As a young earth creationist, I affirm the Bible’s accuracy when it comes to matters of historical record. To interpret the Bible’s record of the creation and early human history as anything other than factual is rejected. Thus, the six-day creation week, the creation of Adam and Eve, the early history of mankind, and the worldwide Flood are accepted as accurate records of real past events.
But, there is need for caution. In reading Scripture, we must be careful to correctly understand, as much as possible, what is written and not insert our own meaning into it. Here, in a simple question and answer format, with extensive links, is an analysis of the Bible’s record of the Flood during the days of Noah.
What do some – if not all – young earth creationists agree upon concerning the biblical record of the Flood?
But, are there are differences in the teachings of various young earth creationists?
Yes, that’s true. Details differ on understanding the biblical text as well its application to the fossil and geological records. For example, how long has it been since Creation? Using the chronology given in most commonly used English translations, many young earth creationists say a figure of something like 6000 years or so have passed since Creation. But other creationists believe more time is possibly allotted. For example, using the chronology based upon the LXX text, Creation could have been about 7,700 years ago. And, if there are unknown gaps in the genealogy, there might be hundreds more years to add. But, we all agree the differences in years are very minor when compared with the billions of years now commonly accepted and taught by secular sources. The addition of more years to Earth history by the LXX allows for better explanations for some geological and archeological findings.
What’s another area where young earth creationists differ?
Many detailed questions have arisen concerning how to merge the physical geological record with the Scriptural one. For example, what effect did the Flood in Noah’s time have on the geological record? It’s common for some well-known, young earth organizations to postulate that most strata (rock layers) containing fossils are the result of the Flood event. That is, they believe most fossilized life forms provide evidence for the Flood. This is an area of dispute.
Another view is given on this website. The Creation, Curse, Catastrophe (CCC) geologic model postulates that fossils have formed during many geologic events since man’s first sin. This is fully explained in various articles on this website. Basically, according to the CCC model, the bulk of the strata and fossil record was formed in the ancient world before the Flood. This was the result of the Curse God placed on the Earth soon after man’s sin. These layers were formed in numerous pre-Flood judgments. Other fossils have been formed since the ancient world was destroyed in the Flood. Such fossilization occurred during post-Flood events such as the Ice Age and other times of vigorous geologic activity. The Genesis Flood itself is evidenced around the world by tremendous amounts of erosion.
What would cause such differences of understanding in what the Bible says?
There are different concepts of the nature of the world before the Flood. Many young earth creationists believe the world continued in an almost paradise-like state after man’s sin. In this “paradise” little, if any, pre-Flood strata could be deposited, or if some were, the evidence did not survive the Flood. This is in stark contrast with the CCC model’s position. It notes the Bible’s emphasis on the progressive, destructive nature of the Curse as a result of man’s increasing wickedness before the Deluge. God’s judgments increased as man’s wickedness grew so that the originally created Earth became both socially and geologically chaotic.
The most common view by large creationist organizations in the USA and elsewhere of the geological record is, as I like to put it, “the Flood did it!” That is, whenever you find physical evidence of catastrophic events, these most likely are a result of the Genesis Flood. Hence this popular geologic model postulates the vast majority of such catastrophic events found in the Earth’s strata have to be evidences of the Flood!
Another more extreme view is that the rocks and fossils originated after the Flood. This model says since fossils of flesh-eating animals are found in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic rock layers, such fossil-bearing layers have to be deposited after the Flood.
Why does the CCC model reject these other models of the geologic and fossil record?
There are a number of fundamental flaws. For example, take the nature of the Flood itself. There is a unique Hebrew word used twelve times in Genesis 6, 7, 9, and 10 that is translated “flood” in our English translations. It is the Hebrew word mabbul. It’s used in Genesis 6:17; 7:6,7,10,17; 9:11 (twice); 9:15,28; 10:1,32. The only other place it shows up in the Bible is in Psalm 28:10 where it also seems to speak of the Flood.
Mabbul is a Hebrew word meaning a deluge, a mighty flood of waters. It’s not your common rainstorm! And Scripture makes it clear this mighty deluge of waters was worldwide and lasted for 40 long days (Gen. 7:17). I live in Texas where some pretty nasty floods can occur. Rainfalls of 10 and more inches are not uncommon from one event. But this is nothing in comparison with hard, pounding rain everywhere on Earth for forty days and nights!
So, how does the CCC geologic model differ from models of other young earth creationists?
Notice carefully how the Bible (and hence God) describes the source of the Flood waters. Carefully read what it actually says and think how this would apply to the real world. Almost all young earth creationists de-emphasize the rain event itself. Their emphasis is on the ocean enveloping the land. True enough, by the end of the 40 days all the earth became one huge ocean. But the Bible first directs our attention to rainfall – huge amounts of it for 40 long days and nights. That is where God inspired the emphasis. In fact, the Hebrew word mabbul is specifically only used for the first 40 days and nights of the Flood! This mabbul is what caused the destruction of all land animal, bird and human life not within the Ark. By the end of the 40 days, land life would be impossible outside the Ark. Some say life survived outside the Ark until the end of the first 150 days, but this is not what the Bible is saying.
Why do you think the biblical emphasis is first and primarily on rainfall from the sky and not the oceans?
One of the most puzzling things for many young earth creationists to explain is: “If most of the fossil record around the world (with its billions of fossils) is the result of Noah’s Flood, why haven’t huge burials of human fossils been found?” The human population of the world before the Flood could have been in the billions. The fundamental question of the lack of human Deluge fossils must be faced.
The CCC model supplies a logical answer to the absence of human Flood fossils. What else would we expect from 40 days and nights of mabbul rain? We know what happens today when an area receives 10, 20, or even more inches of rain in a few days. Great destruction occurs along the rivers as overflowing rushing waters sweep away all in their paths. The mabbul event was unique in all Earth’s history. It was a one-time event, never to be repeated again. Giant, mega-rivers formed on all the land surfaces. They rushed off into the oceans carrying all land-life with them. There was no escape.
But, if humans aren’t found because they were swept out to sea, wouldn’t that also apply to the land animals and birds?
Yes, that’s the point. The bulk of the fossil record shows times other than the Flood event itself.
Where, then, is evidence for the worldwide Deluge?
Let’s ask the question: "What is the evidence for a local, present-day great flood? What is the evidence (after the waters recede) we can see?" In a word: Erosion! And in the case of the mabbul worldwide Flood, that is exactly what we find all over the world: Great erosion on layers of rock that had been formed before the Flood even started.
For those of us in the USA, this is easily visible in the Western states. God didn’t hide the evidence! The land is filled with plateaus, mesas, and buttes in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and elsewhere. These land forms are evidence that vast amounts of material were eroded away at some time in the past. Furthermore, little is left to show where the eroded material landed. The implication is that the water volume was so huge and so powerful that the eroded material was mainly carried beyond the continents. There is enormous amounts of material deposited, for example, in the Gulf of Mexico eroded off the continent. At places geologists have not yet found the depth of the sedimentary layers under the Gulf of Mexico waters.
Does the biblical record itself speak on this matter? What evidence from inspired Scripture would indicate that during the Flood so much chaos was happening that no normal day-to-day event would be preserved?
As noted previously, the mabbul event is only describing the 40 days and nights of torrential, worldwide rainfall. The Scriptures tell us the waters continued to cover all the Earth for an additional 110 days. Then, 150 days from the start of the Flood, the Ark found land, but the waters receded very slowly. While only 40 days were required for the Earth to be covered with water, at least four months passed as the waters receded. So the very gradual recession of the Flood-waters was not responsible for the majority of erosion taking place, as is commonly taught in other creationists’ models. In fact, Scripture seems to go out of its way to emphasize how slowly the waters receded in contrast to the initial worldwide 40 days and nights of heavy rainfall. This mabbul 40 days and nights period is when we would expect to find the tremendous erosion evidence around the world.
What is another difference between the CCC model and other commonly distributed beliefs of young earth creationists?
Let’s get back to the biblical record itself. Do the Scriptures that speak of the mabbul event coincide with the evidence of the fossil record? While accounting for the utter destruction of the landscape, how can the fossil record of animal tracks, eggs, nests, and many other such day-to-day normal events be explained? While their preservation may require a sudden event, what must have happened before preservation? That requires a more tranquil setting whereby a later sudden event can preserve the tracks, eggs, nests, or other such happenings requiring life and time. This evidence I call “time indicators.” That is, time must be allowed for tracks to be made, nests to be constructed, eggs to be laid (even, in some cases, to hatch), etc. The long pre-Flood world had plenty of time for such events to take place. Then, local geologic events (part of the Curse) would have preserved them. The strata are filled with many such “time indicators.” It is unsupportable and unnecessary to imagine that such time indicators could be preserved during a unique mabbul Deluge.
So, then, the Curse on the Earth given immediately after the first sin is a big key in understanding the fossil record. This helps us understand how the mabbul waters would be responsible for heavily eroding the then existing strata. Isn’t that correct?
Yes, this understanding of the Curse is basic. It provides a vital piece of the puzzle to begin to understand the complex geologic history of the Earth. And it’s important knowledge to show the biblical Flood has scientific validity. When the whole issue of how to understand the meaning of fossils became a major question over 200 years ago, many scientists already believed the Earth was at least millions of years old. They readily perceived that a one-time Flood event could not account for the complexity of the geologic record.
As a result it was commonly believed before 1850 that perhaps the Flood evidence was visible on some of the top surface disturbed rocks. And when those surface deposits were found to represent the results of huge continental glaciers (now known as the Ice Age), the idea of finding any worldwide Flood evidence was abandoned. The world’s educational institutions no longer had any reason to include the biblical Flood account. A total misunderstanding of the nature of the Flood prevented it.
The meaning of Creation Week, the Curse on the Earth, the Flood, and events after the Flood became a forgotten matter in educational circles by the mid-1850s. Modern geology is built upon a false understanding of the past. The keys needed to unlock the past were lost and forgotten. Certain biblical truths have been restored. Unfortunately, critical keys to understanding the nature of the mabbul and the fossil record are still little known or acknowledged.
Read other vital articles on commonly misunderstood Creation questions.