Thursday, October 06, 2011

The 'Tranquil Flood' theory, an early try to sidestep the Bible

To imagine our whole planet being gently smothered by a “tranquil” flood is as silly as the idea of serenely dropping a “tranquil atomic bomb” on Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Here's how the tranquil flood theory became one of the first trojan horses of Evolution back in the 1800's:

a) The Tranquil Flood theory asserted that earth never experienced a global catastrophe that violently destroyed the earth’s geomorphology and its natural vegetation, but it does assert that the earth is eons old.

b) The theory holds that the Bible does not clearly describe a catastrophic global Flood, and never provides chronological data that negate the earth being eons old.

c) Thus, the Tranquil Flood theory does not suggest that the Bible is untrue.

d) In the Tranquil Flood theory, the Bible’s information was not loudly bashed as false; rather, it was casually sidestepped (and then ignored) as scientifically irrelevant.

Here was an example of a conflict-avoidance strategy - to promote the idea that a particular new theory did not “disagree” with the Bible because the new theory addressed a scientific topic not governed by biblical revelation. Thus, the theorist could argue, in effect, that his idea didn’t clash with Scripture because it addressed a topic not covered in Scripture.

People knew that if the new theory clashed with the information of Scripture, a conflict of authority would exist. However, skirting the informational conflict offered them escape from biblical accountability. The Bible, it was maintained, was simply not “relevant” on the topic.

Present day astronomer and big bang/old earth advocate Dr. Hugh Ross argues for a local flood. On the other hand, his contemporary Dr. Norman Geisler, also an advocate of the old earth,  insists that the Bible clearly taught a global, worldwide Flood. But Geisler says it did not do the geologic work claimed for it by young-earth creationists. He held that it must have destroyed all the pre-Flood human inhabitants, but left little geologic trace on the planet. It rose, covered the world, drowned all of life on land, and then simply drained off. No rocks, no fossils. I asked how he could hold such a position, since even the minor, local floods of today do tremendous geologic work. How could a flood, which he admitted was much larger and more dynamic than any observed flood, do no geologic work? Thus, he proposed a tranquil Flood. He is back to the position of the 1800's.

Not only did the Tranquil Flood theory deny that the Genesis Flood account was authoritatively relevant for interpreting the rock layers of the world, that theory effectively denies that the Genesis Flood account was historically true. By asserting a supposed earth history that contradicts the one described in Scripture, the Tranquil Flood theory effectively denies that the Genesis Flood account is true.

God punished sin and His judgment was not at all “tranquil.” Only Noah and his family accepted God’s redemption. Scripture describes the Genesis Flood as a violent judgment of our planet because of the unprecedented and unsurpassed violence on the earth—quite the opposite of “tranquil.”

Many names over the centuries have supported the Tranquil Flood theory: Charles Lyell, Carolus Linnaeus, John Fleming, William Buckland, J. Laurence Kulp, and Norm Geisler. But Moses did not, and it was he whom God chose to prophetically record the account about what happened during the one and only worldwide catastrophic Flood.

(Based on James J. S. Johnson, Biblical Devastation in the Wake of a 'Tranquil Flood', Acts & Facts, September 2011, Institute for Creation Research)

References (selected)

1. Morris, J. D. 2009. The Young Earth: The Real History of the Earth—Past, Present, and Future. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 128-129.

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