Geoscience Research Institute

IN A FEW WORDS

Origins 5(2):59-60 (1978).

Brief summaries of the main conclusions of the leading presentations are given below for those who may find the complete articles too long or technical.


FOOTPRINTS IN THE GRAND CANYON

    One of the questions the student of earth science often faces is regarding the nature of the agents which deposit the sediments found on the surface of the earth. This question is all the more intriguing in the context of folklore flood legends and the description of the Noachian flood as given in Genesis. Most sediments are transported and deposited by water, but wind and ice can also do the same thing. The Coconino Sandstone of the southwestern United States, which is well exposed in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, has traditionally been interpreted as a wind-deposited sedimentary unit and not the usual aqueous type of deposit.
    In this article Dr. Brand explores the nature of some fossil animal footprints in the Coconino Sandstone. These serve as a clue to the conditions under which sediments in which they are found were deposited. The data indicate that the Coconino Sandstone was deposited under wet conditions, not the dry sand dune conditions usually described.
    To discover the conditions under which the tracks were formed, animals were used to produce trackways in the laboratory on 1) dry sand, 2) moist sand, 3) wet sand, 4) underwater sand. These results were then compared to the tracks found in the Coconino Sandstone. The tracks that were produced in the laboratory under water most closely fit those found in the field, bringing into very serious question the concept of a wind-deposited Coconino Sandstone.

SOME ISSUES REGARDING THE NATURE AND UNIVERSALITY OF THE GENESIS FLOOD NARRATIVE

    Because the Genesis flood account does not provide many details about the events described, various theories have been proposed, and much speculation has caused diversity of opinion. To better understand the original meaning of the Genesis flood narrative, Dr. Hasel presents an exegetical study of three of its phrases.
    While some commentators interpret the phase "all flesh" in Genesis 6:12, 13 to refer to all living beings (both men and animals), others restrict "all flesh" to just mankind. "All flesh" appears in the Old Testament about 46 times, 13 of which are given in the Genesis flood account. An exegetical study of the overall use of this term reveals that it can mean the "whole body," "all living creatures," "all mankind," or just "animals." A contextual analysis of the 13 usages in the Genesis flood narrative shows that "all flesh" in Genesis 6:12, 13 denotes "all living beings." Further support for this conclusion is given by an exegetical study of the terms "violence," "way," and "corruption."
    The use of the Hebrew term "mabbűl" to describe the Genesis flood has been thought to mean "heavenly ocean" rather than "flood and deluge." Investigation shows the arguments for this theory to be unconvincing and, instead, it appears that "mabbűl" is consistently used to describe the deluge caused by both torrential rains and the bursting forth of subterranean waters.
    In the final section of this paper, Dr. Hasel examines the two verses (Genesis 8:3, 5) describing the receding of the waters at the end of the flood. In Genesis 8:3a, the idea is that the waters "returned" to their upper and lower spheres from which they came. The description in verses 3b and 5 indicate a gradual diminishing of the waters over a period of time, with a continuous movement somewhat like tidal activity, caused by the wind.


© 1978

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