WHY write a book on the Biblical Flood? Has not this subject been largely relegated to academic limbo? Has not the Biblical Flood been considered by some authorities to be an event which never occurred--except perhaps in the imaginations of the ancients? Haven't other authorities considered it to be a historical fact but yet a strictly localized phenomenon? And yet has it not been considered by some others to have been a global cataclysm? While some have considered the Flood to have occurred around 10,000 or 20,000 B.C., have not others placed it at about 2,500 B.C.? Of what significance is this variation of 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000 years? Which of these views, if any, is correct, and what are the implications contained therein?
One hundred and fifty years ago, numerous controversies clouded the academic horizon, controversies which involved the leading scholars of that day. Fossils were being found in every country in Europe. Some were discovered high in the Alps, and others were unearthed below sea level, deep in German or Welsh coal mines. The fossils included remains of marine animals, mammoths, bison, giant birds, dinosaurs, exotic vegetation, and many other hard-to-classify forms. Some were tiny; many were huge. There were so many different forms and sizes of fossils that their classification became quite an art. Some were being found practically in the back yards of the leading academic figures of that day.
These abundant fossil finds demanded an explanation. Many, such as Cuvier, felt that some sort of gigantic, watery cataclysm or cataclysms had indeed engulfed the past. This possibility immediately suggested the Biblical Flood. Yet others cast about for an alternative explanation. Modern humanists, increasingly anti-Genesis in outlook, were growing in numbers and in positions of importance, especially in academic circles. To Voltaire, for instance, any mention of the Flood was offensive; it implied too much of God, or of judgment, or of the Judeo-Christian heritage. Despite evidence left by fossils and sedimentary strata, as well as literary heritages, a Biblical Flood was taboo to him, and to many others.
Voltaire was somewhat typical of the anti-spiritual humanists of his day. He was thoroughly anti-Christian and anti-Judaistic. He felt that the burial of the Bible in general, and the Genesis record in particular, would be a great service to mankind. Yet during his lifetime, most natural scientists leaned toward catastrophism. They mostly revered the Judeo-Christian heritage.
But anti-spiritual humanists, like Voltaire or Kant, usually applauded anything which tended to discredit the Genesis record of catastrophes. Thus, the doctrine of uniformitarianism was born and nurtured from the mother principle of humanism, as was the daughter principle of evolution--merely biological uniformitarianism. Evolution and uniformitarianism practically required agnosticism, and they made atheism increasingly respectable, even virile. The viewpoints of the early catastrophists became outmoded and were gradually discarded, and then they were all but forgotten. Thus our century has received an almost pure heritage of uniformitarianism, and as a consequence, is leaving a legacy of anti-spiritual humanism in various forms.1
Modern uniformitarianism was conceived 200 years ago, and about 100 years ago it became the dominant theory of Earth history. Its advocates maintained that our planet and our solar system have had a serene past in terms of multiplied millions of years. No great, sudden cataclysms ever occurred. But is this theory defensible in the light of new evidence? Was it ever really defensible in the light of former evidence?
There are abundant evidences of a watery, global cataclysm -- evidences which are not easily refuted. They are so universal, so astounding, and so inter-related that they require re-examination. How is it explained, for instance, that ancient peoples, from six separate continents, almost invariably had a Flood tradition? Why is it that ancient peoples almost always had a pantheon of sky-gods and traditions of celestial chaos? Why is it that ancient peoples all over the world, in diverse cultures possessing independent traditions, yet possessed similar traditions of cataclysms containing similar motifs? And if the ancients simply happened to have comparable or corresponding hallucinations, why, then, does our solar system also contain abundant evidences of historical astral chaos? And is it possible that our Earth could have escaped this? Re-examination of these universal evidences and their implications leads to a serious and careful consideration of the Flood catastrophe.
The evidences of a global Flood are sound and they increasingly demonstrate with drama that worldwide catastrophes have occurred. However, the Biblical Flood is far from a fully developed subject. Newer circumstances and additional evidence requires a more comprehensive review. Renewed analysis and synthesis are needed. Uniformitarianism needs to be thoroughly questioned.
Today, humanism--the adoration of homo sapiens--remains largely the attitude of our scholarly classes. This spirit of our age is reflected in our philosophies, our principles, our values and our deeds. We are asking if the humanistic viewpoint is really mature. Therefore, the objective of this work is to achieve the most critical, penetrating, systematic, analytical, and synthetical examination of the uniformitarianism which has been accomplished to date. The objective is to bring this modern hypothesis, almost a sacred cow, into the arena of test and trial; your writer is the matador and you, the reader, are the spectator.
This labor has been dedicated to young scholars. Dare to think,
to re-think. Have the courage to cheerfully challenge the current
generation in its disappointing crescendo of turmoil and trouble. To use
an old Latin phrase--sapere aude. Investigate the history of our
solar system during the last 10,000 years, especially that of our fragile
sphere. Examine the many traditions of the ancients. Review the magnificent
job of engraving and etching that has occurred upon the surface of our
Examine these evidences carefully. Prepare to draw conclusions that
may seem at first somewhat amazing.
"The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch" by Donald W. Patten - is ©1966 by Pacific Meridian Pub. Co.