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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke, part 10

I have published a series of posts on David Snoke's A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Books, 2006). The latest post is here.

In his eighth chapter, Snoke considers the Flood.

He begins by discussing miracles. Real miracles, he says, leave traces (sometimes large traces) in the real world. For example, A blind man healed by Jesus could really see, after the miracle. This relates to the Flood, in that, if there was a world-wide deluge, there should be world-wide traces. He is not convinced that such evidence is present, in spite of the work of so-called flood geologists. (Snoke is not alone. Many other Bible-believing Christian scientists don't find such evidence, either.)

Snoke has a great sentence:
The entire program of flood geology is to argue that science as we know it supports their interpretation of the Bible, not to propose unknown laws of physics that no one could guess at unless they were needed to cover up inconvenient facts. (160)

Snoke supposes that there was a flood that covered the entire earth, including the tallest mountains. He then says that, for the results to be consistent with the biblical story of Noah, and with the scientific evidence, there must have been a lot of miracles, involving the migration of the animals; keeping all the needed animals and their food on an ark of limited space; feeding carnivorous animals on the ark; caring for all those animals by just eight people; heat disposal -- the number of animals in that space must have generated lots of heat, enough to kill some of them, and Noah and his family; survival of animals from extreme climates, or unique habitats, such as tide pools, on the ark; the appearance and disappearance of enough water to cover the earth that much; that the earth's crust did not sink under that much water; that plants and trees survived flooding for that length of time; survival of freshwater fish in salt water (or the reverse); survival of small invertebrates under the water (or caring for anthills, worms, nematodes, etc., on the ark); fossil sorting after the flood; and trees remaining upright during the flood. An amazing list. Snoke concludes that it just didn't happen that way, not because God couldn't have done it, but because the Bible doesn't indicate that any of these things happened.

Says Snoke:
Just as young-earth advocates read in an entire re-creation of the world in the curse of Genesis 3, flood geology reads in another entire re-creation, not mentioned in Scripture, after the flood. Flood geology has God creating the world not once, but three times, without any direct Scriptural evidence, and in contradiction to the statement in Genesis 2:1 that the entire creation was completed by the seventh day. (165)

Snoke, who takes the Bible very seriously, presents evidence, which I'll leave to the reader of his book -- you need to read this for yourself -- that the Bible is consistent with the flood being local, not world-wide. He also thinks that there is no scientific evidence for a world-wide flood.

Thanks for reading. Read Snoke.

3 comments: said...

I am surprised that Snoke would say that the earth's crust would sink under the weight of the water, since the crust of the earth is made of rock, which is heavier than water, and is about 50 miles thick, much thicker than the ocean - even if the ocean covered the mountains today, it would not be deeper than about 15 miles. It makes me wonder if he is inaccurate in other things also.

The problems that were mentioned could have been handled by God miraculously or by Noah (such as air circulation or feeding of carnivorous animals) in ways that are not recorded - the whole book of Genesis is only a summary with many details left out. No miracle to solve these problems would be anything like the miracle of the flood itself, so if God could bring a flood He could handle the other things as well.

I have proved to my satisfaction, from fulfilled prophecy, that the Bible was inspired by God. Later, I made a decision that I would trust God to never lie and I would believe His word. As I point out in my blog, I think that if we read the Bible with an attitude of being willing to believe what God says, He will help us to understand it.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments,

1) True, but the earth's crust floats on fluid material beneath it. Adding heavy material on top of it might make the crust sink down some, I believe.
2) Yes, these problems could have been handled by God. But Snoke, and many other Christians, are not convinced that the Bible definitely teaches that the flood was world-wide. The carnivorous animals question particularly intrigues me. What would tigers, lions, and leopards (to name a few large predators) have eaten? Wouldn't that have required more than two, or seven, of some prey species?
3) Your last paragraph is true, indeed. However, it doesn't necessarily follow that your interpretation, or mine, or Snoke's, of that word, is inspired. The Bible is. One of the ways that God might help us understand might be reading Snoke's book.

Philip Smith said...

I think Snokes arguments are limiting God.

Just as his arguments are extra-biblical, so is this ...

What if building the ark was symbolic of Noah's dedication and during the time it took him to build it - God prepared safe harbors for other animals and prepared the earth THAT HE FORMED to be shored up to not collapse the earths crust.

What if the ark once made to the exact specifications as given took on a new form almost like alchemy ~ transforming from one man made structure to God protected super structure?