Welcome to the final week of In The Beginning. As we’ve been saying for several weeks, next Sunday begins our journey through “What on Earth Am I Here For? The Purpose Driven Life” both on Sunday mornings and during the week in our Life Groups. If you haven’t signed up for one yet, then please do so.
So far in this series I have covered:
1. The Big Bang/Evolution Model vs. Biblical Creation and shown that they are not compatible. They can both be false, but they cannot both be true. I also covered the conclusions these two models lead to. One tells you that you are the accidental result of a lot of undirected time and chance and that your life has no meaning, significance, purpose, or value. The other tells you that you are a deeply loved creation of the Most High God and that your life has the greatest of meaning, significance, and value – and that you have a unique purpose that God chose just for you.
2. Darwin’s Deception
– I showed you that the biblical Creation model currently has more observable evidence to back it up than does the evolution model, but I guess there’s always hope we will find those missing links. And I showed you that the probability that even one kind of protein can change into another kind of functional protein via random mutation is less likely than picking the right atom from all the atoms in the universe.
3. Not Enough Time in a Day
– I showed that you can’t squeeze billions of years into the biblical account without some serious word gymnastics, and based on observable evidence – the only thing that necessitates the world to be old rather than young is to keep the theory of evolution alive.
4. Meet the Flintstones
– I showed you that there is ample evidence in the bible, in history, and in paleontology that human beings and dinosaurs lived together. But just like in the other topics, the believers of the faith in evolution will lie, cheat, and destroy evidence to keep the truth from being told.
The purpose of the last four weeks was to show you why you can trust the first chapter of Genesis at face value and literally, and why that’s good news for you and me.
Because even though God made everything good at the beginning, it is obvious just from looking around that things are no longer so good. If you don’t believe the Bible, then there is no logical reason for this. There’s no evolutionary explanation for evil in the world, yet we see it all around us. So, today, I want to move beyond the first chapter of Genesis and show you how it got this way.
After chapter 1, Genesis records two other major events that would change the course of human history.
One is a curse that we are still stuck with today.
And the other is a beacon of hope.
The first happened rather quickly.
After God made everything and Adam and Eve, He gave them one rule. I’m sure you know the story. God told them they could do anything they want except not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But, unfortunately for us, that one rule turned out to be one rule too many. Let’s briefly look at the account:
1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
After this, they try to hide from God, but He finds them. Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the Serpent. God curses the Serpent, then He cursed Adam and Eve:
16 Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.”
17 And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.”
Then God kicks them out of the garden and places angels with fiery swords to guard it.
I bet that first night was awful. I bet this is when bugs started biting too. What began as a good day, ended in the worst way possible. Sin had entered the world and things would only get worse.
We don’t really know much more about Adam and Eve’s life other than that Adam lived for 930 years and had many sons and daughters.
We do know that their first son, Cain, killed their second son, Abel, pretty early on, which makes it come as no surprise that just a few generations and less than a couple thousand years later the whole of mankind was so bad that God had to do something.
The exact quote from Genesis reads:
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
An interesting thing to do is read through the genealogies in Genesis 4. You will find that only two people in all of the 1,656 years between creation and the flood are listed as righteous. If you really think about it – not even Adam and Eve were very good people. They sinned the first chance they had. I doubt they got much better outside of paradise…and they were the patriarch and matriarch for half of that time – influencing countless descendants. And sin runs rampant and there seems to be almost no self control until humankind reaches the point that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Not even a speck of good.
So, God decides to start over with a proven righteous man since Adam and Eve clearly didn’t do so well.
13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
14 “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.
17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
Based on the ages of his sons and such, best estimates for how long it took to build the Ark put it at no more than 50 to 75 years. But really there’s no reason it couldn’t have been much shorter. Maybe we’ll find out in heaven…
Regardless of how long it took, the day finally arrived.
1 When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous.
4 Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.”
5 So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.
11 When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. 12 The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights.
17 For forty days the floodwaters grew deeper, covering the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. 18 As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. 19 Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, 20 rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. 21 All the living things on earth died—birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. 22 Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died. 23 God wiped out every living thing on the earth—people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat. 24 And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days.
What a story! But is it true?
Did it really happen that way?
Was it global flood or just a local flood?
How can we know?
Well, if you read the text – it clearly is not suggesting a local flood. The waters were 22 feet above the highest peaks. A local flood cannot do that. And it also clearly tells of every living thing dying. So, what we are dealing with is a story about a truly global flood.
If we read on, we will find that the total time Noah was in the ark was right at a year.
So, what kind of evidence would we expect to find for a flood that covered the entire world for about a year.
Well, one evidence can come from verse 11
11 When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky.
Underground waters erupting from the earth. Many people who only know this story from children’s books assume that 40 days of rain was all it took. It rains that long in the amazon and doesn’t cause a flood. No, the Bible gives us a great clue as to how this happened here. It wasn’t just rain like in a thunderstorm. The water came from the sky and from underneath the earth. And we have evidence of that happening.
In the 1950’s scientist started surveying the bottom of the oceans with the help of submarines and what they discovered is something quite remarkable. All over the globe in the middle of the oceans are these ridges where there’s basically an opening to the inner earth (the mantle below the crust) and magma seeps out, cools and turns into ocean floor. This process is actually slowly pushing the continents apart.
Now geologists of the billions-of-years club of course assume that it’s been doing it this way forever and thus another proof of long ages. But what if, when the earth was created there was a layer of water under the crust? And what if on a certain day – say seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s 600’th year – God caused said water to erupt from all over the earth? It seems the long term effect of that would be something like rupture lines all over the earth where there is still an opening through the crust to the mantle below which now no longer has water in it… And if it were to happen that way, I imagine those continents could have spread apart quite a bit faster at first and even could have caused the mountains to be pushed up as these giant plates of crust met resistance and finally stopped.
What I just described is one of the theoretical models for how the flood happened: called Hydro-Plate Theory.
There is another theory that works in a similar fashion, but without water under the crust – called Catastrophic Plate Tectonics.
There is also a third theory that was popular for a long time but has since been mostly replaced with the two already mentioned. This one has to do with a water layer in the atmosphere based on the Genesis account of separating the waters above and below. But there are many problems with that theory.
While we can’t know for sure exactly how it happened, it is likely some combination of these three.
And as expected, each of these theories come under great attack from mainstream scientists – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t true. As I’ve shown at least a couple of times in this series, this attitude was predicted by the Apostle Peter 2,000 years ago. Let’s look at it again for those that haven’t been here:
2 Peter 3
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
What do the scoffers do? They deliberately forget the flood and assume things have always been as they are now – especially in the area of geology.
But if you choose to remember the flood, you find that the evidence is obvious. So, regardless of the geological details of how it happened – a world scarred by what look like rupture lines seems like pretty good evidence for “fountains of the deep erupting.”
But what else would we expect from a world that was violently and quickly covered with water and then allowed to settle over about a year?
Imagine an aquarium full of general dirt and sand and stuff. If you filled it with water and shook it around and let it settle – what would you find? Layers of the different types of dirt as they settled based on their density. Is that what we see in our world today?
Why yes! We see rock layers. You can see them in the grand canyon, and on cliff sides and such. Now, we don’t see the 100 mile high geologic column found in your textbooks, but the layering is obvious. Almost like all of the earth had been soaking wet at some point and then settled out.
But, of course, those who forget the flood and assume uniformitarianism have to believe that the layers were laid down very slowly and gradually over eons of time.
As I showed a couple weeks ago, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens showed us that layers can form very quickly and so can a canyon when there is violent flooding.
Also, how would ROCK layers bend and warp like wet noodles?
Very slow and careful pushing up from moving plates so gently as to not break the brittle solid rock
was it all wet for over a year and as the continents settled in place after the eruptions the layers easily bent – literally like wet noodles?
Just something to think about.
What else would we expect to see if the whole earth were the victim of violent flooding and all the animals were trapped? Perhaps all of their dead bodies would be buried all over the world in the same layers that the same water caused? Since we know fossilization requires rapid burial – a giant violent flood is the perfect fossilizer.
And how should we find the fossils? What order would you expect them to be buried. Well, the smaller and less mobile animals would likely be buried first – practically immediately. Larger animals would likely be able to go to high ground and be the last to be buried.
We might also see large collections of bones as many animals were buried at the same time.
Well, that happens to be what we see. If you remember from a couple weeks ago I talked about the geologic column and how it doesn’t exist anywhere but in books. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t local smaller forms of the column where you do actually find different fossils in different layers. And we do happen to find in these layers that the order of burial fits.
One interesting thing to note is that in some places you will find the footprints of some animals well below their bones. Could that be because they made footprints in their dash to safety up the hill before they got buried? Perhaps.
This could also explain why we find sea dwelling fossils as far inland as possible and on top of mountains. And the fact that fish fossils can be found in almost all layers, since they would be the most likely to survive the longest.
Basically, this is looking at the same evidence that the paleontologists look at and drawing different conclusions based on different presuppositions. They assume no flood and millions of years. We assume the bible is true and that the earth is young and there was a flood.
Both fit the evidence, but only one of these theories came about BEFORE observing the evidence…
One more evidence to consider. If the whole world really was flooded at some point and all humanity came from this one family and eventually spread all over the world, wouldn’t we find more than just one account of this major event? Wouldn’t we see people from all over the world with a similar story from their shared past?
Well, that’s exactly what we see. Just like the dragon legends from last week, there are also flood legends all over the world. And just like the dragon stories get embellished, the flood stories are not all exactly the same as the Genesis account – though many are quite similar.
Once upon a time the rivers began to flood. Then god told two people to get into a ship. He told them to take lots of seed and to take lots of animals. The water of the flood eventually covered the mountains. Finally the flood stopped. Then one of the men, wanting to know if the water had dried up let a dove loose. The dove returned. Later he let loose a hawk which did not return. Then the men left the boat and took the animals and the seeds with them.
Matsya (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a fish) forewarns Manu (a human) about an impending catastrophic flood and orders him to collect all the grains of the world in a boat; in some forms of the story, all living creatures are also to be preserved in the boat. When the flood destroys the world, Manu – in some versions accompanied by the seven great sages – survives by boarding the ark, which Matsya pulls to safety.
The Chinese classic called the Hihking tells about “the family of Fuhi,” that was saved from a great flood. This ancient story tells that the entire land was flooded; the mountains and everything, however one family survived in a boat. The Chinese consider this man the father of their civilization. This record indicates that Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters were the only people that escaped the great flood. It is claimed, that he and his family were the only people alive on earth, and repopulated the world.
The Toltec natives have a legend telling that the original creation lasted for 1716 years, and was destroyed by a flood and only one family survived.
And there are many, many others from all over the world. One way to look at this, which is how the scoffers do, is that the biblical account was copied from one of these other made up accounts. That all these cultures are talking about at most local floods. And while, I suppose that sounds reasonable….
How could disconnected ancient cultures from all over the world come up with some of the same details from different local floods? They didn’t have TV and books to spur their imaginations. I think the better and most obvious explanation, is just like there used to be dinosaurs with people – that all these descendants of Noah heard the story from their ancestors who heard it straight from Noah and his sons. And it took on some culturally distinct features the further down the line it went.
So, those are four evidences that if looked at without the lens of millions of years – you can actually see how it doesn’t require great stretches of the imagination or the laws of physics to believe that the world really was completely flooded at some point. But again, this is non-falsifiable – so you will either believe it or not.
Animals on the Ark
Now, before I move on with the story I need to address one objection. Many of the opponents to the flood and the Ark like to ask how so many animals could fit on the Ark. How could those giant dinosaurs and elephants and giraffes live on there for a year? How could they have enough food…etc.
And here are a few quick and simple answers:
- First, the Ark was not small. 450ft long (some estimate 515ft), 45ft wide, 75 ft tall.
- God said to put two of every KIND of animal on the boat. This means not every possible variation of dog – but only two dogs. Same with cats, and everything else. Also, no need to put the water dwelling animals in the boat. Some very conservative estimates suggest no more than 50,000 animals, which would fill only 37% of the Ark.
- As for the size of the large land animals like the great Behemoth and others – all animals are small when they are very young. And most dinosaurs are actually no bigger than a goat. I’m sure God directed the right animals that would fit just fine.
- And with only 37% being taken by animals, that leaves 63% of the space to store food and provide living space for 8 people.
And while these are simple answers that aggravate the scoffers, that is generally the way God does things. God’s ways are rarely complex. So, even though we get laughed at for it and the skeptics ridicule us, saying “God did it” is not a cop out if that’s what truly happened.
Now, let’s get back to the story.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. 2 The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped.3 So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, 4 exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.5 Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.
- Noah released a Raven that didn’t come back.
- Then a Dove that came back.
- Then another dove that came back with an olive leaf.
- Then another dove that didn’t come back.
Then after a few more months of waiting…
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”
18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair.
- Then Noah makes a sacrifice.
- God promises not to curse the ground anymore and that seasons will be regular.
- God instructs Noah to be fruitful and multiply and then tells him he can start eating meat.
Then God makes this covenant with Noah and all mankind:
12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”
The rainbow. It’s beautiful. Saw one just the other day. Why does it exist?
It exists both as a reminder of God’s promise to never again flood the earth, but also as a reminder that at one time He did judge the whole world and that He will do it again, but this time with fire as the rest of the 2 Peter 3 passage states:
2 Peter 3
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
The rainbow is a reminder that God does judge sin.
This is why people choose to deliberately forget the flood. Like Paul says in Romans – they trade the truth of God for a lie. They think if they can forget the judgment, then it never happened and won’t happen again.
They think if they can make a rainbow mean something else – perhaps even be the banner flag for one of the very things that was judged in the flood – that it will stop meaning what it actually means – which is that God may not drown the wicked again…but next time it will be fire.
One day, Jesus was telling his disciples about the future of when He would come back in glory and take the faithful home and punish the wicked. This is how he said it would happen:
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
Once again Jesus confirms the Genesis account. And he does so to illustrate that it will happen again when He comes in judgment.
And while that is an awful truth, it is not the only truth. Because the rainbow is also a reminder that God will not judge everyone. That if we are found righteous like Noah was, then we too will be saved from the judgment.
And this is actually what God wants for us. He does not want to destroy us. It says right there that He wants all to come to repentance. Which simply means that we change our minds. We change our minds from being scoffers and deliberate forgetters and mockers of Jesus to PUTTING OUR FAITH IN JESUS to make us righteous because we cannot do it ourselves.
My friends, the flood in Noah’s day was a foreshadow to the judgment to come, and the Ark – that giant life boat – was a foreshadow of the ultimate lifeboat: Jesus Christ.
He has a different symbol.
And here is what he says:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Paul said it this way:
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we have a new symbol of hope. The Cross.
We are declared righteous by God through our faith in Jesus Christ. And just as the Ark was the only way to survive the flood. Jesus is the only way to survive the final judgment.
For the scoffers, this is very bad news. So they choose not to believe it. They want to follow their own desires, so they deliberately forget this past judgment and invent believable lies to convince themselves that they have nothing to worry about. But since it’s not enough to believe a lie by yourself, they do what they can to convince everyone else.
Because if you repeat a lie often enough, loud enough, and long enough, and get enough people to buy it…maybe it will at least feel true.
But the truth that can be clearly seen in what has been made and the evidence all around us is that God’s Word is very much true, even though the scoffers try so hard to hide it. Hiding the truth does not make it go away.
And the truth is that God did indeed make the world, and God did indeed judge the whole world, and He is going to do it again.
But the good news for you and I. The great hope that is the rainbow and the cross is that there is a way out of that judgment. And in our case, it has nothing to do with our own righteousness.
Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth as our Ark, our life boat, our SAVIOR. He lived a sinless life – something we cannot do – and he willingly suffered and died in our place. Then He rose again to prove He was God. And if you and I will only believe that, then we are declared righteous and like Noah will not be included in the final judgment.
And God’s hope, and why He is still waiting so patiently, is that each of us would change our minds from scoffing and forgetting to believing and getting in the boat by accepting His Son. I also hope that you will do the same.