There are several aspects to the subject of Noah's Flood, so we are discussing it in 3 parts--though to do the subject justice many more would be required! In the last article we discussed why the Flood was necessary, preparations for it, how Noah's family experienced it, and some immediate results of it. This time we will touch on how the continents, rocks, and fossils came to be as they are now. The third part will discuss the formation of such features as mountains and glaciers, the weather, and the ice age. Please go to my favourite creationist websites for resources, details, alternative ideas, and much better descriptions of these things: Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, Institute for Creation Research, Creation Today.
How many continents do you think there were on Planet Earth when it was brand-new? That's a question I had never asked myself until a few years ago. I mean, who would ever think that there could have been a different number than there are now? Of course, secular books talk about a supercontinent called Pangaea that supposedly existed millions or billions of years ago but gradually broke up into continents and floated into their present positions as we see them today. They sure do seem to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, but who could take that idea seriously--especially if they were creationist?
There obviously could not have been a supercontinent, right? Well, I'm not so sure any more--not since God told me to read Genesis 1 in answer to one of my prayers. (Note: you can jump to the links to read these references, and then click the "back to Supercontinent" link to return.) Let's look at Genesis 1:9, 10 where God speaks the dry land into existence. The NKJV says, "...Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas...." Looking at this with eyes newly conditioned to see every detail, I noticed that the text stated that the waters were gathered into one place. Hmmm. The waters were gathered into one place? Well, if the waters were gathered into one place, then the land must have been in the other place! What a novel thought!
Now, I know that all of the present-day oceans and many of the seas are interconnected, so they technically are in one "place." But if you think about this a bit more, would be it be logical for God to create a perfect world with land that was all broken up into pieces? How would Adam and Eve have taken care of the earth if they could not reach all parts of it? Okay, so that's a bit of a stretch, too. Maybe they weren't expected to personally see to all parts of the earth.
Well, then, let's remember that Noah's Flood brought a lot of water onto the earth that wasn't here originally. That being the case, there obviously was a lot more dry land before the flood than there is now. It's not inconceivable that there was a lot more dry land, so perhaps the seas were all in one place surrounded by all that land--the reverse of what we have now. Sounds like a supercontinent for sure. We must also remember that a great deal of the land failed to reappear when the waters of Noah's flood receded, so what we see on the map is not what the continents actually look like. If the oceans were to drop today, we'd see a much different map.
Continents are made of rock and earth, and everything in it. There are three kinds of rocks on earth: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
The dry land has a basic foundation of igneous rock and it is this that has melted and turned into magma deep in the earth and sometimes breaks through to the surface via volcanoes. Upon reaching the surface, the magma hardens into solid rock.
Most sedimentary rock is formed when small bits of eroded or broken rock and earth (silt, sand, gravel) are compressed together with minerals in water until the mixture is hard. Other sedimentary rock (like coal) is formed when vegetation is compressed together with minerals in water. You can identify sedimentary rock by all the layers in it, which were laid down one on top of the other during Noah's Flood.
Metamorphic rocks are formed by the metamorphosis (change) of all kinds of rocks by heat and/or pressure.
Fossils are normally found in sedimentary rock. Contrary to what we are usually taught, it does not take eons of time for something to become a fossil. Things like hats and hams and recently buried human bodies have been found fossilized!
The process is actually deceptively simple. The thing that becomes a fossil, such as a dinosaur or a trilobite or a hat, gets buried in amongst all the small bits of rock (silt, sand, gravel), and is compressed along with the mixture by the weight of water and multiple layers of similar material on top. The minerals in the water soak into the item and replace everything in it a tiny bit at a time. Eventually, the item actually becomes a rock that has the exact shape of the thing it replaced. In order for the fossil to be identifiable, of course, it cannot have rotted away or been torn apart prior to the fossilization process. Therefore, burial in the sedimentary material has to occur before or very shortly after death.
Let's put all of this fundamental information together and talk about what Noah's Flood did to that supercontinent made of rock and covered with plant and animal life. As we stated in the previous article, "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" Genesis 7:11). Earthquakes and volcanoes violently shook and twisted the earth and broke up the rock of the supercontinent, most likely being what caused those fountains to break. Gases and hot magma spewed forth, suffocating, melting, burning or burying everything in its path. Between the earthquakes, volcanoes, and hot floodwater, every living creature was killed and all plant life was uprooted. The water sloshed back and forth in reaction to the earthquakes and volcanoes, carrying everything hither and yon, burying and reburying it. (All, that is, except Noah and his passengers.)
I believe that all of these factors worked together to split the supercontinent into pieces and launched them in separate directions. The pieces are still moving today--very slowly. Scientists can even tell you how fast each continent is moving!
We live on the earth's crust, which is now "floating" on a layer of very thick partially molten rock, but I think that this mantle must have originally been separated from us by a thick layer of water. (This structure would likely have provided the earth with a perfectly balanced cooling and heating system.) The extreme activity of earthquakes and volcanoes during the flood caused cracks to appear in the crust and let the water spray upward to drown the earth and allowed much magma to be released from its pressurized prison. The floodwater cooled the magma that reached the surface and created huge rocks such as those we see strewn about in many places, left behind by receding water. Magma that did not reach the surface cooled between the continents and added "dry land" that can be seen in maps of the ocean floor, and helped to wedge them apart.
By the time the floodwater had covered the tallest mountain, the pressure on everything under it was tremendous. That weight, plus the time it took for the floodwaters to recede and the land to dry out, worked a creative miracle. It turned great quantities of vegetation into coal, animals into fossils, and decayed plant and animal matter into vast deposits of gas and oil. The coal Aunt Matilda put into her stove this morning used to be a palm tree. The gas Uncle John put into the car last week used to be a dinosaur. And the fossils you've seen at places like Science North used to be something's baby!
Planet Earth has paid a tremendous price for the sin of its human inhabitants! God promised Noah that He would not destroy the earth again by water, but we are told in Scripture that it will be destroyed again--this time by fire. It will be destroyed and recreated for the benefit of the godly, because God has a plan and He is determined to bring it into fruition. When He created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years or so ago, God wanted them to enjoy it and to fellowship with Him there forever. He still wants that! He is diligently going about working His plan and nothing we do is going to change that.
However, there is something we can do. Individually, we can choose to get with the program! Adam and Eve started the whole destruction of Planet Earth by their disobedience and passed the sin nature onto each of their descendants. The Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) paid the price for that on our behalf. Now our job is to trust and obey Him, and train our children to do likewise!
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: construction and manipulation (e.g. layering, twisting and breaking) of sedimentary rock models made with several different kinds of moist bread (including bread made with raisins and visible seeds to represent fossils) and/or playclay, a memory verse (like Genesis 1:9, 10), excerpts from a book like "Dinosaurs by Design", a song like "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", and a snack like raisins and seeds).
Please go to the next article, where we will discuss the formation of such features as mountains and glaciers, the weather, and the ice age. Don't miss it--you will find something scary there!
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13And the evening and the morning were the third day. 14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
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.
Connie Lacelle, for the Connie's Comments column of the Northern Good News Journal, April 2004.
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