Biblical creationists by definition believe in a globe-covering flood. But how this occurred has been a matter of intense debate within the creationist geologist community. Some general observations can be made from a theological, philosophic and scientific perspective.
Hold the Bible strongly; hold models loosely
Figure 1. Calculated vertical temperature profile for a vapour canopy model of the earth’s atmosphere compared with the temperature profile today (after Rush and Vardiman, ref. 61). Increased water in the canopy increases the surface temperature of the earth limiting the amount of precipitable water that can be feasibly stored.
The Bible, as God’s written word, should be non-negotiable. Its teachings are propositional truth, and must be the foundation for all our teachings, including about the Flood. This applies not only to explicit statements, but to anything logically deducible from these statements.1 In fact, Jesus Himself endorsed the Flood as a real event, the Ark as a real ship, and Noah as a real person (Luke 17:26–27), so how can any of His professing followers deny it?
But where the Bible is genuinely silent, we are free to use science to help build models to help elucidate the clear teachings of Scripture. But these models are just man-made—they must never be given the same authority as Scripture. In any case, science is always changing, so being married to a model today will probably result in being widowed tomorrow. Worse, if the Bible is too tied up with a model later discarded, many will think that the Bible itself was refuted (cf. the church’s adoption of Aristotelian cosmology v Galileo,2,3).
Model-building should be an example of the ministerial use of science. In contrast, the magisterial use of science, practised by all compromisers on Genesis, overrules the clear teaching of the Bible to come up with a meaning inconsistent with sound hermeneutics. Instead of the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), this is Scriptura sub scientia (Scripture below science).4 With these principles, some popular ideas can be examined.
Many creationist works from a few decades ago portrayed the antediluvian world as a paradise, which was horribly spoiled at the Flood. But this is not taught in Scripture. Furthermore, it obscures the teaching that the big spoiling of paradise occurred at the Fall.5 This was the time that death, childbirth pain, and thorns and thistles were introduced, when Adam and Eve were tossed out of the Edenic paradise, and when the whole creation started groaning in pain.6
The only genuinely biblical evidence adduced for a pre-Flood paradise is that people before the Flood lived for over 900 years, while lifespans dropped exponentially after that. Yet Noah’s lifespan wasn’t shortened despite spending the last third of his life in the alleged ruined environment. Rather, in the 1990s, it was proposed that the decline in lifespans had genetic causes.7 Recent advanced computer programs vindicate this proposal, showing that an exponential decline of lifespans fits well with accumulating mutations after the catastrophic population bottleneck at the Flood.8-11….
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