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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Dealing with Noah's Flood: Useful Resource

"Mormonism and Science/Global or Local Flood" is a useful page provided by FAIRLDS.org that might help some of you better grapple with some of the issues around Noah's Flood. I also have a few things to say on my LDSFAQ page about science and religion.

Update: A thoughtful piece on the challenges of understanding the scriptural accounts of the Flood comes from a BYU professor, Duane E. Jeffery, in "Noah's Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions," Sunstone, Oct. 2004, pp. 27-45. The link is to a 3-MB PDF file for the whole Sunstone issue, in which the article on Noah's Flood begins on page 29.

40 comments:

Ben Tanner said...

Thanks for pointing us to this helpful resource. I just did a post on my blog about the parallels between the temple and the ark. It might also be useful in one's study of the ark. (http://www.restoredtruth.com/2010/02/noahs-ark-and-temple.html)

Anthony said...

Jeff,

Like you, I don't believe in a global flood, but the Fair link only deals with the Biblical account. How does one reconcile a local flood theory (LFT?) with Moses 1:27-29? A third person speaker (presumably Joseph Smith, since God and Moses are both referred to in the third person) says that Moses saw the whole earth in vision. If that's the case, he would have understood the broader implications of "whole earth."

In Moses 7:50-51, the Lord covenants with Enoch (similar to a covenant with Noah in Genesis) that he will never more cover the earth with floods. If the flood was a localized event, this covenant doesn't seem very meaningful since local floods have occurred ever since.

There are practical implications for the history of Mormonism of believing in a global vs. local flood. Without a global flood, the idea that all black people are descended from Ham becomes extremely implausible, as it should.

R. Gary said...

My experience today in Sunday School confirms the accuracy of this statement about the Flood:

"What have LDS prophets and apostles taught about the Flood? To date, all seem to have accepted Noah as an historical personage [and] uniformly there seems to be a tacit assumption that [the Flood] was universal. Usually it is treated as a miracle to be accepted without further analysis." (Duane Jeffery, Sunstone, October 2004, 36; emphasis added.)

My own Sunday School teacher affirmed a universal Flood.

One class member brought up the idea that the Flood was earth's baptism by immersion (incidentally, this idea is found in the Church's Guide to the Scriptures). The only response was from another class member who mentioned earth's impending baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost.

Gen. 7:21-23 about the destruction of "all flesh" was read aloud and the only question was whether anyone knows how many people died.

Most of the lesson time was used discussing how we can live worthily today and avoid the evils of our own world.

Fortunate indeed are those millions of Latter-day Saints who were taught faithfully today about the Flood from the scriptures and from the manual.

Mormanity said...

Great questions. I assume that Moses and the author(s) of Genesis are passing down an earlier tradition regarding the flood and not reporting a scientifically detailed vision of the actual events, even if they had had other visions with vast detail. Noah's observation of everything in sight being flooded may have been recorded with the observer's "whole earth" language (just like the whole earth/entire world that was taxed by the Romans in Luke, or the Christians in Rome who Paul said were spoken of in "the whole world" (Romans 1:8) or "all the earth" in 1 Kings 10:24 that came to seek Solomon's wisdom). The earth/land known to the authors is not necessarily literally the whole globe. I don't think Moses or any of the prophets since that time had any reason to challenge the natural literal reading of the term, but perhaps we do in our day.

This is one of many issues where I'd prefer scientifically accurate updated revelations would be given now, on my demand, but that doesn't seem to be high on the Lord's agenda at the moment. Maybe we must wait for the great scientific revelations promised in Doctrine & Covenants 101 - in the Lord's due time.

Anonymous said...

I had a friend at BYU Hawaii who once gave a lesson on how impossible it would be for the flood to be global. This was in Elders Quorum.
I don't know it if was because it was BYU or just that these people could not bare the thought of an idea that did not follow their own thinking, but, the class came apart. Every one yelling and screaming and one guy started throwing chairs. I wish I had been there to see it. I think it would have been a class to remember.
I think it was indicative of the group think ( sheep think) that was present there.

Pops said...

This is a minefield here. While it's hard for us to understand how the flood could possibly have been universal, it's also hard to understand a lot of other things. Jonah and the whale? The parting of the Red Sea? The miracle of the loaves and fishes? The sun standing still in the sky? No rainbow before the flood? The resurrection?

I take the position that I can't really make an educated guess because there are far too many unknowns. If everything then was the same as it is now, it isn't so hard. But was it? There was but a single continent back then. No rainbows. What were the fountains of the great deep that were opened up? How did the ark end up on top of a very high mountain? I think there's a lot of information we haven't been given.

I'm not sure I would tread here.

Mormanity said...

Read the Duane Jeffery quote I just added to the main post, and read his entire article in the Sunstone issue I link to.

R. Gary said...

Read especially the paragraph that says "What have LDS prophets and apostles taught about the Flood? To date, all seem to have accepted Noah as an historical personage [and] uniformly there seems to be a tacit assumption that [the Flood] was universal. Usually it is treated as a miracle to be accepted without further analysis."

R. Gary said...

Jeff, your wish for "scientifically accurate updated revelations" is interesting. You don't seem to be the least bit bashful about saying the current scripture narrative about the Flood is "in error."

I believe you are entitled to your opinions. But I do not believe you are entitled to take them with you into a Sunday School discussion.

Did you know that Church lesson manuals teach only a worldwide Flood? Whenever the Flood is mentioned in Primary, Young Women, Young Men, and Sunday School manuals, it is always mentioned as a global event. Seminary and Institute manuals teach that the Flood covered the earth and that all flesh died. The adult manuals teach a worldwide flood (see, for example, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p.311).

President Howard W. Hunter decried those who would "change religious beliefs and teachings of the past to conform to modern thought and critical research [and who] now declare the story of the flood ... as related in the Old Testament ... is unreasonable and impossible." (That We Might Have Joy, 1994, pp. 22-23.)

Your original post links to two articles. Both use John A. Widtsoe as a primary witness regarding the Flood. Neither of the two articles quotes Widtsoe completely or fairly on the Flood. Your claim that "Elder Widtsoe seemed to have no trouble with the concept of a local flood" is a misrepresentation of Widtsoe's article. Three paragraphs near the end of his article are relevant:

-------------- quote --------------
Latter-day Saints look upon the earth as a living organism, one which is gloriously filling "the measure of its creation." They look upon the flood as a baptism of the earth, symbolizing a cleansing of the impurities of the past, and the beginning of a new life. This has been repeatedly taught by the leaders of the Church. The deluge was an immersion of the earth in water (D&C 88:25; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1:274; Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 603; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 1:331).

Though the whole of the earth was covered with water, the depth was immaterial. When a person is baptized, it does not matter how far under the water he is brought, nor whether every part of him is at the same depth. The essential part of the symbolism is that he should be completely immersed.

So with the story of the flood. All parts of the earth were under water at the same time. In some places the layer of water might have been twenty-six feet deep or more; in others, as on sloping hillsides, it might have been only a fraction of an inch in depth. That the whole earth, however, was under water at the same time was easily possible under a terrific, long-continued downpour, such as is described in Genesis. The depth of the layer of water is of no consequence.
-------------- end quote --------------

That's Widtsoe view of the Flood. That it was a worldwide flood is a given. His article is about the depth of the water during the flood, not about its scope.

And the LDS Church does NOT teach a local flood. Therefore, your article is not an LDSFAQ page, it is a Jeff FAQ page. Which is fine. Just leave it home when you go to Church.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how the hyper-orthodox bludgeon anyone who suggests something different than their rigorous beliefs. But, citing prophetic statements and lessons really doesn't resolve this issue. Of course the common view has been of the worldwide variety until recently. And, the question has yet to be answered definitively. But, does that mean one cannot faithfully explore some alternative explanations?

I personally see considerable logic behind the concept of a localized flood.

Let me pose a couple questions to those who believe in the universal version:

1) If the flood simultaneously destroyed all mankind, then every locality of civilization worldwide stopped functioning ... probably for many centuries. Where is the evidence of that extended pause worldwide?

2) If the world were depopulated, given high mortality rates in antiquity, how long would it take to repopulate the world?

3) If the world were depopulated, much knowledge would have been lost -- everything from forms of writing to pottery to metallurgy. Eight people could not have all human knowledge. So, where is the evidence of a significant technology decline and then a rebirth over centuries?

Stan said...

"I personally see considerable logic behind the concept of a localized flood."

You are mistaken to think logic has anything to do with the "hyper-orthodox" for they relish in having their thinking done for them. They check their brains at the door, as our host was admonished to do. Their creed is that the prophet has spoken and the thinking is done. They may think it is a noble position, but fail to realize, due to that lack of thinking, what a precarious position the church would be in if prophets and other leaders were considered infallible.

ando49 said...

Stan said
"They may think it is a noble position, but fail to realize, due to that lack of thinking, what a precarious position the church would be in if prophets and other leaders were considered infallible.'

Ah men brother! Same goes for the myth of "Evil Evolution". i think those of us who break away form orthodoxy are in a better position to defend the Church. For the others, they dwell in blissful ignorance.

Mike S said...

Did you know that the Church lesson manuals also once taught that blacks would never hold the priesthood, and actually quoted scriptures and prophets to support this? The Church also taught that polygamy was essential to our eternal salvation and also quoted scriptures and prophets?

At one time the earth was also said to be the center of the universe and that to suggest otherwise was a heresy. Even more than people yelling and throwing chairs, people were excommunicated and worse over teaching that perhaps the current interpretation of the scriptures (ie. geocentric) was wrong.

So, no one is arguing what the scriptures say. They are only arguing what the correct interpretation should be. And even prophets and apostles can be wrong as stated by Bruce R McConkie himself regarding his teachings on blacks and the priesthood.

My own personal opinion is that God reveals truth in many, many ways. I wouldn't expect God to reveal truth about Jesus Christ through scientists, but through prophets. At the same time, I think that if God were to reveal truth about geological processes, etc., it would be by inspiring scientists and not prophets. I just think that, like the people in Galileo's day, it sometimes takes decades and centuries for people to realize that God's beauty and truth isn't really at risk if we change our preconceived notions.

ando49 said...

Good post Mike. Wholeheartedly agree. Church lesson manuals are not scripture, but someones interpretation of scripture and statements by church leaders who had an imperfect view of the world. Interpreting the bible incorrectly, as a scientific document, is dangerous ground.

Matthew said...

Aye Carumba! These posts have me utterly astounded. I just got done reading Jeff's more recent post about science and authority, and the contrast between that one and this one have my giggling like crazy.

Some will claim that science tells us only trivial things but it's interesting when we look at how many things have been discovered and understood in the last 100 years (heck even in the last 30! We didn't have computers readily available even when I was a child now they permeate everything) and then look at religion. Over the last 100 years the discourse has changed very little and almost every change in religious thought has come from outside. Blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, and doctrines of their ilk just (and I realize this is a controversial thing to say)happen to seem to change right alongside of massive political movements and changes in society.

That people still cling onto an idea that a man filled a boat with every (every single one of them!) species of creature on earth and then God flooded the entire earth so that there was no land and then after the flood every one of those species made it back to it's particular ecologoical niche (some of which were 100s of thousands of miles away, and some of these creatures don't have much power of locomotion such as worms, insects flightless birds, three toed sloths, etc.) is just hilarious to me. I just don't understand how a person could come up with a semi workable process for all this other then god magically teleporting all the creatures back to their original locations. Also if one takes the 'rainbows came forth after the flood' idea then there are some serious oddities involved. In order for water vapor to not cause a prismatic effect there would be a serious alteration to the laws of physics and optics. Our sense of color would be bizarre at best.

I just don't see what possible benefit one can take from espousing a literal view of things spoken of in the old testament when it seems to run so contrary to logical thought. On top of this taking a literal view of the flood does not, as far as I can see, add anything of worth to the discussion. In the case of Noah, whether the entire earth flooded or not the story is much the same. It's a story of obedience to god's will.

I'm seriously bewildered by some of the responses here and just can't see how someone could sanely argue for a literal interpretation of a global flood.

Matthew said...

on a side note, I was thinking more about the whole, "rainbows came about after the flood thing" and there are even more serious implications. Water vapor causes a prismatic effect because the index of refraction for light going from air to water causes the different wavelengths of light to bend differently. This doesn't just happen with rainbows but the way the human eyeball focuses an image is using these same optical principles. Unless water vapor was the only thing on earth that didn't bend light then humans would have been unable to clearly see much of anything before the advent of rainbows. Interesting.

Señor Dangriga said...

This all misses the point. The Bible never purports to be a natural history, nor a global history, but the way to salvation. If we allow ourselves to get side-tracked by the "cool but irrelevant " mishmash of theories out there, we lose sight of the much more important doctrines and symbols.

Rob Osborn said...

I don't know why this issue keeps getting brought up. Until the Lord tells us otherwise, we must view the flood as a global catastropic event that literally destroyed "all flesh" upon the "whole earth".

A no brainer for me. The global flood model works, is plausible, and makes total sense. A local flood is an excuse for understanding the world according to the "arm of the flesh" and not according to God.

R. Gary said...

Anonymous, Stan, ando49, and Mike S,

Actually, I'm very happy to be known as an orthodox Mormon. "Strange, isn't it," said Neal A. Maxwell, "even the very word orthodoxy has fallen into disfavor with some? As society gets more and more flaky, a few rush forward to warn shrilly against orthodoxy!"

or-tho-dox adj 1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin, 2006.)

"Especially in religion."

My religion teaches that "during Noah's time the earth was completely covered with water." The point is simply this: That is what the Church teaches.

Nobody is required to believe it. It's just what the Church teaches.

As Jeff has shown, the 7th chapter of Genesis can be read as describing a local flood, instead of a global flood. Both readings are fine by me. You can read it any way you want.

What you cannot do, however, is tell people that the LDS Church says it was a local flood, because in manuals, magazines, and on the web, the Church consistently says "the earth was completely covered with water."

R. Gary said...

Jeff, how can you insist that "Elder Widtsoe seemed to have no trouble with the concept of a local flood" when in the same article you quote he says Latter-day Saints look upon the flood as the earth's baptism and the essential part of that symbolism is complete immersion? (More fully quted above.)

ando49 said...

R. Gary. Are you saying that orthodox Mormons can accept an either/or approach to the extent of the flood?

To outsiders (non-Mormons), the argument is simply, 1. there was no such thing as a global flood as described in the bible, 2. JS taught a global flood, therefore 3. JS was an impostor.

My response would be to say that all prophets from early biblical times up until recent times, never questioned the global flood, because they never questioned the bible. JS took the bible literally, hook, line and sinker, when it came to historicity. For reasons elaborated in posts above and the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence, a global flood cannot now be condoned. I do not reject JS for this, because he went along with the other biblical writers, but I think it's a big mistake to teach that the biblical flood actually occurred, to the extent taught by the prophets, just because they were prophets. did not these prophets believe that the earth was flat and could be rolled up as a scroll?

Mormanity said...

Interesting that I was asked to substitute teach for Gospel Doctrine on this very lesson. My personal thoughts that might seem contrary to the manual were indeed left home, right here on this blog. That's why I posted it. I stuck with the manual surprisingly well, focusing on the application to our day and the need to prepare.

My only "suspect" comment was that "there are various ways of understanding the physical issues around this ancient event that we won't get into here - but let me say that you shouldn't get too far bent out of shape over any controversies around topic. As with the Creation, there are many things we don't know."

So, there you go.

But one day, I do expect the Sunday School manuals to be slightly updated, just as the preface to the Book of Mormon was recently updated. That's healthy progress, and I hope you won't storm out of the Church when that day occurs. A little flexibility in mental paradigms can be healthy.

Matthew said...

@ jeff,
That sounds like the best way to approach the subject in a class. It is true that whether the flood was global or local matters little for the sake of what the story of the flood means as far as preparedness goes.

@ R Gary,
This is another one of those subjects where the modern church does NOT have a clearly defined stance and the manuals merely state that a flood occurred in the same context as scripture so it is still open to interpertation. You would be just as wrong to assert that the flood 'definitely' was Global in a sunday school class as you would to assert that it was certainly local. The scriptures are not clear on this.

What is clear though is that in order for the flood to have happened God would have had to pull quite the magic show as we have zero evidence of a flood occuring. Ice cores and tree ring dating go back tens of thousands of years and show no evidence of a flood. None of the indigenous species around the world in their varied and highly specialized niches would have survived. There are also severe problems with what would happen right after the flood. lions and cheetahs both live in the serengettie where they hunt large herbivorous animals. Putting asside the ridiculous scenarios of how they would find their way back afterwards you have a serious problem. With only two of each animal the predators quickly hunt the other animals to extinction and then die of starvation. Killing and eating even one herbivorous animal causes major issues and predatory animals require a rather large intake of meat.

For those interested there's a pretty awesome write up on all the many reasons a global flood is simply not something that lines up at all with what we see around us found here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

Of course showing logical reasons for why the global flood is impossible won't stop anyone from believing it. People that believe in a global flood don't do so because it's a logical step. They do so because they have been told that it happened and they aren't going to question that no matter how well reasoned the approach.

I simply don't understand why people insist in some cases that a literal reading of the bible is required when the bible so often goes into parable. There is no reason why a person should feel like the gospel is threatened by such a silly idea as a global flood.

Eric said...

Jeff -- I think your approach ("there are various ways of understanding the physical issues around this ancient event that we won't get into here ...") was a wise one.

For myself, I have a hard time imagining why God would go so such great lengths to conceal a worldwide flood if indeed one occurred. And Genesis was never meant to be a scientific document, and I doubt that parts of it were even intended to be historical document in the modern sense of the word.

If we concern ourself too much with such matters, we are at risk of missing the points of the story. That's what we talked about when I taught the class Sunday, asking participants to look at the symbols of the story and what they might be teaching us. That was far more useful than getting bogged down in a fundamentalist Protestant reading of the text.

R. Gary said...

Jeff, I've been around since George Albert Smith was Prophet and I've seen a lot of change but I haven't left yet and don't plan to.

Matthew, the manuals contain what the First Presidency and Twelve have approved. According to the copyright page, for example, the current Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual received "English approval: 1/01". The teacher's responsibility is to present the intended meaning, not point out that the manual might be wrong. Specifically, if the manual says (which it does) "Because of the people’s wickedness, the Lord declares that he will destroy all flesh from the earth," that is what should be taught. If the manual says (and it does) "All people and creatures that are not on the ark die," that is what should be taught. How is this "open to interpretation?"

Anonymous said...

Matthew said: "Of course showing logical reasons for why the global flood is impossible won't stop anyone from believing it."

The same reasoning applies to the Resurrection, the turning of water to wine, a person walking on water, the sea parting at the command of a prophet, or an angel taking back a set of golden plates and disappearing with them into heaven.

There are plenty of logical, irrefutable reasons as to why each one of these things IS IMPOSSIBLE. Yet I'd wager that you, Matthew, completely believe - literally - in each one of the items I listed above.

Why the double standard? It appears that you are all too willing to accept what science tells you is IMPOSSIBLE for certain topics (and to advise others that the position you have chosen is unassailable), yet reject what science tells you is IMPOSSIBLE for other subjects - namely, the ones you choose to exercise faith in.

Perhaps a more intellecually honest approach might be to admit that, with respect to what is IMPOSSIBLE, that our mortal understanding is unlikely to allow us to use that word except in the most limited of circumstances. (For example, "It is impossible for a fallen man to be saved without the Atonement of Jesus Christ.")

And like it or not, R. Gary has a point - the approved, correlated materials published by the Church teach a global flood. Might they be wrong, or revised at some point in the future? Perhaps. Wouldn't shake my testimony if they were. And anyone can feel free to disagree with the Church materials. But those who assert that the Church's position on the issue is not clear, it seems to me, might be beginning to "wrest" the materials in an attempt to reconcile them with what they think science has proven to be ... "IMPOSSIBLE".

Matthew said...

@ R Gary,
Mainly because it does not specify that by 'all creatures' it doesn't mean all creatures that the noah knew of.

Again, Teaching in class that a local flood is the 'truth' would be out of bounds, but teaching that a global interpretation is the only interpretation is equally wrong.

Also, again, there is no logical reason to say that the flood was global and there have not been any current prophets that have specified things any more. There simply isn't a good reason to believe in a global flood in my mind other then just a stubborn refusal to look at things.

Matthew said...

To be completely fair, I should state that I may have worded things a bit strongly before. Granted if you have miracles in the works then you can say anything is possible. It's just the number of jumps to make a global flood fit in with the world we live in is astronomical.

R. Gary said...

Matthew, the manual says the Lord "will destroy all flesh from the earth." Are you saying that the manual must specify everything these words do NOT mean in order for them to have a plain English meaning? I think it works the other way around. If the words are not crystal clear, the manual will clarify. Otherwise the ordinary meaning of the words is what the manual intends to communicate.

Your claim that current prophets have not talked about a global flood is interesting. Apparently you did not follow Jeff's link at the very beginning his article. That web page guides you to another page, "Statements by General Authorities related to the Flood." Here is just one example from President Gordon B. Hinckley speaking in general conference two years before he died: "There was the great Flood, when waters covered the earth and when, as Peter says, only 'eight souls were saved' (1 Pet. 3:20)." Notice he said "only" eight souls. Many more than eight souls would have survived a local flood. Also notice he said the waters covered "the earth." Not the region to the north of Mesopotamia (or some other region), but "the earth."

Tom the Younger said...

I like how Jeff Lindsey handled this in his class. That seems quite appropriate. The focus in gospel classes needs to be carefully focused on the simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to apply them in ones life.

This is so very much like the controversy over where the Book of Mormon took place: all of North and South America or just Mesoamerica.

I think The Flood was local. It does not seem hard to square the scriptures with that. In fact it makes the Lord's covenants with Enoch rather more like Abraham's ( http://scriptures.lds.org/en/moses/7/51-53 ).

I have a testimony that Jesus Christ really is the Only Begotten Son of God, that he atoned for our sins, and that we like Him will one day be resurrected. I also have a testimony of Joseph Smith, that he was a prophet of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is still led by a prophet.

I have a testimony that the Bible and our latter-day scriptures are the word of God. I do not believe that I correctly understand every word of them or that they are "perfect". Fortunately, I have been blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost to help discern and apply the gospel in my life.

I have also been blessed with a brain and something of an education. I try to use it. My knowledge and my testimony do not generally conflict. On the rare occasion when they seem to be in conflict, I assume that my understanding must be imperfect for the feelings of the Spirit are unmistakable. I try to improve my understanding by study, prayer, and faith. It helps to remember that God will answer concerns and questions in His own time and in His own way.

I have faith that Adam, Enoch, and Noah were real people, but I remain a bit mystified as to where, when, and how long they lived. I have my theories, but they remain theories so far.

Matthew said...

@ R Gary,
If you look at hinkley's words he states 'as Peter says' which could or could not (depending on how you interpret it) mean that this was as far as Peter understood. If the flood were local Noah's understanding of it would have remained the same. He gathered all the animals he knew onto a boat and as far as he knew he and his family were the only ones that survived the flood.

Again, it seems to have been left up to interpretation as to whether this was meant as a literal earth covering flood, or not. How easy would it be for a prophet to give a very exact definition of what is the 'truth'? The honest answer seems to be that either it hasn't been revealed to them or they like to have things ambiguous. Unless truths can contradict one another then the idea of a global flood and all evidence that we find running contrary to it is, in my mind, a rather huge problem. Perhaps it isn't for some and I would agree that as far as anyone's salvation is concerned the issue is inconsequential. Hence I think that the type of approach that Jeff has suggested is fine. If people choose to believe that the earth was a globally flooded then so be it. It isn't my place to tell people how they should interpret scripture. Just as it is not the case of another to tell me how it is supposed to be interpreted. As for which is the best explanation that fits into my understanding it's hands down going to go to a local flood explanation as the global one just has too many issues for me.

Could God cause a global flood and then meticulously and miraculously hide any evidence whatsoever that it occurred? Sure. Does that seem like a sensible explanation (especially when he seems to use many scientific principles in our day and age with such exactness at all times) to me it does not.

Rob Osborn said...

One thing I always note is that people say that God must of hid the evidence for a global flood. This is one of those "can't see the forest because of the trees" issues. The evidence is staring us right in the face, all we have to do is open our eyes.

On every continent, in every land lays mountains upon mountains of watery laid sedimentary layers now twisted, upheaved, overturned and weathered. In fact, everywhere we look we see this sedimentary pattern in the rocks. It's not a question of "if" all of this sedimentary rock was under water, only a question of when!

Scientists make good guesses as to when this all happened. Luckily for us we have the actual historical record of precisely when it happened as recorded by Moses.

Every major mountain chain in the world was at one time level and under water, but now upthrust to magnificant heights. The BoM even speaks of great catastrophic upheavels of mountains literally overnight!

So for those who say God must have hid the evidence, please open your eyes, he hid nothing.

Anonymous said...

Matthew said "It's just the number of jumps to make a global flood fit in with the world we live in is astronomical."

Again, you appear to be measuring with a crooked ruler.

How many jumps are required to make a pot of water into a pot of wine?

How many jumps are required to make a portion of the ocean move out of the way, temporarily, so certain people can pass through it, and then have the portion of the ocean conveniently close on their enemies as they pass through?

It seems you fail to see the hubris inherent in saying "God MUST have done X, because according to my limited understanding, I appear to see some evidence for X. Thus, those who think God may have done anything besides X are [your words] 'hilarious'; not 'sane'; believers in 'silly ideas'; have a 'stubborn refusal to look at things', etc."

It appears that you are eager to draw in your mind a God who is limited in his operation to the processes you can currently comprehend - and a quick to use fairly harsh words for those who elect to exercise faith in a God who is not so limited.

Matthew said...

@ anony,
I'm not so much saying, "god HAD to do it in way x" as much as I'm saying that it's extremely strange to say that he did it via way Y when all evidence that we can find does not confirm it. If we were to find a flask that had purportedly been turned from water to wine and the said wine had been left in the flask and we analyze it and find only water, is it very sensible to assume that it was turned in to wine? In my opinion it isn't. Especially if (as is the case of the flood) you have extremely limited understanding of the situation as a whole and are basing all assumptions on someone's perceptions of an event.

If you need to know or if it helps I'm just as skeptical about any purported miracle from biblical times and am likewise skeptical of the belief in God in general. I don't purport to 'know' that he doesn't exist, but I don't have any good reasons for supposing that he does. That's just me though. I've met plenty of deeply faithful people that have the same issues with a global flood scenario.

Again, whether a member believes the flood was global or local has no bearing (as far as I'm aware) on their standing in the church or their salvation. It does however pose frustration to people that look at the earth see no sign of said event occurring and are told that they are heretical for not just swallowing it. Especially when the issue could be so easily clarified by general authorities yet has not.

Matthew said...

@ rob,
Could you point me towards the evidence that 'every mountain range was under water' at the same time as backed up by geological records? I've never heard this before.

There are plenty of other issues with the concept of a global flood because even if you can devise a way in which all that water flooded the earth and then was somehow reabsorbed by the earth (I'm not sure which theory you're thinking of and may be off on my assumption) you have a plethora of other issues with biological habitats being destroyed, animal migrations back to their niches and the insanely complex eco-systems that are so delicate. Coral reefs are threatened by Human beings to a rather large extent but we're to believe that they were at one time miles under the surface in a turbulent sea for 40 days?

More issues are expressed here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

Granted one can always say "God can do anything so your evidence means nothing!" You can't however make the statement that science and religion are in agreement on this issue because places like the discovery institute are the only ones that would make such a claim as far as I'm aware.

Doug said...

I apologize for coming to this discussion so late (I'm teaching the Noah lesson tomorrow). The comments provide some interesting speculation. In the original post, reference was made to Professor Jeffery's article in the Oct. 2004 Sunstone. This article is prefaced with a comment about a manuscript authored by two other BYU faculty members dealing with the Noachian Flood. This is the essay referred to: On Balancing Faith in Mormonism with Traditional Bible Stories: The Noachian Flood Story. Published in the 2007 issue of Dialogue, its authors are Clayton White and Mark Thomas. Quoting from the article: "This is the article mentioned at the beginning of Duane Jeffery['s article]. He describes two Brigham Young University faculty members who wrote the article and submitted it to BYUStudies. After some three years and about five major revisions to suit the editor, BYU Studies essentially accepted the article. After yet another review by another panel, the article was rejected" (refer to note 1). I think the article adds to this discussion. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting read: http://evolution-facts.org/Evolution-handbook/E-H-14a.htm. Take it, like any other piece of literature, for what it's worth.

Josh

NathanS said...

Yes, there is evidence of a global flood in both archeology and anthropology. God left plenty of evidence! As for the timing of it, of course there will be differences of opinion! I've read of a living sea creature being dated as having been dead for three thousand years! -- and of tree rings being found to relate to cycles of dry and wet periods rather than faithfully to calendar years. None of the "scientific" evidence of modern dating systems are credible with my scientific mind.
Considering the dating error of the living sea creature, how would you re-calibrate the dating schedule for the three thousand year error? Scientifically, mathematically, it can't be done because the ratio of error was an "undefined" one of 3,000/0.
All "scientific" dating systems based on comparisons of isotope concentrations are based on undefensible assumptions about source and distribution of these isotopes. Therefore, carbon 12 dating is as useless as reading tea leaves for determining ancient world history. The bible, however, is far better.

Matthew said...

NathanS,
Would you be so kind as to provide some sort of source for the claim that the noachian flood is backed up by geology/archaeology?

Your information on radiometric dating is a bit flawed I'm afraid. While is is by no means a perfect system there is much more accuracy to it then the biblical record seems to show. Carbon 14 only is used for measuring very recent (comparitively) events. On top of this scientists are very much aware of the limits and flaws of any dating measurement and keep this firmly in mind as they date objects. Aquatic creature are often highly suspect when it comes to carbon 14 since they absorb so much carbon from the water around them. To act as though experts in the field don't understand this is just silly.

Matthew said...

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dating.html#specific

Just in case anyone is intersted in understanding a bit more about what radiometric dating is and where it fits in to the scientific understanding of the age of the earth. It's a bit dense but is thorough and shows both the strong an weak points of the dating process.