In the fourth and last replay of our Salvation Series exercises, we tackle the controversial issue of Eternal Security–the question of whether or not a Christian can lose his salvation–in an exercise which can be found at Salvation: Can We Lose It? | His Truth, My Voice (histruthmyvoice.org)
His Truth, My Voice has added a new Page to its lineup. It is the Workout Room, and this is the place where we will be attempting to get spiritually fit through a program of exercises in Spiritual Disciplines. The first set of exercises, dealing with the basic principles of Salvation, has been posted there so be sure to check it out. If you know someone who has yet to experience this gracious gift of God, or maybe someone who has been saved but still has questions about their Salvation, please be sure to refer them to this Page— http://histruthmyvoice.org/?page_id=5756.
Now that we have a better idea of what Salvation is and why we need it, let’s stretch our spiritual muscles a little further as we learn how to appropriate this wonderful gift for ourselves, through something called the New Birth. Although some may consider the “head” knowledge of Salvation we gained in our previous workout session to be sufficient, that mere intellectual knowledge will prove to be woefully inadequate in providing us with the foundation we will need for our upcoming exercises in practical Christianity. For the purposes of this program, then, we can gain an experiential knowledge of Salvation (if it hasn’t been done already) through an active participation in each of the following four exercises…
Exercise #1—The Mandate for the New Birth
Exercise #2—The Spiritual Dynamics of the New Birth
Exercise #3—The Legalities of the New Birth
Exercise #4—Making the New Birth Personal
Exercise #1—The Mandate for the New Birth
In His encounter with Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of His day, Jesus made the New Birth mandatory for anyone seeking entrance into the Kingdom of God. This meeting, recorded for us in John 3:1-14, took place one night when Nicodemus sought out Jesus for reasons which were never really made clear. That’s because, before Nicodemus had a chance to reveal the motivation for his visit, Jesus told him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (V.3).” Thinking like a natural man, Nicodemus tried to figure out how he could go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time. To this, Jesus responded, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said unto you, ‘You must be born again’ (vv. 5-7).”
In this statement, Jesus made it clear that there is a fixed gulf existing between our fleshly and spiritual beings; and, although everyone born into the natural world will initially be born into a fleshly or physical state, only those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God will be born into life in the Spirit. Here, then, we find the mandate, given by Jesus Himself, that anyone who hopes to see God and participate in His kingdom must be born again. However, what we aren’t told here is the reason why this New Birth is necessary, or the way that we go about experiencing it.
Exercise #2—The Spiritual Dynamics of the New Birth…
If we are to understand the reason for Jesus’ mandate, we first need to learn about the dynamics involved in the New Birth; dynamics which have everything to do with regeneration. Since, by definition, regeneration is—the act of bringing something into existence again—that is, to form again, or to be made new—for us…
…Regeneration is the act by which our dead spirits are brought back to life again by the Holy Spirit of God.
But, why is this necessary?
To answer to that question, we must go all the way back to the beginning of human history; back to the time when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. That’s when their spirits, as well as those of all of their future descendants, died because their sin caused them to be separated or cut off from God. This meant that every human being who would ever live, with the exception of Jesus Christ, would be born spiritually dead—or, with a spirit cut off from its source of life in God.
In his book, The Spiritual Man, Watchman Nee explains what is meant when we speak about this state of spiritual death…
…when we say the spirit is dead it does not imply there is no more spirit; we simply mean the spirit has lost its sensitivity towards God and thus is dead to Him. The exact situation is that the spirit is incapacitated, unable to communicate with God…it remains in a coma as if non-existent.
Because of this spiritual death, no descendant of Adam has ever been able to have, much less maintain, a relationship with God while remaining in his or her natural or fleshly state. The New Birth, then, is what occurs when God’s Spirit brings a man’s spirit back to life and restores that man’s lost relationship to God, making it possible for him to communicate with God once again. But—and this is a very BIG BUT—before this can happen, there are certain legalities which must be addressed, legalities involving our repeated violations of God’s laws.
Exercise #3—The Legalities Involved in the New Birth…
As we learned back in Salvation—What It Is and Why We Need It, each of us has, throughout our lives, repeatedly offended God by violating His laws, or His codes of acceptable moral and spiritual conduct; and, in the process of that, we have unwittingly erected a barrier—or a wall of offence—between Him and us, something which makes any relationship between us impossible. Until such a time as we confess our faults—or, until we agree with God about what we have done wrong, and seek His forgiveness—we will continue to be “cut off” from Him; losing whatever opportunities we may have had to get to know Him and to experience His grace. Thus, the elimination of our offenses against God, as well as the removal of the wall which those offenses have created, is what the New Birth is all about.
Unfortunately, because most of us have no concept of what God’s righteous requirements for relationship with Him are, we don’t know what we have done to offend Him. Most of us have lived our lives according to the codes of conduct that we have acquired from our parents, picked up from our friends and associates, or created for ourselves in response to the ever-changing circumstances of life. Unlike God’s immutable standard of holiness, our concepts of what constitutes right and wrong have been derived from very human and fallible sources and, as a result, tend to have very nebulous boundaries. Consequently, the principles by which we live are often adapted to the situations in which we find ourselves at any given moment, with what is true and right in one situation differing from that in another. With backgrounds steeped in such a relativistic system of ethics, how are we to know for sure what God’s requirements are; and, how can we understand what our offenses against Him have been?
The only way we can know how we have missed God’s “mark” for acceptable behavior (with “sin” being defined as “missing the mark” of God) is through the Bible, where God has set forth His standard of righteousness, or right living, in Exodus 20: 1-17—a standard we know today as the Ten Commandments. In these commandments, He makes it clear that, in order for us to have a spiritual relationship with Him, we must meet certain conditions:
- We can have no gods other than Him; ours is to be a personal and an exclusive relationship;
- We cannot make an idol, or anything in the form of a person, or an object from the natural or spiritual world, which we worship in His place; so, no person, possession, position, pleasure, power or money can be substituted for Him;
- We cannot take His name in vain—that is, use His name in a disrespectful or dishonest manner. We are not to use God’s name as a swear word, or to legitimatize or authorize any activity which He has not sanctioned;
- We are to remember the Sabbath day, or one day in seven as a day of rest and worship, and keep it holy, or set apart for Him;
- We are to honor our parents, respecting them as God’s appointed authorities in our lives;
- We are not to murder; or, according to Jesus in an expanded version found in Matthew 5: 22, to even harbor hatred in our hearts toward another person;
- We cannot steal—that is, take anything which is not ours, including money, property, an employer’s time, a person’s reputation, or the affection of someone who belongs to another;
- We cannot commit adultery, or any sexual sin, either by thinking about it or actually doing it (see Matthew 5: 28 for another amplified rendition);
- We cannot bear false witness or lie about anyone else; and,
- We are not to covet, or want for our own, anything that belongs to another person; this includes his or her spouse, children, positions, possessions, personalities, looks, or money.
Since we all have violated these laws at one time or another, how can we, as naturally unrighteous people, meet such rigorous demands for righteousness and enter into a relationship with God? In all honesty, we can’t—at least, not on our own. We must have the help of Someone Else who can meet these demands on our behalf; Someone who can bridge the gap between God’s holiness and our sinful condition, thereby making a relationship between God and us possible.
Exercise #4—Making the New Birth Personal…
Since God is the only One who completely understands the strict demands of His law, as well as man’s total inability to meet those demands, He took it upon Himself to create a plan by which Someone named Jesus could bring God and man together. And, for us to understand how this plan works, here is what we need to know:
First, we need to understand that God is so holy that anyone who comes into His presence must be free from any and all impurities, or else he will die. When God told Adam that if he ate from the forbidden tree he would die, He was making clear to him the principle that “…the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23)” and that “the person who sins will die (Ezekiel 18:20).”
- Since the law of God’s holiness requires that sin’s offenses be paid for by death, the one who has offended Him must die to satisfy the judgment imposed upon him by the law.
- However, God in His grace also stipulated in His law that a substitution could be made for the offender—that is, the sinner could avoid paying the penalty for his own violations of God’s law if he could find Someone else who was willing to die in his place. But, in order to qualify as such a substitution, this Someone could not be a person who was himself a sinner—he would have to be a person without guilt in order to satisfy everyone of God’s specific rules for holiness. The only person who has ever lived who could meet these demands was Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
- Therefore, God sent Jesus into the world to live a life of sinless perfection; a life which would fulfill all of the righteous demands of the law. Then, Jesus died an agonizing death on the cross—a death which paid sin’s penalty, and one which could be substituted for the death required of each and every sinner who would ever live.
- In addition to paying the price for everyone’s sin through His substitutionary death, Jesus also conquered the power of death once and for all when He was raised from the dead to live again forever.
- But, even though Jesus’ death paid the price for everyone’s sin, the payment for any individual’s penalty would not automatically be credited to him:
– First, he must come humbly before God, acknowledging that he has violated the laws of God and is unable to meet God’s demands for righteousness on his own, in order to receive, by faith, what Christ has done on his behalf;
– He can then exchange his sin for the gift of salvation graciously made available to him through Christ’s sacrificial death; and,
– With this transaction, the wall of offense separating him from God will come down, his spirit will be Born Again, and God’s Spirit will come to live within him and begin teaching how to live like a son of God.
If you aren’t sure that you have experienced this New Birth, then let me urge you to go to God, acknowledge the offenses which have kept you spiritually dead and alienated from Him, and ask Him, for Jesus’ sake, to remove them. When you do, the Holy Spirit will come to live within your spirit and you, too, will be born again as a child of God.
The Talley Family shares the story of our Salvation in this moving medley…
When it comes to thinking about Salvation, there seem to be two vastly different approaches to the subject. Although both of these are very broad generalizations…
- To the “Unsaved,” Salvation is often regarded as either–
- an antiquated theological doctrine, designed to rob life of its happiness and any sense of personal fulfillment; or,
- a religious crutch for those who lack the intelligence, sophistication, attractiveness, or success necessary to do life well on their own; while…
- To the “Saved,” it is often regarded merely as the means by which—
- their sins are forgiven and their lives are made right with God; and,
- their eternal destination is changed from Hell to Heaven.
Of course, the first approach is completely inaccurate and the second one is woefully incomplete. So, in an effort to correct the former and complete the latter, let’s begin to stretch our Spiritual understanding as we learn What Salvation Is, and Why We Need It.
What Salvation Is
For a definition of Salvation, I prefer the one found in my little Webster’s pocket dictionary which defines Salvation simply as “a saving or a being saved” or as “a person or thing that saves.” I like this definition because “a saving” implies an act, “a being saved” implies a process; and “a person or thing that saves” implies that salvation is not something that we can do for ourselves—it must come from a source outside of us. Essentially, this is what Biblical Salvation is all about; for, in reality it is…
- The One-Time Act of faith which makes a person a child of God;
- The Life-Long Process of spiritual growth which follows; one that transforms the character and behavior of that person into that of a child of God; and,
- Jesus, the One Outside of Ourselves who does all of the saving.
The One-Time Act of Faith
As simple as this may seem on the surface, please don’t let its simplicity blind you to the real significance of this One-Time Act of Salvation; for it is the only legitimate, divinely-authorized way in which a Holy God takes a Sinner, or a person who was…
…dead in the trespasses and sins in which [he] once walked, following the course of this world…carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and [was] by nature [a child] of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Eph. 2:1-3)…
…and not only adopts him or her into His family as His own child, but also makes that child a Joint-Heir with His only begotten Son, Jesus! And, it is through this One-Time Act that a person goes from being alienated from God to being accepted by Him, from religious slavery to spiritual freedom, from unrighteousness to holiness, and from certain death to life everlasting! So, just how does all of this happen? Well, through the three stages of Salvation known as Redemption, Sanctification, and Glorification.
Redemption and Why We Need It
Since the definition of Redemption is…to pay off, as a debt; to buy back or recover; to ransom or to obtain the release of a captive by paying the demanded price; to restore to favor…
Redemption for our purposes is the act by which our sin debt is paid, making us righteous in the sight of God and releasing us from the penalty and power of sin.
This act is a necessity for us because while God is holy, due to the sin nature we all inherited from Adam, we are not. Therefore, before any of us can be reconciled to God and any adoption can take place, something has to be done about the problem of sin in our lives.
While most of us are all too quick to deny that any sin problem exists, it is a spiritual reality that from the moment of our births until the moment of our deaths, we are constantly adding to a “rap sheet” of offenses against God; that is—through our thoughts, words, or deeds, we are repeatedly violating the laws of God’s righteousness, with these violations all too judiciously being transcribed into our “permanent records.” This means that we are all lawbreakers from birth, on the run from God, and unaware of the day looming before us when we will be apprehended and called to appear in His court for judgment.
Sadly, because we don’t realize or accept the fact that we are sinners, or because we think we will be able to appeal to God on the basis of our morality or relatively good works, we mistakenly think that we can safely put this day of reckoning off until after our deaths. But, this is a disastrous decision which will leave us standing before the Righteous Judge of the Universe, alone, guilty, and without any legal representation. And, once the charges against us have been read—and our appeals of innocence have been proven to be without merit—this Just Judge will have no other choice but to honor the law and sentence us to the death that the law demands—a death which will mean our eternal separation from God and all things holy.
But, there is a way that such a terrible outcome can be avoided. You see, this Righteous Judge is also the God of love, grace, and mercy—the One who was…
… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9)…
…and because of that, He made a way to provide us with an Advocate, sort of a court appointed attorney, who will plead the cases of all those who come before Him and acknowledge the crimes for which they are guilty—if they will only do so before they die!
This Advocate is Jesus, the Son of God, and He can represent a sinner before God because He is the One who came to earth, lived a sinless life which met the righteous demands of God’s law, and then died an agonizing death on the Cross to pay off the sin debt owed by every human being who has ever lived. Through the substitution of His death for theirs, deaths which the law calls for, He is able to clear the charges against them and offer them a pardon, without so much as a fine to pay! Once pardoned, and with their sin records expunged by the blood of Christ, they can stand righteous before God and in a position to be legally adopted as His spiritual children!
As for Sanctification
Since the definition for Sanctification is …to set apart as holy; to consecrate, or to devote to sacred use…
…Sanctification, for us, is the process whereby a new child of God is set apart for the sacred or holy service of God.
In reality, this is the life-long schooling in righteousness that every child of God must undergo if he or she is to realize the eternal purpose for which they were created. It begins at the moment of adoption when the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within the heart of each new believer, and He begins teaching him what it means to be a child of God. He does this by…
- Training him in the laws of God, and then empowering him to obey those laws;
- Reproducing the character of Christ in him through the development of the “fruit of the Spirit”–or the character qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control;
- Empowering him to carry out the work of Christ through the various “giftings” of service imparted by the very same Spirit;
- Teaching him how to worship God, and how to overcome His enemies through prevailing prayer and persistent praise; and,
- Helping him learn to die to the things of the flesh so that he can learn to live by the power of the Spirit.
This training—which we will discuss in greater detail in a later session—is designed to totally transform every child of God, until he thinks, speaks, and acts like Jesus; something which, when completed, will prepare him ultimately for his graduation into the glorious and eternal presence of God, his Father.
Since the definition for Glorification is …to give glory to, to honor; to extol; to praise highly…
Glorification is what we will experience when, upon our physical deaths, our earthly bodies are replaced by heavenly or glorified ones, and we are ushered into the presence of God where we will receive the inheritance He has promised to His children.
Then, as the legitimate, blood-bought children of God, we will be recognized and honored in heaven, and share in the same glory that is accorded to Christ. And, having been prepared and equipped through our earthly training process, we will be ready to move into positions of authority as co-regents, or rulers, with Christ, when He sets up His kingdom, first here on earth and later in eternity.
As you can see, Salvation is, in no way, just an antiquated theological doctrine or religious crutch for the needy; neither is it merely about having one’s sins forgiven so he or she can bypass Hell and go to Heaven. It is the one and only way that we can realize our God-ordained destinies of becoming the Children of God—destinies made possible solely through the sacrificial death of God’s Son, Jesus Christ—and ones which will become realities once we have been Born Again.
A message worth considering from Francesca Battistelli…
When our last Vignette ended—that one being, Vignette #8 of Act 1, Scene 1 of God’s One Big Story—it did so on a very high note. That’s because Noah, his family, and his animal passengers had all emerged safely from the confines of the Ark; the vessel where they had been sequestered for the preceding 370 days, while the rest of the world perished in the Flood. What made this event all the more memorable was the fact that as soon as these weary ocean-goers were on dry land again, the first thing they did was offer a sacrifice of worship and thanksgiving to God. And, it was in response to this, that God…
- Blessed Noah and his three sons;
- Charged them with the responsibility of multiplying and repopulating the earth;
- Instituted a new set of rules by which they were to live; and,
- Promised them that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood, no matter how sinful man might become in the future.
No doubt, these blessings, charges, instructions, and promises went a long way to reassure and encourage Noah and his family about their future; however, I am just not sure how far they went in minimizing the size of the task immediately confronting them—which was to begin life all over again in a new and a very different world. To help us put the enormity of this task into perspective, let’s take a moment to consider some of the challenges that were waiting for Noah, the moment he was back on solid ground.
The Immediate Challenges Facing Noah
1. The Environmental One
We begin with the Environmental Challenge because the drastic changes in the climate and in the landscape would have been the very first things that Noah and the others would have noticed when leaving the Ark. Having left behind a world where there was a temperate year-round climate, and then stepping out of the Ark into the cold, brisk winds, swirling around in the upper levels of Mount Ararat, would certainly have been a novel experience for each of them—and one which must have sent chills through every one of Noah’s 601 year-old bones!
Plus, as they stood looking down from their lofty mountain perch on to the barren plane below—which, in its pre-flood existence would have been filled with people, trees, shrubs, and lots of green grass—they must have all shivered at the bleakness of the scene which lay before them. Just try to imagine what it must have been like for them as they stood there, scanning the landscape and, as far as their eyes could see, there were no sights or sounds of life anywhere! (Although the Bible doesn’t mention this, there may very well have been both human and animal remains still lying around—that is, unless they had all been buried under layers of silt deposited during the Flood.)
If the Ararat mentioned here in Genesis, was part of the same mountain range which is located in the eastern part of present-day Turkey, perhaps the view that Noah beheld was similar to the one which can be seen of the region today. If so, seeing how little there is to work with even now should help us have a better understanding of the enormous challenge that Noah was facing, as he set out to begin his life all over again in this less than inviting environment.
2. The Personal One
This, then, brings us to Noah’s Personal Challenge—which was, to try to find an answer to the question of “What do I do now?” You see, before the Flood, although we don’t know if it was a house, a hut, or a tent, Noah did have a home; he also had an occupation—which was building the Ark; and, as a “preacher of righteousness,” he had a ministry, too. Sadly though, following the Flood, he had none of these things to fall back on. Instead, after a lifetime of faithfulness and obedience to God, Noah found himself homeless, jobless, and without any ministry prospects—and, just…
- How was he supposed to build a home without any trees? Did they pack a tent or bring some extra lumber along? Did they bring furniture with them, too? Or, did they continue to live in the Ark for some time after the Flood?
- How was he supposed to make a living? With no other people to serve, or businesses or farms to run, how was he going to provide for his family?
- Who was he supposed to preach to? The only people there were already “saved”!
Wow–what a midlife crisis this must have been for Noah!
3. The Societal One
Although the first two challenges would have been more than enough to deal with by themselves, probably the most difficult one to meet would have been the third one, the Societal Challenge. That’s because, at the time Noah and his family left the Ark, there was no society to speak of—except maybe, the remnants of the old-world one which they had brought along with them. And, from what we can gather about that one, it was a society in which people didn’t eat animal meat; and, because there were no governmental structures in place during that time, it was one in which the people were accountable to no one but themselves. Yet, here at the outset of their experience in the new world, God was instructing them to discard their previous ways of doing life and to replace them with a whole new societal structure…
- One in which they, as the former preservers and protectors of animal life, would now begin preying on these same creatures for food; and,
- One in which the human conscience would no longer be looked to as a means of curbing man’s sinful nature. Instead, God would be delegating authority to man—that is, to them and their descendants—to act on His behalf to insure that human life was protected and justice was properly meted out.
But, how do you go about creating a new type of society when there are only eight people in it? I guess, the best way to do it is to put the head of each family in charge, and then make him responsible before God for the behavior of those within his immediate household—which, as it seems, is exactly the way it worked out.
The Long Term Challenges for Noah’s Descendants
Given all that they had to deal with upon their entry into this new world, it was probably just as well that Noah and his sons remained unaware of the massive global changes that appear to have taken place while they were in the Ark. For, not only had the climate and the topical landscape undergone major transformations, but the geology and substructure of the earth seems to have changed so radically during this period that life on the planet would forever after be affected. The most history-altering of these changes were…
- The Continental Drift;
- The Creation of Tectonic Plates;
- The Development of Fossil Fuels; and,
- The Formation of Other Fossils.
In order for us to gain a better understanding of these changes and their on-going impact on our lives today, let’s put our lab coats on and take a brief look at some of the science associated with them.
1. The Continental Drift
As you may recall, back in “But Noah…” we were introduced to the concept of the early earth’s land mass as being one supercontinent called Pangaea—a continent which subsequently broke up into the seven continents that we are familiar with today. The US Geological Survey article that was quoted from at the time stated that…
The belief that continents have not always been fixed in their present positions was suspected long before the 20th century…[but] it was not until 1912 that the idea of moving continents was seriously considered as a full-blown scientific theory — called Continental Drift — introduced in two articles published by a 32-year-old German meteorologist named Alfred Lothar Wegener…
But at the time Wegener introduced his theory, the scientific community firmly believed the continents and oceans to be permanent features on the Earth’s surface. Not surprisingly, his proposal was not well received, even though it seemed to agree with the scientific information available at the time. A fatal weakness in Wegener’s theory was that it could not satisfactorily answer the most fundamental question raised by his critics: What kind of forces could be strong enough to move such large masses of solid rock over such great distances?
While an answer to this question wasn’t to be found at that time—at least, not one which would have been “acceptable” to the scientific minds of the day–one was eventually developed which would conform to their evolutionary mindset; a development explained by the Earth Observatory of Singapore in the following way…
The main idea of Wegener and others was that modern continents formed a single landmass in the past. This idea was supported by simple observations like the fact that South-American and African coastlines fit so well, or that we can find the same fossils in similar sedimentary rocks on both continents.
The theory needed an explanation for the continental drift, a kind of engine that would implement the motion of tectonic plates. The continental drift was strongly criticised during the first half of the 20th century, until WWII: during the war, the latest radar technology was used to map the seafloor. Rapidly, evidence pointing to seafloor spreading and effective plate motion was accumulated.
After the war, marine geology was developed…[and the] Plate tectonics theory was then widely accepted among scientists because it relied on hard evidence and could explain most of the modern geological structures (ocean basins, mountain ranges, rifts etc).
Stuart E. Nevins elaborates on this in an article for the Institute for Creation Research…
Twenty years ago geologists were certain that the data correlated perfectly with the then-reigning model of stationary continents. The handful of geologists who promoted the notion of continental drift were accused of indulging in pseudo-scientific fancy. Today, the opinion is reversed. The theory of moving continents is now the ruling paradigm and those who question it are often referred to as stubborn or ignorant….[Today] The popular theory of drifting continents and oceans is called “plate tectonics.”
2.The Creation of Tectonic Plates
As previously stated, when the technology which could examine the ocean floor became available, it was soon discovered that the crust of the earth had, at some time in the past, been broken up into large plates. It was also learned that these plates were and still are in the process of shifting. However, in keeping with the evolutionary assumptions of the scientists, the theory they put forth “…supposes that [the] plates move very slowly—about 2-18 centimeters per year. At this rate it would take 100 million years to form an ocean basin or mountain range.” But, is this consistent with what the Bible has anything to say about the matter?
Again, according to Mr. Nevins…
The Bible framework for earth history makes no statement about continental splitting, so it is unnecessary and unwise to take a “Biblical” position on the question. When God created the land and sea, the waters were “gathered together unto one place” (Genesis 1:9), which may imply one large ocean and one large land mass.
If continental separation did occur, the only place within the Bible framework where it could fit would be during Noah’s Flood. The cause of Noah’s Flood is described in tectonic terms: “all the fountains of the great deep broken up” (Genesis 7:11). The Hebrew word for “broken up” is baga and is used in other Old Testament passages (Zechariah 14:4; Numbers 16:31) to refer to the geologic phenomena of faulting. The mechanism for retreat of the Flood waters is also associated with tectonics. Psalm 104:6, 7 describes the abating of the waters which stood above the mountains; the eighth verse properly translated says, “The mountains rose up; the valleys sank down.” It is interesting to note that the “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4), the resting place of the Ark after the 150th day of the Flood, are in a tectonically active region at the junction of three lithospheric plates.
If continental separation occurred during Noah’s Flood, a host of problems in the tectonic dilemma can be solved…The cause for the ancient breaking up of continents can be explained easily by the enormous catastrophic forces of Noah’s Flood which broke the lithosphere into moving plates which for a short time overcame the viscous drag of the earth’s mantle.
3.The Development of Fossil Fuels
Although the development of Fossil Fuels was not one of the immediately visible changes brought about by the Flood, it was such an important one that it would eventually become a major factor in the lives of Noah’s descendants. For, as kids.britannica.com defines it…
“…a fossil fuel is a general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust over hundreds of millions of years.” 
In other words, these are the fuels which are being used today to heat our homes, propel our vehicles, and keep all of our industries producing. And, where did they come from? According to Dr. Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research, they most likely came from the living matter that was buried under layers of dirt and water at the time of the Flood…
Evolutionists speculate that hundreds of millions of years of slow processes must have been involved, but the details of such processes are very uncertain. Coal and oil can be produced in a matter of hours in modern laboratories under appropriate conditions of heat and pressure. Recent studies by creation scientists have proved that at least the great coal beds (and even diamond mines) contain modern radiocarbon, so must have been formed recently.
Although evolutionists ridicule the idea of a world-destroying hydraulic cataclysm in Noah’s day, that phenomenon really does provide the most reasonable explanation for all these phenomena. “The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6).
4.The Formation of Other Fossils
As for the formation of Fossils themselves, Dr. John D. Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research, explains that they…
…are typically found in sedimentary rock, almost all of which were originally deposited as sediments by moving water. Subsequent processes hardened them into sedimentary rock, as overlying pressure squeezed the water out and the grains were cemented together. Often plants and animals were trapped, being buried in the sediments. As the sediments hardened into sedimentary rock, the dead things hardened into fossils…
The standard evolutionary view is that from time to time over the eons, a calm and placid sea covered what is now the continents. Over the millions of years of living and dying and coming and going the fossils were preserved as sediments slowly collected on the ocean bottom. But is there a better understanding? Let’s summarize.
Marine fossils are found in rock layers which give testimony to dynamic water processes having deposited them….Rather than demanding the conclusion of long ages of uniformity and evolution, the fossils speak of a time when the oceans fully destroyed the continents, employing catastrophic hydraulic and tectonic forces—a flood on a scale not witnessed today. Just such a flood was witnessed in yesteryear, however, and recorded for our edification in Genesis. It was the great Flood of Noah’s day.
What This Means for Us Today
During this rather lengthy “pause for critical analysis,” we have discussed a number of changes thought to have taken place during the Biblical Flood. I say “thought to have taken place” because, of the ones we have mentioned, only two have been specifically addressed in scripture—those being, the addition of meat to man’s diet, and the delegation of authority from God to man to institute the earliest forms of human government.
As for the change in climate, which would have taken place once the vapor canopy had been removed at the onset of the Flood; and the change in landscape, which most likely occurred when the underground waters were released from their chambers, bringing about the creation of tectonic plates and the division of the land into continents—these are implied in several passages of scripture, particularly those found in the Creation Story and in those describing the mechanics of the Flood. And, of course, the formation of fossils and the development of fossil fuels were changes which would have been unknown until long after the Bible was written. However, the scientific sources cited in our analysis all seem to agree that these changes took place at some time in the past–they just don’t agree on when, where, and how long they took.
While we might be inclined to think a discussion of this nature, about an event as ancient as the Flood of Noah’s day, would have no bearing on our lives today, nothing could be farther from the truth. For, as you can see from the following chart, each of the changes just mentioned has had a lasting impact on the world in which we live today…
All of these changes should serve as a witness to our modern world, not only of mankind’s past judgment but also of the one to come. For…
- Our shortened lifespans;
- The volatility of the planet on which we live;
- The abuse and corruption of human government all around us;
- The exploitation of the earth’s resources for personal profit; and,
- The audacity of those who use God’s creation to justify a denial of His existence and the Truth of His Word…
…should be daily reminders to us that life is fragile and can be taken away at any given moment–something stated so succinctly in the following verses…
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is yet toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who can consider the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:10-12)
[For] just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:27)
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the Ark, they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
While the changes brought about by the Flood were many, there was still one that it failed to make–but, to find out what it was, we will have to wait until Vignette #9, which is just about to begin.
 Earth Observatory of Singapore, Brief History of the Plate Tectonics Theory, http://www.earthobservatory.sg/faq-on-earth-sciences/brief-history-plate-tectonics-theory.
 John D. Morris, Ph.D. 2004. Where Are Fossils Found?. Acts & Facts. 33 (7).
In anticipation of our soon-to-begin Vignette #8, let’s take a few minutes to review the situation that poor Noah was in when our last Vignette ended. As you may recall he, his immediate family, and a large number of animals were locked up in the Ark—the really big boat he had built at God’s direction—and were floating around on what must have seemed like an interminable sea.
This massive ocean had come into being (perhaps I should say it had come back into being) when God released onto the earth the waters which had been stored above and below it at the beginning of creation; an action which eliminated nearly every trace of His original creative work and restored the earth to its initial state of primordial chaos.
We also need to think back to the summary statements of our off-stage Narrator, made just before the curtains closed on Vignette #7, as he sadly reported…
And all flesh died that moved on the earth (Gen. 7:21)…
Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark (Gen. 7:23)…
And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days (Gen. 7:24)…
I don’t know about you but if it had been me, by this time I would have been one severely traumatized human being; not only because I had so recently endured the most terrorizing of all disasters—one involving earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, floods, and hurricane-like storms—but, as it was just pointed out by our Narrator, because I and all those with me would have now been cooped up on a boat for 150 days, without any sign of land or end to our cruising in sight! Certainly, 150 days would have given me plenty of time to ruminate on our situation and to formulate a list of the “concerns” that I would have liked to have presented to God, should I ever hear from Him again. In fact, if it had been me there, instead of Noah, here are a few of the issues I would have liked to have brought up in my next encounter with Him…
- God, what happened to You—where did You go? Did You forget about us? We haven’t had a word from You in 150 days. Given the ordeal that we have just been through, couldn’t You have made an appearance every once in a while to give us an update on what has been going on outside of this boat?
- Speaking of these 150 days, when I first signed on for this venture, I was led to believe that it would only last for 40 days and 40 nights—roughly six weeks and not the five months which it has become. As You well know, I have already invested a good part of my life, not to mention all of my material resources, in this undertaking; so I don’t think it is asking too much for You to have been a little more upfront about the actual terms of this contract—especially when You know how much I value having a clear “Definition of Terms” laid out for me, with no contingencies hidden away in the fine print.
- You see, if I had only known in advance how long this confinement was going to last, I would have packed a lot more clothes and brought a lot more scrolls to read; plus, the boys could have brought along some of their musical instruments to help break up the boredom. During the 40 days that the Deluge was in progress, we at least had the sound of the wind and the rain, not to mention the on-going underground rumblings and convulsions to listen to. But for the past 110 days, there has been NOTHING to break up the sound of dead air and the monotonous drone of water sloshing up against the hull of the boat.
- Finally, about the living conditions here on the Ark, I am very sorry to have to report that they have been a lot more challenging than what I had anticipated. Of particular concern to me have been…
The Water Situation
Because of the foresight that You gave us, we knew to incorporate cisterns into the design and construction of the Ark and, during the forty-day downpour, we were able to collect and store a great deal of rainwater in them. However, since the rain ended—and since we have been confined on board a lot longer than I had originally planned for—we have been unable to replenish our supplies. In light of this, and not knowing how much longer we will be afloat, it seems that the wisest course for us to take now is to initiate a water rationing program for the duration of this trip.
The Sanitation Problem
Of course, the rationing of our water will mean limiting the number of baths we can take and the amount of laundry we can do–plus, it will make keeping this huge vessel clean virtually impossible. When you consider that we haven’t had a really good breeze through here since the rain stopped, and with odor from the animals wafting up from the two lower tiers of the Ark to add to our aroma, the atmosphere in the upper tier where we are living will, no doubt, soon become rather rank.
By the way, about the animals, we are very grateful that once they were settled in their darkened cubicles and the boat started rocking back and forth, they all seemed to drift off into the deepest and most extended period of sleep imaginable—in fact, they are all still sleeping. I just can’t imagine how we would have ever fed them all, plus dispatched all of their pooh, had they been awake all of this time!
The Matter of Our Diet
As for our food, we have been eating nothing but grains and dried fruit for the past five months and, to put it bluntly, we are getting pretty sick of it. There are only so many ways these foods can be prepared—especially when you consider that, due to safety concerns, we cannot light a fire over which to cook them. Mrs. Noah has done her best to be creative but really, our menu is getting awfully tiresome and, after all of this time, it is starting to taste a little stale.
It is not that I am complaining, mind You; it’s just that, while we are so very thankful to be alive—particularly when everyone else on the earth has perished—I felt I should call these things to Your attention, in the event that another flood of this magnitude is called for in the future. If it is, then You can use this information to make adjustments to the plan, and to work out the bugs in the operation before any such disaster gets underway. Oh…just an afterthought…in the event that another Ark is ever needed, it would really be nice to have a deck on top so that, when the rain is over, whoever is manning the ship can go out and get some sun and fresh air. I am not complaining, mind You—I’m just saying…
With that, we begin to hear the sound of splashing water coming from the Stage, and as the curtains open, we see the Ark—just as we left it—bobbing up and down on the waves. And, as if he had been reading my thoughts, we hear our Narrator open this Vignette with these words…
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.
And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually (Gen. 8:1-2).
And, as if to let us know that this wasn’t going to be an overnight process, he goes on to add that…
…At the end of 150 days the water had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen (Gen. 8:3-5).
We then watch as Noah, after waiting another forty days, opens the window of the Ark and sends out a raven which, rather than returning to the Ark, flies back and forth over the waters until they are dried up off of the earth. Noah also sends out a dove at this time but, when she can find no dry place to land, she returns to him in the Ark. Undaunted, seven days later, Noah tries the same thing again, only this time the dove comes back to him in the evening with a freshly plucked olive leaf in her mouth. While this lets Noah know that the waters have subsided, ever patient, he waits another seven days before sending out the dove again. This time, however, she does not return.
After this, our Narrator continues with this commentary…
…in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked and behold, the face of the ground was dry.
In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animal and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’
So [after spending 370 days in the Ark] Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his son’s wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark (Gen.8:13-19).
In another little aside here, let me just say—if it had been me there, instead of Noah, after floating around in a boat with a bunch of animals for over a year, a boat over which I had no controls, I would have fallen down and kissed the ground, dirt and all–even though I have no use whatsoever for dirt, sweat, or bugs! I would have been so happy to be back on solid ground again, I would have hugged that dirt until someone came and scraped me up off of it. Once again, I am not complaining, I am just saying…
However, on our Stage, we see Noah do something entirely different. He immediately sets about building a makeshift altar with the few materials he can find, and upon which he proceeds to offer some of every clean animal and bird he brought with him as a burnt offering. But, while we sit silently, reverently, watching the smoke from the offering rise heavenward, our reverie is suddenly shattered by the voice of the Lord as He utters this all-important promise…
I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease (Gen. 8:21-22).
Then, in much the same way that He did with Adam and Eve, God blesses Noah and his sons, saying…
Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it (Gen. 9:1, 7).
However, unlike He did with Adam and Eve, God tells Noah that from now on…
The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.
But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning of the life of man. For…whoever shed the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image (Gen. 9:2-6).
Then, as if this wasn’t enough, God—who had warned Noah of the Flood, who had instructed Noah how to build an Ark for the safety of him, his family, and the animals, and who had protected and provided for Noah throughout the tribulation of the Flood and its aftermath—does one more amazing thing. He enters into a covenant with Noah—that is, He initiates a contract with him, in which He promises that…
…never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.
This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth (Genesis 9-17).
Wow, what a wonderful promise–and what a great place at which to end Vignette #8! Before we leave this Vignette, though, let me just say, that with this promise, all of my previously stated “concerns”–you know, the ones that were offered in the event of another flood–can be completely disregarded. For, while they were legitimate at the time, they are now no longer relevant. Please keep in mind that I am still not complaining, I am only saying…
Biblical illustrations courtesy of http://www.freebibleimages.org/.
Uh-oh…the lowering of the theatre’s lights combined with the rising strains of music from the orchestra pit are telling us that our brief analytical interlude on the high price of Noah’s obedience is over, and it is time for our next Vignette to begin—this one, the 7th Vignette in Scene 1 of Act 1 of God’s One Big Story. During our last Vignette, we witnessed God warning His servant, Noah, of a coming flood on the earth, and instructing him to build an Ark, not only for the salvation of his household but also for the preservation of the animal life which would be needed to replenish the earth after the flood.
As the curtains separate yet again, they reveal a huge vessel—one about the size of a modern ocean liner but shaped more like a rectangular box with a lid on it—occupying much of the now well-lit stage. We also see Noah, standing at center stage once more, looking a lot older and a great deal wearier than he did the last time we last saw him. If, as conjectured during our last Vignette, it took him 120 years of hard physical labor to complete the Ark, this would certainly help account for the radical change in his physical appearance.
Although we aren’t told if God spoke to Noah at any time during the Ark’s construction, we do hear His Voice now, reverberating throughout the theatre—an experience which once again produces goosebumps in all of those who are in attendance—as He instructs Noah to…
Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth.
For in seven days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground (Gen. 7:1-4).
And, as we hear our off-stage Narrator comment once more that…
…Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him (Gen. 7:5)…
…we watch in awe as animals of every description, all in pairs of male and female, enter from various points around the stage and slowly yet orderly make their way toward Noah and the Ark. Upon their arrival, Noah’s sons descend from the doorway of the Ark and begin the very tedious and time consuming task of escorting each pair of animals to their individual rooms or nests, and then getting them settled in.
As the animals keep coming and as this process continues, crowds of spectators begin appearing on the periphery of the stage—some standing in groups and talking among themselves, trying to figure out what all this could possibly mean; while others brazenly step forward and begin mocking and jeering at Noah and his family, and at the bizarre scene being played out before them. This activity keeps up as the lights on stage are dimmed and then relit six times to simulate the passage of six days and nights.
Then, with the arrival of the seventh day, and after the last pair of animals is safely ensconced in the Ark, we hear the Narrator remark that…
…Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature.
They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him (Gen. 7:13-15).
Once they are all on board, and with the scoffers outside still crying out derisively—such things as Hey, Noah…
Where is the promise of [its] coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation (1 Peter 3:4)…
…suddenly, the door to the Ark closes—seemingly on its own—and is sealed up tight by some invisible hand or power. Those standing around it, not knowing what to make of this, are startled into silence. Their silence is short-lived, however, because it isn’t long before the ground under them begins to shake; then it starts to rupture, creating gaping holes in the surface of the earth through which massive amounts of steam, dirt, molten lava, and water—tons of water—are spewed into the air.
At this, the people begin screaming and running—some over to the Ark, banging feverishly on its hull and begging to be let in; while others scatter in every other direction, searching for safe places in which to hide. But there aren’t any places on the ground, because the waters which have been gushing up from underground reservoirs are now spreading out over the whole area. With these waters rising rapidly and swirling ever more furiously around the people’s feet, many hastily seek out refuge in the nearest trees; while others make their breaks for the highest elevations of the land, climbing up and clinging onto any rocks or hills that they can find.
Unfortunately, with their focus fixed on the devastation taking place under their feet, those fleeing have not looked up to see the changes which have been taking place in the sky overhead. For, in response to the incredible amount of ash, heat, and moisture that has been discharged into the atmosphere, the sky is now almost completely dark, and filling up fast with black and foreboding clouds. These soon begin to collide with one another and, as they do, the atmosphere explodes as thunder and tremendous bolts of lightning are released into the air. With every peal of thunder warning of their imminent appearances, one electrifying shock of lightning after another is fired off; each seeming, in its sword-like sharpness, to pierce the fabric of the sky; creating the slits through which water, in the form of huge raindrops, begins being poured out from the heavens.
Over the sounds of the waters gushing up from below and those streaming down from above, we somehow manage to hear the voice of our Narrator as he declares…
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the window of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights (Gen. 7:11-12).
As we watch the Ark rising along with the water, the scene on the stage suddenly becomes eerily quiet, for the voices of all those who remained on the outside of the Ark have finally been silenced by the deluge. We sit reverently for the next few minutes, reflecting on the magnitude of the drama which we have just witnessed—the enormity of which is soon reinforced by these solemn and summarizing words from our Narrator…
The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.
And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.
He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth.
Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days (Gen. 7:17-24).
And, it is with this, that the stage goes dark, the curtains close, and Vignette #7 comes to a very sad and sobering end.
Illustrations courtesy of http://www.freebibleimages.org/.
In our recent critique of Vignette #5 of Act 1, Scene 1 of God’s One Big Story, we spent quite a bit of time poking around in the first genealogy of the Bible, which is found in Genesis 5. There, we discovered some valuable information concerning the line of righteous People who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Noah; the Patterns of life that began to develop during this period; and, the Precedents that were established by these godly people as they sought to live out their lives in a world of ever-increasing wickedness. Our analysis ended with a brief introduction to Noah, the tenth in line from Adam, and the one whom his father, Lamech, predicted would “…give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.”
Since the name Noah means “rest”, it is likely that Lamech believed this son to be the long-awaited Redeemer; the one whom God promised to Eve that He would send. And, that the “rest” he had in mind was one in which mankind’s bondage to sin and death would be ended, and earth’s sin-caused curse would be removed. It is doubtful that a world-wide flood, wiping our nearly all of the earth’s inhabitants, was the kind of “rest” he had envisioned when he named his son as he did.
As for our exploration into the flood and its earth-altering consequences, before we can dive headlong into those turbulent waters, there are still at least three things that we need to take into consideration—that is, if we are going to understand why a disaster of this magnitude had become necessary in the first place. For, it was these three factors, working in tandem, which helped to make the Antediluvian civilization such a dark and dangerous one that it had to be erased off the face of the map. They are:
- The Planet, in its pre-flood condition;
- The Population, and the effects of its explosion on society; and,
- The Powers and their influence on life during this era.
Although the Bible doesn’t give us much in the way of specifics about the physical conditions of the earth before the flood, it does give us enough clues to lead us to believe that it must have been a vastly different place than the earth that we are familiar with today. Of course, the one we know is still the same size, same shape, and in the same position in its orbit around the sun that it has always been; but, from what we can gather from the Biblical clues, and from recent scientific findings, it is likely that both today’s climate and the earth’s topography are completely different from that of the original earth.
As for changes in its climate, these would seem to be attributable to differences in the distribution and storage of the earth’s waters. Back in Genesis 1:1, 1:7, and 1:9, while studying the Creation Story, we learned that…
- The earth started out as a formless mass of waters—meaning that there was water, water everywhere, but where was it to go? Therefore…
- God separated the waters by making an “expanse” (a firmament, or “thin stretched-out space”) and inserting it between the waters, and then calling this expanse “Heaven”—meaning that part of the waters were stored above earth, with these most likely being in the form of water vapor; and,
- God gathered the waters under the expanse together in one place and commanded dry land to come forth out of the waters; calling the dry land “Earth” and the gathered waters “Seas”—meaning that the rest of the waters were contained either around the land or beneath it in underground “chambers” or rivers.
So, what effect might this pre-flood arrangement of waters have had on the climate? Well, a layer of water vapor situated above the earth’s atmosphere and acting as a layer of insulation between it and the sun…
- Would have provided the earth with nearly uniform temperatures everywhere;
- These uniform temperatures would have limited the movement of air, thus preventing windstorms of any kind;
- Without any air circulating, dust particles from the earth would not have been moved to the upper atmosphere, thus eliminating the condensation which would have resulted in precipitation;
- In lieu of precipitation, the moisture on the earth would have been provided regularly, rather than intermittently, by dew or ground fog—something confirmed in Genesis 2:5-6 with these words… “…for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land…and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole surface of the ground”;
- This regular misting of the earth, in conjunction with the uniformly warm temperatures, would have contributed to the world-wide growth of abundant and rich vegetation; and,
- A vapor shield surrounding the earth would have led to an increase in the atmospheric pressure which, according to some modern research, could have resulted in an increase in health and longevity.
When it comes to the topographical differences in the earth, it is now believed that the land mass of the early earth was formed into one super continent called Pangaea, rather than being broken up into the seven continents that we are familiar with today. According to the US Geological Survey, although…
The belief that continents have not always been fixed in their present positions was suspected long before the 20th century…it was not until 1912 that the idea of moving continents was seriously considered as a full-blown scientific theory — called Continental Drift — introduced in two articles published by a 32-year-old German meteorologist named Alfred Lothar Wegener.
Wegener’s theory was based in part on what appeared to him to be the remarkable fit of the South American and African continents, first noted by Abraham Ortelius three centuries earlier. Wegener was also intrigued by the occurrences of unusual geologic structures and of plant and animal fossils found on the matching coastlines of South America and Africa, which are now widely separated by the Atlantic Ocean. He reasoned that it was physically impossible for most of these organisms to have swum or have been transported across the vast oceans. To him, the presence of identical fossil species along the coastal parts of Africa and South America was the most compelling evidence that the two continents were once joined.
…But at the time Wegener introduced his theory, the scientific community firmly believed the continents and oceans to be permanent features on the Earth’s surface. Not surprisingly, his proposal was not well received, even though it seemed to agree with the scientific information available at the time. A fatal weakness in Wegener’s theory was that it could not satisfactorily answer the most fundamental question raised by his critics: What kind of forces could be strong enough to move such large masses of solid rock over such great distances?
What forces indeed! As for a reason why God may have decided on one super continent for the early earth, just think how much easier it would have been, with all of the earth’s land surfaces joined together, for the descendants of Adam to fulfill the commission that God had given him to…
Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28).
And, as they did this, it wouldn’t have taken long for…
…the earth [to] be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
But, as we shall see, while the people of this period succeeded in fulfilling God’s command to “multiply and fill the earth,” the vast majority of them failed miserably at doing it in a way which would bring any kind of glory to God.
When we get to this part of the Bible—that is, to the story of Noah and the Flood—I believe there is a tendency on our parts to think that the population of the earth at the time must have been a relatively small one. Perhaps, this is because, having only read five chapters and having only been introduced to a fairly small group of people so far, we get the impression that not a lot of time has passed and that not much has happened in the course of these five chapters. But, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Using the figures given to us in Genesis 5, when we total up the years from the beginning of Adam’s life to the birth of Noah, we learn that 1,056 years had elapsed. Then, by adding the 600 years that Noah lived before the flood to that number, we find that men and women had been living—and multiplying—on the earth for at least 1,656 years. This is a lot of time for populations to expand and for cultures to shift and deteriorate. For example, just think how much our world has changed in the past 1,056 or 1,656 years, respectively. If we subtract the former figure from 2015, we would find ourselves in the year 959 AD, and by doing the same to the latter figure, we would be taken back to the year 359 AD—and, without a doubt, a lot of change has taken place in our world since either one of these dates, hasn’t it?
Take the population, for instance. In the same length of time that passed between Adam and the birth of Noah, the population of our present world grew from an estimated 300 million to over 7 billion; while the population from 359 AD to today has increased from an estimated 198 million to well past the same 7 billion mark. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that this increase was produced by men and women who were living greatly reduced life spans and having considerably fewer children than those who were alive during the years preceding the flood. As for the population at the time of the flood, if I had to wager a guess as to its size, I think a very conservative estimate would put that at a minimum of 2 billion—which is to say, 2,000,000,000 people! How did I arrive at that figure?
Well, by going back to the genealogy listed in Genesis 5, I learned that in addition to each of the sons listed there, the fathers were said to have “had other sons and daughters.” Although no numbers were recorded for us, given that the average life span for these men was about 850 years, it stands to reason that the number of their offspring would have been considerable (for, as noted by the Jewish historian, Josephus, “The number of Adam’s children, as says the old tradition, was thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters.”) With this in mind, it doesn’t require a huge stretch of the imagination to suppose that Adam and Eve could have had at least ten sons and ten daughters, who would have made up the first set of ten couples. If each of these couples had at least ten sons and ten daughters, who would, in turn, have another ten sons and ten daughters, etc.—at the end of ten generations (and not allowing for any deaths), this would have produced a population of 2,000,000,000 people. Roughly speaking, this would be about the same as today’s total population of China added to about half of the population of India—and, no matter how you look at it, that is a lot of people!
Now, in order to put these things into perspective, let’s try to imagine what our world would be like today if all of the people in China and half of the people in India were living together, spread out over a single land mass. Given its temperate climate and regulated underground hydraulic system, this land would be one that was filled with lush green vegetation, and one where hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes were unknown events. Something else that would be unknown is any kind of institutional structure, such as governments, laws, police, armies, churches, or schools, to dictate codes of conduct or to help control the actions of the people. In fact, there would only be three forces around with the power to influence human behavior, and these would be the Power of God, the Power of the Human Conscience, and the Power of Demonic Spirits. However, because most of these people would eventually choose to reject God and go through life on their own terms, His power is something that would no longer be available to them; and, as for their consciences, due to their continuous sinning, these would become so seared that they would be rendered useless as a means of curbing their actions. This, then, would leave them open and vulnerable to any kind of influence or interference that the demonic spirits might throw at them which, from what we can gather from Genesis 6:1,2,4 could have included demon possession or sexual cohabitation…
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose… and…when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
So, the picture that we’re presented with here is one in which at least 2,000,000,000 people with fallen human natures—having denied God and His power, and whose consciences are so calloused that they no longer know the difference between right and wrong—are running around doing whatever they please—and, whatever the demonic forces at work in the world want them to do. What a bleak and seemingly hopeless picture of humanity this is—and yet, this is what life would have been like in the years leading up to the Flood. Is it any wonder that when…
…the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…
…the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart?
Or, that He would say…
…‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land…for I am sorry that I have made them’? (Gen. 5-7)
At this low point in our Story, it would seem that all is lost, and humanity is a goner—but fortunately for us, this is not the case. For, it was into this very dark and doomed world that God shined one wonderful ray of redemptive light when He recorded…
But Noah… found favor [grace] in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8)…
…an acknowledgement which lets us know that it is now time our next Vignette–Vignette #6 to begin.
As Phillips Craig and Dean remind us, God’s Grace is still an amazing thing…
 Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record (San Diego, California: Creation-Life Publishers, 1976) p.60.
 Josephus, The Works of Josephus, as translated by William Whiston (Lynn, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1981) p. 27.