Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle – Old Earth Creationism on Trial: Prosecution – Extent of the Flood

by Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle

Often overlooked in the debate between old-earth creationists and young-earth creationists is the biblical account of the Flood. John Ankerberg hosted a debate between young-earthers Ken Ham and Dr. Jason Lisle and old-earthers Dr. Walter Kaiser and Dr. Hugh Ross on the John Ankerberg Show. This debate was filmed in January 2006 and began airing later the same month. Of the ten sessions available on DVD, only a portion of one session was devoted to this topic. This is unfortunate, because the topic of the Flood is inexorably linked with the battle over the days of Genesis.

Young-earth creationists contend that Genesis clearly teaches that the Flood was a worldwide, cataclysmic event. In other words, every single piece of earth throughout the entire world was under water at the same time. The only land-dwelling creatures that survived this Flood were those on board the ark. It is important to understand the extent of the Flood, because many old-earthers use ambiguous language. For example, Dr. Hugh Ross claims to believe in what he calls a “universal” Flood. By this, however, he means that God sent a geographically localized flood that destroyed everything that had come into contact with sinful humans, who at the time (Ross believes) were only living in the Mesopotamian valley (roughly modern-day Iraq). He reasons that there would be no need for God to wipe out Antarctica and its animal inhabitants, because man had not ventured that far yet. These ideas will be examined in chapter 6.

This topic is crucial for another reason. The old-earth creation model accepts secular dating estimates of fossils and rock layers. Hence, old-earth creationists believe that most of the fossils and sedimentary rock layers on earth were laid down over millions of years. However, young-earth geologists have pointed out that a worldwide flood could also account for these features—without the need for millions of years. Certainly, a global flood would kill billions of organisms and trap them in layers of sediment, accounting for the sedimentary rock layers and fossils we see today. So, a global flood means the fossils and rocks are not millions of years old; they are powerful evidence for a young earth. Conversely, if the rocks and fossils really were millions of years old, then there cannot have been a worldwide flood—since such a violent Flood would destroy any previous fossil record. Old-earth creationists therefore must deny a global flood in order for their position to make any sense.

A great deal of research has been done by young-earth creationists confirming that a worldwide flood can account for earth’s amazingly diverse topography. It is beyond the scope of this book to examine all the scientific evidence in this field; nonetheless, several examples are provided in chapter 7. Here, the biblical evidence for a worldwide deluge will be presented.

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