Judgment: Miracle of the Flood

No doubt much of the public fascination over the possibility of an Extinction Level Event (ELE) has come from a Cold War consciousness of the risk of thermonuclear holocaust, as well as, the scar of a comet or asteroid strike off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula; but, all of that pales by comparison to the worldwide flood of epoch proportions described by Moses in Genesis. “God said to Noah, I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” (Genesis 6:13 NIV).

If a miracle requires the supernatural intervention of God to accomplish it, then God destroying the earth with a flood would qualify as miraculous. As God would delight in the beauty and orderliness of His Creation, He would abhor the depravity and chaos of humankind’s rebellion against Him. The Miracle of the Flood was judgment upon the earth, and the prospect of divine sentence executed against sin would make the Flood an unpopular notion among sinful humanity. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month — on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11-12 NIV). The scale of annihilation of the earth was absolute by a Regretful God. “Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:23 NIV).

The Miracles of Creation and the Flood stand as impediments to contemporary science. “They will say, Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2Peter 3:4 NIV). Modern science depends upon a concept of uniformitarianism to extrapolate backwards the geological history of the earth, where the present is key to the past. The Miracle of the Flood is a pebble in the humanistic shoe, for it ruptures the flow of evolutionary history, cataclysmically producing a Grand Canyon without the need of aeons of time. Gradualism in biological evolution is the slow processes in genetic change over immense spans of time to account for the ultimate cause for every living thing in nature. Evolution, in science, is change in the gene pool of a biological population from generation to generation by means of mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift. Sir Julian Huxley, the evolutionary biologist, famously said, Evolution is “a single process of self-transformation.” And, Paul said, “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” (1Timothy 6:20 NIV). Theistic evolution, as well, attempts to mitigate the miraculous features of Genesis, but its secular cohorts, such as Richard Lewontin have logically concluded, “Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.” I would only add, “Be careful about the Miracle of the Flood, for its opponents understand their necessity to deny it.”

As a miraculous act of God, the judgment of the Flood was unprecedented by any measure, unexpected by the unbelieving, and unrepeatable by God’s own promise.

A Biblical Synopsis of the Flood

  • Judge all humanity for wickedness by a Just God. “5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 7 So the Lord said, I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5, 7 NIV), 
  • Preserve an obedient remnant by a Faithful God. “14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark — you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you” (Genesis 6:14, 17-18 NIV),
  • Insure a continuance of the biological Creation by a Caring God. “19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them” (Genesis 6:19-21 NIV), 
  • Transform the face of the earth by a Careful God. “11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month — on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.  23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:11-12, 20, 23 NIV).
  • Covenant to continue the lifecycle of humanity, and never again destroy the earth with flood by a Hopeful God. “8:22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. 9:13 I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Genesis 8:22, 9:13-15 NIV).

In effect, God reset His Creation to ensure its conclusion. One may observe, human responsibility to follow the Creator is dwarfed by God’s miraculous intervention in human affairs. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7 NIV).

Question: Should we not learn to expect and anticipate our Faithful Creator’s miraculous intervention, while balancing our commission to steward His creation and disciple the nations?

Miraculous Aspects of the Flood

  • One of a kind miraculous judgment by flood, not by fire, as in the End, by a Righteous God. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare” (2Peter 3:10 NIV).
  • Predicted for the benefit of warning and preparation, by a God Whose Word Never Fails. “6:3 My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years. 7:4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made” (Genesis 6:3; 7:4 NIV).
  • Constructed the naval architecture of an eminently seaworthy ark vessel, approximately 510 feet (155.4 meters) long, 85 feet (25.9 meters) wide, and 51 feet (15.5 meters) high, capable of housing three levels of occupants (Genesis 6:15-16), and withstanding never before experienced torrents of water, as planned by an All Wise God.
  • Planned, provisioned, and preserved by a Thoughtful God, who knew exactly what everyone needed. “You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them” (Genesis 6:21 NIV).
  • Supernaturally allowed the collection and management of all animals, who voluntarily, “male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah” (Genesis 7:9 NIV).
  • Noah himself was shepherded into the Ark, “then the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16 NIV).
  • Helmed and piloted by the Captain of Our Salvation, the Ark was given no specifications for steering, propulsion, or navigation, in the Biblical Record, so God safely guided the vessel to come “to rest on the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4 NIV).

The difference between the natural and supernatural is only when God pulls back the curtain to allow us to understand the underlying processes. Creatures are encouraged to explore the Creation with the view of worshiping and serving its Creator. Through the eyes of “faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3 NIV). The Miracle of the Flood is not that the the circumstances, events, and mechanisms of the cataclysm cannot be understood, but the awesome power of God commanded that epoch event as judgment upon humanity. An attempt to scientifically explain the Flood is given by Walt Brown, an MIT trained engineer, in his Hydroplate Theory (10:53). Not all young earth creationists agree with each other on the science of their flood models; and, Jonathan Sarfati rightly observed, “Hold the Bible strongly; hold models loosely.” The community of bibliocentric, creationist defenders — including, Henry M. Morris (“Biblical Creationism”), Stephen Boyd and Andrew Snelling (“Grappling With the Chronology of the Genesis Flood”), Ken Ham (Ark Encounter), and Dennis R. Petersen (“Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation”) — have tirelessly attempted to give credit to the Creator for His Masterpiece. If we cannot trust God about the factuality and historicity of the Flood, why should we believe Him about anything else? Jesus said, “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:38-39 NIV). Sarfati concluded, “With so many unknowns, it is not surprising that there are a number of different models. But multiple models are a good thing in science, especially when it comes to trying to understand what happened in the unobservable past. What ultimately matters is what is true, not what fits a particular scientific model.”

In conclusion, popular culture chooses to remember a circus menagerie of wild and diverse animals gathered on a top-heavy caricature of an Ark with a colorful rainbow splashed across the sky, if the story is addressed at all. But, judgment for sin is the reality of the message behind the Miracle of the Flood, and faithfulness in preservation was the benefit for God’s messenger and his family. May we take heart that God will find a way for His message to be preserved in this world. “So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV).

Amen and amen.