Re: Physics of a Mesopotamian Flood

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 12 May 1996 18:05:09

Hi Dick,

You wrote:

>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.

Use a bellows to heat the furnace hotter than normal.

>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.

As you note, the flood does not seem to have a necessarily miraculous base
to it. It might and that would be fine, but the thing with a miraculous
flood which always bothers me is that the evidence has always been wiped
out. And a flood should leave some evidence of itself even if the cause
was miraculous. Say that God created water, dumped it all over the earth
in a global flood. Then he uncreated the water to allow earth to have
land again. That is fine but there are laws of sedimentation which still
should have been followed (there being no reason to suspend them) and
those laws would require certain types of sedimentary deposits if God
created this huge amount of water. We don't see these effects anywhere.
That type of miracle bothers me because it seems that God is trying to
hide what He did.

>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?

We don't agree because of radically different assumptions as to how to
solve the harmonization problem. You are more willing than I to allow the
Biblical accounts details to not be correct. I work with a lot of
atheists and they believe that the Bible is untrue because the details do
not match any scenario anyone has ever thought of. Their criteria for
truth of the Biblical account is that that the details match history. I
personally agree with those criteria. If the details of the resurrection
are not true, then Christianity is false. If the details of the flood
account are not true, the the Flood account is wrong.But if Adam and Eve
did not exist at all then what becomes of the reason for the resurrection?
I can not do as many of my fellow believers do and see the Fall as merely
a fictional story to tell us of our sin.

I see no hope in your solution, you
>see no logic in mine. Stalemate.

I never figured either of us would change the other's mind. But that is
alright. Because of our debate, lots of people have had to face up to what
they believe about the flood and we have provided them some entertainment
along the way.

>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 agree that if God wanted to do it in the Mesopotamian basin, He most
certainly would not ask my opinion of the physics. But, if He did it
miraculously, then we should say so. Too many apologetical systems have
physics and geology problems with them but the apologists do not want to
solve the problems by miracle. There is nothing wrong with miracle but
there is something wrong with teaching the laity that a view is scientific
when it has major scientific flaws. If God wanted to, He most certainly
could have held up a 3000 foot wall of water south of Shuruppak so that
the water could lift the ark to Qardu. I guess what I am saying is that
if a view requires going from Shuruppak to Qardu, then boldly and proudly
state that God's assistance was required and tell the reader where it was

>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,

You and I agreed privately before the debate to remain friends during and
after the debate. As far as I am concerned we have done that. We
vigorously argued about the issues and never got personal. That is what a
good debate is all about. Afterall, we are trying to get to the truth of
the matter.

With much respect at the end of our debate,


Foundation,Fall and Flood