Evolutionary Creationism and Noah's Ark?

Hi there homeschool parents!

I have only recently started my journey learning about evolutionary creationism, so I apologize if my question is a silly one. I always believed young earth creationism because it was what I was taught. Yet, since devouring all of Dr. Francis Collins’ content on COVID vaccines, I have become incredibly interested in learning about evolutionary creationism. I am pretty passionate about teaching my kids the truth - so want to have a good idea about the different Christian interpretations.

So my question for today is - how does evolutionary creationism explain Noah’s ark? Is it seen as an analogy of some sort? Taken literally? How does it work?

Thanks in advance!
Daugher of Eve

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Hi, Daughter of Eve,

I’m not a homeschooler myself, but as you wait for their replies, I thought you might like this post from the BioLogos website’s Common Questions area:

I hope you find it helpful.

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There are many diverse thoughts on that here. One big difference in the YEC view and EC view, is that how you understand Noah and early Genesis is not a foundational belief to EC, whereas it is to YEC, so you see more diversity of thought here.
Many, like me, see the story of Noah as symbolic and if connected to a historical event, that event was regional rather than global, and the history is far less important than the theological lesson. Some place more importance on there being a historical root but still look primarily at what it is saying about God and our relationship.
To me, the primary lesson to learn from Noah, is the tendency we all have to lapse into sin, God’s condemnation of sin, the provision of God for salvation, and his ongoing love for us despite it in the promise of the rainbow. When we focus on the literal, it is all to easy to miss the meaning.

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Welcome!
I homeschool too (and was homeschooled) and also found that coming to terms with the science behind vaccines raised my interest in revisiting the science behind origins, maybe because I got a better sense for the degree to which good scientific understanding (or lack thereof) can effect our quality of life. But like you, I also wanted to make sure that what I taught my kids was true, or at least as close to it as I was able to understand.

Personally, I don’t have a problem seeing the flood as a real event, though as others have noted, some see it as less literal. I think the story has some elements that the more hard-line YEC organizations have played up because they need them, but that don’t necessarily connote as much universality when read without that assumption. Like the word “world,” which could also mean “land” or “region,” not necessarily “globe” as we would read into it today. But that doesn’t change the fact that it would have felt universal to those in that particular region.

So I basically see it as a story about an actual event that is also important for its symbolism, such as salvation, and baptism as mentioned in the book of James.

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I think you’ll find that the approach to the Bible assumes that the various texts were written to an ancient culture to explain things about God, not to us to explain things about natural history. So it’s not so much that ECs “dismiss” the Noah account as just a story or not to be taken at face value, they just first and foremost want to understand what it’s role was in revealing God and his character to Israel. We don’t think the point was to teach about geology or history. And since there is mountains of evidence that the globe was never covered in water, we take that evidence seriously.

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At least not since the Archean. We can’t really tell for certain much earlier.

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This is great, thank you!!

It blew my mind, quite honestly. So much to think about. Time to go read the text again!

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

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