The Pre-Flood World, Part 1
Author: Ian Taylor
1. The name Genesis that we apply to the first book of the Bible has been adopted from the Greek word GENESIS meaning “beginnings.” The Jews call this book BERESHITH which is the first Hebrew word of this book and means “In beginning.” Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There is a logical order here: Beginning (time), heavens (space) and earth (matter). The Big Bang Theory has reversed this order. Note that “the heavens” is plural. This correctly follows from the Hebrew SHAMYIM; the ending of this word indicates a duality while we know from 2 Corinthians 12:2 that there are at least three heavens since this verse speaks of the “third heaven..” From our perspective, the first heaven is “where the birds fly”(Genesis 1:20), a fitting description of the biosphere. The second heaven is outer space or sidereal heaven, Isaiah 13:10 says, “the stars of heaven.” In the context of Paul’s “third heaven” this is clearly a spiritual dimension and the abode of God. Recent discoveries have shown that the galxies of the universe form seven internesting spheres. Although there is no Scripture for this pattern it strongly indicates design and negates what would be expected from a Big Bang.
2. The first chapter of Genesis refers to “light” being created prior to the creation of the sun (see verses 3-5 and 15-18). The Hebrew is more specific and uses the words OR and MAOR to make the distinction between OR, the created light and MAOR, the reflected light. Verse 3, God said ,Let there be light [OR] and verse 16, God made two great lights [MAOR], the sun and the moon .. There is undoubtedly a profound truth here whose meaning has not yet been exhausted by the mind of man yet here is a suggestion: Artists of the past commonly depicted Christ and “the saints” in church paintings to have a nimbus or halo about their heads. Although this feature was usually added by the demands of tradition, there must have been an element of truth that gave rise to that tradition in the first place. The nimbus in medieval paintings is likely an attempt to capture what may have been the OR light or glow reportedly seen about the head of Moses. Sometimes this has been seen in Christian prayer meetings and there is the counterfeit aura. Psalm 104:1-2 tells us that God is covered by a garment of light [OR] and, as Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, it may be that they were also covered with garments of light initially but lost those garments at the Fall. This would account for the fact that although created naked (2:25), after the Fall, they “felt naked” (3:10-11). One day we shall know if this suggestion is true.
3. The Hebrew word for “day” is YOM found 1153 times in the O.T. In almost every case YOM refers to a normal 24-hour day while a survey has shown that every Hebrew scholar is agreed that when used in reference to Creation it very specifically means a 24-hour day by use of the ordinate, “first day, second day etc.” and the repeated statement, “evening and morning.” Further support is given by Exodus 20:11, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, that commands us to work for six days and rest on the seventh just as God did. Some argue that the “days” of creation are really eras of geological time. This makes nonsense of Exodus 20:11, while if those Creation days were really millions of years, then since the sun was created on the fourth day (1:25), the grasses and trees created on the third day would hardly have survived in darkness for millions of years!
4. The Canopy Theory. Genesis 1:7 states: God divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. The Hebrew word RAQIA is used 17 times and translated “firmament” in the KJV and “expanse” in the NIV. A popular theory suggests that the pre-Flood earth was surrounded by an envelope of water vapor high above the atmosphere. The canopy is believed to have protected the earth from harmful cosmic rays and would have produced a pleasant greenhouse effect. At the time of the Flood the canopy collapsed providing the forty days rain (7:12, 17). This theory is not without difficulties. The principal problem is the latent heat of vaporization. In order to change liquid water to vapor at the boiling point, extra heat must be introduced to make this phase change. Conversely, when vapor changes back to liquid, even at room temperature, this extra heat is released. Calculations have shown that the heat released from even a few feet of flood water from the collapsing canopy would be sufficient to kill most life including Noah and his ark. Late in the last century, Isaac Newton Vail proposed that the waters above the earth were ice particles, not as a canopy but as rings as we see about Saturn today. This would nicely overcome the atmospheric heat problem and cool the ocean water heated by the hot waters from the “fountains of the great deep” (7:11). Nevertheless, we should not be too dogmatic about either of these theories.
5. The earth has a magnetic field that provides protection to all life from the harmful effects of cosmic rays now believed to originate from the Vela supernova. The magnetic field of the earth is known to be decreasing. Cosmic rays produce radioactive Carbon 14 in the upper atmosphere and this entered the life cycle of all living things including man seemingly just after the Flood. Chapters 5 and 11 of Genesis contain some dreary lists of the patriarchs and their ages at death. However, plotting these ages gives a neat exponential curve. In the pre-Flood world these patriarchs lived for over 900 years but immediately following the flood their ages drop exponentially to finish at 120 years (For Moses, Deuteronomy. 34:7). Evidence for man’s pre-Flood longevity is indicated by the dinosaurs. Reptiles continue to grow throughout their life and the fact that we find huge fossil dinosaurs known to have hatched from eggs indicate that the dinosaurs lived for centuries. From Cain to Moses there was no prohibition against a man marrying his sister. Among the Pharoahs taking the sister as the first wife was normal thus allowing the Kingdom to be kept in the family for centuries. However, genetic mutations, perhaps produced by Carbon 14, were building up in the human gene pool and producing congenitally deformed children. Moses would have been aware of this and the Egyptian Pharoah Ahkenaton is a classic case. Finally, God gave Moses the laws of consanguinity as recorded in Leviticus chapter 18 and brother/sister marriage was prohibited. Interestingly, anthropological records indicate that incest became taboo in every tribe throughout the world seemingly at about this same time.
6. The Pre-Flood world must have been different from the world today. For example, the fossils of the very large flying reptiles such as the pterodactyls with wingspans up to 50 feet indicate that the atmospheric pressure must have been greater than the 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level today in order for those creatures to have got off the ground. The largest flying bird today is the condor with a wingspan of six feet. In the post-Flood world the Greek historian Herodotus writing in the 5th century BC (Book 2:75) reported seeing winged serpents [flying reptiles] matching the description of pterodactyls although with wing-spans much smaller than 50 feet. The North American Indian legend of the Thunder Bird strongly indicates that these flying reptiles did not become extinct until relatively recently.
7. There were three kinds of tree in the Garden of Eden: trees for food, the tree of life that does not appear again until the Book of Revelation (22:14) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Note: it is not the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil but good and evil together. Every good technological advance has brought evil with it. We are not told what the fruit of that tree was but Satan tempted Eve by first causing her to doubt what God had said, Has God indeed said, …? (3:1). Both Adam and Eve’s sin was pride and they ate the fruit to “make them wise” and thus with the proffered wisdom would then be free from having to ask God for wisdom. The tree as a motif of knowledge occurs throughout history and the Israelites copied the Cananite practices and worshipped “at the groves” or within a group of trees. Dante’s Divine Comedy, written in the fourteenth century, describes the Roman poet Virgil’s quest to find his dead lover, Beatrice. In purgatory he sees the worshippers at the tree of knowledge. This long poem forcibly introduced Greek ideas of death into Christendom. At the time of the French Revolution (1789), it was popular to decorate a “liberty tree” and dance around it. This custom later became the familiar May pole that is celebrated today as Socialist victory Day, May 1st. The liberty actually being celebrated by the humanist is liberty from the laws of God. Genesis 3:6, When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. The outworking of this verse will be found in 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. Adam’s sin was pride that followed from disobedience then sealed as a sin by unrepentance. God first approached Adam (3:11-12) and gave him the opportunity to repent, to say, “I am sorry Lord, please forgive me.” But Adam’s pride would not allow him to say this and he blamed Eve. God then gave Eve the same opportunity (3:13) but, with similar pride, she blamed the serpent. God had warned them of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, .. in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (2:17). They did not die physically but were expelled from the Garden so that they should not be tempted to eat of the tree of life and live forever (3:22). It is possible that Adam and Eve began to die physically, cell by cell, just as we do today since Adam was to live for 930 years (Gen. 5:5). In the Genesis context, when God said Adam would “die,” He evidently meant that Adam would be separated from Himself. Jesus speaks of those not born-again as being “dead,” Let the dead bury the dead (Matthew 8:22). Genetically, each of us is a descendant of Adam and thus have all inherited Adam’s sin of pride and are condemned to death . Paul, in his letter to the Romans, points out that … through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men … (5:12) and continuing … so that sin reigned in death (5:21). Sin could obviously not reign in physical death so it appears that Paul was using the word “death” in this sense as God used it in Genesis 2:17, that is, separation from Himself. Thus, we are condemned to live mortal lives. The good news of the Gospel is that by making the confession that Adam should have made but could not, that is, by repenting and asking for forgiveness, (this is what Jesus meant by being “born-again” in John 3:3) God has provided a way for mankind to be reconciled back to Himself and thus receive eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.
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