Richard Dawkins stood on the podium at the middle of the stage, addressing a large audience inside the Sydney Opera House. He was purposely making mockery of any historical credit given to Noah and his family remaining safe by floating in a barge while the whole world lies underwater in a global flood.
He ridiculed those "religious nuts" who still believe in the reality of this folklore, while the better educated and the enlightened had long discarded such fables and adhered to scientific facts of organic evolution which had shaped us for the last 200,000,000 years, give or take.
The audience chuckled. Every hearer took delight in the speaker's ridicule of the Biblical narration. And I doubt that anyone in that audience had given a moment's thought on the repercussions if Dawkins was right all along and the Noachian Deluge (as the Biblical Flood is often addressed) was pure fiction after all.
As we shall see, the early chapters of Genesis hold the key to first, the very existence of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Along with this, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ himself was born into a Jewish family. At his very birth, his final destiny was to become King of Israel (Matthew 2:6, Luke 1:32-33). But before this, Jesus Christ had to die a criminal's death on a cross to atone for the sins of not only Israel but for the whole world.
After his death and his resurrection, he would become head of the Church, consisting of all people (mainly Gentile but open to any Jewish believer as well). In other words, us - all those who believe in him for our redemption and the eternal enjoyment of eternal life in God's presence. So we need to ask, where is the connection between Adam and Eve and the Noachian Deluge, the nation of Israel and the Church at present? Through what is called the Messianic Line, that is, from Adam his descendants includes Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (i.e. Israel), Judah, King David, Joseph husband of Mary (thus a legal guardian) and Mary herself, also a descendant of King David, who became the mother of Jesus, future King of Israel and the head of all true believers who make up all the churches in the world to this day.
Which leads to a major problem. If the Noachian Deluge, along with all the people and events recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, were fable and simply folklore, then all the churches we see around us to this day would have been non-existent, since the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ would not have occurred either. And without the Crucifixion of Christ, there would be no hope for any of us. Our lives would be extremely futile. Educated? Yes. Ambitious? Yes. But we would just live for a short while, die and tumble into Hell wondering just where we've gone wrong. Instead of blaming sin, inherited from the Fall of Adam and Eve, the explanation would be that something went seriously wrong in the final, explosive stages of our evolution, resulting in that all wrongdoing is not our fault, but due to "environmental factors".
Is this beginning to sound familiar?
As for the Summer riots which took place just a couple of weeks before this was written, one Politician, "Red" Ken Livingstone, ex-Mayor of London, began to blame the riots with an attractive explanation of "Government draconian cuts, lack of youth clubs and rising costs and unemployment." Not sin then, but shortfalls in the environment.
In this article I wish to discuss the plausibility of the Noachian Deluge and ask, is such an event scientifically viable?
In the last blog, we looked at the feasibility of Adam and Eve, Cain, Abel, the time of the murder amidst a growing population. Here we'll look at the narrator's chronology leading to the Flood, and ask, why such detail? Then we take a brief look at the animals within the Ark, and then the genealogical line from Noah to Abraham.
Genesis chapter 5 gives the genealogical record from Adam to Noah, which is also part of the Messianic line from Adam to Christ. If Jesus Christ existed, died for our sins and risen from the dead three days later, then not only the beginning of his origin and the source of our salvation detailed, but also for existence for the nation of Israel, and its justification for its existence in the Middle East at present, to which Jesus Christ will return as its King sometime in the future. In short, without the historical truth of the events recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, the whole of the two Abrahamic faiths - Judaism and Christianity, together with the existence of the nation of Israel, would all crumble to dust.
The antediluvian chronicle is as follows:
Adam fathered Seth at 130 years of age, lived 800 years more, died at 930
Seth - Enosh at 105 - 807 years more, died at 912.
Enosh - Kenan at 90 - 815 years more, died at 905.
Kenan - Mahalalel at 70 - 840 years more, died at 910.
Mahalalel - Jared at 65 - 830 years more, died at 895.
Jared - Enoch at 162 - 800 years more, died at 962.
Enoch - Methusalah at 65 - 300 years, - was taken to Heaven alive at 365.
Methusalah - Lamech at 187 - 782 years more - died at 969.
Lamech - Noah at 182 - 595 years more, died at 777.
Noah - aged 600 when the Flood arrived.
It is interesting to realise that Methusalah is a prophetic name. It means, "The Flood comes when I die." By calculating the figures given above, we can see that Noah was 600 years when the flood came. Methusalah was 187 when his son Lamech was born, and Lamech was 182 years when Noah was born. So we can work out:
182+187=369 years - the age Methusalah was when Noah was born.
Noah's antediluvian lifespan right up to the Flood - 600 years.
Thus 600+369=969 years - the total age of Methusalah at the time of the Flood.
As for Lamech, he was 182 years old when his son Noah was born. He died at 777 years of age. Therefore Lamech lived 595 years after Noah's birth, which is five years short of the Flood which occurred in Noah's 600th year of his life. In other words, Methusalah outlived his own son by five years.
There is a likelihood that at the death of Methusalah, Noah panicked when he saw that the Ark was not quite ready. Therefore God assured him of seven more days before the catastrophe (Genesis 7:4). It seems odd to me if the event was merely folklore, why the narrator took so much effort in chronicling the age of each patriarch and the timing of the Flood since Creation.
But did every species of animal as we know them today entered the Ark. Unlikely. For a start, there was no need for marine life to enter the Ark. This not only include fishes, but marine mammals - Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises. Also animals that have survived outside the Ark included Crustaceans, coral, sponges, along with insects and possibly amphibians.
Then it has been demonstrated that many species of animal could have arisen from as little as one pair. Let us give a couple of examples:
There are up to nine related to the horse family. They are
Zebroid (cross between Horse and Zebra)
Kianger (cross between Onager and Kiang)
Mule (cross between Horse and Ass)
Likewise, the Canine family has eight varieties:
Dog (with its many varieties and sizes)
Source: John C. Whitcombe and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood.
The point is, each of these two families could have each arisen from a single pair.
This raises the likelihood that out of the total of seventeen animals listed above, only four entered the Ark, two of each family, the male and female. If this is true, then the number of species in the Ark would have been much fewer than the varieties we see today. Then again, it was very possible that the animals within the Ark would have spent much of their time in hibernation during the duration of the Flood.
After the Flood abated, and Noah's family along with all the life stock had disembarked from the Ark, we are told that Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk with the wine the fruit the harvest produced. This seemed to be out-of-step with the normal character of Noah! What made him turn to alcohol, after experiencing the salvation and deliverance God had performed for him? His loneliness.
We seem to forget that right up to the Flood itself, Noah had brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and many cousins. This we know because in Genesis 5, we are told that Methusalah became the father of Lamech, and fathered other sons and daughters. (v.26). So Noah had aunts and uncles. And in verse 30, we are told that Lamech had other sons and daughters. Therefore we can assume that Noah, prior to the Flood, was surrounded by his family. They most likely loved him enough to care for him, even if they disbelieved in God's revelation, perhaps thinking that their brother was a little nutty. Noah's heart must have been pining for his wider family to believe God's revelation and act accordingly. After the Flood, Noah and his seven adult family members were the only humans on the planet. His loneliness and loss of his wider family must have hit him hard! Little wonder he turned to alcohol. But does this mean that he has fallen away and lost his salvation? A pretty silly question to ask. Rather, his name appears in the Hall of Fame of faithful men in Hebrews 11:7. But the Scriptures show how human even the greatest saints can be.
Next, we shall take a look at the genealogy of post-deluge patriarchs, and how their longevity declined rapidly after the Flood. Although there may be several reasons for this, it is believed that the vast change of global climate had played a role in this, namely, the collapse of the antediluvian vapour canopy during the Flood which played a role in filtering out the more harmful of the sun's rays.
The list is as follows, and it's found in Genesis 11:
The lifespan of Noah - 950 years.
Of son Shem - 600 years.
Of son Arphaxad - 438 years.
Of son Shelah - 433 years.
Of son Eber - 464 years.
Of Son Peleg - 239 years.
Of son Rue - 239 years.
Of son Serug - 230 years.
Of son Nahor - 148 years.
Of son Terah - 205 Years.
From there we need to go further into the book to record the ages of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
Abraham - 175 years (Genesis 25:7).
Isaac - 180 years (Genesis 35:28).
Jacob (Israel) - 147 years (Genesis 47:28).
Joseph - 110 years - (Genesis 50:26).
So we see the dramatic drop of longevity from Noah's 950 years to Joseph's 110, which is much closer to today's reality than Noah's and his forefathers. But we see the continual lines of both the formation of the nation of Israel from Adam, and the Messianic line from Adam to Jacob, who was renamed Israel. Only Joseph branched off from the Messianic line, as this passed through his brother Judah, the fourth son of Jacob with his first wife Leah.
So the early chapters of Genesis are absolutely vital for the existence and survival of Israel, for the believing on Jesus Christ for our salvation and for the survival of the churches. Also, as was discussed in the last blog, the teaching and institution of marriage, children and the family are based on these early chapters.
Educated professors such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens do us no favours whatsoever in their books and theatrical speeches. It is about time too that Christians study and believe these chapters to strengthen their own faith and to encourage others.