Last week I reviewed Ronald E. Osborn’s book Death Before the Fall. Given the relatively eclectic nature of the book, I was unable to interact with some themes and interesting ideas that appear in the book. So I am going to be writing a few supplementary posts highlighting some of those additional aspects of the book.
In this article I’m going to highlight a clever critique that Osborn presents against the idea of a global flood. The argument consists of a festering tension between the following two claims:
(1) Young earth creationists believe the flood radically redrew the entire geological landscape in the most radical cataclysm the world has ever known.
(2) Genesis refers to geological features prior to the flood which existed after the flood, despite the fact that any global flood on the scale accepted by the young earth creationists would have likely destroyed those features.
Here’s the relevant passage:
“What should be made of the fact, for example, that the geological event that is said by creationists to have wreaked such havoc upon the earth’s surface, literally tearing apart its mantle, somehow left all of the preflood geographical markers mentioned in Genesis 1-10 (the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the land of Cush, the land of Nod) precisely in place once the flood waters subsided?” (57)
While Osborn notes the young earth creationist could appeal to various attempts to explain this fact (e.g. renaming new rivers “Tigris” and “Euphrates”; a special divine intervention to protect these features from destruction), he rightly notes such explanations are ad hoc and unconvincing. The plain sense of the text leaves the young earth creationist with an embarrassing tension between (1) and (2).
While I didn’t need another argument against the thesis of a global flood, one more is always welcome.