Did some guys actually build a massive boat for themselves (and animals) to escape a huge flood? If so, is it relevant now? Let’s take a look:
The flood described in Genesis is the most sweeping physical event in history. Many of our natural resources and topography can be directly traced to it. It’s an important part of the Biblical narrative, and for our purpose in this post, I want to consider two questions.
Was it a literal global flood?
- Genesis chapters 6-9 tells the story with specific details, such as vessel specifications, dates, timeframe, water height, limiting of animal categories to “kinds”, occupants, food provisions, Noah’s age, sources of the water, and resulting after-effects.
- If the flood was literal, then we should expect to find evidence on the earth’s surface. The geological record points to a rapidly developed, catastrophic event, which disturbed and re-deposited materials all over the earth (instead of long slow deposits over “millions of years”). For example:
- The Fountains of the Great Deep – In Genesis 7:11 God broke up (literally “ripped apart”) the fountains of the great deep. This sudden global release of a subterranean layer of water would have exploded with incredible heat and pressure. This alone would deliver massive cataclysmic destruction at the points of origin, on the earth’s surface, and final ground elevations. This is exactly what we see with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Ring of Fire, mountain ranges from surface compression, and faults from plate subduction. Here are two links for more details:
- When the water began receding in Genesis chapter 8, it revealed the devastation of the flood. Today we see an abundance of formations which support a mountain-covering-worldwide-flood. For example, fossils of sea creatures high above sea level, rapid burial of plant and animal life, quickly deposited layers of sediment, and much more. One of the more interesting is evidence of two additional Great Lakes left afterwards in the American southwest where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico come together. These two vast bodies of water (breached later at their southwestern edge) could have quickly and easily eroded the Grand Canyon. Here are two links for more details:
What difference does the Flood story make now?
- Mankind’s sin grieves God’s heart (Genesis 6:6) and has always been a serious issue. It brings God’s wrath, and the flood is referenced in the New Testament as an example (Luke 17:26-30 & II Peter 3:1-13).
- God is gracious. Gen. 6:8 says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Noah’s deliverance was based on God showing Him “unmerited favor” along with his family.
- God honored His covenants (with Noah and his family-Gen. 6:18) & (with Himself to never flood the Earth again-Gen. 8:21-22). God always keeps his promises…to the letter.
- Worship is important. Noah’s first recorded act after leaving the ark was to build an altar and worship (Gen. 8:20).
- Noah’s faith is a key part of the story, not just ancillary. (He acted on faith and respect for the Lord-Hebrews 11:7). Building the ark took time, and considering the extreme depravity of the culture, following God’s instructions would have brought much ridicule.
- Rebellion against God is our ongoing core problem (Gen. 6:5 & 8:21). The story starts and ends with God commenting on the condition of hearts. We cannot change ourselves, only He can do that.
- God’s Word is not just “kind-of-true” or “mostly true”, it’s specifically true.
- Just as Noah was delivered by God’s grace, we are offered an opportunity to be delivered from sin’s judgment through Christ. He has already suffered the penalty of God’s wrath for us. His redemptive work on the cross provides a way to be saved and have a personal relationship with Him (Rom. 5:1-2, 5:8, 6:23, 8:1).
The story of Noah and the great flood is often viewed as a children’s lesson, but it’s so much more. It’s a sobering and compelling account of God’s love and provision while evil is dealt with. It’s that same love that invites us to trust Him with our life now by placing our faith in Jesus. I hope you have. If not, I pray that you will. What a story…what a truth!