Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The flood of Noah (part 7)

One of the big divides between the global and local/regional view has to do with the issue of time. Can the scientific dating methods be trusted? Those who hold to a global catastrophic view many times come from the Young Earth camp. These Christians view the flood as occurring in the recent past since the earth is usually dated no later than 10,000 years old.

According to one source (J.Osgood) from the YE camp, the flood of Noah occurred around 2304 B.C. This, of course, would place the flood some 4,300 years ago. This is important to understand given that geologic history can be discerned in the rock record. Everyone understands that fossils, rocks, and various events (such as a floods) can be interpreted by looking at the rock record.

Let's say the flood took place up to 10,000 years ago. In geologic time, this would be a relatively recent event, for those who accept current scientific dating methods. The Cretaceous-Tertiary asteroid, which struck the Yucatan peninsula some 65 million years ago is believed by most scientist to have wiped out the dinosaurs. If you accept this age, then the impact occurred much later, geologically speaking, than Noah's flood. The point here is, if we can find evidence of a global catastrophic event in the rock record that is older than Noah's flood (By the way, the evidence for this asteroid impact is virtually indisputable) then the flood of Noah should be easy to discern given its recent history and global nature. Herein lies the problem, there is no evidence whatsoever of a global flood. There is much evidence of local and regional floods of the past and that is what I would like to examine next.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The flood of Noah (part 6)

One of the passages commonly referred to concerning the flood of Noah is Psalms 104. The passage reads: "5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.7 But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth."

For those who espouse a global catastrophic view, these verses directly tie into the flood of Noah. However, a local or regional interpretation would see these verses as pertaining to the creation story and having nothing to do with Noah's flood. For example, the earth being completely covered with water would refer to Genesis 1:6. The mountains forming in the Psalms passage would refer to Genesis 1:9. If this is in reference to the creation account, the flood must have been local or regional since the reference is made in the passage that the waters would never again cover the earth.

In the coming posts, I will examine the scientific evidence of Noah's flood.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The flood of Noah (part 5)

Tebel is the third important Hebrew word that surrounds the flood story. As noted previously, the flood account of Genesis 6 uses only the words kol erets when speaking of the flood.

Tebel occurs some 37 times in the Old Testament. When the word tebel is found, it can properly be translated to mean the entire world. The facinating aspect of tebel is that it is never used once to describe the flood of Noah. In fact, kol erets which is used exclusivly to describe the flood of Noah in Genesis 6 signifies a local area in over 80% of the times it is used in the Old Testment. If we just work with percentages and look at the context of the flood story, then perhaps Moses (the author of Genesis) is trying to say that the flood was indeed local or regionl in nature.

Next time, I will consider other passages outside of Genesis 6 that some say refer to the flood of Noah.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Flood of Noah (part 4)

There are three keys words in the Old Testament that surround the flood story of Noah. The three words are: kol, erets, and tebel. The word kol can be translated to mean "all." Erets can be translated to mean "earth," "land," "country," or "gound." So, taken together (kol erets) as found in the flood story seems to indicate a global catastropic flood. Kol erets are the two Hebrew words that are used exclusively when the flood story of Noah is told in the book of Genesis.

The catch is kol erets are used elsewhere to describe an area of ground that does not mean the entire earth. For example, In Genesis 2:13 kol erets is used to describe the Gihon river, which clearly does not encompass the entire planet. Both words are also used in conjunction in Genesis 41:57 when describing all of the earth's inhabitants coming to buy grain in Egypt. One again, this is a clear example where kol erets can not apply to the entire earth. If this were to be translated literally to mean all people of the earth, then how did they all get to Egypt from the six inhabited continents?

The New Testament, which was written in Greek also has some examples where the terminology of "all" can not be taken in a literal sense. In Acts 15:21, in making reference to Moses, Luke states that Moses had preached in every city. In Colossians 1:23, Paul comments that the gospel has been proclaimed to every creature under the heaven. Again, the word "every" can not mean every single person on the face of the earth. There are clear examples in both Testaments to confirm that "all" or "whole" are not to be taken in a global view.

Next time we will look at the significance of the Hebrew word tebel and how it relates to the flood of Noah.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Flood of Noah (part 3)

Genesis chapter six provides the opening to the flood story of Noah. It is here where division exists between the the Global Catastrophic view and the view that I believe to be most consistent, the Universal Flood view. Recall, that the catastrophic view has the entire earth under water, where the universal view has only a large region of the earth under water.

The catastrophic view sees verses such as verse 7 (wiping man off the face of the earth), verse 13 (I (God) will destroy the earth), and 17 as being critical for their view. Verse 17 is particularly interesting and reads, "I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish." From this one verse it appears that the case is shut and closed for all views that are not in line with the catastrophic view.

In the coming blogs I will look at the Hebrew words and consider their importance in trying to decipher which of the three views is most consistent with Scripture.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Flood of Noah (part 2)

One of the evidences for the flood of Noah comes by way of cultural tales around the Black sea area. Although it is possible that some of these stories have been embellished a bit by missionaries, there is actually much support for some type of catastrophic flood from various cultures of the past. Some of the cultures that relate a flood story include: Sumerians, Babylonians, and Hurrians.

One interesting part of the stories involves the commonality they share with the Genesis story. For example, the name of Noah is similar within the Hurrian culture. The birds being released in the Sumerian story closely matches the Genesis account. The Summarian account even has a story of how long the people lived before the flood took place, which is again consistent with the Genesis account.

There is outside support for some type of cataclismic flood. Although cultural stories are somewhat similar to the Genesis account, a solid case cannot be made solely on these past stories. However, it is interesting that past cultures have recorded a story like Noah's account and with other scientific evidence, a strong cumulative case can be made for the flood story as recorded in Genesis 6 and following.

* Bowman, Robert, Scripture: Outline Studies in Authority, Canon, and Criticism, p. 62

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Flood of Noah (part 1)

I would like to begin a somewhat lengthy series on the flood of Noah. Is their evidence for the flood? Was the flood a global flood? The Judeo/Christian view for the most part is that the flood of Noah was literal, though some might say that it is a mythical story. If you believe that the flood literally took place in the past, then the second question is the one that is usually hotly debated.

There are actually three views concerning Noah's flood. The first, called The Global Catastrophic Flood, is a view that states the entire globe was covered with water. The second view, called The Universal Flood, sees the flood covering a large region, whereby only those on the ark survived. According to this view, all mankind was living in this region and therefore was wiped out. The third view is called, The Local Flood view. The Local Flood View has a flood again covering a large region, but some survived that were not part of Noah's world.

I am probably opening a can of worms with this series, but I believe that the evidence from the Bible and from science, both strongly support the Universal Flood View. I will provide evidence from various sources and refer to a paper that I wrote on this subject as part of my Master's degree in Christian apologetics.