Alluvial Plains Through the Spectacles of Scripture

It has been two months now since many of our readers boarded the airlines and flew across Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains to attend the convention in Redlands, California. If the skies were clear, God gave you a grand view of the mountains and also a clear manifestation of the flood He sent during the days of Noah. If you flew over the mid-western part of the country, you would be able to see parts of the Grand Canyon, and if you took a more southerly route through Phoenix, Arizona, you would see clearly the evidence of the flood through the deserts.

Bring back the pictures in your mind of the mountains as seen from above. Now imagine the Great Plains entirely covered with water with only the Rocky Mountains thrusting upward like a long toothy island chain. Let us go back to the time of the Flood when the waters began to decrease as we read in Genesis 8:5 “And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.” As the waters continue to decrease, flowing toward the oceans, enormous rivers sweep through the mountain canyons and waterfalls thunder over the foothills of California. Water also rushes southward and begins to erode the many layers of silt from the flood that have compacted into soft stone. Enormous boulders and tons of rock are swept into piles further on as the raging waters carve out the Grand Canyon.

Eventually, the floodwaters drain from the continents. New weather patterns develop and the plants begin to grow. Some areas receive rain sufficient for heavy vegetation that forms layers of soil and slowly erases the effects of the Flood. Other areas like those of Arizona and parts of California received less rain and certain effects of the Flood remain more prominent. One such geological feature left over from the Flood is called an “alluvial fan.” The word “alluvial” comes from a Latin word that means “an overflowing.” “Alluvium” is mud, sand, and rock that is carried by swiftly flowing water and deposited in a gradually sloping fan formation when the water slows down.

The city of Redlands, California, is built upon an alluvial fan. As the floodwaters poured through the mountain valleys and burst through the west side, they slowed down and paved the area of Redlands with its load of boulders and rocks from the mountains to form the alluvial fan. While walking or driving around in Redlands, you really can’t see that you are on such a geological feature. You do notice, however, all the rocks in the Redlands area; and if you pay attention to the land, you would also notice the general flatness and gradual sloping of the land. From the perspective of an airplane, the alluvial plain is more obvious.

A small stream continues to trickle out of the mountains through this area in what looks like a nearly dry riverbed (called a “wash” by locals, and an “arroyo” by scientists). Periodically the wash is filled with raging floodwaters laden with tumbling boulders and rocks as heavy rains pelt the mountain slopes. An enormous dam that shuts off the valley testifies to the fear of possible floods that would destroy property from Redlands to Los Angeles. Though there may be big floods here in the future, God assures us that there will never be another flood like in the days of Noah.

For most, a first-hand aerial view of alluvial fans is a rare opportunity to witness the awesome power of the Flood. The landscape viewed while flying from the Redlands area to Phoenix, Arizona, shouts out to everyone “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered” (Genesis 7:19). It is clear from an aerial view that what is now rock-strewn desert, was obviously engulfed in flowing water. Alluvial fans and dry river beds blanket the area. Geologists cannot deny the fact that floodwaters sculpted the landscape, yet they go to the Grand Canyon and explain it in terms of millions of years of gradual erosion. They say the Colorado River has been flowing as it is now for millions of years ignoring the clear evidence of the flood that formed the landscape downstream of the Grand Canyon. How can they be so blind? God reveals the answer to this question in His Word. We read in Romans 1:18-21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” More specifically God speaks concerning those who scoff at the truth of the Flood. We read in II Peter 3:5-7 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

In antithetical contrast to the ungodly, the godly grow in their knowledge of God. While at the convention, the young people heard the truths of God’s Word expounded by faithful shepherds of God’s Word. They had an excellent opportunity to learn from one another. They were also surrounded by geological features formed by the hand of God to teach us and testify of the very truths found in His Word. We may not stop, however, at the mere grandeur of the sights. The child of God seeks to know more. When we see the mountains and evidence of the flood in this creation, we turn to the Word of God. In His Word, God tells us that his faithfulness is like the unmovable mountains. He also reveals that by His power He makes the mountains and also removes them.

When God tells us about the flood, He directs our attention to the beautiful truth of the covenant. He says, “And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:15). The covenant is the beautiful relationship of friendship that God establishes with His people. Just when it seemed that the wicked world would swallow up God’s people and destroy His promise, God used the Flood to save Noah and preserve His people. We read in Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” And in I Peter 3:20b we read “few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

God will not send another flood. The Flood was but a picture of salvation in Christ. It is a picture of the second coming of Christ in which the filth of this world will be destroyed by fire and the righteous will be saved not in a dark and crowded ark, but free to live forever in the new heavens and new earth. There we will fully enjoy covenant friendship with our God. May the Word of God in creation always bring us to the full revelation of God found in the Scriptures. ❖