In the Old Testament it is Isaiah who provides the information that there was a great change at the time of the flood. In the New Testament it is Peter. In fact, that the latter writer is even more specific in that he names the flood as the great point of change.
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” For this they willfully forget; that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved (kept in store KJV) by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (II Peter 3:3-7).
In these words, Peter divides history into two periods – antediluvian and post-diluvian. In doing so he uses the expression “the world that then was” to indicate the world as it was before the flood and which was destroyed by the flood. When referring to the world after that catastrophe, he speaks of “heavens and the earth which are now.”
He does not speak only of the earth that is now as being different from what it was before. He also includes the heavens in the change. The heavens, which changed at the time of the flood, were those governed by the sun and the moon of this solar system.
Before the flood the sun was seven times brighter and the moon was as bright as the sun. The sun ruled the day and the moon the night. There was a wonderful mantle of protective vapor around the earth, and the climate from pole to pole was of pleasant, even temperatures. It never rained, but a gentle mist rose each morning to water the earth. Storms, tidal waves, earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, and hailstorms were completely unknown. That was the heavens and the earth that were before the flood.
But how different are the heavens and the earth that are now. The sun is dimmed to one seventh. The moon has gone out. The mantle of protection is not there. Wide diversity of climate covers the earth. Fierce storms, terrible earthquakes, destructive blizzards, pulverizing hailstorms, and a thousand other scourges blast the earth.
These are the great changes which the scientist of today are ignorant, and willfully so. It is not that they do not believe in the flood, for many of them do, but the deluge is seen as if it were no more than the same disasters that occur today, but on a great scale. They fail to acknowledge the real changes that took place at the flood.
We see from a more thorough and careful study of the Scriptures that the changes were much more far-reaching than that. It is needful that their full extent be understood, together with the causes, namely, the dimming of the sun and the extinguishing of the moon.
When Noah emerged from the ark, God made a special promise and prophecy to him that there would never be a flood upon the earth again. That promise is repeated again in Isaiah.
Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your morning shall be ended (Isaiah 60:20).
In what sense are these words to be understood? Usually we refer to the sun as “going down” when it appears to sink below the western horizon, but this is an erroneous expression, for the sun does not go down in relation to the earth. It only appears to. The disappearance of this heavenly body over the horizon is caused by the rotation of the earth on its own axis so that, as the earth turns, we are the ones who “go down,” not the sun.
Because of its scientific inaccuracy, this understanding of the expression “go down,” as used in the scripture under consideration, must be highly suspect. That it is not the correct interpretation is made evident by certain facts revealed in the Word of God.
The first creation was perfect, and the second will be a reproduction of it. There can be no differences between the second and first was imperfect and thus required improvement. In the first creation there was day and night occasioned by what we term the “going down” of the sun. If the promise of Isaiah 60:20 provided that the sun would never set in the western sky, then there would be no day and night as in the original, perfect creation. In fact, only one side of the earth would ever see the sun while the other would see only the moon, so it is easily seen that this is not the meaning of Isaiah 60:20.
Some may point to the reference in Revelation 22:5, “thee shall be no night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign for ever and ever,” and claim this teaches that there will not even be a sun in the new earth, for it will not be needed.
However, most will recognize that this Scripture is not describing conditions in the new earth generally but as they will be in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23). Even then it does not say there will be no sun but only that thee will be no need for it for thee will be a greater light streaming from the presence of God. So far as the rest of the earth is concerned, it will have, as promised in Isaiah 30:26, a blazing sun and a brilliant moon. The earth will still rotate on its axis, and each evening the sun will appear to “go down” behind the western horizon as it does today.
Furthermore, why should the Lord make a special promise that the sun would never go down again behind the western horizon each evening when such an event was no trouble or problem? It is a perfectly normal and desirable occurrence, introducing the blessings, of night. Therefore, if this is all the Lord was offering in that scripture, it would be regarded as a precious promise.
The promise is made in respect of new earth dwellers who will again be enjoying perfect climatic conditions under the protective and insulating canopy supported by the sun and the moon as they will then be. They will know what happened when the sun went down in intensity and the moon withdrew itself in the days of Noah. The Hebrew words for “go down” in Isaiah 60:20 are transliterated as “bo shaw-KHAW,” (references 935 and 7812 in the Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary as found in Abingdon’s Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, pp. 19 and 114). The proper sense of these two words is in this context would be “depart,” “be fallen,” and “depress,” “to fall down flat.” This is what happened to the sun and is the sense in which the redeemed will understand the Hebrew text. To them, the promise that this will not happen again is a very valuable and precious one, for by this means they are assured that never again will their beautiful home be flooded to destruction.
It is the utter failure by modern scientist to understand the full extent of these changes that has led them into erroneous conclusions in all matters of carbon dating beyond existing historical records. While the earth is, in fact, close to six thousand years of age, they date it into the hundreds of millions of years.
Great excitement was experienced during the 1940s when the radiocarbon method of dating was developed. Careful testing of the procedure with materials of known age proved its accuracy. Thereupon, the dating of materials of otherwise undetermined age was undertaken and, to the delight of the scientists, the readout agreed with established postulations of the age of the earth and life upon it. Whereas the Biblical record allows for only about six thousand years, they confirmed figures running into the millions.
At the time, faithful Bible students were perplexed to some extent by this, for the evolutionists felt that they had a sure upper hand in the everlasting debate on the age of the earth. There seemed a real possibility that the Bible, after all, could be proved to be in error. Those of us, however, who understood, even back there, the full extent of the changes that took place at the flood recognized immediately the defect in the calibrations. The relaying of this information to be perplexed among God’s children quickly set their minds at rest.
There is a continual bombardment of this earth by cosmic rays from outer space. These rays, interacting with the nitrogen in the atmosphere, cause all living organisms to absorb radiocarbon 14. This continues until the death of the living thing, be it plant, animal, or human. Therefore after, the radiocarbon 14 breaks down at an accurately known rate. To determine how long since death took place, the residual radiocarbon in the specimen is measured. If half the original activity remains, then it is known that the age of the subject is very close to 5,568 years.
As mentioned above, when the procedure was tested using samples with ages already established through other means, it was checked out accurately. It was natural to assume then that it would be equally reliable in testing materials for which there was no definite way of determining age. Coal was an excellent example of this kind of matter.
When samples were tested, there was found to be a complete absence of any radio carbon 14. It was natural to conclude that it had been in the usual strength in the original living trees, but these had been dead for so long that complete disintegration of the radioactive material had taken place. Knowing that this could happen only over an exceedingly long period of time, they dated the coal as being many hundreds of thousands of years old.
In doing so they did the very thing God, through Peter, foretold they would do. They denied that there had ever been a great change in the heavens and the earth and worked on the assumption that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (II Peter 3:4).
Had they understood that the earth was mantled by that protective water vapor, they would have known that before the flood cosmic rays could never have penetrated into our atmosphere as they do today. Plants and animals did not absorb any radiocarbon 14 before the flood because the band of moisture filtered the rays out before they ever reached the nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, scientist found no radiocarbon in the coal – not because it had all disintegrated but because it was never there originally. Thus the radiocarbon clock, far from denying the truth of the Bible, actually serves to confirm it.
Some may question the effectiveness of the moisture mantle in screening out the cosmic radiation, but the fact is that even the limited presence of moisture and atmosphere around our earth day is a protection from this problem. When supersonic jets traverse the oceans at altitudes that practically take them out of this earth’s atmosphere, it is necessary to keep a continual watch on solar flares. Should these break out while they are in flight, they must immediately return to a lower altitude to place atmosphere between themselves and open space so as to obtain protection from this radiation.
The word of God offers us wonderful insight regarding the conditions as they were before the flood, the scientific forces which maintained those conditions, and the changes in those forces that produced the flood. This information is of tremendous value in searching out the specific role the Lord played in the fearful stroke of their wounds, which made such an enormous breach upon the people.
The revelation of the scientific causes of the flood is a strong confirmation of the truth that God does not execute the sinner but that the catastrophes which destroy humankind are the outworking of natural forces no longer under God’s control and supervision. While the Lord has not supplied the same detailed information about the scientific basis of the Egyptian plagues, faith is strengthened by the evidences of the flood, knowing that they had a scientific basis too.
In our next post we will have a review of the Concepts we have learned regarding the Character of God.
We will examine how it is that the effect of humanity’s rejection of God was seen in the reduction of the sun and moon?
Review: is the great controversy about who has greater power of the physical universe, or it is about who had greater governing principles?
Why was there no way, in righteousness, that God could have prevented the flood?
What caused the disaster to the sun and moon to end before reaching the point where any continuance of life on earth would have become impossible?
If you have not had the opportunity to read the other posts on this series regarding the Character of God I invite you click on the links below.