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FOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FLOOD ANSWERED
(SERMON #48 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after 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” (II Peter 3:3-4).
The third chapter of II Peter is very important to me personally. It was through an expository sermon on this chapter that I was converted. I had come to church at the age of 13, to the First Baptist Church of Huntington Park, California, brought there by Dr. and Mrs. Henry M. McGowan, the people who lived next door to my aunt and uncle, where I was living at the time. As a child of 13 there were two opposite strains of thought I believed, illogically, at the same time. I believed in God. I believed in Christ. From my earliest memories I had no doubt whatever that God and Christ were real. I spent a lot of time, for a child, thinking about God and thinking about Jesus. But I also believed in Darwinian evolution and all that this entailed. My mother taught me Darwin’s theory and I believed in it completely. The facts all seemed to point to evolution, and I embraced evolution and strongly defended it in my own mind, and often in arguments with those who believed the account of Creation and the Flood, as they are presented in the Scriptures. But I also quite passionately believed in the God of the Bible. This kept me in a constant inner conflict, which pulled me toward evolution on the one hand, and toward God and the Bible on the other. I was troubled in my teenage years, feeling torn between “science” and the Bible. I was in an Hegelian conflict. The thesis of Darwinism and its antithesis in the Bible tore me between the two possible explanations of how the world began. At about sixteen I heard my pastor, Dr. Joe Music, give a series of sermons against evolution. It was during the time of the Nixon/Kennedy presidential debates in 1960. The pastor preached several sermons against Kennedy as a Catholic and another series of sermons against evolution. I can only say that I was offended by the preaching of Dr. Music against evolution. I must honestly say that I rejected his messages against Darwinian evolution. I thought at the time that his sermons were ignorant and filled with superstition, and yet I believed in God and Christ, but without an understanding that the two theories given by evolution and the Bible were really incompatible with each other. I was being torn between the Bible and so-called “scientific evidence.” I was in a very confused state, trying to reconcile Darwinism and the Bible.
Please understand that I was called to preach the Gospel two years earlier. But how could I become a Baptist minister holding conflicting views about the Bible and evolution? I spent a lot of time arguing with myself about which was true and which was false.
Then, a little after ten in the morning, on September 28, 1961, I heard Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge preach from II Peter, chapter three. I became aware, from his preaching, that I had been one of the “scoffers” spoken of in II Peter 3:3. I saw that I was one who believed that “all things continue as they were from the beginning” (II Peter 3:4). I saw that the world had perished in Noah’s day, in the Great Flood. I saw that a future judgment was coming and that I needed Christ. I came to Christ in that moment of time. That was when I was converted.
What a great prophecy this is! It is a prophecy of the way people think in the “last days.” Let us stand and read II Peter 3:3-7 aloud.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after 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 willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (II Peter 3:3-7).
You may be seated.
This passage of Scripture tells us that people in the last days will scoff at the Bible. It tells us that they will not believe in the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment. It says that they will be “willingly ignorant” of the fact that God judged the world in the waters of the Great Flood. It says that they will be uniformitarians, Darwinists, who reject the idea that God will judge the world in a fiery judgment, as He judged the world by the Flood in the past.
But people in the “last days” are so steeped in Darwinian evolution and uniformitarian geology that they have many questions about the Flood in Noah’s time. I will take a few minutes tonight to answer a few of them.
I. First, what about cave men?
We have heard about cave men. Were there such beings? Well, of course there were! My mother’s father, my grandfather Dad Flowers, lived in a sod house, under the ground, as a little boy on the plains of Nebraska, in the late nineteenth century, when there were still great herds of buffalos. Dr. John R. Rice told about some people he knew who lived in a cave in West Texas when he was a little boy, as they scraped and saved money to buy a small farm. Many Native Americans lived in caves and homes dug out of the mountains. Undoubtedly there have been people who lived in caves and underground houses throughout history.
But the so-called “cave men” were not any different from people today. Some of the fossils they have found look peculiar. But I have seen people on the streets of Los Angeles at night that look strange. It does not mean that they are Neanderthals. It simply means that some of them are sick, others are deformed, and some are very old. If their bones fossilized and were found centuries later, someone might think they were another species, or a “missing link.” But they are not. Yes, there have always been deformities and peculiarities in the human race. Yes, there have always been people who live under bridges, or in caves or dugouts. But this is no proof of Darwinian evolution. It is only a proof that sin has done great havoc to man, as well as the earth in which he lives.
What, then, about the “cave drawings,” the ancient pictures drawn on the walls of caves in France and elsewhere? Well, they are not really exceptional, are they? Confused, often intoxicated young men draw such “hieroglyphics” on the walls of buildings in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and many other cities around the world. These boys are not “cave men,” just unsaved children wandering through the streets, sinners, like those who have drawn graffiti on walls and buildings for centuries. The drawings in a cave in France offer no more proof of “cave men” than the graffiti on walls in East Los Angeles! It is no great surprise that children living, or perhaps playing, in a cave in France, should draw pictures of animals on a wall. Children have always liked to draw pictures of animals. This is no “proof” of “cave men” as “Neanderthals” or “missing links”!
II. Second, what happened to the dinosaurs?
Dr. John C. Whitcomb and Dr. Henry M. Morris, in their landmark book, The Genesis Flood, said,
The question of the sudden extinction of these powerful creatures that supposedly ruled the earth for so long is still one of the great mysteries of uniformitarian paleontology. Various theories have been suggested, such as destruction by volcanoes, changes in environments, eating of dinosaur eggs by increasing numbers of mammals, some sort of dinosaur disease epidemic, etc.
These are some of the theories that have been advanced to explain the sudden extinction of dinosaurs throughout the world. Each theory will explain the death of some dinosaurs in some places but attempts to apply any of them, or combinations of them, to worldwide extinction have failed… [But] the Biblical Deluge [Flood] is quite an adequate solution…these great reptiles were overwhelmed, drowned and buried by the Deluge waters (John C. Whitcomb, Th.D., and Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Flood, Baker Book House, 1983 edition, pp. 279-280).
III. Third, why did people live so long before the Flood?
Dr. Whitcomb and Dr. Morris said,
According to the records, man lived 900 or more years before the Flood! One of the strongest evidences of the validity of these figures is the fact that, after the Flood, the ages of the patriarchs exhibit a slow but steady decline from that of Noah, who lived 950 years, through Eber, who lived 464 years; Abraham, who died at 175 years; Moses, who died an old man at 120 years; to the familiar Biblical 70 year life-span (Psalm 90:10), which is very close to where we have returned today… the declining life-span after the Flood seems to fit perfectly with our concept of the dissipation of the earth’s protective blanket during the Flood. As we have noted, this canopy of water vapor…provided a warm, pleasant, presumably healthful environment throughout the world. Perhaps the most important effect of this canopy was the shielding action provided against the intense radiations impinging upon the earth from space (ibid., p. 399).
It surely is quite reasonable in view of what is known about the somatic and genetic effects of radiations to infer that, over the centuries since the Flood, the accumulation of the effects in man…has resulted in gradual deterioration and decreasing life-span. Especially marked must have been the effect in the centuries immediately after the Flood, in view of the precipitation of the earth’s vapor blanket, which previously had filtered out practically all the environmental radiation…Before the Flood, therefore, everything was conducive to physical health and longevity. Equable [steady] temperatures, freedom from environmental radiations, and other factors attributable to the vapor canopy all contributed… After the Flood, the canopy was precipitated, its protective effects largely removed, and there began a long decline in general health and longevity, only partly offset in recent decades by advances in medicine…Much of this decline…can undoubtedly be attributed to the greatly increased incidence of radiation upon the earth’s surface and upon its inhabitants…It is obvious that any such period…of increased radiation must have caused widespread biological deterioration. And this, of course, is what the Bible teaches the general history of the human race to have been (ibid., pp. 404-405).
IV. Fourth, why was there no reproduction in the Ark?
Obviously, in a single sermon, not all of the questions concerning the Great Flood can be answered. For further study on this subject, please read the sources quoted, The Genesis Flood and also notes in The Defender’s Study Bible by Dr. Henry M. Morris, World Publishing, 1995, as well as The Days of Noah by Dr. M. R. DeHaan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963. For the sake of time, I will give just one more answer. Dr. M. R. DeHaan, in his excellent little book, The Days of Noah, pointed out that no babies were born in the Ark. He said,
We conclude with a very practical observation. There is no record of any young of beasts or birds or man being born in the Ark for the entire year of their residence. The animals went in two by two (with the exception of clean animals of which there were seven), and they apparently came out the same way. The sons of Noah did not have any children in the Ark, and there is not even a hint that the same was not true of the animals and birds. For one whole year there was no reproduction or increase. The lesson should be clear. Entrance into the Ark was a personal [choice] for each one. The parents cannot [choose] for their children. Since Christ [typifies] the Ark of salvation, we [thus] learn that one cannot be saved by his father’s religion…They cannot be saved because of the religion or piety or example of their parents, without a personal choice [to come to Christ]…I would remind you of Jesus’ words,
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)…
My friend, there were only eight adults who entered the Ark, because they believed God’s promise and acted upon it [and came into the Ark]. No one entered the Ark by being born in it by natural birth…Your religion, your works, your church, your friends, your loved ones, cannot save you. [You must have] a personal faith in the Son of God (M. R. DeHaan, The Days of Noah, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963, pp. 176-177).
The fact that there were no children born in the Ark shows that no children are saved because they were born and grew up in church. Each of you, whether you grew up as “church kids,” or whether you came to our church through our evangelistic outreach – each and every one of you must come to Christ himself. Just as each one, Noah and his wife and their sons and wives chose to enter the Ark, so you must also choose to enter Christ for yourself. No one can do it for you.
We can preach to you, as Noah preached to his generation but, in the end, it is your responsibility, and yours alone, to come to Christ and be saved by His substitutionary death. It is up to you to seek Christ until you find Him, and your sins are covered by His Blood, so God can no longer see them. We pray for every young person in our church to be saved. But we know by long experience that this will not happen until you seek Christ on your own, and are very serious about it.
When you do come to Christ, your sins will be hidden from God under the precious Blood of Christ. We sang an old song earlier that describes this perfectly. You must hide in Jesus from the wrath and judgment of God, as Noah hid from God’s Judgment in the Ark.
Please stand and sing the first stanza and refrain of hymn number three on your song sheet.
O safe to the Rock that is higher than I,
My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly;
So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine would I be;
Thou blest “Rock of Ages,” I’m hiding in Thee.
Hiding in Thee, Hiding in Thee,
Thou blest “Rock of Ages,” I’m hiding in Thee.
(“Hiding in Thee” by William O. Cushing, 1823-1902).
(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Peter 3:3-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“How Great Thou Art” (by Carl G. Boberg, 1859-1940;
translated by Stuart K. Hine, 1899-1989).