Noah’s Flood In The Light Of Modern Science -- By: D. Gath Whitley

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 064:255 (Jul 1907)
Article: Noah’s Flood In The Light Of Modern Science
Author: D. Gath Whitley


Noah’s Flood In The Light Of Modern Science

Rev. D. Gath Whitley

Geology and the Deluge. By the Duke of Argyll. Glasgow. 1885.

The Meeting Place of Geology and History. By Sir J. W. Dawson, LL.D., F.R.S. Second Edition. London. 1895.

Traces of a Great Post-Glacial Flood. By Sir Henry Howorth, F.R.S., F.G.S. Geological Magazine, Vols. IX., 10:(1882, 1883).

Le Déluge Mosaïque: L’Histoire et la Géologie. Par L’Abbé Ed. Lambert. Deuxième Edition. Paris. 1870.

A Possible Cause for the Origin of the Tradition of the Flood. By Sir Joseph Prestwich, D.C.L., F.R.S. Transactions of the Victoria Institute. 1894.

Scientific Confirmations of Old Testament History. By G. Frederick Wright, D.D., LLD., F.G.S.A. Oberlin, Ohio. 1906.

There are few things more remarkable in the history of science than the variations of geological opinion concerning Noah’s Flood. A century ago, the Flood was held to have been universal, and all animals on the earth were believed to have been destroyed, save those preserved in the ark. But when geology was born different views prevailed, and the Flood was supposed to have been a catastrophe of a smaller character. Cuvier1 held that a great irruption of waters had devastated Northern Europe before the dawn of history, and he identified this cataclysm with Noah’s Deluge. Dr. Buckland,2 a few years after, further developed this opinion, and described great beds of sand and gravel (which he called

“diluvium”), which he maintained were formed by the waters of the Noachian Flood. He naturally made mistakes, for he did not distinguish between river and flood gravels, nor did he notice the action of ice. His work, however, is still valuable, and contains much sound reasoning and useful information. On the publication of Sir Charles Lyell’s writings,3 the belief in catastrophes declined, for men fancied that nature always worked slowly, and a violent catastrophe like the Deluge was considered improbable, although the “Catastrophic” school had still many able exponents in England, such as Hugh Miller, Sedgwick, and Murchison. Miller in his last work4 devoted two chapters to the Noachian Deluge. He believed that it had actually occurred, but had been limited to the basins of the Caspian and Aral seas, and, soon after, Sir J. W. Dawson adopted the same theory.5 The Fre...

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