Scientists believe that the largest flood in the solar system happened on Mars nearly 3.5 billion years ago. This is surprising since liquid water doesn’t exist very long on Mars’ surface due to its thin atmosphere and freezing temperatures. On the contrary, over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, yet mainstream scientists typically reject the possibility of a global flood. The contrast is remarkable.
With this in mind I wish to examine the account of Noah’s Flood up close. This is one of my favorite stories, and it’s worth exploring the massive impact it’s had on mankind and the earth.
Genesis 5:28-32 reveals Noah’s lineage. Here we learn that his father, Lamech, was 182 years old when Noah was born, and Noah, in turn, was 500 years old when his son’s Shem, Ham and Japheth were born. It may seem surprising that the life expectancy of early humans vastly exceeds our own, but I suggest that it only comes as a surprise because we’ve been condition or “evolutionized” to some extent; we look at ancient man and see humans who struggled to live, fight disease and sickness, didn’t know about germs, good hygene, medicine, nutrition and health care. But what we don’t always recognize is that the gene sequence of the first humans would have been without many of the defects or mutations we’ve accumulated through thousands of generations. The first humans- Adam and Eve- were created perfect, without mutations, and their children would have had few, if any mutations. So it really shouldn’t be surprising that humans lived so long at the beginning.
Genesis 6 tells us why God sent the flood. It says that man began to increase in number on the earth, and God saw how great man’s wickedness had become and was grieved that he had made man, who was corrupt and full of violence. Because of this wickedness, God said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—”.
Here I’m reminded of the movie “Evan Almighty”, in which Morgan Freeman, the actor who played the role of God, said that he didn’t really send the flood to destroy man because of his wickedness, and that the point wasn’t about God’s wrath or anger. The point of the flood, according to him, was about “believing in each other”, and this was illustrated by the animals coming two-by-two, showing that we should live side-by-side others. This explanation was probably done to relieve the anxiety viewers may have had if the movie had maintained the Biblical reason for the flood, which may seem harsh. But in order to have a better understanding of the harshness of God’s judgment, it’s important to understand God’s holiness and righteousness; God is perfect, without blemish, defect or sin. He hates sin and wickedness so much that death is the only punishment that can fully atone for it (Romans 3:23). The harshness, in part, is meant to demonstrate God’s hatred of sin and bring us to repentance and forgiveness. Some people condemn God’s actions and find it cruel because they don’t think God should allow man to suffer and die, but these are not the actions of a cruel God. They’re the actions of a holy God who hates sin and loves righteousness. In fact we can see God’s compassion in verse eight because Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD because he was a righteous man, blameless, and walked with God. This is important to note because God intended to spare Noah and create a new path for all mankind.
In Genesis 6:14-21 God said to Noah, “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Noah obeyed God and did everything he commanded.
There are a few things worth mentioning here. Skeptics will go to great lengths to deny that such an ark could be built, and that even if it could, there’s no way all those animals could have fit on board. However, if we do some research, we can demonstrate the feasibility quite easily. In fact there are enough articles and books written on these subjects that the only real problem is finding the time to read the wealth of information available. I’ll include a couple articles below from Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International that provide information about the safety of Noah’s Ark, caring for the animals on board the ark and the specifications and shape of the ark. A good book on the subject is: Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, by John Woodmorappe.
I’ll touch briefly on a scientific study done in 1993 by Dr. Seon Hong, who found that Noah’s Ark balanced the demands of stability, comfort and strength, and that no other hull shape was able to significantly outperform the ark’s design. I’ll also point out that only representative kinds of animals would have been on board the ark. There was no need for various species of bears- only two representatives from the entire bear kind would have been on board the ark (male and female). All the different species of bear existing today would not have existed back then (ex. Black bear, brown bear, Kodiak). Likewise a wolf-like animal would have represented the entire dog family. And of course dinosaurs would have been on the ark because God commanded Noah to take every kind of animal and creature that moves along the ground. There are about 668 known dinosaur names, but only about 55 different kinds would have been on the ark, the average size being about that of a sheep. The large dinosaurs could have been represented by juveniles. Calculations have shown that there may have been about 16,000 individual animals on board the ark (here’s a link about dinosaurs on the ark: http://creation.com/were-dinosaurs-on-noahs-ark ). Insects and sea animals would not have been included.
In Genesis 7, when we learn the ark was completed, God said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
God was very specific in his commands, and Noah was obedient. When we compare and contrast those in the Bible who were obedient to God v.s. those who disobeyed God, we can see the blessings resulting from obedience and the punishment resulting from disobedience. Adam and Eve were disobedient and brought sin into the world, while Noah was obedient and was spared because of his obedience.
Noah was six hundred years old when the flood came (Genesis 7:6). He and his wife and his sons and their wives entered the ark. It’s interesting to note that all the animals came to Noah and entered the ark; he didn’t have to go out searching for them or lure them inside.
In Genesis 7:11-16 we learn that “in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.” The Lord shut the door to the ark, further demonstrating his provision, and rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Skeptics have a hard time figuring out where all the water came from and went, but scripture reveals that it came from the great deep and the floodgates of heaven. Many scientists have done studies demonstrating that volcanic activity, earthquakes and meteor strikes would have been prominent during and after the flood. All this would have had catastrophic affects and would have contributed to the destruction of the earth. Below are two articles for reference.
In Genesis 7:17-24 we read: “For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.”
There are those who believe the flood was a local event, but there’s no Biblical evidence for this. The Bible makes it clear that the waters covered the entire earth and all the high mountains under the entire heavens by more than twenty feet. If this were a local flood, then God could simply have told Noah and the animals to go where the flood wouldn’t reach them.
Noah’s flood was a real event that has shaped the world we live in. We can see the effects of the devastation all around us when we look at the various layers of sediment laid down during and after the flood. We can dig up dinosaur fossils all over the world, including Antarctica. Marine fossils can be found on all the highest mountains. These are just a few examples. And today we can see the various people groups that have descended from Noah and his son’s, Shem, Ham and Japheth. This means we’re all distant relatives and come from one race- the human race.