Traces by Abidan Shah, PhD

TRACES by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC

Introduction:  One of Nicole’s favorite TV shows is “Without a Trace.” It is about the cases of the Missing Person’s Unit of the FBI in New York City. Each episode is about looking for the traces left behind by the victims. In one of the episodes, the lead character Malone reminds the officers – “In most cases, after 48 hours, they are gone.” Whether that time-limit is true in real life or not, it is scary when the traces can longer be found. In today’s message in our series on Apologetics, we will be looking at the TRACES of a global catastrophe; and thank goodness, they are not gone, they are everywhere! Main point: Human beings may willfully forget the historicity of the Great Flood, but the traces of God’s judgment and grace have been permanently etched over the landscape of the earth. We often say, “seeing is believing”, but here you must believe it to see it. As Jesus said, “If we refuse to praise him, even the rocks will cry out!”

Genesis 7:17 “Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.”

Context: One of the common objections that is often raised against the Great Flood by some people, even Christians, is that the flood was just local, not universal. There are several problems with that. For one, if it was just local, 120 years is plenty of time for the people to migrate. There is no need to build an ark and take all the animals. Also, even the word that is used for the Great Flood is unique. It is “mabbul” in Hebrew. There are other words for flood like Sheteph in Nahum 1:7-8 and “zaram” in Psalm 90:4-5. In fact, it is “hamabbul” or “the flood.” Also, the word for flood “mabbul” is translated as “kataklusmos” in the LXX. Finally, count the number of times, the word “kol” = “all” or “every” between verses 19-23 – all the high hills under the whole heaven…all flesh died…every creeping thing…every man…All in whose nostrils was the breath…all that was on the dry land, died…So He destroyed all living things…” All that says that the flood was global and utterly devastating. 

Last week, we focused on how the legends testify of the Great Flood, this week we will focus on how the landscapes testify of the Great Flood”.

To start with, how did the Flood happen?

1. Cause:

Genesis 7:11 “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”

First is the Eruption Stage: “Fountains of the great deep” are referring to “oceanic or subterranean water.” There had to be volcanic eruptions all over releasing massive amount of water. Geologists have found volcanic rocks in between the fossil layers. In fact, about 3/4th of what is released in volcanoes is actually steam, which is water. You can see evidence of this in places like the Agathla Peak in Arizona. We were filming here for our bible study. It looks like something out of a Tolkien novel or even sci-fi!

Lots of hypothesis here, but what we need is a theory (substantiated hypothesis – Ouard and Reed, How Noah’s Flood Shaped our Earth). The best model as of now is the Catastrophic Plate Tectonics proposed by Dr. John Baumgardner. It holds that there was one super continent before the Flood. By the way, one year before Darwin came out with his “Origin of the Species,” a creation scientist by the name of Snider-Pellegrini proposed in 1858 that there was one land mass originally, and it was broken up into separate continents during Noah’s Flood. He uses a mechanism known as “runaway subduction.” It is proposed that the cold heavy ocean-floor rocks in the regions on the outer edges of the super continents broke and began to sink into the mantle of the earth. When this began to happen, it could have reached a rapid speed, dragging the rest of the ocean floor and triggering massive vertical movements. This would have created a “linear curtain of supersonic steam jets along the entire 43,500 miles of the seafloor rift zones” (Andrew Snelling). The ocean floor could have lifted as much as 3500 feet! Of course, molten lava and subterranean water erupted. In turn, lots of the sea water would have evaporated in the process resulting in a massive rainfall all over the world – “…and the windows of heaven were opened.”

Genesis 7:17 “Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.”

2. Result:

In the flooding stage, first is the eruptive stage, which we just looked at. This is followed by the ascending stage.

18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 

Keep in mind: The mountains were not as tall as we see them today. Much of that has been caused by the catastrophic plate tectonics and the up thrusting, which are post flood. Also, the ocean invaded the land with lots of sediments and marine life which has now resulted in thick fossiliferous sedimentary rock. Make sure to stop by the display case in the lobby to see some of the marine life and dinosaur fossils from different parts of the world. By the way, most of the fossils that are recovered easily are marine. We will discuss fossils a little later when we talk about dinosaurs, but here we need to remember that the world is a massive graveyard. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils wasthe breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.” 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

The evidence for this stage is huge extent of many layers; rapid formation of the main rock layers (rapidly buried fossils, thick sandstones deposited under water, rapid layering; and very little time between layers.

Now comes the Retreating Phase – Sheet Flow Phase; Transition; and Channelized Flow Phase.

Genesis 8        1 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. 4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. Quick point: This is the sheet flow phase where giant sheets of water is retreating and the rocks that had just been dumped here and there have not had time to cool down and solidify, but they are in the process. Monument Valley is a clear example of that.

6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. 7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. 8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. 10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore. 13   And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

The evidence for this stage is massive erosion, planation surfaces, water gaps, rapidly formed canyons. A great illustration of this is the Grand Canyon.

Luke 19       37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

“Aint no rock gonna cry in my place, as long as I’m alive I’ll glorify his holy name.”

Invitation: Can you see the traces of God’s judgment and grace? Are you afraid of what’s happening in this world? Do you praise him above the rocks? Are you saved?

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