Creation Science

Creation Science Book Review

Refuting Compromise

Chapter 8: The Global Flood and Noah's Ark

 

Book Review by Greg Neyman

© Old Earth Ministries

First Published 22 August 2004

 

      Unfortunately, unless you have an open mind, you will not agree with me here.  So I urge you to be open to new ideas about Noah’s Flood.  This is against everything that the leaders of the young earth movement say…they don’t want you to listen to what they think is heresy, so they teach there followers to ignore it without seriously considering the evidence.

     Because both sides of the debate like to pull text out of context from the other side, the only way to get a fair viewing of this subject is to read one of Ross’ books.  If, however, you are a tried and true young earther, you have been taught that such books are heresy, and you avoid them like the plague.  Unfortunately, you will never be able to discern whether you are right are wrong if you blindly accept the rantings of the young earth side without investigating the old earth side.  The Bible encourages believers to investigate on their own…are you open minded enough to do so?  (If so, get Dr. Ross’ books and read them).

     With that said, there is so much negative comments in this chapter that it is hard to read without getting a little upset (I’m starting to doubt the sincerity of Sarfati’s salvation, since he so readily tears other Christians down).

 

Biblical Evidence (pages 241-243)

 

     There is no problem with Ross’ interpretation.  Think of it this way…the Bible is written from the standpoint of the human author…it is a history of the human race.  The frame of reference is on the face of the earth, in the eyes of the humans.  If God had said, “I’m going to send a flood in Mesopotamia to wipe out mankind” what would Noah and others have done?  They would simply have moved!  God told Noah exactly what he needed to hear…that God was going to wipe out everything.  He could not have said anything different. 

     “All” was the only word that God could have used.  By sparing the rest of the world, and only flooding Mesopotamia , was God lying?  No…he did wipe out every living thing in the human world, which was contained in this geographic area.  Remember, the Bible was written by humans (with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit).  Everything that humans had touched was wiped out…the complete human world.

     You say this is not the “straight-forward reading” as Sarfati alludes to on page 241.  You’re right.  But not all things are to be interpreted straight-forward…sometimes we have to think in order to reach the right conclusions.  And, if you want to talk about straight-forward reading, then Genesis 2:17 invalidates the young earth creation science theory that there was no death before sin (see Chapter 6).

      Concerning Sarfati’s listing of Other reasons on page 243…

 

  • Why did Noah have to build an Ark ?  Two reasons…first, it demonstrated his obedience and faith in something he could not see, and second, if Noah had simply moved away to avoid the flood, others would follow and also escape the flood

  • Why did God send every kind of animal into the ark?  Did He?  He sent every kind that was in that geographical area…all that were known to man.  If God did not, Noah and others would have known they could simply move to avoid the flood

  • Why Birds?  The same as above…all creatures known to exist in this geographic area had to be included.

  • How could waters rise/water seeks its own level.  True, water does seek its own level.  However, we are talking about a flood of biblical proportions.  The hand of God is at work here, keeping the flood waters where they need to be.  Just as God kept the waters of the Red Sea parted for Moses, so He also could keep these waters in place.  (YECs criticize others for seeking natural explanations for biblical events, yet when it supports their cause, they are the first to bring up natural laws)

  • Partial Judgment.  There was no partial judgment.  The judgment of the flood affected all living humans.

  • God broke his promise.  Has such a flood occurred again since the days of Noah?  I’m typing this, so I guess not!  A flood never again wiped out mankind the way Noah’s Flood did.  Perhaps the use of the term “local” is misleading.  Yes, there are local floods, but they are not on the same scale as Noah’s Flood.

  • Biblical words for the flood.  If God had used a “local” word, Noah and the people would simply have moved away.  Again, God told Noah exactly what he needed to hear

 

History of Interpretation About the Flood (page 243)

 

     Here we go again…how did the church fathers view the flood.  It’s not the church fathers who are deciding this issue for you…you have to make up your own mind (see Creation Science Commentary:  Church Fathers).

 

Evolutionary Geology Inspired Evolutionary Biology (page 248)

 

     In other words, Ross looks at evidence from Geology.  I’m glad he does.  When considering the age of the earth, you would want to consider all the evidence before reaching a verdict.  If you were on a murder jury, you would want to consider all the evidence before convicting the person of murder…it’s the same principle.

    YECs are taught to ignore the evidence from Geology (and Biology).  No wonder it is so hard to teach them a proper understanding of God’s creation…they ignore 99.9 percent of the evidence!

 

Ross’s Arguments (pages 251-257)

 

    Not much here other than differences of interpretation and opinion between the two sides.  One important note is extra-biblical flood traditions (page 256).  First, yes there are flood stories from all over the globe, just as you would expect…everyone descended from Noah and his family, so these stories would come from everyone all over the globe.  Concerning Ross’ claim about the flood stories varying the further you get away from Mesopotamia …interesting, but doesn’t affect the overall picture.  If there is a pattern…great; if not…great.

     As far as the ark providing a platform for Noah to preach from, Sarfati pulls this out of context.  Yes, Noah can preach from it, and it would be an awesome platform, but it’s not the only reason for the ark.  Above all, it demonstrated Noah’s obedience and faith.

 

Scientific Evidence for a Global Flood (pages 257-259)

 

    My favorite subject…because there is none!  In fact, this subject is so important to the young earth cause, that Sarfati devotes a whopping 3 pages to it (actually, 257 and 259 are half-pages, so two full pages…and almost half of it is illustrations). 

    He happens to choose one of my favorite young earth creation science arguments, the Coconino Sandstone (click this link to expose the problems with it). 

     Polystrate tree trunk (Figure 8.1)?  Yes, catastrophic events do occur…the geologic record shows many examples of rapidly buried items…but it also shows many more examples of slow deposition.  Do not be deceived by examples that YECs pull out of context. 

     In addition to my article on the Coconino Sandstone, check out these other articles which destroy the young earth creation science model.

 

Possible Mechanism for the Flood (page 259)

 

     Catastrophic Plate Tectonics is a relatively new theory emerging over the last decade.  It did not grow out of the evidence we see in the geologic record…it is a theory that came about because of the need to squeeze the geologic evidence into the young earth theory.  It is a perfect example of young-earth theorists coming to a conclusion (the earth is young) before they examine the evidence.

     Not even accepted by all young earthers, this theory is still a topic of debate in their circles.  As with any theory, it could have happened with divine intervention, so there’s no use in disputing it.  One important fact…it is not supported in the geologic record…the YEC that devised it has only proved it could work through the use of a computer model…there is no empirical evidence from creation. (click here for the YEC materials).

 

Ross’s Arguments Against the Flood (Page 263)

 

     Sarfati resorts to a few swipes at Ross’s claims which are not important for the bigger picture (they merely are meant to heap coals upon him).  The meat of this section is the claims for the local floods which appear to have done much reworking of sediments, and they use this as an argument for the Global Flood.

    I partly agree with Sarfati on page 264-5, where Ross claims that a flood of short duration typically does not leave a deposit substantial enough to identify later.  It depends on the flood.  Floods in a wide river plain would hardly leave any evidence.  Floods in the locations of the examples given ( Lake Missoula ) would.  It all depends upon the topography where the flood occurs and the size of the flood.

    In the Mesopotamian Flood section, once again the young earthers look to natural explanations.  Yes, the flood waters would naturally level out and drain out of the Mesopotamian basin.  They do not consider the fact that Noah’s Flood is supernatural, with God’s hand at work.  As God held back the waters of the Red Sea when Moses parted it, so He could hold in the waters of this flood.

 

Misrepresentations of Noah’s Ark Itself (page 270)

 

     Sarfati appeals to a work by John Woodmorappe to put down the claims of Ross.  Unfortunately for him, Woodmorappe’s study contains a major flaw that invalidates it (click here for more).  In short, he failed to account for one of the axis of motion when calculating the ark’s seaworthiness (the ark could not merely have floated…it had to be seaworthy in a global flood).  Unfortunately for young earth creationists, Woodmorappe’s study supports the survivability of the ark during a local flood, not a global flood.  Thank you for confirming our old earth beliefs!

 

Misrepresentations of Noah’s Ark’s Cargo (page 272)

 

     Polar bears…not that important, as it can be argued adequately from both directions.  Concerning fitting all the animals on board (page 274), please take note of the reasoning behind the YEC claims.  They take the evidence (species), and boil it down to the “kinds of animals” argument.  Essentially, they try to make all the species fit into the ark so that the young earth model will float.  However, when an old earther tries this tactic (to make the evidence fit the facts of the Bible) they say we are compromising Scripture!  What makes it right for young earth creationists and wrong for old earth creationists?  Obviously the young earth creationists are living by a double standard.

     In addition, Sarfati once again appeals to Woodmorappe’s study, which also proves flawed in the area of space onboard the ark.  He does not subtract the space inside the ark that is occupied by support beams, timbers, etc, which is probably at least 10 percent, if not more, of the total volume of the ark.

    

Caring for the Cargo (page 275)

 

     Sarfati claims, “…it is definitely possible for eight people to have cared for, fed, watered, and removed daily waste from 16,000 animals – and still had time left over in the workday for other tasks.  And all this is under low-tech, non-miraculous conditions.”  Let’s look at the mathematics of this claim.

     Each person would care daily for 2,000 animals.  Assuming that Noah and his family slept 8 hours, and fed themselves for one hour, that leaves them 15 hours to care for the animals.  Since nobody can work 15 hours straight, let’s give them four 15 minute breaks, bringing them down to 14 hours.  Subtract one more hour for “other tasks,” bringing us to a total of 13 hours.  There are 780 minutes in 13 hours.  This equates to 23.4 seconds per animal.  Does this seem feasible?  You can imagine that just removing the waste alone would take up all your 23.4 seconds.  Also keep in mind the fact that it was low-tech…there’s no plumbing taking water to the various parts of the ship.  You could probably carry water in a wheelbarrow or some other device, but every 5-10 animals, you would make a trip back to the water tanks, which would surely take several minutes.

    

Limits to the Earth’s Biomass (page 277)

 

     Sarfati shows that Ross states that biomass is limited by solar energy.  Sarfati shows that it depends on temperature and moisture, thus apparently chiding Ross for getting it wrong.  They are both the same thing!  In areas of high temperature/low moisture, there is high solar energy.  It all depends on your perspective (or, apparently, your old earth / young earth orientation).  Sarfati is smart…he knows exactly how to twist the evidence to support his cause!  (From his biography, he appears to be a genius…which is exactly the type of person you have to be cautious with…they can manipulate the information to suit their causes with ease…even though it may not be the truth.)

     Yes, it’s true that you can raise the biomass of a desert area by irrigation.  This is also dependent upon your water source.  You could, in the process, take water away from other areas, and decrease their biomass capability.

 

Global Flood Too Violent (page 278)

 

     Sarfati dismisses this subject, saying it has already been answered by others.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t.  This goes hand-in-hand with the mistaken belief that the ark would merely have to float, and not be seaworthy.  Young earth scientists Baumgardner and Barnette, in an effort to prove the flood could erode/build the rock layers, showed that the flood produced currents of 194 mph (Patterns of Ocean Circulation Over the Continents During Noah’s Flood).  These currents were centered over the continental land masses.  These currents would strip any vegetation, thus, no olive branch for the dove to return to the ark.  The studies that Sarfati alludes to do not take this into consideration.

 

Vapor Canopy (page 278)

 

     Even when Ross agrees with Sarfati, he still finds something to point out Ross’s shortcomings!

 

Earth Would Still Be Ringing? (page 278)

 

     I haven’t a clue on this one…Dr. Ross will have to explain it when he sees fit to do so. (The reference is to The Genesis Question, page 149.  I must have a different version (hardcover vs. paperback), because I can't find this item).

 

Fossil Species Numbers Exaggerated (page 279)

 

     Dr. Ross errs on the high side, looking for the most favorable number to support his position.  Sarfati, being a young earth creationist, does the same, but on the low side.  Sarfati is correct in that we cannot know the exact number (something Ross would also say).  This only goes to show that you will find numbers to support your position.

 

Dinosaurs on the Ark (page 281)

 

    At last, one of my favorite subjects!  Why?  Because dinosaurs prove conclusively that the earth is old!  More on that later.

     Sarfati uses the standard young earth model of “kinds”, and argues for perhaps 55 pairs of dinosaurs, which are juveniles, in order to fit them on the ark.  Sarfati does damage to his own credibility by comparing dinosaurs to cold-blooded reptiles, when ample scientific evidence says they were warm-blooded.  That said, there may be truth in the theory that they kept growing until they died, but there is not enough evidence to support this one way or another.

 

Ross’ Bait and Switch (page 282)

 

     Again, each side chooses numbers favorable to their side.  However, Sarfati makes one claim that needs correcting.  He says that God told Noah to take the land animals on the ark…correct.  He then claims that marine animals did not need to be on the ark to be saved from a flood.  This is only true if it were a local flood.  A global flood would kill the marine lifeforms.

     For proof, once again we turn to Baumgardner and Barnette’s study of ocean currents.  During a global flood event, with ocean currents of 194 miles per hour, many marine lifeforms could not have survived.  With the high velocities centered over the continents (and thus, over the shallow water continental shelfs), shallow water dwellers would not have survived.  The only relatively calm water would have been in the deep ocean basins.  However, these waters would be so full of suspended silt and sand as to make life for the bottom-dwelling Trilobite, or any other animal, impossible. 

 

The Ice Age (page 283)

 

     Young earth creationists point to their being one single ice age.  They use the argument that ancient ice age deposits can be interpreted as underwater turbidite flows.  They claim this because this is the closest thing they can find that mimics the characteristics of glacial features.  To be honest, they have found one ancient ice age deposit, which looks similar to a turbidite flow, and then made the assumption that all previous ice ages can be explained this way (click here for more).

 

Conclusion

 

     Now that we have looked at this chapter, it is time to consider the evidence for dinosaurs and the Flood.  By the young earth model, all the horizontal layers of rock in the Grand Canyon are laid down by the Flood (see the YEC book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, FIg. 4.1).  That’s over a mile of rock in the canyon alone.  The problem lies not in the Canyon, but above it.  The layers of rock which contain every dinosaur fossil in the world are stratigraphically above the Grand Canyon rocks.  Therefore by the young earth model, the dinosaurs treaded water for a couple hundred days, until the waters subsided, then they began breeding, laying eggs, hatching, feeding, pooping, all in the span of a few days.  Then, the waters had to rise again, and cover the dinosaurs and kill them all (except for the ones on the ark).  Why could they not simply tread water a few more days, and have survived the flood?  The facts in the fossil record simply do not fit with a global flood and a young earth.

     Another problem is with food supply.  There was the “T-rex” kind, the “raptor” kind, and several other meat-eating dinosaurs on the ark.  The young earth model stops after Noah departs the ark…but that is only the beginning!  What did T-rex and the raptors eat after they departed the earth?  It would have to be the other animals on the ark!  Extinction would have come very quickly for the animals Noah saved.  And this does not even consider the other carnivorous animals…lions, tigers, etc.

     Finally, the issue of food brings to light another problem with Woodmorappe’s study of the ark.  He does not take into account the fact that the ark would have to carry food for the animals for at least a year after they departed the ark.  During the flood, the 156+ mile per hour currents would strip the land of all vegetation, deposit new layers of rock, and leave the land completely desolate.  There would be no food for the animals to eat after they got off the ark.  It is interesting that the dove Noah sent out came back with a olive leaf.  Using the young earth model, no tree would have survived to yield this leaf!  However, in the old earth local flood model, the leaf would be easy to come by…there would be no animal food shortage…there would be no dinosaur problem…in fact, there are no problems at all!

 


 

     If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth.  Click here for more.

 

    Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism?  Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life?  If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.


 

 

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Refuting Compromise  Chapter List

 

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

 

Related Articles

Ark Study

Chalk Layers

Noah's Flood

Waters of the Flood

 

To learn more about old earth creationism, see Old Earth Belief, or check out the article Can You Be A Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?  

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