Re: Physics of a Mesopotamian Flood

Dick Fischer (
Sun, 12 May 1996 00:07:35 -0500

At 05:24 PM 5/11/96, Glenn wrote:

>The problem as I see it is that it does no good to have a harmonization of
>the flood account which pays no attention to the geology, the physics or
>the details of the Biblical account.

Glenn, let me home in on what I have always felt is the key difficulty
in the Bible/science conflict. Every single day of our lives we rely
upon the laws of physics and chemistry to be totally predictable. We
put water on the stove, heat it, and boil an egg. We never wonder
whether on any day that perchance God is going to suddenly intervene and
prevent the water from boiling or stop our egg from cooking. Few of
us have ever witnessed a bona fide, God-ordained miracle that absolutely
violated any of our commonly-recognized scientific laws.

Yet the Bible is replete with them. I have heard "scientific"
explanations as to how the Red Sea was parted, and how all the plagues
that fell upon Egypt leading to the Exodus were due to naturally
occurring phenomena, such as a volcanic eruption. Okay, then how did
Moses turn his staff into a snake? What's the scientific explanation
for that?

We could list miracles to which the Bible attests as long as
your arm. Jesus changed water into wine, and all the miracles He
performed which were outside of scientific explanation or else they
wouldn't have been miracles after all. He did it to prove his
credentials, that God and the Son of God prescribed those very laws
that govern our lives, but they are God and are not so governed.

You're familiar with the story of Shadrack and his friends who were
tossed into the fiery furnace? What a miracle that was! How do you
make a furnace seven times hotter than it ought to be? We all know
how furnaces operate. I couldn't take a furnace and figure out any
way to double the heat, let alone multiply it seven times. And that
was done by Nebuchadnezzer. Tackle that one with physics and math.

The point is that you and I both have made every attempt to take the
biblical account of Genesis and remove all elements of God's
interaction that do not fall within the boundaries of scientific
explanation. I know why I do it. Scientists have an absolute disdain
for any explanatory powers of miracles. If we wish to invoke a miracle
for everything we can't explain it impedes all inquiry to find what
may be simple natural causes. And that is a valid complaint.

The other reason is that we don't see any obvious miraculous
intervention involved in the Genesis account. Even young-earth
creationists have shunned any hint of the miraculous in the flood
narrative even though they have Adam walking around on terra firma
144 hours after the Big Bang! Go figure.

However, I must admit I have never seen a talking snake. I don't know
anyone who has. And if anyone produced such an animal, people would
think he was a ventriloquist, or perhaps he had a tape recorder in his
pocket. The Bible just presents us with something we wouldn't believe
if we saw it, and we accept it without batting an eye because the Bible
said it - so that's it.

You and I subscribe to science yet believe in miracles and we are both
so brilliant we know exactly where to draw the lines. Well, if we are
that brilliant, why don't we agree? I see no hope in your solution, you
see no logic in mine. Stalemate.

If the Resurrection could be explained scientifically we wouldn't have
a religion. Our God can step outside the bounds of science and step
back in at His leisure. He just doesn't do it all the time and leave
us perplexed as to what a capricious Deity was going to do next.

So maybe we can't understand the physics of a 2900 BC flood. Remember,
it was called down by God as a penalty for sin. It was God's decree.
Do we require that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was by entirely
natural causes? What is the scientific explanation of Lot's wife turning
into a pillar of salt? Did Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10) die of
natural causes?

I honestly believe the explanation I have offered for a local, recent and
historic flood fits every jot and tittle of Scripture. It may not have
been an event, however, totally deprived of God's assistance. If, and I
only say if, that is the case you might expect that some of what transpired
may be unexplainable by entirely scientific methods.

Your friend,

Dick Fischer
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