googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Were there Fish on the Ark?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Were there Fish on the Ark?

In the many years I've spent defending Christianity, I've heard a lot of criticisms of the Bible. Some are repeated more often than others and one criticism I've heard concerns the disposition of fish during the Flood. It's not one of the more commonly raised criticisms but it's raised often enough to warrant our attention. Yet I believe it's one of the least answered by apologists. Many apologetic websites that I've visited have long lists of articles responding to common objections but this objection is curiously absent from many of them (though certainly not all of them). I'm really puzzled as to why because it's not that difficult to answer. Perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on my fellow apologists, though. After all, my own blog is over three years old and I haven't addressed it yet. I guess I just never got around to it. We'll, I'm going to remedy that now.


Certain species of fish are extremely intolerant to variations in their environment. They can only survive in a narrow range of water temperature or salinity level. If the water is too hot or too cold or too salty or not salty enough, the fish will die. During the Flood, however, all the waters would have been mixed together. Remember too that the waters of the Flood covered the earth for approximately one year. If all the waters were salty, how did fresh-water fish survive? If all the waters were fresh-water, how did salt-water fish survive?


At first hearing, this sounds like a serious objection but as an old saying goes, it's a mile wide and an inch deep. There's a very glaring assumption built into the objection that undoes the entire dilemma. I think many evolutionists recognize the flaw which is why the objection isn't raised more often. After all, evolutionists face this same dilemma yet the flaw either doesn't occur to some evolutionists or they won't admit it exists. The simple answer is this: it is only the modern species of fish that have adapted to their environment. The ancestors of these species could obviously survive a broader variation in their environment.

Think about this: even according to evolutionary theory, all species of fish (both fresh and salt-water fish) have a common ancestor. Was this supposed ancestor a fresh-water or salt-water dweller? If the ancestor lived in salt-water, how come some of its descendants can only live in fresh-water? It is because they have adapted to live only in fresh-water, of course.

Creationists believe much that same things about fish; that is, modern species have adapted to their environment. The key differences in our theories are 1) how long it took the species to adapt and 2) we do not believe all fish have a single common ancestor but have descended from a few created “kinds” (see my previous post, What is a Kind).

Now, during the Flood, even many aquatic animals died. Marine animals represent the overwhelming majority of species in the fossil record and most of these fossils were created during the Flood. Even so, a few representatives of the various “kinds” of fish survived. After the Flood, there was a common principle that applied to all surviving species: adapt or die. The various kinds of animals that survived the Flood were genetically diverse and this wide range of genetic potential meant the early generations of their offspring enjoyed wide diversity. As animals spread out to repopulate the world, those creatures with traits well suited to an environment prospered while those with unsuitable traits died (see my post, The Real Origin of Species). The species today are specialized and well adapted to their environments. They are also less able to adapt to changes in their environment than their more genetically diverse ancestor were.

Concerning this subject, there are many other factors that could be discussed but they are only of marginal importance. For example, why must we assume that the Flood waters were uniform? Even though the Flood was global, the level of salinity was not necessarily the same everywhere. Neither was the temperature likely the same everywhere. There could very well have been pockets where the water was warmer, or cooler, or more salty, or less salty, or more acidic, or less acidic, etc. Consider the Pacific Ocean; even today, is the water temperature the same everywhere in the Pacific? If the Pacific Ocean still isn't entirely uniform, why must a single, global ocean be uniform? Also, how tempestuous was the Flood? The Bible says it rained for 40 days (Genesis 7:12) and the water prevailed 150 days (Genesis 7:24). The most violent part of the Flood was the beginning. Afterward, the waters were probably more tranquil so there wasn't necessarily a year long “stirring” of the water. Finally, we know that the seas are becoming more salty (here). At the current level of salinity and the rate at which salt is being added, the seas would have been entirely fresh water only 62 million years ago. So, even granting the most generous assumptions to evolutionists, the oceans must be less than 62 million years old. At the very least, the salt levels in the ocean would have changed markedly over the last few hundred thousand years. If the fresh-water fish of old could not have adapted quickly to the increase in salt levels, they should be dead now according to evolutionists' own theory!

These ancillary issues are interesting to discuss but the bottom line is still this: it is flimsy ground to argue that ancestral fish could not have survived the Flood based solely on the tolerance ranges of modern species. This objection poses no problem at all to creationists. The caricature painted by evolutionists of Noah having to build aquariums on the Ark to preserve sensitive species of fish is nothing more than a straw man.

Further reading:
Is Shark Hybridization "Evolution in Action"?

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