Contemporary science does not seem to be compatible with a strictly literal interpretation of the flood story. Among the numerous problems raised are the following:
Fitting the Animals Aboard. An ark of the size specified in the Bible would not be large enough to carry a cargo of animals and food sufficient to repopulate the earth, especially if animals that are now extinct were required to be aboard.
Special diets. How did Noah determine and provide for all those special diets?
Fresh foods. Many animals require their food to be fresh. How did Noah keep all these food supplies fresh?
Sanitation. How did such a small crew dispose of so much waste?
Exercise/Animal handling. How were several thousand diverse kinds of animals exercised regularly?
The Water Problem
Where did that much water come from? Where did it go? Whilst one could appeal to miracles (God can do anything, after all) the Genesis story itself presents the flood as the result of God acting through natural processes – the bursting of the fountains of the deep and the opening of the floodgates of the sky.
Lack of Evidence for a Global Flood Where we Would Expect it.
A global flood would have produce evidence contrary to the evidence we see.
Why is there no evidence of a flood in ice core series? Ice cores from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting annual layers. Why doesn't evidence for the flood show up?
Why did the Flood not leave traces on the sea floors? A year long flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores. Why do none of these show up?
Why is there no evidence of a flood in tree ring dating? Tree ring records go back more than 10,000 years, with no evidence of a catastrophe during that time.
How are the polar ice caps even possible? Such a mass of water as the Flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the polar caps off their beds and break them up. They wouldn't regrow quickly.
Evidence supports the uninterrupted human occupation of the Americas (over 12,000 years) and Australasia (about 30,000-40,000 years) from long before the time that the flood could have happened.
How did all the modern plant species survive?
- Many plants (seeds and all) would be killed by being submerged for a few months. This is especially true if they were soaked in salt water.
- Most seeds would have been buried under many feet (even miles) of sediment. This is deep enough to prevent spouting.
How did all the fish survive? Some require cool clear water, some need brackish water, some need ocean water, some need water even saltier. A flood would have destroyed at least some of these habitats.
How did short-lived species survive? Adult mayflies on the ark would have died in a few days, and the larvae of many mayflies require shallow fresh running water. Many other insects would face similar problems.
How could more than a handful of species survive in a devastated habitat? The Flood would have destroyed the food and shelter which most species need to survive. (As an aside it is interesting that after the flood we see that the topsoil has not been washed away and that vegetations still grows. This would suggest that the flood was not as severe as the story depicts it).
How did predators survive? How could more than a handful of the predator species on the ark have survived, with only two individuals of their prey to eat?
How did animals get to their present ranges? How did koalas get from Ararat to Australia, polar bears to the Arctic, etc., when the kinds of environment they require to live does not exist between the two points. How did so many unique species get to remote islands?
Why are so many animals found only in limited ranges? Why are so many marsupials limited to Australia; why are there no wallabies in western Indonesia? Why are lemurs limited to Madagascar?
Evidence that Fossil-Bearing Rock Strata Were Not Laid Down in a Single Event
Most people who believe in a global flood also believe that the flood was responsible for creating all fossil-bearing strata. However, there is a great deal of contrary evidence.
How was the fossil record sorted in an order convenient for evolution if they were laid down in the turmoil of a single flood?
How do surface features appear far from the surface? Deep in the geologic column there are formations which could have originated only on the surface, such as: Rain drops, river channels, wind-blown dunes, beaches, in-place trees, soil and footprints.
How could a flood deposit layered fossil forests? Stratigraphic sections showing a dozen or more mature forests layered atop each other (all with upright trunks, in-place roots, and well-developed soil) appear in many locations. How could these have appeared in the midst of a catastrophic flood? They are evidence of a slow deposition in environmentally sensitive conditions incompatible with a catastrophic deluge.
How were mountains and valleys formed? Many very tall mountains are composed of sedimentary rocks. If these were formed during the Flood, how did they reach their present height, and when were the valleys between them eroded away? Keep in mind that many valleys were clearly carved by glacial erosion, which is a slow process.
How did the human population rebound so fast? Genealogies in Genesis put the Tower of Babel about 110 to 150 years after the Flood (Gen 10:25; 11:10-19). How did the world population regrow so fast to make its construction (and the city around it) possible? Similarly, there would have been very few people around to build Stonehenge and the Pyramids, rebuild the Sumerian and Indus Valley civilizations, populate the Americas, etc.
Also the table of nations in Genesis 10 makes no reference to Negroid or Mongoloid races which may lead us to conclude that such races were not included in the flood.
So my first point is that we have to be honest about the scientific evidence. We would do well to listen to St Augustine comment on Christians talking about the natural order:
Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian,
presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these
topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing
situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to