Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1996
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 3: Disruptive Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 1: The Tragic Flaw in Civilized Society
Lesson 34 – Preparation to Call of Abraham
10 Oct 1996
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We have reviewed the four great events of the Bible that we have studied so far and we have mentioned the doctrines, the areas of truth taught by those four great events. We dealt with the doctrine of God, the doctrine of man, the doctrine of nature, the doctrine of suffering, the doctrine of judgment/salvation; we’ve talked about the Noahic Covenant, etc. All of that has been to review for what we’re going to start tonight, which deals with the next event, the call of Abraham. We’re probably spend 2-3 weeks on this first chapter as a setup for what’s coming, and why God called Abraham when He did and how He did. Practically speaking, just so we don’t lose the forest for the trees, here’s the question that we’re really coming to grips with. If you’ve discussed the gospel with people, shared Christ, I’m sure you’ve had this experience at least once, and that is how can you Christians be so bigoted to believe that you people have the truth, what about all the other religions in the world, how do you have the colossal religious arrogance to claim that your way is the only way. It’s a common response. That conflict, let’s put a label on it, that’s a conflict over exclusivism, the fact that the gospel claims that it and it alone is an exclusive answer to the issue of man’s relationship to God; and it’s claiming that all other claims are false. This is obviously not too popular. You can feel quite intimidated by this, it depends how skillful the person is that you’re talking to, but they can really make you out to be like a heel. The whole call of Abraham is about that. Let me tie that question in that’s so common to what we’re doing here, moving toward the call of Abraham.
The call of Abraham: the fact that God called Abraham out of a pagan society and says to Abraham that I will build with you a counterculture. Think of Israel as a counterculture, as a group that is the family of Abraham, ultimately the tribes, the nation Israel, that nation is God’s special elect group and God chose to, from this point forward, channel all, ALL of His special revelation through Israel. That is the origin of this problem of exclusivism; we get into it at the gospel level which comes in in the New Testament. But I want you to see that the same problem that you have with the gospel being the only way starts centuries before the gospel, all the way back with the call of Abraham, because the call of Abraham is a rejection of everyone else. Think about it. If God calls Abraham out to form a new nation, hasn’t he rejected everybody else? Isn’t that the claim of exclusivism again? So the first time that you run into this exclusivism problem is with the call of Abraham. That’s what we’re dealing with, that’s the shape of the big question.
Whatever details I talk about and we discuss from this point, for the next chapter or two, all those details ultimately concern this question: why does God channel His truth through these narrow elected, chosen instruments. Why doesn’t He channel truth directly to all men, all races, all languages, and all continents? Why does He choose this exclusive way of dealing with civilization? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to have prophets on every continent, it’d cut down the travel bill. Why does God do this, that’s the question we’re working with and that’s the question we all need to digest, because if you don’t digest it, it will be digested for you by somebody talking to you someday, and you’re going to come off either blubbering back something or you’re going to retreat and be apologetic about the gospel. Or, you’re going to come on like gangbusters and look to be like some arrogant religious extremist, we all may eventually appear that way anyway, but at least we can in our own conscience approach this, not as an emotional “I told you so” arrogant way, but as one that is borne as the Holy Spirit illuminates our hearts to truth, this is because… boom, boom, boom, and see the bigger picture. So that’s where we’re headed.
We are headed to see the context of the call of Abraham and the big issue of why does God to choose to operate this way. Let’s look in Scripture and trace this little exclusivism theme for a little bit, so we get our guns cited in on the target. Turn to the most arrogant verse of the Bible, John 14:6. I remember before I became a Christian this really bothered me; I don’t know whether it bothered me because I knew John 14:6 because I was brought up in a liberal church where the Bible wasn’t taught, and I don’t really remember whether I knew the verse, but I certainly was bothered with the content of John 14:6, somehow I at least assimilated that. That’s why I was interested in Hinduism and other religions because they all seemed much more open, much more universal in their appeal than Christianity.
John 14:6, “Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” now here’s the exclusivism, note the next clause, “no man comes to the Father, but through Me.” That is exclusivism, it excludes all other instruments. John is good for doing this, turn to 1 John1:3 where there’s another claim, John is talking to the church and he says, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” If you look at the logic of that verse, which fellowship comes first in the clauses? It’s having fellowship with the apostles, the “we” there is an apostolic plural, “we” are testifying to these things, and of course the Christians associated with the apostles. And you may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father. Do you see the implication of what he is saying? You can’t come to the Father except by coming to us, exclusivism.
The Roman Catholic Church uses verse 3, that’s a favorite verse of Romanist theologians, that’s the verse they use to promote the exclusive nature of the Roman Catholic Church, their argument is you cannot be saved unless you have fellowship, i.e., you join the Roman Catholic Church. In context what he’s talking about is the universal church, not necessarily the Roman Catholic Church. So we would argue about which church is in view here, but we’re not arguing with Rome over the fact that this verse is an exclusivist verse. It is saying that we have fellowship with God only by coming to the apostles. Now how do you come to the apostles? He just told you in the first part, we are telling you what we’ve seen and heard. [1, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—”] What is what we have “seen and heard?” Is that not the gospel? That’s the New Testament. So how do we come to have fellowship with God? By going to the apostles. The apostles are dead. How do you come to the apostles if the apostles are dead? You come to the apostles through what the apostles left for us, which is their corpus of writings. That’s why we say it’s the Word of God, the Bible, is the means of coming to know God. So that’s the issue of exclusivism.
I want to go to the Old Testament to show you it is there too, not with the church and the world, but with Israel and the world. Turn to Deuteronomy 4 and we’ll see this again. This is Moses talking, and again, Deutero + nomos, law, the second law, the second time the law was articulated, and if you want to know how long a sermon was, here’s a neat way of telling how long people spoke in the Old Testament. The book of Deuteronomy is one sermon by Moses. He gathered the people together and preached it. This is a recorded sermon, so you can have one person read Deuteronomy 1-34 and time your watch and ask yourself how long it took reading it out loud. That sermon lasted a bit beyond the modern TV sound bite, and that gives you an idea the discipline of hearing and listening that people had, because this sermon was preached to probably a million people. It might have been repeated through the elders, obviously Moses didn’t have a PA system, but large numbers of people came to hear this. In Deuteronomy 4:15 he begins this setting apart Israel from all the other nations of the world. He says “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb,” that Mt. Sinai, “from the midst of the fire;  lest you act corruptly and make a graven image for yourself in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female,  the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky,  the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.”
Now watch verse 19, a very interesting comment, let’s read it slow and watch what it says here. “And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them,” now look at the strange clause, “those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.  But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession.” The idea in verse 19 is He has left the nations in their paganism and idolatry, but He has called Israel out from that. There’s the exclusivism again.
In Deuteronomy 4:5-8 you’ll see a comment about the law that was given at Mt. Sinai. “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.  So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples,” now watch, “in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.  For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?  Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” Verse 8 is a claim. We will spend a lot of time on the law this fall. That is a claim that if you take the Mosaic Law Code and put it against the code of Hammurabi, and we will look at it and some of the other codes that were contemporaneous, and you stack Moses’ law up against Hammurabi’s Code, or the other codes, Eschnuna [sp?]code or whatever the codes are, including modern legislation, divorced of its Mosaic influence, and you have to come to the conclusion this verse says that the Mosaic Law is more righteous.
This is not popular today. When we get into the law you’re going to see some interesting things there, but what this is claiming is that the standard of social justice, community law and legislation, the norm is the Torah, what is given to Israel, not any other nation. It is not the heritage of Rome (not the Roman Catholic Church but the empire of Rome), it is not the heritage of the Greeks, it is not something inherited from the Middle East, the standard of social justice and law in society is in the Torah. That is the standard. There again it’s exclusivism because you can just hear the modern man saying oh, give me a break, how can you say that this country of Jews over here thought up all this law and you mean to tell me that their legal concepts are more righteous than everybody else’s legal concepts, what about Confucius, what about Buddha, what about the great codes of Rome, what about, what about, what about? But what does verse 8 say, go back to the text; the text says there is not another nation “that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law,” notice the word “whole,” all the law or the whole law, the whole corpus of law. So the emphasis is on the total body of legislation given. That is a norm and a standard. So there’s the Old Testament version of exclusivism.
Let’s go back to Genesis 9. I brought a Hebrew Bible. If we look at this document you’ll see that the rabbis and the Jews have organized their Bible differently than ours. This is the Old Testament in Hebrew. It has three parts to it; there are three categories of writings here. These three categories Jesus refers to in the Gospels, because the Hebrew Bible in Jesus day was divided just like this. It was on scrolls, it wasn’t in a codex, but the Hebrew text was organized in these three categories. Here are the three categories and you’ll see them mentioned in the Gospel narratives, and when you see them mentioned, you’re reading your Bible in the New Testament, watch for these words: the law, the prophets, and the writings. The law, the prophets and the writings! Most people would pretty well know what the law is, the law is the Pentateuch, penta = five, the first five books of the Bible, Genesis through Deuteronomy. They’re all part of Torah, or the law.
Think about this for a minute. If we have the law as one set of Scripture, then we go into another compartment, or another classification of Scripture called the prophets, what do you think is the difference between the law and the prophets? What characterizes the first five books of the Bible over against these books that are included in the second category, prophets? What’s the first book in the prophets? It’s the book of Joshua. Let me read off some of the books in the Book of Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. I’m sure when you listen to this if you’ve read your Bibles you would recognize that Isaiah should be in there, he’s a prophet, Jeremiah should be in there, he’s a prophet, Ezekiel should be in there, he’s a prophet, and you have Jonah and some of the other books, Micah, Hezekiah, Haggai, and you recognize all those as prophets, but didn’t it strike you as a bit odd, why do you suppose Joshua is in the prophet section? Prophet Joshua? Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, I thought those were historical books. This is a thought-provoking question, and I’m going to throw it out and I want you to think about it, and then see if you can puzzle this one through, because this also forms a backdrop of what we’re going to do this fall. Why is Joshua and the historical books considered to be prophetic? Why did the Jews do that?
The third part of the Old Testament are the writings. The writings are books like these: keep in mind that the order is different than in our English Bible, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, here’s one that’s a real puzzler, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, here’s one that’ll really grab you, Daniel, not in the prophets, it’s in the writings. Why is that, why do we have everything from the Psalms to the book of Daniel classified in category three and not category two? Why do we have historical books in category two when they don’t seem to be prophetic? We’ll work with those because obviously we’re going to work with the law and the first part of the prophets, and there’s a reason why they did that. It has to do with God’s motion through history.
In Genesis 9, we’re going to pick up where we left off, and that is the covenant that was given to Noah, keep in mind historically when God started the process after the flood, He had the big cataclysm of the flood and on this side of the flood we have a covenant made. That’s the first time the word “covenant” is mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 9. We said that several things were involved in the covenant, a covenant is a contract; a contract involves parties to the contract. If you look in Genesis 9:9-10, there you have the two parties to the contract. On the one hand God is one party, and the other one, is it just man or is it more than man? It’s animals too. Isn’t that striking? The other covenants that we’re going to study about aren’t made with animals. Your dog and your cat aren’t included, but your dog and cat are included in Noah’s covenant. That’s kind of interesting. The two parties are you, your pet and God. Why are animals involved in this contract? What was Adam’s original relationship to animals? He was to be their lord. Adam was to be lord of the environment. Just a sub point here because it’s being misunderstood and misquoted all over the place in this environmentalist movement, they claim that we teach destruction of the environment in the name of Christianity. The reason is, they quote these verses that have to do with Adam and Noah subduing the earth, they say see, that’s what it is, it’s those corporations taking and subduing the earth, poisoning it, etc. That’s taking it out of context, because the party to the covenant is the Lord, there’s a lord, little “l” and Lord, capital “L” and we are the under lords for the over Lord. We are responsible, not because the environment is ours. You can hug a tree all you want to but that doesn’t make it yours, that’s God’s tree.
So it is God’s environment and He is dictating how it is to be used, and we’ll see that later on in the legislation. But this covenant has these two parties. In Genesis 8 it is inaugurated with a sacrifice, that means some animal dies, and that is because any contractual agreement between a holy God and a sinful human race that is fallen and depraved and rebellious must be covered by blood, shed blood. So we have a fore view of the fact that you don’t have any confidence in the Bible of formal covenants without blood atonement. What’s so new then about the new covenant? This is the new covenant which was inaugurated through My blood, as we always say in the communion service, “this cup is the covenant.” So that whole motif starts back here. Here’s where it begins, in Genesis 9 at the origin and fountainhead of civilization.
Then we said that this contract promises, it has certain terms to the contract, and any contract is made, primarily because the parties to that contract want verification of behavior. This is going to be an important point as we see God making contracts with Abraham, God makes contracts with Israel. Keep in mind, you don’t make a contract when you buy something unless that contract has terms and you sign it and the person you’re making the contract with signs it, and it becomes a legal document and a witness, does it not. It measures, there are certain terms in that contract that says you will behave in a certain way, and the other person you’re making the contract with will behave in a certain way. It’s the same thing with God, God says I will behave in a certain way, so we have God acting—certain things, and in this case what is man to do? Man is told to do certain things but the emphasis in this contract is not upon man, but upon God and how He will act.
So He condescends, think of this, what this represents theologically, here we have the God of the universe condescending to fallen creatures, saying I promise I will act a certain way toward you people. Isn’t this amazing! This is the God of the universe who doesn’t owe us a dime, who not only takes care of us but comes down, as it were, to earth, and says I bind Myself to the terms of this contractual agreement. This is the God of the universe, the God that holds electrons and protons together; it is this God who binds Himself in a sacred act at the beginning of civilization to this Noahic Covenant. And He says in verse 12, I will sign the contract with my signature, so there’s a signing, a formal signing just like when you buy a house or something, you have to sign the contract. Well, there’s a signing of a contract here, He says I will sign it. And “the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;  I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”
In the notes, I give some verses on page 3 that refer to the source of the rainbow. As a meteorologist I could go on and on about the optics of the rainbow and how you can’t have a rainbow unless you have droplets of a certain size because the light beam comes into one side of the droplet and the refraction comes out the other side of the droplet, etc. and that’s why you have the light fractured out into the various spectra. But that’s not the real source of the rainbow. God designed the raindrops of a diameter equal to d and above, in order to produce some effect on the light that would replicate to our eyes what we would see if we could see His throne. And that’s why I put those verses in page 3 of the notes because if you look those verses up you will see that those verses speak of the fact that when God has peeled away the blinders, in certain rare moments of history, He has revealed His very throne to certain select few prophets, they look up at God’s throne and they see the bow, the rainbow is there on the throne of God and it’s described in those passages. That is the archetypical bow.
The rainbow we observe is a derivative of that bow. So it is part of His throne glory that is there, and it’s neat because when Baltimore’s air pollution doesn’t completely obscure the horizon and you can see clouds after a rain, put your back to the sun and look off away from the rain and you’ll see the bow, if there’s rain that way, but you’ve got to be facing away from the sun to see this way. Now if you look and you see the bow in the clouds, it’s a neat worshipful moment, if you’ve really got into the Scripture and it’s really started to take effect in your heart so that you’re now able to think Scripturally about the physical world around you, that’s how you can worship. You can look at that bow and say “thank you, I see Your writing; You’ve written Your name again.” The God of the universe has signed His name just so we don’t forget. The throne glory stands in our sight that we know and understand Who is in charge of our environment. So it’s a source of worship, the Noahic Covenant, this way.
God goes on and He describes, in Genesis 9:15-15 the terms of this covenant, and He says that these terms, between God and man, guarantee the survival of at least part of the race; the survival of the human race, the prohibition against any total global flood again, and remember what the global flood did, it basically destroyed the human race, such that the gene pool of both animals and man had to be restarted, because there was only eight people. Think of this, think of the fragility of the human race to here. The only way I can make sense to my modern mind to get into this, really get into this and feel what’s going on here is to visualize what would happen if the planet earth was to be destroyed in the year 2,000 and NASA has busily and hastily started a research program to build a rocket to go someplace where they could survive in outer space, say they made a colony on Mars or something, and we would have a select group of people, eight people, all the rocket would hold, so you have to select eight people from the planet earth to escape to Mars to survive this holocaust of the planet. Let’s say you’re one of the eight people, here you are, you’re walking abound Mars now, and you look in the sky and there’s no earth any more, you’re all alone. And it’s just your DNA and seven other people’s; you’re going to build a new human race.
If you think of that, let your imagination work a little bit, there is the visualization of what this Scripture is talking about, the remaking of the human race from this gene pool of only eight people, and all the animals came out of the gene pool of the ark. We have to deal with this as Christians, looking at the geologic evidence, looking at the dispersion, looking at what we call biogeography, and we have to say well, how do we interpret the data in light of all this, certainly that’s the claim of the Scriptures, but how do we put the Scriptures together with the knowledge and the world around us. That’s one of the things we’ll be doing the next couple of weeks.
As we go on, after all this elegant talk about covenants, last time we got to that strange chapter, Genesis 9:20-27 and if you think of starting the human race all over, what does that make Noah? If Noah is the fountain head, we take the third divine institution; DI # 3 which equals family, God uses that to set off the human race. The head of that family unit is Noah, whose name means peace, rest. So Noah begins a new humanity with his sons and his daughters-in-law. If we were not to have verse 20f, and just stopped at Genesis 9:19 and just threw away the rest of the chapter, if we just had that would be a neat story, because it would tell us where our civilization came from. But by including this weird story from verse 20 on, what does that reveal about the nature of the civilization that is about to be created? Think about it. It’s a snapshot of something, it’s God’s evaluation of something in the civilization.
I’ve capsulized that in the title of this chapter, The Flaw in Modern Civilization, or The Flaw in Civilization. There’s a spiritual flaw that was there from the very beginning. Great though Noah is, and we are going to be surprised at the some of the technical accomplishments of Noah and his immediate sons and grandsons. Remember, these are the guys that started the architecture that we call the pyramids. These are the guys, who it now appears, mapped the entire world including the Antarctic continent before the ice sheets covered Antarctic, because we have maps from that period. These are the guys who knew how to measure longitude before the 18th century when people first had clocks accurate enough to measure longitude. They mapped out the world, and they did it within 200-300 years. These were an amazing group of people. These were the people that went to Eastern Island in the South Pacific and made those gigantic statues. These are the men who everywhere they went built magnificence into civilization, and yet everywhere they went they manifested the flaw of war and sin.
Civilization has magnificence to it, but it has a flaw in it, and that civilization with its flaw becomes what we call the world system, the world, the flesh and the devil. I want to be clear about this because Christians traditionally go to of two extremes here. Either we throw out all of civilization and get this real separatist spirit, or we just capitulate completely and absorb everything, including the gross things, in the name of grace. Neither extreme is right. We are to pick and choose our way, because all of what has been produced in history, the magnificent music, the art, the architecture, the great pieces of literature, that’s partly testimony to what greatness God has put into mankind. That’s not to be demeaned, it’s not to be ruined, it’s not to be pooh-poohed. Even the non-Christian produces greatness, we’ll study why, those of you who were here last year know why, because non-Christian are made in God’s image also, and they can’t help themselves, they produce greatness in spite of themselves. Thank God they don’t act in accordance with their unbelief. If they really acted according to their unbelief they’d produce garbage, but they don’t, they produce magnificence. There’s the magnificent side in the culture of the world system, but there’s the flaw, and as we unfold this theme we’re going to see why God calls Abraham.
For example, let’s raise some questions here, we won’t answer them but these are thought provokers. Did God call Abraham to build better pyramids? Did God call Abraham to completely replace what had already started with Noah? Did God call Abraham and the Jews to restart engineering, to restart art, to restart the technologies, to restart music, or was the Jew called into existence historically to do something else. What is the something else that he was called into existence to do? The something else has to do with what’s missing, and it goes back to Noah and the vineyard. Two things we pointed out from last time about the vineyard incident, one, Noah got drunk on the wine. Is this a condemnation of wine? Not necessarily, it’s a condemnation of a foolish use of a portion of the creation, and what it shows is that no matter how much of a technological genius Noah was, obviously he built a vineyard, he structured a vineyard, he cared for it, and he brought that vineyard to fruition from little pieces of botanical DNA that he stored on the ark from before. But there were things about the creation that he needed instruction from the author of creation in order to subdue it correctly, just as Adam and Eve had to be told what tree to eat and what tree not to eat. Eve wanted to be a scientist, she wanted to do her own experiment, she wanted to say let me see objectively, let’s test objectively whether that tree is going to do that or not, we must run an experiment here. And Noah, it’s the same situation.
So the first thing we see about the Noah’s vineyard incident, is that it’s a misuse of the creation, a foolish misuse of the creation. And what it testifies to is that the brilliance of civilization with all of its technology and all of its engineering, ultimately still does not know its own environment. We still need the Word of God to be wise stewards of our environment, no matter what the scientific studies tell us, in the final analysis we don’t know that we’re not going to pull something off like Noah, something that’s very borderline, like Noah and the vineyard. Today it’s genetic engineering. Wait till one of these things get loose. We worry about Aids coming out of the middle of Africa some place, some mutation virus that’s tearing up populations all over the world, can you imagine what happens if we genetically engineer something and it gets loose. So Noah’s vineyard incident has very modern applications, it’s a warning that the high technology of civilization is always in jeopardy and must be treated with great wisdom, not avoided, there’s no prohibition against vineyards, none, it’s a warning against the use of wine.
The second thing about Noah is the way his sin was treated by his son Ham, and the flagrant disregard for the power of conscience. What we want to conclude here, the big idea behind this review of the Noahic Covenant is that it’s this covenant that controls the physics of nature. I said this last year and I want to say it again, because you see an equation on a piece of paper, let’s take that famous equation, because you see an equation on a piece of paper, don’t get snowed, you’re only looking at shorthand for a sentence in the English language. Do you realize that? Before, I think it was before, who was the first guy, Galileo or somewhere in Galileo’s time that algebra was first used in a sentence of making a scientific formula. How did the guys work science before that? Archimedes had levers, how do you suppose Archimedes worked levers out. If you read the manuscripts it’s all in sentences. They didn’t have that shorthand. So we write the shorthand, we think we’re hot stuff, there’s an equal sign in there, look at that, that’s impressive. All it is ultimately is shorthand for a big long sentence. Keep that in mind. [blank spot]
Does that mean that the implications of the Noahic Covenant can’t be mathematically described in various areas? I believe they can be. Here’s how. We’re getting into a fundamental insight about how we date things. When you deal with a relationship, you have certain bounds on that. If you’re in engineering, if you’ve gone into differential equations you know what I mean. You set up boundary conditions, and you solution exists in between these boundary conditions, so no matter what the math says, you have to go within this boundary. So there are bounds on the relationship. What the Noahic Covenant does, it sets up a sequence of boundaries in physical law to prevent violation of those terms. What are those terms? That there be no worldwide flood. What are some of the boundaries that that implies? Here’s one, it implies that the earth will never be sideswiped by a large mass, say an asteroid, because if it were sideswiped by such a large mass the gravitational pull of that mass would make a tide that would go all the way around the world and destroy it. The trajectories, no matter what the solution is of an infinite number, semi-infinite number of trajectories of particles in the universe there are certain boundaries that have been imposed by the Noahic Covenant to prevent certain trajectories from ever taking place.
So inside the physics are boundaries that are established right here in Genesis 9. Why do I stress this? Because in analyzing scientific data, and analyzing all kinds of dating schemes, there’s an assumption that you have to make. Always, whenever you write an equation, and we’ll write a very simple equation and get the point across, a simple linear equation, people learn it in sixth or seventh grade. Two variables, you can’t write the equation without these, there always has to be a constant. If you don’t have a constant, you don’t have an equation. Where does the constant come from? How do we know that a constant is a constant if it’s true that we have limited knowledge? This really isn’t too hard to grasp, it’s really pretty simple stuff, and yet guys with triple doctorates have problems trying to understand what is going on here. If you have an equation and you have a constant in it, and you’re saying that describes, say radiocarbon, or that describes the decay of uranium to lead, you’ve got constants in the equation. How do you know the constants stay constant, particularly in light of this diagram, all your knowledge is inside the box? You don’t have knowledge, for example, historically, beyond your own lifetime or that personally observed by people. You have to infer by conjecture in those areas that that constant is a constant.
The challenge the Bible throws at us, that has not been taken seriously except by creationists, particularly in the 20th century, the young creationists, is that these equations have to be reviewed in light of the data of Genesis 6, 7, 8 and 9. What we have here is a total catastrophe in which these bounds were altered and then fixed. In light of that, where’s our constants? Let me give you a quick example of this. Because in history, most dates where they try to make absolute dates for Egypt, for the Pharaohs, for the mummies, etc. they like to use radiocarbon. Radiocarbon is a special little carbon atom that has a wave year of 14 instead of the usual 12, and the idea is that carbon-14 goes away with time, it decays. So it follows that if that’s so, then if I take the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 of a substance, and the carbon-14 is low, and if I know what it was originally, if I say that originally at this time, T sub zero, that this ratio was thus and such, then at some other time out here in the future, that fraction will be thus and such, if and only if we have a decay rate that is constant. So there’s two things, there’s the initialization, and there’s this decay rate, the rate of the falling off of the carbon-14. The problem is, don’t be snowed by a math formula. That is what? It is shorthand for a statement. What is the statement; forget the math, what is the statement? It’s saying I think the initial conditions are this, and if the initial conditions are this, and if I assume that the decay rate has remained the same, then the age is such and such. Why isn’t this explained? What you find out in the classroom is that usually they throw out radiocarbon date, the radiocarbon date is thus and such. Yes, okay, but what does that mean?
I have tried to indicate some warnings in the text. Before we get to the handout I want to take you to three passages in the Bible that warn us about this. Turn to Job 22. Job is a strange book; I am taking the book of Job as the work of a Gentile author prior to Abraham. I am taking the book of Job as a book written between Noah and Abraham, and therefore gives us observational evidence of what was going on in this strange time of history, the origin of civilization. In Job 22:15 you’ll notice that in Job’s day they knew about the flood. Look carefully, “Will you keep to the ancient path which wicked men have trod,  Who were snatched away before their time, whose foundations were washed away by a river?” The word “river” is a modern translation, most of the older translations, “the flood.” And it’s a reference to the fact that Job knew very well about Noah’s flood. He’s talking about the fact that civilization was destroyed, Eliphaz is speaking this way. Turn to Job 26:10, “He has inscribed a boundary on the surface of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness,” so Job is aware that there’s imposed upon nature certain boundaries. We don’t’ have time, but put in your notes 2 Peter 3:5-7, it equates the flood cataclysm, not only as a destruction of planet earth but as an alteration in the heavens. There was something, whatever caused the Noahic flood, has repercussions astronomically. It was not just a terrestrial event; it was an extra-terrestrial event as well as terrestrial.
Turn in the notes I want to point out some things to you, what we’re getting at, you thought this was a Bible class not a science class, why is this all in here? Because every time you go to teach the Bible people keep bringing this stuff up. So that’s why I’m including it. On page 4 I deal with the early postdiluvian environment. We’re trying to give you a picture of what these poor people faced; it was a world utterly different from the world that we know today. I’ve done it in several ways, the first section says “Postdiluvian Land, Sea, and Atmosphere.” I’m using the work of the creationist scientists who have started to put pieces together, it’s an exciting work, just came out the last 4-5 years, some really good stuff, guys have spent 10-15 years working on these things.
One of them that I mentioned last year was Woodmorappe; he must have spent 8-10 years working his thing on the various geological issues of the flood. One paper alone that he did has 1100 footnotes in it. He surveyed every single piece of geological literature and that was the source last time where I showed you, after he put on a computer, he went through every single geologic source he could find that dealt in some way, shape or form with the geologic column. He plotted all his data and he asked the question where on earth do you see this geologic column that everybody talks about in school. The geologic column has the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, those are the three major areas, the Paleozoic the old, so he said just for kicks, let me plot, let me ask the computer to draw me, after I input all the literature on geologic columns, let me see where the Paleozoic strata is on earth.
And what he found out on this map is, the black is where it isn’t, so isn’t that a revelation. Here we are being snowed daily by this yak yak about the geologic column, and I’m not knocking the fact that obviously there’s [sounds like: super] position principle operating, I’m just saying that when you plot it out there’s a heck of a bunch of the earth’s surface where the Paleozoic doesn’t show up, there’s sections out in the west, Oregon, Idaho, around Ohio, the Great Lakes, there’s a section in Texas, a section in British Columbia, there’s a section in Alaska, it’s there, you just have to have a microscope to see it on the map. Then he said okay, what about the Mesozoic, at least the Mesozoic has a pretty large area here in the U.S., western Canada, central Africa, around Paraguay and Brazil, sections of Borneo, Indonesia, massive areas in the Himalayas, Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, part of Italy, the Alps and eastern France, you have the Mesozoic strata there. Then he asked, plot me the areas where the entire geologic column exists, as it exists in the text book. It turns out there’s about 4% of the earth’s surface has a geologic column actually there. One tiny area, the biggest area he found was in eastern Poland, and one could make some remark about that but we won’t say. There are other areas in Russia; there are areas in the center part of the U.S., again British Columbia, parts of South America, etc.
I just mention this because you’ve got to take some of this stuff with a grain of salt. What I’m trying to do in these notes is challenge you to rethink, so I’ve included several things, one of which is #1, “Mountain-Building and Continental Draining of the Flood Waters.” Psalm 104, you can read that, describes the waters going off the continents as the continents rose up after the flood. As the waters left the continents you can imagine what a rush it was, and we see rivers that have been cut, we see river basins with a lot more alluvial deposits in it than could ever be deposited at the rate in which those rivers flow today. In the second paragraph, “Various ‘land bridges’ and exposed continental shelves may have existed,” that’s important because that bridges Asia and Alaska, “Evidences of such exposure of these areas which now are below sea level consist of animal fossils on islands and in shallow ocean areas within these bridge areas as well as submarine canyons located far from today’s main lands.” So at one time the continents were higher, presumably right after the flood. Why they sunk back is another story that has something to do with the ice age, we believe.
“Continuing ‘after-shocks’ of this post-flood mountain-building would be accompanied by widespread volcanism on an unprecedented scale.” If you’ve traveled in eastern Oregon, Idaho are well aware, you drive, drive, drive through basaltic fields, as far as the eye can see, for mile after mile of this stuff, it’s not just a small volcano, it’s hundreds and thousands of square miles of this stuff, thrown all over the northwest. “While continental areas were being uplifted, the ocean basins were sinking.” They cut out the rivers, page 5, “Thus today large river deltas and alluvial plains exist with areas many times larger than the present river runoff can account for.” The Sahara Desert, at one time, Herodotus mentions this, there was water in the Sahara Desert, water. The first Pharaoh of Egypt got his name because he kept the water from totally inundating the land, there was so much water. We’ll talk more about that later.
Oceans: following the work that has been done by Michael Oard, who is a meteorologist that’s worked with Paleo-climatology, points out that the oceans after the flood were probably hot, this is very crucial and we’ll see why when we get into the Ice Age. Today the average ocean temperature is 4 degrees C. That may surprise you; that’s only 39 degrees F, that’s the average ocean temperature for all depths. The problem is it’s cold down there. So if you averaged all points in the ocean today, the ocean average temperature is only 39 degrees. Oard calculates, based on feedback mechanisms in the atmosphere to produce what was necessary to produce the Ice Age is that the waters after the flood may have been as high as 30 degrees C, or 86 degrees F. You say where did all the heat come from? Where did all the water come from? What does Genesis 7 say, some of it came as rain, but where did most of it come from? The fountains of the deep. Now if water is being ejected from the fountains of the deep, what is true of the earth’s mantle, as you go down? It increases heat. So the water that came up in the flood was probably hot water, so the oceans right after the flood were warm.
This is extremely crucial and a brilliant physical observation because it solves a problem that we’ve never been able to solve. It also implies, for radiocarbon dating, “Carbon-dioxide levels would have been high due to the warm water as well as large amount of decaying organic material from the flood.” So your initial conditions on your radiocarbon clocks were affected by the immediate condition of the flood. So you can’t just assume things. Finally, Oard pointed out that “widespread volcanism during and after the flood would have left massive amounts of volcanic dust in the atmosphere.” He says in his paper, and this has obviously been seen again and again, remember Pinatubo, I don’t whether you saw it here, but in Texas we saw it, the sunsets after Pinatubo blew up, you could look in the western sky at night and instead of seeing the typical orange color of a sunset it was pink. After the sun goes down below the horizon and you’re seeing that light, it’s reflected light from a solar disk that’s beyond the horizon, so whatever is reflecting and causing that light is high cloud, low cloud doesn’t do that, it’s high stuff. After the sunset, maybe an hour after sunset or an hour and a half after sunset, you’re still seeing pink. What does that tell you? There’s dust high in the stratosphere, and it’s a unique dust because normally you don’t seek pink. And because it’s pink you know it’s very small dust, because the dust particles increase with the… or large particles, the pink are the large particles, the decrease scattering goes with the dimension of the light.
In closing I want to get this in about volcanic dust and why that’s important. Volcanic dust cools the atmosphere because it stops the sun from radiating to the earth efficiently, it acts as a reflector. For example, the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was estimated to deposit 30 to 100 million tons of dust into the global stratosphere. The effect was noticeable, worldwide, and lasted several years. They estimate the sun loss, net loss, was 4% over the entire planet. You cut down the solar budget by 4% over the entire planet—that is a lot of heat lost. The large eruption of Tamboro, this is the most famous one that we have in history that we’ve recorded, the eruption of Tamboro in 1815 is believed responsible for abnormally cold weather in New England and adjacent Canada the following year or two. During the summer of 1816 an unprecedented series of cold snaps chilled the area. Heavy snow fell throughout the Northeast in June. Frost caused crop failures in July and August, they were having frost all over the northeast in 1816, it was a devastating year for farmers, and it occurred one year after the explosion Krakatoa. Krakatoa is down in Indonesia. So what happens is the circulation of the atmosphere takes this dust and sprays it all over the planet, and it has profound implications. And by the way we’re talking with Tamboro, one volcano, ONE. With the mountain building going on after the flood, how many volcanoes do you suppose were erupting during this period? Hundreds of them, hundreds of them, and one volcano can do that much damage to the weather pattern; multiply it by 100. Is this fictitious, no, it’s physics, it just works that way. So as you read in the handout don’t despair if you’re not interested in science, this is just background for the call of Abraham, but I want to give you an idea of what’s going on
But I want to give you an idea, why the human race dispersed as it did, what happened to animals, why the dinosaurs died away, what was going on there, why, for example, was there a famine in the days of Joseph, this is all tied together to that time period. Next time we’ll continue looking at Genesis 10-11, if you haven’t done your numbers on Genesis 11, play with them, look at those numbers. If you look at the handout tonight I did one chart that’s kind of backwards, but on page 7 that’s a chart set up with the bars like that to show you the duration recorded in Genesis 11 and what happens when you plot them out as years after the flood. Certain phenomena become obvious when you look at those bars and we’ll talk more about that next time.