Noah's Flood is such an important subject that it has been mentioned in passing several times in this series of articles. I trust your appetite has been sufficiently whetted and you have your thinking caps on! When you have finished reading my comments about Noah's Flood, you should have a totally different perspective about the earth you live on than you had before (unless, of course, you have been taking my recommendations and studying inspirational creationist material, such as that which you can find at Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International.
There are several aspects to this subject, which could actually be discussed under separate titles, but I want to tie them together so that you will see their close relationship to the Flood. There are too many to put together in one article, so I will break the discussion into three parts. This part will cover why the Flood was necessary, preparations for it, how Noah's family experienced it, and some immediate results of it. The second part will discuss how the continents, rocks, and fossils came to be as they are now, and the third part will discuss the formation of such features as mountains, deserts, and glaciers, how they affect the weather, and the ice age.
We have written before about the beautiful, perfect earth that God created around 6,000 years ago. It was not like the earth we live in. Yes, there were animals and trees and streams and hills and so on, but they were tame compared to what we see today. Why do animals kill and eat each other (and sometimes people)? Why do trees get gnarled and sprout fungi? Why do rivers rage and flood people out of their homes? Why do mountains block the flow of air and moisture and why do they separate people from each other? Why is the earth three-quarters covered with water that we cannot drink? Is this the way God intended the earth to function? No, of course not. He created the world to be a perfect paradise for His crowning creation (mankind) to live in, where they could enjoy God and worship Him forever--receiving from His hand everything they needed. Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden with God! Think of it! What must it have been like to meet with God each evening and talk about the beautiful world He had given them to rule over--perhaps to discuss plans for a peach orchard here and a fishpond there?
Something obviously happened to change all that! I’ve written before, too, about sin entering into the perfect paradise and bringing death and destruction in its wake. That sly serpent (Satan) tempted Adam and Eve to eat fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil--and the rest is history. This fruit was the only thing God had forbidden the perfect couple. It was a test, to see if they would choose to obey Him or not. We don't know how long Adam and Eve resisted the temptation to find out what "good and evil" was all about, but we certainly can see the results. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
It didn't take too long for the pudding to rot. (Note: you can jump to the following link to read that reference, and then click the "back to Corruption" link to return.) By Genesis 6 we find God looking upon the earth and seeing that it was corrupt: "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." He said to Himself, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." However, one man "found grace in the eyes of the Lord." God needed to destroy the earth before man had spoiled it beyond redemption, but He found one man through whom He could build a new civilization--Noah--and gave him a job to do. Genesis 6:13-22 tells us what Noah was to do; verse 22 tells us that Noah did "all that God commanded him." Quite unlike Adam and Eve, who did the one thing they were told not to do!
For many years (most people say 120) Noah toiled, constructing a gopher wood Ark according to blueprints given to him by God, while preaching about the coming destruction to people who jeered and scoffed and rejected his offer of salvation. Only Noah's wife and three sons and their wives entered the Ark with him. I wonder if any children wanted to go in, but were not permitted by their parents to do so. Food for thought, isn't it? Speaking of food, Noah built the Ark large enough to accommodate all the animals (including dinosaurs) and people that God wanted to save plus enough food and fresh water for all of them for a year! And he built it in such a way as to facilitate elimination of, ahem, waste... (For an in-depth study of this, read the book "Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study," written by John Woodmorappe and published by the Institute for Creation Research.)
God brought to the Ark two of each kind of animal (seven pairs of certain ones which were clean and appropriate for sacrifice and for eating), told Noah and his family to get in, and then closed the door. Everyone left outside thought Noah and his family were crazy. That they would be very embarrassed when they had to come out and admit there obviously had not been enough water to flood the earth and that they had not really heard from God. (There is a lesson here for today!) When I taught this lesson to my class, I read them a story by Renton Maclachlan that I found at the Answers in Genesis website. "Noah--The Man Who Trusted God" really makes the whole story come alive!
They were sorely mistaken! Genesis 7:10-12 tells us that on a specific day "the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened" and "the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights." Water poured onto the earth from two sources--from up above, and from down below. The evidence would suggest that there must have been a lot of water below the earth's crust, because it isn't possible for enough rain to fall within forty days to cover the entire earth. It may be that prior to the flood the land was "floating" on a huge layer of water surrounding the earth's core. Also, there were no tall mountains before the flood so it wouldn't have been as difficult then as it would be now to cover everything. (There were mountains, just not very tall ones like there are now.) In any event, there was a lot of water under the earth and it came up through "fountains of the great deep." Scientists are now telling us that there are, indeed, fountains on the ocean floor! God broke these open to let the water flow upward. Quite likely, it sprayed way up into the air and fell down like rain.
Earthquakes and volcanoes did a real number on the earth, shaking and breaking and heating and melting things. Hot magma interacting with the floodwater caused clouds of steam to roll over the earth and toward the sky, probably causing the beginning of the water cycle. Many people believe that the earth originally had some kind of a canopy around it, perhaps made of ice, and this broke open, too. Perhaps a comet smashed into the earth or its canopy and deposited its store of ice, which melted. Whatever it was, there was rain falling for forty days and nights and a whole lot of strong activity going on below the surface of the water.
The Ark's residents may not have known what was going on under the earth and in the water, but they sure knew what was going on in the sky and above the earth. They could tell when the mountains were fully covered. Genesis 7 and 8 gives us details, and scientists who study these things can figure out many others. (Note: you can jump to that link at the bottom of the 7 C's of Creation article and click the back button to return.) Noah and his family were safe in the Ark because they obeyed God and built it to His specifications. Obedience is always the way to go!
When Noah and his family released the animals from the Ark they celebrated by making a burnt sacrifice to God, using some of the clean animals. He was happy with the offering and promised never to destroy the earth by a flood again, showing Noah a rainbow as a sign of the covenant He had just made. The water cycle had been set up, so rain and rainbows became regular features in the lives of Noah's family and every time they saw a rainbow they remembered God's promise. God also told the people at this time that they could eat animals, birds, and fish, and so the dread of man came upon them. Seasons probably existed prior to the Flood, but they became more severe afterward because of all the structural changes. Since we have had plenty of local floods throughout known history, some of them extremely devastating, we know that Noah's Flood was not localized, as some people assert, but global. It was a huge calamity that re-created the earth into its present form!
You have probably heard the story of Noah's Flood many times and seen many representations of Noah's Ark. Did they all look like a cute little basin with the heads of Noah and a few big animals sticking out of it? Sure they did--that's the world's idea of what it considers a myth, a silly child's tale. But this image is completely insulting to God and should be banished from the mind of every believer. I have one of those hanging in my office (a gift from a friend) and it reminds me every time I see it that we are in a battle for truth.
Did you ever think what the real Ark might have looked like? Or how the story actually happened? When I taught this to my class, I read them the story of "Noah--The Man Who Trusted God" and had them make construction paper arks that look something like the large wooden model built by Lee Kroeger. A picture of Kroeger’s model (using a scale of 1 to 160) can be seen at the Institute for Creation Research website along with his commentary. He tells us that Noah's Ark was about 450 feet long, 45 feet high, 75 feet wide, and had three interior stories and a window on top. That is, if the cubit is taken to be 18 inches. If the people were very tall, the cubit (distance from a man's elbow to his fingertips) would be much longer, so the ark would be that much greater proportionately! Just for perspective, the Ark could have held at least 569 railroad cars!
If you found this article helpful and wish to apply this information to a children's church class or in your home, just add one or more of the following to your teaching session: a Noah's Ark project such as the one I developed for my class, a memory verse (like Genesis 7:1-4), excerpts from a book like "Dinosaurs by Design", a song like "Trust and Obey," and a snack like animal crackers (which the students may use briefly as props in their arks).
The next article in the series discusses the Flood's contribution to the current condition of earth's continents, rocks, and fossils.
1And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
1And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 2Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
10And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Connie Lacelle, for the Connie's Comments column of the Northern Good News Journal, March 2004.
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