Saturday Sermon: Young Earth Creationism

How did I get home?

Welcome again to another Saturday Sermon. This week’s topic is inspired by the story of Noah and his floating zoo. There are many people who believe that the Bible is a direct telling of the history of life, the universe, and everything and the faulty math of a 17th century archbishop provides their timeline. I speak, of course, about Young Earth Creationists.

A quick disclaimer before I begin, I am not going to be talking in detail about the science that easily and thoroughly refutes the ideas of Young Earth Creationism. I am not a cosmologist, biochemist, biologist, geologist, archeologist, or paleontologist, and have no credentials to debate these topics. That’s not to say that I don’t understand science; I understand a lot of it in my mind, but I do not have the ability to explain it myself. Anyway, on to the sermon.

One of the mainstays of biblical literalism is the idea that the Genesis account is exactly how everything came into being. It is touted by the likes of Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, and other preachers and proselytizers as the alternative to evolution. However, that is not at all the case. In actual scientific terms, evolution refers to the biological process of change in populations of species over time. Creationists tend to lump everything including the Big Bang theory, galaxy formation, the formation of our solar system, formation of earth, and abiogenesis as well as the aforementioned biological process under the umbrella term, “evolution”.

Young Earth Creationism is the idea that everything in the universe was poofed into existence in six literal days six thousand years ago. Six thousand years? Yes, Archbishop James Ussher, obviously in a moment of boredom, decided that he would work his way backward through the Bible and add up the ages of the patriarchs in order to calculate the exact date of creation. The date calculated was October 22, 4004 BCE and Noah’s flood happened in 2350 BCE.

Creationism is not science. It’s the assertion that the Bible is literally true and the flood of Noah actually happened. It did not. How do we know? There are records of at least a few civilizations that were shockingly unaffected when a GLOBAL FLOOD washed everything off the face of the earth (or under the face of the earth? Around the face of the earth?) except for a bronze-age floating zoo and a six hundred year old man and his family.

While I am not a qualified scientist in any of the above-mentioned disciplines, I can look at the story of Noah’s Ark and say, without hesitation, that it absolutely, positively, DID NOT HAPPEN. How did Noah and his three sons gather all of the animals from all over the world, including from Antarctica, Australia, and the Americas?

Also, Chapter 1 of Genesis has the order of creation in one way, but in Chapter 2 it’s in a different order. Right there we can clearly see that Bible is not the literal telling that Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis tries to tell us it is. There are also creationists that claim that Moses wrote Genesis and that it’s the oldest book of the Bible. Job is generally agreed to be the oldest book in the Bible.

Genesis is collection of parables that were handed down orally until they were written down, or they were stories adapted from earlier writings, such as the Sumerian tablets or the early writings of Zoroastrianism. The Bible is not a history or a science book, It’s a story book that people believe in.


Not much in the way of announcements, but I would like to welcome those who have liked my posts and commented. I will be responding to comments if I haven’t started already.

Genesis Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 9

God tells Noah that all animals will now fear humans (and boy do they ever), but you shouldn’t eat and animal that is still alive. There’s also some eye for an eye stuff in the form of,

6Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 9:6, p. 42). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

We get more repetition from Genesis 8 that God will never again destroy the entire earth with a flood. So he’s saying that he may destroy the earth again, but it will be in some other way? He seals the deal with a rainbow. Except, he says that the rainbow is to remind him not to destroy the world a flood again.

Verse 18 makes it sound like we might expect some other sons to leave the ark as we are, once again, reminded of their names. Noah somehow, in some unspecified amount of time, plants a vineyard, grows the grapes, picks them, ferments them, and gets drunk on the wine laying naked in his tent. His son Ham, who we are reminded time and time again is the father of Canaan, walks in on this and goes to tell his brothers who walk backward with a cloak to cover the old man.

When Noah awakens, he somehow knows that Ham saw him nekkid and curses Canaan and asks God to bless his other two sons and make Canaan their slave. This story seems completely unrelated to the rest of the flood narrative. I’m just glad it’s over now.

Chapter 10

This is the Table of Nations which explains how all the nations of the world were descended from Ham, Shem, and Japheth. As it turns out, shockingly, Ham is the father of Canaan <–#END SARCASM–> and Egypt. Here’s another problem for young earth creationists, if the flood happened anytime between 2430 and 2475 BCE (there are at least three different creationist groups that claim a different year for the flood), Egypt’s history goes back to 3100 BCE and there is no mention of global flood. Wouldn’t that be notable? Wouldn’t one of Ham’s relatives have written, “…where were we before all that flooding?”

As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, there were plenty of cultures that were well-established before the supposed Beginning which, according to James Ussher, took place in October 4004 BCE. None of them write about a global flood around the same time. Sure, they had floods, but that is the peril of living next to a river as most civilizations did.

One other thing, because I’m me, I have to chuckle at the name Nimrod. That is all.

Genesis Chapters 6, 7, & 8

Chapter 6

The population is growing and the text speaks of the growing wickedness of man, but there are no examples given. I can posit my own hypothesis that involves not really punishing the first murderer, Cain, who was simply told to go wandering and that anyone that kills him would be punished sevenfold. There is some curious language about limiting their days to 120 years and also of the Nephilim, which are apparently giants. The Oxford Bible Commentary isn’t much help here either. It only posits hypotheses about Mesopotamian origin stories.

God decides that he is going to get rid of all of the humans, along with all of the animals, birds, and creeping things. No mention of fish. I suppose the authors here thought that fish could survive in whatever water they were tossed into (they can’t).

Why does God find it necessary to destroy all life with a flood? He can apparently sneeze out a whole universe and create all of the animals therein, but he can’t simply disappear the ones that displease him? Hell, Thanos did that at the end of Avengers: Infinity War (I know it’s a spoiler, but if you haven’t seen it already, that’s not my fault). Apparently God does not own, nor can he create his own Infinity Gauntlet, so he decides to use a great flood to destroy everything.

God appears to be quite human and fallible compared to contemporary belief. He has regrets and expresses sorrow, although that sorrow will result in the destruction of everyone and everything for no stated reason. Likely these stories are based around other flood myths and simply play a game of one-upmanship. “Oh, this story destroyed a city, and this other one destroyed a country? Well, we’re going to destroy THE WHOLE WORLD!!!”

Going back to God’s abilities from a couple paragraphs ago, again, he can fart out the entire universe, but he can’t supply a boat for Noah and his family. He also can’t bring the animals to Noah, but Noah and his sons have to gather two of every animal, male and female. This is an impossible task if it is to be taken literally since they would have to travel to Australia, North and South America, and all the Pacific Islands to find each and every animal. But then, it gets a bit more confusing.

Chapter 7

OK, now things get confusing. After being told to gather a pair of each animal, now Noah is told to gather SEVEN PAIRS of all clean animals and. Pair of the unclean animals. Oh, and he has seven days in which to do this before God sends the flood.

There is plenty of repetition in this chapter as we are told twice that Noah is six-hundred years old when he boards the ark with his sons, and Noah’s wife and his sons’ wives (this is one of those repeated lines) and the animals (and creeping things).

A few comments on the whole ark thing with a bunch of animals. Lions and tigers eat a lot of raw meat in the form of other animals. How did zebra’s, gazelles, deer, etc. survive not only being prey in close proximity, but also what did they eat? Did Noah bring enough plants and grasses aboard for all of the herbivorous animals? What about koalas? Did they have plenty of eucalyptus to eat? These are questions that have to be answered if one is going to take this story literally and see it through to any logical conclusion. Science can easily debunk the whole story. Saying God provided the food for the animals raises the question of why didn’t he just provide the ark and the animals in the first place?

We get two entrances onto the ark. This points to different sources being cobbled together with no regard for continuity. In both, Noah is in his six hundredth year, but the second expands it to the second month and seventeenth day. Then the flood started after God shut them and the animals in and it rained for forty days and forty nights.

There is no geologic evidence for a global flood. Geologic column lays this bare since the sign of a global flood would be one giant layer with graded bedding, which would be largest grain at the bottom, finest grain at the top and a mixture of all fossilized animals (including humans) throughout.

So God makes it rain for forty days and nights, with the waters swelling for one hundred fifty days and makes good on his promise to “blot out everything on the face of the earth,” in order to eliminate the wickedness (except Noah and his family). However, we see plenty of wickedness after this story, so how’d that work out?

Chapter 8

1 BUT God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen. 8:1, p. 40). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I love this line. Does he remember all the other people on the ark? So after one hundred fifty days, God figured that was enough to  kill everything and decided to stop the flooding.

Amazingly, after the rushing torrents of water from both above and below, the ark landed safely only about seven hundred miles from where it was built. All of this with a floating zoo built out of wood and pitch and no mention of nails because the hardest metal that they knew of at that time was bronze.

Finally, after forty-seven more days, the waters abated to where the dove didn’t return. Finally, God commanded that Noah and family and all of the animals come out of the ark and start the task of repopulation, despite the fact that the ground would be salted, unable to grow any food. Also, how did the animals from the other continents get back home?

Taking this story literally requires a tremendous leap of faith and an even greater leap of logic, along with a flimsy grasp of reality. All while this supposed global flood is happening, several cultures  around the world are thriving with no mention of a flood. Many of these cultures kept records that survived to today. To say that the flood did happen, would be akin to the house burning down of a man who keeps a daily diary and destroying everything, but the house being rebuilt on the same property exactly as-is, and another diary-writing person moving in and making no mention of the fire or rebuilding.

Oh, and those seven pairs of clean animals from the week before the flood? Those are used for a burnt offering to God…because he commanded it. I’ve heard it said, and I agree with the statement, “Any god who demands to be worshipped isn’t worthy of it. Any god worthy of worship wouldn’t demand it.” I’m sure after a few weeks on the ark, those clean animals were starting to look mighty tasty.