Must Christians Believe in Noah’s Flood?
week ago Friday a movie came out with great fanfare entitled Noah. Many
Bible believers have been talking about this movie for some time, because long
before its release it became clear that it was not aimed at representing the
biblical account of the worldwide flood, but a modern fictionalize account. In
fact, its director Darren Aronofsky, bragged before its release that it is “the
least biblical biblical film ever made” (Washington Times, March 24,
2014, “Atheist ‘Noah’ director brags film is least biblical Bible movie ever” By
Cheryl K. Chumley).
On the morning
the movie came out, the Biblical Archaeology Society sent out an e-mail with
a tagline “Examining Noah's Flood. Noah movie comes out today—what do scholars
say about the flood?” This was linked to an article written in 2003 by a Ronald
S. Hendel, a Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of
California Berkley, entitled “The Search for Noah’s Flood: Scientists are
looking in the wrong place.” In the article Hendel, a supposed biblical
“scholar” claims that the biblical story itself “derives most directly not from
an actual event, but from earlier stories.” He then proceeds to summarize some
Mesopotamian flood stories and concludes with the declaration, “The biblical
story of Noah’s Flood is an exemplary and immortal narrative... Even if it didn’t
happen, it’s a true story” (Ronald S. Hendel, “The Search for Noah's Flood:
Scientists Are Looking in the Wrong Place,” Bible Review 19.3 (June
2003): 8. 39).
In a world in
which those considered “scholars” deny the reality of the biblical account we
should not be surprised if entertainers, actors, and movie producers find it
easier to spend millions of dollars to produce a fictional account rather than
a penny to represent what the Bible tells us actually happened.
I have offered
studies in the past that address how we can understand the pagan myths that
have similarities to biblical accounts. In Jan. 6, 2008 we ran a bulletin
entitled “Did Genesis Borrow from Pagan Creation Myths?” which is available on
the website: www.olsenpark.com. This morning what I would like to do is simply
consider some biblical teachings which make it clear that if we accept the
Bible—if we believe in Jesus—it we have a hope of eternal life, we must accept
the biblical account of a worldwide flood as a real event that actually took
place some 4000 years ago.
The Writer of Chronicles Believed in Noah’s Flood.
starts with a genealogical list (1 Chron. 1:1-4) and then proceeds to list the
descendants of Noah’s sons (Japheth: 1:5-7; Ham: 1:8-15; Shem: 1:16- 54),
offering this as the background of all nations of the earth and the ancestry of
Abraham, and the Israelites (2:1-55), and the ancestry of King David and the
kings descended from him (3:1-24).
we believe in Abraham—if we believe in God’s covenant with Israel—if we believe
in the Davidic line of kings (which would ultimately be necessary for Christ to
act as king)—we must believe in Noah’s flood.
Isaiah Believed in Noah’s Flood.
Christians know very well the powerful prophetic chapter in Isaiah 53 that graphically
foreshadows Jesus’ death as an atonement for sin.
may not be as familiar with the verses that follow it (Isa. 54:1-10).
promises that in the forgiveness God offers in the Messiah, He is granting a
restoration of His compassion and care for Israel.
compares it to the promises He made after the flood not to flood the earth
again, after destroying the world of the Noah’s time.
we believe in the forgiveness of sins that is offered in Jesus—if we believe in
the prophetic force of Isaiah 53—we must believe in Noah’s flood.
Ezekiel Believed in Noah’s Flood.
book of Ezekiel was written during the time the Israelites were exiled during
the Babylionian captivity.
happened because of their sins and would ultimately result in the destruction
refers to His deliverance of righteous men like Noah to illustrate the severity
of His judgment and point to His ultimate deliverance of the remnant (Ezek.
we believe in God’s judgment against Jerusalem—if we believe in the Babylonian
exile leading to the ultimate restoration back to Israel—if we believe in God’s
deliverance of Daniel and Job, we must believe in Noah’s flood.
Luke Believed in Noah’s Flood.
like the writer of Chronicles, as Luke begins the gospel account of Jesus, he
establishes his ancestry.
believe, in contrast to Matthew’s record of Jesus’ legal ancestry through the
line of Joseph, Luke records Jesus’ biological ancestry through the lineage of
goes all the way back to Jacob, Abraham and ultimately to Adam (Luke 3:34-38).
you believe in Luke’s record of Jesus’ life—if you believe other claims he
makes about Jesus—if you believe Jesus is the Son of God—you must believe in
Jesus Believed in Noah’s Flood.
the course of the lesson Jesus gave to His disci0ples from the Mount of Olives
Jesus appeals to the flood of Noah to illustrate final judgment (Matt. 24:35-39).
debate when Jesus is talking about final judgment and when His is talking about
the destruction of Jerusalem.
believe that He addresses both at different times in this discourse, switching
back and forth between addressing one and then the other.
this point I believe He is talking abut final judgment.
B. On a
separate occasion when asked when the kingdom would come, He used very similar
language (Luke 17:20-30).
may speak of the “Son of Man” being “revealed” as a description of the
establishment of the church.
Jews likely conceived of both things as taking place at the same time—Jesus shows
that the kingdom would come before the time of the final judgment—it came on
the Day of Pentecost.
you believe that there will be a final judgment—if you believe that the kingdom
of Christ has been established—if you believe that Jesus was God in the flesh
with the ability to know what would happen in the future—you must believe in
Noah’s flood because Jesus did!
The Hebrew Writer Believed in Noah’s Flood.
Hebrew writer lists Noah as acting by faith in order to bring about the
salvation of his household (Heb. 11:1-7).
you believe that faith is necessary to please God—if you believe in salvation
by obedient faith—you must believe in Noah’s flood.
Peter Believed in Noah’s Flood.
uses the salvation of Noah as an illustration of the connection between baptism
and salvation (1 Peter 3:18-22).
“spirits in prison” refers to the souls that are now in the Hadean
realm. Jesus did not preach to them in Hades but in the past.
preached to them through the inspiration given to Noah. Earlier Peter speaks of
the “Spirit of Christ” working in Old Testament prophets (1 Pet. 1:11).
uses the flood of Noah as an example of punishment of the wicked and salvation
of the righteous (2 Pet. 2:4-9).
you believe that baptism is necessary for salvation—if you believe that God
will punish the wicked, and yet save His people who are faithful to Him—you
must believe in Noah’s flood.
It is sad that not only among Hollywood producers and directors but even
among those who put themselves forward as scholars and experts in the Bible
they have chosen to reject the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the
reality of the worldwide flood of Noah. We have seen in this study that if you
believe in the other affirmations of Scripture that lead one to faith in Jesus
Christ, you must also accept its claims about the flood of Noah.