Are an Old Earth and Noah's Flood Mutually-Exclusive Explanations of the Fossil Record?

As I understand it, YEC’s believe that Noah’s Flood is the major reason that the fossil record looks as it does, while OEC’s believe that the 4.543B years of the earth’s history is the major reason it looks as it does.

Correspondingly, YEC’s, by definition, would reject the old earth as the primary cause of the fossil record, but does it work the other way around? That is, do all OEC’s reject Noah’s Flood as a global calamity…or are there some today who maintain the fossil record is a result both of an old earth and Noah’s Flood?

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I am not aware of any. All of the OEC’s I am aware of view Noah’s Flood as a local event, if they view Noah’s flood as a real historical event at all. There is plenty of evidence for pretty massive local floods in Mesopotamia where the stories of Noah and Utnapishtim seem to come from, so it isn’t surprising that a bad flood would grow to mythical proportions over the years.

There are many scholars who view the Noah story as a retelling of the Sumerian flood story from the Enuma Elis since the Sumerian stories appear to be much older than Genesis, but that is probably a discussion for another thread. However, the similarity between the two stories is pretty hard to ignore.


I’m not certain that’s an accurate assessment of the YEC view. I would say that their interpretation of the Bible dictates their perception of Noah’s Flood, which they will hold onto DESPITE the fossil record.

It is the AIG view.

[quote]At first, Bible-believers tried to cope with this discovery of successively-different types of fossils by retreating from the single Creation and Flood as clearly described in the Bible and replacing them with a series of creations and global floods. That was Baron Cuvier’s compromise, and it did superficially seem to account for multiple and differing horizons of fossils. But Cuvier’s notions obviously violated Scripture. The Word of God teaches only one episode of special creation, and only one global Flood, not many!

As is the eventual fate of all compromises, it was only a matter of time before any semblance to Scripture (in this case, the multiple creations and the multiple floods) had been dropped altogether. After Darwin, evolution was added to the picture, and thus the notion of transformation of one life-form to another replaced the earlier belief that each horizon of fossils represented a separate creation and world-destroying flood. Both considerations, of course, tacitly suppose that each type of horizon of fossils represents a distinctive period of time over which the particular organism lived.

But what are the ramifications of fossils seeming to occur in multiple, different horizons in the earth’s rock strata? Is the succession of life-forms, over long periods of time, the only way to explain the succession of fossils in earth’s sedimentary rocks? Certainly not.

Creationists, including myself,1 have provided a variety of alternative explanations for fossil succession. These include such mechanisms as the sorting of organisms during the Flood, differential escape of organisms during the same, ecological zonation of life-forms in the antediluvian world (such that different life-forms in different strata reflect the serial burial of ecological life-zones during the Flood), and TABs (Tectonically-Associated Biological Provinces—wherein different life forms occur in successive horizons of rock as a reflection of successive crustal downwarp of different life-bearing biogeographic communities).

All of these mechanisms do away with the notion that horizons of fossils demand successive passages of time during which the organisms lived. In other words, they allow for there to have been only one set of mutually-contemporaneous living things on a young earth, instead of a repetitive replacement of living things over vast periods of time. Most of the earth’s sedimentary record is viewed as being deposited by the Noachian Deluge, and not over successive depositional events in analogues of modern sedimentary environments on an evolving earth.[/quote]

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Interpreting the Noah story as a distorted regional flood actually solves a number of problems:

  1. It means there would no longer be a problem with the lack of evidence for a global flood. (Like the 100,000+ years of uninterrupted arctic ice cores… and the lack of interruption of Dynastic Ebgyptian civilization since the flood would be estimated some time during the 5th or 6th Dynasty).

  2. It means there would be survivors of Cain’s lineage, such as the Kenites.

  3. It means the ark wouldn’t have to house so many animals.

Note the pseudo scientific gibberish which AIG has used to try and ape real science.

The three (3) main phenomena that no global flood scenario can explain are:

  1. The complete lack of intermingling of large mammals and dinosaurs (both plant eaters & meat eaters); this includes the special issue of the complete lack of intermingling of marine mammals and marine dinosaurs;

  2. The flood scenario offers no explanation for how the entire expanse of fossil bearing strata could have been created in 6000 years without any dinosaur cadavers being found in the same condition as mammoth cadavers.

  3. The flood scenario does not explain the marsupial monopoly found in Australia, especially if we assume that Ausralian fauna are all post-flood arrivals!

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We could add a few more:

  1. The correlation between fossil species and the ratios of parent and daughter isotopes in the igneous rocks above and below them.

  2. The wide spread of 14C content in terrestrial fossils within the supposed flood layers. If they all died at the same time then they should all have the same 14C content.



I like those! They become the exclamation marks that confirm and emphasize the logic of the evidence!

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