Did Jesus Erroneously teach The Flood Was Literal?

Did Jesus Teach the Flood Account Was True?
A person by the username Tim_Matter, wrote a genuine and honest portrayal of his loss of faith in the “Christian God being the true God” on the Biologos forum [emphasis mine] :

“In the end I realized that Noah’s flood never happened at all that started the dominoes falling, ending when I realized Jesus taught that the flood was real, so Jesus was wrong too. The flood not being real took out the God believed by most Christians, Jews and Muslims except for the “liberal” versions, and I don’t even know how to think like that.”

This is a very important question and many of us former fundamentalist and evangelical Christians know his pain all too well. If the flood didn’t happen, is Jesus thus a false teacher and we can’t believe what he says? The idea behind the sentiment here is Jesus couldn’t be God and get this issue wrong. Floods certainly happened and the region in question may have experienced devastating and massive floods which led to some stories about a great worldwide flood in the past, but at the end of the day, as it is told in Genesis, this flood story did not happen. The logistical and scientific difficulties are far too many and enormous to accept and many of its details are clearly paralleled in other more ancient flood myths in antiquity (e.g. Atrahasis ). In addition, genetics definitively rules out the idea all humans today are descended from eight individuals. These cases are made elsewhere on this site so for now I will be assuming the validity of the statement that the Genesis flood account did not happen as a concordist interpretation of Genesis would accept or even as those promoting a localized flood would believe. I want to save the question of Jesus’s knowledge about the flood for the second half of this paper. The first half will be spent addressing the issue of whether or not Jesus taught the flood was real.

Did Jesus Teach the Flood was Real?
There is actually a bit of scripture in the New Testament pointing to the Genesis Flood. Hebrews 11:7 says that “By faith Noah , warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world . . . “ and Luke 3:36 lists Noah in Jesus’ genealogy (see also 1 Chronicles 1:4). 1 Peter 3:20 speaks of Noah, the ark and eight people saved while 2 Peter 2:5 tells us the same thing. Not only that but books in the Catholic canon some Protestants label Apocrypha also speak of Noah: Tobit 4:12, Sirach 44:17, 2 Esdras 3:11 and 4 Maccabees 15:31. In several of this cases Noah is admittedly listed with a number of other figures who are considered to have been real people by scripture with no real way of distinguishing between them. Isaiah 54:9 recalls God’s promise after the flood and mentions Noah by name which we also see mentioned in Ezekiel 14. Matthew (24:37-38) and Luke (17:26-27) record the same saying of Jesus: “Just as it was in the days of Noah , so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man… . . They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them.”

For many this settles the issue. The Genesis flood must have occurred as described or the Bible is untrustworthy and the Gospel is undermined. I do not disagree with the idea that the New Testament and the Apocrypha seems to presuppose the Flood account as legitimate. I think it considers it as real as it does the story of Abraham or Moses but more on the implications of this later. I do strongly disagree with the notion that Jesus or the New Testament teaches a literal Genesis flood, however. None of these passages is explicitly teaching the Genesis flood is historical as that was not an issue any of the authors were concerned with. Some of these authors might have assumed or thought the flood occurred exactly as a concordist reading of Genesis would imply, but thought is not taught. The historicity of the Genesis account is not in question to any of these authors. It is background knowledge or conventional wisdom. The flood is assumed and utilized to make a point. It is not the issue under discussion.

In Hebrews the point of the passage is not to teach us to the flood was historical but to point to examples of great faith from Israel’s historic and fabled past. Jesus’ statement is not about the flood. He used this story to emphasize vigilance and being prepared. We could say the same about all of these references to the flood account in the Bible. The flood story would conjure up a powerful image of God’s grace in saving the righteous and his justice being visited upon sinners. It would further serve as a warning to be vigilant and prepared—heeding God’s warnings. Jesus has no interest in modern questions about the historicity of the Flood narratives, whether he accepted them or not. So while Jesus certainly referenced the flood story in his end-time teaching with his apostles, no he did not explicitly teach the flood was historical. He appealed to what was simply the conventional wisdom of the day to make a point.

It might be a subtle distinction to some but what scripture writers may have correctly or incorrectly accepted or assumed as background knowledge is certainly distinguishable from what they actually teach from within that context. A concordist approach to scripture might assumes the background knowledge of scriptural authors must also be correct but there are many places where it is said the earth is immutable and does not move (Chron 16:30; Ps 93:1, 96:10, 104:5; Is 45:8). We now know this background knowledge shared by these Biblical authors was incorrect. God did not override the primitive background knowledge of the Biblical authors in these instances and many others where a primitive cosmogony is evident. Instead he offered his message through them, through lenses that they and the world around them would understand. God speaks to us on our own level so that we can understand it. The Bible was written for us, but not to us! John Calvin would agree at times with the notion of Biblical accomodation. When discussing Psalm 136 he wrote:

“The Holy Spirit had no intention to teach astronomy; and, in proposing instruction meant to be common to the simplest and most uneducated persons, he made use by Moses and the other Prophets of popular language, that non might shelter himself under the pretext of obscurity, as we will see men sometimes very readily pretend an incapacity to understand, when anything deep or recondite is submitted to their notice . . . the Holy Spirit would rather speak childishly than unintelligibly to the humble and unlearned."

Therefore, the important part of scripture isn’t its background assumptions. We need to know them so we can understand the message Scripture is trying to get across. The important part is to consider what God wanted to teach us fallible human sinners through the inspired writings of other fallible human sinners. God chose to accommodate his message and communicate it through limited humans. Jesus appealing to what is a conventional story at the time, background knowledge to Jews, is hardy outside the scope of this process of divine accommodation. It is consistent with what we see all throughout scripture and the truth Jesus is trying to convey is that we need to persevere and be ready for God’s return whenever it is! The validity of Jesus’ statement rises or falls with that truth claim, not whether or not the flood account occurred as literally described in Genesis.

Jesus divinity is not impaired by His Humanity
A good case can be made based on the extant references that many of the NT authors and Jesus would have accepted the legitimacy of the flood account. Does this undermine all of Jesus’ teachings? To use a simply analogy, if my mechanic made an error when talking about astrophysics, it would in no sense render him or her incompetent to fix my car. If Jesus came to reconcile us to God, that purpose is not logically undercut by a lack of omniscience on his part and its silly to think if any source of information in life is incorrect on one point, it is unreliable or questionable on all others. People make mistakes and are fallible, but you can still be a trustworthy source on a subject without perfection. Doctors we entrust to deliver our children are not perfect. We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater!

While that is all good and true, if we believe Jesus was God, how could we ever ascribe a false belief to him? This is a great question but I think we must really dig deep not let our assumption of who and what Jesus is color what scripture actually says about him. Talking about limitations to Jesus’s knowledge can be get uncomfortable but we must hold firm to the fact that Jesus’ divinity isn’t impaired in any way by His humanity:

Philippians 2:6-8 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

Hebrews 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

We believe God lowered himself and became like us in every way. The Human Side of Jesus is undeniable in scripture. He was in a woman’s womb for nine months and was born and died like other mortals. We know Jesus grew tired (GJohn 4:5-6), he is seen retreating to quiet places for rest (Mark 6:31,) he experienced hunger (Matthew 21:18), was thirsty (John 19:8 – unless he merely claimed to be in order to fulfill the Scripture), he taught his disciples he would experience pain and suffering (Matthew 16:21), he grew angry as the Temple incident in all four Gospels attests, he slept before stilling the storm (Mark 4:38-40), he faced temptation per the wilderness story and in Gethsemane (Mark 13:32-42) he was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death and fell on the ground multiple times asking that the cup be taken from him. It is rare for epistles to contain historical details about Jesus but in Hebrews we see a similar tradition relayed: “ 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” Jesus also wept at the death of Lazarus and was deeply moved and greatly disturbed by it (John 11). Physically and psychologically, Jesus appears to have been like us in every way but sin.

Limits to Jesus’s Knowledge
Christians believe that Jesus became fully human and I think this could entails there were limitations to his knowledge. What does Scripture say? In the Gospels Jesus himself admits that he did not know the day or the hour of the end time (Mark 13:32, Matthew 24:36) : “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Luke 2:46 doesn’t find it odd the missing boy Jesus asks questions of the religious leaders and 2:52 teaches that Jesus had to grow in wisdom: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.” Not only wisdom but in divine favor. It is as odd for God to grow in God’s own favor as it would be for Jesus to pray to himself! His humanity is on full display here. Also, in the incident with the bleeding woman (Mark 5), though the text demonstrates that Jesus clairvoyantly knew someone touched his robe and drew power from him, and probably even suggests he knew the gender of the person in question, He was still unaware as to who touched his robe: “ 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.” Jesus did not know who had touched his robe and he did not know the location of said person. He had to search her. In Mark 9 Jesus asks the father of the epileptic boy how long he has had this condition (9:14-28) and there is no indication he is making small talk. In Mark 11:13 Jesus investigates a fig tree to see whether or not it has any fruit. He does not omnisciently know this beforehand per Scripture itself: “ 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. ” We should also recognize that in Mark Jesus’ ability to perform miracles was hindered dramatically in his hometown due to a lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6). Jesus’s prayer in Gethsemane and asking that the cup be taken away from him also makes little sense without admitting some knowledge limitations in regards to certitude about the future. Perhaps this is why GJohn, who seems to portray Jesus as omniscient more so than the synoptics, does not include this scene and literally has Jesus scoff at the notion of the cup being taken away (John 12:27) . Jesus sternly warning a man he has just healed to silence about what just happened is at least a bit curious if Jesus knew ahead of time the man would just go out and “proclaim it freely” right after (Mark 1:43-45). Jesus is neither omniscient or omnipotent per many passages in the Gospels.

Supernatural Knowledge by Jesus
There are certainly many examples of supernatural knowledge attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus is portrayed as knowing the disciples would scatter beforehand, predicts Peter’s denial (Mt 26:34), his resurrection appearances, he knew Judas would betray him all along (Mt 26:25), who would and wouldn’t believe in him (John 6:64), he knows the Samaritan woman at the well had five husbands and lives with one she is not married to (John 5:18), many times he knows peoples thoughts even when otherwise he could not have and John 18:4 says he knew all that was to happen to him. These instances could probably be multiplied several times over.

Many Christians side with the portrait provided by the previous paragraph depicting a Jesus who may know everything and then sweep the passages showing Jesus’s limitations from the paragraph before that under the rug. This is a difficult matter. As Erickson wrote in Christian Theology, “It is difficult to account for the fact that Jesus’ knowledge was extraordinary in some matters, but definitely limited in others.” I think denying the limitations of Jesus in scripture is a mistake because it is not conceivable to imagine how mainstream Christians in the second half of the first century would invent material that goes against the grain of their beliefs. They would not create this material that could be deemed problematic or embarrassing to them. Why create the source of their own difficulties? In fact, though Luke retains it, when Matthew copies Mark’s story about the bleeding woman, he consciously omits the part about Jesus wondering who touched his robe. It is not difficult to surmise why! What this means is all the passages showing Jesus had limitations to his knowledge are bedrock tradition and go very much against the grain of the later evangelists. They cannot be excised or swept away.

A potential way out of this maze would be to look at the picture of Jesus that clearly emerges within the Gospels as a whole and realize that Jesus was constantly in prayer and communion with God the Father. Many of the miracles and supernatural feats of Jesus can just as easily be attributed to his Divine favor and communion with God. He is a very tangible and real model of the power of true faith! The apostles and prophets throughout Scripture are recorded as being miracle workers and shown to have supernatural knowledge through God at times. None to the same level of Jesus but with God these are certainly possible. How much more so with God’s only Son?

Would the human Jesus know quantum mechanics? Speak languages he was never introduced to? Understand the fossil record and flood geology? For many of us the answer to this question is no or probably not. James Orr in Revelation and Inspiration writes:

“No one who thinks seriously on the subject will maintain that, during His earthly life, Jesus carried in His consciousness a knowledge of all events of history, past, present, and future, of all arts and sciences, including the results of our modern astronomies, geologies, biologies, mathematics, of all languages, etc. To suppose this would be to annul the reality of His human consciousness entirely.”

The human Jesus needs to grow in wisdom and learn things as GLuke tells us. The pre-incarnate Word of God is a different matter, theologically speaking. Scripture itself presents a Jesus with both limitations and supernatural feats and abilities. The simplest reconciliation is that these were done through his constant prayer and Jesus’s relationship with the Father. I certainly cannot explain the intricacies of the divine ineffable mystery we call the Incarnation and I do not wish to attempt to offer any sort of full-blown Christology here, but it is quite clear to me that limitations to Jesus’ knowledge are not a problem to his divinity in any way.

Conclusion on Jesus and the Flood:
Within this context a Jesus who possesses incorrect background knowledge about the Genesis flood can exist snuggly within the realm of theological safety. It is not an issue for Christianity as a whole especially since Jesus did not explicitly teach a literal Genesis flood. He appealed to the flood account , which he probably assumed as genuine as part of his background knowledge, to make a point about being prepared for the end times. Orr writes:

“Ignorance is not error, nor does the one thing necessarily imply the other. That Jesus should use the language of His time on things indifferent, where no judgment or pronouncement of His own was involved, is readily understood; that He should be the victim of illusion, or false judgment, on any subject on which He was called to pronounce, is a perilous assertion.”

The same type of thinking can be extended to the passages where Jesus appears to assume Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. It is important to note as Raymond Brown did that the “evaluation of the gospel evidence given above, if correct, does nothing to detract from the dignity of Jesus. The whole discussion has been predicated on an acceptance of him as “true God of true God.” If in the Gospel reports his knowledge seems to have been limited, such limitation would simply show to what depths divine condescension went in the incarnation–it would show just how human was the humanity of Jesus.”

Vinnie

5 Likes

As a atheist ready enough to point out issues, still it seems to me fully probable he speaks of it as a parable

3 Likes

There’s an easy way to resolve this one. Stop reading Genesis as if it were the history of the whole of Planet Earth. Instead, read it as what it actually is – the history of Israel specifically.

The Flood wiped out everyone and everything that Noah knew – his friends, his relatives, his neighbours. God’s promise to Noah was specifically to his descendants, and in particular, to the people of Israel.

And in fact if you look through the rest of the Bible, and even through history, you’ll find that that is exactly what has happened. There have been numerous occasions when people have tried to wipe out the Jewish people altogether – from the time of the Exodus under Pharaoh right through to the Holocaust in modern times – but far from being wiped out altogether, they have flourished, along with their culture and their identity, and today they are one of the most influential people groups, relative to their numbers, on the face of the planet. Just look at the number of Nobel Prize winners who are Jewish, for starters.

That being the case, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the Flood was not a real, historical event. The thing that you have to reject about it is the idea that it was a planet-wide catastrophe that reshaped the continents, created the fossil record, carved out the Grand Canyon, and killed off the dinosaurs. But all that nonsense goes waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond anything that the Bible says about it. The Bible may have talked about everyone and everything Noah knew, but it doesn’t say anything whatsoever about people and places that Noah knew nothing about. Such as North America, Australia, China, southern Africa, or western Europe for example.

As for what Jesus said about the Flood, be careful not to read too much into it. He only ever mentioned it in passing, and only ever to make a point when talking about something completely different.

7 Likes

Genesis 1:1-2:3 looks pretty universal to me in its scope.

A lack of a reason to deny an event has no real meaning here. Positive historical claims require positive evidence, especially when they are as fanciful as what we find in Genesis and in a section with primeval history. “No reason to deny it” is the same as saying “no reason to accept it” here. So I see your statement and raise you the following: there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the Flood was a real, historical event. Can you provide any evidence of singularly localized flood Noah couldn’t have just migrated out of the way of?

Also, I would like to ask what flood? Noah in Genesis? Or the older accounts much closer to the putative date? Utnapishtim, Atrahasis or Ziusudra? Who was the real ark builder? Which flood story from antiquity is there any reason not to think was a historical event? All of them or just the one you arbitrarily choose because it happens to be in your Holy Book? The flood account in Atrahasis predates Genesis by a lot. Not to mention which Genesis flood story do you have in mind? There are two separate versions in Genesis. Also, it’s interesting that there are already clean and unclean animals in the account given Leviticus 11.

Many details in all these flood myths clearly parallel one another. Tablet eleven of the Gilgamesh epic features Utnapishtim (as opposed to Atrahasis or Noah) as the principal character. Gilgamesh is seeking eternal life and Utnapishtim explains how he was granted it. He was warned by Enki to build a boat of specific dimensions and seal it with pitch and bitumen (very similar to the Genesis version). His family, all the animals of the field and his craftsmen were taken on board. After 6 days and nights the storm ended and all humans turned into clay. His boat, like the Biblical version, lodges on a mountain and he releases a dove, swallow and raven. When the raven fails to return he opens the ark and releases its inhabitants. He offers sacrifices to the gods who are pleased by the aroma (as does Noah who’s roasting animal flesh was a pleasing to the Lord). Ishtar vows never to forget this time.

On the contrary, there is no more reason to accept the genesis flood myth then there is any other flood myth in antiquity. They are all fiction in my eyes so I see little practical value in asserting “there is no reason to deny the historicity of specific primeval histories in the ancient near east” as you have done.

I don’t know anything about reshaping continents and what not. None of that is in Genesis. But yes, I reject the idea of a planet-wide catastrophe. I reject what Genesis actually reads, not what pious concordists attempt to force it to read. It says the high mountains under the whole heavens, including all the animals and birds. Genesis = global flood. Evangelical exegetes butcher it with pious intentions and turn an obviously worldwide flood into a local flood because the former is complete nonsense. There is no reason to believe the Bible does not speak of a worldwide flood that destroyed humanity save eight people. A localized flood is the pious fiction of concordists who can’t let go of their literalism.

I had no intention of discussing the legitimacy of the flood or a localized butchering of it. I assumed it was fiction from the outset and stated so in the article. Its generally not a point I even consider worth debating. What Jesus thought of the flood is.

Jesus referenced the flood of Noah to teach something else. That was pretty much the entire point half the paper makes so you advising caution to me on this front is a bit peculiar.

Vinnie

1 Like

I don’t see how that reference fits being a parable. Its purpose could have been similar in driving home a point, but a parable it is not.

Vinnie

There’s something important you need to realise about Internet discussions here. When someone replies to a discussion, they aren’t just addressing you specifically, but also everybody else who might be reading the thread. So don’t take my particular instruction there as a rebuttal to what you said. Rather, it’s a rebuttal to what some of the other people visiting this discussion might think.

Wow. It seems that by believing that the Flood was local rather than global, you end up with some people thinking you’re borderline atheist and other people thinking you’re borderline fundamentalist.

There are two extreme views about the Flood. One side insists that it reshaped the continents and created the fossil record, that Noah had dinosaurs on board the Ark, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is a “faithless so-called Christian.” The other side believes that it is a complete fiction that was made up out of whole cloth, with no basis whatsoever in reality.

The real truth of what happened is, in fact, almost certainly somewhere in between. Even many secular scientists and historians acknowledge that it could have been at least based on a real, historical event, even if some of the details ended up getting garbled along the way.

As far as what the Bible says, my understanding is that it is only modern translations that portray it as covering the whole globe and mountains as high as Mount Everest. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, the original Hebrew is much more ambiguous on the matter. (See, for example, the footnote in the NIV on Genesis 7:20.) Perhaps a Hebrew scholar could enlighten us further on the matter?

2 Likes

Fair enough. I forgot when you create a thread it notifies you of all responses, not just direct responses. My apologies for the miscommunication all on my end.

No, fundamentalists think there were kangaroos and polar bears on the ark. I associate evangelical concordists with the localized flood. Certainly a step in the right direction but not critical enough and still missing the point of the flood story.

Not true at all. The Genesis account rearranged the furniture of older Ancient Near East flood myths. It was MOST CERTAINLY not woven from whole cloth. Who argues that?

Bill Arnold: baker Exegetical Commentary on Genesis

The priestly creation account of Gen 1 portrayed creation as a series of separations and distinctions, whereas Gen 6:9–7:24 portrays the annihilation of those distinctions.231 As the sky dome was created to keep the heavenly waters from falling to earth (1:6–7), here the opened “windows of the heavens” reverse that created function (7:11). When the “fountains of the great deep [t ̆ehoˆm]” burst forth (7:11), the cosmic order that had been fashioned from watery chaos returns to watery chaos (1:2, 9). Strikingly the sequence of annihilation, “birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings” (7:21), follows closely that of creation itself in Gen 1:1–2:3.232

As Alter wrote in a footnote in his commentary:

The surge of waters from the great deep below and from the heavens above is, of course, a striking reversal of the second day of creation, when a vault was erected to divide the waters above from the waters below. The biblical imagination, having conceived creation as an orderly series of divisions imposed on primordial chaos, frequently conjures with the possibility of a reversal of this process (see, for example, Jeremiah 4:23-26): biblical cosmogony and apocalypse are reverse sides of the same coin. The Flood story as a whole abounds in verbal echoes of the Creation story (the crawling things, the cattle and beasts of each kind, and so forth) as what was made on the six days is wiped out in these forty.

It is undoing the order established by God during creation. It is global and that is why non-evangelicals and non-concordists who are competent experts in Hebrew translate it as such. And yes, some think events ca. 3000 BC could have been the impetus given rise to these legends. Arnold writes: “The story itself likely arose from a specific historical flood that took place in parts of southern Mesopotamia around 2900 bce.247”

If the only point is that major flooding happened in the past, who would disagree?Yes, floods happened. It is easy to assert a big one in the past led to these later ficticious legends. A historical impetus is meaningless because all the details of Genesis are later fictions that draw off earlier fictions. The author of Genesis knew nothing factual about a potential flood that occurred 2000 plus years prior.

Saying a great flood in the past happened is not the same as saying “the genesis flood is true or happened.” This is like saying since great volcanic eruptions happened on earth the story of mount doom’s eruption in the LOTR is true. I mean, in the film adaptation Peter Jackson based them on two real volcanoes in New Zealand!

Do you also think there were, I guess, “Herculeses” running around the earth as the mini-gods slept with the daughters of men? Genesis 6:2-4 reads:

“the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide[a] in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.”

The flood account is fiction that in in order to convey theological truth, rearranges other flood fiction that somewhere in the past may or may not have started with a singular great flood or even a series of floods. The story absolutely evolved over time.

The sooner we can put the concordist interpretation of Genesis to bed, and that includes the localized flood apologetics, hopefully the sooner people can stop stumbling over it and the NT’streatment of it (including Jesus’ statement on it).

Conservatives are never going to take a localized flood seriously because exegetically speaking, it is not a serious translation/interpretation. Its back-peddling, force-fit apologetics that twists and contorts Scripture.

Vinnie

1 Like

For the rearrangement of continents you need hydroplate theory

I prefer plate tectonics.

1 Like

Aww but it is slow and boring to watch

1 Like

I disagree completely as I live in CT. I had project where I needed to make a field guide for CT focusing on the geo sciences when I was in college and here are two things:

The geological history of Connecticut can be succinctly summarized by two words: crunch and crack (Bell 147). These words of course refer to the formation of the supercontinent Pangaea which compressed the Connecticut landscape (crunch) and the subsequent breakup of Pangea which led to a failed-rift valley (crack) forming in the central region of the state. Connecticut was right in the center of a lot of tectonic collisions and activity and a bedrock map of the region delineates these features quite well. There are highlands to the east and west in CT with highly metamorphosed rock and lowlands in the center with prominent igneous intrusions (e.g. the Metacomet Ridge) where cracks formed as Pangaea split apart.

The unique geography of the region also puts us in a position to experience winter storms that don’t develop the same way anywhere else in the world. In terms of geology, Connecticut had a front row seat to a number of plate collisions and has a crack and crunch terrain with some very highly metamorphic rocks from the formation and subsequent breakup of Pangaea. You get to see and walk on evidence for plate tectonics from the second of half of the Paleozoic through the Mesozoic Era. On top of that you are going to walk right where dinosaurs did in the Mesozoic and see hundreds of footprints in the Jurassic sandstone of the Connecticut River valley. Astronomically speaking, Connecticut is not a special place. We have a few planetariums, one on top of a mountain offering an unobstructed view of the celestial sphere, and in addition to that, a lot of light pollution. Yet the impact of Milankovitch cycles and changing orbital mechanics can be seen everywhere in the glacially sculpted surface of Connecticut. Roughly 20,000 years ago the state was covered in an ice sheet a mile thick and a huge portion of the visible surface topography in the state was shaped by this glaciation, which in turn was driven by astronomical cycles. We can see and walk along glacial moraines on our Southern coast.

So I think plate tectonics as evidenced by the landscape and places I can visit and hike to is marvelous. Some people just see rocks when they look around. I see a lot more. The most highly known landmark anyone from my hometown will immediately recognize is the giant, lighted cross standing atop a high hill ( near our current mall along a main highway). Its called Holy Land and the Cross was recently renovated but what few people know is the rock outcrops clearly visible on the highway give us glimpses into our terrain: an old volcanic lava dome from the Iapetus ocean. The symbol of Christianity sitting atop a high, wide open hill on top of an old volcanic lava dome that formed in an ocean that no longer exists!

2 Likes

The rocks that I live above transition (backyard to front yard) from metamorphosed sediment that was between North America and Africa during the formation of Pangaea (now garnet-silimanite schist and gneiss) to meta-igneous rocks from a blob of basaltic magma. They have some really weird juxtapositions, like garnet and silimanite in the same piece of schist. That evidences being close to something hot (the magma) for a short period of time.

1 Like

Hydroplate is one of various versions of sped up plate tectonics promoted by certain young-earth advocates. All of them would produce enough heat to quickly vaporize the earth and are not credible.

Genesis 2 describes the location of Eden in terms of features known post-Flood, thus contradicting the flood geology model. The “world of the ungodly” that Peter mentions as affected by the flood uses kosmos. The whole universe was not flooded, even in young-earth imagination. Kosmos most often refers to worldly society, not to geography.

2 Likes

I just meant trying to watch plates tectinize would be slow and boring.
The topic is very interesting. I’d like to go to that place in Iceland
where you can stand on two plates.

1 Like

Of course let someone question anything in the Bible and the skeptics are gleeful. However I must ruin your joy: there is solid historical evidence for the flood.

Plato in Timmeaus writes of an encounter he had with an Egyptian priest who told him that the ancient Egyptians knew of a great continent in the Atlantic that was drowned in flood. And the name of the continent: Atlantis.

(Timmeaus is also worthy of note because that is where Plato expounds on his belief in the great, all-creating “unknown God.” Paul in the Book of Acts, Chapter 17, verse 23, mentions that while in Greece he saw a monument dedicated to the Unknown God.).

Jesus stood by the Old Testament because it was of God like He was.

Can you please present it.

Is this supposed to be the historical evidence? Hearsay from Plato in Timmeaus doesn’t fit my definition of historical evidence for a worldwide Genesis flood thousands of years prior. Not to mention, I am not even sure how they are connected or whether the hearsay of these ancient Egyptians has any merit.

When Mark has him declaring all foods clean? When he dismisses what the OT says about divorce proceedings as rubbish? When he says to love your neighbor? Jesus can stand by the Old Testament. So does everyone who subscribed to accommodation. Doesn’t mean Jesus was a wooden literalist or Christologyicaly speaking, even if he was, why that matters. His divinity is not impaired by his humanity (to steal @Klax’s line).

Vinnie

3 Likes

Interesting thoughts here, Vinnie…and you do include some of the range of issues at play. A Flood, for example, was part of Sumerian belief in the sense of a “before the Flood” and “after the Flood” rendition of some of their history. Many cultures around the world do have some sort of Flood account, although no one can say but what they are local events common to cultures built near water. In the Mesopotamian versions (of which several exist), Atrahasis (sometimes aka Gilgamesh) is an interesting story. No one knows really when the Genesis Flood and also the Gilgamesh (or other flood stories) were composed, or which came first. The one attached to the Epic of Gilgamesh was a later addition. I suppose that I “hooked” onto your notation of the Flood event more than to some of the other points you made. An especially disastrous Flood may have accounted for the one in the biblical text…in that case, the Flood account that Jesus taught was an actual event. Also, the biblical text’s assertion that it was God’s punishment of the generation of that time – some say it was punishment for the earlier events of Genesis 6 – would stand. And thus, Jesus believing it “was literal” is not so much the issue as (probably) the “worldwide” concept…What did they mean by that? (“I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh…Everything that is on the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:17)

Interesting overall!

3 Likes

The flood was an actual event. World wide. Why was there a flood?
Because of the condition of the human heart.

I know some people will not agree with this teaching but if the Word of God says it happened, it happened. We can talk until we are blue in the face to discuss the Word but if you are not understanding the truth, it is because the Lord has not revealed it to you. People try and use the Bible as a text book without the One who enlightens us to His truth.
Born once is the working of one under the sin nature, born twice is the working of Christ in you.
I hope people will actually listen to the study before responding with their own human intellect.

1 Like

Thanks for the reference, Kelli. I think the original post by Vinnie was part of his own struggle to come to terms with some things. I will listen to the Klein speech when I am not so busy. MERRY CHRISTMAS

So what should we do when the Bible contradicts itself?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.