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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Conclusions Should We Make about the Genesis Flood?

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Don Stewart
The question of the extent of the Flood is one that continues to divides Bible believers. This is an issue where good people disagree. We have observed five ways in which the Flood account in Genesis is understood.

1.Local Flood Geographically, All Life Killed

This view hold that the Flood was universal in its extent - all life was killed except those humans and animals upon the ark - but that the geographical extent was limited.

2.Local Flood Geographically, Local With Respect To Living Things

This position understands that there were other people and animals living outside of the area of the Flood who were not affected by it.

3.Local Flood Geographically, Uncertain With Respect To Living Things

Others who hold the Flood was local geographically are unsure whether or not other people and animals lived on other parts of the earth.

4. Universal In All Respects

The traditional view is that the Flood was worldwide in all respect. All living things on the entire globe died except those who were in the ark.

5.Evidence Is Inconclusive

Finally, there are those who believe the evidence is inconclusive about the extent of the Flood. The jury is still out as to whether the Flood was geographically localized or universal.

Issues Of Agreement

There are a number of issues that Bible-believers can agree upon regardless of their view of the extent of the Flood. They include the following.

1.Noah Was A Genuine Person

Noah is a historical figure. He is connected to Adam, another historical person, by the genealogies in Genesis 5. Noah is also connected to another historical person, Abraham, by the genealogy in Genesis 11.

2.God Did Judge The World With A Flood

All sides agree that God sent a judgment on the world at Noah's time. The Flood was a historical event that has happened in the history of our world.

3.Supernatural Elements Were Involved

However one decides the extent of the Flood, the episode cannot be completely explained by natural causes. The Flood was a supernatural judgment of God, not merely a series of natural events. All sides agree on this fact.

More Compelling Issues

Finally, it must be emphasized that there are more compelling issues than the extent of the Flood. Old Testament authority David O'Brien stated it well.

In a world where nearly three billion people have never heard the name of Christ, there are more important issues at stake for the evangelical community than the extent of the flood.
And there are more crucial issues at stake within the church. I hope that we can learn to live together even when we disagree on this issue (David O'Brien, p. 220).


The issue of the extent of the Flood is one that Bible believers will continue to disagree about. It is important that this issue is discussed but there are many more important matters that Christians should be emphasizing.
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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.