I came across these paragraphs, excerpted from an essay about possible conflicts between science and a literalistic interpretation of the Bible. Your job is to guess (no Googling!) whether the author was:
a. a sociologist
b. a liberal, non-literalist theologican
c. a creationist
d. an atheist scientist
e. a non-theological religious scholar
f. none of the above
The Bible seems to teach that there was a global flood in the days of Noah. This was the universal teaching of the Fathers of the church. Though not directly linked to the issue of the age of the earth, one’s position on the historical nature of the Flood and its extent are still important. The response one gives to this question will indicate important core religious ideas.
The sorts of issues that flow from the idea of a global flood are critical to a religious believer. What will control the biblical exegesis of the Christian? Will they forever be engaged in an exegesis of the moment? Later in this essay we will suggest an answer to these questions. For now, it is sufficient to make one simple point. Every Christian from the founding of the church until the advent of modern science believed Noah was a real person. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches venerate Noah as a saint with the other patriarchs.
Modern naturalistic science has found no room for a flood, global or local. Many Christians, even those otherwise quite conservative, suggest the Noah story is a myth. It contains important theological truth, but no history. The church was wrong. Noah never existed.
This is a serious move for the church to make. Do the considered opinions of scientists now have the last say in important religious matters that touch on history? To a secular person, Noah’s disappearance looks very convenient. If a Bible story contains details that are contrary to science, then the Bible story is a “myth.” If the Bible story is fortunate enough to be unverifiable, like that of Abraham, it is allowed to function as history.
UPDATE: Answer goes up at 11 am CST Sunday, Feb. 21