Summary: Is there proof of Noah's flood, and should it matter to us whether it actually happened?
OPEN: I love to read magazines like National Geographic and The Smithsonian and Popular Science (often just for the illustrations I can find there). But I have especially enjoyed Popular Science. About 3 years ago I stumbled across the question and answer section of Popular Science where people can write in with questions they have always wondered about and get answers from scientists. In this particular issue someone asked the question: “Could You Build A Spaceship Out Of Wood?”
Well, could you? (I heard a couple, “Yeah, you could build it. But it wouldn’t fly”).
Actually, the answer is yes. You could build such a spaceship, and it could fly. Back in the 60’s the Russians built a scale model of a space craft made from wood that they used in wind tunnels (http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/09/buran-wooden-spaceship/). In the Popular Science magazine they quoted Mike Gruntman, professor of astronautics at the Univ. of Southern California, and he said: “In terms of strength, wood is pretty good.”
Early airplanes were built with wood, all the way into the early 1930s. There were also wooden submarines. Gruntman thinks it may be possible to build a wooden spacecraft that could survive the stress of a rocket launch. The article continued by saying that, once you got into space, there would be serious problems with a wooden spacecraft - but as far as getting INTO space, wood would do the job.
Now the story we’re reading from scripture today had to do with another wooden structure - a wooden structure called the Ark. It was a HUGE boat (we put a couple of graphics on the screen to give people a feel for how large Noah’s Ark was). There are many people today who ask the same kind of question about Noah’s Ark that that person had asked Popular Science about a wooden spacecraft: “COULD you build a wooden boat this big, and (if you could) WOULD it be seaworthy enough to survive in rough seas?”
The answer - found in no less of an authority than the Smithsonian magazine – is yes. In their article they asked this question: “If one could hypothetically build an ark to the specifications outlined in the Bible, would it float or would Noah have found himself in a Titanic-like scenario?”
THE ANSWER: Yes, it could float and yes it would have theoretically been sea worthy. Now, bear in mind, the Smithsonian authors were very clear on the fact that they doubted any such boat had ever been built or that there ever had been a universal flood… but they were honest enough to explore the issue and present it for our consideration. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/could-noahs-ark-float-theory-yes-180950385/)
Our text for this morning indicated that God expected that response:
“scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” II Peter 3:3-6
In our present culture many people not only “overlook” (or ignore) the story of the flood. In fact, they scoff at it. They say “You can’t be serious! Do you really BELIEVE there was a worldwide flood?”
Well… Jesus did. Jesus BELIEVED that Noah’s flood was an accurate Biblical account. Jesus said:
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26-27
Now, if Jesus said it happened… it happened. That’s quite enough proof for me. But the world around us is not so likely to embrace a Bible story just because Jesus said it was historical. For them, the question is: “Is it reasonable?” Is it reasonable to believe that Noah’s Flood could actually have occurred? And the answer is yes. In fact, there are several reasons to believe in the Biblical account.
1st – there is physical evidence of a worldwide flood.
Genesis 6:19-20 “…the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep (22 ½ feet). The waters covered the mountains for at least 40 days and nights.”
For over a month, the flood waters covered every mountain on earth. That's what the Bible says, but is there proof of that? Well, of course there is. One of those proofs is the presence of marine fossils on the tops of mountains across the world (we put a graphic on the screen that addressed that. It said “In mountains all over the world one can find sea shells and other marine fossils. These include the Sierras, the Swiss Alps, the Himalayas, the Andes, and many more.”)