One of the principle tenets of biblical creationism is the belief that God judged and destroyed the world with a global flood. For literal young earth creationists, this point is not one of any dispute, or it shouldn’t be. However, there still remains a number of varying models concerning the pre-Flood world and the mechanisms surrounding the flood. So often those prescribing to one model will become so focused on supporting that particular model that they loose sight of the importance of the Bible in the first place.
Before anyone begins to examine which model they believe to be the most reliable, they need to keep one thing at the forefront: the Bible is God’s written Word and as such is non-negotiable. We have no right to change or read into what God penned just to make Scripture fit to what we want it to say. All must keep in mind what is said about the Scriptures in 2 Timothy and Revelation;
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Rev. 22:18-19:
As for the Genesis Flood, We have the accounts found in Genesis 6-8. Many question whether or not this was a real event. If any Christian truly doubts the authenticity of the Flood as an historical event, then they need to turn to Luke 17 and read the words of Jesus when He referred to Noah as a real person, the Ark as a real boat and the Flood as a real event that destroyed the earth:
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27.
In areas where the Bible is genuinely silent, we are free to create models using our best science and theological understandings. Yet we always need to be mindful that these models are man’s ideas and theories and are always subject to question and speculation. Sadly, some well meaning creationists get so involved in their models that they start to raise them up to the same authoritative level as Scripture. This is extremely dangerous ground to tread and should be avoided at all costs, for when some new scientific discovery provides valid evidence to cause the model to be discarded, they often believe that the Bible has been disproven and needs to be discarded.
Any use of models in the support of Scripture should be closely examined to determine if they are examples of ministerial or magisterial uses of science. Ministerial models are those that support the Bible and remain faithful to it and never strive to equal or redefine it. Magisterial models are those used by biblical compromisers that use their models to redefine Scripture to mean what they want it say rather than what it actually says, thus raising it up to being ultimate truth with which to interpret Scripture, rather than the other way around. Instead of deferring to the principle of sola scriptura (Scripture alone), they follow the dangerous path of scriptura sub scientia (Scripture below science).
With these principles in place, over the next week or so, I will take a look at some popular models to determine if they are ministerial models or not. This week I will start with one pre-Flood model that has been put forth. Some creationists believe that the pre-Flood world was a wondrous paradise that was destroyed by the Flood. But is this supported or refuted by Scripture?
To begin with, the only description of a paradise prior to the Flood may have been the pre-Fall earth where there was no death, no suffering in childbirth, and no thorns or thistles. More importantly it was the only time in history that man had a perfect and open relationship with God. At the time of the Fall and the entrance of sin into the world, everything changed. God cursed the serpent, the woman, the man and the earth. This is when death, suffering in childbirth and thorns and thistles entered the picture. Adam’s sin not only destroyed the paradise of the Garden of Eden, but it affected the whole of creation as we read in Romans 8:22:
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
[Here again we have some biblical compromisers who try to make Scripture say something it doesn’t say by claiming that the Curse only affected mankind and the rest of the living world. However, they need to realize that the Greek word translated ‘creation’ in Romans 8:22 is ‘cosmos’, the same word used elsewhere to refer to the entire universe. We still use the word ‘cosmos’ today to refer to the universe.]
Before the Flood, man had a lifespan that reached into the 900+ year range. After the Flood, man’s lifespan rapidly decreased. Life span alone is not sufficient evidence to build a model of paradise upon.
Finally, when I read Genesis 6:5-8, I don’t see any indication of anything I would call paradise:
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Notice that the wickedness of man was great not just in one place but in the entire earth. Man’s thoughts and intentions were turned to sinful desires and not to God. The wickedness and evil was so great that God decided to not only wipe man off the face of the earth but animals, creeping things and birds also. The pre-Flood world had become so vile that our righteous and holy God could take no more of it.
Does this sound like a paradise to you? Hardly! Paradise was lost when Adam decided to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, not when God judged an evil and wretched world.
When I read how evil and horrible man and the earth had become, I can’t help but be so truly thankful that one man, Noah, found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Had he not, none of us would be here today.
Models can be useful tools to help us try to understand the scarred and marred world we have around us. However, we need to be so very careful to keep them at the ministerial level to support Scripture. If we build a model or look to one that someone else put forth, we need to carefully examine it closely. In the case of the model of a paradise world destroyed by the Flood, it seems that it was not done maliciously or intentionally, rather those that created the model never completely thought it through in light of what Scripture does tell us.
Author: Dr. Tas Walker
This book will answer your questions about the reality of Noah’s Flood and the Ark. Was the Ark big enough? Is there evidence that it really happened? Author Dr Tas Walker, an engineer and geologist, shows that the biblical account is thoroughly believable, and explains where you can see the evidence. The message can change your world. (High School–Adult) 32 pages.