The story of Noah, the ark, and the Flood in Genesis 6-9 is one of the most famous and controversial passages in the entire Bible. The story, centered around a global cataclysm and a floating wooden zoo, has captured the imagination of people for millennia. Until modern times, most Christians assumed the story referred to an actual worldwide event that happened in the relatively recent past, and this interpretation of the Flood continues to be a central feature of Young Earth Creationism. However, the discoveries of modern science, as well as an explosion of new knowledge about the ancient world of the Bible, have decisively challenged whether this interpretation is the best reading of the text. This includes the work of many Christian scholars and scientists who were (and continue to be) guided by a belief that all truth is God's truth, that Scripture is inspired, and that the testimony of God's creation should not be ignored. The scientific and historical evidence is now clear: there has never been a global flood that covered the entire earth, nor do all modern animals and humans descend from the passengers of a single vessel.
When discoveries in God’s world conflict with interpretations of God's Word, Christians have three options:
1. Abandon our faith in order to accept the results of science,
2. Deny the scientific evidence to maintain our interpretations of Scripture,
3.Reconsider our interpretations of Scripture in light of the evidence from God’s creation.
Christians, by definition, reject Option 1. Option 2 has a terrible historical track record, and many prominent historical theologians have urged Christians not to ignore or dismiss the findings of science. Option 3 represents the best tradition among Christians, and history provides many examples of our knowledge of the natural world helping to correct faulty interpretations of Scripture. The discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo (that the Earth is not the center of the universe), for instance, changed the Church's perspective on whether the Bible intends to teach us about Earth’s place in the solar system.
Because we take God to be the author of the "book of nature" as well as the divine author of the book of Scripture, we believe the proper interpretation of the Flood story will not be in conflict with what we have discovered in the natural world.
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