According to the Bible, Noah's Flood was both universal and catastrophic, resulting in the wholesale destruction of both human and animal life on the earth. But is it possible that it really happened? Can we find evidence?
In considering this question, let's begin with the Bible itself and briefly review the account of the Flood: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened" (Genesis 7:11). Notice this important fact: The source of the water was both the atmosphere ("windows of heaven") and subterranean water ("fountains of the great deep").
The Genesis account, then, indicates that much of the water came from inside the earth. Even today large underground reservoirs of water and a surprising number of underground streams exist throughout the earth. But in the pre-Flood world these were likely even more common.
What is meant by the terminology, "the fountains of the great deep were broken up"? The Bible Knowledge Commentary states regarding Genesis 7:11: ". . . There were corresponding gigantic upheavals and shiftings of the earth's crust which caused the oceans' floors to rise and break up their reservoirs of subterranean waters."
This comment about the "fountains of the deep" being broken up indicates that there were tremendous movements of land—possibly even continents—likely causing massive volcanic eruptions, too.
The geologic history of the earth shows periods in which tremendous upheaval has occurred. The "fountains of the deep" being opened probably included the sudden releasing of this underground water accompanied by erupting volcanoes—causing at least some new geologic strata to be formed on the earth.
Formations made by water
Can we find geologic formations that appear to have been made under water? Most certainly yes! There are many such formations. Most of our planet's surface is covered with sedimentary rocks—those that are often deposited under water or associated with water.
Let's consult a modern source for a clear definition: "Sedimentary Rock: in geology, rock composed of geologically reworked materials, formed by the accumulation and consolidation of mineral and particulate matter deposited by the action of water or, less frequently, wind or glacial ice. Most sedimentary rocks are characterized by parallel or discordant bedding that reflects variations in either the rate of deposition of the material or the nature of the matter that is deposited" ("Sedimentary Rock," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-1997, Microsoft Corporation).
Also, according to The Dynamic Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology, 75 percent of the rocks seen on the earth's surface are sedimentary in origin and the remainder are igneous or volcanic (Brian Skinner and Stephen Porter, 1989, p. 20).
In some areas, sedimentary deposits cover the earth to a depth of some five miles.
This water-deposited strata offers abundant evidence of massive floods unlike anything seen in human history outside the Bible. We understand, of course, that everything in the geologic record cannot be explained by one flood. In fact, the Bible begins with a description of our planet covered with water (Genesis 1:2, 9-10), so much of Earth's sedimentary strata must date to this time or even before this time. However, the massive scale of the Flood of Noah's time no doubt caused other, later formations (for more details, download or request our free booklet Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?).
Notice, for example, this description of one outcropping at Agate Springs in northwestern Nebraska: "What remains of the hill covers about ten acres. This bone bed was accidentally discovered in 1876. It contains the bones of rhinoceroses, camels, giant wild boars, and other animals, buried together in a confused mass as only water would deposit them.
"It is estimated that the bones of about nine thousand complete animals are buried on this one hill . . . Hence, it is likely that many times that number of animals were brought together at this hill and buried there by the action of water . . . This is a fact that is most important. Animals of every kind died in great numbers and were buried almost instantly" (Alfred Rehwinkel, The Flood, 1951, p. 183, emphasis added). The important fact is that this massive deposit of many kinds of animals was obviously made by a huge amount of water.
In addition, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia provides evidence of the Noachian Flood: "Among these evidences one of the most convincing is to be found in the cave of San Ciro at the base of the mountains surrounding the plain of Palermo in Sicily. In this cave there was found an immense mass of the bones of hippopotami of all ages down to the fetus, mingled with a few of the deer, ox and elephant.
"These were so fresh when discovered that they were cut into ornaments and polished and still retained a considerable amount of their nitrogenous matter.
Twenty tons of these bones were shipped for commercial purposes in the first six months after their discovery. Evidently the animals furnishing these bones had taken refuge in this cave to escape the rising water which had driven them in from the surrounding plains and cooped them up in the amphitheater of mountains during a gradual depression of the land.
"Similar collections of bones are found in various ossiferous fissures, in England and Western Europe, notably in the Rock of Gibraltar and at Santenay, a few miles South of Chalons in central France, where there is an accumulation of bones in fissures 1,000 ft. above the sea, similar in many respects to that in the cave described at San Ciro, though the bones of hippopotami did not appear in these places; but the bones of wolves, bears, horses and oxen, none of which had been gnawed by carnivora, were indiscriminately commingled as though swept in by all-pervading currents of water" (1915, "Deluge of Noah").
Many people have had the experience of hiking into the mountains and finding fossilized seashells, fish and other aquatic creatures. This proves that these strata were under water at one time in the past.
Why the biblical Flood isn't accepted
In light of such obvious evidence, why don't modern geologists and scientists readily accept the validity of the Flood? One reason is that these relatively recent formations are dated by geologists as occurring (in most cases) millions of years before the biblical Flood. The theory of evolution has had such a strong influence on the thinking of the intelligentsia of this world that the truths of the Bible have largely been forgotten or dismissed.
Modern geologists have almost universally accepted what is called the "geologic column." The geologic column supposedly reflects the history of life in periodic epochs or eras, each of very long duration, that geologists believe occurred on the earth. Thus, much of the earth's strata are believed to have been extant millions of years ago and are dated by the column to that time.
But what most people don't realize is that this "geologic column" doesn't exist in most places on earth. A good example of this can be found in Arizona's Grand Canyon. On the top of the Grand Canyon is a formation called the Kaibab Formation, which is dated as a Permian period formation (about 250 million years old). Not only that, but in the middle of the Grand Canyon strata is a gap of more than 100 million years in the column between the Temple Butte formation and Muav Limestone (see Stanley Beus and Michael Morales, editors, Grand Canyon Geology, 1990, p. 9).
The bottom line is that geologists' dating of strata is not through objective, scientifically verifiable dating methods, but rather is heavily influenced by belief in the theory of evolution, which demands eons of time. Many instances exist where the dates obtained in a laboratory do not match the modern idea of how old certain formations are supposed to be according to a predetermined, theoretical geologic column (see "Serious Problems With Dating Methods" ).
Pervasive influence of evolutionary bias
Many formations appear to be dated far too old by geologists because they have allowed themselves to be prejudiced by the theory of evolution. For example, evolutionists commonly accept as fact that certain species existed on the earth only to become extinct. For instance, in the state of Wyoming are fossils of millions of fish believed to have died during the Eocene epoch, dated at approximately 50 million years ago. Geologists don't know exactly why they died, but it is very obvious that some type of catastrophe killed all these fish.
When properly understood and correctly interpreted, the geologic formations of the earth clearly point to past catastrophes. It's easy to understand that many of these formations were the result of one or more catastrophic floods when true scientific facts are considered without the bias of modern interpretations of the geologic record.
Regrettably, far too many of our leading intellectuals have accepted the prejudices of an educational system built around the theory of evolution. This thinking foolishly denies the existence of the Creator or that He brought a global deluge on the earth because men and women were immersed in violence and other sins.
In considering the matter, we would do well to reflect on the words of the eighth-century-B.C. Hebrew prophet Amos. He reminds us of God's absolute power over this planet in Amos 9:5-6: "The Lord God of hosts, He who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell there mourn; all of it shall swell like the River, and subside like the River of Egypt. He who builds His layers in the sky, and has founded His strata in the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the face of the earth—the Lord is His name." GN