Do I have to prove that the flood happened?
I have another question for you and it is a theological one. What are your thoughts on the Validity of the story of the ark? I have a hard time taking it in a total literal sense given that it was recorded so long ago. I'm a believer that has struggled with doubt many times in my life as I know you have from listening to your podcasts. Part of me says it doesn't matter but when I get into debates with people of "science" it gets a little difficult. My theory is that in the time of the event they said the entire earth was flooded but If they didn't have an accurate knowledge of how big the entire earth was. How do you deal with the debate on this subject? I do believe the bible is Gods word. And from my experience when you start doubting some people get really offended by your doubt. Any answers on that would help.
That’s a good question. I do think some type of major flooding occurred since a flood narrative appears in a few ancient sources in the Mesopotamian world. How “global” it was, I’m not sure, for the same reason you stated. There is simply no reason to believe that they understood the earth like we do. They thought the earth was much, much smaller, hard, flat, and contained in a small, hard dome. They thought the flood occurred because God re-opened the cosmic "flood gates" from above and below (see Gen. 7:11 and cf. 1:2). (Of course, we know that no such bodies of water exist.)
One might argue that God revealed to them that the entire earth (as moderns understand it) was flooded. This is certainly possible. I just don’t find it compelling. God seems never to change a biblical author’s “scientific” view on anything (even Jesus got a botanical fact inadvertently wrong in Mark 4:31, since the mustard seed is not the smallest seed on earth).
So, I do think a flood occurred. I don’t know how much land was affected.
(Recall how in Luke 2:1, the “whole world” clearly doesn’t mean the “whole world,” since the Roman empire didn’t cover the “whole world.”)
Concerning how to talk to skeptics, I ask the question, “What’s at stake in this question? If I demonstrate to you that the flood occurred, does that mean you’ll repent of your sins and become a disciple of Jesus? If not, then why are you interested in this topic? What’s at stake?”
In my experience, what’s really at stake is attacking some simple issues so that they can throw the baby out with the bathwater. If a skeptic wants to dismiss the entire collection of biblical books because there is no hard scientific evidence for a massive, Mesopotamian flood, then I always respond, “I don’t find that convincing whatsoever. I see no reason to judge the historical verisimilitude of at least 66 various books in the Protestant Bible because of an ancient flood narrative. If I couldn’t offer scientific evidence for some fact given in a book in the library, I would never say, ‘We now know that the entire library is false.’ That’s silly. Moreover, if you’re genuinely interested in the Christian worldview, I’d love to chat about Jesus and his resurrection. That’s the basis of my faith—not an ancient flood narrative.”
I don’t spend any energy whatsoever in attempting to demonstrate evidence for every single event in the Bible. I don’t have it. Moreover, I don’t need it.
For people who need every single fact in the Bible to be scientifically demonstrable in order to trust in the authority of Scripture as a whole, then that person has huge problems in my view since we lack that evidence for a whole range of biblical “facts.”
That’s my view! We can chat more in person if you’d like about it.