Did Noah’s worldwide flood really happen?

For some, the worldwide flood described within the book of Genesis is an accurate description of an actual historical worldwide event. Answers in Genesis, a young-earth creationist group that promotes the claim that both planet earth and also the entire universe is just 6,000 years old, explains it as follows …

The Flood of Noah’s day (2348 BC) was a year-long global catastrophe that destroyed the pre-Flood world, reshaped the continents, buried billions of creatures, and laid down the rock layers.

Was Noah’s Flood Global?

Did Noah experience a local flood which left only a few sediment layers, as floods do today? God’s record is clear: the water covered the entire globe and killed all the animals on earth. Such unique conditions are the only way to explain worldwide fossil-bearing layers thousands of feet deep.

The “Only” explanation they have is that a God did it all by magic.

They even have a picture illustrating it for you?

A key point to remember is that this is essentially a religious claim that rests upon just one assumption – that the bible is a 100% accurate historical record. Once you start with that conclusion you then start cherry-picking stuff that crafts the illusion that it is correct, and simply discard everything and anything that conflicts.

Twenty-One Reasons Noah’s Worldwide Flood Never Happened

Skeptical Inquirer has published an article by Lorence G. Collins, a retired professor of geology from California State University Northridge. Within this he takes a close look at the Grand Canyon and lays out 21 reasons why we know that the sedimentary rocks were not deposited during Noah’s supposed worldwide flood about 4,500 years ago as is claimed by young-earth creationists.

As a geologist, it is a familiar topic and so he lays out the scientific facts. Here are the first few …

There are at least twenty-one scientific reasons a worldwide flood recounted in the Bible cannot have happened.

  1. The stair-stepped appearance of erosion of sedimentary rocks in the Grand Canyon with sandstones and limestones forming cliffs and shales forming gentle slopes cannot happen if all these rocks were deposited in less than one year. If the Grand Canyon had been carved soon after these rocks were deposited by a worldwide flood, they would not have had time to harden into solid rock and would have been saturated with water. Therefore, the sandstones and limestones would have slumped during the carving of the canyon and would not have formed cliffs (Hill et al. 2016).
  2. Salt and gypsum deposits, more than 200 feet thick, occur in the Paradox Formation in Utah just 200 miles north of the Grand Canyon, and these deposits are the same age as the Supai rocks in the Grand Canyon that were supposedly also deposited by Noah’s flood. Similar salt deposits, up to 3,000 feet thick, exist in various places on all continents and in layers of all geologic ages, and these deposits can only be produced by evaporation of sea water. Such evaporation could not have happened in repeated intervals in the midst of the forty days and forty nights of raining and during the supposed continuous deposition of sedimentary rocks by a worldwide flood and in which the only drying and evaporation is said to have occurred at the end of the flood (Collins 2006; 2009; 2012; Hill et al. 2016).

If this is a topic you are not too sure about or simply interested in, then it is worth reading all 21.

Ah, but he is just an Atheist who denies the truth” some might claim.

Well actually no. This is because Lorence G. Collins is a Christian and is not an Atheist. He has simply opted to not disengage his brain.

Rebuttal By Answers in Genesis

In response Answers in Genesis has put up a scientific rebuttal that uses evidence to address each of the 21 points and so they have made a credible case for their position …. oh wait, that’s not what has happened. Instead, Ken Ham, the chap who runs Answers in Genesis, has attacked Mr Collins as a traitor to Christianity, and suggests that he will be judged by God for relaying this scientific fact-based evidence.

The rebuttal by Andrew Snelling, a geologist and the head of AiG’s research department is this …

“We need an eye-witness who was there to tell (the story), and a reliable witness,” Snelling says, noting that Collins’ authority should be God’s Word.

In other words, the foundation for his “Scientific” rebuttal is “The bible says it, therefore it is true.”.

Flood Myths

A common observation made is that all around the planet within many different cultures flood myths abound, so there must be some truth to the idea that there was once a worldwide flood.

In one sense the answer to that is yes.

Go back about 18,000 years into the Ice Age and you will discover that sea level was 120 M (390 ft) lower than it is now. As the ice age ended, sea level rapidly rose and so an oral tradition of floods was spawned and then passed down from generation to generation. What you read in Genesis is just one of many variations.

In the US there exists evidence of giant floods that were unleashed as glaciers melted  …

Huge regions of the Pacific Northwest, called the “scablands” were chewed up by flash floods that were more like tsunamis. And it was all caused by the melting of the glaciers from the last ice age. As the walls of ice damming lakes melted away, the waters would rush out across the land.

David Montgomery, a Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, also wrote about this in a Discover Magazine article that is simply an extract for his book on the topic …

There is now compelling evidence for many gigantic ancient floods where glacial ice dams failed time and again: At the end of the last glaciation, some 10,000 years ago, giant ice-dammed lakes in Eurasia and North America repeatedly produced huge floods. In Siberia, rivers spilled over drainage divides and changed their courses. England’s fate as an island was sealed by erosion from glacial floods that carved the English Channel. These were not global deluges as described in the Genesis story of Noah, but were more focused catastrophic floods taking place throughout the world. They likely inspired stories like Noah’s in many cultures, passed down through generations.

Since devastating floods were a fact of life on the margins of the world’s great ice sheets, people in those areas probably witnessed them.

What about the region where Noah’s Ark is supposed to have happened?

The evidence points to a rapid devastating rise in sea level over 7,000 years ago …

in 1993, oceanographers Bill Ryan and Walter Pitman of Columbia University used sonar to survey the floor of the Black Sea—and found evidence supporting the story after all. Submerged beneath the surface were ancient streambeds, river-cut canyons, and shorelines. High-resolution seismic reflection profiles showed a former land surface buried in the seafloor sediments. Drill cores from the seafloor contained roots of shrubs covered by marine mud. Ryan and Pitman argued that over 7,000 years ago, the Mediterranean began to rise, breaching rocks along the Istanbul Strait, a waterway that helps form the boundary between Europe and Asia today. The event caused the Mediterranean to spill into the Black Sea, triggering a catastrophic flood.

Were early farmers in the area forced to flee as their world disappeared underwater? Archaeologists found the rising waters coincided with the onset of the initial migration of farming cultures into Europe and the floodplains of Mesopotamia. Wherever they came from, the first farmers arrived in southern Mesopotamia shortly after the filling of the Black Sea.

Final Thoughts

Who are you going to believe, the folks who have actual scientific evidence or the folks who simply assert “The bible says so” and discard what the evidence tells us?

To help you answer that, I can perhaps point out that Answers in Genesis don’t just assert that the entire universe is 6,000 years old, which means that there are trees older than they think the Galaxy is, but also make the observation that they assert that flying fire-breathing dragons are quite real, and so apparently are unicorns because the bible says so.

I can only conclude that for them Narnia is not fiction; they have quite literally moved in and taken up residence there, and yes, the Bible also has talking animals, so it’s a good fit.

Further Reading

13 thoughts on “Did Noah’s worldwide flood really happen?”

  1. Knowing the Creator isnt about knowing science or many Bible verses. Its a personal relationship. Obtained by submission to his will and allowing him to make us into his image. We need to love him more than we love sin and all its worldly pleasures.

  2. This is a really good explanation, science can be reproduced and tested by anyone all around the world and they will get the same results.
    Also if someone discover something new that contradict or update a former knowledge, it is being reviewed, rectified or updated.

    Science update itself with new discoveries, while religion… is not uniform, not clear, very hard to update (they have to admit that Godly inspired texts were wrong).
    Also 2 Christians in the same local church can have different interpretation of their beliefs, while a scientist in CHINA and one in USA could use the same method to reach the same conclusion.

    Religions are not clear and very subjective, it’s really not a good path to look for truth and you can’t compare it to the integrity of the scientific method.

  3. If you are open minded and are interested in Scientific Truth, you should read a book by Walt Brown “In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood”. He uses science to evaluate current theories on Plate Tectonics, Evolution, etc and compares them with what the evidence shows. He correlates across many scientific disciplines to formulate his theories on our origins. His book can be downloaded in pdf format for free or read online at https://hpt.rsr.org/.
    It is a fascinating read.

    • Ah … the “Hydroplate ” guy. Walt is a well known young earth creationist. His hypothesis has no credibility and his expertise is non-existent. The only credentials he actually has is as a mechanical engineer from over half a century ago.

      Reading Walt’s stuff is really not being “open minded”.

      Some of Walt’s ideas are so whacky that even Answers in Genesis has published rebuttals of it.


    • CAPS LOCK … wow.

      Caps lock is generally a big bold flashing red neon sign that announces “Here be a Nutter”.

      As for the claim. The essence of the claim is this “I have a book that says it is true, therefore it is true”.


  5. Hi Tom, You are of course correct, it is indeed a weak response.

    The point was not to craft a solid rebuttal but instead to take Mr Petit’s argument and redeploy it with the variables flipped. The potential insight for Mr Petit is that the rebuttal is weak and flawed because the original is equally flawed and weak.

  6. That’s a pretty weak response, both in substance and rhetorically. If the Bible is wrong Mr. Petit’s life will hardly be wasted because he believed in something that was false. He may have lived a good or even great life, with a host of worthy accomplishments.

    If the Bible is correct you have endangered your eternal soul. Now, that is extremely unlikely to the point of absurdity and I think your soul is safe

  7. Question: if the global flood laid the sedimentary layers which were later uplifted, could the steps (and the canyon) have been formed that way (I.E. an ancient glacial flood)? Isn’t that what old earth scientists also believe? That the reason there are fossilized seashells on the top layer of Grand Canyon is because it was once at sea level and then later uplifted? It seems a little disingenuous to scoff at the young earther’s, when in fact there are just as many problems with evolutionary theory. And honestly, you completely misrepresented us creationists… we don’t just believe it happened because God said so, we also see that the geologic evidence including the fossil record far more supports the creation theory. Both groups view the data through their assumptions based on their worldview. If you really want to be an honest scientist, then first recognize your own bias and then look at the data.

    • Hi Heather,

      I think you are asking a sincere question, so thank you for that.

      The key to all of this is a basic question : How do we work out what is really true?

      I guess I’m also assuming that you are indeed committed to the idea of believing as many true things as possible.

      We could perhaps discuss the specifics and I could explain why the various conclusions are what they are regarding the Grand Canyon. However, I think there is a more fundamental point here. You asked “Isn’t that what old earth scientists also believe?“.

      The short answer is “no”. The slightly longer answer is this. Geologists hold specific conclusions, not beliefs. Such conclusions are the best available explanation for all the available evidence.

      Here is (briefly) how that works

      Generally a scientific conclusion is something that is testable and so it has not failed such testing. Once a conclusion comes via study or research it is published to the wider scientific community by being made available in a journal that specialises in the topic and is read by all the subject matter experts. Submissions for publication are checked. This is called Peer-review. The peer-review is a process where the editor asks subject matter experts to confirm that a paper that is to be published is evidence based, that the data is available, and that the conclusion made is indeed verified by the data.

      Once a paper is published, all the interested subject matter experts can then read it. If they find it compelling, they will accept the conclusion because the available evidence that has been laid out confirms it. However, they might also find it to be seriously flawed and argue against it … using evidence that the authors of the paper had not considered or were not aware of.

      Key Point: The Scientific Process is not Subjective and does not depend upon any Worldview, it is wholly objective.

      We all reach conclusions on many things. Sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes for bad reasons. The scientific endeavour is (generally, it is not perfect) a process where the available conclusions are wholly objective and independent of any worldview (political or religious). That is what makes it both unique and successful.

      You will find that the vast majority of geologists, regardless of their politics or personal cultural beliefs, adhere to the accepted age for the Grand Canyon and its formation. It is not a doctrine or something they are required to believe, but rather it is an objective consensus that has been arrived at by a very careful study of all the available data, and is not influenced in any way by any political leanings or cultural beliefs.

      Quick summary

      The essence of your argument is that we all look at the same evidence and we all use our worldview to come to different conclusions.

      My point is that this is not how scientific conclusions are reached. It is wholly and completely objective and is not determined by a worldview.

      The prevailing scientific consensus for any and all scientific topics is accepted almost universally, and is quite independent of any and all worldview, beliefs, cultures, languages, or politics.

      I do hope that helps,

  8. Well, if the Bible is right, you have nothing to fear. If the Bible is wrong, you have wasted your one life by your own stupidity and willful ignorance. Aren’t you glad you get to choose your own destiny?

  9. Well, if the Bible is wrong, you have nothing to fear. If the Bible is correct, you are doomed by your own stupidity and willful ignorance. Aren’t you glad you get to choose your own destiny?


Leave a ReplyCancel reply

Exit mobile version