Ominously, I had a recent discussion with my husband about the fragile nature of life. We spoke hypothetically of events that could dramatically and instantly change life from routine comfort to one of basic survival. We talked about our skills and mental makeup and wondered what might be revealed about our character under such life-altering conditions as a natural disaster or nuclear attack.
Then tragedy struck the day after Christmas. Not here in America, but halfway around the world. With it we have all become voyeurs through modern technology to an event so horrible its images shock the mind and numb the body.
The massive quake of 9.0 magnitudes off the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent 500-mph waves surging across the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal in what is sure to become one of the deadliest tsunamis in world history. As of this writing, the death toll spanning 12 nations is approaching 125,000.
Entire villages, whole train loads of people and the inhabitants of one small island after another have tragically and dramatically disappeared. Survivors tell of horrifying screams followed by a disturbing and eerie silence. Parents reflect hopelessness and shock as they tell of children swept from their arms then helplessly out of sight. Sweethearts, families and friends in one singular, unsuspecting moment were violently separated – far too many lost forever.
As in the days following the attacks on 9-11, miracle stories are emerging. One child was found sitting alone on a road in Thailand and was reunited with family when the boy’s picture was posted on a website. In Malaysia, a 20-day-old baby was found alive on a floating mattress. And a Hong Kong couple vacationing in Thailand clung to another mattress for six hours. Then there is the report of the guys who floated on a refrigerator, and the survival of the model, the surfer and the snorkelers.
But for every miracle of survival, there are tens of thousands who are in mourning over lost loved ones and widespread devastation.
As I have watched the events unfold listening to predictions of the death toll doubling from infection, pestilence and starvation, I have prayed for those suffering, but also for meaning, context and dare I say hope.
What has come to mind is the now easy-to-accept reality of a worldwide-changing Flood and the veracity of Scripture.
However critics would like to dismiss the Bible as allegory or fable, this present disaster impresses upon me biblical truth. The obvious and relevant example is given in the days of Noah. In this account of a global flood, the sources for the floodwater were the fountains of “the great deep” and the “flood gates of heaven.”
The “floodgates of heaven” obviously refers to rain, while a careful study of Scripture suggests that the “fountains of the great deep” are oceanic or possibly subterranean sources of water. In the context of the flood, it could mean both. This idea has given birth to a now popular theory called “catastrophic plate tectonics.”
According to the standard version of plate tectonics theory, the earth’s crust is composed of a dozen or so plates, each approximately 30 miles thick. Normally, these plates move with respect to each other, at about an inch per year – the rate a fingernail grows.
Continents and oceans ride on top of these plates. And sometimes a continent such as North America is on more than one plate. For example, different parts of North America separated by a fault running up through California, are constantly sliding past each other.
In the theory of catastrophic plate tectonics, movement in the plates can produce changes in pressure and cracks in the earth’s crust. These events combined with sporadic volcanic activity can produce a massive earthquake and associated tidal waves like those devastating the Indian Ocean coastline.
Proof of a world impacting earthquake is seen by the Mid-Oceanic Ridge. That is a mountain range 46,000 miles long that wraps around the earth and is strangely located at the bottom of the ocean floor. One portion of this underwater mountain range is called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is centered between Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Imagine, if you can, a massive earthquake and the flooding splash made when this mountain range fell into the waters of the deep. It would be like a fat man jumping into a bathtub of water. The displacement would be so great, it could easily cause worldwide tidal waves and flooding.
An event like this combined with climatic changes producing 40 days of rain could end all life on earth. That means what we are seeing in Asia with the massive loss of life is but a microcosm of the events described in Genesis.
The take-home message for those who recognize from these events how fragile life is and how unexpectedly and quickly it can change or end is to see the truth revealed in Scripture while there is still time.