Answers in Genesis?

This weekend, my brother-in-law is taking some teens from his church on a field trip to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Like most atheists, I can’t stand Ken Ham and what he teaches, and he especially bothers me when he attempts to indoctrinate children and impressionable people with attractions like the Creation Museum and his new 100 million dollar Ark Encounter attraction. In honor of these teens’ trip, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the errancy of the Noah’s Ark story and the ways that Christians try to justify it.

For now, I’m going to skip past some of the most glaring contradictions that this bible story brings forth, one being that God created every living creature only to select a very, very small percentage of his creation that he wanted to save from an unfathomably massive natural disaster that he uses to destroy his own creation. Today, I’ll focus on more of the logical and geological implications that can make us wonder how a story of this nature could be anything but fictitious.

Since the Creation Museum and Ken Ham’s work are grounded in Ham’s apologetics ministry, Answers in Genesis, I want to present some of the biggest questions to be proposed for the Flood story’s legitimacy, followed by responses that could be considered “answers in Genesis.” I found most of these questions either in Hament Mehta’s video 39 Problems with the Noah’s Ark Story, or from JaclynGlenn’s Noah Movie?, and the “answers” either from Answers in Genesis or from Is the Flood Story Scientifically Possible?, which contained many (ridiculous) responses to Hament’s video.

Question: Where did Noah get that much wood in the ancient Middle East?
Answer in Genesis: There may have been wood there before the flood, because the flood changed the geological makeup of the Earth.

Question: Who taught Noah how to build a ship, and how did he do so with only eight people?
Answer in Genesis: He could have hired workers, or used machines. The Egyptians found some way to build the pyramids, which was a much bigger feat than this small wooden ark, so Noah and his family or team of workers could have easily done so. Just because it was so long ago doesn’t mean that Noah and his family were too incompetent to build a ship or make the machinery required to build a ship that can keep at least 2,000 animals and stay afloat for a year. Sure, the world’s most skilled shipbuilders could have built a smaller wooden ship called the Wyoming in the early 1900s, after many thousands of years of technological advancements, only for it to twist, bend, leak, and sink, but Noah and his family were intelligent and fully capable of building the Ark.

Question: How did Noah collect, care for, and house millions of animal species?
Answer in Genesis: He wouldn’t have needed to. He could have used families of animal kinds, or common ancestors who then evolved (very quickly – 11 new species per day) into the extremely diverse amount of species that we have today. Another response that I’ve heard is that he used DNA samples, which is completely possible because Noah’s family wasn’t incompetent, meaning that they were able to gather DNA samples from thousands of families or millions of species before the concept of DNA had even been discovered.

Question: How did eight people care for all those animals?
Answer in Genesis: There could have been more family members on the ship, like Noah’s grandchildren. Ten or so young children would have been very helpful in feeding and caring for at least 2,000 animals.

Question: How did they keep the food from spoiling without refrigeration?
Answer in Genesis: They had live animals that were on the ship solely for the purpose of being eaten by other animals and they weren’t killed until it was time for them to be eaten (so they would have had to have been cared for until then). As for the plants…. no one knows, since they either would have rotted from not being refrigerated, or died without sunlight.

Question: How did the koalas and kangaroos get to and from the ark?
Answer in Genesis: They traveled across an Australian land bridge (no one died on the way, which is why there are no kangaroo fossils between the middle east where it landed and Australia where they now live), and now it is gone with no evidence.

Question: Where were the plants?
Answer in Genesis: There were no plants on board except those that were used for food. Only “living creatures” made it on, and plants, bacteria and fungi don’t qualify. We don’t know how plants survived since they were all killed because they were too deep underwater to be reached by sunlight, and they weren’t brought aboard the Ark, but that’s okay.

Question: How did Noah figure all those insects out?
Answer in Genesis: We don’t know if insects count as living creatures with the breath of life, so we don’t know if Noah included them or not (so we don’t know how insects survived, but again, that’s okay).

Question: What about the fish?
Answer in Genesis: There was no aquarium on the ark, so they somehow survived in the floodwaters without food, since all plant life died from lack of sunlight, and they also survived in saltwater for a year, since there was no way that freshwater and saltwater couldn’t have mixed with the entire planet being covered in water.

Question: At at least 29,000 feet, how could they have lived without oxygen supplements?
Answer in Genesis: If the Ark was somehow made to be airtight.

Question: Where did the ark go?
Answer in Genesis: It could have been buried under the lava of Mount Ararat.

So what has been the point of attempting to assemble answers to patch up the biggest problems with the Noah story? It is this: even the most radical, ridiculous, seemingly impossible fable can always have some explanation, some answers that make it just barely cooperate with reality, but that by no means makes it true, and definitely doesn’t make it infallible.

In a class that I took last year, we learned an analogy for basing our worldviews off of evidence. The analogy went something like this: someone comes home to see that his TV has been stolen, and his window has been shattered. He thinks that someone broke in and stole his TV, but his friend thinks that aliens came in through the front door, smashed the window, stole the TV, and left again, locking the door behind them. Clearly, the first explanation is far more likely. Of course, the second could have happened, but no one is jumping at the chance to justify that explanation.

Similarly, there could be a deity that spoke the universe into existence 6,000 years ago, write a book detailing what he did, then did everything that he could to fool us into thinking that the universe is actually billions of years old. There could have been a night when the Earth just stopped rotating so that the stars appeared to stand still so that some magi could find a holy baby born in a barn. And there could have been a global flood in which every “kind” of animal somehow found its way onto a wooden ark built by a family of eight, lived in an airtight container for a year at 29,000 feet altitude, and left peacefully, with the koalas going across the disappearing Australian land bridge.

Or…..

It might be safer just to say “you know what? That all seems…pretty unlikely. I’m going to stick with the assumption that none of that ever happened.”


Update: As you can see, I’ve disabled comments from this post. This was because, for some reason, it has received hundreds (nearly a thousand) spam comments that I’ve had to moderate over the last few months. If you are indeed a human who wants to leave a reply to this post, I’ve left a contact form below for you to send in your comment, and I will happily post it on your behalf. Thank you for your patience!

 


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86 Replies to “Answers in Genesis?”

  1. I love this topic. I am, however, on the opposite side of this view. Regardless, I enjoy exchanging points and evidences about this topic.

    “Question: Where did Noah get that much wood in the ancient Middle East?”

    You touched on this in the answer you provided. There would not have been a “Middle East” prior to the flood. As has been proven, continental drift and plate tectonics tell us that there has been a super continent: Pangaea. The Bible does not teach against this and even agrees with this. In Genesis 1:9 it says, “…’let the water be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.'” One ocean and one landmass. Noah could have very well be in a region with a temperate climate with forested regions supplying him with the wood for the ark. It would not have been an arid climate as it is now.

    “Question: Who taught Noah how to build a ship, and how did he do so with only eight people?”

    Yes, he could have hired other people. That seems like a necessity for such a large boat. But, as you have asked, how would they have known how to construct a vessel as described by the Bible. In Genesis 4: 22, a man named Tubal-Cain is described as being one who “forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.” Others described in the same passage are described as having music and instruments long before postulated in history. These people Noah hired would have had the knowledge and skills to build the ship to the schematics Noah gave them. The thought that “primitive” people are unintelligent and did not possess the ability to have more advanced technologies and skills is a false one. There are many examples of ancient civilizations possessing impressive technologies that were lost and not rediscovered until recent times. One such example is the “Antikythera Mechanism” designed by the Greeks to compute planetary motions. Another is an early Egyptian battery called the “Baghdad Battery.” They possibly had some early understanding of electricity. There have also been examples throughout history of large vessels capable of sailing such as the 130 m long warship built by the Egyptian Ptolemy Philopator.

    I do not mean to sound rude, but, on many of these points, the answers seem to be from under informed sources (probably due to bias) or they are strawman tactics. There is much geological evidence for the global flood as well. As a geology student, it seems very evident to me. Many times it is there, but never brought up because no one goes to look for it due to presuppositions and dogma. I would love to share some, and will later if prompted, but my comment is already long enough. I apologize.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for bringing up those points. I did try my best to find the most popularly accepted answers from the Christian side by using Ken Ham’s organization’s website, Answers in Genesis. As far as the idea of Pangaea still being together at the time of the flood, according to a quick Google search, Pangaea broke apart about 200 million years ago, while the flood would have been around 4,000 years ago, at least according to Ham.

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      1. Yes, according to the Biblical time scale, the Bible would have occurred around 4500 years ago or so. Have you heard of the radioisotope study done by the team of scientists under the name RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth)?

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    2. There is no geology support for a global flood at all.

      Pangaea idea is based on plate tectonics and the slow spread of continental plates. It would take massive disruption of the earths mantle and crust for them to have moved apart that distance only 4000 or whatever years ago. If you wish to suggest that a miraculous god pushed them all apart and raised up the mountains then you need to explain why there are fossils in those mountains that are older than the flood. Did god put them there as part of his dramatic flood activity to fool those clever scientist people into not believing?

      Then you need to account for the fact that there simply isn’t enough water on the planet, including the water in the rock of the mantle, to cover the whole planet to the required depth.

      The whole idea is a global flood is preposterous. It’s a myth from times when people told stories to explain the unexplained. We now know better, time for the stories to appreciated for what they are, myths and legends. Like Beowolf and Gilgamesh.

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      1. Your claim has no support. You can do a simple google search and find plenty of points and arguments for geological support that are not “miraculous” and are observable evidences. One such one is catastrophic plate tectonics, which solves you “not enough water” point. It seems to me that you have not done much research for this.

        I completely agree with Pangaea and plate tectonics. I never said I didn’t. I also agree that “it would take a massive disruption of the Earth’s mantle and crust” to move them as such. Do you know what one of the current theories is for multiple plates? A “massive disruption of the earth’s mantle and crust” via impacts. A global event.

        Continuing, catastrophic plate tectonics begins with the crust in a single, cold, dense layer on top of the mantle (Modern theories agree that there had to be a starting point for plates). A split in the crust (vents of the deep opening?) caused by possibly rising magma from the mantle or a sinking of a piece of crust began the process. As plates began to sink, they experienced friction and heat, which increases stress and weakens the “surrounding zone,” which increases stress and continues the pattern. This creates a sort of run away pattern. The new, hot, less dense, and rapidly produced lithosphere does not sink as far down as our current plates, due to isostasy (density). This would raise ocean water up and over the continents. Also, sea water vaporized by the extensive underwater volcanics created more than enough evaporation for the rain described in the Biblical account. Today, a continuous heavy rain for just 24 hours can be devastating and erosive. Imagine a global, torrential rainfall for 40 days and nights. (I also wrote an article about this)

        There is plenty of science, models, and geological evidence if you look. It doesn’t seem as you have.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Don’t patronise me by telling me I’ve not studied enough. You don’t know enough about me to make that claim.

          You’re also wrong. Which is why i no longer accept a young earth. It is because i studied it.

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          1. I do not mean to patronize. I am just pointing out that your claims seem to be “Well, you’re wrong,” without any supporting evidence. You can’t merely claim my points are false without telling me why.

            You made a point about plate tectonics and Pangaea. I brought up an explanation based on observations we see today as well as hypotheses for a possible model. You then replied with, “You’re also wrong.” Why am I wrong? I say all of this without any belittlement or patronizing language. I merely ask for why the point I presented was wrong.

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            1. The observations of plate tectonics is that of continual and gradual movement. Rewind that 4500 years and you don’t get to Pangaea. Not even close, you need quite a lot more years. The observations do not fit the bible timeline model.

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            2. I am wrong then about you studying it. I will still say that your points seem to be ignorant of the explanations presented in print and online. (When I say “ignorant” I do not mean stupid nor unintelligent, I mean that you did not know.)

              You are correct, the observed movement of the plates today is slow and if we rewind it 4500 years you would not get Pangaea at that speed. I agree. I never suggested that. I proposed a different model about CPT (catastrophic plate tectonics). This model’s calculations has been studied and the math checks out. The assumption of uniformitarianism (the key to the past is today) does not explain many features in geology as I put in some of the other comments such as flat gaps or planation surfaces or even meandering rivers in solid rock.

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            3. There are many problems with theory for PT that many scientists acknowledge, though alternatives are rarely pursued as the modern views are very entrenched. Some of these issues include rotations of plates such as North America, number of plates, and subduction physics.

              Some of these confusions can carry over into CPT as any theory can only pull from the information that is out there. However, CPT can solve subduction physics as it gives a good explanation for the start of the run away tectonics hypothesis.

              Some features we should see if the CPT is correct: We should see massive flood basalts as rifts and volcanoes erupted world wide, continuous, water-deposited sediments (including flat-gaps), planation surfaces (which we have discussed), etc.

              There are many areas of the world that have vast amounts of flood basalts. There is the Canadian shield, more in the northern united states, the Deccan Traps in India, and the Siberian Traps in Siberia as well as others. These flood basalts are vast in quantity as well as distance covered. There are large layers of sedimentary rock that look to be laid down continuously (Coconino sandstone and hermit shale layer. There are many other layers in the Grand Canyon region which show this as well.) These layers can cover large areas of continents and can even extend over multiple continents, suggesting a large feature depositing them over that large area. Lastly, there is an abundance of planation surfaces around the world that cannot be explained by current mechanisms.

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            4. I picked one of your examples at random, the Siberian Traps, turns out it has a large quantity of basalt, which is a volcanic deposit, not a flood deposit. It’s also known to be millions of years old so on both counts can’t be explained by your limited young earth and flood geology.

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            5. I never claimed that the basalts were sedimentary or watery deposited. I quote, “… massive flood basalts as rifts and volcanoes erupted …” and “There are many areas of the world that have vast amounts of flood basalts.”

              I stated that they were basalts and came from the eruption of volcanoes. However, I can understand the confusion between “flood” basalts and other layers that share the title of “flood” deposits.

              Here is the google search definition of a flood basalt, “A flood basalt is the result of a giant volcanic eruption or series of eruptions that coats large stretches of land or the ocean floor with basalt lava.”

              So, they are called “flood basalts” due to how extensive and fast traveling they are. So, that is just a misunderstanding and does not go against the geology at all. As for the dating, I have briefly addressed this. There is known discordance and inaccuracy in radioisotope dating methods. Here is the data the team of RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) collected from testing multiple samples from a lava flow with a known age (under a century).

              “(K-Ar) Potassium-Argon Dating: <.27 Ma (Million Years) to 3.5 Ma.

              (Rb-Sr) Rubidium-Strontium Dating: 133 Ma (+/- 87 Ma)

              (Sm-Nd) Samarium-Neodymium dating: 197 Ma (+/- 160 Ma)

              (Pb-Pb) Lead-Lead Dating: 3,908 Ma (+/- 390 Ma)”

              Each sample was tested with the four methods above. So, a sample that is under century old comes out to be between 270,000 years old up to almost 4 billion years old. That is a problem. Also, if one of these ages were to be correct, which one? A rock can only have one age. So, there is both inaccuracy and discordance between methods. Another dating method, however, helium retention dating, is actually very accurate and agrees with a 6-8 thousand year old earth. Check this article out:
              https://designedorigins.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/the-formation-of-the-grand-canyon/
              Or just look for the RATE studies in google scholar.

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            6. If an inappropriate dating method is used for the rock being tested, then you’re going to get duff data. Use the process that suits the chemical components that give the most accurate results. Producing a table of various methods that are known to give different results when inappropriately applied is not an especially honest methodology. It’s almost as if they are intentionally trying to create doubt as a propaganda strategy.

              In addition, lets argue for a second that all these deposits around the world came from the same period, IE within a couple of years of the biblical flood. Shouldn’t these different dating methods then give the same results for each deposit? After all, the deposits are within a few years of each other so we should expect consistency of dating ranges from the same method (even if that method give an incorrect date). Do they? No they don’t so the conclusion is still that the deposits are much further apart from each other, by many thousands of years. So even on that basis a young earth is a hard sell.

              Why should we trust the claimed dating methods? Because when the appropriate method is used and backed up by other dating methods we get a good result. Scientists don’t just pick the method for the age they want and go for it. They actually validate the produced value against another method. The signatures of the earths magnetic field changing is one such way. This is a history that goes back further than a young earth allows.

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            7. All the suggested methods can be used to date the basalt. K-Ar dating is one of the most commonly used dating methods. K-Ar along with Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd are both used for many of the different minerals that are found in igneous (volcanic and plutonic) rocks. Lead to Lead is also often used. So, these methods were not used inappropriately. Both whole rock and mineral sample dating were used. So the question remains, which dating method is correct when all of them can be used to date such a rock?

              What do you define as “accurate” results? The date that fits your starting assumption? Many times, dates that do not fit the desired timeline are considered outliers and thrown out of the data pool. Sometimes, a different dating method is used altogether. That is custom fitting data into a predetermined view.

              Let’s say that a couple thousand years ago, a volcano erupted in America, for example. No one recorded the event. Fast forward to modern day. The lava flows have been weathered and covered in some maybe some loess layers or vegtation, etc. A date is assumed based on the presupposition of the current paradigm and timeline. K-Ar dating or another method is used and results in an age of millions of years. This date, conveniently, fits into the desired and assumed time scale. We would never know that the lava flow was relatively young. This goes for lavas during the global flood as well.

              I will apply the same point you used, the different sedimentary rocks deposited during the flood are made up of many different materials (sandstones, siltstones, mudstones, limestones, etc.). So, a single method cannot be used to date each of these. Also, different methods are shown to produce different ages for the same rock (as I said above). How can such discordance back up more discordance?

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            8. Accurate as in corroborated with another dating mechanism.

              The K-Ar dating method you have used in your example is not the appropriate method due to the long half life. The corroboration of the age of the volcanic deposit would use a separate method, like the record of the earth’s magnetic field I refereed to in another reply. This would give an indication of a younger date as opposed to an older date and so the appropriate method would be used to get the age.

              Go and read what it is that geologists say about how they date old and young rocks and how they corroborate them. There is a stack load of resource on the web that you can trawl through.

              Reading your objections really does sound like me ten years ago when I used to rattle out standard creationist apologist objections. These really do not stack well against what it is that the actual scientists say about their methods.

              Please, take a few weeks out from the creationist literature and go and read and test what it is the scientists are saying. The difference will be eye opening.

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            9. Also, we never finished the topic of planation surfaces. Can you provide a model or explanation for them? The last we discussed about them was that modern processes, in any of the climates brought up, do not provide the mechanism for them. However, the global flood and receding flood waters does.

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            10. If a global flood was the source of all the planation surfaces, then there would be a measurable consistency in all of them. There would be similar deposits and similar water based formation methods.

              However, we see many differences in mineral content, age measurements and formation processes. The flood explanation is simply inadequate.

              Here is one source that gives an idea of the different types and the formation thereof.

              https://www.britannica.com/science/planation-surface

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            11. I don’t know why you think that there would be “measurable consistency in all of them.” Is there a single rock type and rock composition around the world? No, there isn’t. The only sediment that can be deposited is the sediment that is being eroded from local rocks. You can see this process in the color of beaches compared to the wave cut cliffs and other rocks near them. The flood would have eroded and ripped up tones of sediment globally, yes, however there is not a consistent composition of rocks world wide, therefore, we would not have the exact same rocks with the exact same minerals world wide. Two granites can vary slightly in chemistry and when metamorphosed, can result in different minerals and different concentrations of them.

              However, as the flood eroded large structures, such as mountains and ridges, vast amounts of sediments and clastics would have been picked up and then redeposited. We do see large layers of sedimentary rocks extending over vast distances. Some covered “up to 470,00 square kilometers and another which covers an area of some 815,000 square kilometers.” Over such a distance, we should expect different biomes and climates and therefore different facies (different climates cause different rocks to be deposited) of rocks, but the presence of such extensive sedimentary rocks goes against this.

              As for your source, it falls flat. Piedmonts are generally a mountain feature and are not generally that flat, and also, “the erosional history of the pediment does not allow for the preservation of diagnostic evidence as to its origin.” They don’t really know how they formed.

              Etchplain, “exposure of structurally defined compartments of resistant rock.” “Compartments” hints at chunks of left over rock and therefore not flat. Also, note that the article leaves out the erosional mechanism or method in which this surface results from. The only thing they cite is the removal of dissolved ions due to a tropical area.

              Lastly, “the concept of peneplains is rarely used in modern geomorphology.” This is because Davisian geology has been considered to not be accurate.

              So, your article fails to explain the origin of planation surfaces, even going as far as saying we don’t know their origin. It provides names for some relatively flat areas based on their location to other features, but fails to offer how or which erosional mechanism results in the flat surfaces globally and over vast distances.

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            12. First you say:

              “Is there a single rock type and rock composition around the world? No, there isn’t. The only sediment that can be deposited is the sediment that is being eroded from local rocks.”

              Then you say:

              “However, as the flood eroded large structures, such as mountains and ridges, vast amounts of sediments and clastics would have been picked up and then redeposited. We do see large layers of sedimentary rocks extending over vast distances.”

              So what is it? local or widespread? These contradictions make it difficult to follow what you are trying to argue.

              What we see around the world in the layers of rock is a mixture of both localised sedimentation and global markers (like the KT boundary). We see layers that are flat in one area and upturned in another. There is a great deal of variety with occasional wide area consistency. The more valid conclusion is that there are features that form slowly over very long periods of time.

              If you really want to have a single flood event to be the source of so much then you need to explain how we get such clear boundary lines in sedimentary rock and very clear difference sin the types of fossils in each. You will also need to explain how sediment and animal remains can create rock and fossils in only a few thousand years.

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        2. Joshua and Limey,
          I’m glad to see that my post has inspired this discussion on geology, but this has been going on for quite a while. I encourage discussion and debate, but do you think you could take it to emails or another medium? It is really cluttering up this comment section, but I don’t want to have to disable comments and stop others from replying to this post.
          Thanks so much for understanding!

          Liked by 2 people

    3. It seems bizarre to me that people are still debating this stuff. Most Christians I know have long since accepted that many aspects of the Bible are mythical or allegorical, not to be taken literally. Jesus spoke in parables – there wasn’t literally a shepherd who left all his sheep to look for one that was lost, because that would be absurd. There may once have been a flood over the earth – I am told that there is some evidence for this – but to take literally the story of Noah results in a plethora of absurd arguments, as your post shows

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      1. And that’s actually something that Bill Nye really tried to get across to Ham in their creationism debate. He asked what Ham thought of the millions of Christians who follow the bible but don’t take creationism and the flood literally, and Ham avoided his question.

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      2. I think it seems bizarre to you because of the equivocation between Jesus’ parables, short stories to convey a specific message, and the historical writing of Genesis. Jesus spoke in these stories in order to teach his disciples and other listeners topics that were difficult to understand. The language of these stories are obviously not meant to be read literally, I agree. However, the language of Genesis, specifically Genesis 1-11 and including the flood account, is written in a literal and historical style. The verbage and wording, when compared with other ancient Hebrew writings, both inside and outside the Bible, lines up with historical accounts. However, when compared with ancient Hebrew poetry, it is vastly different. Just look at Psalms. The language and use of verbs is completely different. So, the language of these accounts was meant to be literal, not allegorical or mythical.

        Why do you say “absurd?” There are plenty of models, explanations, and evidence for a global flood. There are plenty of sources which can provide such information. I write a blog on this topics in particular. It may seem “bizarre” or “absurd” because that is how mainstream and modern science attempts to paint it. However, there is plenty that modern science stumbles over and has to make exceptions to explain specifics or dodge topics all together.

        As for the Christians who do not take the Genesis account literally, I think that they are taking away from the authority of God’s word and admitting that it is inerrant. This causes many clashes and conflicts with theology and science such as “the fall” and if God created with sin already in the picture. It may not have an effect on their beliefs in Jesus at all, and that is what truly matters. However, I have talked to many, that when they decided they believed Genesis to be false or merely a story, their faith faltered and they abandoned it all together.

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        1. Gosh. Where to begin? You may be right about the differences in language and as I said I think there is evidence that there was a flood: however, is it historically accurate that humanity was saved by building an actual ark, or is that a story which conveys an essential truth? Likewise, was the world created literally in seven days with humans appearing on the sixth, or is that an allegory to explain to largely uneducated minds how life came into being? Yes, there is plenty that modern science stumbles over but there is plenty of evidence to support evolution.
          I would also take issue with your expression ‘merely a story’. Stories are the most powerful way of conveying truth: factual accuracy is often not what matters but the essential core of truth, which in this case is that God created the world.

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          1. Here is an example: The event of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon in 49 B.C. has no archaeological evidence to prove it occurred. We can only go off of a record written by Suetonius almost two hundred years later. Yet, this is considered accurate and fact. This event happened only once. There are plenty of events in history that are unlikely and only occur once. As you said, you believe there is evidence for a flood, so why wouldn’t it be historically accurate? Because it is large and modern science says, “those things don’t actually happen.”

            Not only is there evidence for a global flood, the design of the ark was exactly what was needed to survive the destruction of the flood.

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            1. I’m going to lay two passages from Scripture on you here.

              One is the first chapter of Hosea. In this, Hosea is depicted as being commanded to call his child “Not Loved”. The God I know would not do that. However, it does work as a metaphor for the lack of faith and commitment of the Jewish people. It’s never introduced as fictional but if I didn’t take it as fictional it would mar my knowledge of the Lord.

              The other is Psalm 137, where the psalmist laments the exile by saying the Babylonians’ infants should be smashed against the rocks. Again, God does not command this, does He?

              Regarding the Flood, whereas I don’t believe literally in a global flood, I do believe in local floods in the Middle East where God warned people, and I also believe that the end of the Ice Age would be a powerful memory with the inundation of continental shelves. Moreover, whether or not it literally happened, the message is the important thing to take away from the story, not an argument about literal truth. Some truths are more important than literal truth.

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            2. As I stated earlier, the language of Genesis was written as a historical record and therefore meant to be taken literally. (At least chapters 1-11). So, the only reason it would not be taken literally would be from an outside force, that being most likely the push of modern science denying such stories and the desire of Christians to morph both viewpoints.

              As for those two passages, the language argument I stated is valid here as well. Hosea is filled with prophesy, and as you already said, God used part of Hosea’s life to symbolize what was to happen to his people. His son or daughter was not the whole nation. Simile and metaphor were used. As for the Psalm, it is poetry. The language and wording of ancient Hebrew in Psalms is directly poetry. It is not written with the language of a historical account and not taken to be literal. The language of Genesis matches with other Hebrew historical documents such as the lists and records in Numbers.

              There isn’t any evidence for a local flood, though. In fact, it doesn’t make any sense. The Genesis account claims that the flood waters rose above the tallest mountains. Water seeks its own level and will spread as far as it can. With the supposed local flood, would the water just form a wall atop the mountain and not flow over? Also, mesopotamia and the supposed local flood area is a half bowl and the water would not rise to such a height in that area.

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            3. Do you have any views about osmotic conformers in the Flood situation? We’re not going to agree on this, are we? I presume you would reject the documentary hypothesis.

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            4. Animals who maintain the same concentration of salt inside their bodies as their environments such as echinoderms. If the salinity dropped or stayed the same, either amphibia or echinoderms would die and echinoderms wouldn’t survive out of water. I’m assuming you also reject evolution so how did both survive?

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            5. Good point. I see what you mean. However, your question assumes the salinity of the oceans today is the same for the ocean’s during the time of the flood. Each year, less than 30% of the salt that is added to our oceans is removed. This means that our oceans have a steady increasing salinity level. If we extrapolate backwards, we would see that the salinity is drastically lower.

              Now, the problem you proposed would still hold if the organisms we see today, still needed a salty environment in the past. I do not reject evolution, I reject the equivocation of it resulting in radical additions of new functions. I disagree with chemical evolution and “particles to people” explanations. That being said, the aquatic organisms in the past could have easily been able to live in both salty and non-salty environments, as some fish do, or their necessary environment matched the salinity of the day.

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            6. The problem is that amphibians and echinoderms can’t both survive at the same degree of salinity for reasons of their basic anatomy and physiology which don’t seem to have changed because they apply to all species in each taxon – permeable skin in the case of amphibians and in the case of echinoderms. there are no freshwater species whereas there are ecological niches which they could fill in freshwater. So the question then becomes, why are there not today either marine amphibians or freshwater echinoderms if they are able to adapt or evolve?

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            7. I think the answer lies within the Genesis account. In Genesis, God commands Noah to take animals of which had the breath of life in it. Amphibians would fit this description. Now, how Noah would care for them is a question. Since I was not there, nor does the Bible have specifics for each individual animal, one can only speculate. There are some great possibilities that would have worked very well.

              So, to answer your question, the amphibians would have been upon the Ark, whereas the echinoderms would have been still within the ocean. Therefore, the degree of salinity would not have been an issue.

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            8. That’s really weird and super cool. I just looked those up. I assume you mean that these lungless amphibians, when you state “they don’t need them to respire,” they are a sort of so-called “vestigial” organs or “left-overs” from a previous ancestor? If that is the case, then these amphibians have lost the function of those lungs? If so, then they would have, in the past, used such lungs.

              However, the phrase, “breath of life in them,” in Genesis the text specifically discusses “nostrils” of which the breath of life was in. These amphibians, such as the lungless salamander, have nasal passages for scents. So, if we are realy to argue semantics and details, they still fit the Biblical description. Amphibians were on the Ark.

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            9. Isn’t it just? It seems to work because they have narrow bodies, so everything is close to the surface.

              The function of the lungs in amphibians, frogs for example, isn’t primarily respiratory. Gas exchange does take place across them, I’m sure, but it’s not vital to their survival. I mention frogs because they use their lungs to vocalise, mating calls etc.

              Not sure about their evolutionary history because it has been argued that early tetrapods are not ancestral to today’s amphibians. They had massive ribcages, were herbivorous and seemed to live on the bottom of bodies of water rather than doing much active swimming, whereas today’s amphibians are carnivorous, have weak ribs or none at all and swim a lot. Consequently it’s quite hard to know what their lungs are about. Many fish, not just the lobe fins but even many oceanic fish which never came anywhere near the land, had lungs in prehistoric times, and those probably did have a respiratory function. However, I don’t know much about the evolution of lungs in modern amphibians.

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            10. That’s extremely interesting. The gas exchange across their skin is very cool. It is a process I was not aware of earlier. I can see the difficulty in attributing what their lungs or lack of may be truly used for.
              Right, I understand the example and you make a good point with that. I had not heard of such organisms prior to your comment. However, I think they would still fit the description and be placed on the Ark during the flood.

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            11. Yes, it works because they live in the cold and damp I think, which seems to increase the solubility of oxygen in water although that sounds like it’s the wrong way round.

              I hope we can agree that the account is important from what God is saying to us now through it.

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            12. That makes sense. However, I do not agree that Genesis 1-11 should not be taken literally. The language and word usage was written as a historical account and I believe there is much evidence for the accounts within it.

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  2. I have a few marks on your blog.

    One problem with the Flood story is there is no evidence for it outside the Bible. There is no valid archaeological evidence for it. The supposed geological evidence does not fit the actual geological record. There are other flood stories in antiquity, but they all have different details and rationals for their stories. Certain areas definitely experienced some flooding, but there is absolutely no evidence for a worldwide flood.

    The Bible does not mention anyone but Noah building the Ark.

    DNA was not discovered until the twentieth century; it’s structure not deduced until 1953; and the actual code was not figured out until the 1960’s. Did Noah have a gene sequencer, and did god tell him to build this and how too?

    Insects are alive by any definition of life modern biology ends up using, being that there is not anyone agreed upon definition as of yet, if ever. (I prefer to call everything in general biological organisms, and thereby skirt the definition of alive.)

    That a “deity” could have created the universe in six days is to seriously abuse the term could. It is so unlikely, more unlikely than the universe not being created at all (an infinite universe in time). Matter of fact the creation stories are impossible events, unless science is so off based that it does not tell us anything at all. I say it is beyond a reasonable doubt that the Genesis creation stories did not occur. And reasonable doubt is a good criteria to base ones actions on, unless there are other reasons not to act in some situation.

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    1. Steven, I would agree that there is no “archaeological evidence” for the flood. Why would there be? The purpose of the flood was to eradicate the evil that was on the earth at the time. All of civilization, save Noah and his family, are gone. There is, however, abundant amounts of geological evidences. They actually fit the geologic record quite nicely actually. Some examples are planation surfaces (flat surfaces over vast distances) and meandering streams in solid rock. Erosion, as we see today, does not create a flat surface. It will create gravels, paleosols, broken up ground, etc. So where did these planation surfaces we see around the world (ex: grand canyon’s staircase, plateus, etc.) come from? The only place we actually see features being formed today that resemble these are due to water. These are to a much smaller scale, such as river features. A large body of water, say the flood, could create these features easily.

      Another good example are flat gaps. There is a very good example between the coconino sandstone layer and the hermit shale layer in the Grand Canyon. There is supposedly millions of years of hiatus or erosion between these two layers, yet there is an almost smooth line between the two. We do not see this phenomena today in erosion.There should be significant erosional features between the two layers. We do see this happen in water laid sediments though. So, again, the flood could explain these layers, which seem to be continuously and rapidly deposited, as well as how extensive deposited these layers are over the continents.

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      1. If the planation surfaces were the result of the biblical global flood, there would be consistency of the ages across the all. There would also be some consistency of deposits since the global water would carry sediment globally.

        So, not enough water to flood the earth, no consistency in the content and the ages of alleged global flood features. Your case is very weak.

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        1. You are assuming that the radio-dating techniques are infallible and always without discordance. This is not the case. As I asked @theclosetatheist, have you heard of the study complete on radioistopes called RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth)? They completed a study that spanned carbon dating, radiohalos, helium retention, zircon crystals and uranium concentrations, etc. They actually completed the largest radiohalo study ever done. They also completed radioisotope dating on rocks of known ages (Multiple samples from multiple lava flows from a volcano in New Zealand). All of the ages were known to be less than a century old. However, the radioisotope dating showed each rock to be drastically older than what was known. There was also a vast difference in suggested ages between each dating method. I don’t want to advertise for my own blog, but I wrote an article on this topic. (designedorigins.wordpress.com article title is The Formation of the Grand Canyon.) If @theclosetatheist doesn’t want me to post about my blog I will refrain from doing so in the future. I just thought it would be easier to post a source than a large comment.

          Also, there are deposits that are extremely extensive. Some of them are across whole continents and others span multiple continents. (Ex: One layer covering up to 470,00 square kilometers and another which covers an area of some 815,000 square kilometers.) Regardless, the point of lack of erosional features and flat-gaps between layers claimed to have millions of years of erosion in between them still stands.

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            1. Please explain to me how, please. Erosion we see today, either by mechanical or chemical weathering, does not form planation surfaces. Uniformitarianism does not work here to explain such features.

              A google search shows some possible erosional features: (coastal) Stacks, sea arches, sea caves, etc. (Rivers) Valleys, holes from eddies, possible ripple marks, etc. (Mountains) Valleys, talus piles, Glacial moraines, horns, etc.

              The search also talked about rocks dissolving and rocks being broken up into “tiny fragments.” You can also have freeze-thaw mechanisms by ice which break up layers into rock fragments and boulders. So, none of these erosional features or mechanisms we see today explain planation surfaces. And these surfaces should not last for long with these mechanisms. If millions of years of erosion has been occurring on flat surfaces, there should be gouges and uneven surfaces. Erosion and deposition does not occur at exactly the same rate everywhere. Yet, we see flat surfaces all over the world. Once again, though, your claim lacks support.

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            2. ” If millions of years of erosion has been occurring on flat surfaces, there should be gouges and uneven surfaces.”

              That is an assumption on your part. It may be true for some places on earth where there are variable weather conditions and features that encourage water flow. For places where there is little or no rain, consistent temperature ranges and consistent direction of wind and no surrounding features to introduce change, large flat expanses are pretty much exactly what you’d expect because the elements would have the same impact all over.

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            3. No, it is not an assumption. It is an observable fact. Your claim is false. Both wind and temperature change drastically from day to night each day in both arid and desert regions. During the day, it is scorching hot and wind blows one direction. During the night, temperature drops and wind changes direction dramatically. Erosional features associated with these locations include: sand dunes (if there is significant sediment) abrasion of rocks, arches (as with the sandstone arches in Arizona), yardangs (rock ridges due to wind), sandblasting, hollows (wind blown “ditches”), Inselbergs, etc. Most of these have nothing to due with a flat surface and many of them are changed drastically over time as the wind changes direction each day. Also, regions have different compositions of rock at local levels and especially over large regions. These different rock compositions erode differently and at different rates. So, not a flat surface.

              Lastly, an area, regardless of how arid, will have some precipitation. (Besides very specific locations where there has not been rain in historical times. However, these areas are not flat surfaced). So, when this precipitation does come, it often is very effective at erosion as there is not vegetation to hold sediment. Dissolved ions are then precipitated as the water evaporates and further erodes rock.

              The evidence and observed erosion features do not show planation surfaces being formed, especially to the extent they occur, both regionally and globally.

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            4. And yet those flat areas exist in multiple areas around the world. So the question is, what mistake have to made in your suggestion that they should not exist?

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            5. That is not good science and is also the problem with uniformitarianism. Modern processes and mechanisms do not show these areas being formed today. So we need to look for another mechanism that did form these areas. Receding flood waters and CPT provides a model that does explain these features.

              Instead of still holding onto the thought that these features can only be explained by the currently accepted models or paradigm, new explanations should be thought of. Good science is exploring multiple models, especially when all others fail. Now, I could have the wrong model as well. However, I have presented it, and there is good explanations as well as models that show that the flood waters would indeed form the planation surfaces we see today.

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  3. I love how the expansion of animals after the flood requires some for of evolution, but that the literalists resolutely refuse to accept that they assume some form of evolution.

    I wonder, closetatheist, are you ever tempted to challenge your family why they accept these things or to drop hints about the level of science denial involved?

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    1. Probably not as much as I should be. It would be nice to, but I know that for them, biblical literalism is just the way it is, and that’s the way it is. I think if I pointed out any flaws, I would be seen as the crazy one.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Such are the problems with taking certain aspects of the Bible literally — it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

    The Bible isn’t a history book. It would be more accurate to describe the Bible as a library: A collection of different kinds of writing all in one place.

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    1. As you said in another comment, it is really interesting when people completely ignore the parts of the bible that do advise them to be skeptical and question all things. A lot of atheists say, if there was a God, he would be proud, and not angry, that we used the evidence he gave us and the reasoning power he gave us to end up at the most reasonable conclusion we can by questioning and learning as much as we can.

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    2. @timothyach
      The Bible actually is a history book. I don’t know where you got that assertion from. Many historians, though not Christians, uphold the Bible as historically accurate on many levels. The Bible has accurate records of civilizations, battles, cities, kings, etc. I assume you were discussing the more controversial topics such as miracles and divine intervention?

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      1. You’re right: There are aspects of the Bible that are historical. Like civilizations, battles, cities, kings, etc.

        And you’re right: I was discussing the more controversial topics like miracles. I was also thinking of books of the Bible like The Song of Songs — a book that is not about historical events: a book that is, basically, erotic love poetry.

        Thus: Because of controversial events like miracles, and not all its books being about historical events — like The Song of Songs — in that sense the Bible is not a history book.

        Personally, I believe it would be more accurate to describe the Bible as a library: A collection of writing across different genres.

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        1. I would agree with examples, such as “The Song of Songs,” as not being historical, however it was written by a historical person, King Solomon. That specific example is written as Hebrew poetry and the syntax and verb tenses show this. However, when you compare the language of Genesis (1-11), the verb tenses and language is very similar to that of the book of Numbers which is a historical account and record. However, when we compare the language of Genesis to that to Hebrew poetry both outside of the Bible and inside, Pslams for example, they are radically different. Genesis and the creation story were written as historical accounts.

          Now, I agree that we cannot test these events, such as creation, since they are historical science and cannot be repeated. I also agree that we cannot test for a creator. I do not debate these things. However, I do believe we can observe evidence for certain controversial topics, such as the flood, in geology, biology, genetics, etc.

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          1. “Now, I agree that we cannot test these events, such as creation, since they are historical science and cannot be repeated. I also agree that we cannot test for a creator. I do not debate these things. However, I do believe we can observe evidence for certain controversial topics, such as the flood, in geology, biology, genetics, etc.”

            I agree too.

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        1. There were many cities found, including Jericho, that were found buried under feet of ash with all of their supplies intact. This fits the command of God to destroy the city and take nothing.

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          1. Jericho under feet of ash would not fit the bible story. The alleged city isn’t even big enough and didn’t have a wall that meets the bible description.

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            1. Joshua 1:17 says,”The city and all this is in it are to be devoted to the Lord.”The word”devoted” in this passage “refers to the irrevocable giving over of things…to the Lord, often by destroying them.” Fire is often used as something of cleansing. God called fire down from the heavens multiple times to destroy things. The city was captured and burned to the ground. So, yes, Jericho, as well as many other cities captured by the Israelites, under feet of ash does fit the Bible story.

              May I have a source for your claim? I have heard that before. However, I heard that the claim was based off an excavations in the later 1800’s or early 1900’s and has since been nullified. I could be wrong.

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            2. Buildings and the materials making them up would not match materials of today. Buildings in Jericho would have most likely been made up of wood, mudbrick, thatcing, etc. Also, it was more than a “few buildings.” If the entire city and all of its contents (homes, stores, stalls, stables, etc.) burned, there would be a considerable amount of ash.

              Regardless, you are once again sharpshooting a piece of evidence. There are many nations, kings, titles, battles, etc. that all match up with history.

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            3. You need to have it explained to you why a fire destroying a city won’t leave that city under feet of ash?

              Well what was Jericho allegedly constructed out of? Lets say bricks with wooden beams and thatch roofs. The wood and that will burn to ash and the brick will crumble but not become ash.

              If burning wood gets covered by a few inches of ash, then the fire will go out due to lack of oxygen and so the creation of ash will halt at that point. Which will mean that the ash will need to come from somewhere else. In addition, the volume of combustibles in each dwelling would not be enough to cover itself to a depth of feet, maybe a an inch or two but not feet. So where are the other combustibles that will provide all that extra ash?

              So two problems, you have here, one of volume of stuff within the city to burn and another of the supply of oxygen to the fire to maintain it.

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            4. That was a great explanation, thank you. That makes sense. I would agree that just with timber that three feet of ash would not make sense.

              So, I reread through my sources and looked for any explanation and I must apologize, I quoted them incorrectly. I had previously stated that there was three feet of ash. The correct statement was three feet of Debris, and ash. Most of what was found was destroyed homes and buildings that were burnt and then covered with a layer of ash. I did not read the sources close enough. I am sorry for the misinformation.

              However, this description does suite the Biblical account.

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            5. Thank you. I appreciate that and recognise your honesty.

              With regards the description of Jericho. From what I can gather about what is claimed to be Jericho, it wasn’t big enough to be a city at the time of Joshua. In fact it was a small town that was already uninhabited by then. The walls were low and the circumference short. So the grand city with high walls that the bible story led me as a child to imagine are inaccurate. The combination of size and occupancy dates lead me to conclude that the bible story involving Joshua is a myth describing something that never happened.

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            6. I have read such things as well. However, that is from one expedition that excavated. Others dug deeper and found destroyed walls as well as the debris I described. The destruction was credited to the Egyptians originally, but the timeline of Egyptian dynasties as well as the date given to the site have been thought to different. I have read both sides. The fact that there are such details that match up wit the Bible suggest that the current approximation with the attackers or possibly the timeline is skewed.

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            7. Digging deeper means going back further in time, to a time when the dates of the settlement get further away from the time Joshua is supposed to have been alive.

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  5. bwahahaha DNA samples. Evolution proposed for Noah’s 2000 species, when no true Christian would admit to such a thing…gasp…

    Has anyone ever addressed the burning ” where did the ‘other people” problem vaguely mentioned in the bible in the aftermath of the flood, actually come from? Or the one that Cain married? I have seen one answer that said Cain married his twin sister. oh, really. So we are now all the children of incest, writ large.
    That explains so much…

    I think the secret is to answer unhesitatingly and firmly, as if you really really KNOW and then move on quickly to other subjects.

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    1. I haven’t seen the whole Nye-Ham debate yet, but from what I’ve heard, that can be seen somewhat in how Ham responds to questions. And the amount of incest that would have been required between Adam and Eve’s family members, and Noah’s family members, for generations and generations in order to make for all the human diversity we have today… well, as the believers might say, anything could happen!

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  6. The believers have an answer for everything … even when it makes absolutely no sense. There are so many holes in the “answers” you cite, it’s mind-blowing that people actually swallow them down without even a burp.

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    1. As someone said not long ago, if god had written the bible, there would be no questions, no discrepancies, no strange gaps. It would be a perfect book and there would be no need for interpretations, priests and ministers to explain it to us lowly peons, no reinventing it every few hundred years…

      then again, a true god wouldn’t need bibles, churches, or religions, or holy wars. He would just be.

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      1. “He would just be.”

        It depends on how you see God.

        For example: If you see God as the source of all that is good, true, and beautiful in the universe, than, in that way, God just is: Anything good, truth, and/or beautiful ultimately points to him since it comes from him.

        That’s the reason a person will point to a sunset and say “That’s evidence of God.”

        We all have a desire to find what is good, know what is true, and experience what is beautiful. So, that’s a way that God could be seen as just being — just existing: we all have a desire for him inside us, even if we don’t know that it’s him we desire.

        (The reason for this reply to your comment hours after I had replied to another comment on, and wrote my own comment on, this post, is: I had been thinking about your comment since I’d read it and only now had come up with a response. Your words make me think. Thank you for them. 🙂 )

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        1. I like the way you put that. Christians see all that is good and beautiful and personify it in their Christian god (correct me if that’s wrong), but I, for example, see beauty and think of it as just being a part of nature and the universe, without connecting it to any specific being. I still appreciate it of course, but I don’t attribute to a higher power or force.

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          1. “I like the way you put that.”

            Thanks.

            “Christians see all that is good and beautiful and personify it in their Christian god (correct me if that’s wrong)…”

            That’s not wrong.

            “…but I, for example, see beauty and think of it as just being a part of nature and the universe, without connecting it to any specific being. I still appreciate it of course, but I don’t attribute to a higher power or force.”

            Thank you for sharing your views on this.

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    2. “…it’s mind-blowing that people actually swallow them down without even a burp.”

      Which is ironic, considering these verses:

      “Test everything. Hold fast to what is good.”
      ~1 Thessalonians 5:21

      “Be as shrewd as serpents.”
      ~Matthew 10:6

      Liked by 4 people

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