Living Evidence of a Global Catastrophe: How Microbial Biogeography Supports Noah’s Flood
Noah’s Flood offers the explanatory power lacking in secular reasoning
by Dr. Andrew Fabich
Microbial biogeography is a sub-discipline of microbial ecology dealing with microorganism distribution and abundance around the earth. The father of microbial biogeography, Martinus Beijerinck, is famous for saying “everything is everywhere, but the environment selects.” This statement permeates modern thought in microbial biogeography, but no secular explanation offers why this is true. If everything is everywhere as is claimed, then there ought to be some global distribution mechanism that explains why everything is everywhere in soils. Here, I hypothesize that the reason why everything is everywhere in soils is Noah’s Flood. Noah’s Flood offers the explanatory power lacking in secular reasoning to provide a rationale behind the statement “everything is everywhere, but the environment selects.” Evidence is presented that demonstrates Beijerinck was right to a certain extent—we do not find the microbial species everywhere, but we do find the microbial kind everywhere in soils. The microbial kind is defined here as the microorganism God created that is recognized at the family or genus level, which is helpful in understanding microbial biogeography. A model is offered for the microbial biogeography of soils in terms of Noah’s Flood. Then, an example is given in terms of the smell of rain as it comes from the soil bacteria Streptomyces. Afterwards, there is a brief discussion of the importance of worldviews when looking at evidence such as microbial biogeography. The biblical account of Noah’s Flood provides an update to modern microbial biogeography and modern creation apologetics with trillions of living things, contained in the soil, laid down by water, all over the earth.
The primary evidence of a global catastrophe is Scripture. For the young earth creation researcher building a foundation for a creation model of biology, Scripture represents the Creator’s eyewitness account from which all physical evidence is interpreted. Genesis 7:11 commences the beginning of the floodwaters covering the surface of the planet until Genesis 7:19 where all the high hills of the earth were covered. The Flood lasted from “the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month” (Genesis 7:11) until “the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month” (Genesis 8:13). During Noah’s Flood, every land-dwelling, air-breathing animal was killed if it was not on the ark. One neglected aspect of modern Flood discussions is that both the great fountains of the deep opened up as well as the windows of heaven (Genesis 7:11). While we understand that the great fountains of the deep were responsible for where most of the water came from, we must not forget that there was rain, also. As the fountains of the great deep opened alongside the windows of heaven, the floodwaters raised from the lowest levels to the highest levels. As the water progressively rose from lower elevations to higher elevations, animals were rapidly buried and some were fossilized. Scripture also indicates that all the mountains at the time of the Flood were covered with water up to 6.7 m (22 ft) (Genesis 7:19–20). Even the New Testament affirms that the entire world was destroyed with water (2 Peter 3:6). So water covered the entire earth for the span of approximately one year. During that time, the fossil record was deposited in the geologic record (Snelling 2008b). The fossil record includes several fascinating aspects that testify to the universality of the Flood in that we even find fossil ammonites at the tops of mountains all over the world (Snelling 2008a). Not only does the fossil record bear evidence of the global catastrophe, but so also do a variety of worldly culture traditions (White 2007). Truly, Scripture, the fossil record, and worldly cultures all testify to the fact that the Flood was a major catastrophe covering the entire surface of the globe. But are there additional lines of evidence of a global Flood?
The purpose of this paper is to examine the claims made within microbial biogeography to see how Noah’s Flood applies to it. In this paper, there will not be a treatment of all ecosystems, but more of a focus on soil ecosystems. To do this, the fossil record is surveyed as scientific evidence for a global Flood. Then, a brief survey of macroorganisms and microorganisms are offered to highlight apparent discrepancies in biogeography. From the discussion of microorganism biogeography, a definition of the microbial kind is proposed around the family or genus level. Having established the microbial kind, different dispersal mechanisms are evaluated for their plausibility in providing the global distribution of the microbial kind over land (which is discussed next). Then, the biblical case for Noah’s Flood becomes the primary mechanism in place for producing global biogeography of the microbial kind in soils. A model for the Flood as a mechanism of microbial biogeography is offered with a specific case study in the soil bacteria Streptomyces. Finally, evidence from microbial biogeography is briefly discussed in terms of competing worldviews.
The Fossil Record: Dead Evidence of a Global Flood
Young earth creationists interpret the fossil record as preserved pre-Flood ecosystems and not snapshots of evolutionary time (Snelling 2008b). One creationist model posits floodwaters rapidly burying life forms in each ecosystem. As water levels rose, each ecosystem was buried with life forms present within a given ecosystem. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex is found in similar rock layers as Triceratops. This burial mechanism suggests one reason why humans are not found with dinosaurs in the fossil record (that is, they did not cohabit the same ecosystem). Dinosaur fossils are present on separate continents today because they were living on one landmass before the Flood called Rodinia, which then gave way to Pangaea during the peak of the Flood (and the fossils were formed), before the continents separated from one another (putting fossils on all continents). The fossil record bears witness to a global Flood because there are billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth (Ham and Hodge 2014). The data suggest that fossils within the rock layers represent former ecosystems with the appearance of fully-formed organisms (Snelling 2008b). These observations have led to the creationist view of the origin of life like a forest or orchard where each tree represents a created kind (Wise 1991). While the fossil record is great static evidence for a worldwide Flood (Austin et al. 1994), there is an abundance of living evidence that also lends support to the biblical narrative…
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image credit: Pete Nowicki