Noahs Flood

Just two weeks prior to the release of the controversial film, Noah, starring Russell Crowe, an article published online March 12, 2014, in the scientific journal nature included findings that add fuel to the fire of one of the most controversial debates between evangelicals and skeptics: the validity of the Biblical account of the great flood. Detailed analysis of a $20 brown diamond found in a riverbed by Brazilian miners has resulted in scientists purporting that beneath the earth’s crust are quantities of water so vast that they equal or exceed the amount of water that exists in all of earth’s oceans.

 

The brown diamond, it is believed, was violently pushed to the earth’s surface during an extended period of time as a result of repeated volcanic activity. Scientists say it once resided in what is known as earth’s transition zone, an area deep in earth’s mantle region that is approximately 254 to 410 miles beneath the surface of the earth, according to nature. Scientists made this determination primarily because the diamond contains ringwoodite, a mineral that—according to the CBC News Web site—has never been found on earth, except in meteorites. The mineral can only be formed under extremely high pressures, CBC News noted, such as those found in the transition zone.

 

The nature article, which published the study titled “Hydrous mantle transition zone indicated by ringwoodite included with diamond,” referenced Graham Pearson, a professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who, along with his colleagues, analyzed the brown diamond. According to Pearson, 1.5 percent of the weight of the diamond is comprised of water molecules. A scientific calculation based on this percentage resulted in Pearson stating that the transition zone in the earth’s mantle “might have as much water as all the world's oceans put together.”

 

Comparable statements made by scientists who have arrived at similar conclusions have been well received by those who believe in the Biblical account of a worldwide flood. Debaters who support a literal translation of the Bible have long been at odds with skeptics over the water-based logistics unique to a planetary flood. When considering all of the Biblical accounts in question by skeptics, the great flood of Noah recorded in Genesis chapters 6 through 8 is perhaps the most controversial in antiquity, short of the Biblical account of creation.

 

Generally speaking, it appears that skeptics most often elect to focus on what they claim is an insufficient amount of water to completely submerge the earth. Although there are theories that suggest asteroids, comets and other celestial objects that contained water played a role in the flood, the prevailing belief is that the earth was flooded by water found below the earth’s crust, in the atmosphere surrounding the planet, and on the surface of the earth. While each of these sources were instrumental in flooding the planet, a cursory overview of Web sites makes it appear that sources of water beneath the surface typically get the short end of the stick, as skeptics tend to argue that underground sources comprise anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of the amount of water found on the surface.

 

Those who adhere to the Biblical account as historical and not a legend would likely not find it surprising that water in sufficient quantities resides deep in the earth. After all, more than half of chapter eight of Genesis is devoted to the receding waters. Upon reading we learn that the ark came to rest at a relatively high elevation five months after the 40 days of rain began. It took more than five additional months before Noah concluded that the flood waters had nearly receded. All in all, it took more than a year after the flood began for the land to dry.

 

Some researchers believe that despite the fact that it required months for the water to recede, there were likely openings in the earth’s crust to expedite the return of the waters to their subsurface home. These crevices and channels to deep subterranean locations may have remained partially accessible after the flood as a result of the earth’s violent upheaval of waters from underground volcanoes fueled by water and earth from such areas as the transition zone. As the land dried during the last two months that Noah and his family were in the ark, these avenues for expediting the receding water most likely closed.

 

The point to be made here is that the water that is currently underground must certainly exist in massive quantities, being that it took months for it to return through the gaps in the earth’s surface, and because the subterranean waters include not only the original subsurface waters but also a majority of the water that fell for 40 days from the water vapor God had concealed during creation above the firmament, as described herein.

 

Upon consideration of this highly plausible scenario, those who were previously not fully convinced about the feasibility of massive quantities of flood waters perhaps might find that they are much more likely to believe in the quantity of water scientists claim exists in the transition zone based on the calculations derived from having analyzed the brown diamond. Such convictions might possibly be reinforced when one considers that other research has been conducted, resulting in claims being made that even more water exists beneath the surface of the earth.

 

For instance, research from more than a decade ago was conducted using a unique blending of evidence and methodologies for assessing the quantity of underground water. As reported in a March, 2002, National Geographic article, Japanese scientists conducted experiments that replicated the environment and conditions deep in the earth. Using heat and pressure to produce four mineral compounds that exist in the lower mantle, the scientists succeeded in supporting their hypothesis that molten rocks at this depth contain ample quantities of water, leading them to postulate that as much as five times more water exists in earth’s mantle than in all of the oceans, lakes and rivers combined.

 

Despite such findings, individuals continue to devise formulas and garner data so as to arrive at conclusions and render opinions in accordance with the three widely accepted sources of the floodwaters. With respect to the impact of water on the earth’s surface, one can reference any of dozens of books or hundreds of Web sites to ascertain the arguments people most often address. Simply stated, opinions tend to focus primarily on the amount of water contained in the southern polar ice cap and the earth’s two ice sheets, which cover Antarctica and Greenland. Evangelicals maintain that these massive ice structures were not in existence prior to the flood due primarily to the spring-like global climate that resulted from a combination of sunlight and massive amounts of water vapor above the firmament. According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on Earth. If they both were to melt, these two ice sheets would cause the oceans to rise about 220 feet, which would flood more than five million square miles, or 8.7 percent of the earth’s current dry land surface.

 

As for whether there was a sufficient amount of atmospheric water, variances in beliefs tend to result in more varied and interesting opinions. The prevailing argument, supported by Biblical text, is that an all-knowing God placed a canopy of water above the firmament in anticipation of the flood, providing an ample supply of water to support 40 days and nights of ceaseless rain. Proponents note that this canopy was in the form of vapor, being that it was not part of the familiar hydrologic water cycle, as the earth did not experience rainfall during the antediluvian (pre-flood) era. As such, the sun could shine through the vapor, providing for photosynthesis. This vapor, in fact, was so transparent that stars were visible at night, according to the Bible. Yet it was dense enough to combine with surface and subsurface waters in achieving God’s plan to completely flood the entire earth.

 

Those who support the Biblical account may find comfort in the fact that although volumes upon volumes have been written to either defend or debunk the story of the flood, the brief yet comprehensive statement of Genesis chapter 7, verse 11, provides the faith-endowed proponent with a suitable and sufficient account of the means by which the flood accomplished God’s plan. The verse states that in addition to the floodgates of the heavens being opened (the canopy of water being unleashed), “all the springs of the great deep burst forth,” (New International Version). Or as the New Living Translation puts it, “all the underground waters erupted from the earth.”

 

It should be noted here that although the impact of waters on and above the earth are significant, crucial, and deserving of attention when considering all aspects of the flood, their influence is beyond that which we intend to discuss herein. The scope of this editorial is to provide insight—albeit limited—into the perceived implications that result from considering the correlation between the findings published in the journal nature and the fact that a worldwide flood required such vast quantities of water beneath the surface that they served to sufficiently submerge the entire planet, covering the highest peaks on earth by more than 20 feet.

 

Only God knows the means by which the earth was completely flooded, as described in the book of Genesis. As the author of both creation and the flood, God not only possesses the knowledge of what transpired, He devised His plan and created the resources for successfully carrying out that plan. And man can form opinions and make inferences in an attempt to fill in the blanks left behind by authors lacking specifics and events absent of details. But man will continue his search for evidence, the often elusive cousin of our personal beliefs, seeking to defend the accusations of skeptics who challenge the legitimacy of the events that serve in part to form the basis of our faith.

 

In the end, however, we humans remain relatively ignorant, save for the truths that God elects to reveal, which are intended to prove sufficient in validating our faith. For some of us, any additional information offered by men merely serves, or functions, as ancillary content to our core beliefs. And yet, for others of us who perhaps cannot help but ponder whether specific Biblical events are metaphorical teachings surrounded by truth, unearthed scientific findings may serve to solidify newfound beliefs in the legitimacy of such faith-challenging events as the flood of Noah.

 

In a manner that may serve to strengthen our faith, the story of the flood, it can be argued, might possibly become more real when it takes on a greater meaning, such as our believing that God’s purpose of invoking the flood was to restore the earth to its original pre-creation state, seeking to “start over” by once again concealing the land with waters that are absent of shoreline. Returning earth to its original state was an act of cleansing, for God decreed to destroy everything that was not deemed righteous, and his plan entailed destroying everything on the earth “with the earth.”

 

God cleansed the earth with water before electing to recede the waters and once again permit land to emerge, or take shape. By “once again” we are providing for an understanding of the flood with respect to its correlation with the events of creation. After all, a comprehensive review of creation offers insight into the logic behind the purpose and sequence of events that defined the flood. These two distinct but correlated events coincide with respect to God’s use of water as a catalyst for reconciling the earth to its former state and as a means for revealing the new earth by way of bringing forth dry land.

 

For instance, during the height of the flood, the earth resembled the description of our planet in its pre-creation state as described in the second verse of the Bible, where we read that “the earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters” (New Living Translation). At this point in creation God had not yet provided for the separation of space between the waters of the heavens (above the firmament) and the waters of the earth.

 

But during the Flood, when God brought forth waters from above and below, He once again provided for a holistic presentation of the waters, which were sufficient enough to cover the earth before creation as well as “baptize the earth” at the height of the flood. Following the comprehensive submersion of the planet, it was time to reveal the new earth, and to do so the waters covering the earth needed to recede.

 

Author and Christian apologist Henry M. Morris, writes that “in order to accommodate the great mass of waters and permit the land to appear again, great tectonic movements and isostatic [an equilibrium that balances land masses] adjustments would have to take place, forming the deep ocean basins and troughs and elevating the continents.” (Morris, H. M.; 1976; The Genesis record: a scientific and devotional commentary on the book of beginnings; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books). Morris, who is considered by many to be the father of modern creation science, believed that the Bible’s account of creation, with respect to the third day, resembles the account of the flood as the waters receded to expose the land.

 

In concluding his thoughts concerning the details of the third day of creation, Morris writes, “Great earth movements also got under way, in response to differential heating and other forces. Finally, surfaces of solid earth appeared above the waters and an intricate network of channels and reservoirs opened up in the crust to receive the waters retreating off the rising continents. Some of these reservoirs were open directly to the waters descending from above; others were formed as great subterranean chambers within the crust itself. All were interconnected by a complex network of tubes and waterways, so that in essence they were all ‘gathered together unto one place.’ ”

 

The wisdom amassed by Morris is the folly of many skeptics. And with faith by our side, it would appear that evangelicals have the upper hand. But that is not always the case, for the absence of faith in the lives of skeptics forces believers who defend the truth to do so on other terms, which include exploring the availability of empirical evidence, combining it with our knowledge of the Bible, and considering the implications of drawing inferences.

 

Those who desire to amass knowledge for defending the existence and the impact of subterranean floodwaters must formulate arguments that address the growing evidence for massive cavernous regions within earth’s mantle that contain sufficient quantities of water, as well as become educated with respect to the potential for violent, widespread plate-tectonic activity that would have drastically altered land formations during the period of the flood.

 

One must fully understand as well that the floodwaters served multiple roles with respect to destruction, rearrangement, cleansing, and preservation. The earth-altering, geological repercussions were in part due to the result of the impact of millions of cubic square miles of elevating, swirling, accelerating and receding water that altered the face of the earth, transforming it over a period of several months from a relatively smooth surface to one that was replete with deep canyons and large mountain ranges. Those adhering to a literal interpretation of the Bible will perhaps cite Psalm 104, verses 5 through 9 in support of this account. Verse 8 in particular states that “Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed” (New Living Translation).

 

And that brings us back to the brown diamond and how calculations pertaining to the water it holds offer what may be the most scientifically feasible and enticing evidence to date for defending the existence of massive quantities of subsurface water. From this evidence we can assess the implications on the changes to earth’s structure at the time of the flood. And because it is very likely that the subterranean location of the floodwaters is the same general location as the newly discovered waters, the geological activity of the present age can help explain the activity during the era of the flood.

 

In fact, according to various experts on the great flood and creation, these recent findings very likely hold clues that could explain similarities between the impact of earth-shattering seismic activity during the flood and the more subdued but related activity of the present age. In other words, the subsurface activity that is responsible for modern earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions is the same activity, albeit on a massively larger scale, that God invoked during the flood to achieve planetary reconstruction.

 

In their highly acclaimed book, The Genesis Flood (Whitcomb, J. C. and Morris, H. M.; 1961; The Genesis Flood: the Biblical record and its scientific implications; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris write that “volcanic activity was no doubt prevalent during the flood,” adding that “there must also have been great earthquakes and tsunamis generated throughout the world.” The writers go on to say “these eruptions and waves would have augmented the flood waters as well as accomplished great volumes of geologic work directly.”

 

With the receding waters having since returned to their place of origin, the subterranean earth components continue today to function in a way that is a microcosm of the extremely violent interaction between tectonic plates during the flood, providing insight into how God used the movement of water and earth, above and below the surface, to achieve specific geological outcomes.

 

Whitcomb and Morris write that “great volcanic explosions and eruptions are clearly implied in the statement that ‘all the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up.’ This must mean that great quantities of liquids, perhaps liquid rocks or magmas, as well as water (probably steam), had been confined under great pressure below the surface rock structure of the earth since the time of its formation and that this mass now burst forth through great fountains, probably both on the lands and under the seas.”

 

In other words, the existence of water in the transition zone provides for similar, but much less extensive and damaging, tectonic behavior. After all, logic dictates that the interactive relationship between water and tectonic plates hasn’t changed since the time of the flood, with water serving as the lubricating agent that augments what today are relatively small and infrequent movements of the plates. As for the great pressure that confined the water and elements, it was once for all time unleashed and dispersed during the flood, resulting in the present land mass formations, such as mountains and canyons, and the continents that support and divide them.

 

Those who support the flood’s upheaval of the earth, which gave way to the “broken” pieces of earth’s crust, will likely easily recognize how the corresponding activity of volcanoes were instrumental in bringing the brown diamond to the planet’s surface. Pearson, one of the lead scientists examining the brown diamond, makes an interesting point about the diamond and its mode of transportation by stating that there is a secondary water cycle unlike the common hydrologic water cycle that describes the means by which water changes form and location as it moves through a cycle that impacts the earth’s surface and atmosphere. The water cycle Pearson references is one in which water cycles its way between the surface and the depths, such as the transition zone.

 

The March 12, 2014, online issue of the publication CBC News cites Pearson as saying that it only makes sense to believe that the earth’s water makes underground voyages, as evidenced by the fact that huge amounts of water from the depths of the earth are relentlessly being forced to the surface and expelled by volcanoes into the oceans and earth’s atmosphere.

 

“If [the underground water] weren’t replenished, then the interior of the Earth would just become a dry desert,” Pearson said. “So it’s part of what we call the water cycle,” he added, noting that water weakens rocks, which causes plates to move, while also lowering the melting point of rock, thereby dictating the emergence and locations of earth’s volcanoes.

 

In addition to supporting the claim of massive quantities of underground water, the brown diamond serves to add credibility to the claim of the underground water cycle. Its appearance and structure dictate that it originated from a location beneath the surface that is both wet and hot and under intense pressure—the home of tectonic plates and the prevalent origination site of earthquakes. A comprehensive evaluation and analysis of the diamond provides evidence of the current state of the transition zone, where water flows through ducts within the earth, not just because it is there, but because it needs to be there for the earth to function.

 

It appears that the more we learn about the earth as it appears today, the more we are able to combine evidence, faith, and logic to understand the level of activity above and below the surface that ensued when God unleashed the resources he had prepared and contained in advance, using the earth itself to destroy the world, amassing water from multiple sources to cleanse the world, and invoking His power to rebuild the world.

 

Additional content concerning the floodwaters and just about every topic assembled concerning the flood, backed by years of scientific research, Biblical records, and logical inferences, are included in Whitcomb’s and Morris’ book, The Genesis Flood, which arguably provides the most comprehensive and scientifically plausible explanations for how the flood of the Bible altered the appearance of the earth—above and below the surface.

 

The credentials of Whitcomb and Morris, with respect to their knowledge of Bible creationism and the universality of the flood, are staggering. Espousing unparalleled insight and acclaim, these two authors present bold and comprehensive research that provides a refreshing look into the great deluge during the days of Noah, stressing how Biblical reasoning explains the geologic and hydrologic catastrophes invoked by the flood.

 

Whitcomb and Morris consider the workings of God, as well as the impact of time and geology to provide sound arguments for supporting the flood, offering specific insight into those areas often ventured into by skeptics. In accordance with the book’s subtitle, The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, these two scholars provide legitimate inferences to explain the tremendous amount of erosion from rainfall, how the clouds are insufficient sources of the deluge rains, the rationale behind enlarged ocean basins, the impact of volcanic and seismic upheavals, the existence of unprecedented sedimentary activity, and how the flood created ideal conditions for the extensive formation of fossils.

 

Finally, it’s noteworthy to mention that the massive seismic activity that Whitcomb and Morris reference offers convincing dialogue for responding to one of the most targeted issues by skeptics with respect to the floodwaters: the capacity of water required to submerge Mount Everest by more than 20 feet. These acclaimed scholars explain how the seismic upheavals they support give credence to the assertion that the violent seismic and tectonic activity, when combined with the fact that nearly all of the great mountains of the world have been found to have fossils near their summits, indicates strongly that the existence of numerous and massive mountains on earth can only be explained as having all been uplifted relatively recently and essentially simultaneously. “Surely this fact,” they write, “accords well with the Biblical statements.”