Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
AUTHOR'S REPLY TO ARTHUR KUSCHKE'S REVIEW OF "THE GENESIS FLOOD"
In the June 1964 issue of the Journal
In his rather lengthy review of THE GENESIS FLOOD, Mr. Kuschke begins by pointing out his agreement with the authors' aim of placing Scripture first rather than placing Scriptural and scientific evidence on an equality. He is happy to find that the authors hold to the integrity of the early chapters of Genesis, the reality of the created 'kinds,' and the direct creation of Adam's soul and body. "Their unwavering testimony to such things is wholesome and refreshing."
Such statements might lead the reader to expect a fair and careful investigation of the validity of the seven Biblical arguments for a geographically universal Flood as set forth in the first chapter of the book: (1) it mountain-covering depth, Gen. 7:19-20; (2) its duration of 371 days; (3) the breaking up of all the fountains of the great deep (tehom rabbah) for five consecutive months, Gen. 7:11, 8:2; (4) the huge dimensions of the ark, Gen. 6:15; (5) the pointlessness of building an ark if the Flood was limited in extent; (6) the strong testimony of H Peter 3:3-7; and (7) the main purpose of the Flood, which was the total destruction of a widely-distributed human race. Each of these arguments is carefully developed in the book, and much of the superstructure rests upon the validity of this Biblical foundation.
in rejecting the doctrine of a geographically universal Flood, however, Kuschke practically ignores these Biblical arguments! While admitting that Gen. 7:11 "describes a physical event, which caused waters to flood the land," Kuschke feels that "we simply cannot describe the character or degree or extent of this physical event; the Bible does not tell us." Similarly, he states: "Except for Noah and his family, the flood destroyed the human race; but we do not know whether it covered the entire globe." But if the seven Biblical arguments listed above are valid, then we do know whether the Flood covered the globe! Such statements simply beg the quesfion at issue, and leave the reader with the impression that the reviewer has conveniently ignored rather than honestly faced the Biblical evidences for a universal Flood.
Kuschke unfortunately reveals a similar superficiality in dealing with the chronological problem. He quotes with approval Warfield's astonishing statement that "the Scriptural data leave us wholly without guidance in estimating the time which elapsed between the creation of the world and the deluge, and between the deluge and the call of Abraham," and on this basis assures the reader that "we may properly turn to the data of natural revelation in our inquiries respecting that chronology." He has apparently not read the arguments of Appendix H which show why Genesis 11 cannot be stretched beyond certain limits.
The authors were surprised to learn that "stratigraphy is a major difficulty for flood geology" and that "such orderly structures seem to have been laid down slowly under non-violent conditions and not in a great flood," for the major thrust of Chapter Five is that stratigraphy is an embarrassment to uniformitarianism, not to catastrophism, and that such "orderly" structures in many cases had to to be deposited by a gigantic flood, and in all cases could have been deposited by the Flood and its associated events.
In spite of the fact that the authors sought to demonstrate that fossilization is a clear evidence of catastrophism and that such processes are rarely occurring today, Kuschke states: "Fossilization also compounds the problem, for countless fossils are found in rich variety in these sedimentary strata, and in formations very deep in the earth. Coal seams occur 4,000 feet below the surface, intercalated with layers of limestone, shale, or sandstone. Many fossil materials thus appear to have been deposited over much longer periods of time than the authors allow.' This nonsequitur seriously raises the question as to whether the reviewer has carefully read the book he attempted to review, for these very facts are untilized by the authors against the standard geological interpretations!
The authors do not claim to have answered all the
possible objections that could be raised against their
position, for "the scope of these problems is vast,
bearing really upon the whole spectrum of the sciences" (Intro., xxi). But they are confident that the Scriptures provide the basic frame of reference within
which the history of the earth must be understood,
and in the light of which our scientific investigations
must be carried on. And they are fully confident that
a universal Flood is part of that frame of reference.
Unless it can be shown by sound principles of exegesis, hermeneutics, and logic that the Scriptures do
not depict such a catastrophe in the days of Noah, it
appears to the authors that Christian men of science
and theologians must challenge the uniformitarian assumptions which underlie many of the theories of modern historical geologists.
John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Grace Theological Seminary
Winona Lake, Indiana
Henry M. Morris, Virginia Polytechnic Institute