From Mark Copeland... "DISCIPLINES FOR THE DISCIPLE" The Discipline Of Giving

                     "DISCIPLINES FOR THE DISCIPLE"

                        The Discipline Of Giving


1. Summarizing what we have covered so far, "Disciplines For The
   Disciple" include:
   a. Prayer - especially the value of secret, simple, and steadfast
   b. Meditation - contemplating God, His works, His words, and things
      worthy of virtue
   c. Fasting - a means of humbling one's self before God when joined
      with sincere prayer
   d. Singing - which edifies the singer as well as praises God
   e. Fellowship - communing with other Christians as we engage in
      spiritual activities

2. I also like to think of giving as a spiritual discipline...
   a. Not just in the sense of giving money to someone in need
   b. But in giving of one's time, energy, or abilities, especially
      where it involves sacrifice

3. Such giving is certainly demonstrated in the New Testament...
   a. By the example of the churches of Macedonia - 2Co 8:1-5
   b. By the example of Christ Himself - 2Co 8:9

[To become more like Christ, which is the goal of spiritual discipline,
we must exercise giving.  To encourage us to give as we should, let's
take a closer look at the example of the Macedonians...]


      1. The Macedonians were in the midst of great affliction - 2 Co 8:2
      2. They were experiencing poverty themselves - 2Co 8:2
      3. Yet they gave 'beyond their ability' - 2Co 8:3a
      4. This they were not expected to do - cf. 2Co 8:12-13
      -- The best giving comes from those who cannot afford it (cf. Lk 21:1-4)

      1. Somehow they had discovered the joy of giving - 2Co 8:2
      2. Perhaps they took to heart the teaching of...
         a. The Lord relating to the blessedness of giving - Ac 20:35
         b. James to the value of persecution - Jm 1:2-4
      3. In any case, this is the kind of giving that God loves - 2 Co 9:7
      -- The best giving comes from those who give cheerfully

      1. They were 'freely willing' - 2Co 8:3
      2. This is the kind of giving God requires today...
         a. We can not command people to give against their will 
            - cf. 2Co 8:8
         b. We can only command how it is to be done to help needy
            saints abroad - cf. 1Co 16:1-4
      3. Giving must come from 'a willing mind' - 2Co 8:12
      4. Giving must never be done 'begrudgingly' or because you 'have
         to' - 2Co 9:7
      5. Otherwise, you might as well not give at all
      -- The best giving comes from those who give freely

      1. As Paul says, 'imploring us with much urgency' - 2Co 8:4
      2. They wouldn't take 'no' for an answer (or for an easy way out!)
      3. With the Philippians, their giving to Paul persisted throughout
         his life - Php 4:10-18
      -- The best giving comes from those who persist

      1. Perhaps this explains how they were able to give as they did!
      2. They gave themselves 'first to the Lord' - 2Co 8:5
         a. When a person does this, they do not worry about 'the cost
            of giving'
         b. For they have the promise of Jesus in Mt 6:25-34
      3. Giving themselves first to the Lord, it is natural they would
         give 'then to us (others)'
         a. For such is a mark of true discipleship - cf. Jn 13:34-35
         b. And it is a mark of true love for God - cf. 1Jn 4:20-21
      -- The best giving comes from those who give themselves to God

[Such are the principles of giving par excellence.  To help motivate us
to give more like the Macedonians, let's now consider some...]


      1. It is more blessed to give than to receive - Ac 20:35
      2. The Lord blesses those who give - Ps 41:1-3; Pr 19:17
      3. The grace of God is at work in those who give - 2Co 8:1-2,6-7;9:8,14
      -- Giving blesses the giver more than the recipient!

      1. As Paul reminded the Corinthians - 2Co 9:7
      2. A cheerful giver therefore need not worry - Mt 6:30-33
      3. For God watches over those whom He loves - cf. Lk 12:6-7
      -- Giving cheerfully makes one a recipient of God's care and love!

      1. Those who sow bountifully will reap bountifully - 2Co 9:6
      2. Not for personal consumption - 2Co 9:8-9
         a. But to have 'all sufficiency in all things'
         b. But to have 'an abundance for every good work'
         c. As confirmed by a quote from Psalms - cf. Ps 112:5-9
      3. To multiply the seed for even more good - 2Co 9:10-11a
         a. To 'increase the fruits of your righteousness'
         b. To be 'enriched for all liberality'
      -- Giving liberally will be blessed to give even more liberally!

      1. Thanksgiving is offered by those whose needs are supplied
         - 2Co 9:11b-12
      2. Glory is given to God for His grace in the lives of the givers
         - 2Co 9:13-15
      -- Giving liberally will lead to God being praised liberally!

      1. By brethren who witness God's grace in the givers - 2Co 9:14
      2. Causing them to love and long for their brethren - e.g., Php 1:
      -- Giving liberally will strengthen the bonds of brotherly love!

[We certainly have good reasons to give, and examples like the
Macedonians inspiring us to give.  Finally, some quick thoughts on...]


      1. Giving is not limited to money
      2. God may empower us to give in other ways - 1Pe 4:10-11
         a. Our talents to teach or serve
         b. Our time can be a great gift
      3. Whatever our abilities and opportunities...
         a. We are stewards of the manifold grace of God
         b. We should minister our gifts to one another
         c. We should do so with the ability God supplies
      -- However you give, let it truly reflect God's grace in you!

      1. Purposeful giving is the key to giving cheerfully - cf. 2 Co9:7
      2. One is less likely to give 'grudgingly or of necessity'
         a. Because they have already set aside what they want to give
         b  They are not caught off guard when someone asks them to give
      3. This is how Paul instructed the Corinthians in their giving
         a. To lay by in store on the first day of the week - cf. 1Co16:1-4
         b. To prepare their gift beforehand, so the resources were
            ready - cf. 2Co 9:5
      4. An early Christian apologist, Aristides, wrote of how even
         slaves were able to give cheerfully through purposeful
         planning:  "And if there is any that is a slave or a poor man,
         they fast two or three days and what they were going to set
         before themselves they send to them (Christians in prison),
         considering themselves to give good cheer even as they were
         called to give good cheer." - Apology 15
      -- So plan your giving if you wish to give cheerfully!

      1. Plan your giving to help the needy
         a. We saw where Paul instructed planned giving to produce
            cheerful giving
         b. As you prosper, set so much aside for 'individual
         c. Start a separate account into which you put aside a certain
            amount each pay period
         d. Or send that amount to some charitable organization
      2. Plan the use of your talents and time
         a. Don't wait till someone asks you for help on the spur of the
         b. Look at your schedule, and budget your time to offer your
            abilities (e.g., teaching)
      3. Give to be seen of God, not man - Mt 6:1-4
         a. Like prayer and fasting, giving should be done to please
            God, not man
         b. Through planned, frequent giving, it soon becomes second
            nature to which we give little thought
      -- It is much easier and more blessed to give when you plan to


1. Remember that the purpose of any spiritual discipline is to...
   a. Help us grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ
   b. Become more like Christ as we grow in godliness

2. The discipline of giving certainly helps to fulfill such a goal...
   a. For God gave His only begotten Son - Jn 3:16
   b. And Jesus gave Himself - Mt 20:28

Likewise the Macedonians gave themselves to the Lord first, and then to
others (2Co 8:5).  As we exercise ourselves to godliness through
prayer, meditation, fasting, singing, and fellowship, may we also be
sure to add the grace of giving...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Does It Really Matter Who Wrote the Pentateuch? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Does It Really Matter Who Wrote the Pentateuch?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Since the “period of Enlightenment,” liberal scholars have been extremely critical of those who teach that Moses was the inspired human author of the first five books of the Bible. These critics teach that the Pentateuch was compiled from four original source documents—designated as J, E, D, and P—which supposedly were written at different times by a different author (or authors), and eventually were compiled as the Pentateuch by a redactor (editor) around 200 B.C. This theory, which wears various names (Graf-Wellhausen Theory, Documentary Hypothesis, JEDP Theory, etc.), has becoming increasingly popular through the years. Numerous commentaries, religious journals, and Web sites promote it. And many professors who teach religious courses espouse it. Undoubtedly, it is the champion among topics discussed in classes on a critical introduction to the Bible. In most “scholarly” circles, if one does not hold to the Documentary Hypothesis (or at least some form of it), he is considered fanatical and uneducated. In fact, we at Apologetics Press received an e-mail some time ago inquiring as to why we do not hold to this theory, since “it is accepted by almost all scholarly interpreters.” In his book The Darwin Wars, Andrew Brown mentioned an interview he had with the rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in which Dr. Sacks defended the proposition that Moses wrote or dictated the first five books of the Bible. Brown’s response was: “That is the most shocking thing I have ever heard an intellectual say” (1999, p. 167).
Since the theory that Moses did not write the Pentateuch has become so widely accepted by “intellectuals,” many Christians are “caving in” under pressure and declaring that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote the first five books of the Bible as long as we believe they are inspired.” This certainly is true of other books of the Bible, so why not the first five? We do not consider it a necessity to know whom God inspired to write the book of Job or the epistle of Hebrews. We do not draw lines of fellowship over who wrote 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Why, then, should the discussion of who penned the first five books of the Bible be any different? The difference is that the Bible is replete with references attributing these books to Moses.
Within the Pentateuch itself, one can read numerous times how Moses wrote the law of God.
“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” (Exodus 24:4).
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write these words…’ ” (Exodus 34:27).
“Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord” (Numbers 33:2).
“So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests…” (Deuteronomy 31:9).
Bible writers throughout the Old Testament credited Moses with writing the Pentateuch (also known as the Torah or “the Law”). A plain statement of this commonly held conviction is expressed in Joshua 8:32: “There in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he [Moses—EL] had written” (NIV, emp. added). Notice also that 2 Chronicles 34:14 states: “...Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses” (emp. added; cf. Ezra 3:2; 6:18; Nehemiah 13:1; Malachi 4:4). As Josh McDowell noted in his book, More Evidence that Demands a Verdict, these verses “refer to an actual written ‘law of Moses,’ not simply an oral tradition” (1975, pp. 93-94).
The New Testament writers also showed no hesitation in affirming that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. John wrote: “The law was given through Moses” (John 1:17). Luke recorded of the resurrected Jesus: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them [His disciples—EL] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself ” (Luke 24:27). Referring to the Jewish practice of publicly reading the Law, James affirmed Mosaic authorship: “For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21). With this Paul concurred saying, “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them’ ” (Romans 10:5, emp. added; cf. Leviticus 18:5). In 2 Corinthians 3:15 Paul also wrote: “Moses is read.” The phrase “Moses is read” is a clear example of the figure of speech known as metonymy (when authors are put for the works which they have produced). Today, we may ask someone if he has read Homer, Virgil, or Shakespeare, by which we mean to ask if he has read the writings of these men. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, one can read where Abraham spoke to the rich man concerning his five brothers saying, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Were Moses and the Old Testament prophets still on Earth in the first century? No. The meaning is that the rich man’s brothers had the writings of Moses and the prophets.
Furthermore both Jesus’ disciples and His enemies recognized and accepted the books of Moses. After Philip was called to follow Jesus, he found his brother Nathanael and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45, emp. added). Notice also that New Testament Sadducees considered Moses as the author, saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother” (Mark 12:19, emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 25:5).
A final reason that one must defend the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, instead of idly sitting by and claiming that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote it,” is because Jesus Himself claimed “the Law” came from Moses. In Mark 7:10 Jesus quoted from both Exodus 20 and 21, attributing the words to Moses. Later in the gospel of Mark, we read where Jesus asked the Sadducees, “Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ ” (12:26, emp. added). But, perhaps the most convincing passage of all is found in John 5:46-47 where Jesus said: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-18). The truth is, by claiming that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch, one essentially is claiming that Jesus is not God. As M.R. DeHaan explained in his book, Genesis and Evolution:
Prove that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch and you prove that Jesus was totally mistaken and not the infallible Son of God he claimed to be. Upon your faith in Moses as the writer of the five books attributed to him rests also your faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing what Moses wrote. You see, there is much more involved in denying the books of Moses than most people suppose (1982, p. 41).
Indeed, believing that Moses wrote the Torah is very important. It is not a trivial matter that we should discuss frivolously while suggesting that “it really doesn’t matter.” It matters because the deity of Christ and the integrity of the Bible writers are at stake!


Brown, Andrew (1999), The Darwin Wars (New York: Simon and Schuster).
DeHaan, M.R. (1982), Genesis and Evolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
McDowell, Josh (1975), More Evidence that Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ).

Cell Nuclei: Anything but Random by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Cell Nuclei: Anything but Random

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

At the heart of biological evolutionary theory is randomness. Evolutionists claim that the human body is the result of random mutations prompted by natural selection. According to the University of California at Berkeley, “The mechanisms of evolution—like natural selection and genetic drift—work with the random variation generated by mutation” (“Mutations...,” n.d.).
However essential a pillar of evolution the random may be, it is antithetical to what we actually observe in nature, even in the basic unit of all living matter—the cell (Aw, 1982, p. 127). New research suggests that the nucleus of a mammal cell is made up of component parts arranged in a pattern which can be predicted statistically (“Scientists Prove...,” 2006). Systems biologists worked with mathematicians to identify, for the first time, “spatial relationships” governing the distribution of an important control protein in the nucleus, in relation to other components within the nuclei of mammal cells (“Scientists Prove...,” 2006).
The study, published in PLoS Computational Biology, reports that, “[i]t is becoming increasingly clear that nuclear macromolecules and macromolecular complexes are compartmentalized through binding interaction into an apparent three-dimensionally ordered structure” (McManus, et al., 2006). The widespread protein CBP acts on certain genes within the cell nucleus, causing them to make specific proteins at different times throughout the life of the cell (“Scientists Prove...”). The scientists developed a probability map for the nucleus and determined that CBP pockets are more likely to be located closest to the gene regions with which they are known to modify (“Scientists Prove...”).
Also, scientists at Purdue University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a technique that automatically locates and maps proteins involved in regulated cell behavior (“New Cell Imaging...,” 2006, p. 46). This allows the cancer researcher, for example, to verify the distinction between multiplying cells that are harmless and those that are malignant (4:46).
Perhaps these new advances constitute substantial progress in scientific examination of cellular life, but they certainly are not the first observations of incredibly sophisticated organization in the cell. Indeed, to observe cells at all is to observe strict organization in the human body itself, for the body is composed in a hierarchy of organs, tissues, and cells. And while it may be very useful to try to put things such as DNA and proteins in the perspective of a cell, “the amazing beauty and complexity of a cell is not always easy to grasp because of the very small sizes involved.... Cells have typical radius [sic] of 10 to 30 microns” (one micron equals a millionth of a meter; Baldi, 2001, p., 22).
Cellular divisions of organic matter were identified and given the name “cells” as long ago as 1663 by the English scientist Robert Hooke (Pfeiffer, 1964, p. 9). Although some 17th-century scientists realized how ridiculous it would be to suggest that something as obviously structured as a human body was composed of randomly assembled components, they did not understand fully the complexity of the cell. Ernst Haeckel, the famed proponent of embryonic recapitulation, contended even in 1877: “the cell consists of matter called protoplasm, composed chiefly of carbon, with an admixture of hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur. These component parts, properly united, produce the soul and body of the animated world, and suitably nursed become man” (as quoted in Eiseley, 1961, p. 346).
By the mid-20th century, technology had opened the eyes of scientists to a deepened examination of the cell’s inner workings:
The microscopic blob of jelly called the cell is a remarkable entity. The most remarkable thing about it is the very fact that it is alive—not with a murky primordial glow, but as fully and vibrantly alive as a tiger or an oak tree. In a remarkable miniaturization of life’s functions, the cell moves, grows, reacts, protects itself and even reproduces. To sustain this varied existence, it utilizes a tightly organized system of parts that is much like a tiny industrial complex. It has a central control point, power plants, internal communications, construction and manufacturing elements (Pfeiffer, 1964, p. 16).
Reports of cellular organization do not surprise creationists, who understand that each cell is built according to fundamental design principles. Considering that even the most minute cell is capable of the five activities of life (metabolism, growth, reproduction, responsiveness, and autonomous movement), it only makes sense that the “brain” of the cell—the nucleus—is organized in a recognizable pattern.
In their cytology textbook, Cell Biology, Roberts, Nowinski, and Saez wrote: “[I]t has been demonstrated that beyond the organization visible with the light microscope are a number of more elementary structures at the macromolecular level that constitute the ‘ultrastructure’ of the cell. We find ourselves in the era of molecular biology...” (1970, p. 3). That was 1970, a few years after the advent of the electron microscope, which made it possible to study intracellular structures and their interrelationship. Scientists consistently have found that different parts of the cell relate to each other. Baldi wrote that the cell structure could be illustrated by a football stadium:
In the stadium, proteins come in many shapes and sizes, but typically have the dimensions of a tennis ball.... [P]roteins are extremely busy in the stadium as they continually bind and interact with each other.... Somehow proteins must find their way to the region of their activity: the football field (nucleus), the rest of the stadium (cytoplasm), the wall around the stadium (membrane), or even the external world in the case of secreted proteins. They are what keeps the stadium functioning, by generating energy, removing waste, exchanging food and other signals with the external world, producing other tennis balls, fighting enemies, and so on.... From time to time, proteins take care of the very complex events by which an entire stadium is precisely duplicated into two stadiums... (2001, pp. 23-24).
Evolutionists believe that the first living cell appeared 3.5 billion years ago and gradually increased in sophistication and organization (Baldi, 2001, p. 25). How and why did it appear? Is it reasonable to assume that the original nucleus, in all its complexity and organization, simply came together for no apparent reason, and then summoned the remaining cellular parts to join in the fight for existence? Is the origin of the cell explicable on strictly natural bases?
Such is illogical for several reasons, not the least of which is the existence of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and its vital role in the nucleus and in the life of the cell. The DNA is a supermodule that carries the coded information for the replication of the cell. It stores coded information in a chemical format and then uses a biologic agent (RNA) to decode and activate it. As Darrel Kautz has stated: “Human technology has not yet advanced to the point of storing information chemically as it is in the DNAmodule” (1988, p. 45, emp. in orig.; see also Jackson, 1993, pp. 11-12). The DNA regulates life and directs its synthesis (see Thompson, 2003, pp. 78-86).
The DNA, all within the nucleus, stores a tremendous amount of information. If transcribed into English, the DNA in the human genome would fill a 300-volume set of encyclopedias of approximately 2,000 pages each (Baldi, 2001, p. 21). As Jackson concluded, “a programmed message is not self-explanatory in terms of its origin. One must assume that someone wrote the initial program. A program does not write itself! Similarly, it is obvious that someone has programmed the data in theDNA” (1993, p. 11). The cell, with its complex nucleus, could not have developed accidentally.
Furthermore, consider cellular reproduction and the important role of DNA in the process. In mitosis, cell division is “a mathematically precise doubling of the chromosomes and their genes. The two chromosome sets so produced then become separated and become part of two newly formed nuclei” so that “the net result of cell division is the formation of two cells that match each other and the parent cell precisely in their gene contents and that contain approximately equal amounts and types of all other components” (Weisz and Keogh, 1977, pp. 322,325).
We demonstrated that the cell could not have developed accidentally. For the sake of argument, however, suppose that a single cell did “appear.” What then? Evolutionists are burdened to explain how and why the first living cell, 3.5 billion years ago, would have perceived a need to divide itself and reproduce. Evolution quickly becomes a logistical conundrum.


For purposes of research and experimentation, scientists depend on regular patterns at the cellular level. Such is possible only because cells exhibit precise organization. To believe evolution is to believe that the random gave rise to the organized by accident. Such a position is increasingly recognized as irrational in the presence of cellular organization. Sir Fred Hoyle, a prominent British scientist, has argued that the chance of higher life-forms emerging accidentally is comparable to the chance that a Boeing 747 jet could be assembled by a tornado sweeping through a junkyard (1981, 294:105). Thankfully, we have a more sensible explanation: “It is He Who has made us” (Psalm 100:3). God designed the eukaryotic human cell and its nucleus!


Aw, S.E. (1982), Chemical Evolution: An Examination of Current Ideas (San Diego, CA: Master).
Baldi, Pierre (2001), The Shattered Self (Cambridge, MA: MIT).
Eiseley, Loren C. (1961), Darwin’s Century: Evolution and the Men Who Discovered It (Garden City, NY: Anchor).
Hoyle, Fred (1981), “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, 294:105, November 12.
Jackson, Wayne (1993), The Human Body—Accident or Design? (Stockton, CA: Courier).
Kautz, Darrel (1988), The Origin of Living Things (Milwaukee, WI: Darrel Kautz).
McManus, Kirk J., et al. “The Transcriptional Regulator CBP Has Defined Spatial Associations with Interphase Nuclei” (2006), PLoS Computational Biology, [On-line], URL:http://compbiol.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/ journal.pcbi.0020139.
“Mutations are Random” (no date), University of California at Berkeley, [On-line], URL: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIC1aRandom.shtml.
“New Cell Imaging Method Identifies Aggressive Cancer Cells Early” (2006), Bioscience Technology, 4:46-47, April.
Pfeiffer, John (1964), The Cell (New York: Time).
Roberts, E.D.P., Wiktor W. Nowinski, and Francisco A. Saez (1970), Cell Biology (Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders).
“Scientists Prove that Parts of Cell Nuclei are Not Arranged at Random” (2006), Imperial College London, [On-line], URL: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/ news_20-10-2006-8-43-24.
Thompson, Bert (2003), The Case for the Existence of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Weisz, Paul B. and Richard N. Keogh (1977), Elements of Biology (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Alleged Discrepancies and the Flood by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Alleged Discrepancies and the Flood

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Name a Bible subject that has been scoffed at or ridiculed more than the account of the Noahic Flood. Name a topic that has borne the brunt of more jokes, or that the unbeliever has used more often to poke fun at the Bible, than Noah’s ark. Likely it would be difficult to find any Bible subject that has received more derision in modern times, or has been the subject of more mockery than the story recorded in Genesis 6-9.
The biblical account of the great Flood is one of the more prominent stories in Scripture, with more space allotted to it in the book of Genesis than to the creation of “the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1-2). Four of the first nine chapters of Genesis are devoted to the record of Noah, his immediate family, and the Flood. We know more about the Flood than any other event (recorded in Holy Writ) from approximately the first 2,000 years of man’s existence on Earth. What’s more, there are several New Testament references to Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5). Yet, the account of Noah, his ark, and the great Flood has been, and still is, a favorite target of Bible critics.
More than a century ago, renowned American agnostic Robert Ingersoll penned his infamous book titled Some Mistakes of Moses. Regarding Noah’s ark and the Flood, he wrote: “Volumes might be written upon the infinite absurdity of this most incredible, wicked and foolish of all fables contained in that repository of the impossible, called the Bible. To me it is a matter of amazement, that it ever was for a moment believed by any intelligent human being” (1879, p. 155). In more recent times, evolutionist Douglas Futuyma asked: “Can you believe that any grown man or woman with the slightest knowledge of biology, geology, physics, or any science at all, not to speak of plain and simple common sense, can conceivably believe this? (1983, p. 203). In that same year, skeptic Dennis McKinsey, the one-time editor of the journal Biblical Errancy (touted as “the only national periodical focusing on biblical errors”), argued that there is a “large number of contradictions between biblical verses with respect to what occurred” in Genesis 6-9 (1983a, p. 1, emp. added). Furthermore, McKinsey has alleged there also exist a “great number of difficulties, impossibilities, and unanswered questions accompanying the biblical account” of the Flood (p. 1).
Before answering some of the alleged problems with the Flood and Noah’s ark, one must first recognize that we are addressing four chapters of the Bible that involve the prevailing power of an omnipotent God Who performed various supernatural feats. Although a skeptic might consider any mention of the miraculous in connection with the Flood as an untenable defense by a Bible believer, the simple truth is that Genesis 6-9 makes it clear that God worked several miracles during the Flood. Just as God worked miracles prior to the Flood (e.g., creating the world and everything in it—Genesis 1-2), and just as He worked miracles after the Flood (e.g., confusing the language of all the Earth—Genesis 11:1-9), He performed wonders during the Flood. As John Whitcomb noted in his book The World That Perished: “A careful analysis of the relevant exegetical data reveals at least six areas in which supernaturalism is clearly demanded in the doctrine of the Flood” (1988, p. 21). What are these areas? “(1) [T]he divinely-revealed design of the Ark; (2) the gathering and care of the animals; (3) the uplift of the oceanic waters from beneath; (4) the release of waters from above; (5) the formation of our present ocean basins; and (6) the formation of our present continents and mountain ranges” (p. 21; cf. 2 Peter 3:4ff.). The fact is, “one cannot have any kind of a Genesis Flood without acknowledging the presence of supernatural powers” (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 76).
Thus, certain “difficulties, impossibilities, and unanswered questions accompanying the biblical account” (McKinsey, 1983a, p. 1) of the Flood may be explained sufficiently simply by acknowledging God’s supernatural involvement. However, apologists do not have to appeal to an “endless supplying of miracles to make a universal flood feasible,” as Bernard Ramm suggested (1954, p. 167). In truth, many of the alleged contradictions and proposed absurdities involving Noah and the Flood are logically explained by an honest and serious study of the Scriptures.


One of the most frequently criticized parts of the biblical account of the Flood involves the size of Noah’s ark and the number of animals that lived in the vessel during the Flood. Allegedly, “[T]he ark...was far too small to be able to contain the earth’s millions of...animal species” (Wells, 2008). Another critic asked: “How could two of every animal survive for approximately 10 months on a boat encompassing 1,518,750 cubic feet. The food alone would absorb tremendous space” (McKinsey, 1983a, p. 1). In a document titled “Biblical Absurdities,” infidel.org board member Donald Morgan wrote: “The size of Noah’s Ark was such that there would be about one and a half cubic feet for each pair of the 2,000,000 to 5,000,000 species to be taken aboard” (2008). Even one of the evolutionary scientists interviewed in Ben Stein’s recent documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, mocked the Bible’s account of Noah housing all of the various kinds of land animals on the ark (2008). All of these criticisms beg the question, “Was Noah’s vessel an adequate ark or a deficient dinghy?”
Adapted from an Image courtesy of Vance Nelson, CreationTruthMinistries.org
First, contrary to popular belief, the Bible does not teach that Noah took aboard the ark two of every species of animal on Earth. The Hebrew term used in the Flood account (as in the Creation account) to distinguish animals is min (translated “kind” 10 times in Genesis 1 and seven times in Genesis 6-7). The Bible was written long before man invented the Linnaean classification system. The “kinds” of animals that Adam named on the sixth day of Creation and that accompanied Noah on the ark were likely very broad. As Henry Morris observed: “[T]he created kinds undoubtedly represented broader categories than our modern species or genera, quite possibly approximating in most cases the taxonomic family” (1984, p. 129, emp. added). Instead of Noah taking aboard the ark two of the brown bears species (Ursus arctos), two of the polar bear species (Ursus maritimus), two of the American black bear species (Ursus americanus), etc., he could have simply taken two members of the bear family (Ursidae), which could have possessed enough genetic variety so that bears thousands of years later could look significantly different. Even in recent times scientists have learned of a polar bear and brown bear producing an offspring. Some have tagged the bear with the name “pizzly,” in order to reflect its “polar” and “grizzly” heritage (see Wittmeyer, 2007). Truly, “[i]t is unwarranted to insist that all the present species, not to mention all the varieties and sub-varieties of animals in the world today, were represented in the Ark” (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 67). Still, even after analyzing the number of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians proposed by evolutionary taxonomist Ernst Mayr, Whitcomb and Morris concluded that “there was need for no more than 35,000 individual vertebrate animals on the Ark,” plus the small, non-marine arthropods and worms (1961, p. 69). Needless to say, the “2,000,000 to 5,000,000 species” proposed by Donald Morgan is grossly overstated.
Second, supposing that the cubit in Noah’s day was 17.5 inches (a most conservative “cubit” considering the Egyptian cubit, the Mesopotamian cubit, and the “long” cubit of Ezekiel 40:5 all exceeded this measurement by two inches; see Free and Vos, 1992, pp. 38-39), then Noah’s ark would have been at the very least 437.5 feet long, 72.92 feet wide, and 43.75 feet high. “[T]he available floor space of this three-decked barge was over 95,000 square feet,” the equivalent of slightly more than 20 standard basketball courts, “and its total volume was 1,396,000 cubic feet” (Whitcomb, 1988, p. 25), which means “the Ark had a carrying capacity equal to that of 522 standard stock cars as used by modern railroads” (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, pp. 67-68). What’s more, “if 240 animals of the size of sheep could be accommodated in a standard two-decked stock car,” then 35,000 animals could be housed in less than 150 such cars (p. 69), which is less than 30% of the ark’s total capacity. Suffice it to say, “[T]he dimensions of the Ark were sufficiently great to accomplish its intended purpose of saving alive the thousands of kinds of air-breathing creatures that could not otherwise survive a year-long Flood” (Whitcomb, 1988, p. 25). [NOTE: God likely allowed Noah to take young animals into the ark, instead of those that were fully grown, in order to save space and reduce the amount of necessary food. It also would have meant that, on average, the animals would have lived longer and produced even more offspring after the Flood.]


After informing Noah about an upcoming worldwide flood, and commanding him to build a massive boat of gopher wood, God instructed His faithful servant, saying, “You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above” (Genesis 6:16, emp. added). Upon reading about this window in Noah’s ark, many have challenged its usefulness. Since, historically, windows have served two basic purposes (lighting and ventilation), inquiring minds want to know what good one window, about 18 inches square, would be on an ark with a capacity of roughly 1,400,000 cubic feet, occupied by thousands of animals. Dennis McKinsey has asked: “How could so many creatures breathe with only one small opening which was closed for at least 190 days?” (1983a, p. 1). Other skeptics also have ridiculed the idea that sufficient ventilation for the whole ark could have come through this one window (see Wells, 2008). In fact, anyone even slightly familiar with animal-house ventilation needs is taken aback by the apparent lack of airflow allowed by the ark’s design. Unless God miraculously ventilated the ark, one little window on a three-story boat, the length of which was approximately a football-field-and-a-half long, simply would not do.
Questions regarding the “window” on Noah’s ark and the problem of ventilation have escalated largely because the Hebrew word translated window (tsohar) in Genesis 6:16 appears only here in the Old Testament, and linguistic scholars are unsure as to its exact meaning (see Hamilton, 1990, p. 282). Translators of the KJV and NKJV use the word “window” to translate tsohar; however, according to Old Testament commentator Victor Hamilton, they “do so on the basis of the word’s possible connection with sahorayim, ‘noon, midday,’ thus an opening to let in the light of day” (p. 282). Hebrew scholar William Gesenius defined tsohar in his Hebrew lexicon as simply “light,” and translated Genesis 6:16 as “thou shalt make light for the ark” (1847, p. 704). He then surmised that this “light” represented, not a window, but windows (plural). The ASV translators also preferred “light” as the best translation for tsohar. Still more recent translations, including the RSVNIV, and ESV, have translated Genesis 6:16 as “[m]ake a roof” for the ark, instead of make a “window” or “light.”
Such disagreement among translations is, admittedly, somewhat discouraging to the person who wants a definite answer as to how tsohar should be translated. What is clear, however, is that the word translated “window” two chapters later, which Noah is said to have “opened” (8:6), is translated from a different Hebrew word (challôwn) than what is used in Genesis 6:16. Challôwn (8:6) is the standard Hebrew word for “window” (cf. Genesis 26:8; Joshua 2:18). Yet, interestingly, this is not the word used in 6:16. One wonders if, in 8:6, Noah opened one of a plurality of aligned windows that God instructed him to make in 6:16.
Another assumption often brought into a discussion regarding the “window” (tsohar) of 6:16 is that it was one square cubit. Although many people have imagined Noah’s ark as having one small window about 18 inches high by 18 inches wide, the phrase “you shall finish it to a cubit from above” (6:16,NKJV; cf. RSV) does not give the Bible reader any clear dimensions of the opening. The text just says that Noah was to “finish it to a cubit from the top” (NASB; “upward,” ASV). The simple truth is, the size of the lighting apparatus mentioned in this verse is unspecified. The text indicates only the distance the opening was from the top of the ark, rather than the actual size of the window. Thus we cannot form a definite picture of it. But, we do know that nothing in the text warrants an interpretation that the “window” was just a “small opening” (as critics allege). A more probable theory, which aligns itself appropriately with the text, is that the opening described in Genesis 6:16 extended around the ark’s circumference 18 inches from the top of the ark with an undeterminable height. According to geologist John Woodmorappe, such an opening would have provided sufficient light and ventilation for the ark (1996, pp. 37-44). [For further reading on this subject, see Woodmorappe’s book, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study.]
It is important to remember that many details about biblical events are not revealed to the reader. So it is with the plans for Noah’s ark. As Henry Morris commented, “It was obviously not the intention of the writer to record the complete specifications for the ark’s construction, but only enough to assure later readers that it was quite adequate for its intended purpose...‘to preserve life on the earth’” (1976, p. 182). Truly, absolute certainty regarding the openings on the ark cannot be determined. We know of an opening mentioned in Genesis 6:16 (tsohar), as well as one mentioned in 8:6 (challôwn). And, since Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark survived the Flood, it is only logical to conclude that God made proper ways to ventilate the ark in which they lived during the Flood. Although nothing in Scripture demands that those living millennia after the Flood know how it was ventilated, lighted, etc., it is very likely that God used the opening mentioned in Genesis 6:16.


Ask children who are even vaguely familiar with the biblical account of the Flood how many animals of each kind Noah took into the ark, and you likely will hear, “Two!” Most Bible students are familiar with the instructions recorded in Genesis 6:19 that God gave to Noah: “And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female” (Genesis 6:19, emp. added; cf. 7:15). It seems that fewer people, however, are aware that God also instructed Noah, saying, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3, emp. added). According to Bible critics, these verses are contradictory. “Are clean beasts to enter by 2’s or by 7’s?” asked skeptic Dennis McKinsey (1983b, p. 1). Michelle Andrews, writing for a special 2004 collector’s edition of U.S. News and World Report, was so bothered by the differences between Genesis 6:19 and 7:2-3 that she claimed, “there are two versions of the story of Noah and the flood” in Genesis, neither of which supposedly was written by Moses (2004, p. 28).
The biblical text, however, is rather easy to understand without giving up on the inspiration of Genesis, or the authorship of Moses: the clean beasts and birds entered the ark “by sevens” (KJV), while the unclean animals went into the ark by twos. There is no contradiction here. Genesis 6:19 indicates that Noah was to take “two of every sort into the ark.” Then, four verses later, God supplemented this original instruction, informing Noah in a more detailed manner, to take more of the clean animals. If a farmer told his son to take two of every kind of farm animal to the state fair, and then instructed his son to take several extra chickens and two extra pigs for a barbecue, would anyone accuse the farmer of contradicting himself? Certainly not. It was necessary for Noah to take additional clean animals because, upon his departure from the ark after the Flood, he “built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20). If Noah had taken only two clean animals from which to choose when sacrificing to God after departing the ark, then he would have driven the various kinds of clean beasts and birds into extinction by sacrificing one of each pair. Thus, after God told Noah to take two of every kind of animal into the ark, He then instructed him to take extras of the clean animals. Similar to how Genesis chapter 2 supplements the first chapter of Genesis by giving a more detailed account of the Creation (see Lyons, 2002), the first portion of Genesis 7 merely supplements the end of the preceding chapter, “containing several particulars of a minute description which were not embraced in the general directions first given to Noah” (Jamieson, et al., 1997).
One translation difficulty, which should not trouble a person’s faith, revolves around the actual number of clean animals taken into the ark. Through the years, various Bible students have wondered whether this number was seven or fourteen (Genesis 7:2). The Hebrew phrase shibb’ah shibb’ah is translated somewhat vaguely in both the King James and American Standard versions. [According to the King James Version, clean animals were taken into the ark “by sevens” (Genesis 7:2). The American Standard Version has the clean animals taken “seven and seven.”] Newer translations are worded more clearly, but there is general disagreement among them. The New King James and New International versions both agree that Noah took seven of each clean animal into the ark, whereas the Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, and the English Standard Version all translateshibb’ah shibb’ah to mean “seven pairs” of clean animals. Although some believe that “there can be no certainty on this point” (Willis, 1979, p. 171), H.C. Leupold argued that the Hebrew phrase shibb’ah shibb’ah “would be a most clumsy method of trying to say ‘fourteen’ (1990, 1:290). Comparing similar language within Genesis 7, Whitcomb and Morris persuasively argued: “The Hebrew phrase ‘seven and seven’ no more means fourteen than does the parallel phrase ‘two and two’ (Gen. 7:9,15) mean four!” (1961, p. 65).
Still another allegation skeptics make concerning Genesis 7:2 is that “[c]lean and unclean animals were not delineated until the eleventh chapter of Leviticus. The Mosaic law arose 600 years after the Flood. There were no Jews, Israelites, or clean/unclean animals in Noah’s time” (McKinsey, 1983b, p. 1). Thus, regardless of how one answers the question concerning the number of animals on the ark, this second allegation still lingers in the minds of skeptics. Supposedly, instructions regarding clean and unclean animals were not given until hundreds of years after the Flood (see Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14).
Skeptics refuse to see, however, that simply because Moses made laws concerning clean and unclean animals at a much later time than the Flood, does not mean that such rules concerning animals could not have existed prior to Moses—yes, even prior to the Flood. As commentator John Willis noted: “A law or a truth does not have to have its origin with a certain individual or religion to be a vital part of that religion or to be distinctive in that religion” (p. 170). Jesus, for example, was not the first person to teach that man needs to love God with all of his heart (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5), or that man must love his neighbor (cf. Leviticus 19:18), and his enemies (cf. Proverbs 25:21-22). Yet these teachings were central to Christ’s message (cf. Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 5:43-48). Similarly, simply because God chose circumcision as a sign between Himself and Abraham’s descendants, does not mean that no male in the history of mankind had ever been circumcised before the circumcision of Abraham and his household (Genesis 17). What’s more, Moses wrote in the book of Leviticus years after Abraham lived: “If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (12:2-3, emp. added). Moses, however, was not laying down a new law. On the contrary, he knew very well what was expected from God concerning the matter of circumcision, even before he included this sort of instruction as part of Mosaic Law (read Exodus 4:24-26).
For skeptics to allege that differentiation between clean and unclean animals was nonexistent prior to Moses, is totally unsubstantiated. Mankind had been sacrificing animals since the fall of man (cf. Genesis 3:20). That God had given laws concerning animal sacrifices since the time of Cain and Abel is evident from the fact that the second son of Adam was able to offer an animal sacrifice “by faith” (Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 4:4). Since “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), Abel must have received revelation from God on how to offer acceptable animal sacrifices. Such revelation easily could have dealt with which sacrificial animals were acceptable (“clean”), and which were unacceptable (“unclean”). Furthermore, more than 400 hundred years before Moses gave the Israelites laws differentiating clean and unclean animals, God made a covenant with Abraham concerning the land that his descendants eventually would possess (Genesis 15). Part of the “sign” that Abraham was given at that time involved the killing of a heifer, a female goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon (Genesis 15:9). “It just so happens” that all of these animals were later considered clean under the Law of Moses (cf. Leviticus 1:2,10,14).
Without a doubt, the distinction between clean and unclean animals existed long before the Law of Moses was given. Although this distinction did not include all of the details and applications given by Moses (prior to the Flood the distinction seems only to have applied to the matter of animals suitable for sacrifice, not for consumption—cf. Genesis 9:2-3), animal sacrifice to God was practiced during the Patriarchal Age, and it is apparent that the faithful were able to distinguish between the clean and unclean. Noah certainly knew of the difference.


In Genesis 8:4, the Bible indicates that Noah’s ark rested “on the mountains of Ararat.” This statement, like so many others in Genesis 6-9, has come under attack by critics. For example, in his two-part article on the Flood, skeptic Dennis McKinsey asked: “How could the Ark have rested upon several mountains at once?” (1983a, p. 2). Three months later, McKinsey commented on the passage again, saying, “Gen. 8:4 says ‘mountains,’ plural, not ‘a mountain,’ singular.... Apologists repeatedly say one should read the Bible as one reads a newspaper, which is what I am doing. I assume the book says what it means and means what it says” (1984, p. 3). How could the ark rest on more than one mountain?
Although the ark was a huge vessel, it obviously did not rest on more than one of the mountains of Ararat. So why then does the text literally say “the mountains of Ararat?” The answer involves the understanding of a figure of speech known as synecdoche. Merriam-Webster defines this term as “a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (associety for high society)...or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage)” (2008, italics in orig.). Just as Bible writers frequently used figures of speech such as simile, metaphor, sarcasm, and metonymy, they also used synecdoche. As seen above (in the definition of synecdoche), this figure of speech can be used in a variety of ways (see Dungan, 1888, pp. 300-309):
  • A whole can be put for the part.
  • A part may be put for the whole.
  • Time might be put for part of a time period.
  • The singular can be put for the plural.
  • And the plural can be put for the singular.
In Genesis 8:4, the plural obviously was put for the singular. Only a few chapters later this same figure of speech is used again. Sarah asked, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nursechildren? For I have borne him a son in his old age” (Genesis 21:7, emp. added). Anyone who knows much about the history of the Old Testament and the genealogy of Christ knows that Sarah had butone child (Isaac). In certain contexts, however, one might use a synecdoche and speak of one child (as did Sarah) by using the word “children.” Often, when I call for the attention of my two sons and one daughter, I refer to them as “boys and girls.” I actually have only one daughter, but summoning my children with the expressions “boys and girl” or “boys and Shelby,” simply does not flow as well as “boys and girls.” Thus, I frequently use the plural (“girls”) for the singular (“Shelby”). The emphasis is not on the singularity or plurality of the nouns, but on particular categories (“boys” and “girls”).
Another apparent example where Bible writers used “the whole for the part” or “the plural for the singular” is found in Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32. In these passages, Matthew and Mark claimed that “the robbers” (plural) who were crucified with Christ reviled Him. Luke, however, mentioned that “one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed” Christ (23:39, emp. added). Luke then went on to document the humble attitude of the penitent thief. So why did Matthew and Mark indicate the “thieves” (plural) reviled Jesus? Although the penitent thief could have reviled Christ earlier, it is feasible that Matthew and Mark were using the plural in place of the singular in their accounts of the thief reviling Christ on the cross. The emphasis, once again, would be on a particular category, and not the number of a noun. Just as other groups reviled Christ (e.g., passers-by [Matthew 27:39], Jewish leaders [Matthew 27:41-43], and soldiers [Luke 23:36]), so did the “robbers” (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32)—not necessarily a plurality of robbers, but the category known as “robbers,” which included at least one thief who reviled Christ (Luke 23:39).
Although skeptics may dislike the Bible writers’ use of figures of speech, if critics are honest, they must acknowledge the possibility that Moses, Paul, and others occasionally used figurative language (just as people do in modern times). Once a person recognizes the use of figures of speech (e.g., synecdoche) in Scripture, he cannot deny that a very plausible explanation for the use of “mountains” in Genesis 8:4 is that it is written in the plural form, even though it is referring to a single “mountain.”


According to evolutionist Bill Butler, “The greatest geologic fiction that the Creationists adhere to is Noah’s Flood” (2002). The idea that water ever covered the entire Earth, including the highest hills and mountains (Genesis 7:19-20), supposedly is unthinkable (and impossible). In Butler’s article, “Creationism = Willful Ignorance,” he asked: “If the earth’s surface were covered by an additional 29,000+ feet of water, how do you get rid of it?” If Mount Everest reaches a height of over 29,000 feet, then the Bible allegedly indicates that the Flood waters reached even higher—approximately 23 feet higher than the peak of Mount Everest (Genesis 7:20). If such is the case, where did all of the water go?
First, the Bible is more specific about Who caused the waters to subside, than where exactly all of the waters went. Moses wrote: “God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.... And the waters receded continually from the earth” (Genesis 8:1,3). Years later, the prophet Isaiah recorded how Jehovah compared a promise He made to Israel with His promise “that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth” (Isaiah 54:9). Although these passages do not tell us exactly where the waters went, for the person who believes that God worked several miracles during the Flood, it is reasonable to conclude that God did something with the Flood waters.
Second, the skeptic’s assertion (that there presently is not enough water on the Earth for there ever to have been the kind of flood described in Genesis 6-8) is based upon invalid assumptions. The truth is, no one knows the height of the mountains or the depth of the ocean valleys in Noah’s day. Thus, one cannot know how much water was on the Earth during the Noahic Flood. Psalm 104:6-8 indicates that, at some time in the past, God established new heights and depths for the Earth’s mountains and valleys. Directing his comments to Jehovah, the psalmist proclaimed:
You covered it [the Earth—EL] with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them” (NASB, emp. added).
Just as God miraculously altered the Earth’s topography during the Creation week (Genesis 1:9-13), and just as He miraculously sent flood waters upon the Earth, God miraculously caused the waters to subside. In all likelihood, the antediluvian world was vastly different from the Earth of today (cf. 2 Peter 3:6). It is reasonable to believe that the mountains of Noah’s day were much smaller than such peaks as Mount Everest or Mount McKinley that are so well known to us. Thus, the Flood would not have had to rise to levels of 29,000+ feet to cover everything on the Earth. According to the Scriptures, the waters rose above the mountaintops; however, we simply cannot know the heights reached by the antediluvian mountains. (Interestingly, marine fossils have been found in the Himalayas; see “Mt. Everest,” n.d.)
In an attempt to defend his criticism of the Noahic Flood, and to discredit anyone who would argue that the Earth’s topography after the Flood was likely very different than it was before the Flood, Butler suggested the following. First, he emphatically states that, since “[t]he Tigris/Euphrates valley existed in its present form before the flood,” the topography of the Earth could not have changed that much during (and after) the Flood. Second, he argued that “the text specifically states the flood covered ‘all the high mountains.’ If the mountains were low at this time, the word ‘high’ would not be used” (2002).
Notice, however, the faulty reasoning involved in both points Butler made. First, there is no proof that “The Tigris/Euphrates valley existed in its present form before the flood.” In fact, according to Genesis 2:10-14, there was one river that went out of Eden that then parted and became four rivers. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers of today, however, do not branch from a common source, but flow from separate sources in the Armenian mountains. The rivers of the same name in Genesis 2 are different from those that exist today by the same name. (It is very possible that the people who left the ark, as well as their descendants, used familiar names for the new rivers they found.) Second, simply because Genesis 7:19-20 stresses that the Flood waters covered “all the high hills/mountains” (emp. added), does not mean these mountains could not have been somewhat lower than the mountains of today. Butler stated: “If the mountains were low at this time, the word ‘high’ would not be used” (emp. added). On what basis does he make such an assertion? If in a particular class of dwarfs, some were taller than others, could we not speak of certain “tall dwarfs” in his class? Who is to say that we could not use the word “tall” when speaking of a few particular dwarfs who might be much taller than the rest of the class? Similarly, just because Genesis 7:19-20 uses the word “high,” does not mean that the antediluvian mountains were at their current height. Truthfully, however tall the mountains were before the Flood, some were “higher” than others, and thus could be referred to as the “high mountains.”
Third, Butler wrote: “Water is less dense than the rock of the earth’s surface. Thus it would not drain down below the surface. Even if you forced it down, where is it? No oil or gas well has ever hit a subterranean ocean 29,000+ feet thick” (2002). As is often the case with Bible critics, time is not their friend. Repeatedly throughout history, time has helped exonerate Bible writers. Whether it is archaeologists finding remains of a particular biblical people, which critics once alleged never existed (e.g., the Hittites; cf. Butt, 2002), or scientists finally learning why the eighth day of a child’s life would have been the perfect day to perform circumcision (cf. Genesis 17:11; Holt and McIntosh, 1953, p. 126), again and again time has turned out to be a friend of the Bible and a foe to the ever-changing theories of man (cf. Harrub and Thompson, 2002). Consider Butler’s comments. He confidently asserted that the Flood waters would be unable to “drain down below the surface.” He then asked, “even if you forced it [the Flood water—EL] down, where is it?” Apparently, in 2002, no one knew about great amounts of water below the crust layer of the Earth. With the passing of time, however, scientists have learned differently.
Livescience.com staff writer Ker Than reported that “[s]cientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean” (2007, emp. added). “The discovery,” Ker Than added, “marks the first time such alarge body of water was found in the planet’s deep mantle” (2007, emp. added). Butler criticized the biblical Flood account because the Flood waters supposedly “would not drain below the surface” of the Earth, yet a large amount of water has been discovered “in the planet’s deep mantle.” What’s more, “researchers estimate that up to 0.1 percent of the rock sinking down into the Earth’s mantlein that part of the world [eastern Asia—ELis water” (Than).
Once again, time has become the foe of the Bible’s critics. Although no one can be certain what happened to all of the water that once flooded the Earth, it is very possible that God sent some of it to reside “in the planet’s deep mantle.” Regardless, it is unreasonable to reject the Genesis Flood account because one assumes the Flood waters could not have relocated beneath the Earth’s crust. One wonders how Flood critics will react to news of a “vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia.”
Where did all of the Flood waters go? The most logical answer in light of the Scriptures appears to be that God made room for the waters by adjusting the Earth’s topography. Much of the water from the Flood likely has retreated into the deeper ocean trenches—valleys that, in places, are over seven miles deep. What’s more, some (or perhaps much of it) may very well be under the Earth’s crust.


Skeptic Dennis McKinsey wrote that “[a]nyone believing in the Flood must provide rational answers to...questions” (1983a, p. 1) regarding Noah’s ark, the number of clean and unclean on the ark, where the ark eventually rested, what happened to all of the Flood waters, etc. The fact is, “rational answers” do exist to these questions and many others. Given adequate time and tools (beginning with the Bible), an apologist can reasonably counter any and all criticisms of the Flood and Noah’s ark.


Andrews, Michelle (2004), “Author, Author?” U.S. News & World Report—Special Collector’s Edition, Fall, pp. 28-29.
Butler, Bill (2002), “Creationism = Willful Ignorance,” [On-line], URL:http://www.durangobill.com/Creationism.html.
Butt, Kyle (2002), “Hidden Hittites,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1750.
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light, reprint).
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