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Noah's flood: global or local?


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#21 Rick H.

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 01:30 AM

Well, Rick, no. There is ~not~ "some science behind this that is as credible as any." Creationism is simply not credible as science, period, because it dispenses with the necessity of falsifiability. Their arguments work this way: "If I had some cheese, I could make a cheese sandwich -- if I had some bread."


Alec, all things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia, I mean . . . I think I will defer to you on this one and go make a cheese sandwich. :)

#22 Olga

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 03:26 AM

... with Philadelphia cheese? (sorry!!)

#23 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 03:54 AM

... with Philadelphia cheese? (sorry!!)


i thought science was about counting beans, not eating cheese... at least this is what I have been doing till now... oops

#24 Matthew Namee

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:27 AM

Just a few things:

1) How did this turn into a creation/evolution thing? I understand that generally "creationists" would favor a global flood and "evolutionists" a local one, but I'm a "global flood" person who has no problem with evolution (with a couple important caveats). Where does that leave me?

2) Scientific evidence. Well, not being a scientist myself, I sort of opened myself up to some criticism. I do understand that there is some interesting circumstantial evidence, e.g. flash-frozen tropical animals in Siberia, or dramatic changes in sea level due to melting glaciers in the eleventh millenium BC.

3) The flood myths. I totally disagree with the notion that because there were local floods all over the world, the numerous flood legends are all worthless as evidence. For one, the legends all have very, very, very similar elements, too many to be merely coincidental. Man and wife are warned by a god to get into a boat and ride out a storm that will wipe out the rest of humanity (or most of humanity). They bring animals and plants and so forth into the boat with them. Etc. I could dig through my boxes of books and find some direct quotations, but honestly, I don't have time at the moment. I am sure you could find many of these online. I know that the controversial writer Graham Hancock has addressed them in one of his books, and he's as far from being a Christian as anyone. But he's far from the only one, and he's a bad example because he's so controversial. Legitimate scholars have also dealt with the global flood myths. More than anything else, I find the prevalence of these myths to be convincing evidence of a global flood.

4) Can I make a brief response on behalf of Orthodox who are uncomfortable with evolution? It seems to me that the most Orthodox critique of evolution is this: the overwhelming majority of the Fathers present a view of the origins of mankind which is in stark contrast to evolution; indeed, in many cases impossible to reconcile. For people who are deeply indebted to and aware of tradition, it is very difficult for us Orthodox to simply say that all of these great Fathers were wrong. I know that there are many other issues and objections, but to me, this is the best and most important one. Personally, I see the objection and still don't have a problem with evolution (with some caveats, as I said before), but I definitely respect my fellow Orthodox Christians who are on the other side of the issue.

#25 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:44 AM

Personally, I see the objection and still don't have a problem with evolution (with some caveats, as I said before), but I definitely respect my fellow Orthodox Christians who are on the other side of the issue.


Which is?... not to see the objection or not to have a problem with "evolution"?

#26 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:45 AM

No! This is a terribly secular version of 'myth'. In theology, myths convey truth.

INXC, Dcn Matthew


I guess I meant it in the strictly secular, or better put, anti-Christian sense.

#27 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:53 AM

Their arguments work this way: "If I had some cheese, I could make a cheese sandwich -- if I had some bread." Once I asked a creationist ...
.


This is classic... once I asked a former fellow Uni student who was doing his PhD at the time about his take on the origin of life. His response was along the lines, that if we ignored the second law of thermodynamics and the fact that biological molecules cannot be produced abiogenically, and if we had 5 (4.5, 6, 10, 15 make your pick) billion years and also did not worry about statistical probability, then we should have no problem believing that a single tiny cell could evolve. Everything else would then evolve from that cell.

Or I could say: If I was a monkey with a computer in my head, I could evolve from a monkey - if somebody could stick a computer in its head.

in the Lord,
Yura

#28 Alec Lowly

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 10:48 PM

Have you not seen the "Voyage to the center of the earth"? (sorry, just kidding)

This begs the question though...where do evolutionists say the water went? Even on a "local" scale for the ark to rest on top of Mount Arafat, that is a significant amount of water. What does "local" mean anyway?

So would evolutionists say something like, this event was local in that that which was not local was butted up against an intensly high wall of water such as in the Moses crossing the Red Sea story. And it just sort of decreased in height over time to allow the local and nonlocal water to be the same depth once again.

Paul ( I can't believe I opened myself up to this debate)


I have no idea what "evolutionists" would say, but geologists would confirm that there's ample evidence of major floods devastating the Mesopotamian plain (the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates) dating back to prehistoric times. And whatever is up there on Mount Ararat, nobody can say exactly what, so let's wait for hard evidence before concluding it's Noah's Ark ...

#29 M. Partyka

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:41 AM

Global Flood

Hmm...I'm not sure how anybody else would deal with having a whole web site thrown at him/her. I suppose it would be fair to throw an opposing one right back, but I'd rather not.

Instead, why don't we look at a particular statement from the home page of this particular web site and see whether or not it sounds agreeable from a scientific standpoint? Here is Dr. John Baumgardner's opinion on the flood and how the fossil and geological evidence should be interpreted in light of the flood:

The Bible...describes a point in time when God catastrophically destroyed the earth with essentially all its life. The only consistent way to interpret the geological record in light of this event described so vividly in the Biblical texts is to understand that the fossil-bearing rocks are the result of a massive global cataclysm that occurred only a few thousand years ago and lasted but a year. This Biblical interpretation of the rock record implies the animals and plants preserved as fossils were all contemporaries, all living on earth at the same time prior to the cataclysm. This means trilobites, dinosaurs, and mammals all dwelled on the planet at once, and they all perished together in this world-destroying cataclysm.

Here are the "factual" statements I can gather from the above quote:

1) The flood was global.

2) The flood occurred within the last 6000 years. (This puts it within the usual Young Earth Creationist boundaries.)

3) The flood lasted for one whole year.

4) When God flooded the earth, he destroyed all life on earth save that which was preserved in Noah's ark. (Question: Does this include plant life? What about fish, both freshwater and saltwater varieties?)

5) All fossils in existence, both plant and animal alike, were created during the flood year. Therefore, all the plants and animals preserved in the fossil record were in existence on earth a few thousand years ago when the flood began.

If it appears that I've misinterpreted Dr. Baumgardner's conclusions, please speak up.

The first thing that immediately strikes me about these five points is how the last point doesn't really follow from the first four. Is it really necessary that all fossils were produced during the flood? Certainly, this must be true if one holds to a young-earth creationist position, but are those who grant that the earth may very well be millions, if not billions, of years old bound to insist that all fossils are products of the flood? I would think not.

#30 Rick H.

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:00 AM

Hmm...I'm not sure how anybody else would deal with having a whole web site thrown at him/her.



I guess it depends on one's degree of genuine interest in the topic.

As for me, I'll stick with the W.C. Fields quote mentioned above, and look forward to some steak with my philly cheese on my next sandwich.

#31 Nina

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:04 AM

look forward to some steak with my philly cheese on my next sandwich.


:D Yeah have a feast until Lent starts. Actually this week is fast-free.

#32 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:05 AM

If, somehow, some sort of indisputable evidence were to be produced that proved that the flood of Noah was merely a local phenomenon, would that change your faith?

It wouldn't affect mine. I don't think it matters all that much, but hey, that's just me.

Herman the Pooh

#33 Silouan Howard

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:02 PM

I was reading this in the epistle for today and thought of this thread. How do you all think this verse contributes to the argument at hand?

starting with v. 5

"For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded by water."

#34 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 02:43 PM

I was reading this in the epistle for today and thought of this thread. How do you all think this verse contributes to the argument at hand?

starting with v. 5

"For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded by water."


In the last part of these two verses the Flood is what is being referred to.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#35 Silouan Howard

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:49 PM

In the last part of these two verses the Flood is what is being referred to.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


Right..but what is interesting is the part that says "the world that then existed". What is this referring to? The known world or the actual world?

#36 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:22 PM

Right..but what is interesting is the part that says "the world that then existed". What is this referring to? The known world or the actual world?


I think that this refers to the world that existed before the Flood.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#37 Antonios

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:04 AM

I guess it can be confusing because the term 'world' sometimes does not exactly refer to the planet earth, per se. In modern parlance, it sometimes refers to all of creation (the entire universe, etc.), and other times, it is used very relativistically. Was this flexibility in terminology similar with the term used in the Hebrew Bible and Septuagant?

#38 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 03:51 PM

It would be good to know the original Greek word that is used. Is it cosmos, or aeon? Aeon can refer to world either as time or space. So what I perceive here is that, theologically, God is wiping out all that has transpired heretofore regarding man's sinfulness, not just as retribution, but so that mankind can make a fresh start without the legacy and burden of sin. But we quickly see that this does not work. One theory of course is that theology is a post hoc interpretation of natural events and phenomena. I would not take this too far, but clearly we see how this happens in our personal lives today -- we do this all the time -- and so it would be true for our ancestors. I say we do this all the time, meaning that we typically apply a theological interpretation to personal events. Of course, our belief is that this interpretation is of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be separated from the event itself. The flood is "global" therefore, in that it is perceived to be a universal solution to the problem of sin and corruption that has affected everyone and everything. I think a naturalistic approach to it obscures the theological significance.

I must say that I am intrigued by the link posted above about the current state of science as to the validity of carbon dating. There is a certain tone to the web site that is questionable, however, so it would be interesting to see some independent survey of the current state of science that the web site claims, regarding the theory that radiological deterioration is not a steady process but is effected by natural cataclysmic events.

#39 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 05:24 PM

This seems to be the argument: due to the much more accurate measurements afforded by accelerator mass spectrometry, carbon 14 can be determined in samples rather than deducing it from measuring the rate of decay over time. The results of such sampling show certain anomalies. First, in organic samples, the longest dating is under 100,000 years. That is to say, they are finding trace evidence of carbon 14 in all organic samples, regardless of the geological layer, whereas, according to the theory of a constant decay over time, the samples from the older layers should not have any detectable carbon 14 remaining. This anomaly is attributed to some kind of unexplained, inherent contamination. The counter theory, as best I can understand the argument so far, is that either there is no organic compound that existed prior to 100,000 years ago, or that there is a fallacy to the constant rate theory, or some combination of the two. The author argues that the constant rate theory is false, and that some geological cataclysm, comparatively recently, affected the carbon 14 content of compounds. In checking some other web sites I confirmed that the theory of contamination not only is attributed to earth samples, but also to meteororites!!!

Hopefully there is more written on this subject than I have seen so far, but if the theory of an earth that is many billions of years old, and organic matter that is hundreds of millions of years old, is undermined by new technologies, then, of course, the whole naturalistic, evolutionary theory completely evaporates. But we are talking here about a global flood, and I have not yet quite understood the theory regarding impact a global cataclysm has on carbon 14 dating. Help????

#40 M. Partyka

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:57 PM

The flood is "global" therefore, in that it is perceived to be a universal solution to the problem of sin and corruption that has affected everyone and everything. I think a naturalistic approach to it obscures the theological significance.

This is interesting, because initially the responses I was getting were more along the lines of an unqualified "global" (i.e., the whole world was covered in water, and all animal life outside the ark died). Now the discussion is moving toward the "local, but still 'global' in a sense" part of the spectrum, and I wonder how comfortable everyone here is with that. Is there anybody who thinks that going from "global" to "local but in a way global" is sufficiently contrary to the clear meaning of Scripture as to rule out any sort of "local" explanation?

Also, the quote from 2 Peter 3 brought to mind this quote from 1 Peter 3:18-22:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.


It seems to me that this quote offers up a somewhat literalist yet also somewhat analogical view of the flood: literalist in that "eight souls were saved", yet analogical in that this salvation "through water" typifies baptism. Given that this whole passage is considered divinely inspired, however, can we safely downplay the literalism and deem the analogical aspect "the important thing"?

With regard to carbon-14 dating, it should be kept in mind that while C-14 dating is only accurate to within 50,000 years (last I heard), that still implies that the world is 40,000 years older than most young-earth creationists allow. True, this would make the earth young enough to disprove evolution, but as was astutely pointed out earlier, evolution isn't the issue at hand. I would suggest, then, that even if C-14 dating is conclusively shown to be inaccurate past 50,000 years, this only leads us to two more questions:

1) Has there been a truly global flood in the last 50,000 years?
2) If not, is there any evidence besides C-14 dating which would lead us to believe that the earth is much older than 50,000 years (and that perhaps a truly global flood such as that recorded in Genesis happened more than 50,000 years ago)?

If, somehow, some sort of indisputable evidence were to be produced that proved that the flood of Noah was merely a local phenomenon, would that change your faith? It wouldn't affect mine. I don't think it matters all that much, but hey, that's just me.

This is a good question, and I don't think I've seen anyone address it yet. It's on account of this sort of question that I initially provided more than just "global" and "local" as possible answers. I wanted to give everybody various "degrees of distance" away from the plain meaning of the text, not just an "accept/deny" sort of position. For example, if the flood was local, but some land animals outside the ark not in the area of the flood survived, is that still "okay"? What if there were human survivors outside the flood area? What if there's really no historicity to the flood story at all, and the important elements of the story are really the theological elements it conveys? I suspect different people will have different levels of comfort with each possible option. (That's what made the poll aspect so appealing -- easier to track people's answers -- but, oh, well. No biggie.)

Edited by M. Partyka, 22 February 2008 - 08:47 PM.





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