Was there a Global Flood like in the film Noah? The Impossible Journey of the Ark

This is a continuation of Does it Float? The Biblical Text. There is also a third part Does it Float? Theology, History, Science

At the start of this post, I will remind my readers that I have no evil intentions. The most prominent Christian Apologist C.S. Lewis publicly wrote that he did not believe in a global flood, and yet was immensely beneficial Christianity. I precede with this because the following section is where a Biblical fundamentalist (especially young earth creationists) may get angry. On the one hand, they argue that the story should be read as modern scientific-historic narrative, and indeed they do this. One the other hand, when one actually reads it this way, with a scientific mindset, there are lots of absurdities. At this point the average fundamentalist shows that they don’t actually want you to read the text so specifically and so literally, but just take it on faith.

I have come to the conclusion that for this story to have happened, as read by fundamentalists or creationists, it would require a hundred additional miracles that are more paradoxical than the flood itself, none of which are in the story. I believe any of these miracles could have happened, but I don’t think they did. To me it’s more likely that the text was not meant to be read in such a way.

Many people take the Bible “literally” but they don’t take it seriously, they don’t actually think and imagine every detail. Below are the types of questions that come to mind when one reads it literally and seriously. Again, if you are a fundamentalist, these questions will be upsetting. However, consider that a (far smaller but) similar list of questions that strongly argue against a global flood is published in the Genesis Commentary by the great Old Testament Professor Dr. John Walton who taught at Moody Bible Institute for 20 years and was chairman of the Evangelical Theological Society!

Building the ark

Those who treat read the narrative with scientific literalism argue that the size of the ark was “450 feet long, 45 feet high, and 75 feet wide.” (1). However, few of them understand the challenges such a design poses.

The Wyoming, often argued to be the the longest wood ship ever built (with only a few other competitors in the same size range.) Source (2):

  • Arguably the longest wooden ship ever built, the Wyoming, at the height of 20th century shipbuilding was shorter than the ark.The ship was 450ft from the tip of the Jib-boom (a wooden beam sticking out in the front to hold the sails.) However the deck/hull (or actual box-shape of the ship, not including beams sticking out) was only 350ft long. In addition it was 50 ft wide and 33 feet tall. (3, 4) That means the hull of the longest wooden ship ever made, manufactured by hundreds of workers in a modern shipbuilding yard was 350ft x 50ft x 33ft while the Ark, made by a small crew of untrained and untooled men was 450ft x 75ft x 45ft. This seems strange.
  • The Wyoming, like any other wood ships over 300ft was not seaworthy without steel braces and water pumps. Before iron reinforcements, shipbuilders only made ships under 300 feet. Every wooden ship made, over 300ft, suffered massive structural integrity issues, and was reinforced with metal, in the end many were decommissioned because of their instability, then all were replaced with ships made of metal. (5, 6, 7, 8) Wooden ships this large “were unsuccessful” and “required internal iron strapping to support the hull.” (9) Yet the Ark, though longer, wider, and taller, and without steel braces lived through the largest storm ever devised? Even the real life replica of the ark that was recently built by a Dutch creationist had to be built on a “steel frame” and it was not built to withstand a storm. (10)
  • The Wyoming sank in a storm because she leaked due to her size: Shipbuilders had “stiffened her with internal steel bracing, but she was too big. She still bent and twisted at sea. Gaps opened in her planking and let water in. Normally her pumps could handle the leakage, but the Pollock Rip storm was too much. She sank, taking thirteen sailors down with her.“ (11)  Thus one of the largest wooden ships ever made, still having a hull almost 100 feet smaller than the ark, 90 steel braces, and a water pump to expel water that constantly leaded in, sank because there was a large storm. Yet, the Ark, much larger, without the steel braces, without a water pump, lasted in the largest storm ever conceived?
  • The tools available in the Bronze age severely limited shipbuilding to small vessels. According to fundamentalists, the Ark was finished in the year 2348 BC. (12) It is well agreed that the age of iron working began about a thousand years later (13), and the tools available in the copper age were rather rudimentary. Because of this lack of good quality tools and methods, the ancients who lived in the same age as Noah had were able to make only small crude ships. (14, 15, 16, 17) It’s hard to believe Noah built a wooden ship that was significantly larger than every single wooden ship in all of human history, in an age where his contemporaries only had the tools to make small boats. Certainly God could have miraculously given him the tools, but then, God could have given him the ship just as well.
  • The blueprints missed the most important part, the internal specifications: Noah only received the external dimensions (the story only says “build rooms” regarding the inside) but had no way of knowing how many animals would come, what their sizes were, what kind of food storage compartments to make, and etc. The Ark was very small for its huge task, and in order to be maximally efficient, every internal room would have to be just the right size, not too large, and not too small. If he made too many large rooms (to fit large animals like elephants) then he would quickly run out of space. If he made too few large rooms the large beasts would not make it inside and their species would die out. (Is this what happened to dinosaurs?) The point is, Noah would need to know exactly how many animals are coming, their exacts sizes, before making his rooms and crafting thousands of perfectly sized animal cages.
  • Each animal requires very special environmental concerns: Noah also had no information about the design requirements for each animals habitat. The problems are legion: feeding and watering troughs need to be the correct height for easy access but not on the floor where they will get filthy; the cages for horned animals must have bars spaced properly to prevent their horns from getting stuck, while rhinos require round “bomas” for the same reason; a heavy leather body sling is “indispensable” for transporting giraffes; primates require tamper-proof locks on their doors; perches must be the correct diameter for each particular bird’s foot . Even the flooring is important, for, if it is too hard, hooves may be injured, if too soft, they may grow too quickly and permanently damage ankles; rats will suffer decubitus (ulcers) with improper floors, and ungulates must have a cleated surface or they will slip and fall ” (18)

Loading the ark

I once played a Nintendo video game called “Noahs Ark” and in this game the object was to run around and pick up animals to load onto the ark. The game was insanely difficult and the animals would often elude me, perhaps this is as difficult as it would have been for Noah?

  • How did hundreds of species distinctly unique to their environment travel to the Ark? Consider polar bears and penguins from the south pole; kangaroos, koalas, from Australia; anacondas and poison dart frogs from South America. How could these animals cross the oceans to get to the Ark? How could they survive the journey through a vast array of climates? How could the Lemurs from the Island of Madagascar travel across the water and then the vast African desert to reach Noah? These animals only survive in their own natural habitats. Did the heat loving scorpions of North American deserts really survive the cold swim in the Atlantic ocean on their way to Mesopotamia?
  • How did predatory animals not eat their defenseless travelers? Imagine that two very slow sloths (who managed to swim from Central America ) are lumbering towards the Ark. Next imagine a pair of hungry lions who just walked from Africa sees these sloths and voila, lunch is served. Consider that each animal eaten by the hundreds of predators would instantly become extinct. The only possible solution here, for creationists/fundamentalists is to say there was a supernatural miracle that somehow rewired animal psychology. How? For how long? Was it rewired after? Questions like these are many, answers are nonexistent.
  • What about animals that don’t have a male and female? This appears to show a biological lack of knowledge on Gods part (I believe God by definition knows all things, but it is not presented this way in the story). The command requires animals of two genders, male and female, however there are many hermaphroditic animals that have only one sex, for example worms, bryzoans, tremadotes, snails, slugs, & barnacles. (19) Also consider that things like gonochorism (20) and asexual reproduction also again don’t fit the “two sexes” command. (21) This shows the passage in question is not very scientifically accurate.
  • What about animals that need a hive to survive? Other animals require a hive and numerous castes in order to reproduce rather than a male and female. For example ants have a queen, soldiers, and workers. Termites require a queen, king, soldiers, and workers. (22) If one takes only two sexes of an ant or termite the colony will not survive. Noah would have to take whole colony of termites to ensure they survived, and yet can you imagine the danger of a colony of termites on a giant wood boat? (Termites eat wood)
  • How did he gather up enough food for all the animals in the world? Consider that Noah was not a biologist, he did not know of the wildly diverse food requirements of all the animals in the world. He didn’t even know which animals were coming until they came, or how many species would come. Almost all of the food eaten by animals is fresh, and cannot be preserved, and in the ancient world, there were very few preservatives (salt or drying). Think of a wedding that you recently attended that had a hundred people, did you see the large amount of food and how much storage it requires? And that is for 100 people for one meal, imagine how much food a 100 people would eat in one year? (Average person eats 5lb a day, so about 185,000lb of solid food, not including liquids). Noah would have to gather millions of pounds of dry food. He would have to kill tens/hundreds of thousands of animals, skin them, and salt/dry their meats just to make dry jerky for the carnivores on-board.
  • How did he load up food and water for all the species in the world? He would need millions of pounds of food on the Ark. He would also need to load up enough water to last one (or seven pairs) of every kind of animal in existence. Consider that a pair of elephants in captivity daily consumes 220lb of food and drinks 880lb of water (23) a total daily weight of 1100lb. Also most creationists say Noah was on the ark for 370 days. (24) That means just the two elephants required over 400,000 pounds (200 tons) of water/food for the journey. As a comparison, consider that the Wyoming allowed a max cargo of 3,000 tons (25), while the Ark would require 200 tons just for elephants food/water alone. (And another 200 for the hippos and 200 more for the rhinos, and don’t even get me started on the Tyrannosaurus Rex).
  • How could they have loaded so many animals in so short a time? Next consider that each animal was to have its own distinct area, some form or a cage or compartment. (The animals could not all share one compartment, for one small wave would push everyone into a corner and they would be crushed, and the Ark would flip). Thus each animal had to be walked to exactly the right place on the Ark, the Elephants must be led to the lower level to their own cage, the small monkeys walked up the stairs to the third level, the cage closed, and etc. While the real number of current animal species is 8.7 million (26) creationists often say that a far smaller number were taken on board the ark, and later evolved into today’s 8.7 million species (yes, you read that right, creationists believe in superfast-mega-“microevolution” that is way faster than scientific macroevolution, but only to explain away their problems). Let’s humor a very miniscule number, even though it’s completely unreal.
Time Amount Loading per minute
Consider Noah had 7 days to load the Ark. (Gen 7:2-4) Let’s give his family 8 hours per day to sleep, use the bathroom, dress, rest, prepare and eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. Let’s pretend people can work for 16 hrs a day (twice an 8hr workday) and not get tired and maintain efficiency.7 days x 16 hours x 60 minutes = 6720 minutes7 days x 16 hrs x 8 people = 896 manhours Let’s take an absurd low number number like 16,000 “kinds.”All birds and clean animals were brought by sevens. There are 18,000 species, 2800 genera of birds (27), if we skip individual species and just look at genera, that makes:2800 genera of birds x 2 (male/female) x 7 (pairs) = 39340 birds.Let’s be generous, and cut down birds by half and say the total of other clean animals amounts to 1,000 total. That means (13,200 land animals x 2) + (20,000 birds) + (1,000 extra clean animals) = 47,400 animals.Let’s be extra generous, and round it down to 47,000 47,000 / 6720 minutes = 7 animals loaded per minute by Noah’s family.47,000 / 896 manhrs = 52 animals that must be loaded by each person every hour.
  • These numbers are mostly to help us understand the vastness of what we are talking about. Anyone who has seen a small herd of cows slowly lumbering across the road as the shepherd pushed them across knows it is impossible to do this. To hourly relocate and settle in 47 animals to 23 different locations, at ranges of 500ft each (remember the ark is 450x75x45ft) is nothing short of a miracle. Consider that to simply walk back and forth alongside the ark twelve times is already over a mile (this ignores walking its width and the height of three flights of stairs). The point is, even if we fudge the numbers to delete 99% of the current living species in the world, overwork Noah’s family to sleepless exhaustion, keep rounding down, we are still left with a situation that can only have happened one way: a supernatural miracle. However, the text excludes this because God commands Noah to do it himself.
  • How could they have fit all the animals on a ship half the size of the Titanic? Consider modern seafaring, ships like the Titanic (which by the way was steel and still sank, without the world’s largest storm involved) are much larger than the Ark. The Titanic, being larger, is only equipped for a small amount of passengers and food enough for a short trip. The fundamentalists argue that the Ark was much smaller, but had the capacity to fit every single type of animal, including food and water, for over a year’s journey? Does that not sound suspicious? I suppose it feels possible if you think about literally stacking all the animals together like sardines in a can, but then the animals would simply die of suffocation. This problem is made much greater when one considers millions of other animals found fossilized.

  • How could they have fit all the millions of species not alive today but that we find in fossils? The calculations I made in the previous point were completely bogus (likewise any creationist calculation that takes a smaller number of animals is far worse off) because we are only looking at animal species that are alive today. Yet, if we look at the amount of fossil evidence, we find that today’s 8.7 million species include only 1% of the species that have ever lived! (28) Creationists say these millions of species of fossils are from the flood, which would mean one pair must have been on the ark. If the creationist math says only 1% of the species alive today were on the ark (in a less evolved form), it only accounts for 1%  out of 1% of the animal species that have existed. It would mean they are reducing all the species in the world to 0.01% and it still doesn’t work. If we include these fossils we are dealing with huge creatures that would have overwhelmed the Ark. Not all birds are tiny, for example, and did Noah take seven pairs of the 5ft tall Patagornithinae and the 9ft tall Phorusrhacidae (“terror birds”) of the ancient Amazon? (29)

Living on the ark

Once everyone is finally loaded, surviving the ark becomes an even harder endeavor.

  • How did the ark survive waves hundreds of feet high? Some of the best ships created by modern manufacturing methods have been lost to large waves. This includes ships made of steel, with automatic pumps, multiple layers of hull, leak containment, and etc. Yet, upon impact with a large wave, these ships sink. There are reports that 200 large ships, over 600ft in size, were lost to rogue waves. (30) Creationist write that the flood was powerful enough to produce massive geological formations like the grand canyon (they say the flood was so powerful it cut that massive canyon out of the rock!) They say it caused storms “beside which the explosion of the largest hydrogen bomb, or of hundreds of such bombs, becomes insignificant!” (31) Yet while 200 advanced ships have sunk in smaller waves, the ancient ark survived a much larger storm with waves caused by a greater physical force than hundreds of hydrogen bombs?
  • How did 8 people manage to feed and water tens of thousands of animals? In recent years technological improvements in farming have created “meat factories” where a large amount of animals in a short amount of time can be fed using machinery, tractors, trucks, troughs, water pipes, and more. However, to conduct this feat in a multilevel wooden ship built with bronze age tools is inconceivable. We have already seen that a pair of elephants would require 1100 lb of food and water each day. If every animal needed an average of 5lb of nourishment that still requires a daily movement a quarter of a million of pounds of food and water. This is especially difficult for the first 40 day of rain/storm where the ship is being tossed in every direction and food/water is being spilled out of every trough or bucket.
  • How did everyone stay healthy or alive without fresh food for a year?  History records of sea travel during the last few centuries show that sailors often became very sick (and some died) during long voyages because of the lack of fresh food. Scurvy was very common due to vitamin C deficiency, because sailors did not have fresh fruits for a few months. It only takes four weeks for scurvy to develop. (32) Because of spoilage, the type of food brought on sea voyages included salted/dried meats, vegetables pickled in glass jars, and hard breads/crackers. Even this food always spoiled after a few months and sailors would have to pick maggots out of their crackers. This type of diet caused sickness in the crew, yet this is the only diet the Ark would have served (minus the pickled vegetables, there were no glass jars in Noah’s time). Besides the danger to humans, many animals cannot survive long without fresh food. And yet everyone on the ark was healthy after a year without fresh food?
  • How did they handle biological waste and excrement on the ark? A standard cow weighs 1,400 pounds, and generally most animals produce 40-80 pounds of manure per 1000 pound of weight. (33) That means the 14 clean cows on the ark would have produced between 800 to 1600 pounds of manure every day. Even if we massively round down to an average of 1 pound of manure per animal that would leave us with 47,000 pounds of manure every day! This is not a problem for farmers because the manure is good fertilizer in a field, but in a crowded deck of a small ship? Massive problems, from the smell to disease. If you have ever been frustrated with sticky bird droppings on your windshield, imagine having thousands of birds in a large barn, doing this every single day!
  • How did they not drown in the urine on the floor? A standard cow urinates about 6.6 gallons of urine every day, this amounts to about 40-60 lb. (34) Now consider the fourteen cows on the ark, would daily produce 92 gallons of urine that would instantly seep to the bottom of the boat. And that is only from the 14 cows, if we average the numbers to one gallon per land animal (excluding birds) that still leaves tens of thousands of gallons of urine every single day. Again, this is not a problem if these animals are in the field, but cramped in a small ship, this would be disastrous. How did the occupants of the ark not drown in their own urine? Did each person collect and dump out two thousand gallons of animal urine every day?
  • How did they survive the smell of the world largest, most cramped bathroom? The narrative says after 40 days “Noah opened a window” (Gen 8:6) and certainly if the world’s largest storm was raging outside, one would want to keep the windows sealed to prevent leakage. However, this means for 40 days manure and urine has been piling up (12,000 gal x 40 days = half a million gallons of urine; 47,000 lbs x 40 days = 1.88 million pounds of manure). How in the world is anyone supposed to have survived such a voyage? (Let’s not even consider the amount of oxygen used up by such cramped compartments and the stuffy air). Also how did anyone deal with the deadly toxicity of methane occurs when manure is contained in a barn rather than being outside? People have died from concentrated methane when in small spaces with cow manure. (35)
  • How did they survive a year in complete total darkness? How would it be possible to feed tens of thousands of animals in pure darkness? How could the animals not panic by being immersed in pure darkness? Consider that Noah only opened a window on the 40th day (Gen 8:6), and the light from the top window wouldn’t reach the lowest level of the ship anyhow. Consider that the Ark was in an age before glass (to make windows or oil lamps). The text speaks of no other windows, nor would they be physically possible because they were in the world’s largest storm and needed to keep the ship airtight, and skylights/windows near the top would let in severe rain, while high waves would seep through side windows/portholes. If an open flame were lit, not only would it be a fire hazard on a wooden ship, but the smoke would have nowhere to go, it would lead to inhalation poisoning. The best fundamentalist answer, literally, is that “maybe” Noah could have taken some kind of mythical gems that stay lit up for a year, of course such gems don’t actually exist, but “maybe” they did back then. (36)
  • How many species died on the ark and became ultimately extinct? The only thing that can come even remotely close to resembling the conditions on the ark would be the transatlantic slave trade. Ethnic Africans were also packed very closely together in small quarters. The ships were only half or a quarter the size of the ark, and carried a few hundred slaves each. As a result an average of 15% of the slaves would not survive these voyages, which only averaged a few months, not a whole year. (31) However, when all the earths species are cramped into a small space for a whole year, not even we are to believe that not even one species died?
  • How did the insects survive except by harassing the animals on the ark? One group not often discussed by creationists is the insect population. There are over one million different insect species! (37) A historical-scientific reading of this narrative says that nothing outside of the Ark survived (Gen. 7:21-23). This means that any insect not onboard the ark would be dead. They must have been on the ark! Can you imagine a ship with every single species or variety of insects? Even if creationists take the 1,000,000 species of insects today and reduce it to 10% or 100,000 species, can you imagine living on a ship with over a 100,000 insects? From wasps to mosquitos to ticks to lice to black widow spiders?
  • How did the insects who have a lifespan of only days or months survive a year on the ark? Consider that many insects live very short lives. There are 2,500 different species of Mayfly, all of them have a life span of about one day. (38) Western honey bees live an average of 36 days (39) Many other species die in less than one year. What of these types of insects? The only way for them to survive is to reproduce. Thus because they exist today, the creationist must admit insects reproduced on the Ark, and that allows for the worst infestation in history. A colony of fleas would be able to quickly infest every living creature on board, creating the worst possible year long journey.
  • How did the all the parasites survive the flood? Again, recall that all land creatures not on the ark died. (Gen. 7:21-23) Yet today, there are tens of thousands of species of parasites, from fleas that attack your cat to worms that live in the human body. Some of these cause discomfort, others blindness and death. For these worms and parasites to survive the flood, every single human and animal would have been infested with some ten or twenty different parasites. In many cases, this journey would not be survivable.
  • How did all disease causing microorganisms survive? Today there are hundreds of deadly diseases which are caused by small organisms. These organisms quickly die if not living in a human host (they certainly could not have survived a year in the open ocean). Here is the fundamentalists dilemma. The only way these diseases could have survived is by hitching a ride onboard a human being in the ark (yet these diseases kill within a matter of months). Today there are hundreds of deadly diseases from smallpox to bubonic plague, so someone on the Ark must have carried these diseases for them to survive.

Disembarking from the ark

Finally, once the journey is complete, it seems all the problems are done with. Except, many more arise.

  • Why did the famished tigers not eat the lambs upon disembarking? The carnivores on the ark had not eaten fresh meat for a year but after they disembarked from a cramped smelly ship, they encountered the world’s largest buffet. What stopped them from eating all the other animals?  (Of course there is never an explanation as to how all the carnivores in the world managed to not eat the animals during the travel, boarding, or life on the ark in the first place.)  If you are a young earth creationist, and say there were dinosaurs on the ark, this question becomes even more awkward. Why did the T-rex that got off the ark not eat the hundreds of lamb, cattle, and deer, walking alongside?
  • How long did this peace between carnivores and herbivores last? If the tiger was not allowed to eat the parents, could he eat their child? At what point was it fine for the carnivores to eat the children of the animals that disembarked? When did they regain these predatory abilities and tendencies? Who told them it was not okay? What if two raccoons had two children and then the parents died, then a tiger ate one of the children, would the whole raccoon species be extinct? How many generations was this? Did it instantly change once all animals had more than a hundred descendants? What if a hundred descendants of the wolves, ate all 100 descendants of the deer, would all deer go extinct? The repopulation of the world’s species from two pairs is one of the most bizarre scenarios in existence.
  • How did the animals know where to go and where to live? Different animals require different habitats to survive. Never mind the climate problem within the ark, where the coldblooded lizards of the desert and the furry polar bear of the artic coexisted ina medium temperature, but afterwards, how did they know where to go? If you take two penguin and put them in the middle of Turkey, will they really find their way to Antarctica? What about two kangaroos, will they know exactly where Australia is? What made the Lemurs pick the island of Madagascar and no other place on the earth?
  • How did the animals safely make their way down the top of the highest local mountain peak? The narrative says Noah came to rest on the top of a mountain (Gen 8:4), yet for two more months the tops of mountain tops were not visible. (Gen 8:5) This means the Ark landed at the top of the highest mountain that was visible in the whole area. How did all of these animals travel down the rocky mountain? Some, the tree dwelling sloths, eyeless cavernicoles, tropical snails, the legless caecilians of Seychelles do not have the anatomy to descend downhill on rock. (40) Not to mention the fact that human climbers who reach the tops of mountains cannot do so without oxygen tanks because the air is so thin at such a height.
  • How were the animals able to travel through impassable terrain? Speaking of the Kangaroos, how in the world did they swim across thousands upon thousands miles of open ocean to find Australia? How did all the snakes that are only found in South America slither their way across the Atlantic? There are many animals that are very unique to the islands (they are called endemic species) on which they live, how did they all get there? New Zealand’s islands boast many species that are not found in any other palace on the planet, how did they get there? (41) There are hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of these endemic species that all live in a very closed off environment, and nowhere else on the earth. (42) How did they get there?
  • What did the carnivores eat once they came to their destination? Imagine a lion, he has finally traveled to the African safari, except for the plains are empty, there is no grass, and the only other animals are very rare, and cannot be eaten because their species will become extinct. What does the lion eat? Some creationists have postulated that the bodies of animals that died in the flood would be available for food. No such luck, a study by Scientific American showed that corpses are completely skeletonized after three months being in the ocean. (43) In any case, creationists already say fossils are a direct result of the flood, so how can they claim that animals become rocky fossils and fleshy post-flood snacks at the same time? Another creationist speculation is that perhaps some fish were left on the land after the waters receded, but the text says they spent two months onboard the ark after the waters receded off the surface, and before they got off (Gen 8:13-15). Thus such fish would be completely decomposed by then. (If you don’t believe me, buy a fish, leave it in the backyard for two months, and then try to eat it.)
  • What did the herbivores eat after arriving to their destination? Let’s pretend there was no difficulty with the carnivores, perhaps they could eat the fossilized skeletal remains of the dead animals of the flood. What about herbivores? A Koala cannot eat the decomposed bones other animals, or even fresh meat. In fact, it can only eat one thing, Eucalyptus plants. (44). The plants before the flood were certainly uprooted and destroyed by the Grand-Canyon-causing torrents of water. But even if we pretended they were not, submerging any land based plant for a year with no sunlight, in saltwater will utterly destroy it. So essentially the herbivores were in the middle of a devastated, arid, barren, post apocalyptic wasteland with nothing to eat.
  • How could an olive leaf have grown back right after the flood? The story tells us a dove found an olive branch as soon as the water receded. The first time the dove went out, it found nothing, and voila seven days later an olive leaf. Ask yourself, how is it that a flood which tore a hole called the Grand Canyon and fossilized millions of dinosaurs and trees under hundreds of feet/layers of earth, left an olive tree unharmed? Creationists say the flood had a force greater than “hundreds of hydrogen bombs,” remember? To make matters worse, even if we ignore all of that, the flood purportedly covered all of the mountains for close to 7 months (Gen 8:4) and took another two months for the waters to fully recede off the face of the earth. There is no way land trees can survive under water for so long (especially is the water was a high as mountains -no light/immense water pressure), it’s completely preposterous. The olive tree ig.s one of the easiest to damage with overwaterin Modern day olive tree growers are extremely worried of short hurricane floods saying “the [olive] trees should survive as long as the water is moving and passes quickly but if water is sitting around it will lose oxygen and the trees will die.” (45) A seed floating on the top of the water (happily surviving forces stronger than hundreds of hydrogen bombs) would not have time to grow into a blossoming tree, in addition the seed would quickly lose its viability and effectiveness (46). This is why the olive branch serves as evidence of (a) the mythical aspect of the story or (b) evidence this was a local flood.
  • How did the worlds trees, grasses, and plants become repopulated? Generally speaking creationists like to say that Noah took with him hundreds of seeds for various plants. Does anyone truly consider how ridiculous this is? Did Noah travel to the African safari and plant grass? Did he travel to North America to plant the evergreen forests? To South America to plant the jungles? Or perhaps the seeds could have truly survived being underwater in a cataclysm that creationists say was immensely more powerful than many hydrogen bombs? Can the seeds have survived in the same raging torrents of water that creationists say made a giant gash in rock we call the Grand Canyon? The same storm that made the hundreds of feet of geologic layers and fossilized the animals and plants therein? Trees were fossilized under many layers of sedimentary rock but the seeds survived and replanted? On top of that, many seeds quickly lose their viability even in small, short, local floods lasting mere weeks. (47) It is far easier for me to believe that God bodily came down and replanted everything, than these answers creationists offer.

Continued in Part 3

Questions like these are plentiful, and while there are indeed published attempts by staunch fundamentalists/creationists to answer a few of these questions, these publications have consistently been reviewed as being completely unrealistic, lacking any serious calculations, and relying on laughable absurdities. For example one idea propagated by the main publication defending the literal reading of this story says that Noah trained all of the animals to defecate and urinate on command into buckets (without answering how he produced, stored, emptied, washed thousands of buckets), in addition these fundamentalists say he even taught all the animals to open their cages and get out for exercise and promptly return to their cages, thereby becoming the worlds greatest animal trainer in days. (48) The point is, if one is so inclined to believe in the global flood, he or she might be willing to say literally anything, regardless of how unrealistically absurd it is. (49)

I’ll end this section with a citation by C.S Lewis, the most influential Christian scholar and apologist of our era. He reminds us there are myths in the Bible, and these myths convey ideas, but it is not wise to smack people on the heads with these ideas.

whether a particular passage is rightly translated or is myth (but of course myth specially chosen by God from among countless myths to carry a spiritual truth) or history…. we must not use the Bible (our fathers too often did) as a sort of Encyclopedia out of which texts…can be taken for use as weapons.”
(C. S. Lewis, Letters of C. S. Lewis, (New York, Harper and Row, 2001), p. 428.)

This is continued in Does it Float? Theology, History, Science

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4 responses

  1. And what do you make of the people who discovered the ark? Brother, you are seriously so wrong, and while you think you may be doing good work, it is not good work at all, its blaspheme and you are calling GOD a liar.

  2. Yuriy,

    An excellent and exhaustive discussion here! My compliments on your research.

    I do have a question about one item. You mention the creationist position on the fossil record in the last bullet point of the “Living on the Ark” section. You state:

    “Creationists say these millions of species of fossils are from the flood, which would mean one pair must have been on the ark.”

    Actually, from what I have read they claim that Noah only needed representative ‘kinds’ on the ark. So maybe only 12 pairs of dinosaurs. In other words, god created all the millions of species in the fossil record, most were drowned in the flood, and the rest were hybrids from the ones on the ark. Those then died out later.

    Actually, the more you read, the more confusing it gets. I also just read that Mt. Everest was formed *after* the flood. It’s a complete denial of all secular science in recorded history. It is also the reason I became an atheist in my mid-life years…

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