BioLogos and Answers In Genesis (AiG) are two very different well-known organizations that seek to educate the Christian masses on their faith. AiG is a fundamentalist young-Earth creationist (YEC) group that holds the Bible as the literal word of God. When the Bible and science clashes, AiG deems science to be wrong. In contrast, BioLogos is composed largely of scientists who seeks to explain their beliefs using modern knowledge. When the Bible and science clash, BioLogos seeks an interpretation of the Bible that resolves the clash.
Clearly AiG (the group that created the Ark Encounter - a full size 'replica' of the ark) claims that a worldwide flood actually happened with Noah and family floating about in a massive ark with a collection of survivor animals. The BioLogos viewpoint is quite different.
Below is an informative series by BioLogos that delves into the most likely historical origins of the biblical flood story.
Here are some of the key points made in this series:
The flood itself is contradicted by empirical evidence (and logic):
The biblical flood story (Genesis 6-9) has certainly taken a beating over the last two or three centuries. The problems began in earnest once geologists realized that a literal submersion of the entire earth in water is contradicted by clear scientific evidence.
The Gilgamesh flood story is viewed as that which is plagiarized by the Bible to produce Noah's flood. The Gilgamesh story itself likely evolved to adopt the Atrahasis mythical flood:
The earliest copies of Gilgamesh are Sumerian and may be as old as the third millennium BC. Also, the earliest versions of this epic did not even include a flood story. That was added toward the end of the second millennium and was deliberately adopted from Atrahasis.
Likely a large but localized ancient flood inspired these and other stories that then evolved through oral lore:
But for us, it is not necessary to ponder whether Genesis is dependent on these ancient Mesopotamian stories. The various flood stories simply share common ways of speaking about a horrible flood of some sort. It is a common scholarly view that either a severe local flood (around 2900 B.C.) or numerous local floods triggered these flood stories. Most biblical scholars understand these ancient stories as attempts to explain why such a thing could happen. The answer: the gods were angry.
The reason for the flood is that God was wiping the slate clean because man was wicked. Yet God decided to save Noah and his family and -in so doing- continue the sinful bloodline that carried original sin into His new world. In result, Jesus had to be later sacrificed to forgive this original sin. Quite an amazing blunder for an omniscient being:
To use later biblical language, humanity was created to be “holy,” i.e., set apart for a God-given purpose. Beginning with Adam and Eve, humans chose to ignore this “set apart” identity, and so, as the story goes, God had had enough and decided to wipe the slate clean and start over. This meant, as mentioned above, a reintroduction of the chaos waters followed by the restoration of order through Noah and his family.
The pre-flood world was a failure because the most God-like of God’s creation, humans, had become agents of chaos rather than order—and even the divine realm contributed to the dysfunction. Creation had become chaotic, its very opposite. So God begins again. Noah (blameless and righteous, 6:9), is the new man, the new “Adam.” The flood story is about a new creation, and so a new humanity who, one might hope, would learn from past mistakes and get it right.
The flood itself is easily understood since to ancient men their 'world' was a seemingly flat stretch measured in square miles. A normal flood would flood the 'world' in their perspective:
Of course, for the ancient writer of Genesis, the world was a much smaller, flatter place. Perhaps what he and other ancient writers wrote reflects how they perceived the world. The “earth” was what they saw when they walked outside—a vast stretch of flat land with mountains off in the distance. When a devastating flood came and swept away everything in its path, it seemed like “the whole earth” to the ancient writer. If you think about it, one should actually expect ancient writers to use “worldwide” language given their state of knowledge.
BioLogos here shows its scientific grounding. When modern scientific knowledge clashes with the Bible, the clashing scripture is viewed as allegorical, not historical:
I understand this does not satisfy everyone. Some feel that for the flood story to have any theological value for readers today, it must be historical in nature. I hope this is not the case. If the flood story’s theological value depends on all of the earth’s population being wiped out a few thousand years ago, we have a problem. We will have erected an impassable obstruction between the present state of knowledge, scientific and biblical, and any hope of a viable Christian faith that is connected to the Bible.
But it does pose a profound problem for BioLogos. If the Bible is part allegory it might just be mostly allegory. This means that cornerstones of the faith may not be true such as the resurrection of Jesus:
To nip in the bud a predictable objection: the slippery slope argument does not hold here. To say that the flood story is fundamentally more story than history does not mean that the crucifixion and resurrection are also unhistorical. Genesis and the Gospels are different types of literature written at very different times for very different reasons. Failing to make such basic genre distinction is perhaps at the root of some of the conflict over Genesis.
In all, it is a risky business for a Christian organization (of scientists) to counter or reexplain the Bible since that in itself shows that the Bible cannot be literally accepted as divine. It also means that God put forth a very confusing / sophisticated message with deep allegory rather than communicate in plain, simple terms. Oddly enough, the Young Earth Creationists like Ken Ham actually are in a better position of consistency than BioLogos. The YEC's literally interpret the Bible as 100% the divine word of God. This yields bizarre beliefs such as a 6,000 year old Earth where human beings coexisted with dinosaurs, etc. but this belief system is logically consistent.: whatever is in the Bible is truth. AiG and other YECs dogmatically hold to literal words written by ancient men and work overtime to discredit science when the clashes with science are intolerable.
BioLogos seeks an explanation for the Bible that is consistent with reality (as we understand it today through advances in science) and thus preserves their faith without denying reality. It is quite an artful act at times, but if one is to hold religious views it is better to adjust same to accept rather than deny reality.