Did a Whole World Once Perish?
RECENTLY, some researchers at a Detroit medical school put a slice of tissue from a long-frozen woolly mammoth under an electron microscope. To their surprise they were able to identify individual red and white blood cells—something that had never been done before in tissue that was so old.
What was it that quick-froze the ancient mammoths, preserving them so perfectly? Scientists can only guess. For example, a recent theory by British astronomer Fred Hoyle blames the sudden extinction on a close encounter between the earth and an asteroid or a comet. Allegedly, this could have filled the atmosphere with dust particles, cutting off sunlight so that the bedarkened mammoths blundered their way into swamps where they were later frozen. Farfetched, is it not?
Although Hoyle’s theory is unlikely, at least it recognizes one important fact: Some sort of catastrophe was required. But what was that catastrophe? Was it merely an astronomical near-miss, or was it something more purposeful?
‘Who cares what it was?’ some might say. ‘Does it really matter to anyone but the mammoths?’ The answer is Yes! What if the woolly mammoths were caught, not in a cosmic accident, but in a deliberate execution of judgment against a whole world? Furthermore, suppose that a similar execution awaits the present generation of mankind. Would you not want to know about it?
‘Absurd!’ retorts the skeptic. ‘Catastrophic executions of judgment just do not happen on a worldwide scale. There is no historical record of such a thing!’
But there is such a record! Chapter seven of the Bible book of Genesis records a worldwide flood that ravaged all forms of life on earth some 43 centuries ago. The record indicates that there was a reason for this disaster. “The earth became filled with violence . . . it was ruined.” (Genesis 6:11, 12) The Flood was a judgment against the wicked generation responsible for that violence. Although drastic, the Flood was necessary to save the earth from utter ruination. Lovingly, God arranged for the survival of Noah and his family, eight persons who were not among those ruining the earth.
Did it really happen? Well, stories of a universal flood are preserved in the folklore of scores of peoples, some 150 examples being known. Such a supercatastrophe certainly does a far better job of explaining what happened to the mammoths than does Hoyle’s frozen swamp theory. As researchers have noted: “These animal remains were not in deltas, swamps or estuaries, but were scattered all over the country.” Besides, no slowly freezing swamp could possibly account for the drastically sudden drop in temperatures that, it has been estimated on the basis of cellular studies, were as low as 150 degrees below zero F. (–101° C.)!
‘But such a thing can’t happen today!’ scoffers will claim. Yet the Bible indicates that we are living in the “last days” of this system of things. (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:3-14) Who can deny that once again men are “ruining the earth”? (Revelation 11:18) What generation has ever seen more violence than ours, with two world wars taking scores of millions of lives in this century? As in Noah’s day, God is making provisions for sincere persons to survive the coming destruction, but many are not interested in those provisions.
Notice what the Bible says regarding the very skeptics who laugh at the possibility of a coming judgment: “For you know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’”
What does this have to do with the flood of Noah’s day? The Bible answers: “For, according to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.”—2 Peter 3:3-7.
Does the reasoning of these scoffers sound familiar? It should. It is the sort of reasoning that underlies the theory of evolution, which denies the Flood and rejects the idea of a future accounting with God. It amounts to saying: ‘We have not observed any dramatic judgments from God in our lifetime; nor have our forefathers. As far as we can tell, natural processes appear to go forward at a leisurely pace, requiring millions of years to change things on a global scale. So why worry about a sudden, worldwide calamity?’
Such thinking is dangerous! True, it may seem to reflect the way natural processes work today, but it totally ignores the warning example of the Flood. People who think this way refuse to accept the fact that there was a Flood, not because of a lack of evidence for it, but “according to their wish,” because they don’t want to be accountable to God.
But wishful thinking will not change the facts! There really was a worldwide flood in Noah’s day, just as there will really be a worldwide settling of accounts with the present generation. (Matthew 24:32-34) Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to find out how you can survive that coming judgment?