There is a link to an audio message by Darrel Falk available on Douglas Jacoby’s website. The title of the talk is “Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology”. In this talk, Darrel talks about Noah and the Flood as follows: "We can use science to test the story of Noah, and when we use science to test the story of Noah, it’s pretty clear there was no bottleneck of the whole animal world and humans down to two people or down to a few more than that in some cases. There’s plenty of ways in which genetics can check that, and it’s just not the case." As someone who takes the view that there are no scientific errors anywhere in the Bible, how do you explain this? To say that the story of Noah is figurative would seem to go against passages in the New Testament that appear to refer to Noah’s building of the ark and the Flood as real historical events.
I have read the article at Biologos. I am a personal friend of Darrel Falk, by the way. I agree that the evidence does not support any sort of virtually complete genetic bottleneck of animal species several thousand years ago. This certainly does draw into question the most literal possible interpretation of the flood story. I deal with this question extensively in my book "Is There a God?" My problem with what Darrel does is that it appears he is willing to state emphatically that the flood story is simply a myth–with no basis in actual events at all. He seems to be prepared to conclude that it is a fable. I have a few problems with this. First of all, there is the fact that Jesus clearly saw this event as having some sort of historical reality. Peter is perhaps even more emphatic (2 Peter 3:3-7), telling us that we can be sure that Jesus will come back because of the flood.
For this reason, and others, I simply cannot just reject the historical reality of some sort of flood. Besides, virtually every single truly ancient culture has a story/myth of a great world-wide flood. These stories come from Australia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe and Asia. Despite the genetic evidence, which I feel we cannot ignore, I see evidence, both biblical and historical that there was some sort of a judgment on mankind by God.
There are a number of theories. Some believe that the flood was local–that there was a massive flood in the Mesopotamian valley. I suppose this is possible, but how are we to explain all the remnant flood stories across the globe? Besides, Genesis 6-7 certainly at least appears to imply a flood beyond Mesopotamia. Here is what I lean toward. First of all, the Bible says there was a great flood. Well, to be honest, given the overwhelming evidence for biblical inspiration, that pretty much settles it for me. However, it seems possible that a world-wide event did not literally flood the earth to the tops of the highest mountains. Surely duck-billed platypuses and kangaroos did not hop to the ark and hop back to Australia. Perhaps God re-created animals, or perhaps God left behind remnant populations all over the world. I am not sure exctly what happened, but I see both historical and biblical evidence for a flood. I combine this with my biblical faith and conclude that God did indeed judge the world at that time for its sin and did save Noah and his family because of their faith.
I agree with Darrel’s science here, but I believe he is going too far to reject the historical nature of Genesis 6-7.
John Oakes, PhD