Our son is a Biochemistry Major at the University of Virginia and has been a faithful Christian for several years. Now, he is starting to question the validity of the Bible. He has a list, but one of his questions is that there is no scientific evidence for a worldwide flood? Is this true? Thanks for your help.
Your son is essentially correct. There is no really strong scientific evidence that the flood happened. One reason for this is that the flood was a miraculous/supernatural event. Science cannot study one-time miraculous events. If your son was given the false impression when he was younger that the flood can be proved by science, then it is not surprising that he is struggling a bit now. The problem here is not the Bible, but the unfortunate way some people handle trying to “prove” the flood story, using questionable science. Very deep flood deposits have been found in Mesopotamia, but these deposits can be seen as evidence of a very large “local flood.” By the way, before I continue, be aware that I am convinced that the flood in Genesis 7-9 did happen. It is just that my belief in the flood is not principally based on science.
As I see it, the positive evidence for the flood comes in two areas. First is the worldwide parallel “myth” of a great flood. Nearly every ancient culture has a story of a great flood which judged mankind. Dozens of cultures from every continent have a flood story. One reasonable explanation for this nearly unanimous belief in a flood is that it is the result of an actual flood. This can be seen as a remnant memory of the real flood. The other “evidence” for the flood is the fact that it is found in the Bible, that prophets, apostles and Jesus himself believed in this as an historical event. The inspiration of the scripture and the implication for the reliability of the Bible is probably the strongest evidence for the flood. I am convinced that this flood happened, that the Genesis story is a faithful account of the flood, and that it was a miraculous judgment by God. However, my belief in this is principally based on the well-established authority of the scripture.
My suggestion to you is, rather than try to “prove” to your son that the flood happened (a difficult task), you should try to appeal to the general evidence for the inspiration of the Bible. I have written two books which address these questions. They are Reasons For Belief and Is There a God? Both are available at www.ipibooks.com The first is a general treatment of the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible and the other goes in depth on scientific arguments for the existence of God and for the Bible. The second book has an entire chapter on the question of the flood. You might want to get a copy.