Old Earthism Fail – Part 2

Earlier this week I reviewed at debate between Biblical creationists and old earth creationists. I pointed out the clear problem that old earthers have with Bible exegesis.

Today, I want to bring light to a major problem that they continue to propagate. The old earther, Hugh Ross, continues to claim that the Bible teaches that the flood of Noah’s day was a local flood. There are a number of biblical problems with the claim that the flood of Noah’s day was simply a local flood. We’ll discuss a few of them here.

Hugh Ross struggles to make his point using Psalm 104 as his primary text. In fact, the only place in the Bible that he can bend the words to his liking is verse 9 of Psalm 104.

You (God) set a boundary they (the waters) cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.

This poetic passage includes phrases like:

“O LORD…you are clothed…”
“He wraps Himself in light”
“He stretches out the heavens like a tent”
“He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the winds”
“He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants”
“He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved”

This passage is clearly a passage of poetry. Why build one’s doctrine on poetry at the expense of historical revelations from God?

So, Ross’s assumption is that the entire passage of Psalm 104 is a commentary about only the creation week, and he claims that (rather than Genesis’ historical account) this poetry is a solid foundation upon which to establish his untenable position. In his belief that the entire Psalm 104 passage is about creation, Ross says that the flood of Noah’s day could not have covered the earth since verse 9 says that the water will never again cover the earth. Since the creation account talks about how the earth was brought forth from water, Ross thinks that his sandy foundation in the Psalms absolves him from proper exegesis. It is important for us a Christians to interpret the Bible according to its genre and within the context of the whole of scripture. I’ll show below how the rest of scripture does not allow a local flood.

For a biblical creationist, the resolution is simple. Psalm 104 is a poetic account of both creation, the flood, and post flood world as a way to bring glory to the Almighty.

So, let’s look at some of the other reasons why the local flood advocated by Ross is contradicted by God’s Word.

  1. At the end of the worldwide flood in Genesis 9:11, God promised to never flood the earth again. His covenant was memorialized with God placing the rainbow in the sky. If Noah’s flood was a local flood, then God would have broken his word by allowing local floods all over the earth.
  2. From Genesis 6:17 – Genesis 7:23 God reveals in his Word 20 superlatives describing his utter destruction of the earth and all air-breathing animals with a flood. The old earthers have got to overcome or dismiss each usage of these 20 superlatives to accommodate their local flood story.
  3. Genesis 7:19 says “They (the waters) rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.” It cannot be a local flood because all the high mountains under heaven were covered with water.
  4. Genesis 8:4 specifically mentions the mountains of Ararat. Today Ararat measures almost 17,000 feet high. It’s likely that this peak was taller in the past since it has lost height from multiple eruptions. The only mountain specifically mentioned in the Biblical account was Ararat. So, we know that the flood would have had to at least cover this mountain. There is no basin deep enough to contain the amount of water necessary to cover Mt. Ararat. Therefore, the flood of Noah’s day could not be a local flood according to the Bible.
  5. Matthew 24:38-39 are the words of Jesus. “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood took them all away.” Another superlative. All were washed away in the flood. Everywhere on earth, all were washed away according to Jesus, and if they are all washed away, it must have been a worldwide flood.
  6. 1 Peter 3:20 Only 8 people in all of the earth were saved from the worldwide flood.
  7. 1 Peter 3:21 The worldwide covering of the earth by water symbolizes baptism. If the flood was a local flood, does baptism just need to be partial covering of water. The symbolism of Jesus’ death (which was complete) and the complete covering of the earth by water, is strongly recognized in the complete submersion by water in baptism.
  8. 2 Peter 2:5 Only 8 people in all of the earth were saved from the worldwide flood.
  9. 2 Peter 3:6 The world was deluged and destroyed. There’s no room here for a local flood.

The old earthers have to dismiss or re-interpret each of these revelations from God in order to make their localized flood fit.

There’s no need to build doctrine on the poetry of Psalm 104 at the expense of the historical account in Genesis as well as the other passages in scripture that clearly teach God’s judgment on the sin of mankind with a worldwide flood.

Thankfully, there is hope. God has a plan of redemption that those who confess their sin and rely on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus will not only be spared from God’s wrath but be joint heirs with Him in the eternal kingdom.

Old Earthism Fail

Justin Brierley hosts a weekly podcast called Unbelievable. Combing through his archives I found and listened to a debate about whether the earth was young or old. He moderated a debate between the Biblical Creationists (Andy McIntosh/Stephen Lloyd) and old earth creationists (Hugh Ross/Ken Samples).

There were several problems with the old earther’s positions. Ken Samples ridiculously claimed that the young earth position was peculiar, and that since a day can mean more than just 24 hours, then the proper interpretation for Genesis 1 is that the word day should conform to his meaning of millions (or billions) of years. He also wrongly claimed that days 1-3 couldn’t be real days because the sun and moon were not created until day 4. Projecting his own injection of poor scripture interpretation onto the biblical creationists, he called the youth earth model unbiblical.

Let’s analyze Samples’ claims using God’s Word and some common sense.

Genesis 1:14-15,19 says

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from he night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so…And there was evening and there was morning-the fourth day.

So, the Hebrew word for day is yom or yowm. And it can mean a 24 hour period, the hours when the sun shines, or a passage of time. In verse 14, the first use of the word “day” clearly means the hours of light in the daily cycle. The second use of the word “yom” needs no interpretation to understand that it is a 24 hour period, which is synonymous to the earlier meaning of identifying the light/dark cycle. But Sample’s peculiar and radical interpretation is to cram 14 billion years into the meaning of “yom” in verse 19. Samples re-interprets the final “yom” (in verse 19) to fit his preconceived notions rather than letting the same paragraph of scripture clearly speak as to the limits of the day in the context. In the same passage, the word yom means the daily cycle, but Samples wants his billions of years to be included in scripture, so he stretches the meaning of the word to accommodate his model.

Samples also ignores the passages in Exodus 20:9-11 and Exodus 31:17 that says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” So, God’s command was for the Hebrews to work for six days as He worked and then rest on the Sabbath as He did. Using Sample’s radical re-interpretation, the Hebrews would have needed to work for 14 billion years before finding rest. I prefer to stick with scripture rather than the old earth model.

Regarding Sample’s problem understanding how days 1-3 could be literal days before the sun existed, it’s really quite simple. What did Genesis tell us was the first purpose of the lights in the heavens? Time keeper. So, Samples is telling us that there could not have been time before the time keeper. Or put another way, prior to the invention of the stop watch, seconds didn’t exist, because we couldn’t measure seconds. I’m sure Kenny is a nice fellow, but his logic and Biblical interpretation are deeply flawed.

This is a problem because God revealed himself in scripture, and it clearly teaches that death is a penalty for sin. Jesus came to pay the price for mankind’s sin by dying in our place. If death is something that God created as part of his “very good” creation (Gen 1:31), then is brings into serious question why Jesus had to come at all. If death, disease, and suffering were just part of creation as Ross and Samples teach, then the coming of the Messiah to restore peace and defeat death (I Cor 15:26) are brought into question.

We can trust God’s revelation about the past, and that gives us hope that we can trust him with our future.