I've observed some young-earth creationists attempt to link the worldwide flood of Noah's day with melting icebergs. While not critical of the science behind such an explanation, I would really like to know why young-earth creationists, in addition to a strictly literal approach, don't also leave any room for miracles in their explanations of things that are commonly regarded as miracles. Why don't they say at least "I don't know" instead of creating the faulty science?

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    Uh... They do. Perhaps a bit more research to see if all creationists try to explain away the flood before assuming they all do based on "some". Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 23:18
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    If all the ice bergs in the ocean were to suddenly melt, the level of the oceans wouldn't change by so much as a millimeter. Floating ice displaces just as much water as liquid water does, so they're not a contributing factor to the flood, only the ice on land would, but even if you were to melt all the ice on earth, the oceans would only rise 60m. This is why people are theorising that ground waters and atmospheric waters had more significant roll in the flood than melting ice did.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 14:02
  • It would be helpful if you could link to a YEC source that uses icebergs to explain the flood. When I googled it, the only result that suggested such a connection was this page. Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 20:38
  • Melting icecaps would not account for the world flood. The text says that the waters above the firmament came down and the waters from beneath the earth came up. It’s not a miracle it’s a fact. Granted it doesn’t fit today’s version of cosmology but it doesn’t require a miraculous explanation.
    – Autodidact
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 1:16

4 Answers 4

  1. It is always better to admit you don't know than to make something up, especially when it comes to speaking about God!
  2. The idea that God fills in the gaps of our knowledge with his miracle super powers is called the 'God of the Gaps.' It has the problem of making God look like he decreases while our knowledge increases. It also does not adequately account for the doctrine of providence: Christians believe that all that happens is due to the hand of God. Things that happen because of the regular scientific laws are not somehow independent of God while miracles show how God acts; no instead everything is directly the act of God. But because God is an orderly being, he chooses to act in such a predictable way that we can categorise his acts into the laws of nature. The miracles are the irregular times when he decides to act outside his normal patterns, but they are ultimately no different from his other acts.
  3. The YEC movement arose after evolution and scientific naturalism became the dominant scientific paradigm. The movement does not disagree with any data gathered by scientists, or with any real scientific laws/theories/models. Their disagreement with mainstream science is how to extrapolate from the data we have gathered in the present into the distant past. So they'll say that both sides have data X and theory Y, but their assumptions A & B differ, which is why mainstream science says some rock is 3 billion years old and the YEC scientists say it is only a few thousand years old. So even though they have no direct theological relevance, the YEC movement spends a lot of time developing models they believe are scientifically plausible for the cosmology they believe in. This doesn't mean they never say that miracles have happened, just that when the Bible doesn't explicitly say one did happen, and when they can come up with a model that doesn't need a miracle, they'll usually go with such a model.
  • Yeah, the thought it is only model works. Now I see I should ask the question different way - why they don't explain things which in theology usually means miracle - exactly just like the flood. I absolutely agree the God of the Gaps make no sense (if you don't know the problem is even theoretically unexplainable by science or logic). Thanks for your answer.
    – Probably
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 12:06

I personally have never heard or read where a YEC (which I am) claims the flood was caused by melting icebergs. Regarding the flood, we typically believe just what Genesis 7:11-12 states. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights."

God caused the water deep within the earth to burst forth, which seems to be evidenced by the mid-oceanic ridges. We also now know there is water within the mantle. Also, see hydroplate theory at http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/HydroplateOverview2.html

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    – user3961
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 15:18
  • I have not heard of icebergs either, but I have heard of plenty of other things, including comets and a kind of ice dyson sphere. So actually, some YEC's do insist on scientifically explaining everything, instead of just letting it be a miracle.
    – user3961
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 15:20

YEC proponents attempt to show that supernatural causes have natural effects that persist across a long time scale, hence can be discovered by studying nature. They believe that these supernatural causes can not be explained by a purely naturalistic science. Because of this, you can use these imprints in the earth to discriminate between the Genesis account and the old-age, evolutionary worldview, showing one to be more consistent with the geologic record.

The ice ages come into play in this scenario:

  1. The fountains of the deep broke.

  2. Large quantities of superheated water entered the oceans, raising the sea temperature and sea level.

  3. The accelerated evaporation from the heating filled the skies with much of the water needed for the flood.

  4. Some of the flood was tsunamis from the volcanic activity, some was rain.

  5. The massive vulcanism during the flood raised the mountains and caused the sea floor to drop. This became a receptacle for much of the water of the flood.

  6. The volcanoes spewed so much ash into the air that it blocked the sun for decades, causing the first and greatest ice age. This deposited enough ice to take more of the water out of the system, lowering the sea level.

  7. The seas began to cool.

  8. The shock of the volcanism and flood created a ringing within the earth's magnetic field, causing the frequent pole reversals.

  9. While the water covered the earth, the single original continent split apart. Had people lived on land during this, they would have died. The flood protected Noah and the others from the reshaping of the earth during the flood. The presence of much water reduced the friction, enabling the continents to move hundreds of miles quickly, but slowing down after the water was squeezed out, to the rate we now see today.

  10. Most of the fossil layers we see were created by the flood, though additional layers have formed since then. The high speed current flows caused hydrological sorting by size, leaving smaller organisms at the bottom and larger ones at the top, which combined with climactic zone and elevation sorting, create the illusion of a pattern from less evolved to more evolved. Smaller creatures usually are simpler, and sea creatures would appear first in the record, with land creatures on top.


So what the model is trying to do is show that natural processes accelerated due to unusual miraculous events, but left traces that can be studied and compared to other models. They were not miracles that left no trace.


I'm not going to try to address the specific hypothesis. Instead, I'm going to focus on the question you ask in the title, and:

why [don't] young-earth creationists [...] leave any room for miracles in their explanations of things that are commonly regarded as miracles

Why? Because they are scientists. Science is about studying the inherent order of God's creation. Science originated in Christianity, because God prefers to work by creating a well-ordered system that (with some exceptions which are called "miracles") functions according to rules. This, when it was first conceived, was in contrast to pagan religions in which the gods manipulated the physical world according to whim.

A genuine scientist will, therefore, do two things:

  1. Always prefer an explanation which is consistent with the laws of nature.
  2. Not dogmatically exclude the possibility that there exists a God who is capable ofacting outside of said laws.

These, and additionally treating the Bible as a generally reliable historical account, are the principles under which YEC scientists work. They are generally very forthcoming about these principles. This is in stark contrast to Naturalists who ignore the second principle and thus run smack into the Holmesian fallacy.

So, it isn't that YEC's don't leave room for miracles, but rather they recognize that God usually acts within the laws of nature and therefore seek to increase in understanding by attempting to learn about those laws and how an act may have been accomplished according to them. Doing so is the very definition of Science. Failing to do so is to willfully remain in ignorance. Had we done that, we would still believe that disease is cause by "bad humors", that mice are spontaneously generated from grain, and all sorts of nonsense.

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