In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. – Genesis 7:11-16
We’ve recently been experiencing the remarkable beauty of the Smoky Mountains. These are not the stunningly majestic Rockies, or the striking peaks of the Alps. But they are aptly named: Clouds roll down the peaks like smoke. And they are dotted with waterfalls, hiking trails, and expansive vistas. There are more species of trees are found here than in all of Europe. All delightful. So many photo opportunities. So many occasions to praise God, and revel in his glorious creation.
One theory about the existence of these mountains – and of all of the geographical features of our planet – has to do with the Genesis flood. Some have theorized that the earth’s surface was much more flat (no mountains) prior to the flood. Only afterward were the mountains formed in the manner we see them today. No one living today was here when this happened. Even Moses was writing about something he did not personally see or experience.
I’m certain there are many nuances to this theory, and no short list of detractors. But I’m equally sure that the events described of waters bursting from beneath and from above would cause incredible upheaval and geographical change. This is a cataclysmic event. This is far beyond the worst storm you’ve ever experienced. Flash flood to the millionth power. Hurricane to the 10,000th power. And those numbers are figurative. In other words I have no scale by which I can accurately measure this upheaval.
And it didn’t last for just a day. Or only a week. Or even merely a month. Forty days and nights the rains came down and waters sprang up from beneath. Relentless. Devastating. Undaunted. It. Will. Not. Stop. For 40 days and nights. Such a flood would no doubt have an impact on the geographical forms we see today.
The main point of the Noah narrative is that God was judging the world, destroying much of what he had created, but saving Noah and the animals. He will start over. And to do so, he will have Noah build an ark and welcome the animals. He will send a flood, but he will save Noah and his family and the animals on the ark.
Questions about how much water would be necessary to flood the entire earth, where it all came from, and the lasting impact of such an epic event might be worth considering. But in the end, we should believe God’s word not because it’s sensible, but because we have a high regard and respect for God and his word. This was Martin Luther’s observation about Noah’s obedience.
There are only two religions in the world: God’s religion and man’s religion. God’s religion is all and only that which he has revealed to us in his word. Man’s religion is anything else. Man’s religion calls us to work our way to God. God’s religion calls us to repent of our sins and believe in his goodness and grace cantered in Jesus. Noah was “an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
Whether the flood explains or confounds our understanding of the geography of our planet, this account points us to the One who is over all things and who will call us to account. Thankfully those who have faith will be counted righteous and will be saved.
Sorry…no audio today.