Re: "History of the Collapse of 'Flood Geology' and a Young Earth"
- Here's an excerpt from the reference:
As we have seen, the idea of a universal deluge was the settled interpretation of the church for nearly seventeen centuries, but that changed as a body of compelling evidence undercutting that interpretation gradually accumulated.
The cumulative pressure of general revelation can be ignored only so long.
Christians must always be ready to reexamine even settled interpretations when a wealth of external data call these interpretations into question.
God may be trying to tell us something!
This case study of the flood suggests the need for more humility and less dogmatism in interpretation.
The arrogant attitude displayed by some commentators who have lacked appropriate scientific knowledge, especially in this century, is appalling.
Christians must also be cautious in using extrabiblical data for apologetic purposes, since their data may eventually be supplanted by better information that demands a different interpretation.
There is danger in basing an apologetic for our interpretations on a presumed agreement of the Bible with science.
The church is too often overly cautious and reactionary in handling extrabiblical information and desperately needs to develop an attitude and a hermeneutic that eagerly embrace the discoveries that are made in God's world.
In response to the growing body of evidence regarding the flood, many Christian scholars seem to have waited until the last possible moment to accept the idea of a local flood.
Indeed, a large segment of the evangelical church still seeks to support a belief in a global flood by resisting, distorting, or misinterpreting relevant extrabiblical evidence. It is, of course, easy to find fault in hindsight.
And as the church has been singed from time to time by overeager scholars who have rushed to construct the most tenuous hypotheses on the slenderest threads of evidence, some caution is understandable.
It is also understandable that long-held traditional ways of interpreting the Bible may easily become equated with what God is actually saying, and, of course, the church is reluctant to part with what it thinks God is saying!
And yet many Christians have come to dread all scientific evaluations of the created world because they perceive in them a threat to the authority of the Bible and the certainty of personal salvation.
A large segment of the evangelical church has unfortunately locked itself into a biblical hermeneutic that requires a global flood and a recent six-day creation and that prevents it from dealing responsibly with God's creative work.
I submit that there is something inherently flawed in any hermeneutic that prevents us from reading God's handiwork properly and that repeatedly puts us at odds with the established conclusions of a scientific community that is composed not just of opponents of Christianity but also of confessing Christians.
Some Christians delight in contrasting the infallible Word of God (that is to say, the Word of God infallibly interpreted by them) with the fallible ideas of sinful human beings and on that basis reject scientific conclusions they do not like.
Scripture does oppose purely human philosophies, human pride, and human sin.
But does the Bible oppose everything human?
Science is a human endeavor that requires the input of fallible humans, but that hardly means that it is anti-Christian, and it certainly does not prevent Christians from accepting and using the results of science. Even the most doctrinaire advocates of a literal reading of Genesis 1-11 are selective in their objections to the findings of the scientific community.
How many of them deny that the earth orbits the sun rather than the other way around, for example?
How many object to the science that made high-tech electronics, manned missions to the moon, or modern drugs possible?
When so many scientists of such a diverse array of worldviews are able to achieve a virtual consensus regarding a given body of evidence, we had better pay attention.
When for the past two centuries thousands of geologists from around the world, including numerous Bible-believing Christians, insist from a lifetime of experience in looking at fossiliferous rocks that those rocks are extremely old and had nothing to do with a global deluge, then the church must listen.
Commentators who dismiss or disparage that body of geological knowledge solely on the grounds of their commitment to a principle of interpretation might do well to question their commitment to truth in a larger sense.
Is it likely that they will arrive at a sound understanding of what God is saying in the biblical text if they reject a sound understanding of what God is saying in the created order?
The extrabiblical data pertaining to the flood have been pushing the evangelical church to develop a better approach to the flood story and indeed to all the early chapters of Genesis.
Just what are those extrabiblical data?
In summary, several centuries of effort to locate physical remnants of the biblical deluge have completely failed.
Any physical evidence that has been claimed to support a global flood has eventually been demonstrated to have a different explanation.
The idea that the flood deposited the world's stratified rocks has been thoroughly discredited by numerous lines of evidence.
Many of the individual strata give evidence of having been deposited in such non-flood environments as rivers, beaches, deltas, lakes, glaciers, deserts, and shallow oceanic platforms.
Many strata, such as lake deposits and fossil reefs, contain abundant indicators of very slow deposition under environmentally sensitive conditions quite incompatible with a catastrophic deluge.
Many strata are overlain by fossil soils and separated from higher strata by erosional breaks that could only have been produced over extensive lengths of time.
The fossils themselves are arrayed in progressive order in the geologic column.
Many of the organisms lived in environments utterly unlike flooded terrains.
Radiometric dating of volcanic ash or lava flows interbedded with fossiliferous strata show that they are millions of years old.
Some large masses of igneous rocks injected into the strata took hundreds of thousands of years to cool and crystallize.
Many fossiliferous rocks have been metamorphosed, indicating extreme burial that could not possibly have occurred during a year-long deluge.
All the evidence of the rocks tells us that they were not produced or arranged by a flood.
The views of earth history offered by Woodward, Catcott, G.M. Price, Whitcomb and Morris, and John R. Rice are simply and obviously incorrect.
The evidence is also arrayed against views that confine the action of the flood to the globe's surface features.
Most of the gravels, sands, boulders, smoothed U-shaped valleys, and surface grooves and scratches have been amply demonstrated to be the result of continental ice sheets rather than a flood.
We now know that the frozen mammoths and their friends did not perish in a major catastrophe only a few thousand years ago involving a radical climatic change.
These animals were well adapted to life on the harsh tundra and died individually over a period of thousands of years in accidents that were catastrophic only to them.
The rubble-drift deposits of southern England and the Mediterranean (and scarcely evident at all in the Middle East) are most likely the result of downslope soil movements during the ice age.
The views of the deluge propounded by Buckland, Sedgwick, Prestwich, and Wright are also incorrect.
In addition to the wealth of geological evidence opposing the possibility of a global deluge, a variety of biogeographical evidence also counts conclusively against such an event.
For one thing, there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that human or animal populations were ever disrupted by a catastrophic global flood at any point in the past.
Indeed, all the evidence indicates continuous occupation by these populations of points around the globe into the exceedingly distant past.
Human beings have been in North America for at least twelve thousand years and in Australia for at least thirty or forty thousand years, long before the biblical deluge could have occurred by any consistent reading of the textual evidence of the Bible.
Furthermore, a literal reading of the flood narrative requires us to presume that representatives of tens of thousands of different species left their natural habitats and restricted supplies of food, made their way from all the distant and isolated parts of the globe, crossing oceans, arctic wastes, and any number of hostile environments to arrive at the ark, that these vast numbers of creatures somehow all boarded the craft, which (presumably) already held enough food to sustain them for a year, and then after the retreat of the floodwaters all made the journey back to their respective habitats to replenish the earth.
Commentators who maintain that fossils were laid down in the flood must apparently also assume that representatives of all the species in the fossil record, including dozens of species of dinosaurs, were also aboard the ark.
Is a literal reading of the flood narrative really so sacrosanct as to induce us to entertain such bizarre scenarios?
We need to find an interpretation of the text that does not commit us to a globe-covering catastrophe.
Surely the text itself provides clues to a better understanding.
Doesn't the fact that the text suggests that Mesopotamian geography was not rearranged by the flood nor the topsoil displaced suggest that it was not a globally catastrophic event?
Given the frequency with which the Bible uses universal language to describe local events of great significance such as the famine or the plagues in Egypt, is it unreasonable to suppose that the flood account uses hyperbolic language to describe an event that devastated or disrupted Mesopotamian civilization -- that is to say, the whole world of the Semites?
I do not consider it a violation of the integrity of the biblical text to suppose that the biblical flood account uses a major Mesopotamian event in order to make vital theological points concerning human depravity, faith, and obedience and divine judgment, grace, and mercy.
The evangelical church serves no good end by clinging to failed interpretations of the Bible and refusing to explore new directions.
Christian scholars have an obligation to lead the way toward a renewed reverence for God's truth wherever it can be found.
Conservative scholars must develop a more aggressive attitude toward creation and encourage the church's youth to enter not only the pastorate, mission work, and theology but also such fields as the natural sciences, archeology, anthropology, and the social sciences.
If anything, Christians should be preeminently motivated to investigate the intricacies of God's created order, confident that a better grasp of both God's Word and God's works will be forthcoming.
If the fruits of that improved understanding are to be communicated to the Christians in the pew, their preachers will have to do the communicating.
And this means that the theologians and commentators who educate the preachers have an obligation to consult more frequently with Christian scholars in other disciplines before making pronouncements on matters in those areas.
What marvelous insights into Scripture might await the church if from now on the theologians and exegetes would work side by side with biologists, archeologists, anthropologists, geologists, linguists, astronomers, sociologists, and paleontologists!
In a world of burgeoning knowledge about ancient literature, languages, civilizations, culture, and customs as well as about the workings of God's creation, biblical scholars must engage in dialogue with other representatives of the intellectual world they profess to want to influence with the good news --
"the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 1:2-4).
From: Robert Baty
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 10:51 PM
Subject: [M & B] "History of the Collapse of 'Flood Geology' and a Young Earth"
Link is courtesy of Rick Hartzog:
"History of the Collapse of Flood Geology and a Young Earth"
by Davis A. Young
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