29) LITERAL FLOOD: Does LDS doctrine support a literal universal flood? What does this mean for the theory of Darwinian evolution?

Commentary

We must decide if we believe in the miraculous accounts of the scriptures dealing with the Creation, the Fall, the universal flood, the dividing of the continents, the confounding of languages and the miracles of Jesus. The scriptural account differs greatly from modern academia. One modern biologist, who rejects the miracles of the scriptures, spoke in contempt of the universal flood:

“. . . the story is ignored as childish nonsense in most of the academic world, given no more attention nor validity than Grimm’s fairy tales.” [1]

This same intellectual has spent much of his life promoting the theories of Darwinism while belittling the words of latter-day Prophets of God. He has given this rationale for his rejection of the miracle of the flood:

“Can one really fit ten million species onto a single ocean-going vessel, feed and care for them all with their often very restrictive diets or living conditions (many of which we are helpless to duplicate even with modern systems), and keep it all going with just eight people for an entire year? The answer, plainly, is no.” [2]

A belief in the scriptural account of the Creation and Fall and the miraculous narrative of the universal flood requires faith, including a belief in the power of God to perform miracles. The Prophets of God in this dispensation have possessed this faith. Note their uncompromising faith in the miracles of the scriptures contrasted with the quibbling knees of some moderns. President Howard W. Hunter has testified:

“The Old Testament unfolds the story of the creation of the earth and mankind by God. Should we now disregard this account and modernize the creation according to the theories of the modernists? Can we say there was no Garden of Eden or an Adam and Eve? 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?” [3]

Primary children are taught the realities of God and His work on this earth. In growing older, is this faith retained? President Hunter continued by quoting the Savior’s words in Matthew relative to the universal Flood as a type of the Second Coming. As the earth was completely baptized and washed of all wickedness by the waters of the flood, so at the Savior’s Second Coming will the earth be baptized by fire and completely cleansed yet again [4]. Commenting on this passage, President Hunter continued.

“In this statement the Master confirmed the story of the flood without modernizing it. Can we accept some of the statements of the Lord as being true and at the same time reject others as being false?” [5]

“. . . as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” [6]

The Lord has asked each of us to strive for child-like faith. President Hunter continued by explaining that Jesus Christ believed in a literal universal flood; that same Jesus Christ who taught that He was the resurrection and the life. Faith in the miracles of the scriptures is essential to faith in the Atonement and Resurrection. President Hunter continued:

“How can we modernize the story of the flood, or refer to it as a myth, and yet cling to the truth of the [Atonement and Resurrection]? How can we modernize the Bible and still have it be a guiding light to us and a vital influence in our beliefs?” [7]

Finally, President Hunter added his testimony of the literal miraculous events as found in the Bible record:

“There are those who declare it is old-fashioned to believe in the Bible. Is it old-fashioned to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God? Is it old-fashioned to believe in His atoning sacrifice and the resurrection? If it is, I declare myself to be old-fashioned and the Church to be old-fashioned. In great simplicity, the Master taught the principles of life eternal and lessons that bring happiness to those with the faith to believe.” [8]

So what of the literal flood? Why are those who hold to the evolutionary teachings so adamant that there was never a literal universal flood? Simply stated, the universal flood approximately 4300 years ago conflicts with the dating of civilizations, the accepted growth of civilizations, the evolutionary development of man, the current accepted geological beliefs and several other fundamental themes of popular biology, anthropology, geology and so forth. The fact is, it can’t be both ways. Either the planet was shorn of human life and most forms of animal life a little more than 4 millenia ago, or life has been developing as the Darwinian adherents affirm. This is why most individuals trained in the learning of the day take a position that: 1. The scriptural account is a myth, 2. The flood was a local event, not worldwide catastrophe, 3. A mixture of the two former propositions. The scriptures, however, are very clear that these attempts to reconcile Darwinism and the prophetic record are impossible. The literal universal flood is supported by the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants and the writings of the presidents of the Church. In addition to all of these witnesses, a bit of common sense adds an additional witness.

Why would the Lord command Noah to gather two of every animal and 7 of the clean animals working for many years and load them into an ark if the Flood was a local event? Would He not rather ask Noah to move himself and the animals to another valley away from the limited flood? Noah would have had great cause to be upset with the waste of work and effort in building an ark that was completely unneeded. There is additionally the witness of the tradition of nearly every culture on the earth. Nearly all cultures contain the Flood story in their history from the American Indians to the Chinese. The Chinese record is very interesting. Fu Xi and Nuwa are the principal ancestors of the Chinese. They reportedly came out from a flood when the earth was completely washed and were responsible for reseeding or repopulating Asia. The Chinese tapestries and images depicting Fu Xi and Nuwa also contain distinctive LDS symbols. This is particularly interesting as the Pearl of Great Price contains the record of the descendants of Shem and Ham, but not Japhath. This history and numerous other non-sacred accounts must be rejected if one is to have faith in the modern scientific suppositions.

In accepting Darwinism do we reject the scriptures, the prophets and historical records? What of the objections that the animals could not fit on the ark? Please see the lecture by Terry Mortenson entitled Noah’s Flood: Washing Away Millions of Years. What of scientific evidence? There is a mountain of evidence for the literal universal Flood. Nearly all geologists cominig from a Biblical perspective find evidence for the Flood. One example is Steven Austin. Please see Mount St. Helens: Explosive Evidence for Catastrophe. Additionally, see the RATE team’s research in  Thousands . . . Not Billions. To accept Darwinism must one reject the scriptures, the prophets, history and true science?

Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and He has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days: but before it should take place, Elijah should first come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc. [9]

Adam was made to open the way of the world, and for dressing the garden. Noah was born to save seed of everything, when the earth was washed of its wickedness by the flood; and the Son of God came into the world to redeem it from the fall. [10] [11]

Brigham Young

If we read the requirements made by Jesus, by the Father, or by any messenger sent from the Heavens to the children of men we shall find nothing that will injure any human being or that will destroy the soul of one of the sons or daughters of Adam and Eve. . . . The world may in vain ask the question, “Who are we?” But the Gospel tells us that we are the sons and daughters of that God whom we serve. Some say, “We are the children of Adam and Eve.” So we are, and they are the children of our Heavenly Father. We are all the children of Adam and Eve, and they and we are the offspring of Him who dwells in the heavens, the highest Intelligence that dwells anywhere that we have any knowledge of. . . . What are His commandments to us? Has He commanded us to build an ark? No. He told Noah to do that for the salvation of those who would go into it; and after he had built it, and had preached righteousness for a long space of time, warning the people of the coming judgments of the Almighty, how many believed his testimony? Only eight souls, and they were members of his own family. All the rest were swept from the face of the earth. This is according to the account given to us in the Old Testament which we believe. I know that there are a great many in the world who are so wise in their own eyes that they are not disposed to believe the account contained in the Bible of the Creation, of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the antediluvian world and other things, but we profess to believe, and we do or should believe these things. [12]

[God] told Noah to [build an ark] for the salvation of those who would go into it; and after he had built it, and had preached righteousness for a long space of time, warning the people of the coming judgments of the Almighty, how many believed his testimony? Only eight souls, and they were members of his own family. All the rest were swept from the face of the earth. This is according to the account given to us in the Old Testament which we believe. I know that there are a great many in the world who are so wise in their own eyes that they are not disposed to believe the account contained in the Bible of the Creation, of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the antediluvian world and other things, but we profess to believe, and we do or should believe these things. [13]

There is a passage of Scripture that reads thus:—”For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren,” &c. Whom did he not foreknow? I do not think there is anybody now on the earth, or that has lived before us, or that will come after us, but what he knew. He knew who would be his anointed; he has had his eye upon them all the time, as he had upon Moses, Pharaoh, Abraham, Melchizedek, and Noah, who was a chosen vessel to build the ark and save a remnant from the flood.

Did you ever hear the story of an old man that came to Noah when he was building the ark? “What, Mr. Noah, are you still at the ark? You are a veritable old fool, building an ark far away from any water! How are you going to float it?” “Wait a little while, and I will show you: by-and-by the Lord will break up the might deep and send forth the waters and drown the wicked.” “Oh, you are a fool, Noah! You had better build a good house, and plant and till the earth. I am going home,” &c. “Go on,” said Noah; “by-and-by you will learn that I am right.” They waited year after year, and by-and-by the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the rain began to descend. The old man came along, and Noah said to him, “What do you think now, neighbour?” “Oh, this is only a shower; it looks like clearing up; it will soon be over.” In a short time the old man came again, wading in water to his knees, when Noah said, “Well, what do you think now?” “Oh, it will soon clear away.” He came again, and that time he was paddling along in water up to his neck, and said, “Won’t you take me in, Noah?” “I have got my load; all who have received tickets are aboard, and those who have not tickets cannot come aboard. What do you think of it now, old man, is it only a little shower?” Then it was not, “Damn old Noah!” but they were crying, “Oh, Mr. Noah, take us in.” [14]

Marvel not that the kingdom of God is not in its fulness. Marvel not that you see every man and woman subject to the passions that belong to fallen nature. There never was a Prophet on the earth but what was subject to passions, as we are. Every son and daughter of Adam that has come into this world has been subject to sin, and prone to wander. . . . When we have streets paved with gold, we will have placed it there ourselves. When we enjoy a Zion in its beauty and glory, it will be when we have built it. If we enjoy the Zion that we now anticipate, it will be after we redeem and prepare it. If we live in the city of the New Jerusalem, it will be because we lay the foundation and build it. If we do not as individuals complete that work, we shall lay the foundation for our children and our children’s children, as Adam has. If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it. [15]

The earth, the Lord says, abides its creation; it has been baptized with water, and will, in the future, be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, to be prepared to go back into the celestial presence of God, with all things that dwell upon it which have, like the earth, abided the law of their creation. [16]

This earth in its present condition and situation, is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon. [17]

John Taylor

Now, Adam was in possession of these things; he was in possession of the spirit of prophecy and revelation. He talked with God, and it was through the medium of the Gospel he was enabled to do it. Enoch also conversed with and had revelations from God, and finally he was not, for God took him. Noah conversed with God, and God told him to build an ark, and gave him revelations about the size of it and the kind of animals he was to introduce into it. [18]

I read of many people who were destroyed by the flood; and in Jesus Christ’s day, we read that he was put to death in the flesh, and quickened by the Spirit, by which he went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had been disobedient in the days of Noah, &c. [19]

By and by we find the people departing from the principles of truth, from the laws of the Gospel, repudiating the fear of God, grieving his Holy Spirit and incurring his displeasure. Then a flood came and the inhabitants of the world, with the exception of a very few, were swept from it, after the Gospel had been preached to all who then lived and all had had an opportunity to believe in and obey it. . . . Man has a dual being, not only a body or mortal tabernacle, but a spirit, and that spirit existed before he came here; and if men before the flood had been allowed to go on in their iniquities and if, with every thought and imagination of their hearts, which were all unlawful and evil, they had been allowed to perpetuate that kind of existence, of course God would have had very little to do with the operations of the earth and the inhabitants thereof, it would therefore have been unjust to the spirits created by our Father in the eternal worlds to force them to come and inhabit the degenerated bodies which they must have received from such characters as the generation drowned in the flood; and hence God took away their agency by destroying them from the face of the earth, because they were prostituting their powers to an improper use and not only injuring themselves by defying the law of God, but also inflicting an evil upon unborn generations by perverting their own existence and by their powers of procreation entailing misery upon millions of spirits that had a just right to look for protection from their Father. [20]

Why, Adam, before he left the earth, gathered his people together in the Valley of Adam-ondi-ah-man, and the curtain of eternity was unfolded before him, and he gazed upon all events pertaining to his descendants, which should transpire in every subsequent period of time, and he prophesied to them. He saw the flood and its desolating influence; he saw the introduction again of a people in the days of Noah; he saw their departure from the right path. He saw Abraham, Moses and the Prophets make their appearance and witnessed the results of their acts; he saw nations rise and fall; he saw the time when Jesus would come and restore the Gospel and when he would preach that Gospel to those who perished in the days of Noah; and in fact he saw everything that should transpire upon the earth, until the winding up scene. [21]

The people became excessively wicked and corrupt, so much so, that, as the Scriptures informs us, “Their thoughts were only evil, and that continually;” and in consequence of this the Lord decreed that he would destroy the people from the face of the earth. But before he did it he gave revelation unto Noah, telling him that the destruction of all flesh upon the earth had been decreed by the Almighty in consequence of the wickedness of the people; and Noah had special revelation given to him adapted to the circumstances which surrounded him, and the age in which he lived. He was not told to build a city, to preach the Gospel and gather the people as Enoch had done; but he was told that the wickedness of all flesh had come up before the Almighty and that he had determined to destroy them with a flood; and Noah, believing in God and in the revelation which he gave unto him, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, built an ark, and gathered into that ark himself and wife, his sons and their wives, and two—male and female—of the various kinds of beasts, birds and creeping things that dwelt on the face of the earth. History records the coming of the flood, the destruction of the world by it, and the preservation in the ark of those who had listened to the word of God and to whom he communicated his will.

Subsequent to this time a variety of singular circumstances transpired and there existed many prominent characters both good and bad, worshipers of God and worshipers of idols. We find that after the re-peopling of the earth after the flood men set to work to build a tower, and the Lord confused their languages and scattered them from hence, throughout all the earth. About this time a singular kind of personage appeared on the stage of action, named Abraham. He had been taught by his father to worship idols; but the Lord had manifested himself to him on certain occasions and instructed him in the true religion. He did not teach him as he taught Enoch, or as he had taught Noah; the circumstances of Abraham were different from those of Enoch and Noah, and if Abraham had the history of their times, as he unquestionably had, for Abraham was contemporary with Noah and Noah with Adam, and must have been acquainted with the events which had transpired, from the days of Adam at least from information given by Adam to Noah and by Noah to himself, he would know that the revelations they received were not applicable to his case, but he needed revelation from God for his own guidance and direction, that he might be led aright, and that he might be able to instruct his children after him in the path they should tread, in the principles, doctrines and ordinances that should be according to the mind and will of God. [22]

Look again at the time that Noah came from the ark, after he and his household were saved from the flood that drowned the world; they were the only ones that were righteous. When Noah and his family had seen the dreadful wreck, the awful calamity, the heart-rending scenes of distress and anguish, trouble and death, that overwhelmed the world—with all this staring them in the face, how soon his posterity departed from correct principles, and bowed their necks to the power of the adversary; how soon was the weakness of human nature made manifest! [23]

Let us go back to the time when Satan rebelled against the Almighty and drew away one-third of the hosts of heaven. We find that there were pure spirits that stood that test and who had given to them the promise of bodies on this earth. Let us suppose that you and I were there as spirits, awaiting the privilege of taking bodies, and that we could see the wickedness and corruption that was going on upon the earth, and that we could see Prophets going about teaching the principles of righteousness and warning the people of judgments that should come, of the flood that should overwhelm them and of the prisons prepared in which the ungodly should be cast. And we say, “Father, you see the people on the earth that they are wicked and depraved, fallen and corrupt! Yes. Is it right and just that we who have done no wrong should have to enter into such corrupt bodies and partake of the influences with which they are surrounded?” “No,” says the Father, “it is not just, and I will cut them off, I will cause the floods to come upon them to destroy them, and I will send those wicked and disobedient spirits into prison,” which he did.

Here was an act of justice. Some men who profess to be very wise, think God was unjust in thus destroying so many of his creatures. They know nothing about it because they do not comprehend the law of God and the purposes of God. It was an act of justice and righteousness according to the eternal justice that dwells in the bosom of the Father.

What next? Before they were destroyed, Enoch ministered unto them; he organized a church, and he sent forth Elders, as we are now doing, to warn the people of the desolation that was about to overtake the inhabitants of the earth; and the Savior, according to Luke, said, referring to this event in the world’s history, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” And says Matthew, in referring to the same thing, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the son of Man be.” [24]

But Joseph Smith, where did you get your information from? “I had just the same Gospel that Enoch had, and the same that Jude had; and I also testified of the same things, and we all agree.” In tracing out this history, we find it written that God was about to destroy the inhabitants of the earth with a flood. How did he make this known? “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” All flesh had corrupted its way before the Lord, with the exception of a few. There was Noah, who was a man that feared God and worked righteousness, and had in his possession the Gospel and the holy Priesthood; and the Lord God communicated with him, and this he did by revelation, and told him to build an ark to save himself and family from the flood. And he gave Noah the dimensions of the ark—how it was to be constructed, and with what kind of materials. He also told him what kind of animals he was to bring into it, giving him instructions relating to the whole matter. How did you happen to know all this, Noah? “I had the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation; and it proved my salvation and the salvation of my family; and through it I was enabled to understand the designs and purposes of God, and prepare for those great events about to take place on the earth.” [25]

If He could reveal unto Adam all of the events which would transpire upon the earth associated with coming generations, he certainly must himself have had a knowledge of those things which he communicated to our first parents, or he could not have revealed them. Among other things which the Lord designed should be introduced upon the earth was what is termed the dispensation of the fullness of times, wherein he would gather together all things in one, whether they be things on the earth or things in heaven; but all should be gathered together in one. . . . We find that Adam offered sacrifices, and when he did this, he said in answer to a question put to him by an holy angel, I do not know why I do it, only the Father has commanded it. And then the angel commenced to explain to him that this rite was a type of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father who should come in the meridian of time to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world; and said he, “Thou shalt do all things in the name of the Son, and call upon the Father in his name for evermore.” When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, the mercy of God was extended to them, and they perceived as Eve expressed it, that if there had been no fall, they would have had no posterity, and that they would have been deprived of many joys and blessings relating both to this life and the life to come. And so Adam and Eve rejoiced in their hearts that God had provided the plan, and although they were fallen, yet in this life, through the atonement, they would have joy, and by and by they would return to their Father, and there rejoice exceedingly in the abundant mercy of God, and in the redemption wrought out for them by the Son of God. . . . Now, with regard to Noah and his day. God made arrangements beforehand, and told Methuselah that when the people should be destroyed, that a remnant of his seed should occupy the earth and stand foremost upon it. And Methuselah was so anxious to have it done that he ordained Noah to the Priesthood when he was ten years of age. Noah then stood in his day as the representative of God; and after him Abraham was selected to take the lead in relation to these matters pertaining to man’s salvation. Some people suppose that Abraham was an old fogy who knew but little, a kind of dull, dumpy old shepherd. But we were informed that he was a man that followed after righteousness, and that he sought to obtain more righteousness; that he searched the records of his fathers as they had come down to him, and traced them back until the days of Adam, and even before the world was. [26]

It was through the same principle that Noah was saved; he had communication with God, who revealed to him what was coming on the earth and the results of it. God warned him and prepared him and told him what to do and how to do it, and he pursued the course given him, and he received his reward. It was through that principle that Abraham comprehended God and had revelation and communication with him, for without it he would have known nothing about God. But he understood, through the records of his fathers, of certain privileges that are mentioned in his history—certain privileges pertaining to himself and his progenitors, which he traced clear back to the days of Adam, by which he learned that he was an heir to the holy priesthood; and when he ascertained this he sought an ordination from the Lord. [27]

Now, in former times, in the days of the flood, for instance, the people became very corrupt, so much so we are told, that the imaginations of the hearts of men were only evil and that continually, and the Scriptures say it repented the Lord that He had made man because of his corruptions and wickedness; but some tell us that it repented Noah that man had been made because of the abominations and evils that he witnessed in his day. God destroyed the wicked of that generation with a flood. Why did He destroy them? He destroyed them for their benefit, if you can comprehend it, but I very much question whether all of you can or not. Let me explain a little. We are told, as I have already said, that God is the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh. We are further told that Jesus the Son of God, existed before the worlds were. It is also stated that He is our elder brother, and that we pre-existed also—that is, our spirits did. When Satan had gained an ascendency over the inhabitants of the earth so far that they had departed from God, and violated His laws, what would be the feelings of those spirits in the eternal worlds? Let me ask all intelligent people, would they not be apt to turn to their Heavenly Father and say: “Father, look down upon those corrupt inhabitants. Do you see them?” “Yes, I see them and I know them.” “Is it just that we, thy children, should be doomed to inhabit those filthy, corrupt bodies, and thus be subjected to Thy wrath and indignation, and it may be thousands of years before we can come back again into thy presence?” “No, it is not just,” and on this principle the Father destroyed them with a flood, and recommenced peopling the earth with the seed of a righteous man.

But, let me ask, what did the Lord do before He sent the flood? He sent Noah among them as a preacher of righteousness; He sent Enoch; He sent many Elders among the people, and they prophesied to them that unless they repented, judgment would overtake them; that God would overwhelm the earth with a flood and destroy the inhabitants thereof—that is, those who would not listen to the Gospel of the Son of God; for the Son of God was in existence then, not personally on earth, but existed in the spirit, and the promise to them was that He should come and atone for the sins of the world. They were taught these things, but they rejected them, that is the great majority of them did so. We are also told that Enoch walked with God, and that he had a city which they called Zion, and people gathered to Zion then, as we gather the people to Zion in this day. Enoch walked with God, and was instructed by Him, and he instructed the people of Zion. There is a very short account of it in the Bible. There we are simply told that “Enoch walked with God and was not; for God took him.” It was not thought necessary to say more upon this subject; but the facts were that Enoch and the people of his city, having been taught for upwards of 300 years in the principles of the Gospel before the judgment overtook the world, were translated. Thus the people in that day, had had fair warning, but only a very few paid any attention to it. We are told concerning the Book of Enoch that it is to be testified of in due time, and then we shall know more about these things than we do now. But what of those who were disobedient? They were thrown into prison. How long did they continue there? Until Jesus came. What then did He do? He went and preached to the spirits in prison. He was “put to death in the flesh,” we are told in the Bible, “but quickened by the spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” Is that in the Bible? inquire the Christians. Yes, that is in your Bible. [28]

And it would seem, according to the testimonies we have both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, that the Lord has taken great pains in different ages of the world to send forth His servants to preach the Gospel to the people. We find this especially so in Noah’s day, and in the days of Enoch. There was a remarkable work performed then according to the revelations which have been given to us, which will be more fully developed when the Lord shall see fit to reveal other things associated therewith. But we learn that there was a Church organized about as ours may be; we learn that they went forth and preached the Gospel; we learn that they were gathered together to a place called Zion; we learn that the people of Zion were under the guidance, direction and teaching of the Almighty; in order that they might be prepared for another Zion in the grand drama associated with the dealings of God and his purposes pertaining to this earth and the heavens. We read that they walked with God for 365 years. We are told in the Bible a little short story about it, because it was one of those things that it was not necessary that everybody should know. We are told that “Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took him.” But there was more about it than that. Enoch preached the Gospel to the people, and so did hundreds of Elders as they are doing to-day; and they gathered the people together and built up a Zion to the Lord, and when Enoch was not, but was caught up, Enoch’s city was not, but was caught up, and there were certain things associated therewith that are very peculiar. Why were they taken away from the earth? Because of the corruptions of men, because of the wickedness of men, because mankind had forsaken God, and become as broken cisterns that could hold no water, because they were not fulfilling the measure of their creation, and because it was not proper that they should live and perpetuate a race that was so corrupt and abominable. But before this was done, the righteous, the virtuous, the honorable, the pure, the upright were gathered together, and taught and instructed in the things of God. And what came next? Why, the destruction of the world. It was overflowed, we read, by the flood. What! And all the people destroyed? Yes, except a very few, according to the statements we have. [29]

If we go back to the time when Adam first made his appearance on the earth, the Lord God we are told communicated with him, gave him certain commandments, told him what he should do and what he should not do; and when he transgressed the law, we are told that he heard the footsteps of the Lord in the garden, and he heard his voice speaking unto him, and when, at the dictum of the Almighty, he was expelled from the paradise in which he lived, an angel was placed there as a guardian to prevent his return. . . . We find that after the re-peopling of the earth after the flood men set to work to build a tower, and the Lord confused their languages and scattered them from hence, throughout all the earth. About this time a singular kind of personage appeared on the stage of action, named Abraham. He had been taught by his father to worship idols; but the Lord had manifested himself to him on certain occasions and instructed him in the true religion. He did not teach him as he taught Enoch, or as he had taught Noah; the circumstances of Abraham were different from those of Enoch and Noah, and if Abraham had the history of their times, as he unquestionably had, for Abraham was contemporary with Noah and Noah with Adam, and must have been acquainted with the events which had transpired, from the days of Adam at least from information given by Adam to Noah and by Noah to himself, he would know that the revelations they received were not applicable to his case, but he needed revelation from God for his own guidance and direction, that he might be led aright, and that he might be able to instruct his children after him in the path they should tread, in the principles, doctrines and ordinances that should be according to the mind and will of God. [30]

And, in fact, this dispensation, we are told, has been “spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world was.” And, therefore, it must of necessity have been associated with the teachings of Adam, of Seth, of Enoch, of Methuselah, and of Noah, Abraham, Moses and many other prominent characters that held communication with the Lord, and who had revealed unto them his purposes and designs in the days in which they lived. Many people listened to the principles of truth in their day. Enoch was a remarkable man and had a special mission to the people in his day, and he was full of the spirit of prophecy and revelation; he also had a Church organization as we have to a certain extent, and he preached to the people and forewarned them of certain events that should transpire upon the earth. And the wicked were angry with them, as they are sometimes with us; they did not like their teachings and operations, and they conspired against them, and great numbers of their enemies assembled for the purpose of destroying them. And Enoch was clothed upon by the power and spirit and revelation of God. And whilst under the inspiration of the Almighty he uttered his prophecies, and his enemies and the people generally trembled at the power of his words; and the earth shook, and the people fled from his presence afar off, and were not able to injure him, for God was with him. And Enoch, with the united labors of the elders of his day, gathered the people together who hearkened to his words and believed the message sent to them, in the same manner as you have been gathered together. They built up a city which was called Zion; and the people who inhabited it were under the inspiration of the Lord for a great number of years; receiving instruction, guidance and direction from him. And finally, as wickedness grew and increased, and as the testimony went forth among them, the good, the virtuous, the honorable, the pure and those who desired to fear God and work righteousness assembled themselves together, constituting the city of Zion; and the others became more corrupt. And Enoch and his brethren prophesied unto the people about the calamities that should overtake them, that the world was to be destroyed by a flood; and there were provisions made for the continuance of the human family, and it was made known to Methuselah that his seed should be the medium through which should be perpetuated the human family upon the earth. And Methuselah was so very desirous to have this thing fulfilled that Noah, his grandson, who was the son of Lamech, was ordained by Methuselah when he was ten years old. [31]

But before this as done the Lord sent messengers among the people proclaiming to them what was about to befall them if they did not repent and turn from their evil ways. Enoch was one of these; he stood at the head of that dispensation. He, as we are doing, sent out missionaries among the people who had become very numerous. Their mission was to call upon the people to repent and to obey the Gospel and to believe in the Son of God and to obey His law; and to tell them that God had prepared a scourge for those who would not repent, that they would be destroyed from off the face of the earth by a flood; and the people thus destroyed should be cast into prison, a prison which God had prepared on purpose for them. And when these men went to preach this doctrine many believed on them and they were gathered together, as we are, unto a place which they called Zion. And they were placed under the direction of the Holy Priesthood, men who were inspired of God, with whom He communicated; and whom he taught in all the principles pertaining to the Gospel of the Son of God; and they continued in this condition for a length of time. And as they gathered out from among the people, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from among the people; and they became exceedingly angry, angry at Enoch and angry at those who preached the Gospel to them. And the nature of men is just about the same now as then. They spoke all manner of evil against the servants of God who ministered among them; they rejected their testimony, and not only that, but, like some of the very pious people in our day do towards us, they thought it would be doing God service to sweep these men off the face of the earth. And they thought so in earnest for they gathered together their armies for that purpose. The Saints were under the immediate direction and guidance of the Lord, and were, therefore, governed by revelation, and the power and Spirit of the Lord rested upon Enoch. And he rose up and prophesied and told the wicked of the fate that awaited them; and the power of God rested upon him in a marvelous manner, so much so, that the mountains trembled and the earth shook, and the people were afraid and fled away from his presence, because they could not endure it. Their armies were scattered, and they failed to accomplish that which they in their wickedness had designed to do.

But still the same spirit that animated them continued to grow and increase. And finally after the Saints of that day had become sufficiently taught, they and their city—that is, the great majority of them and their city, ascended up to heaven. We are told in the Scripture—which is a meagre account of it, that—”Enoch was not, for God took him.” And we may add, Enoch’s city and Enoch’s people were not, for God took them; they were translated. The principle of translation was a principle that at that time existed in the Church, and is one of the principles of the Gospel, and which will exist in the last days.

Many of those that were left, continued to bear testimony to the truths taught by their predecessors; and they themselves were caught up from time to time, according to certain revelations communicated through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The spirit of antagonism to the truths of God, and to the order of God, and to the law of God, and to the Priesthood of God and the Gospel of the Son of God, continued to exist. By and by the flood came, and the things spoken of by the men who had preached among them, were fulfilled, and the people swept from the face of the earth. They were shut up in prison, in the prison house which had been prepared for them. A few people were left, eight only—Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives. [32]

Wilford Woodruff

I have never believed any man was qualified from the days of Father Adam to our day to go forth among the inhabitants of the earth with the declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in a way and manner to convince them or teach them the Gospel in its truth and purity, and in the power of God, only by inspiration. . . . There is one very peculiar feature with regard to the followers of Jesus Christ, or those that have attempted in other dispensations to obey the law of heaven, and that is, their unpopularity in the world from the days of Father Adam to the present time. Trace it through from the beginning, and you will find that men who were inspired by Almighty God to go forth and proclaim any message to the inhabitants of the earth, have been most unpopular in their day and generation. You will find it has been so in the whole history of the world. You may go back, for instance, to the days of Noah. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He was called of God. He was warned of God, and told what to do to save himself and family. The world had become terribly corrupt, and it was necessary that the people be called upon to repent. To this end God Almighty raised up a prophet. That prophet was Noah. He went forth as he was commanded and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and truth. He was commanded to build an ark on dry land. The people laughed at him and would not believe his testimony. For one hundred and twenty years he warned the inhabitants of the earth of the coming flood; but all that he could save were the members of his own family, some eight souls. The flood came, and all the inhabitants of the earth, save those who had entered the ark, were drowned. Their spirits were shut up in prison in the spirit world, and they remained there until after the death of Jesus Christ; and while His body lay in the tomb three and a half days He went and preached to those spirits in prison, where they had been shut up for thousands of years. . . . The ordinances of the Gospel have never been changed from the days of Adam to the present time, and never will be to the end of time. . . . And no man on the earth, from the days of Father Adam to the present time, has ever had power to administer in any of the ordinances of life and salvation only by the power of the Holy Priesthood. . . . The Lord has revealed to us that no kingdom, no king, no prince, no president, no ordinance of marriage, no ordinance performed by any man from the days of father Adam, will have any power or force after death, except those ordinances are performed by men holding the Eternal Priesthood. [33]

You may go back, for instance, to the days of Noah. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He was called of God. He was warned of God, and told what to do to save himself and family. The world had become terribly corrupt, and it was necessary that the people be called upon to repent. To this end God Almighty raised up a prophet. That prophet was Noah. He went forth as he was commanded and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and truth. He was commanded to build an ark on dry land. The people laughed at him and would not believe his testimony. For one hundred and twenty years he warned the inhabitants of the earth of the coming flood; but all that he could save were the members of his own family, some eight souls. The flood came, and all the inhabitants of the earth, save those who had entered the ark, were drowned. Their spirits were shut up in prison in the spirit world, and they remained there until after the death of Jesus Christ; and while His body lay in the tomb three and a half days He went and preached to those spirits in prison, where they had been shut up for thousands of years. [34]

Noah was 120 years building the ark, we are informed in the Scriptures, and during that time he preached the Gospel. How many who were willing to believe his testimony? Only eight souls in all, including himself. He was very unpopular, I presume, and had as much derision heaped upon his head, for building an ark on dry ground, as any man that ever lived on the earth. But Noah was a prophet and a messenger of God, called to warn that generation and to build an ark, and if he had not done it he would have been held responsible for the lives of himself and family and all that generation. But he had the Spirit of God and was willing to do as he was told, whether the doctrine he preached was popular or unpopular. He built the ark, and went into it with his family, and they were saved. The history of the flood and of the salvation of Noah and his family is well known. He performed the work assigned him to do, and was saved; and that generation went to hell, there to remain until Christ went and preached the Gospel to their spirits in prison that they might be judged like men in the flesh. So you may trace the history of the kingdom of God through the world, generation after generation, and there is no generation that we have ever read of, the majority of whom have been willing to serve the Lord. [35]

Joseph F. Smith

Let us go back to the time when Satan rebelled against the Almighty and drew away one-third of the hosts of heaven. We find that there were pure spirits that stood that test and who had given to them the promise of bodies on this earth. Let us suppose that you and I were there as spirits, awaiting the privilege of taking bodies, and that we could see the wickedness and corruption that was going on upon the earth, and that we could see Prophets going about teaching the principles of righteousness and warning the people of judgments that should come, of the flood that should overwhelm them and of the prisons prepared in which the ungodly should be cast. And we say, “Father, you see the people on the earth that they are wicked and depraved, fallen and corrupt! Yes. Is it right and just that we who have done no wrong should have to enter into such corrupt bodies and partake of the influences with which they are surrounded?” “No,” says the Father, “it is not just, and I will cut them off, I will cause the floods to come upon them to destroy them, and I will send those wicked and disobedient spirits into prison,” which he did.

Here was an act of justice. Some men who profess to be very wise, think God was unjust in thus destroying so many of his creatures. They know nothing about it because they do not comprehend the law of God and the purposes of God. It was an act of justice and righteousness according to the eternal justice that dwells in the bosom of the Father.

What next? Before they were destroyed, Enoch ministered unto them; he organized a church, and he sent forth Elders, as we are now doing, to warn the people of the desolation that was about to overtake the inhabitants of the earth; and the Savior, according to Luke, said, referring to this event in the world’s history, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” And says Matthew, in referring to the same thing, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the son of Man be.” [36]

Do you think that we can take the things of God and bring them to our standard, or square the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by our rule? Do you think that we would ever succeed in an effort to dictate to the Almighty the terms of our salvation? If we think so we are mistaken, deceived; we cannot do it. The purposes of the Almighty are unchanged and unchangeable, his laws endure, and he is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. His purposes will ripen and be consummated, and his designs will be completed. Therefore, if we do not conform to his will, obey his laws and yield to his requirements in this world, we will be consigned to “the prison house,” where we will remain until we pay the debt to the uttermost farthing. This is a Scriptural, and reasonable, and a true doctrine; for it is a doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Saints understand it, but there may be some here who do not, and for their benefit, as well as to refresh the memories of those who may not have reflected for a little season upon this principle, I will refer to it as briefly expressed in the third and fourth chapters of the first Epistle of Peter. There you will see that Jesus himself preached the Gospel to the spirits in prison, “which some time were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” [37]

In various dispensations there are various differences in regard to certain requirements of the Gospel. For instance, in the day of Noah, when he preached the Gospel to the antediluvian world, he was given a special commandment, to build an ark, that in case the people would reject him and the message sent unto them, that himself and all who believed on him might be saved from the destruction that awaited them. In this dispensation there is a principle or commandment peculiar to it. What is that? It is the gathering the people unto one place. The gathering of this people is as necessary to be observed by believers, as faith, repentance, baptism, or any other ordinance. It is an essential part of the Gospel of this dispensation, as much so, as the necessity of building an ark by Noah, for his deliverance, was a part of the Gospel of his dispensation. [38]

Heber J. Grant

“We do not need to fear, but I do complain absolutely against any teacher who says to his class: ‘You have always had a prayer here in the past. If we knew there is somebody to pray to, we would have a prayer in the future, but as we do not know, we will not pray.’ All I ask of him is that he just keep his mouth shut and not pray.

FORMERLY ABSURDITIES, NOW DEMONSTRATED FACTS

They talk about not teaching infidelity—they teach it by asking such a question as: “Do you believe in the flood?” I do, and I have no doubt of it. There is no need of any such question. Just be honest. And it is not honest to draw money to teach people that which we are not asked to teach, and that which is calculated to destroy faith, just as was the case with the doctor who ridiculed me for believing that there were cement buildings in the early days among the Nephites. Ridiculous! Absurd!” [39]

George Albert Smith

“We read in the Old Testament the circumstances that surrounded the people at the time of the flood. We are informed that they were not destroyed until they had been fully warned. For one hundred and twenty years Noah, a prophet of God, went to and fro among the people, calling on them to abandon their wickedness. He warned them that unless they repented of their sins and turned to the Lord, destruction would overtake them. One hundred and twenty years of pleading to do right was followed by the flood that destroyed all flesh not preserved in the ark. Because Noah was indeed a prophet of God, and had only told the people what the Lord had directed, his promise was fulfilled, he was vindicated, and the earth received its baptism of water. Only the little handful that believed in the prophet of God and listened to his wise counsels, were saved.” [40]

“I have no doubt that in the days of Noah there were many people who had opportunities to know the truth. I have no doubt that in his day he was very diligent in trying to teach the people the purpose of their being. He knew why they were here. He knew that it was necessary to have faith in God. He knew that all that we enjoy comes from a generous Heavenly Father, and for one hundred and twenty years he traveled to and fro in that section of the world and proclaimed the truth, until finally the wickedness of the world became so great that our Heavenly Father directed his faithful servant to prepare to save himself and his household. Then a great deluge swept the earth, and those who had been created in the image of God, who had been alien to the blessings that he offered them so generously, were drowned in order that a new race might come upon the earth, with opportunity to learn of his ways that they might walk in his paths.” [41]

So we look down over the vista of time, to the days of Noah when the Lord warned the people of what would occur, and they apparently paid no attention, for out of the seeming multitudes that dwelt upon the earth, only eight souls were saved from destruction, yet all had been told how they might be preserved. [42]

“We find that Adam, our first parent in the world, was not only given a sphere of action in which to work, but was instructed by God the Father. He knew he was created in the image of the Father for he had seen Him face to face. Adam taught those with whom he was associated that there was a God in heaven, and admonished them to obey His laws. Down to the days of Noah the thought that there is a hereafter and a home beyond the grave was instilled into the hearts of men. But there is in the world two powers—one power for good, and the other for evil. At the time of Noah the power of evil had so taken possession of the hearts of the children of men that it grieved Noah that God had made man, and the Lord in His wisdom sent the floods from heaven and destroyed mankind from the face of the earth, with the exception of a few who listened to the voice of His servant Noah.” [43]

“We are in the position of Noah, who, in his day, went to and fro in the world, proclaiming the truth, calling all men to turn from the error of their way, warning them of the impending judgments that would fall upon them if they failed to repent; but, in due time those who refused to reform their lives and failed to listen to that servant of the Lord, became absolutely unfit to inhabit this earth and they were overwhelmed by the flood, while the eight who were righteous were preserved from that awful calamity.” [44]

Remember that in the days of Noah, he preached the Gospel for approximately a hundred years and the people would not repent, but by and by, the warning that had been given to them was realized and they were all wiped out except the few that were in the ark. [45]

“The case of Noah is in point. He was commanded of the Lord to build an ark in which the righteous might be preserved from the flood which was to come. Noah built the ark and preached repentance to his generation for a period of one hundred and twenty years, thus fully warning them. The people, however, were so wicked that they failed to heed the warning. Having their agency, they chose evil rather than righteousness. The rains descended, and the floods came, and only Noah and his family of eight souls were saved. All had been fully warned, but because of their wilfulness and their refusal to repent they were drowned.” [46]

“We are in the position of Noah, who, in his day, went to and fro in the world, proclaiming the truth, calling all men to turn from the error of their way, warning them of the impending judgments that would fall upon them if they failed to repent; but, in due time those who refused to reform their lives and failed to listen to that servant of the Lord, became absolutely unfit to inhabit this earth and they were overwhelmed by the flood, while the eight who were righteous were preserved from that awful calamity.” [47]

“Now the average mission is about two years, that means more than one hundred twenty thousand years of individual service, instead of one hundred twenty years; and if the Lord, after one hundred twenty years teaching the truth through His servant. Noah, found it necessary, because of the wickedness of men, to destroy all but eight, it is not surprising to me that, after one hundred twenty thousand years of preaching the gospel among the children of men, and their refusal to accept the truth as it has been delivered in this latter day, the sorrows of the world are multiplying.” [48]

“It has been remarkable to me as I have read the history of the world, both religious and secular, that the children of men so easily forget the Lord and turn away from him. In ancient times it became necessary for Noah to go about teaching the truth for more than a hundred years, and yet people rejected him and his message and the prediction that he made that they would suffer the penalty that always follows disobedience to God. They were drowned in the flood.” [49]

“The case of Noah is in point. He was commanded of the Lord to build an ark in which the righteous might be preserved from the flood which was to come. Noah built the ark and preached repentance to his generation for a period of one hundred and twenty years, thus fully warning them. The people, however, were so wicked that they failed to heed the warning. Having their agency, they chose evil rather than righteousness. The rains descended, and the floods came, and only Noah and his family of eight souls were saved. All had been fully warned, but because of their wilfulness and their refusal to repent they were drowned.” [50]

Men and women in their sins continued sinful and failed to listen to the warning voice of a prophet of God [Noah], and the result was that the Lord could do nothing with them until they were repentant. He saw the futility of working with them because they were wilfully in the hands of the adversary, and so he covered the earth with a great flood, gathering just a little handful of people to re-people the earth, because it was necessary that good men and good women should transmit to posterity the virtues that they inherited when they were created in the spirit world. And so it has ever been. [51]

David O. McKay

“On one occasion the whole population of the world was wiped out with the exception of a few who listened to Noah, a servant of God, who for more than a hundred years had called the people to repentance. Only those who were in the ark were preserved.” [52]

Joseph Fielding Smith

Evolutionary writers invariably attack the story of the flood as they do the account of the divine purpose of the creation. It interferes with their theories and therefore it must not stand! [53]

Harold B. Lee

“To Noah the Lord declared that because all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth, that he proposed to destroy man from the face of the earth.” [54]

Thus, by the teachings of the scriptures, all mankind are made one great family. Furthermore, we are given to understand that all who live in mortality, if they would perfect their genealogical research, could trace their ancestry back to Adam and Eve, our first earthly parents in the Garden of Eden, through Noah and his family, who were the only living persons on the earth after the flood. Very few researchers in the genealogical field go far in their work until they find widely separated persons of varying nationalities with the same ancestors on the genealogical chart. All of this points unmistakably to the correctness of the scriptural teachings. [55]

Spencer W. Kimball

“It was not blind faith when the patriarch Noah built an ark some forty-two centuries ago or when the prophet Nephi built a boat about twenty-five centuries ago. Each was commanded by the Lord to construct a seaworthy vessel. An unprecedented total flood was to envelop the earth in the one case and the greatest ocean to be crossed by the other. No experience of either builder could give guidance in these new adventures—no previous flood or ocean crossing had ever come in the life of either—there was nothing on which to base construction except directions from the Lord. Here was no blind obedience. Each knew the goodness of God and that he had purpose in his strange commands. And so each with eyes wide open, with absolute freedom of choice, built by faith. Noah’s family was saved from physical drowning and spiritual decadence, and Nephi’s people were saved likewise.” [56]

“Our Lord wept bitterly when he saw his creatures breaking his commandments in the pre-deluge days, but he refrained from force. They must have their agency:

The Lord said unto Enoch: “Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency.’ [57]

They were permitted to ignore the warnings of the prophets till their cup of iniquity was full, ran over, and flooded the world and drowned its inhabitants.

Rewards for faithfulness and penalties for disobedience are certain. God is longsuffering, patient, and kind, where as men and natural laws are often swift and cruel.” [58]

This ascendancy of the natural man, this rejection of God’s call to repentance, has caused the destruction of entire civilizations. In the early generations it is true that those who were sufficiently righteous followed Enoch to a translated life; but only eight, Noah and sons and their four wives, were preserved later through the great flood, all others being drowned. [59]

You [the Lamanites] came from Jerusalem in its days of tribulation. You are of royal blood, a loved people of the Lord. In your veins flows the blood of prophets and statesmen; of emperors and kings; apostles and martyrs. Adam and Enoch sired you; Noah brought you through the flood. [60]

Howard W. Hunter

“The Old Testament unfolds the story of the creation of the earth and mankind by God. Should we now disregard this account and modernize the creation according to the theories of the modernists? Can we say there was no Garden of Eden or an Adam and Eve? 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? Let us examine what the Master said when the disciples came to him as he sat on the Mount of Olives. They asked him to tell them of the time of his coming and of the end of the world. Jesus answered: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [61] In this statement the Master confirmed the story of the flood without modernizing it. Can we accept some of the statements of the Lord as being true and at the same time reject others as being false? When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, and they discussed the matter of the death of her brother and the resurrection. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” [62] Both of these statements, the one regarding Noah and the fact of the flood and the one in which he declared himself to be the resurrection and the life, were made by the Lord. How can we believe one and not the other? How can we modernize the story of the flood, or refer to it as a myth, and yet cling to the truth of the other? How can we modernize the Bible and still have it be a guiding light to us and a vital influence in our beliefs? There are those who declare it is old-fashioned to believe in the Bible. Is it old-fashioned to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God? Is it old-fashioned to believe in his atoning sacrifice and the resurrection? If it is, I declare myself to be old-fashioned and the Church to be old-fashioned. In great simplicity, the Master taught the principles of life eternal and lessons that bring happiness to those with the faith to believe.” [63]

“What of spiritual values and the religious ideals of past generations, which have been the great stabilizing influence on society? Modern thinkers claim these have been the great deterrents to man in the freedoms he now seeks. There is a great effort on the part of so-called modernists to change religious beliefs and teachings of the past to conform to modern thought and critical research. They de-emphasize the teachings of the Bible by modern critical methods and deny that scripture is inspired. The modernist teaches that Christ is not the Son of God. He denies the doctrine of the atoning sacrifice by which all men may be saved. He denies the fact of the resurrection of the Savior of the world and relegates him to the status of a teacher of ethics. Where, then, is hope? What has become of faith?

The Old Testament unfolds the story of the creation of the earth and man by God. Should we now disregard this account and modernize the creation according to the theories of the modernists? Can we say there was no Garden of Eden or an Adam and Eve? 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? In this statement the Master confirmed the story of the flood without modernizing it. Can we accept some of the statements of the Lord as being true and at the same time reject others as being false?” [64]

President Hunter continued by quoting the Savior’s words in Matthew relative to the universal Flood as a type of the Second Coming. As the earth was completely baptized and washed of all wickedness by the waters of the flood, so at the Savior’s Second Coming will the earth be baptized by fire and completely cleansed yet again [65]. Commenting on this passage, President Hunter continued.

“In this statement the Master confirmed the story of the flood without modernizing it. Can we accept some of the statements of the Lord as being true and at the same time reject others as being false?” [66]

“Corruption soon filled the earth again and God raised up Noah as a prophet to teach the gospel.

“And it came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent; but they hearkened not unto his words.” [67]

The Lord then caused the earth to be covered by water, destroying the wicked population except the family of Noah, and Noah became the prophet to a new generation, holding the keys of the priesthood.” [68]

Thomas S. Monson

“It is not difficult to withstand the mockings and unsavory remarks of foolish ones who would ridicule chastity, honesty, and obedience to God’s commands. The world has ever belittled adherence to principle. Times change. Practices persist. When Noah was instructed to build an ark, the foolish populace looked at the cloudless sky, then scoffed and jeered—until the rain came.” [69]

Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist

Duane E. Jeffery

“. . . the story [Noah’s Flood] is ignored as childish nonsense in most of the academic world, given no more attention nor validity than Grimm’s fairy tales. Can one really fit ten million species onto a single ocean-going vessel, feed and care for them all with their often very restrictive diets or living conditions (many of which we are helpless to duplicate even with modern systems), and keep it all going with just eight people for an entire year? The answer, plainly, is no.” [70]

“. . . the story is ignored as childish nonsense in most of the academic world, given no more attention nor validity than Grimm’s fairy tales.” [71]

“Can one really fit ten million species onto a single ocean-going vessel, feed and care for them all with their often very restrictive diets or living conditions (many of which we are helpless to duplicate even with modern systems), and keep it all going with just eight people for an entire year? The answer, plainly, is no.” [72]

Scripture

Moses 7:42-43
“And Enoch also saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation; Wherefore Enoch saw that Noah built an ark; and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came and swallowed them up.”

JST 2 Peter 3:3-6; 8
“Knowing this first, that in the last days there shall come scoffers, walking after their own lusts. Denying the Lord Jesus Christ, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things must continue as they are and have continued as they are from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that of old the heavens, and the earth standing in the water and out of the water, were created by the word of God; And by the word of God, the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished; . . . But concerning the coming of the Lord, beloved, I would not have you ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. ”

JST Genesis 9:6
“I will call on the name of the Lord, that he will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and that he will not again smite any more every thing living, as he hath done, while the earth remaineth;”

Matthew 24:36-39
“As the earth was completely baptized and washed of all wickedness by the waters of the flood, so at the Savior’s Second Coming will the earth be baptized by fire and completely cleansed yet again.”

Matthew 24:36, 41
“. . . as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

Genesis 6:13
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Genesis 7:19-23
“And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

Moses 8:29-30
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth.

Abraham 1:24
“When this woman [Egyptus] discovered the land [Egypt] it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.

1 Peter 3:19-20 (See also D&C 138:8-9 )
“By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

Ether 13:2
“For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof

Matthew 24:35-39
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

Supporting Statements


  1. Duane E. Jeffery, Noah’s Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions
  2. Duane E. Jeffery, Noah’s Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions
  3. Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], p. 22
  4. Matthew 24:36-39
  5. Id., at p. 23
  6. Matthew 24:36, 41
  7. Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], p. 23.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 337.
  10. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 12.
  11. History of the Church 1:283
  12. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 13: 312
  13. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 13: 314
  14. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 229 – 230
  15. President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 352 – 353
  16. Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 393.
  17. Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 102.
  18. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 13: 18
  19. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 1: 159
  20. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 206
  21. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 372 – 373
  22. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 358
  23. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 1: 371
  24. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 302
  25. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 7: 364
  26. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 298 – 299
  27. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 20: 224 – 225
  28. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 291 – 292
  29. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 26: 35 – 36
  30. John Taylor, Continued Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 357 – 358
  31. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 21: 243
  32. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 26: 90
  33. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 237
  34. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 24: 238
  35. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 11: 244
  36. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 302
  37. Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 18: 92
  38. Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 19: 193
  39. President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1935, Third Day—Morning Meeting 104
  40. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1922, Second Day—Morning Session 50
  41. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1928, Afternoon Meeting 91
  42. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1943, Second Day—Morning Meeting 42 – 43
  43. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1905, Second Overflow Meeting. 97
  44. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1922, Third Day—Morning Session 97
  45. President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1950, General Priesthood Meeting 180
  46. President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1945, Third Day—Morning Meeting 136
  47. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1922, Third Day—Morning Session 97
  48. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1922, Second Day—Morning Session 50 – 51
  49. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1932, Afternoon Meeting 42
  50. President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1945, Third Day—Morning Meeting 136
  51. George Albert Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 20.
  52. President David O. Mckay, Conference Report, April 1949, Afternoon Meeting 166
  53. Joseph Fielding Smith, Man: His Origin and Destiny, p. 416
  54. Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1945, Afternoon Meeting 47
  55. Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 161 – 162.
  56. Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1954, Afternoon Meeting 52
  57. Moses 7:32
  58. Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1954, Afternoon Meeting 54
  59. Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969]
  60. Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 597.
  61. Matthew 24:36-39
  62. John 11:25
  63. Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, p. 23.
  64. Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, October 1970, Third Day—Morning Meeting 129 – 130
  65. Matthew 24:36-39
  66. Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], p. 23.
  67. Moses 8:20
  68. Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, October 1963, Third Day—Morning Meeting 100
  69. Thomas S. Monson, Conference Report, April 1967, Second Day—Morning Meeting 58
  70. Duane E. Jeffery,Noah’s Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions
  71. Duane E. Jeffery,Noah’s Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions
  72. Duane E. Jeffery,Noah’s Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions

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1 Response

  1. Marion says:

    Thank you. I Googled ” why did God flood the earth.” And found shallow, often foolish ‘answers’ I wanted to understand the rationale of Heavenly father who created all and it was ” good, very good ” and yet would know in advance that men would become corrupt ……I now understand that the earth is a living thing and needed its baptism as do all of God’s creations which desire eternal life…..that there will also be a baptism by fire ( Holy Ghost for us mortals ) to fulfil this requirement too…..thank you I do appreciate the deeper understanding thatthe flood was a necessary part in the plan of salvation as the world moves towArds its destiny……

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