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Don Stewart :: Was the Flood in Noah's Day Localized to One Geographic Area?

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Don Stewart
There are many Christians who see the Flood as a local deluge, limited to a particular geographical area rather than being worldwide. This view comes in a number of forms.

1.Limited Geography, Limited Life

The first position is that humans and animals were spread out all over the globe. The Flood affected a limited portion of the earth killing only those who lived in a small geographical area. The rest of the people and animals were spared.

2.Limited Only Geographically All Life Destroyed

Others hold that all life was limited to one particular region. Though the Flood was geographically limited, the Flood killed every living thing since all life was confined to one geographical area.

3.Uncertain About Human And Animal Life

Some who hold to a local Flood do not think there is sufficient evidence to make a decision as to whether humans and animals lived in other parts of the globe at the time of the Genesis Flood. Although accepting a geographically local Flood, they do not take a position as to how to the extent of the Flood with respect to animals and humanity.

All Agree Geographically Limited

Local Flood advocates all agree that the Flood was geographically limited - whether or not it destroyed all of humanity and all of the animal kingdom. There is no agreement, however, as to the exact geographically extent of the Flood.

The Local Flood View Explained

The local Flood view is that God sent a destructive Flood to a limited part of the world to destroy the evil inhabitants that dwelt there. These were people who had received special privileges from God and lived in highly favorable circumstances. Instead of honoring Him, they were evil continually. God, therefore, wiped out all of the people and animal in this geographical area except for eight people - Noah and his family.

Not Degrading Scripture

Those who hold this view should not be accused of having a low view of Scripture. Bernard Ramm comments.

It is not a question as to what God can or cannot do. Those who believe in a local Flood believe in the omnipotence and power of God as much as any other Christian does. The question is not: 'What can God do?' but 'What did God do?' (Bernard Ramm,, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, Eerdmans, 1954, p. 163).

We should not assume, therefore, that those who hold to a local Flood have a low view of the power of God and the inspiration of the Bible. There are many good Bible-believing Christians who think the Scriptures teach the Flood was not worldwide in scope but rather limited to a local geographical area.

Most Arguments The Same

As we have noted, there is disagreement between local Flood advocates as to whether there were people and animals living in others parts of the globe. Whatever the particular position that local Flood advocates take on this issue, their arguments for a localized Flood are basically the same. Therefore we will group the arguments together making note where there is disagreement between those who advocate a restricted Flood.

The Biblical Case For A Local Flood

Those who argue a biblical case for a local Flood believe that Scripture can support this position. They believe terms used in Genesis do not force one to believe in a universal Flood.

1.All Does Not Always Mean All

Though the word all is found throughout the Flood account, it is not necessary to assume that it is used in a universal sense. There are many places in the Bible where all does not mean every last one. For example.

Joel 3:2 reads:

I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, My people Israel, for they scattered My people among the nations and divided up my land (Joel 3:2).

Though the Scripture says all nations, we know from the context that the nations are limited to those around Judah and Jerusalem.

Another example can be found in the statement of Cyrus.

Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him! Let him go up (2 Chronicles 36:23).

His kingdom, though great, did not encompass the entire globe.

Therefore all does not mean every last one. Therefore when we find the term all in Scripture, the context has to tell us if it means every last one. It is not always necessary to assume that it is used in a universal sense.

2.Universal Language Is Often Hyperbolic

In Scripture, universal language is often hyperbolic - deliberate exaggeration for effect. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote:

If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant (Colossians 1:23).

This is obvious exaggeration. Not everyone, everywhere in the earth had heard the gospel at this time.

This is another indication that universal expressions in Scripture are not necessarily universal. The context must be the determining factor. Statements which sound universal in the English Bible may have a local reference.

The universal terms could have been used to emphasize that this was no normal flood. Though local in extent, it nevertheless was devastating in its destruction.

3.The Hebrew Word Earth Can Be Translated Land

The Hebrew term eretz translated earth in Genesis 6-8 should be translated land instead of earth. The word eretz is used more than 2,500 times in the Old Testament with 80% of the time being translated land rather than earth. Therefore, the Hebrew writers employed the word with its much more restricted meaning about four times as frequently as they employed it with a broader meaning. What is in view, in the Flood account, is not the entire earth, but the land around Noah.

If the word land is substituted for earth in the Flood account then the passage has an entirely different sense. Consider how the passage would then be understood.

Now the land was corrupt in God's sight, and the land was filled with violence. And God saw that the land was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the land. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the land, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the land shall die (Genesis 6:11,12,17).

The point is as follows: the extent of the Flood cannot be decisively settled based upon the Hebrew word for earth.

4.Hebrews Had Better Word For Entire Earth

When the Hebrews wished to convey the idea of the whole habitable earth, they used the word tetel, as in Psalm 24:1.

The earth is the LORD's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it (Psalm 24:1).

This word is not found in the Genesis Flood account - another indication that the entire earth is not in view.

Not As Clear As It Seems

Consequently, the words all and the whole earth, which are found throughout the Flood narrative, may not really be as widespread in their implications as the text seems to state. The Hebrew language cannot, by itself, be decisive in determining the extent of the Flood.

5.Emphasis On Promised Land

The writer of Genesis was mainly concerned about God's covenant people and the land which they were promised - it was not on the entire globe. Old Testament authority, John Sailhamer, writes.
Two primary themes dominate the Creation account: the land and the blessing. In recounting the events of Creation, the author has selected and arranged the narrative to allow these themes full development. The preparation of the land and the divine blessing are important to the author or Genesis (and the Pentateuch) because these two themes form the basis of his treatment of the patriarchal narratives and the Sinai covenant. In translating the Hebrew word eretz (earth) in 1:1-2, the English versions have blurred the connection of these early verses of Genesis to the central theme of the land in the Pentateuch. Although eretz can be translated by either earth or land, the general term land in English more closely approximates its use in chapter 1. Thus from the start the author betrays his interest in the covenant by concentrating on the land in the account of creation (John H. Sailhamer, The Pentateuch As Narrative, Zondervan, 1992, pp. 81,82).

Consequently a local Flood that covered the Promised Land is consistent with his emphasis.

6.Mountains May Not Have Been That High

If Noah lived in the plains, then the term high mountains could refer to mountains that were relatively low - a few hundred feet. They were high mountains from his perspective on the plain. If this is the case, then it would not force us to assume that the entire world was under water.

7.Water Level Relative To Mountains

While it is true that water seeks its own level, the covering of low lying mountains, a few hundred feet in height, would not necessitate a universal Flood.

8.Universal From Author's Perspective

All admit that universal terms are used in the Flood account. It is argued that the terms are meant to be understood as universal from the author's (Noah's) perspective. From his limited standpoint, everything was covered with the waters of the Flood. When Noah used the phrase the entire heaven it would have meant all the sky that he could see. We find this limited sense of heaven in the Book of First Kings.

In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind; there was a heavy rain. Ahab rode off and went to Jezreel (1 Kings 18:45).

The heavens do not refer to the sky around the entire globe, but merely the sky in one limited area.

The same limitation is found in a statement in Deuteronomy.

This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under heaven; when they hear report of you, they will tremble and be in anguish because of you (Deuteronomy 2:25).

All peoples under heaven does not refer to everyone on the planet, it merely refers to those living in that part of the world.

Same Author

What is important about this reference is that it is from the same person who wrote the Book of Genesis - Moses. Since this phrase in Deuteronomy is limited in its extent, it is consistent to interpret the phrase in a limited extent in Genesis.

Consequently, when Moses wrote of the heaven and earth in the Flood account, it would have referred to all the sky and all the land in which surrounded Noah. As far as Noah was concerned, the Flood was universal.

9.Exact Site Of Landing Unknown

The Bible says that the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat - not necessarily present day Mount Ararat. This Hebrew word refers to a range, not one specific mountain. The range is a one hundred thousand square mile area. Old Testament authority, Gordon Wenham, explains.

On the mountains of Ararat does not mean on a mountain called Ararat, but on the mountains in the area called Ararat. Ararat is the Hebrew term for Urartu, a kingdom north of Assyria (2 Kgs 19:37; Isa 37:38; Jer 51:27) later called Armenia, now part of eastern Turkey, southern Russia, and northwestern Iran. Various mountains in Armenia have been identified with the one on which the ark landed . . . But it should be repeated that the biblical text does not give a precise location (Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Waco, Texas, Word, 1987, pp. 184,185).

Since we do not know exactly where the ark landed, we do not know what mountains were covered. They could have been relatively small.

10.Local Flood Prevented Need For Universal Flood

If humanity was limited to one specific geographical area, then God could have used a local Flood to keep the corrupt human race from spreading out all over the globe. The local Flood recorded in Genesis kept God from sending a greater destruction later in human history.

11.Too Hard For Animals To Disembark From Great Height

The identification of the present day Mount Ararat with the spot of the ark's landing has been questioned by some interpreters.

Mt. Ararat is c. 17,000 feet high, but the name was only later applied to this peak, and Heb. implies no more than a peak in this region. It is a gratuitous assumption of a miracle to make the animals find their way down through ice and snow from such a height (H.L. Ellison, The New Layman's Bible Commentary, G.C.D. Howley, F.F. Bruce, H.L. Ellison, editors, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, p. 142).

12.Noah Did Not Go Far To Preach

Also, the Biblical record indicates that Noah did not go to far countries to preach. This is consistent with the local Flood view but is difficult to reconcile with a universal Flood theory - which says the population was geographically spread out. If God send a global flood, there would have been people who would not have heard about the coming judgment.

13.The Ark Was A Sign

The building of the ark was a testimony only to those who saw it. Why should others believe Noah's testimony about an upcoming Flood if they were living far from the ark's construction? Therefore the Flood must have been geographically limited to those who could have witnessed the construction of the ark.

14.No Time To Warn Everybody

The building of the ark could have occurred in a relatively short period of time. This would not have provided Noah with ample time to warn those living in other parts of the globe - if those parts were populated at the time.

15.An Endless Supply Of Miracles Needed

Some writers feel that an endless supply of miracles are necessary for a universal Flood account to be established. Bernard Ramm writes.

If one wishes to retain a universal Flood, it must be understood that a series of stupendous miracles is required. Further, one cannot beg off with pious statements that God can do anything (Bernard Ramm, ibid., p. 165).

As we study Scripture, we find what is known as an economy of miracles. This means that God does not do more than is necessary in a particular situation - He does not flaunt His mighty power. He would not have sent a universal Flood if it was not necessary. David E. O'Brien writes.

God's demonstration of His power throughout the Scripture is rare enough to remain awe-inspiring but always restrained. God doesn't swat mosquitoes with meteorites. If His aim was to eradicate all life, with the exception of Noah and his family, the flood would have been extensive enough to accomplish that goal, but not more extensive (David E. O'Brien, Today's Handbook For Solving Bible Difficulties, Bethany House Publishers, 1990, p. 218).

16.Ark Would Not Survive Universal Flood

It is also contended that the ark could not survive the physical stress of a universal Flood. The continuous upheavals of the earth for five months would have destroyed the ark.

17.Ark Could Not Hold All The Animals

Noah's ark would not have been big enough to hold two of each animal that is known today - let alone those that have become extinct since the Flood. At best, it could hold about 30,000 species of animals - a small percentage of all known species both past and present.

18.Ark May Have Been Smaller Than Traditionally Believed

If the standard measurement, the cubit, was smaller in Noah's time, then the ark could have been considerable smaller than traditionally believed. A smaller ark would lend further support for a local Flood.

19.Animals Could Not Have Come From All Over The Globe

If the Flood were universal, then thousands of animals from all over the world would have had to get to the ark. How would animals from other continents cross the ocean to get to the ark?

20.The Difficulty In Caring For The Animals

The caring for the animals is another problem raised with the idea of a universal Flood. The text indicates that the animals did not hibernate since Noah was told to store away food.

Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them (Genesis 6:21).

With some 4,500 species of animals and over 8,000 species of birds as well as other types of life, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for eight people to handle and feed all these animals.

In addition, the animals lived in different environments and many had special diets. It does not seem possible that they could have survived for a year in the ark with their own unique needs.

21.Number Of Species To Save Believable With Local Flood

A local Flood would reduce the total number of species to be saved. There would be no need to save every type of specie on the planet. This would have made it possible for Noah and his family to care for the animals. Also, the creatures that Noah took on the ark correlate to those that were made on the fifth and sixth day. These were animals necessary for human society - domesticated animals and animals to be used for sacrifice

22.Other Destructive Floods Do Not Break God's Promise

God promised Noah that He would not send a similar flood upon the earth.

I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11).

It has been argued that this promise has been broken if the Genesis Flood was only local. Many devastating local floods have happened since Noah's time killing thousands in their destruction.

However, the purpose of the Genesis Flood was to destroy all life, not simply to cover the globe with water. Since the time of Noah there have been no more floods that have destroyed all life. Therefore, even if the Genesis Flood was local, the promise to Noah has not been broken.

23. Fountains Of Water Not Continually Breaking Up

We should not necessarily assume that the fountains, or springs, of the great deep continued to break up for five months. Genesis 8:2 could be rendered in the past tense. Both the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version translate the verse in this way.

Now the springs of the deep and the Floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky (Genesis 8:2NIV)

The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained (Genesis 8:2 NRSV).

If this is the case, then the springs of the deep were not a constant water source for five months. The shorter time span for the source of water for the Flood is another indication that it was geographically limited.

24.Chronology Of The Flood Supports Local Deluge

If the Flood covered all the high mountains, this would include 17,000 foot Mt. Ararat. Scripture says it took about 300 days for the waters to run off. Dividing this into 17,000 feet, reveals that the waters would have had to have receded about 50 feet a day! This does not seem possible. A universal Flood would have needed a much longer time for the waters to recede.

25.Where The Ark Rested

The ark came to rest only five hundred miles from the origin of where it was built. If the Flood was a year-long and worldwide, we would expect the ark to land farther away from its origin.

26.The Distribution Of The Animals

Many find problems with the animals leaving the ark and then moving to the various spots on the earth. How would they disperse to all parts of the globe? How could they have crossed the oceans? A local Flood does not have this problem.

27.Noah Began Immediately Using The Land

If the earth suffered the tremendous upheavals necessitated by a universal flood, then Noah and his family would not have been able to immediately start agricultural work. Yet the Scripture says that he started working the land after the Flood. This necessitates the Flood being local.

28.World Of Humanity Destroyed

Peter's statement, in the New Testament, does not necessarily indicate a universal Flood as some have claimed.

For they willingly forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being Flooded with water (2 Peter 3:5,6).

The text merely says that the world that then existed was destroyed - not the entire globe. The Flood was only as spread out as was the population. Since the population was limited to one geographical area, so was the Flood. Because certain areas of the planet were not populated at that time, there was no need for the Flood to reach those unpopulated areas. The flood only occurred where people lived. There would be no reason whatsoever for God to flood an uninhabited area.

29.Noah's Ark Not Yet Discovered

One of the arguments for a universal Flood is that parts of Noah's ark have been discovered high atop Mt. Ararat in Eastern Turkey. Since Ararat is 17,000 feet high, there must have been a global Flood - since water seeks its own level.

There are two problems with this contention. First, the Bible does not give a specific location as to the landing of the Ark, it merely says the mountains of Ararat. This does not necessarily mean that it landed on the Mt. Ararat of today. Second, it has not been established with any certainty that the wood found high upon Mt. Ararat is from the time of Noah.

30.Geographical Place Names Limited

The Book of Genesis gives no geographical place names outside of Mesopotamia until after the Flood. This is an indication that civilization was centralized and limited to one geographical area.

If the Flood happened early enough in human history, then it would have destroyed everything living because humankind and animals all dwelt in a limited area.

31.The Need For Noah Not To Migrate

If the Flood were only local, then why didn't Noah and the animals simply migrate to an area that the Flood would not touch?

God did not allow Noah and the animals to migrate out of the Flood area for a number of reasons.

Fair Warning

First, God wanted to give the people fair warning. The fact that Noah took time to build the ark and preach to the people left them without an excuse. If he and his family migrated, then the people would not have had a fair warning about the upcoming judgment - something God always gives. Building an ark would give them all a clear warning.

Some May Gone With Him

If Noah had migrated, it is possible that some of the evil people would have left the area with him. It would not have taken an act of trust in God to leave the area. This would be similar to the mixed multitude who went out of Egypt with the children of Israel. If this happened, the purpose for the Flood - the destruction of the sinful humanity - would have been thwarted.

Necessary To Warn, Not Escape

The fact that Noah and his family could have migrated from the area to escape the Flood shows that the ark was not necessary. However, God always warns before judgment. The act of building the ark in a plain by a respectable man like Noah would have called the attention of everyone to it. Therefore, in one sense, the ark was necessary.

32.Necessary To Save Animals

A case also has to be made for taking animals on the ark. Why did they have to join Noah and his family? They were not necessary to testify to the people of the upcoming Flood?

Domesticated Animals Would Have Been Wiped Out

Many local Flood advocates argue that only domesticated animals went onto the ark. At this time in history, sheep, cattle, pigs and goats had been domesticated. If Noah had simply migrated, then all the domesticated animals would have been wiped out by the Flood. The domestication of animals would have had to have begun all over again.

Animals Could Not Have Migrated Alone

Had the domesticated animals left the area of the Flood on their own they would have been easy prey for predators. This necessitated why they should join Noah and his family on the ark.

33.Not Necessary To Take Dinosaurs On The Ark

Local Flood advocates are not in agreement whether dinosaurs may have existed at this time in human history. Many advocates of a global Flood, however, insist that Noah took dinosaurs with him on the ark.

If they did exist, local Flood advocates believe that it would have been unthinkable for Noah to take them on the ark. Is it really likely that Noah would take a seventy-foot long dinosaur on the ark? Are we to assume that a male and a female Tyrannosaurus Rex was housed next to the other animals? It seems absurd to argue that Noah would have had large carnivorous dinosaurs housed with all the other animals.

35.Flood Stories In Other Cultures Do Not Testify To Universality Of Flood

The fact that many cultures around the world have their own Flood stories does not testify to a universal Flood. Some of the stories only bear a superficial resemblance to the Genesis account and many of the stories can be attributed to Christian missionaries. These stories do not force the belief in a universal Flood.

Local Flood, Not Everyone Killed

As we have mentioned, some local Flood advocates believe their were people and animals living in other parts of the globe who were not affected by the Flood. They contend the ark saved eight people and a number of animals that lived in that particular region of the world, the Flood did not destroy every other human being and animal. Their arguments are as follows.

1.People Were Living Elsewhere

There is evidence that people lived on other parts of the globe at the time of Noah and were not affected by the Flood. Bernard Ramm writes:

If the evidence is certain that the American Indian was in America around 8,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C., then a universal flood or a destruction of man, must be before that time, and due to Genesis and Babylonian parallels there is hardly an evangelical scholar who wished to put the flood as early as 8,000 to 10,000 B.C. (Bernard Ramm, The Christian View Of Science And Scripture, Eerdmans, 1954, p. 336).

If this is the case, then the Flood was limited geographically - it did not cover all the earth, and anthropologically - it did not kill every human being then alive.

2.Whole Known World

The world described in Genesis is the world known to Noah - not the whole inhabited earth. Therefore the Flood was limited to the world that Noah knew.

The whole world in Scripture is often the whole known world, not the entire planet. We also read the following in the Book of Genesis.

Moreover, all the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine became severe throughout the world (Genesis 41:57).

It is not necessary to assume that the famine was of global proportions.

In the New Testament we read.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered (Luke 2:1).

This is the whole Roman world, not the entire globe.

The Flood, therefore, would have killed all humans and animals known to Noah, not those living in other parts of the globe.

3.All Sinful People That Noah Knew Were Destroyed

The statement that the Flood destroyed all sinful people means only the sinful people Noah was aware of - not necessarily the entire world. Noah was unaware of people leaving in other parts of the world. All the people that he was aware of were destroyed in the Flood. Therefore, from his standpoint, all people were destroyed. This allows for other people and animals, not living in other parts of the globe, to have survived the Flood.

4.Where Are All The Human Fossils?

If millions of people were killed in a worldwide Flood, why don't we find their fossils? If they lived alongside of dinosaurs why don't we see them buried with them.

Do Not Know If Other Continents Were Populated

Other local Flood adherents are not certain, either way, whether there were people and animals living outside the waters of the Flood. Though all life was probably not limited to the Mesopotamian Valley, there is not enough evidence to know, one way or the other, whether other parts of the globe were populated at that time. How far humanity migrated is unknown. Therefore, they argue, that the Flood was localized geographically and may, or may not, have killed all the remainder of humans and animals on the earth.


These are the non-scientific arguments that local Flood advocates have put forward to support their case that the Genesis Flood was geographically localized and did not extend to the entire world.

Scientific Arguments

There are also a number of scientific arguments that are raised against a universal Flood.

1.The Mixing Salt And Fresh Water Would Have Killed Marine Life

If the Flood covered the entire earth, it is contended that the mixing of the salt waters with the fresh water would have killed the marine life. Those that were not killed would have been crushed by the water pressure or would have starved by the loss of their feeding ground. In any case, nothing would have survived.

2.Leaf From Olive Tree Shows Local Flood

The Bible says that after the Flood, Noah sent out a dove that brought back an olive leaf.

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth (Genesis 8;11).

It is doubtful that any olive tree could have survived the upheavals caused by a global Flood. In addition, olive trees grow in the lowlands, not high up on mountains. This is another indication of a local Flood. Theologian Ronald Youngblood writes.

The freshly picked olive leaf brought to Noah by the dove (8:11) virtually rules out Ararat as the ark's landfall since olive trees do not grow within thousands of feet of that high elevation. In fact, that one olive leaf may turn out to be the Achilles' heel of the universal-flood theory, because it implies that somewhere an olive tree had survived the flood (probably atop a relatively low mountain) (Ronald Youngblood, The Book of Genesis, Second Edition, Baker Book House, 1991, p. 114).

3.Plant Life Destroyed

Most plant life would be destroyed by being submerged under salt water for a year even if the waters were diluted.

4.The Amount Of Water Supports Local Flood

The amount of water needed to cover Mt. Everest is about eight times as much as presently is on the earth. There is no known source for the water for a global Flood and no way of getting rid of it afterward. Where did the water come from and where did all the water go? Evaporation is not a sufficient answer. Neither is the suggestion that the water returned to subterranean cavities. They could only a small fraction of the water necessary to cover the highest mountains around the world.

Therefore, the amount of water from the rain would support a local Flood, not a universal one.

5.No Water Vapor Canopy

Many who believe in a universal Flood argue that a water vapor canopy existed above the earth before the Flood. This canopy is the waters above referred to in Genesis 1:7. This canopy provided a tremendous amount of water for the Flood.

Local flood advocates deny the existence of such a canopy. They believe the waters above simply refer to the clouds. Furthermore the waters above still existed long after the Flood.

Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. He established them forever and ever; He fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed (Psalm 148:4-6).

Since the waters above are everlasting, they could not have been the source of the water for the Flood.

6.Petroleum Products Available Before Flood

It has been argued that the universal Flood is the source of the petroleum products of today. However we find Noah using petroleum products before the Flood.

So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out (Genesis 6:14).

Pitch or bitumen, is a petroleum product. There were at least some petroleum products before the Flood.

7.Strong Wind Works For Local Flood

The Bible says that God sent a strong wind to dry up the waters of the Flood. This would work well with a local Flood that occurred in a plain but it would be of no help in a universal deluge. In addition, it shows that God used evaporation to get rid of the water rather than an upheaval of the earth as is argued by those holding to a global flood.

8.No Geological Evidence For A Universal Flood

If the Flood were universal in geography, then we should find evidence of this. It is argued that the evidence is not there. Donald Boardman, emeritus professor of geology at Wheaton college, writes:

It thus seems most likely that the continents at the time of the Flood were about the same as they are now, both in extent and in elevation. Geologists should be able to find evidence of a Flood that covered the entire earth within the last few thousand years. No distinctive beds, sequence of beds, or erosional features that are the result of running water or wave action have been recognized, and it is reasonable to assume that such are not present (Donald Boardman in The Genesis Debate, Ronald Youngblood Ed., Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, pp. 218, 219).

Though signs of localized catastrophic floods are found everywhere, there is no clear sign of one, global Flood.

9.Flood Geology Discredited

Most Christians who have advanced degrees, in science believe that the geological evidence supports a local Flood. Flood geology, which argues for the universal nature of the deluge, is not recognized by the majority Christian scholars. It has been rejected both scientifically and biblically. Howard Vos explains.

The flood geology position has been discredited in university geology departments and is being rejected almost universally by evangelical geologists. This is true in part because it does not agree with scientific arguments according to which, e.g., many geologic features could not have been formed under water or in so short a time. . .
Flood geology is also rejected because it does not tally very well with Scripture itself. Geography or topography, e.g. does not seem to have been changed greatly by the Flood. Mesopotamia with its great rivers appears to have been much the same after the Flood as before it. . .
Those who oppose flood geology observe that the Flood was designed to be an event in redemption history, not in geological history. . . . one can hold to a universal flood brought on by rain and tidal waves, which deposited surface material such as gravels and silts, without holding to flood geology. Flood geology is an interpretation of the universal flood and its effects, but is not synonymous with a belief in a cataclysmic or even a universal flood (Howard Vos, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 2, E-J, Revised Edition, Eerdmans, 1982,p. 318).

10.Rapid Development Needed

If the Flood was universal, then all the animals today descended only from those brought upon the ark. However, the ark could hold, at most, only a few thousand pairs of different species. This would mean that the millions of different species we find today descended from these animals taken upon the ark. This would involve a very rapid development in a very short period of time. There is no evidence that this did happen or even possibly could have happened.

11.The Fossil Sequence

Another problem with regard to a universal Flood is the fossil sequence. Wayne Ault writes:

The sequence of fossils in the strata of the world or in the stratigraphic column in any one region simply cannot be explained on the basis of a one year Flood. The fossil species are not hopelessly mixed. Rather, many index fossils, distinctive of a given geologic period have been recognized and used successfully by geologists around the world. Different brachiopod species, for example, which are index fossils for different periods, may have distinctly morphological features but may be quite similar in shape and size. There is no way that these fossils could be selectively winnowed out of worldwide Flood waters and deposited in their respective strata except that they lived at different times and were buried where they lived (Wayne Ault, Flood in Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Merrill Tenney General Editor, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Volume II, 1975, p. 562).

This leads many to believe that the scientific evidence supports a local Flood.

Summary To Local Flood View

These are some of the arguments, biblical and scientific, that have led people to believe that the Bible teaches a local, rather than a universal Flood. They feel this view is the most compatible with both science and Scripture.

Without denying the supernatural character of the account, local Flood advocates believe God sent a Flood to only part of the world.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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