The configuration of the earth from a Worldwide Deluge

Let us consider a serious question that demands an accurate answer that is faithful to scripture.

How can the configuration of the earth after a worldwide deluge be consistent with Uniformitarianism? Uniformitarianism is the theory that the earth was shaped by slow-moving forces still in operation today. The account of the flood is diametrically opposed to any theory that suggests gradual change over long periods of time.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month: it was on that day that all the fountains of the great abyss burst forth, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” Genesis 7:11

An old earth theory destroys faith in the reliable account of the worldwide Biblical flood and replaces it with an alternative view that leads to less reliance upon the bible, wrong scientific conclusions, and ultimately Liberalism. Liberalism in the form of pseudo science is described in the third chapter of 2 Peter.

“Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers will come, living according to their own desires and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? From the time when our ancestors fell asleep, everything has remained as it was from the beginning of creation.  They deliberately ignore the fact that the heavens existed of old and earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God; through these the world that then existed was destroyed, deluged with water” 2Peter 3:3-6.

Peter makes it clear that our present world has been created by the worldwide flood that God caused. The statements, ‘the world that then existed was destroyed’ and ‘earth was formed out of water’ are not ambiguous; they do not even imply a local flood but worldwide devastation.

The world that Noah knew was destroyed, which resulted in an altered configuration of the earth stratum. In addition, men grew older much sooner, some animals became carnivorous, rain and seasons began, massive ice dumps were formed, the size of the seas increased, the heights of the mountains and depths of the ocean ridges increased, etc. The Biblical account makes clear the worldwide extent of the flood in Noah’s day,

"Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish” Genesis 6:17.

In this context, when God says everything, everything is what He means.

The flood of Noah’s time was the greatest disaster the world has ever known; however, by it the grace of God also brought relief for many. “Out of the very ground that the LORD has put under a curse, this one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands.” (Genesis 5:29) Through the building of the Ark, and because of the flood man’s days on earth decreased from seven, eight, or nine-hundred years to 70. Hence, man received relief from work and toil, which was the direct result of the dramatically changed earth by The Great Deluge.

Dr. Walter Brown states the danger of avoiding the evidence of a worldwide flood. “If a culture ignored, for any reason, a past event as cataclysmic as a global flood, major errors or misunderstandings would creep into science and society. One of the first would be the explanation for fossils.” 2

The person who understands that the bible teaches a worldwide deluge will view the flood as the primary factor in earth’s present condition. Such a person should have no problem understanding that the end of the world will be with a dramatic worldwide changing event. Unless the first event was comparable to the second there would be no point for Peter to use it in his argument.

“The present heavens and earth have been reserved by the same word for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and of destruction of the godless.” “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be…” 2Peter 3:7, 10-11

The Gospel teaches judgment at the end of the age; men will face judgment based on their own “good works”, or the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ. As sure as judgment happened in Genesis by a flood, it will happen yet again at the end of this present age. If as Christians we believe in a coming judgment, whereby God creates a new heaven and earth then why not believe in a first judgment, whereby, God altered the world at that time?

The Lord has made it clear concerning coming judgment. “…the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat” 2Peter 3:12. In addition, our former bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and God will create a new heavens and a new earth. If we believe the destruction and recreation at the end of the world will take place suddenly and quickly, then why not the first time? Why should we need to believe that the first creation took billions of years? Will it be necessary for God to take billions of years to create the new heavens and the new earth or will He be able to do it by ‘fiat’ just speaking it into existence?

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” 2Peter 3:11-13

The Uniformitarian Opposition

“Lyell, as well as Roderick Murchison and George Poulett Scrope became outspoken opponents of the diluvial position. Lyell is most famous for his great geological opus: 3 Lyell advocated what William Whewell later dubbed a uniformitarian view of geology. This assumed first the constancy of natural laws (except as regarded the origin of new species which was left rather vague). The kinds of causes that affected the earth in the past must be assumed to have been exactly those we see in operation today (such as erosion, sediment deposition, volcanic action, earthquakes etc.)”

Uniformitarianism is one of the most important unifying concepts in the geosciences. This concept developed in the late 1700s, suggests that catastrophic processes were not responsible for the landforms that existed on the Earth’s surface. This idea was diametrically opposed to the ideas of that period, which were based on a biblical interpretation of the history of the Earth. Instead, the theory of Uniformitarianism suggested that the landscape developed over long periods through a variety of slow geologic and geomorphic processes.

The term Uniformitarianism was first used in 1832 by William Whewell, a University of Cambridge scholar, to present an alternative explanation for the origin of the Earth. The prevailing view at that time was that the Earth was created through supernatural means and had been affected by a series of catastrophic events such as the biblical Flood. This theory is called catastrophism.

The Christian who defends Uniformitarianism and tries to explain it by some extra Biblical method furthers the cause of those who were opponents of a cataclysmic flood. However, a worldwide flood and not a series of local catastrophes is true of the Biblical account, no other interpretation is true to scripture.  I am not a scientist and so it is not my purpose to refute the scientific evidence on either side; for further reading on a scientific approach read, “The Flood”, by Henry Morris.


The apostle Peter, before he was offered on the altar as a martyr for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote to those who he believed had a faith of equal standing as his own.

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” 2Peter 1:1

His concern for those early believers as should be ours today is that we not forget the Gospel that has been delivered unto us, and that we give due diligence to get it right in all its various dimensions and doctrines. In the twenty-first century, the Christian should be the first to defend the accuracy of the Bible in all matters of faith and practice and  that it in no way contracts true science.  Even the heretic Thomas Payne in his book “The Age of Reason” gave credit to the Bible,

“The Book of Job and the 19th Psalm, which even the church admits to be more ancient than the chronological order in which they stand in the book called the Bible, are theological orations confirmable to the original system of theology. The internal evidence of those orations proves to a demonstration that the study and contemplation of the works of creation, and of the power and wisdom of God revealed and manifested in those works, made a great part of the religious devotion of the times in which they were written; and it was this devotional study and contemplation that led to the discovery of the principles upon which what are now called Sciences are established;” 4

The sound footing for the Gospel is the Holy Scripture, and when they are no longer viewed as entirely reliable neither is the Gospel – no matter what a person may say to the contrary. When the Christian denies the reliability of Scripture, he denies the reliability of the Gospel message. We must take seriously Peter’s concern to the reliability of Scripture when he wrote,

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2Peter 1:16

We do well when we do not seek to integrate pseudo science into the Gospel message, what Paul referred to as false knowledge. “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge " (science)–1Timothy 6:20

The Gospel is truth; it contains no speculations or imaginations, it is exact, precise, and without error. The Gospel is the Bible, which is inherent and infallible, each part and the whole without error. Evolution destroys the Gospel by subtle means; it destroys in the minds of men the validity of the Word of God. The fact that some well meaning Christians can reconcile in their mind Evolution and the Bible is no consolation to those who because of inconsistency cannot. Stuffing billions of years in between the verses is not acceptable to most thinking agnostics and atheists; they find no validity in Christianity by making the Bible say something that is not justifiable by any well reasoning person. There is far more value in contradicting what someone says in earnest, than to agree with him apart from sound reason. No one is ever won to the Gospel through compromise.

1 (Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology)

2 (In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, 8th Edition (2008), by Dr. Walt Brown.)

3 The Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth’s Surface, by Reference to Causes now in Operation (3 vols 1830-33).

4 Part 1 – Chapter 11- Of the Theology of the Christians.”