Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Every Species On The Ark?

Biblegems #192
Question: How could the millions of species fit in the ark, and the climate and environmentally sensitive animals make the migration from distant places like South America or Australia to Mesopotamia to board the ark?

According to “Nature,” there are approximately 8.7 million species of life on the earth (a ‘best guess’ based on new methods of prediction), with roughly 86% of land species and 91% of marine species still undiscovered.[i]

The Bible, however, nowhere claims that all land and marine species were paired up on the ark. The meaning and application of the term “species” has been debated among scientists since Aristotle, but the Bible uses the much broader term “kinds.”
         Gen. 1:21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
         Gen. 1:25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Consequently, there was no need to bring several species of dog on the ark, but only one pair of the Canine “kind.” The same is true of the feline “kind”, the cattle “kind”, the horse “kind”, and so on. In addition, only air-breathing “kinds” were included on the ark, not fish or insects (Gen. 7:22). The ark’s dimensions (750’ X &5’ X 45’) provided more than enough volume to house the earth’s air-breathing “kinds”. Following the Flood the earth would once again be repopulated with an ever-expanding variety of “species” within each “kind”.

As for the migration of creatures from distant regions across inhospitable environments, such as deserts, mountains and oceans, this assumes that the pre-Flood world was much the same environmentally as it is now. As the previous Bible Gems post shows, that assumption is false.

The pre-Flood, single-continent world described in Genesis appears to have enjoyed a very hospitable, tropical garden-like environment. Recent studies of a lush, “greenhouse” type environment suggest that the pre-Flood atmosphere would have been comparatively carbon dioxide rich, causing plant life to be extremely abundant, growing larger and more environmentally efficient than is the case today. This would also have supported large plant-eating dinosaurs, as well as providing the raw material that would become the vast coal and oil deposits created during the global Flood.

Animals, birds and reptiles made their migration across the continent during the considerable time required for constructing the ark. Once the ark was complete the representative “kinds” and the required food staples were brought aboard by Noah and his family (Gen. 6:18-22). In addition to all the paired animals Noah was to set apart, not just two, but seven pairs of “clean” animals. This was to ensure that in the post-Flood world there would be sufficient numbers of reproducing “clean” animals that the re-starting human race could have meat for food without risking the extinction of edible animals.

These are the kind of details that set the Genesis account apart from the world’s myth-laden memories of that catastrophic period of earth’s history.
         Ps. 119:89  Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

[i] Published online 23 August 2011 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2011.498 
Corrected online: 24 August 2011

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Doubting Scientists Of A Global Flood

Biblegems #191
Question: Why are so many skeptical of the biblical account of a global flood and the geological evidence that supports it?

Skeptics of the Global Flood generally cite these 3 arguments:
1) The Global Flood belief is based on only two “mythological” passages in Scripture, Genesis 7:2-3, and Genesis 7:11-12.
2) Biblical Flood theories are all invented to support the Global Flood belief.
3) Geological evidence supporting the Global Flood is thin, pseudo-scientific and unconvincing.

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Argument #1 is wildly incorrect on two counts.
The Flood account in Genesis does not fit the dictionary definition of a “myth.”[i]

While approximately 270 cultures around the world have maintained a memory of the Flood, and most of these have taken on a mythological nature, Genesis is unique in that it is a carefully recorded eyewitness account, including specific names, dates, duration, locations, materials used in constructing the ark, pre- and post-Flood conditions, etc. These are details intended to locate the catastrophic Flood historically for the sake of future generations.

Only 2 Flood References
Genesis chapters 6-8 contains a wealth of information describing the dynamics of the Flood event, including conditions prior to, and after the Flood itself. The Bible contains many other references as well, not only to the Flood but to the pre-Flood environment. Here is just a sample: Gen. 1:1-2, 9-10; Job 22:16; Psalm 90:5; Isaiah 54:9; Matthew 24:38; Luke 17:26, 27; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:5.

Argument #2, “Invented” Flood Theories, is also incorrect.
All the information from which the Flood related theories are developed have their basis in the Bible. The best theories are developed from the clear, unforced evidence in Scripture then tested against geological and other pertinent evidence in nature and history. For example, the hydroplate theory is one possible interpretation of Genesis 7:11-12:
         “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.”

Understanding this as a reference to a pre-Flood layer of water lying beneath the earth’s mantle has further biblical support. Genesis 1:2, 6-10 and 2 Peter 2:5 describe the earth at its creation being completely covered in water, from which the dry ground emerged as one land mass, with water beneath. This underground ocean of water suddenly and catastrophically burst through the mantle. This is the clear, “face value” meaning of the words. Massive earthquakes shifted the tectonic plates, creating our present-day continents, mountain ranges, canyons and deep ocean basins.

Argument #3, Lack of Geological Evidence, is likewise incorrect. For example,
         An obvious indication of global water activity is the very existence of sedimentary rocks all over the world which, by definition, were formed by the erosion, transportation, and deposition of sediments by moving water with the sediments gradually converted into stone after they had been deposited…” and “…the existence of fossils in the sedimentary rocks. The depositional processes must have been rapid, or fossils could not have been preserved in them.”[ii]
God’s Word is true and trustworthy, and the evidence is there for all who have eyes to see.
         Ps. 118:8  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

[i]  A “traditional story of ostensibly (italics mine) historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.”  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myth
[ii] http://www.icr.org/articles/view/54/356/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Global Flood Waters

Biblegems #190
Question: How did the Flood cover the highest mountains? Where did all that water come from, and where did it go?

Flood skeptics often argue that there would need to be roughly 4 times as much water volume on the earth as we currently have in order to cover the highest mountains and all the land.[i] Before one asks where enough water came from to flood the earth, one needs to ask where all water came from to begin with, and what was the earth like before the Flood.

According to the Bible (contrary to current scientific theory), the fundamental material in earth’s creation was water:
         Gen. 1:1-2  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep (i.e., water), and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

         2Pet. 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

From this water God caused one expansive continent to emerge:
         Gen. 1:9-10  And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

The continents were created largely as a result of the global Flood. The driving rains that accompanied the Flood were likely unknown up until that time. The earth was watered from the greenhouse-like humidity created by the water canopy above the breathable atmosphere surrounding the earth, and by the rich supply of underground water from which the dry land emerged, together with the abundance of rivers and lakes (Gen. 1:6-7).

The Flood began with violent, earth-splitting, thunderous earthquakes on a very specific day:
Gen. 7:11  In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.

Evidence of that event is represented in the great canyons beneath the oceans as the earth’s tectonic plates split apart, releasing massive geysers of water high into the sky and hundreds of miles long. Earth-swamping tsunamis pushed across the relatively flat ground surface. At the same time, the water canopy that enveloped the earth began to disintegrate into a forty day, planet-drenching rain.

Throughout the following year that Noah’s family remained on the ark—and beyond—evidence suggests that continental drift caused by the separating tectonic plates rapidly crunched the landmasses, forming the great mountain ranges, deep valleys and canyons we know today. After one hundred and fifty days (carefully journaled by Noah) the rising mountains began to shed water into the now familiar ocean basins, rivers and lakes (Gen. 7:24). Noah’s garden-like planet plunged into a southward spreading Ice Age that even now covers much of the northern and southern poles.

Today’s world of blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds, majestic, snow-capped mountains, vast plains, deserts and gouged out canyons is a reminder of the world that once was. And just as the world Noah knew was brought under the heavy hand of God’s judgment, so too another day of worldwide judgment is looming on the horizon. In a future article we will look at the “fairness” of such judgment upon an entire world. For now, it is enough to know that…
         2Pet. 3:10-12a  the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

[i] Currently, according to the US Geological Survey (http://water.usgs.gov/edu/), over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dragons In The Bible?

Biblegems #189
Question: Job 41 seems to be God describing fire breathing dragons as if they were real and Job was familiar with them. Is this just poetic or symbolic language?

Most people assume that life as we now know it is a reliable indicator for what life has always been like (the theory of uniformitarianism). The apostle Peter reminds us that this false assumption is in large part responsible for mankind’s tendency to “deliberately forget” the creation of the world from water and the destruction of that world’s environment by a global flood (2Pet. 3:3-6). That same false assumption blinds us to the possibility of creatures once existing that match the description in Job 41:1-34.

The creature described in Job is called “Leviathan” (Job 41:1). In this passage Job—who was clearly familiar with the creature—is reminded that even this massive animal is just another one of many created and owned by God (Job 41:11).

Leviathan was earth’s largest creature at the time (33-34), too huge to tie down or lead with a rope (1-2), with a hide too tough and folded over on itself to penetrate with spears, arrows or swords (7, 24, 26-29). His neck was powerful, his chest “hard as rock.” He was completely untamable (5, 9), terrifying the most fearless hunters when he “rose up” (25). His massive limbs were both incredibly strong and graceful (12), and his great jaws were “ringed about with…fearsome teeth” (14). He made a snorting sound accompanied by bursts of fire and smoke from his nostrils, and he could spout fire from his mouth (20-21). His back was covered with tightly layered scales (15-17), and his underbelly likewise covered with sharp protrusions that gouged out the ground he walked over (30). Leviathan was amphibious, stirring up the water where he submerged as if it were boiling (31-32). Isaiah the prophet describes Leviathan as a “gliding,…coiling serpent (i.e., dragon),…the monster of the sea” (Is. 27:1).

Obviously, no such creature exists today. But historical evidence and archeological evidence confirm that Leviathan and other dinosaurs did indeed co-inhabit the earth with mankind.[i] (See also: The World News Daily Report article from March 9, 2014, “Prehistoric Cave Art Depicting Humans Hunting Dinosaurs Discovered in Kuwait”)[ii]

Now that supporting evidence is piling up, those who once scoffed at the idea of humans and dinosaurs co-existing are suddenly changing gears and asking, ‘So what?’

That is a real good question. The ‘so what’ is that these discoveries challenges current evolutionary models that separate dinosaurs and humans by millions of years. Exodus 20:11 summarizes the Genesis creation account that …in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them…” If the biblical account of creation is true there will be evidence of interaction between humans and dinosaurs and the theory of evolution will suffer a serious set-back.

The Bible and all it teaches is grounded in history. History leaves a record in the ground that eventually comes to light. And when such evidence is unearthed and brushed off for all to see, the creation once again points back to the Creator:
         Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

[i] Morris, J. 2008. The Dinosaur Next Door. Acts & Facts.
[ii] See more at: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/prehistoric-cave-art-depicting-humans-hunting-dinosaurs-discovered-in-kuwait/#sthash.nlZKr6f2.dpuf).