I am NOT a Young-Earth creationist, hence I would like to ask one of them, “How do you know that the flood of Noah happened? Where did all the water come from? Where did it go? Why is there apparently no real evidence for a gigantic global flood? IF there is abundant evidence or even a bit of evidence what is the evidence?”
Thomas C. Cook
Edward: Not bad questions to ask Young-Earth creationists, however, they do have “answers” which can be found at young-earth websites, like answersingenesis.org, or, the Institute for Creation Research (on the web), or google up “Woodmorappe,” who has his own website and book that tries to literally defend the “Noahʼs flood” and “flood geology.”
About the “water,” some Young-Earth creationists say it was suspended in the atmosphere in a canopy of vapor or ice surrounding the earth, or that vast waters lay beneath the earth, subterranean, since Genesis in the flood story mentions both the waters above and beneath the earth. But soon after the “canopy theory” arose, scientists began pointing out that the air pressure on earth would be much higher if such a canopy existed, or the light that reached the earthʼs surface would be diminished, but worst of all, according to thermodynamics a great deal of Heat would have to be released to get that Much water down out of the air to “cover the mountains,” Way too much heat. So the young-eartherʼs finally admitted the canopy couldnʼt have been very thick, i.e., there could not be as much water as they had hoped to store up there and use for their “flood.” In fact, according to the major creationist figures and organizations today, they now admit that a canopy holding more than just a few inches of water seems implausible. So the “canopy” of YECs is pretty thin these days and they rely primarily on the hypothesis of vast subterranean waters beneath the earth, and they imagine that the “pre-Flood” earth didnʼt have any tall mountains but was much flatter, and with much smaller oceans. So during the Flood, the waters below were released and rose up and covered all the dry land and highest “mountains” (or mole hills, since there were no very high mountains in their pre-Flood scenario), and the continents zipped along instead of drifting over vast eons and colliding with one another. Their hypothesis of “continental zip” means the continents crashed into one another and formed the tall mountains, including the Himalayas in one year. But that hypothesis has problems too, since it also generates too much heat to make the continents move that fast, due to the friction beneath them. And such extreme continental zipping motion and accompanying heat, besides making Noahʼs ark capsize from unbelievably tall tidal waves, and making the oceans so hot the contents of the ark would boil, would also liquefy all the rock beneath the continents instead of leaving the evidence we do see of distinct lines of slow sea-floor spreading that currently exist from the middle of the Atlantic to the shores of North America. So creationists like Baumgartner admit they need a miracle to deal with the heat and to account for the distinctive lines which are evidence of slow sea-floor spreading, not continental zip. Either way, miracles are always needed. God made it “look” like slow-sea floor spreading by miraculously controlling the heat released by continental zip.
The “evidence” YECs claim “proves” the whole earth was once Flooded is that so much of the earthʼs surface is covered with sedimentary rock, rock laid down by water, i.e., rivers, lakes, seas, and the advance and retreats of shorelines. But they neglect to view this as the result of land rising up, mountains rose up, and being worn down slowly over billions of years, and the shorelines advancing inland and then out again over vast periods of time. The Grand Canyonʼs geology demonstrates three separate movements of the shoreline inland and then out again, since the layers of rock seen in the walls of the Grand Canyon are flat like they would be on a shoreline, and consist of sandstone (from ancient sandy beaches), limestone (from calcium-covered microorganisms that lived and thrived a little off shore), shale (from very fine particles of clay that settled out very slowly and further out from the shoreline). And there is even a layer of rock in the Grand Canyon that consists of windblown sand, in other words a former desert. And of course, there are trace fossils of Land Animals found walking around, making nests, etc., and living in each geological era. Most notable are empty, hatched dinosaur eggs found in nests in the fossil record. That means the dinosaurs had to meet, mate, build a nest, Gestate their eggs, and the eggs hatch, leaving opened empty egg-shells in the nest which is then buried by sand, or water and dirt, or volcanic ash and dirt and rain, etc. And there are layers of dinosaurs nests lying above and below one another, meaning more time passed. But Genesis says the flood covered the whole earth, and drowned all the land animals.
A Relatively “Dry” Flood
The geologic record contains evidence of a wide variety of ancient environments, including ancient oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, soils and deserts, it is not a record of “a year-long Flood.” There are desert strata, dried out lake beds, dried up river beds, paleosols (soil horizons), layers of rootlets at different horizons, layers of forests at different horizons, fossilized ant nests, termite nests, fragile wasp cocoons, cells from bees nests, dinosaur nests and eggs, reptile nests and eggs (in the Chinle Formation of the Petrified National Forest), bird nests and eggs (of a relative of the flamingo in the Green River Formation in Wyoming), fossilized holes left by worms, fossilized rodent burrows, tracks, trails and markings left by land-dwelling animals, even animal dung in its original position of deposition as it dried, cracked and hardened on solid ground. The geological evidence is clear that DRY land existed at many different periods throughout the past with land animals continuing to walk around, deposit dung, woo mates, build hives, nests or burrows, lay eggs, hatch those eggs (“empty hatched egg” fossils), then raise their young (then repeat the process), such evidence being found at different horizons, or even in horizons right above each other in the geological record. The fact is, deserts formed, lakes formed and dried up, rivers formed and dried up, soils formed, layers of small rootlets had time to grow, then be wiped out and grow again at different horizons, including multiple layers of forests that required time to grow, die and re-grow.
Young-earth creation scientists will no doubt spend from now till doomsday inventing ad hoc hypotheses to try and reconcile all such evidence above with a “Flood” that kept the earth under water for a year, and that would have had to have pulverized the most solid rock into fine sediment (yet plenty of shells and bones survived that miraculous pulverization of countless mountains of rock, to leave behind fossils, including some extraordinarily delicately laid out fossils and all of the trace fossils already mentioned above).
Next, the “Flood” would have had to have piled sediments at an average depth of one mile over all the earth, keeping a multitude of micro-fossils, fossil fragments, trace fossils, and species ALL arranged in extraordinarily good relative order of deposition, and without smudging together the coal seams of Kent with the great white cliff chalk of Dover.
Then those sediments would have to harden into rock overnight. Let me give one example of why that must be so. Sedimentary rock does not harden overnight the silica takes time to bond. Some strata contain boulders that lie on a geological horizon yet do not sink below that horizon, in other words that horizon had to have hardened before the boulder rolled on top of it. This is not a problem for modern geology, because rivers can move boulders, but when “Flood geologists” encounter such a deposit, they have to admit that at least some time passed between the hardening of that strata and the arrival of the boulder to rest on top of it, yet not SINK INTO IT. Moreover, boulders often are conglomerates, rocks that contain rocks inside them, and those rocks that are inside the conglomerate boulder can be cracked open, and you can find, guess what, fossils. Iʼm not even going to go into the mental gyrations needed to account for all of this as the result merely of a one-year long “Flood.”
— E. T. B.
“Paleosols” are ancient soils that develop during periods of extensive sub-areal weathering and they are sometimes preserved in the geologic record. Paleosols are found throughout the geologic column and represent periods of Earth history when the region they were found in was not covered by water. Paleosols in the midst of a global flood are not possible.
— Joseph Meert, “Radiometric Dating, Paleosols and the Geologic Column: Three strikes against Young Earth Creationism” (Original Verison Fall 1999, Updated July 3, 2002)
Chalk Up Another Vote For An Old Earth
Anyone who believes the earth is only six thousand years old and Noahʼs Flood formed the geologic record has to explain why there are layers of limestone and/or chalk many feet thick found in that record. Such layers are composed of countless generations of microscopic shelled organisms that used to live near the surface of the water (as their cousins do today), enjoying the sunlight, multiplying, sucking minerals from the water to form their tiny shells, then dying. Afterwards their remains settled to the bottom (microscopic shells do not settle rapidly). Thick layers of such organisms began appearing for the first time during the Cretaceous era (the whole era was named after “chalk”). Trying to imagine enough microscopic organisms living all at once and then dying suddenly to form such thick densely packed layers (rather than the process taking countless generations) is so improbable as to be impossible. Keep in mind their modern day cousins only live close to the surface of the water, they need sunlight and cannot live in thick layers that block light from each other, and sunlight dims quickly as you proceed deeper into the water. Keep in mind the time it takes to grow and suck the necessary minerals out of the water, and add the time needed to settle to the bottom. Moreover, for the “Flood” hypothesis to be true, these microscopic organisms would have had to have dropped miraculously fast, faster than far denser organisms and coarser heavier sediments lying today in strata above them, not to mention the tracks of reptiles, dinosaurs, and other animals lying above them. If these microorganisms settled so quickly, itʼs also a miracle that there is no bleeding of chalk into the formations above and below such layers.
Even more difficult to reconcile with a young earth are layers of “pelletized limestone” many feet thick. The “pellets” consist of ancient feces left by fish that ate the microscopic shelled organisms, and then excreted them as pellets. Keep in mind all the time factors I mentioned above but also add the time it would take that many fish to multiply and eat that many microscopic shelled organisms and then defecate them out again in formations of pelletized limestone many feet thick. (Maybe they could have defecated all those pellets at once, many feet thick, if the fish were “frightened to death” by “the Flood?”)
Experiment For Noah Enthusiasts:
1. Take one of your favorite household potted plants.
2. Water it like hell for 40 days and nights.
3. Observe rotted dead plant.
As a botanist I get extremely disgruntled when reading about Noah. You see, God appears only to be interested in animals. Noah received no instructions to take on board any plants (by plants I mean angiosperms, gymnosperms, pteridiophytes and bryophytes). Talk about shortsightedness. Could this be the root cause for Zoology always being more popular than Botany? Dear Flood supporters, pray tell how did plants survive the Flood? Waiting in anticipation.
— M. (Matto), University of Stellenbosch
Questions Concerning The Survival Of Plant Life After The Flood
After a year at sea, what is the likelihood:
That more than a handful of seeds miraculously survived the violence of “the Flood of Noah” — a flood that allegedly reduced rock to fine sediment overnight?
That such seeds did not sprout prematurely, which seeds often do in water, doubly so when their seed coasts are abraised which prompts them to begin sprouting.
That any surviving plant seeds would be dropped in an area where the temperature, rainfall, soil, and light would be suitable for the growth of that particular species?
Even after having reached a spot capable of supporting the growth of that particular species, how long would their flowers have to wait before the birds and insects arrived from Mount Ararat to cross-pollinate them?
Isaac Asimov observes that the ancient Hebrews did not regard plants as alive in the same sense animals are; therefore they had less of a problem than modern botanists do, imagining that an olive tree could endure a yearʼs drowning and sprout immediately afterward. [As in the Biblical tale of the dove that returned to Noahʼs ark with a live “olive branch” in its mouth. — E.T.B.] Todayʼs creationists should have learned some botany since then, but they still carry on about the “hardiness” of olives.
Creationists need to soak seeds in muddy salty water for a year [The water should also be “boiling” if “Flood geologists” are correct about the extent of the Floodʼs rock-pulverizing violence. — E.T.B.] and then plant them in unconsolidated, briny silt in an unfavorable climate without insect or avian pollinators to see what happens. Have their mathematicians, so skilled at calculating improbabilities for protein formation, ever determined the odds of plant survival?
— Robert A. Moore, “The Impossible Voyage of Noahʼs Ark,” Creation/Evolution, Issue 11, Winter 1983
With the land bare of plants what did all the herbivores eat after they disembarked from Noahʼs ark? Oh wait, I forgot, they did not have time to eat; they were too busy fleeing from the hungry carnivores that disembarked after them.
Catastrophic flooding occurs in most areas of the world. However, if [flood] stories are gathered from around the world, one may be struck far more by the divergencies than by their similarities. It is important that such collections have been gathered without regard for their support for a single universal flood. It would be easy to rule out those that sound dissimilar and then to be amazed at how similar the remainder are!
Although flood stories from around the world vary widely in their content, those from Syro-Palestine and Mesopotamia (the so-called lands of the Bible) are strikingly similar. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that flood stories gathered from around the world descended from a single source (or describe a single event), the reverse may indeed be the case in the Ancient Near East. It is, after all, an area given to regular and catastrophic flooding, for which adequate archaeological and geological evidence has come to light. Furthermore, it is an area through which the story of “the flood” could easily spread: it is geographically small and well defined (the so-called fertile crescent), its inhabitants spoke closely related Semitic languages, there was occasional political unity of the whole (under Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians), and commerce was widespread throughout at all periods.
— Lloyd R. Bailey, Noah: The Person and the Story in History and Tradition
Dr. Howard M. Teeple of the Religion and Ethics Institute is the author of The Noahʼs Ark Nonsense in which he traced the movement in place and time of the “Flood” story in the ancient Near East from its first known location and earliest version, uncovered by archaeologists in Sumer/Babylon, to its subsequent appearance in a little civilization just north of Sumer/Babylon. From there the tale is recorded to have spread east, then south, and finally continued east till a version appeared in ancient Greece. Each civilization along the way adapted the “Flood” story to suit their culture by changing the names of the people involved and which mountain the “boat” allegedly “landed on.”
Need I add that the Geological Record contains many distinct divisions of animal and plant remains, right down to fragments of fossilized bone, and microscopic animal and plant remains, all neatly arranged in a particular order and divided up such that no statistician on earth could believe they had accumulated simply by the chance intermingling of chaotic violent waters and their contents in one explosive year-long flood. The divisions are there in the geological record, and speak volumes about all the time needed to lay down the remains of species of animals and plants belonging to one era, and then many of them becoming extinct, never to be seen again, and new ones arising for the first time, and then laying down the remains of species belonging to a later era. A “flood” cannot explain such divisions. The odds are heavily against it. In fact it would take miracles ad infinitum to produce such clear geological distinctions. And also make god into a liar, employing so many miracles just to create “What Looks Like” an evolutionary history of progressive forms throughout the geological fossil record. What a kidder “God” must be. See the list of problems for “Flood Geology” which even Christian men of science acknowledged before Darwinʼs Origin was ever published.
One should also read the NIV Application Commentary On Genesis (published in 2002) and written by an Evangelical Professor at Wheaton College (the “Harvard” of Evangelical Christianity), in order to understand why Evangelicals and other scholars question the historicity of the Creation and Flood stories, not to mention the “Tower of Babel” story.