by Hugh Owen
The Word of God as understood in the Church from the beginning tells us that God created all of the different kinds of living organisms by fiat at the beginning of time. God also tells us that less than two thousand years after creation almost all human beings and land animals were drowned in the divine judgment of a world-wide Flood. The sole survivors were the Patriarch Noah and his family, and the representatives of each kind of land animal that he took on the Ark.
Theological Arguments for the Historical Reality of the Global Flood
At this point we will briefly consider five theological arguments for the historical truth of the Mosaic account of the Flood before examining nine powerful bodies of physical evidence for a global cataclysm about 4500 years ago which produced most of the fossil record.
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ and Sacred Scripture testify to the historical reality of a global Flood.
Our Lord compares the global Flood in the days of Noah to His Second Coming. Just as the Second Coming will affect every creature on Earth when it occurs, so did the Flood in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26). St. Peter testifies to the historical reality of a world-wide Flood in 1 Peter 4:20, 2 Peter 2:5, and 3:5-6.
2. All the Church Fathers testified to the global Flood.
The Council of Trent and Vatican Council I both defined that when all of the Fathers of the Church agree on any interpretation of Scripture that pertains to a doctrine of faith or morals, it is definitive. All of the Fathers agreed that the Flood was a real historical event that covered the whole Earth. They also held that the Ark was a type of the Catholic Church outside of which there is no salvation. Just as the Church is a real entity, so the Ark was a real entity. All of them taught that the different kinds of land creatures were buried in the waters and sediments of a world-wide Flood—except for the animals that were saved on Noah’s Ark. The following is typical of the statements of Church Fathers and Ecclesiastical authors whose writings on the Flood have been preserved:
Tertullian (c. 160–225 “There was a time when her whole orb, withal, underwent mutation, overrun by all waters. To this day marine conchs and tritons’ horns sojourn as foreigners on the mountains, eager to prove to Plato that even the heights have undulated.” Tertullian, On the Pallium 2.3
3. Cataclysmos = unique event
The New Testament and the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament use the unique word “cataclysmos” to describe the Flood. “Cataclysmos” signifies a violent upheaval, on a much bigger scale than any local Flood (cf. https://biblehub.com/greek/kataklysmos_2627.htm ).
4. Why spend a hundred years building an Ark to escape a local flood? Why take animals on the Ark to escape a local flood?
God commanded Noah to work on the Ark more than 100 years before the Flood occurred (Genesis 6:1, Genesis 7:4). This would be absurd if the Flood were to be a local flood, since God could just have told Noah to move from one country to another as He did with Abraham hundreds of years after the Flood. It would be equally absurd for God to direct Noah to take every kind of animal on the Ark if the Flood were a local flood, since the animals could simply have moved away from the flooded area.
5. A local Flood would make God a liar.
God promised Noah never to send another Flood upon the Earth (Genesis 9:11). If the Flood was a local flood, then God lied to Noah, as there have been countless local floods during the four and a half millennia since the Flood of Noah.
Physical Evidence for a Global Flood
This brings us to the physical evidence for a Global Flood. We will examine nine bodies of evidence:
1) Eyewitness Testimony from all over the world
Hundreds of people groups all over the world have preserved an historical memory of a global Flood. It is significant that the histories handed down by people groups who settled close to the location of the Tower of Babel, resemble most closely the true history related by Moses in Genesis.
Credit: Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/flood-legends/flood-legends/
This chart compares Flood accounts from all over the world and shows the remarkable similarities that exist among them. Not only do these accounts recall the Flood as a global event and a judgment upon mankind from which only one family and some animals were spared on an Ark; many of them include details contained in the Mosaic account of the Flood, such as the release of a bird to determine if the Flood waters had receded at the end of the Flood.
2) Marine fossils on top of Earth’s high mountains
In our reply to Question #1, we saw that St. Peter our first Pope warned of an end times deception which would seek to persuade believers to doubt the fiat creation of all things in the beginning of time and a global flood in the days of Noah. He prophesied that this deception would rest on the false premise that “things have always been the same” from the beginning of creation—that the same material processes going on now have been operating in more or less the same way since the beginning of the universe and that therefore we can extrapolate from present observations of the natural world into the past to explain how everything came to be.
The currently-accepted geological column was determined in almost its present form more than 120 years ago, before the invention of radiometric dating, by men who embraced the false uniformitarian philosophy that St. Peter had warned against. In his influential work on geology, Charles Lyell adopted the principle that “the present is the key to the past” and speculated that great oceans periodically washed over the land, sediments settled out gradually; the waters withdrew; the sediments hardened into rocks; and this process was supposedly repeated over and over again for aeons of time. Charles Lyell and his disciples then speculated that if Lyell’s mechanism for sedimentary deposition was correct, the fossils in the rocks seemed to tell the story of life developing from the simpler to the more complex—from fish to reptile, to amphibian, to bird and mammal and finally to man.
This provided the basis for Charles Darwin’s hypothesis of biological evolution which held that all of the different kinds of living things had evolved through a process of natural selection from one or a few one-celled ancestors over long ages of time. Darwin proposed an evolutionary “Tree of Life” with a one-celled organism at the bottom and human evolution at the top of its branches. Thus, the whole hypothesis of biological evolution was firmly based upon Lyell’s speculations in geology, which were, in turn, firmly based upon Descartes’ false uniformitarian principle which he said he conceived after dabbling in the occult and being “possessed” by a “spirit of truth.” Moreover, Lyell in his private correspondence admitted that his primary purpose in promoting his new geology was to destroy the credibility of the Holy Bible—most especially the Mosaic account of the Flood.
The illustration below displays an ammonite fossil, the fossil of a marine creature, discovered high in the Himalayan Mountains. Such fossils are found on all of the Earth’s highest mountains, indicating that the mountains were once under water before being uplifted towards the end of, or after, the Flood.
Credit: Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/fossil-record/high-dry-sea-creatures/
3) Billions of Well-Preserved Fossils All Over the Earth
The existence of billions of fossils like this one all over the Earth points to a unique, global, watery catastrophe, because fossilization is a rare occurrence and we do not find anything forming today that compares with the fossil graveyards of the past where huge numbers of marine and land-dwelling creatures were drowned and buried together. All over the land surface of the Earth, we find billions of marine creatures buried together. For example, according to Dr. Andrew A. Snelling:
billions of straight-shelled, chambered nautiloids are found fossilized with other marine creatures in a 7 foot (2 m) thick layer within the Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon. This fossil graveyard stretches for 180 miles (290 km) across northern Arizona and into southern Nevada, covering an area of at least 10,500 square miles (30,000 km2). No geological event in the recorded history of the last four thousand years could even begin to explain how these kinds of animal graveyards were made.
Credit: Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/what-are-some-of-the-best-flood-evidences/
This illustration shows the beautifully preserved remains of a female fish in the act of giving birth to a baby. It is apparent that these fish were rapidly buried. Had they died under normal conditions, they would have been scavenged and decomposed by microorganisms. Thus, the fact that we find billions of beautifully preserved remains of marine creatures mixed with the remains of land creatures tells us that some unique event was responsible for the preservation of fossils on this scale.
Credit: Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/fossil-record/the-worlds-a-graveyard/
Preservation of Soft Tissue, DNA and Biomolecules in Fossils Points to Recent Flood
In addition to the existence of billions of fossils, the preservation of soft tissue, DNA and biomolecules in those fossils testifies to the recent, rapid, and catastrophic burial of billions of plants and animals all over the earth. DNA is comprised of nucleotides which specify particular amino acids which comprise proteins, and many published reports have testified to the preservation intact proteins in specimens allegedly buried tens or hundreds of millions of years ago. In a 2005 article in the journal Science, Paleontologist Mary Schweitzer of the University of North Carolina proved that soft tissue that she had found in the bone of a T-Rex contained real blood cells and proteins, material that could not plausibly have survived the 65 million or more years assigned to the rock formation where the T-Rex bone was found. Matthew Carrano, a dinosaur curator at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. confirmed the authenticity of the proteins. “Here are the pieces of the protein. If you’re going to refute this you have to explain how these pieces got in there,” Carrano insisted in an interview. “It’s not another molecule mimicking the protein and giving off a similar signal. This is the actual sequence.”
In 2010, paleontologists from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology found a mosasaur fossil containing cartilage. In 2011, a group of Swedish researchers published their discovery of soft tissue in the bones of another mosasaur, allegedly 70 million years old. In 2014, another group of researchers found intact, flexible proteins in worm sheaths buried in rocks allegedly 551 million years old. The discovery of so many pieces of organic material in a remarkable state of preservation at every level of the so-called geological column testifies to the rapid and recent burial of these plants and animals in the sedimentary deposits of a world-wide flood.
4) Sediment Layers Cover Vast Areas
The sedimentary rock layers exposed in the walls of Grand Canyon belong to six megasequences that can be traced across North America and around the world. At the base of these layers are huge boulders and sand beds that are evidences of sediments being laid down rapidly across North America and the other continental surfaces.
Credit: Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/geology/rock-layers/transcontinental-rock-layers/
The chalk beds of southern England (shown below) can be traced across France, Germany, and Poland, all the way to the Middle East. What kind of geological phenomenon observed in recent times could lay down water-borne sediments over three continents!
Coal beds offer another example of massive deposition of sediments over multiple continents. Dr. Andrew A. Snelling explains:
In the northern hemisphere, the Upper Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) coal beds of the eastern and Midwest USA are the same coal beds, with the same plant fossils, as those in Britain and Europe. They stretch halfway around the globe, from Texas to the Donetz Basin north of the Caspian Sea in the former USSR.
5) No slow and gradual erosion. Rapid deposition. Polystrate Fossils and Planation Surfaces.
It is important to note that, according to Dr. Andrew A. Snelling,
at the boundaries between some sedimentary layers we find evidence of only rapid erosion. https://answersingenesis.org/geology/grand-canyon-facts/no-slow-and-gradual-erosion/
This strongly indicates that the sediments that hardened into these layers must have been laid down almost simultaneously.
Photos courtesy Dr. Andrew Snelling
Credit: Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/geology/grand-canyon-facts/no-slow-and-gradual-erosion/
All over the world one can find polystrate fossils which cut through multiple layers of sedimentary rock, layers which, according to the conventional evolutionary time-scale, were deposited over tens or hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years. The existence of polystrate fossils, like the tree trunk shown below, testifies to the rapid and catastrophic deposition of sediments and contradicts the Lyellian understanding of sedimentary deposition.
In recent decades sedimentologists who study the way that sediments are laid down in nature to form sedimentary rocks have built huge laboratories where they can do empirical research in their field. This research has revealed that Lyell and his disciples failed to take adequate account of the role played by moving currents of water in the deposition of sediments.
In sedimentological laboratories, like the one at Colorado State University shown below, scientists have discovered that sediments are deposited by moving currents of water very differently from the way that Lyell and his disciples imagined. Instead of slow and gradual vertical deposition of sediment, moving currents of water deposit water-borne sediments laterally and vertically at the same time, according to their physical characteristics.
In recent years, geologists have reinterpreted several huge sedimentary rock formations in light of empirical research in sedimentology, including the Tonto Group, a large section of the Grand Canyon depicted below. According to a peer-reviewed article published in the journal of the French Geological Society, careful analysis of the sediments that make up this formation indicate that the whole deposit was laid down rapidly—in a matter of days or weeks, not millions of years—by an enormous body of water moving from east to west across what is now the Southwestern United States.
Another common observation consistent with the historical reality of the Global Flood is the beautiful sharp folding of multiple sedimentary layers within uplifted and folded mountain ranges which can be witnessed all over the Earth as depicted here. If these layers had been laid down over millions of years, there ought to be some evidence of cracking and fracturing of the more ancient layers during the folding and uplifting of the mountains. Instead, all over the Earth, one observes multiple layers of sedimentary rock, folded in beautiful tight folds, without any fracturing—a clear indication that all of the sediments were laid down rapidly at more or less the same time, and that there were no long intervals of time between them.
6) These features of the Earth go hand in hand with other features that characterize enormous areas of the Earth’s surface: Water gaps, over-sized valleys, and planation surfaces.
Water gaps and over-sized river valleys constitute two other world-wide geological phenomena that testify to a recent global Flood. Water gaps like the ones depicted below can be found all over the surface of the Earth.
“Flood geologists interpret these gaps as relicts of channelized flow that occurred as waters receded from a worldwide inundation . . . Conventional geologists have proposed various solutions to the problem such as antecedent streams or headward erosion, but none of these processes are currently observed, and most geologists admit that water gaps are difficult to explain [in terms of presently observed natural processes].”
Credit: Creation Ministries International: https://creation.com/do-rivers-erode-through-mountains
A related feature of river valleys all over the world is their enormous size relative to the size of the rivers that flow through them. According to geologist Steve Austin, “Studies by G.H. Dury12 on modern stream channels and river valleys prove that many are too large for the streams that they contain. He argues that most modern streams at some point on their channel are “underfit.” Dury speaks of the “continent-wide distribution of underfit streams.” (Dury, G. H. Streams – Underfit,” in Fairbridge, R.W., ed., The Encyclopedia of Geomorphology: NY: Reinhold 1968 pp.1070-1071). Using channel meander characteristics, Dury concludes that streams frequently had 20 to 60 times their present discharge.” (Steve Austin, “Did Landscapes Evolve?” )
The same geological forces that produced enormous sedimentary deposits extending from one continent to another also left behind enormous planation surfaces as Flood waters receded from the continents and flowed into the ocean basins. For example, almost two-thirds of the entire land surface of the African continent is a planation surface, sheared off by the receding waters of the Flood as they flowed into the oceans. No geological event since the Flood has come close to producing the kinds of effects that can still be observed all over the Earth as a consequence of that unique global cataclysm.
7) The Cambrian Explosion
One of the most remarkable bodies of evidence for a global Flood and for special creation is the so-called Cambrian Explosion which refers to the sudden appearance of the fossils of virtually every kind of living organism in the Cambrian rocks all over the earth. The largest category of living things is a phylum and there are approximately 35 phyla represented on earth today. However, the Cambrian rocks boast a fossil record of more than 100 phyla, about two thirds of which have become completely extinct. This remarkable fact harmonizes perfectly with the Mosaic account of the Flood, since the fossils testify to the rapid burial in water-laden sediment of huge numbers of living organisms. This accords well with the sacred history of Genesis. A large number of different kinds of creatures were created by God in the beginning; only a few of each kind were taken on Noah’s Ark while the rest were drowned, often ending up in water-borne sediments full of land and marine creatures buried together.
Since natural science knows of no viable natural mechanism whereby one kind of living organism can be transformed into another kind of organism with new organs and new systems of the body, the fossil record testifies eloquently to the rapid burial and extinction of many of the original kinds of living organisms, but offers no support whatsoever for the claim that one kind of creature evolved into another. Thus, the fossil record confirms the special creation of all things in the beginning followed by the divine judgment of Noah’s Flood and the rapid burial of billions of living organisms.
8) Archaeological Evidence for Dinosaur and Human Coexistence
A common objection to the traditional Biblical chronology concerns the alleged 65 million-year gap between humans and dinosaurs. It would be impossible, according to the skeptics, for God to have created all of the different kinds of creatures including dinosaurs and human beings, at the beginning of time, because the fossil record shows the existence of a 65 million year gap between man and dinosaurs. Those who hold this common view are usually ignorant of the mountain of archaeological evidence for dinosaur and human co-existence. However, conscientious researchers can easily find photographs of cave paintings, petroglyphs, and various kinds of artifacts from all over the world proving that ancient man had an intimate knowledge of various kinds of dinosaurs. Even the late champion of molecules to man evolution, Carl Sagan, had to admit that this evidence existed, but his faith in evolution led him to hypothesize that the realistic representations of dinosaurs fashioned by ancient man all over the world merely reflected a “genetic memory” of when our evolutionary ancestors lived in the age of reptiles!
Dinosaurs in the Bible
So, did dinosaurs and humans ever live contemporaneously? Certainly! The Book of Genesis makes it clear that every kind of land animal was created on the same day as man; therefore, people and dinosaurs must have walked the Earth at the same time for at least some portion of history. For an example, of evidences too numerous to mention, we will examine a controversial description of an animal from one of the Bible’s oldest books.
In Job 40:15, written several thousand years ago, God instructs Job:
“Behold now Behemoth, which I made with thee[…]”
God goes on to explain that Behemoth
This description of Behemoth is thorough enough for one to confidently identify the animal as a sauropod dinosaur; specifically, a titanosaur. Consistent with Behemoth’s description, titanosaurs
With length estimates for the largest specimens ranging from 100 to 200 feet,(4) Titanosaurs really are chief of the works of God!
Alternative identifications of Behemoth abound, but the three most popular are the hippo, elephant, or pure fiction.
The identifications of hippo and elephant are not plausible for several reasons. Neither hippos nor elephants have a tail which inspires a comparison with a cedar, an immensely tall tree that is used repeatedly in the Bible to convey majesty. Neither hippos nor elephants are immune to being hunted either, as the passage would imply; hippos were often hunted in Africa by being pierced with a barrage of harpoons, and elephants are still poached for their ivory. And if the animal is an elephant, then why use the word behemoth when the word elephant could have been used instead, as in the Book of Maccabees? Lastly, neither elephants nor hippos can be described as “chief of the works of God,” considering that dinosaurs vastly exceeded them in both size and strength. Even if the term “chief” is taken to refer to the order of creation, Genesis describes sea creatures as being created before land animals, the latter category being that in which hippos and elephants are surely found. Hippos do live a partially aquatic lifestyle, but aren’t exactly what one would call a “sea creature.”
The notion that Behemoth was fictitious is so absurd as to hardly merit a rebuttal. The description of Behemoth follows descriptions of very familiar animals, like goats, oxen, ostriches, and horses. For God to abruptly switch gears from describing reality to describing fiction would not make sense in the context of the text, where God is using animals He actually created as examples of His power. To claim that Behemoth is misleadingly portrayed as a real creature solely to awe Job would amount to attribution of an officious lie to God Himself, something condemned by Pope Pius X in PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS. God also tells Job to behold Behemoth, something which Job could not do if Behemoth did not actually exist. And finally, as if to erase all doubt about the actuality of Behemoth’s existence, God says that he made Behemoth “along with” Job.
There are indeed many extinct animals preserved in the fossil record which do not exist today. Dinosaurs are only one example. While the great Flood killed off almost all of these creatures, two of each type remained alive on the Ark. With the drastic changes to the surface of the earth at the time of the Flood, however, the global climate changed; and the Flood was followed by one Ice Age, which lasted for several hundred years. This climate change made it difficult for certain animals to survive, and thus the descendants of certain created kinds did not thrive and slowly went extinct. In addition, history records accounts of men, like St. George and Beowulf, who slew “dragons,” creatures whose descriptions leave no doubt as to their identification as dinosaurs.
9) Residual Carbon-14 throughout the Fossil Record
Surprisingly, one of the most convincing witnesses to a recent creation and a global flood may prove to be carbon-14 (C14). Carbon-14 is produced when cosmic rays knock neutrons out of atomic nuclei in the upper atmosphere. When these fast-moving neutrons hit nitrogen (N14) at lower altitudes, they convert the nitrogen to C14. The C14 is unstable and eventually decays into nitrogen. However, both C14 and carbon-12 (C12) combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which finds its way into the cells of plants and animals. While plants and animals are alive and breathing, the ratio of C12 atoms to C14 atoms remains the same in their cells as in the atmosphere. Once the plant or animal dies, however, the C14 atoms decay at a constant rate and are no longer replaced. As a result, the ratio between C14 and C12 changes over time at a constant rate, making it possible to determine the elapsed time since the death of the organism.
Since half of a given amount of C14 will convert to N14 in 5,730 years (+ or – 40 years), 5,730 years is said to be the half-life of C14. At this rate of decay, any organism that died more than 50,000 years ago should have lost all of its C14. C14 production has increased in recent times as a result of the weakening of the earth’s magnetic field. In addition, a global flood—while it would have destroyed almost all plant and animal life—would not have affected the production of C14 in the atmosphere. Consequently, the C14 level relative to C12 would have increased during the post-flood period since the same amount of C14 would have coexisted with a much smaller reservoir of C12. (Thus, while the current ratio of C14 to C12 is one to a trillion, it could have been as small as one to five trillion in the pre-Flood atmosphere.) Both of these factors tend to make carbon-tested organic matter test much older than it really is. Nevertheless, since the half-life of C14 is relatively short, C14 dating can be calibrated using objects of known age up to about 2500 B.C., making it much more reliable than radiometric dating with long-half-life isotopes which cannot be so calibrated. For example, the pioneers of the C14 dating method could use wood from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs, the approximate dates of whose reigns could be determined from historical records, to calibrate their results.
In recent decades, significant amounts of C14 have been found in coal, in fossil fuels and in dinosaur bones, strengthening the grounds for skepticism about the ages of tens of millions of years that have been assigned to them by the conventional geologic time scale. A recent paper by geophysicist John Baumgardner and his colleagues reported that coal samples from deposits assigned ages from 30 to 300 million years before the present contained C14 in roughly the same amounts, far above the detection limit, strongly suggesting that the plant material that forms the coal deposits all over the earth was laid down rapidly, thousands, not millions, of years ago. At the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore in August 2012, another team of researchers, led by physicist Thomas Seiler, presented their published results of C14 testing of 20 different fragments of dinosaur bones from Texas to Alaska, showing that all of the bones contained C14 in the same amounts as the bones of wolves and mammoths and other creatures that are known to have lived with man less than ten thousand years ago. Dr. Paul Giem of Loma Linda University found seventy-eight separate instances in the scientific literature where C-14 had been found in material that should be radiocarbon dead.
The fact that the remains of plants and animals assigned conventional ages of tens or hundreds of millions of years before the present all contain roughly the same amount of C-14 strongly supports the testimony of the sacred history of Genesis that all of these different kinds of creatures were buried in the waters and sediments of the Flood at more or less the same time. The level of placement of fossils in the sedimentary rocks does not reflect a significant difference in time of burial. Rather, it reflects the diverse habitats and varying degrees of mobility of the various organisms.
In conclusion, the unanimous testimony of Scripture, Tradition and the Fathers harmonizes perfectly with the testimony of people-groups all over the world, as well as with the evidence from archaeology, paleontology, and sedimentology, among other areas of knowledge. They all concur that Noah’s Flood and its aftermath produced most of the fossil record and resulted in the extinction of most of Earth’s phyla, either through drowning in the Flood waters and sediments or through inability to survive in the harsh conditions that accompanied the post-Flood Ice Age and the less benign post-Flood environment.
 Mary Schweitzer, “Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex,” Journal Science, March 25, 2005 (accessed 10-4-20).
 Jeanna Bryner, “T. Rex Related to Chickens,” LiveScience (accessed 10-4-20); See also: Sharon Begley, T. Rex and His Family, Newsweek, April 23, 2007.
 Brian Thomas, “How Long Can Cartilage Last?” (accessed 10-4-20).
 J. Lindgren et al. 2011, “Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous Bone Proteins,” PLoS ONE. 6(4): e19445.
 M. Moczydlowska, F. Westall, and F. Foucher. 2014, “Microstructure and Biogeochemistry of the Organically Preserved Ediacaran Metazoan Sabellidites,” Journal of Paleontology. 88 (2): 224-239.
 Brian Thomas, “Fresh Fossils” (accessed 10-4-20).
 Hugh Owen, “A Question of Time: The Age of the Earth from the Perspective of Faith and Reason” (accessed 10-4-20).
 “Kind” generally corresponds to “genus” or “family” in modern taxonomy.
 RUSS HUMPHREYS, “Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Young” (accessed 10-4-20).
 JOHN BAUMGARDNER ET AL, “Measurable C14 in Fossilized Organic Materials.”
 THOMAS SEILER ET AL, “Recent C-14 Dating of Fossils Including Dinosaur Bone Collagen,” Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting, Singapore, August 15, 2012.
 PAUL GIEM, Origins 2001, “Carbon-14 Content of Fossil Carbon” (2001: Loma Linda University) (accessed 10-4-20).