

Interesting that statement, "we'll have to agree to disagree".   Do I have to agree with that?   Couldn't I also disagree on that one, hoping that we might some day agree on a few more things?  

   And I also hope you have a fruitful and enlightening 2014.   God bless.

Participant

John, a few comments: If you date the flood a few hundred years before the Egyptians built their pyramids, the larger mountains must have formed in a very short time and that presents problems with the deforming of the geological layers. If you look at Mount Rundle, you see that those particular geological layers resisted bending and remain roughly parallel to one side of the mountain.  On the other hand, exposed rock layers along the Juniata River in Central Pennsylvania show foliation in the form of synclines and anticlines.  As to stating that "water ends up under rock all time", yes, of course, there is groundwater and there are aquifers but the porosity of intact igneous rock is relatively low (0.3% for granite) and caves and caverns do not extend over large areas.  If I recall, Walter Brown has a whole layer of water, apparently devoid of any geological material and with sufficient permeability to be expelled at a great rate.  That layer of water served as a "lubricant" allowing the continents to move very rapidly without creation large amounts of heat due to friction.  My understanding of "water under the earth" is that the conventional wisdom was that the Earth floated on water and that there was a "firmament" above the water and the Earth along which the sun, moon, and stars traveled on a sort of track.  As to the expanding population after the Flood and the preservation of technology, minds better than mine have pondered this and have come to the conclusion that preserving technology by a family of eight is no simple matter. The common understanding is that Noah built the ark by himself, maybe with the help of his sons but he most likely had access to available technological resources.  If he felled the trees himself, he must have had an axe of some sort and that assumed that there was some type of metallurgy (Tubal-Cain). Noah used pitch to seal the ark and must have had a source of this pitch and equipment to smear the pitch on the ark.  Genesis 4 suggests a reasonably well developed society (tentmaking, enough leisure time to make and use instruments). By the time the flood waters had receded, the metallurgists would have died. If Noah did not know how to make an axe, he and his descendants would have had to reinvent metallurgy (I don't think that Noah would have used a flint axe but, if he had, he would have had to know where to find this flint).  In short, a literal reading of the Flood story raises too many questions to an increasingly sceptical generation and, as I have mentioned before, may in fact hinder our attempts to bring the Good News of salvation in Christ. I just hope I'm wrong.  Maybe I'm not relying on the Holy Spirit enough.

Shalom!.

 

We often thing that ecumenism is just about different denominations working together, or at least getting along with each other.  I think that is partly true, but that the more fundamental issue is in which areas we can work together, and which areas prevent us.  For example, in our local ministerial, the Jehovah witnesses and Mormons are not included, while other churches (christian) are included.  There is a great deal of ecumenical attitude, but there are still limits and confessional boundaries.  

Doesn't the same thing apply when we discuss differences of belief about Genesis 1?   If our interpretation of Genesis 1 (or other passages) leads us to deny man's ultimate responsibility for sin and disobedience, or if it leads us to deny God's ability to intervene or create miraculously, then haven't we crossed the line from an "ecumenical difference" to a God denying discussion?   Given the seriousness of an evolutionary understanding of creation, and its effect on many who use it as their reason for denying a God who cares and creates, shouldn't we be incredibly cautious about "conforming to the world" in this regard? 

Participant

John,  You're getting me "hooked" on this forum but I can't resist (well, I could, if I wanted to) commenting on your Boxing Day post.  As far as ecumenism is concerned, would an "acid test" not be the Apostles' Creed?  If a denomination or a congregation subscribes to this Creed, my guess is that we could see their members as "brothers and sisters in Christ" no matter how we feel about their interpretation of Scripture ([harrumpf], "another believer in consubstantiation. Where do they get those ideas!").  I am a member of a multidenominational congregation that is recognized by four denominations.  I don't agree with some of the tenets of some of the denominations but that does not prevent me to worship with them or work with them.  "We park our denominational differences at the door." If there were a CRC congregation within reasonably driving distance, we would probably join it.

As to the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, is not the main point of the Fall that mankind has sinned and falls short of the glory of God?  I must admit that I have had considerable discomfort with the transmitting of original sin from Adam to subsequent generations.  I suppose it is possible that, by eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam's and Eve's DNA was altered miraculously so that the "sin gene" would be propagated though the human race but it does seem a bit odd, humanly speaking, that "one slip by Eve and then Adam" led us into a predicament from which only the death of Jesus can save (some of) us. No chance for a "do over".  But, no matter how one slices it, it's obvious that mankind sins and needs redemption. (And let's not get onto the road leading to supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism!)

Finally, it's not so much as "conforming to the world" as it is to confront the evidence in the geological record (Calvin's General Revelation) faithfully. There are some Christians who believe that scientists do their utmost best to find evidence that can be used to discredit the Bible.  Unless one believes in a conspiracy cooked up by "atheistic scientists", I can't see scientists fudging their results to make a point. They would be found out sooner or later with unpleasant results as to the future of their scientific career.

 

 

Tjalle, would the apostle's creed be an acid test?  Yes, for ecumenism perhaps.  But perhaps not sufficient for our promise to uphold the confessions, right?  So while we have a type of variety and divergence within the denomination, we also have promised a basic confessional perspective, which includes the Heidelberg.  Everyone who professed their faith and became a member, agreed to that, right?  The Heidleberg:

Q & A 5  Q. Can you live up to all this perfectly?   A. No.1  I have a natural tendency
to hate God and my neighbor.2

Q & A 6:  Q. Did God create people so wicked and perverse?   A. No.   God created them good1 and in his own image,2 that is, in true righteousness and holiness,3  so that they might truly know God their creator,4  love him with all their heart,
and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.5

 Q & A 7:  Q. Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?  A. The fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.1  This fall has so poisoned our nature2 that we are all conceived and born in a sinful condition.3

Q 9. But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?

A. No, God created human beings with the ability to keep the law.1They, however, provoked by the devil, 

in willful disobedience,3 robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.Are not some things in evolutionary theory outside of the boundaries of the confession of promise? 

I don't think the human sinful nature is a biological inheritance.  It is a spiritual inheritance.   But it is sure isn't it, that we do not see any perfect people without sin.  This apparently is not part of the natural variability of the human race.

As far as scientists fudging evidence, well they are not perfect either, and there is clear evidence of scientists fudging things from time to time, while we assume most do not.   However, in this case we are not talking about fudging evidence so much as interpreting evidence.   A big difference.   The bias of the interpretation looms huge.   Did you know that the same codons in DNA codes for at least two different processes simultaneously, as if it could be read in two different programs at the same time?  Fascinating, and some would say more clear evidence of an intelligent creator, rather than mere random mutations coupled with selection.  Both evolutionists and creationists see the same evidence, but the creationist says this could not have happened by the proposed evolutionary mechanisms.  It is too improbable, too absurdly unlikely.  The evolutionist says it doesn't matter how extremely unlikely, it must have happened this way.   So who is being more scientific in this case?  

Participant

John, you raised an important point that I had overlooked, and that is the Heidelberg Catechism [HC]. You are quite correct (of course) that the HC is quite specific as to the origin of sin.  Whether or not those Q&As are as defendable as they were in 1563 may be debatable but, until the CRC changes them (not an easy task, considering Q&A 80!), one is bound to have to agree to them to remain within the CRC. In reality, I wonder how many CRC members wrestle with some of the HC Q&As and if this is not becoming a stumbling block for potential members or a reason for CRC members to drift away. 

As far as scientific fudging is concerned, experimentalists who "fudge" results tend to be found out when it is clear that the experimental results cannot be duplicated.  "Fudging" my be a strong word, as sometimes the materials are not as "clean" as they should be. I tried to duplicate an experiment that was reported in Science, using the same geological sample and was unable to get the same results.  I determined that the geological material was contaminated and that observation led me some interesting conclusions.  I cannot comment on the "same codons in DNA codes" because that's not my are of expertise.

Again, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

 

The flood was definitely global.  The ark wouldn't be necessary if the flood was only local.  God could have instructed Noah to move away.  It would seem rather ridiculous to have a 'local' flood lasting 371 days. Also what about the covenant God made that involves the rainbow.  If the flood was only local, what about God's covenant as there have been many local floods since?

Genesis 9: 8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10 and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are unlikely the originals.  They could have been simply named after original.  Just as there is a city named 'London' in Kentucky; Ontario etc.  We probably do not have the same rivers today, especially after the total reshaping of the planet that took place during the flood.  As they had long life spans especially until the flood, Noah's father was born while Adam was still alive.  Noah's family might have named the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as they reminded them of what Adam told Noah's father about the original rivers.  BTW, do the current Tigris and Euphrates rivers match the account in Scripture.

Genesis 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel(Tigris): that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

Also as Scripture informs us that all the mountains were covered then one would have to believe that this is what happened if you believe it was a local flood.  See 'local' flood illustration: http://legacy-cdn-assets.answersingenesis.org/assets/images/articles/wow...

This documentary provides plenty of evidence supporting the Global flood account: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XttPuVH4jXc

Re the various flood stories:

  Greetings all:

The book by Egyptologist John Currid called "Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament" along his audio series called 'Crass Plagarism' puts a lot of the other flood stories in perspective.

His bottom line?

   "In addition, and of utmost importance, is the truth that the biblical writers often employed polemical theology as an instrument to underscore the uniqueness of the Hebrew worldview in contrast to other ancient Near Eastern conceptions of the universe and how it operates. In this day and age, when a considerable number of scholars seek to diminish the originality and uniqueness of the Old Testament, this is no small thing."

   "If the biblical stories are true, one would be surprised not to find some references to these truths in extra-biblical literature. And indeed in ancient Near Eastern myth we do see some kernels of historical truth. However, pagan authors vulgarized or bastardized those truths— they distorted fact by dressing it up with polytheism, magic, violence, and paganism. Fact became myth. From this angle the common references would appear to support rather than deny the historicity of the biblical story."

 

Essential reading for this discussion, it seems.

Shalom

 

 

 

One can easily determine approximately when the Global flood took place, from Scripture.  E.g. see Biblical timeline: http://www.irreligion.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/bible_timeline.gif

There are very interesting geological phenomena around the world.  Mountains with or without folds, e.g. the mount that you mentioned: http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/classes/RWA/GS_326/photo_galleries/fo... 

There are amazing folds found around the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U51MLMQKD7U

Almost without exception folds obviously occurred while still pliable otherwise instead of fold(s) the rock(s) would be all cracked up.  This definitely shows rapid formation, e.g. mountains etc. shortly after the flood.

Have you actually looked at the documentary that I recently included a link to?  It includes nuclear evidence supporting young earth.  Maybe it is time to put aside your prejudice against what the Word of God is plainly telling us.

Of course, the pyramids themselves are amazing.  Arrogant 'modern' man thinks that he is so smart.  However, exactly how the pyramids were built is still an engineering marvel.  Just because we don't understand something fully doesn't mean it didn't happen as described in the Bible.  Can you explain how the Red Sea was parted and they walked on dry land to the other side?

Contrary what you're suggesting, casting doubt on the Word of God gives sceptics less reason to seriously consider the Good News.  If you are claiming that we can't trust what the Word of God is telling us from the beginning how can you expect the sceptic to believe the Word of God relating to salvation.  Could you state from which point in the Bible God is telling us the truth?

Participant

Joy, no, I have not had the time to look at the links you sent me. Some of the YouTube videos are an hour long!  But, if you can give me that link again that provides "nuclear evidence supporting a young earth", I'll make it a point in looking at it and then get back with a response.

Can I explain how the Red Sea was parted? I accept Exodus 14:21 that God "drove the sea back with a strong east wind.  However, I have some difficulty with the traditional visualization of Moses and the Israelites walking on a narrow path between two vertical walls of water (and sometimes showing surprised fish in the water).  Yes, Exodus 14:22 mentions "a wall of water" but we don't know if a "wall of water" meant the same to the readers of Exodus as it does to us. Still, it's no "biggy" to me and I won't lie awake at night wondering about those walls of water.  Likewise, can I explain the manna and the quail (Exodus 16)?  No, but I don't have to because there is no geological record to counter these miraculous events.  You see, Joy, it's all well and good if there is no physical evidence to conflict with Scriptures; it's when geological evidence overwhelmingly is at odds with a literal interpretation of - to me - less important events, we have a problem.  What puzzles me is that many Christians cast doubt on some of the scientific methods and conclusions and yet would accept the same scientific methods used in forensic studies that would help convict or exonerate a defendant.

As to your last paragraph, I have no doubt that Jesus is God, that He died for our sins, and that He rose from the death. I fully subscribe to the Apostles' Creed. 

Shalom!

On November 29, Tjalle asked about a timeline for the flood.  I recently read an article by Dr. Carl Wieland which tells of Manetho, an Egyptian historian of 270 BC.  This historian has a chronology which adds centuries to the Biblical account.  However, it is now realized that some of the kings he put consecutively actually reigned simultaneously.  That aside, Manetho writes that after the flood, Ham the son of Noah begat Aegyptus or Mestraim, who established in the area of egypt.  He wrote that the dispersion of the tribes was five years after Noah's descendant Peleg was born.  This agrees with Genesis 10:25.   It seems that Manetho pretty well corroborates scripture in Genesis. (CMI, Creation magazine, vol 35, no.4, 2013.)

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