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Don Stewart :: Did the Flood Cover the Entire Earth?

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Don Stewart
The traditional view is that the Bible speaks of a universal Flood that covered the entire earth, and destroyed all life except that which was taken on the ark.

Background

The Bible says that humans were commanded to multiply and fill the earth. Instead the earth was filled with violence. God regretted that He had created humanity. Therefore He judged the human race by wiping out all of His creation except for eight souls. He did this by sending a universal Flood.

The Case For A Universal Flood

The arguments for a universal Flood are as follows:

1.Natural Reading

The natural reading of the text would lead one to believe in a universal Flood. If one simply reads the Genesis Flood account as it is written, the conclusion would be that the author is speaking of a worldwide Flood. The global extent of the Flood is stated more than thirty times in Genesis 6-9.

Furthermore, there is nothing in the account itself to cause the reader to deny the universal sense. It may be asked, How could God have taught a universal Flood more clearly?

2.Historical View

The historical view of the Jews and the church has been to understand the Flood in a universal sense. The idea of a local Flood is comparatively recent in church history. Therefore there must compelling reasons to deny the traditional view.

3.All Bible Translations

All Bible translations understand the account of the Flood in universal terms. We find none of them substituting the word land for earth or using any other terms that would imply a limited scope for the Flood.

4.Universal Terms

Universal terms are used throughout the narrative which speak of a world wide Flood. Old Testament authority Victor Hamilton writes:

Geographically, the problem is an infested earth. Note that in 6:5-13, the earth (ha ares) is mentioned eight times. Thus the description has all the appearances of a universal condition rather than a local one. To be sure, eres is frequently rendered as (local) land, ground, and even underworld. When eres refers to a particular piece of land, however, it is often followed by a prepositional phrase that further identifies the land (e.g., the land of the Canaanites, land of the east, land of the fathers), except in those places where mention is made theologically of the land promised to Israel. Furthermore, the reference in 7:3 to the animals of kol-ha ares argues for an understanding of eres elsewhere in the Flood as earth in that almost all of the uses of kol-ha ares (outside of Deuteronomy and Joshua-Samuel) are references to the earth (Gen. 1:26, 28; 11:1; Exodus 9:14, 16; 19:5). Yet, verses such as Gen. 13:9,15 show that even in Genesis kol-ha ares refers to the whole land (Victor Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, Eerdmans, 1990, p. 279).

Scholar Kenneth Matthew concurs.

This inclusive language as elsewhere in the account suggests that the cataclysm was worldwide in scope. An alternative understanding is that the comprehensive language of the text is hyperbolic or a phenomenal description (from Noah's limited viewpoint), thus permitting a regional flood . . . And earth can rightly be rendered land, again allowing a limited venue. This kind of inclusive language for local events is attested elsewhere in Genesis (e.g. 41:54-57), but the insistence of the narrative on the encompassing character of the flood favors the literal understanding of the universal view (Kenneth Matthews, Genesis 1:-11:26, The New American Commentary, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996, p. 365).

Commenting on Genesis 7, Matthews writes.

The inclusive language all every occurs eight times (in Hebrew) in vv. 19-23 leaving no doubt about the all-encompassing nature of the destructive floods and the depth left behind. There can be no dispute that the narrative depicts the flood in the language of a universal deluge (entire heavens), even the high mountains are covered (2x; vv. 19-20) (Kenneth Matthews, ibid., p. 380).

The clear sense of the passage is that the Flood was universal. Although the universal terms found in the account can be understood in a limited sense, there is nothing in the story to force one to understand it this way, or to even suggest that this was the authors intent. The passage plainly speaks of a worldwide destruction.

5. Under The Whole Heaven

Though the Hebrew term eretz translated earth can be rendered land, the phrase all the hills under the whole heaven (Genesis 7:19) cannot be so easily disposed of. This has a universal sense. Therefore, it is hard to believe it refers to some local geographic region.

Furthermore, the double use of the Hebrew word all (kol) in Genesis 7:19 gives strong testimony to a universal Flood. H.C. Leupold writes:

A measure of the waters is now made by comparison with the only available standard for such waters - the mountains. They are said to have been covered. Not a few merely but all the high mountains under all the heavens. One of these expressions alone would almost necessitate the impression that the author intends to convey the idea of the absolute universality of the Flood, e.g., all the high mountains. Yet since all is known to be used in a relative sense, the writer removes all possible ambiguity by adding the phrase under all the heavens. A double all (kol cannot allow for so relative a sense. It almost constitutes a Hebrew superlative. So we believe that the text disposes of the question of the universality of the Flood.
By way of objection to this interpretation those who believe in a limited flood, which extended perhaps as far as mankind may have penetrated at that time urge that kol is used in a relative sense, as is clearly the case in passages such as 41:57; Exod. 9:25; 10:15; Deut 2:25; I Kings 10:24. However, we still insist that this fact could overthrow a single kol, never a double kol as our verse has it (H.C. Leupold, Genesis, The Wartburg Press, 1942, pp. 301, 302)

6.All Humans Killed

The Bible is clear that every human being, with the exception of Noah and his family, died in the Flood.

And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings (Genesis 7:21).

The New Testament affirms this.

who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:20).

and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:5).

Old Testament authority, Walter Kaiser Jr., concluded.

The flood was extensive enough to wipe out all living humans on the earth except the eight persons who were on board the ark (Gen 7:23; 1 Pet 3:20). That is the main point of the biblical narrative and the one nonnegotiable argument in the whole discussion (Walter Kaiser Jr. in Hard Sayings of The Bible, Walter Kaiser Jr. Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, Intervarsity Press, 1996, p. 112).

7.All The Animals Killed

In addition, Genesis speaks of all the animals being brought to Noah.

You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive (Genesis 6:19-20).

Note the use of the words all and the repetition of every kind. This clearly speaks of universality.

Wild Animals

There is no limitation in the text. There were wild animals as well as domesticated one. The Scripture makes this clear.

they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind - every bird, every winged creature (Genesis 7:19).

When disembarking the ark, the Bible emphasizes that every type of creature on the earth had been on board.

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons' wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds - everything that moves on the earth - came out of the ark, one kind after another (8:18-19).

If all of the animals were brought to the ark, then the flood was universal as far as living things were concerned.

8.Covenant Assumes Universal Flood

The New Covenant, which God made with Noah after the Flood, assumes the extent was worldwide. God said to Noah.

I establish My covenant with you: never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a Flood; never again will there be a Flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11).

Note the terms all life and the earth. The emphasis is universal.

9.Earth Populated From Noah's Sons

In addition, from the family of Noah, the entire earth was populated. Scripture says.

These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth (Genesis 9:19)

This necessitates that all other human beings were destroyed in the Flood.

10.No Qualifications In Text

There are no qualifications in Genesis 6-9 about the scope of the Flood. Passages like Exodus 9:24 are often used as support of a local Flood.

There was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation (Exodus 9:24)

The text mentions all the land of Egypt when clearly all of the land of Egypt was not in view. Therefore, all does not mean everything.

However, this passage actually supports a universal Flood. Though the text says all the land of Egypt it also clarifies that Goshen is excluded.

Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail (Exodus 9:26).

This makes the statement unequivocal regarding the rest of the land of Egypt. There are no such statements in Genesis 6-9 excluding any part of the earth or the people. The assumption, therefore, should be that the Flood was universal.

11.The Purpose Of The Flood

The purpose of the Flood was to destroy sinful humanity. The Bible explains why God sent the Flood.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created - people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the sight of the LORD. (Genesis 6:5-8).

Only a universal Flood would accomplish this. A local Flood would not have destroyed all human life. Old Testament scholar Kenneth Matthews comments on this passage.

This horrid paragraph is an expose of the degeneracy of the human heart. Collectively, society has decayed beyond recovery in God's estimation. . . He himself brings sanctions against all humanity, including the mot vulnerable (animals). The threat of extinction is not only inclusive of all living things but it is also geographically all-encompassing. Repeatedly, on the earth highlights the divine intervention to obliterate the living world he has created by his own voice and formed with his own hands (Kenneth Matthew, Genesis 1-11:26, p. 339).

12.Parallels To Creation Account

We find a number of clear parallels between the creation account in Genesis 1 and the Flood story in Genesis 6-9. Scholar Gordon Wenham explains the link.

Thus this final paragraph (6:5-8) of the second great section of Genesis introduces us to the theme of the section (6:9-9:29), the universal judgment from which Noah alone will be saved. 5:1-6:8 began with creation and closes with a warning that this creation will be destroyed. The world is gong to be reduced to a watery chaos before a new start can be made. . .
Gen 5:1-6:8 could be described as the story of the old world, the world before the flood. It begins with the creation of Adam, traces the multiplication of his descendants, and concludes with the total annihilation of every living creature. Chap. 5 links these two primal events, creation and the flood, by a genealogy of ten patriarchs (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Word Bible Commentary, Waco, Texas, Word Publisher, 1987, p. 145).

The linkage between the two events shows that the Flood should be understood, like creation, as a universal event. We find the following specific links between the creation and the Flood.

Terminology

The terminology of the Flood account reflects Genesis 1 (particularly vss. 20, 24-30). There is a deliberate attempt by the author to compare the two events.

The Word Earth In Genesis 1:1 and 6:13

According to Genesis 6:13, the earth itself was to be destroyed. The Hebrew word for earth eretz is the same word found in Genesis 1:1 which describes what God created. In Genesis 1:1 it refers to the entire earth, it also does in Genesis 6:13.

Adam And Noah

There are also many parallels between Adam and Noah. Allen Ross writes.

The parallels to the beginning of Genesis must not be missed . . . Noah was commissioned to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, for he now was the new man of the earth. But then in the following unit Noah's failure was displayed in his lying naked, just as the knowledge of nakedness was evidence of the fall. In both cases curses resulted from the failures. Thus there is a deliberate parallel between Adam and Noah and between Adam's world and Noah's world. With Noah there is a new beginning of God's creation, but there is also a new beginning of evil (Allen Ross, Creation & Blessing: A Guide To The Study and Exposition Of Genesis, Baker Books, 1988, p. 189).

Water Everywhere

Scripture says that the water from the Flood was everywhere. This is similar to the state of the earth at creation where water submerged everything. After the Flood there was nothing remaining on the earth. This is similar to the earth at the beginning before God created anything.

God Saw

Genesis 6:12 can be compared to Genesis 1:31.

God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways (Genesis 6:12)

And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth (Genesis 6:12).

In each case God looked down and saw the earth. This comparison of the Flood to the original creation gives further testimony of it being worldwide. God looked down and saw everything, not just one localized plot of land.

The Undoing Of Creation

The Flood was the undoing of creation reversing what God had done in the beginning. God, in a sense, started over with Noah and his family. The waters of the Flood washed everything away that He had previously created.

13.Humanity Not Limited To Mesopotamia

There is no need to assume that humanity was confined to the Mesopotamian valley. God had told Adam and Eve, some 1,600 years before, to be fruitful and multiply. Considering the longevity of early humans, as well as the normal rate of population growth, it has been calculated that there may have been several hundred million inhabitants of earth. We need not assume that they all lived in the Mesopotamian valley. Even if humanity were confined to this one area, the animals were not. Genesis 6:11-13 says that the whole earth was filled with violence and needed to be destroyed.

Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. And God said to Noah, I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth (Genesis 6:11-13).

This does not have a local sense.

14.God's Perspective Not Noah's

The Flood account does not record Noah's limited perspective. What we have is God's perspective, not Noah's. The idea of the Flood covering all the high hills is from God's perspective in heaven, not Noah's limited vantage point inside the ark. There is nothing to suggest that merely local small mountains were being described, or that we should assume that the Flood was universal only in the sense of what Noah could see or was aware of. The description is God's, not Noah's. If the Flood was local, then God would have mislead the people about the extent of the Flood.

15.The Need For An Ark

If it were only a small Flood that was going to destroy a localized area, then Noah and his family could have simply moved to some dry area. Why take the time and trouble to build an ark and round up all the animals? Why couldn't the animals be moved? Why couldn't the birds simply have flown away? Building such a huge ship when God gave them advanced warning of judgment does not make sense.

Could Have Caused Them To Leave

If there was going to be some unique species destroyed by the Flood, then God could have supernaturally caused them to leave the area just as He caused the pairs of animals to come to Noah. The ark, therefore, was unnecessary.

Much Advanced Warning

If Genesis 6:3 refers to the time of advance warning, one hundred and twenty years, then Noah and his family could have gone anywhere upon the earth to escape the Flood.

Built To Save, Not Warn

The idea that the ark was somehow necessary to give the evil people on the earth an advance warning of the coming judgment is not what the account says. The ark was built to save Noah and the animals, not to warn the people on the earth. The purpose of the ark was one of salvation, not one of warning.

Example Of Sodom

Furthermore, in the example of the destruction of Sodom, there was no warning the people. God entirely removed Lot and his family and then destroyed Sodom without warning. No object lesson, such as the ark, was given.

16.Why Save Animals?

Furthermore, why save two of each animal if the Flood was limited? If the Flood was localized, then the animal population would not have all been wiped out. The ones left could reproduce and populate the earth.

The fact that some animals would have had to have been domesticated over again is no reason to put all these animals in the ark.

17.The Size Of The Ark

If it were a local Flood, an ark of that size would not have been needed. The dimensions of the ark four hundred and fifty feet by seventy-five feet by fifty feet, as the Bible gives them, would hold two of all the different types of animals that are known to exist. If only the animals from Mesopotamia were on board, the ark would have been much smaller.

It was not until the 19th century that another ship of the ark's dimensions was constructed. Why build such a big ark for a local Flood?

18.Ark Would Have Survived

There is no reason to assume that the ark would not have survived the Flood. A number of studies have been made that show the seaworthiness of the ark, and its ability to withstand the Flood. It would not have been destroyed in a universal Flood as some people contend. Furthermore its length to width ratio of six to one would provide excellent stability.

19.Dinosaurs Could Have Been Aboard

As for dinosaurs having been taken upon the ark, not all who hold to a global Flood believe that dinosaurs existed at the same time as humans. To them it is a non-issue.

Those who do believe dinosaurs existed at the time of the Flood have differing views. Some feel the dinosaurs were purposely left off of the ark for some unexplained reason. It is speculated that their great size would have been a threat to humanity after the Flood because they changed from vegetarians to meat-eaters.

Others believe dinosaurs were placed upon the ark. They argue that the number of actual dinosaurs was not that great - perhaps less than fifty. Also their average size was not that big - about that of a horse. Since the idea was to repopulate the earth only young dinosaurs would have been taken aboard. Therefore, there is no reason why they should have been left off of the ark.

Furthermore, it is contended by some Bible students that the Book of Job describes two different types of dinosaurs (Job 40,41). Some argue that Job was written after the Flood. If this is the case, then it shows that dinosaurs were taken upon the ark.

20.Miracles Are Miracles

Those who believe in the universality of the Genesis Flood wonder why these miracles are any more miraculous than miracles found elsewhere in Scripture. To suppose the miracles in Genesis are somehow greater than miracles elsewhere in Scripture is not a valid conclusion.

21.The Time Spent In The Ark

Noah, his family, and the animals were in the ark for more than a year. Why stay in the ark that long for only a local Flood?

22.The Dove

After the waters of the Flood had stopped and began to abate Noah waited four months before sending out a dove. Although the Flood waters had been going down for four months, the dove that Noah sent out still could not find dry ground.

but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him (Genesis 8:9).

If it were only a local flood, we would expect some dry land to appear after four months.

23.Confirmation Of Isaiah

Isaiah the prophet confirmed the worldwide nature of the Flood.

This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you (Isaiah 54:9).

24.Testimony Of Peter

There is also evidence from the New Testament that the Flood was universal. Scripture speaks of the world that was.

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 world that then existed is contrasted to the world to come. The world to come refers to something global. Therefore the parallel between the two worlds speaks of something that is worldwide in scope- in the past with a universal Flood, and in the future with a worldwide judgment.

Peter goes on to speak of the coming judgment of the entire heaven and earth.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat (2 Peter 3:10-12).

This is another indication of the global nature of the subject matter. The future destruction of the heavens is compared to the destruction of the earth in Noah's day. Both events are universal.

25.Testimony Of Jesus

Jesus said all humanity was destroyed by the Flood.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all (Luke 17:26,27).

The testimony of Jesus, God's Son, indicates a universal Flood - at least as far as humanity is concerned. He compared the events around His Second Coming to the time of the Flood. The Second Coming would be global, not local. The judgment will be as extensive as the Flood. If the Flood was local, does this mean that the judgment at His coming is also local?

26.The Height Of The Flood

One of the strongest arguments for universality is the height of the Flood - fifteen cubits, or approximately twenty-two feet, above the highest mountain.

The waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep (Genesis 7:20).

The ark was thirty cubits in height. Fifteen cubits speaks of the draught of the ship - which was one half its height. The point of this verse is that the waters were at least high enough to make certain that the ark did not hit the tops of the mountains for the five months in which it was floating. The passage does not limited the water to only fifteen cubits, or twenty-two feet, above the mountains. It was at least fifteen cubits.

Thus the highest mountains were covered by at least fifteen cubits of water. Since water seeks its own level, the entire earth had to have been flooded to cover the highest mountains and to allow the ark to float for five months. This is a universal Flood!

27.Mount Ararat

The ark landed in the Ararat region. The mountain that is today called Mt. Ararat, which is in that region, is over 17,000 feet high. This means that the water level rose more than 17,000 feet above the present sea level. How could the level have been that high at Ararat without being the same height all over the rest of the world? The most likely answer is that the Flood covered the entire earth.

28.Place Of Landing

The Bible says that the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. This is some five hundred miles from where the ark was built. If it were merely a local Flood we would not expect the ark to have landed that far away.

29.The Duration Of The Flood

The fact that the Flood lasted over one year is another argument for its universality. The waters of the Flood peaked five months after the deluge began (Genesis 7:11; 8:3,4). The waters then began to abate. This period of abatement lasted several months.

It's hard to imagine a local Flood lasting an entire year but it is entirely consistent with the idea of a universal Flood. The slow rate of decline of the water level seems to point to a universal rather than a local Flood. A year long Flood that covers the mountains, by at least twenty-two feet, is not a local Flood.

30.Global Communication Possible

It is wrong to assume, as some have, that is was impossible for Noah to communicate to all people living on the earth. The Bible says the following.

Then the LORD said, My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years (Genesis 6:3).

If this statement refers to the one hundred twenty years that it took for Noah to build the ark, this would have given him plenty of time to communicate God's judgment to the world.

31.Universality Of Other Flood Accounts

The universality of flood accounts does show that many cultures retained the story of a giant flood that destroyed the entire earth. All these stories cannot be attributed to Christian missionaries. The universality of flood stories seems to require a universal Flood.

32. No Animals Escaped

Scripture makes it clear that the Flood killed every human and animal that was not on the ark. A local Flood would not have the same result. Francis Schaeffer perceptively observes.

Another difficulty arises if the flood is not universal, and I don't see how anyone can get around this factor. If a flood occurs in a limited area, a lot of animals can be drowned but not all of them. There is no way you can eliminate them all unless they are all in a sealed canyon. When a forest fire or flood comes, the animals take off (Francis Schaeffer, Genesis In Space And Time, Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 1972, p. 134).

33.How Could All The Animals Die?

This brings up a further point. How could all the animals on earth die if the Flood were only local? Local Flood advocates, who want to say that every human died in the Flood, must also believe that all the animals died in the Flood. Scripture makes it clear that both humankind and beast perished. Yet Genesis tells us that God created these animals and placed them upon the earth - the entire globe. Unless one wants to argue that God created the animals to live in only a limited geographical area, it seems that the Flood would have had to have been worldwide to kill all the animals who were spread out in the entire earth.

34.Mesopotamia Not Watertight

If one grants a local Flood limited to Mesopotamia, there are many problems that have no apparent solution. For example, Mesopotamia is not a watertight basin. Howard Vos writes.

Even if one were to grant the reality of a local flood, great difficulties would remain. As already indicated, water seeks its own level. Mesopotamia is no watertight basin to be filled with flood waters; and certainly inhabitants could scurry up the slopes of the Zagros or other mountains flanking the lowlands (Howard Vos, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 2, E-J, Revised Edition, Eerdmans, 1982,p. 318).).

35.Other Floods


God promised there would never again be such a Flood.

I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a Flood to destroy all life (Genesis 9:15).

The phrase, all life, has universal implications. If the Flood were only local, then God's promise of never sending a destructive Flood seems to have been broken. There have been other serious Floods in the world's history that have killed thousands of people. This includes the area of Mesopotamia. The rainbow, that God placed as a promise of no similar Flood, would be a meaningless promise.

36.No One Escaped Judgment

According to some local Flood advocates, there were people living outside the Flood area who were not killed. The question is, Why weren't they judged for their sin? Jesus likened the coming judgment of all humanity to the days of Noah (Matthew 24;37-39). The coming judgment concerns all living human beings - so did the Flood on Noah's day.

Scientific Evidence

Those holding to a universal Flood point to the geological evidence as being consistent with a worldwide catastrophe.

1.Sufficient Water Source

One of the arguments often used against a universal Flood is that rain for forty days and forty nights would not be sufficient to fill the entire earth. This does not take into account what the Bible says concerning the Flood - for it specifies two particular things that happened - the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened.

And on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened (Genesis 7:11).

The fountains of the great deep were breaking up for one hundred and fifty days while rain from the windows of heaven lasted forty days and nights.

John Whitcomb and Henry Morris expand on the meaning of the term fountains of the great deep.

There can be little question that the phrase tehom rabbah (great deep) points back to the tehom of Genesis 1:2 and refers to the oceanic depths and underground reservoirs of the antediluvian world. Presumably, then, the ocean basins were fractured and uplifted sufficiently to pour waters over the continents. . . But the most significant fact to be observed is that these geological phenomena were not confined to a single day. In fact, the Scriptures state that this breaking up of 'the fountains of the great deep' continued for a period of five months for it was not until 150 days had passed that 'the fountains of the deep. . . were stopped (8:2) (John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, The Genesis Flood, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1962, p. 9).

The breaking up of oceanic depths for the five months will cause more than a local Flood.

Windows Of Heaven

The windows of heaven could refer to a water vapor canopy that was located above the earth. This canopy, created by God on day two, could have supplied the necessary water to cover the entire earth. Though the existence of this water vapour canopy is not certain, it is one possible means by which the water could have been supplied to cover all the earth.

Therefore, the Bible says that it was more than simple rain that caused the great Flood. Something powerful from heaven unleashed the water, as well as some underground source also provided the needed water.

2.Ocean Beds Sank, Mountains Raised

There is also the matter as to how the water could have subsided so quickly. Evaporation is not a sufficient answer. Most likely, some of the waters returned back into the oceans. There were vast topographical changes including the sinking of the ocean beds and the raising of the mountains. Most of the mountains of today did not exist before the Flood. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, has marine fossils at its peak.

Where Did The Water Go?

Psalm 104 may provide the answer as to where the water went after the Flood.

He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth (Psalm 104:5-9).

After the waters covered the mountains God rebuked them and they fled. At this time, the mountains rose and the valleys sank. God then set a boundary where they would never again cover the earth.

3.Olive Leaf Not Testimony To Local Flood

It is argued by some local Flood theorists that the fact that the olive leaf could be picked off by the dove shows that vegetation was not destroyed. This, however, is not the case. Olives branches that were floating in the water could have taken root and begun to produce leaves on the side of a mountain. There certainly was sufficient time for this to happen during the months that the waters were abating.

4.Plant Life

The survival of plant life does not depend upon a local Flood. Seeds of land plants could have survived a long period of time floating in the waters of the Flood. Again, we do not know the level of salt in the water before the Flood.

5.Petroleum Products Not Needed

It is not necessary to assume that Noah used petroleum products to pitch the ark. Pitch does not have to be made from petroleum. In Europe, pitch has been made from pine resin for several centuries. The pitch, therefore, did not have to come from petroleum products.

6.The Distribution Of Animals

Those holding to a local Flood point to the problem of the distribution of the animals. The animals of Australia and New Zealand, for example, had to get to Mesopotamia and back. They had to do this without populating other parts of the world. This seems difficult to reconcile with a universal Flood.

Travel Long Distances?

As for certain animals who lived long distances, we should not assume that they had to come over water to get to the ark. John Whitcomb comments:

How could kangaroos have traveled from Australia to Noah's Ark? Answer: They didn't. At least two of each of all the kinds of air-breathing animals - including kangaroos - must have lived on the same continent where the Ark was built, so they could come to Noah by divine guidance (Genesis 6:20; 7:9) without having to cross oceans . . . How did kangaroos reach Australia from Mount Ararat after the Flood? Answer: A great land bridge apparently connected Asia and Australia in the early post-Flood period. During this most intense phase of the 'ice age,' such vast quantities of water were locked in the polar regions that ocean levels were hundreds of feet lower than they are now. The National Geographic map of the Pacific Ocean Floor (October, 1969) clearly shows the shallow continental shelf that extends now from Indochina almost to Australia (John Whitcomb, The World That Perished, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973, p. 25).

The animals, therefore, migrated from the Ararat regions to the various spots on the globe.


7.Fish


What about the fish and marine life? Would not the mingling of ocean water with the rain have resulted in a lethal saline concentration in which the fresh water fish would have died? How could they have survived?

Do Not Know Adaptability

First, we do not know how salty the sea was before God sent the Flood. The degree of salinization is unknown. Although we do not know the adaptability of fish at that time, it is conceivable that even if most were destroyed God could have preserved at least two of each species. Today there are certain species of migratory fish that live in both fresh and salt water.

8.Rapid Development Possible

It is not impossible to believe that all of today's land animals descended from those upon the ark. Varieties of animals can arise rapidly, especially if they are isolated into small population groups. Furthermore catalogued fossil species number about 200,000. About 95% of these are marine invertebrates - creatures that Noah was not commanded to take upon the ark. Consequently the rapid development of species after the Flood is not as difficult as it first seems.

9.Flood Geology Not Discredited

Though it is often stated that Flood geology has been discredited, more and more scientists are concluding that the world once experienced a cataclysmic flood. It is not true that the science of geology has ruled out the possibility of a universal Flood.

Universal Flood Not Inconsistent With Evidence

These arguments have convinced many that the idea of a universal Flood is not inconsistent with the Scriptural evidence and is the most likely way in which to interpret the text. They believe it is the natural and obvious way to interpret the text. This is why the Jews and the church have historically held to a universal Flood.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

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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