Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
THE GENESIS FLOOD
From: JASA 17 (June
I take it from the introductory statement in the March issue of the Journal that additional comments on THE GENESIS FLOOD are expected. The Editor of the Publishing Co. that put out the book sent me a presentation copy when it came off the press, and I read it with mixed feelings.
I recognized it as a reissue of G. M. Price's views, brought up to date, and knew it would be a subject of controversy. At the same time I realized here were two born again believers in the inspired Word of God, (one a scientist) anxious to strengthen the faith of others, by demonstrating how the Bible and Science can be reconciled.
The two reviews in the March issue cover the scientific aspects of the book, and nothing more need be said on this phase of the subject. However, it may help clarify the issue in the minds of many to consider factors not touched upon by them. It should be pointed out that our.God has given us three separate and distinct revelations of Himself, all equally inspired. First in order was His World Book, "creation" (Ps. 19:1-6), which is that referred to in Rom. 1:19,20. This revelation reveals His glory. The second revelation, His Word Book, the Scriptures, reveals His u7isdo,m (Ps. 19:7-14), how He can be just, yet the justifier of them that believe. The third revel ation is His Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. This revelation reveals His love. A trinity God can only be revealed by a trinity view. All three are from a different view point, like a mechanical drawing, or an architect's building plans. The analogy is complete, the front elevation reveals the glory of the architect; the plan view, his wisdom in designing; and the side elevation the depth required to embrace the plan. Notice also the prime movers in the revelations, God the Father in Creation; God the Holy Spirit in the Word Book, and God the Son in the Living Word.
It is apparent the authors are among those who believe the seven days of creation are literal 24 hour days. Here is where they get off the track. The Hebrew word "yom" is used throughout the Old Testament in three ways, 1) a 24 hour period; 2) for the daytime only, as opposed to the night; 3) as an indefinite period of time, just as we do today (e.g., "They did not have automobiles in George Washington's day"). Yom is used in this sense hundreds of times in the Old Testament (about 75 times in Isaiah alone). It is so used in Gen. 1, as easily can be demonstrated.
Gen. 1:1 is included in the first day's work. The word heavens is in the plural in the Hebrew, hence includes the creation of the universe, the millions of galaxies, the sun, moon, stars, and on down to the earth. At some stage in the earth's development, the mountains were formed (Ps. 90:2). They were in existence at the time of the flood, but not when the earth was first formed. Diastrophisms of many sorts must have been common in the early days of creation, and many floods, even greater than Noah's must have occurred. This is the theory advocated by Cuvier, but denied by Lyell, the father of uniformatarianism. The authors of The Genesis Flood refuse to accept either. I feel they are correct in rejecting Lyell views, but their principal objection to Cuvier's view is the time scale, not realizing that Gen. 1:1 provides eons of time for thousands of cataclysmic actions to take place, the last (and only large one since the creation of man) being the Genesis flood. For any who might not appreciate this truth, yet are open minded, I would suggest examination of Carl 0. Dunbar's book, HISTORICAL GEOLOGY (especially the hundreds of photographs). Seeing is believing.
The rain was a minor contribution to the flood, according to the record; some great upheaval in the seas must have been the primary cause; a temporary rise of a few hundred feet in the ocean floor at some place would have caused it.
Then again another factor must be considered. The Hebrew word "barall (create) never means making something out of nothing. It means "to make something that did not previously exist." For proof of this read Psalm 102:18, and its fulfillment in 2 Cor. 51:7. The use of this word in Gen. 1:1 covers all life brought into existence under the three commands, "Let the earth (or waters) bring forth." Three different words are employed in the Hebrew for "bring forth", but in the commands are included "after their kind" (Hebrew, "min"). Much has been written defining "min" .but I have never noticed any reference to the gestation period involved in fulfilling this command, which in no case could be covered in one day, but the commands involved "bring forth abundantly" hence a long time must be allowed to meet these commands. Incidentally, the gestation period is almost universally a multiple of seven days, e.g., chicken 21 days, man 280 days.
A third factor is also involved in the Genesis record, the fragmentary nature of the entire book of Genesis. It was not written by Moses, as its author, but merely compiled by him, from records (diaries, genealogies, etc.) written by men from the very beginning, preserved on clay tablets, handed down from generation to generation, and finally taken to Egypt by Jacob, ultimately coming into the hands of Moses, who collated them into the divine record, without altering the wording. The entire story of the flood was written by someone in the ark (probably Shem), and it must be read in that light. This affects the question of the universality of the flood, which actually is unimportant, except to the extent that God's purpose of bringing it about was fulfilled. That animal life had to die wherever the flood extended, is obvious, but this also was incidental. Life in the seas was not affected, or vegetable life on the land. Only taking all these factors into account can solve some of the problems involved in the Genesis flood.
The idea that the Bible and Science cannot be reconciled results when the theologian studies only the Scriptures, while the scientist obtains all his knowledge for searching the physical realm, the World Book. Failure to integrate all three revelations always results in divided opinions. Coordinating all three, results in complete harmony.
Roy M. Allen, Sc.D. 120 Personette Ave. Verona, New Jersey