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Gramps,

Achaeologists use a dating method which is used to determine the date of wooden objects and of rock layers that is very accurate. It’s done by looking at petrified trees and tracing them back by counting their rings and finding common climate/natural disaster events and overlapping them in this way. the farthest they’ve traced back in a specific area is about 11,500 years uninterrupted. There is no achaeological evidence for Noah’s flood. Is this something that can be taken as an allegory?

Dominik

 

Answer

 

Dear Dominik,

Simply put-yes, the great flood might be allegorical. It also might have taken place in an area that was much smaller than originally thought. You are, of course, free to believe whatever you want about Noah’s Ark. Some people whom I greatly respect believe it was a literal event, and some people I greatly respect believe it was completely allegorical in nature.

That said, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints generally believes that flood described in Genesis happened quite literally, and that it covered the entire earth.  In regards to the great flood, the prophet Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, asked, “Because modernists now declare the story of the flood is unreasonable and impossible, should we disbelieve the account of Noah and the flood as related in the Old Testament?” (The Flood and the Tower of Babel)  The article continues to quote several scriptures that seem to give credence that the flood was not just a metaphorical or allegorical event. After quoting various scripture passages, the article closes with the quote, “Taken altogether, these statements should convince every believer in the Bible that the great Deluge was a worldwide event,not a localized flood that filled only the Mesopotamian or some other region.”

The good news is that none of this should effect your faith in the gospel. Whether or not Jonah was really swallowed by a whale or if the great flood covered the earth or not is simply not relevant to your salvation. What is relevant to your salvation is belief in Jesus Christ. It can be fun and interesting to look at outside sources like archeology and history to see if this or that event really happened, and sometimes outside history can greatly help us grow deeper in our faith. After all, if history, anthropology and archeology were meaningless than BYU wouldn’t have departments dedicated to those topics. Remember though not to put your faith in history, anthropology or archeology. Your faith only belongs in Jesus Christ and His church.

Dominik, I sometimes see young people (and I dearly hope this isn’t you) go through faith struggles when they encounter intellectual arguments which seem to disprove something in the Bible or Book of Mormon, or when they learn that their teachers or parents taught an interpretation of scripture which may not have been correct.  So, whether you learn that your Sunday School teacher got it wrong, or that some famed historian has made a convincing claim that you can’t disprove, remember that neither of these alters the value or truth of scripture.  Scripture is meant to teach the truth of God’s dealings with man.  Study it for yourself, always inviting the Spirit’s help, so that you can find those truths that will help you to follow Christ’s teachings.

You are obviously a very intelligent man with a keen eye for research, and I applaud you for that. Once again, remember that scholarly research will only take you so far, and we also need to rely on faith.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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