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Creation 35(4):32–33, October 2013

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Faith can move mountains (but it can’t change history)


Illustrated by Caleb Salisburyfaith-move-mountains

When a British writer was risking arrest some years ago for denying that millions of Jews had been put to death under Hitler’s leadership of Germany,1 I remember thinking:

  • If he sincerely believes what he says, even to the extent of being willing to risk jail, then his faith in the contention that there was no Holocaust is a very strong faith indeed.
  • No matter how fervently he might believe that the Holocaust never occurred, and no matter how many other Holocaust-deniers agree with him and vociferously support him, his belief cannot alter the fact that the extermination of millions of Jews and others really happened. Holocaust denial cannot change what really happened in the past. It’s history.

Similarly, I know many Christians whose faith in Jesus is commendable, but who equally fervently believe that the worldwide Flood of Genesis 6–9 was not global, but only local. They argue that a ‘worldwide’ flood could refer to a limited area of the planet, wiping out only the limited zone of human (and presumably, animal and bird) habitation that they posit up to that time. They also happily accept millions and billions of years prior to man’s appearance. (They usually don’t realize that this idea comes from the secular interpretation of the fossil ‘record’. This puts death and suffering, carnivory and thorns, before Adam’s sin—contradicting God’s Word.)2,3

However, even though those global-Flood-denying Christians might have a faith in Jesus that can move mountains (Matthew 21:21,4 1 Corinthians 13:25), they cannot change history. Even such ‘mountain-moving’ faith could not alter the fact that all the high mountains of the world that existed when Noah was a boy6 were subsequently submerged during his 600th year (Genesis 7:19).7

Thus for all the high mountains under the whole heaven to have been so inundated, it cannot have been a local flood, but global.8,9,10 This makes sense of the billions of fossilized plant and animal remains in sedimentary rock right around the world—even in the highest mountain ranges (e.g. Himalayas).11,12 The fossils are not the ‘record’ of evolution and extinction over millions and billions of years as evolutionists claim, but rather a legacy of the global Flood about 4,500 years ago, and events since.

Richard Dawkins has faith, too (and it can’t change the past, either)

Leading evolutionist Richard Dawkins has done much to try to rewrite history, claiming evolution, not God, explains our origin. And he says that evolution is still happening today. But when challenged to provide evidence of observed microbe-to-man mutational changes, Richard Dawkins falls short.13 His fallback position is:

“Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”14

That sounds like faith to me. It certainly matches the Bible’s definition (Hebrews 11:1):

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

In fact, it is more of a blind faith than biblical faith, which was always linked to evidence—e.g. the many eyewitness reports of Jesus’ resurrection. Biblical faith is never contrasted with evidence or reason, but with sight. Richard Dawkins has not seen evolution happening, but it seems he sure hopes it’s true. But his faith in a godless origin, no matter how strongly held, and no matter how many people fervently agree with him, cannot change what really happened in the past. The fact that God created the earth and the rest of the universe about 6,000 years ago is real history, and no-one can change it. Even if they can move mountains.

References and notes

  1. The writer, David Irving, was in fact subsequently arrested in Austria in November 2005, and sentenced to three years jail in February 2006. At his trial, Irving reportedly told the court that he had now changed from his earlier outspoken position that the gas chambers were a “fairy tale”; instead he now accepted that the Nazis had killed millions of Jews. However, returning to London the day after his early release in December 2006, Irving repeated his views denying the Holocaust. David Irving jailed for Holocaust denial, guardian.co.uk, 20 February 2006; Holocaust denier: ‘No need to show remorse’, CNN.com, 21 December 2006. Return to text.
  2. Smith, H.B., Cosmic and universal death from Adam’s fall: an exegesis of Romans 8:19–23a, J. Creation 21(1):75–85, 2007; creation.com/romans8. Return to text.
  3. Catchpoole, D., A thorny issue, Creation 34(3):52–55, 2012; creation.com/thorny. Return to text.
  4. And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea’, it will happen.” Return to text.
  5. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. Return to text.
  6. The world’s pre-Flood geography and topography was very different to today’s post-Flood landscape. See “Mountains and the Flood” at creation.com/eroding-ages. Return to text.
  7. Note that this does not mean that Noah and his family needed a pressurized cabin at such ‘altitude’, because the sea level would also have been higher. Batten, D., Did Noah need oxygen above the mountains?, Creation 18(3):36, 1996; creation.com/noah-oxygen. Return to text.
  8. The waters rose to 15 cubits above the mountains (Genesis 7:20)—even with a conservative cubit, that would be about 7 metres or 22.5 feet. As water seeks its own level, it couldn’t rise to cover the local mountains while leaving the rest of the world untouched. For more on this see Kruger, M., Genesis 6–9: Does ‘all’ always mean all? J. Creation 10(2):214–218, 1996; creation.com/genesis-flood-global. Return to text.
  9. In Hebrew, the word for all is kol. While a single kol might sometimes be non-universal, this passage has a double kol, which “disposes of the question of the universality of the Flood,” according to Leupold, H.C., Exposition of Genesis, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1942; ccel.org/ccel/leupold/genesis.ix.html. Return to text.
  10. Walker, T., The Black Sea flood—definitely not the Flood of Noah, J. Creation 14(1):40–44, 2000, creation.com/the-black-sea-flood. Return to text.
  11. Today’s mountains did not exist at the beginning of the Flood but rose towards its end. Oard, M., The mountains rose (a review of Ollier, C. and Pain, C. (Eds), The origin of mountains, Routledge, London, 2000), J. Creation 16(3):40–43, 2002. Return to text.
  12. Fossils found in Tibet revise history of elevation, climate, sciencedaily.com, 11 June 2008. Return to text.
  13. See the YouTube clip accessible via: Was Dawkins stumped?—Frog to a Prince critics refuted again, creation.com/dawkins-stumped. Return to text.
  14. ‘Battle over evolution’—Bill Moyers interviews Richard Dawkins, Now, 3 December 2004, PBS network, www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript349_full.html. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

Richard L.
Hi Jack, Re the Himalayas,

Please ask yourself why there are so many MARINE fossils all over the continents INCLUDING FAR AWAY FROM THE CONTINENTAL / TECTONIC-PLATE boundaries.

And especially--from isostasy, lighter continental rock floating on heavier mantle rock--since the continents HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CONTINENTS. How did all those marine critters get onto the continents and get fossilized?

A world-wide flood is a scientifically elegant explanation for this phenomenon. The burden of proof is on your side, not ours, to reject this evidence and to come up with a scientifically probable explanation.

The copious marine fossils located on continents-that-have-always-been-continents are a big shout-out of the correctness of Genesis 6-9--text which strongly emphasizes the worldwide dimension of the Flood.

james p H.
The Holocaust is not really a good example for Christians to use vis á vis the consequences of evolutionary thinking and God-rejecting regimes, mainly for the following reasons:

  1. It occurred over a very short time period (about 2 years only) during the exigencies of war time.

  2. It was only planned and agreed to in early 1942 at the Wansee Conference. Before that, there is no real evidence of any serious pre-meditation.

  3. Atrocities occur during war time—all sorts of atrocities—if not at the same level as the Holocaust, then, very close to it.

  4. Even under National Socialism, Germany was, still, an ostensibly Christian nation and Darwinism was not spruiked at anything like the level it has been in post-WWII Western nations.

The crimes against humanity committed by various Communist regimes around the world, on the other hand, provide a much better illustration of ‘evolutionary thinking’ in action. Those regimes were all blatantly atheistic, paying open homage to Darwinism and all implemented premeditated, cold-blooded and calculated crimes of the very worst sort over a very long period of decades—all during peace time/times of relative economic prosperity world-wide.
Jonathan Sarfati
We have addressed such claims before very thoroughly, showing the evolutionary anti-Christian nature of German culture at the time (see The Darwin–Hitler connection) and even before WW1 (see World War 1 centenary: Evolution in the Second Reich). Hitler made it clear in Mein Kampf what he intended to do to the Jews, and this was building on evolutionary antisemitism as well as the evolutionary denial of the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-innocent-life ethic.

As can also be shown, we have pointed out the evolutionary basis of the murderous communist regimes before, including Stalin. We have written in more general terms that totalitarian regimes of the 20th century are responsible for more deaths than all ‘religious’ wars put together (three out of the four were communist or international socialist, in contrast with one that was Nazi or National Socialist, the other side of the same coin):

Also, the term ‘war crime’ is a huge misnomer for the evils, such as the Holocaust, that the main Nuremberg Trial classified under ‘Crimes against humanity’:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

They really had nothing to do with war per se, but indeed was a diversion of resources that could have been used to fight. The Nuremberg category ‘War Crimes’ referred to crimes related to war itself, e.g. murdering or torturing PoWs, massacring villages that were not military targets as a reprisal, forcing captured PoWs and civilians into slave labour.
Andre K.
This is just a simple thought and not meant to be in any way critical.

Are we getting a litttle sidetracked here? Does it matter that we argue for or against a global flood years ago when none of us were there and all of us have to rely on our own view of the past? As as self-proclaimed Christian (or whatever we choose to call ourselves, Creationists/Evolutionists/Haven't-Made-Up-My-Mind-Yet-Coz-The-Silly-People-Won't-Stop-Fightingists)

I can't help genuinely wonder if the actual point is that we must 'do to others as we want them to do to us?'

This was the main message of the Christ and I wonder whether the Christ will be so mean spirited that this issue will be of significant importance when this all comes out in the wash.

Not that I actually know what I'm waffling about since I'm a mere mortal who keeps getting it all wrong anyway.
Jack M.
Hi Shaun,

I checked that quotation you gave from Matthew 24 about Christ confirming the historicity of the flood. Still no mention of the Himalayas there.

All best,

Shaun Doyle
Correct, but I didn't say that it did. That quote is but one line of evidence in the cumulative case I constructed for the Himalayas being underwater during Noah's Flood. All that quote demonstrates is that Jesus believed that Noah's Flood really happened; the other lines of evidence I mentioned in connection with that demonstrate that the Flood must have covered the Himalayas.
Les G.
When I was a little boy, I saw Walt Disney's "Pinnochio". I also read, repeatedly, his quite charming printed version. I believed that wishing on a star might really work; that maybe the Blue Fairy was real. But however fervently I believed, it did not hange the facts - that wishing on a star and belief in the Blue Fairy were imaginary. Dawkins and his ilk believe in the "wishing star" of evolutionary teaching. Sadly, however, those Christians who believe the God is indeed the Creator, but that he created via evolution, have been brainwashed into believing in the Blue Fairy of this falsehood.
Jack M.
Hi David,

I'm a little confused by the varying standards of evidence you offer.

You site the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Christ, but the Bible has no eyewitness account of the flood covering the Himalayas, or the Rockies, or anywhere outside the middle east.

Best regards,

Shaun Doyle
The same Christ who's resurrection was well attested by eyewitnesses also affirmed the historicity of the Flood (Matthew 24:37–39), and claimed that the Bible is God's word (Matthew 5:17, Mark 7:13). Given that Jesus' resurrection verifies his claim to be the Incarnate Word of God, his word counts as very strong evidence in favour of the Flood. Moreover, numerous internal features of the Genesis 6–8 narrative make no sense if it merely recounts a local flood:

  1. If the Flood was local then why would Noah spend over 100 years building an Ark when all he had to do was move to a part of the globe where the Flood waters would not reach?

  2. Why build an Ark over 400 feet long for survival (Genesis 6:19) if it was only a local Flood?

  3. Is it not hard to imagine a local Flood that lasted over a year?

  4. If the Flood was local then did God break his promise not to Flood the world again? Hasn’t the Mesopotamian Valley been flooded many times since Noah?

Furthermore, given the history that Jesus affirms from Genesis and the fossil evidence there must have been some global cataclysm that caused the formation of such extensive fossil deposits. The Flood is the most suitable event testified in the Scriptures, which Jesus declared to be God's word, that explains the physical evidence. Finally, the sheer extent of flood legends across the world testifies to the massive impact that this event left on us. We do not have any testimony that explicitly mentions the Flood covering anywhere outside of the Middle East, but all the above factors provide a powerful cumulative case that even the Himalayas, the Andes, and the Rockies were covered with water during Noah's Flood.

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