The Problem Of The Flood -- By: Dudley Joseph Whitney

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 090:360 (Oct 1933)
Article: The Problem Of The Flood
Author: Dudley Joseph Whitney


The Problem Of The Flood

Dudley Joseph Whitney

More and more Christian scholars are beginning to realize that, without a clear understanding of the nature and effect of the Flood that overwhelmed the earth in the time of Noah, there can be no understanding of the real history of the earth nor of the Genesis account of creation; and unless the Genesis account of creation can be accepted and understood the Bible narrative and the gospel itself can hardly be truly believed.

Although this fact is being realized more than it was a few years ago. there is still a lamentable lack of harmony among theologians upon this question and a lamentable lack of conviction as to what the Flood was. The belief has come to us from the latter half of the preceding century that the earth is ages old, that the days of creation were geological ages, and that the Flood was an event of uncertain magnitude of which the geologists can find no very definite traces. The fact that the geologists in their system of evolutionary geology give no place to any real Flood has caused the theologians to avoid a study of the subject, although as defenders of the Scriptures they should face the issue and reach a firm and assured belief regarding it.

This is all the more urgent since the position that the Flood rather than gradual action during long ages formed the rocks which contain the fossils, has been ably set forth during the past quarter of a century and is being believed by thousands of persons who investigate the evidence offered. One can almost ask on this matter what Elijah asked of Israel long ago: “How long limp ye between two opinions?” If the ages are responsible for the rocks, well and good; if they were formed by the Flood and in the readjustment period following it, by all means let the church decide so. As has been pointed out in these pages (Bibliotheca Sacra. April, 1933, p. 220) until a decision is made upon what the Flood did no decision can be made

about creation,—and obviously if the creation account is uncertain, most of the following Scripture is of uncertain validity also.

What Was The Flood?

There is no great difficulty in understanding the problem provided a few simple facts are kept in mind.

A very important question to ask is: What was the Flood? A freshet on the Chaldean plains? Or was it some great earth-devastating Deluge?

The question is answered the minute it is asked. The Flood lasted a full year, but a freshet, no matter how great, could last only for a few weeks at the most; a freshet would leave the Ark (or an emergency raft) out in the Persian Gulf, but the Food left it high up on a mountain range. Any...

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