Re: Ramm's flood

Glenn Morton (
Mon, 08 Apr 1996 22:00:52

Terry Gray wrote:

>Glenn, I'm not sure I would call Ramm's treatment of the
> subject
>incoherent. The geological consequences of Ramm's view
> are minimal--the
>flood is fairly recent, its effects would be hard to
> find in the geological
>record (this comes out in D. Young's book as well), not
> all humans or
>animals were destroyed in the flood.

I would recommend Ramm's book. I like a
lot of what Ramm says.

But the flood section leaves me quite unsatisfied. Ramm
rejects the universal flood and opts for a local flood.
His entire treatment for his model consists of a page and a

He writes:
"Although many Christians still believe in the universal
flood, most of the recent conservative scholarship of
the church defends a local flood. Those who defend a local
flood believe that the time of the flood was some time
prior to 4000 B.C. The waters were supplied by the rains
fromabove and the ocean waters beneath. Some sort of
geological phenomenon is indicated by the expression 'and
the fountains of the deep were broken up.' This caused the
ocean waters to creep up the Mesopotamian valley. The
waters carried the ark up to the Ararat range. The Hebrew
text does not mean that the ark was deposited on the
17,000 foot summit of the peak, but that the ark rested
somewhere on the Ararat range. It would have taken a
special miracle to get Noah and his family down from such
dizzy mountain heights where the cold would have been
extreme. By the reversal of the geological phenomenon, the
water is drained back from the valley. The reader must
keep in mind, as stated in a leading conservative

'There is in Western Asia a remarkably depressed area,
extending from the Sea of Aral to the Steppes of the
Caucasus on the norht, and sweeping round the souther
shores of the cAspian, comprehending Ararat and the Great
Salt Desert, which, as Ansted has remarked 'forms no
inconsiderable portion of the great recognized centre of
the human family. The Caspian Sea (83 1/2 feet below the
level of the sea, and in some parts of it 600 feet deep)
and the Sea of Aral occupy the lowest part of a vast
space, whose whole extent is not less than 100,000 square
miles, hollowed out, as it were, in the cnetral region of
the great continent, and no doubt formerly the bed of the
ocean' [and into this natural saucer the ocean waters

"From this natural saucer the waters were drained.
The purpose of the flood was to blot out the wicked
civilization of Mesopotamia, and being a local flood of a
short duration we would not expect to find any specific
evidence for it, especially after the minmum of another
six thousand years of weathering." Bernard Ramm, The
Christian View of Science and Scripture" (Grand Rapids,
W.B. Eerdmans, 1954) p. 162-163. This is the 1987 reprint

Now, as a geoscientist I find this sadly so lacking in any
knowledge of the geology and geography of the regions as
to leave me speechless.

First, "Some sort of geological phenomenon ...caused the
ocean waters to creep up the Mesopotamian valley. The
waters carried the ark up to the Ararat range."

What sort of geological phenomenon? Even to get the ark to
the foothills would require 1000 foot rise in the water or
a corresponding 1000 foot sinking of the continent.
Continents do not rise or sink much faster than a few
centimeters per year! There are laws of isostasy which must
be obeyed or overridden by God's fiat. If God overrode
those things, then Ramm should clearly say so. If Ramm is
depending on a more naturalistic approach then his
suggestion fails the most simple test of geophysics.

Any rapid phenomenon, such as a meteor strike which could
cause a 1000 foot wave of water coming up the valley would
leave evidence of its existence in the form of a crater and
tsunami deposits all up and down the Mesopotamian Valley.
You would expect to find erosional traces on the elevated
areas where the wave crested. This is not found.

Second, the drainage of the Caspian basin into the
Mesopotamian valley conveniently ignores the fact that the
Zagros mountains stand between the the Caspian basin and
the Mesopotamian valley! Once again, to drain the Caspian
into the Mesopotamian valley requires that the Caspian
valley rise thousands of feet high so the water can cross
the mountains! Then of course it had to sink again. If
God wanted to do that, then God could do that. But the
event would be expected to leave evidence of itself in the
form of drainage patterns, unsorted sediments, sediments
with giant ripples (like are found in Washington state from
the collapse of Lake Missoula 18,000 years ago). We don't
find these types of deposits in Mesopotamia!

Third the Caspian basin does not encompass Ararat. It is
on the North side of the highlands that Ararat is on.
The commentarist Ramm cites didn't look at a topographic
map when he wrote what he did.

Fourth, to say that you should not expect to find evidence
of this after 6,000 years of erosion ignores the fact that
we find evidence of a similar event in Washington State
more than 18,000 years after the event! It is quite
convenient for the data to disappear in Mesopotamia.

I am sorry, Terry, but Ramm's model of the flood can not
stand up to any detailed scutiny. And it is the details
which must be accounted for.


Foundation,Fall and Flood