Was the Genesis Flood Global or Local?

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The flood account in Genesis is a very interesting thing to discuss because, even among most evangelical Christians, there is a debate as to whether it was a global or local flood.  The traditional belief in the church is that the flood was a completely global and it covered the entire earth and consumed everything in it.  I know I have shared some of my views on the book of Genesis in past blog posts, so I want to start off by saying that I do believe that the flood was a real historical event.  This was probably one of, if not the biggest floods in all of history.  Let’s dive into the biblical part first.

 

First of all, I am concerned for the authority of Scripture, however I am even more concerned for the interpretation of Scripture, for without proper interpretation you cannot have proper authority.  If you read Genesis and take it at face value, you get the idea the the flood covered the whole earth.  However, like I have said before, we cannot integrate modern science with the Bible.  This is called concordism and it is not a proper way to go about reading the Bible.  Today, we view everything from a global perspective.  However, back when this book was written the people did not view things from a global perspective.  Nobody had any idea just how big the earth really is, nor the shape of it or anything else.  The english translation of the Bible says “all the earth” which, in Hebrew is translated into “kol erets.”  “Kol” means “all,” and “erets” means “earth,” “ground,” “land,” or “country.”  In almost every single instance in the Old Testament, kol erets is used to describe just one particular area of land.  Also, when talking about this issue, using the phrase “whole earth” is often referring to just the people of the earth, in this specific area of land.

 

A good question to ask is, “how could the text have referred to a global flood?”  Well, there is a Hebrew word, “tebel.”  This word is found 37 times in the Old Testament, and it is NEVER used to describe any part of the flood.  Proper interpretations shows nothing about the earth ever being completely flooded with water.

 

There are also way too many scientific problems with a global flood.  Animals such as sloths and penguins would not have been able to travel over land.  Animals like anthropods can’t survive in less than 100% humidity.  These are just a couple of examples of animals being able to travel by ark.  Also, increasing the quantity of animals by more than 5% would overload the ark.

 

Other problems would be the ages of the mountains.  The flood wouldn’t have covered the highest mountains, and all of them date back to several million years ago, which is what the rest of the earth dates back to.  Also, a global flood would have left traces of sea floors all over the earth, and such a thing does not exist.  Finally, the geologic column would be all mixed up, and it is in the perfect order that we would expect it to be in.  These are just a few of many scientific problems with a global flood.

 

The Genesis Flood was one of the biggest in all of history, however it did not cover the entire planet.  God didn’t flood the entire earth, because that would have been too much damage and He simply didn’t need to flood the whole thing to get His point across.

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10 thoughts on “Was the Genesis Flood Global or Local?

  1. Why did it take 10 months for the mountaintops to become visible again when the water receded? The Bible also says that rainbows are a sign from God of His covenant that he will never destroy all life by flood or flood the entire Earth again right? We have certainly had plenty of floods since then.

    • I’m not quite sure what you mean by your first point. On your second, I believe that this meant that God would not destroy the land for the purpose of judgement. The physical act in it of itself isn’t of real importance, the intention of judgement is.

  2. Have to say I disagree. The assumption is that the world is old, and I see too much evidence for a literal reading of the Bible.
    Another assumption is that the mountains have always been as tall as they are now… yet we know that geological stresses are forcing mountains higher today than that were years ago.
    It’s not too hard to work the models backwards 4400 years ago, and see that the mountains were much smaller… and possibly even created by a universal flood.
    For more on this, see Henry M. Morris’s work on this subject, as well as Answers in Genesis and Carl Baugh.

    • I agree that the mountains were once much smaller, however I don’t think it was by much. I do go with the old earth model, so I think that they weren’t a whole lot smaller 4500 years ago. If they were really as small is most YEC proponents suggest, then they would have grown incredibly fast and, number one, I don’t think this is scientifically possible, and number 2, it would have ripped apart the earth’s crust and destroyed the land, making the earth look much different than it does today.

  3. I just read chapters 5-9 of Genesis again and I think you would have to change a lot of words to make it fit into what you are saying. If you go to a website called raptureforums.com they give a list of 101 reasons to believe the earth is young. Also, when Adam and Eve were one day old they appeared to be adults (maybe 20 -30 years old probably). So God has the ability to create things with an appearance of age. If you want to express your opinion that is great, but I do think it is dangerous to state your opinion as a fact when discussing anything like this. None of us will know until we leave this earth. ;o)

    • It’s not about changing words, it’s about interpreting it in the context of the time it was written. Also, yes God does have the ability to create with the appearance of age, but I don’t believe He does that. We have to separate the terms appearance of age and appearance of maturity. If God did create Adam as a fully grown man, he would have looked perfect. No chipped teeth, no scars, no permanent wounds from life. He would have been completely perfect. He would have been created with the appearance of maturity, not age. Yes, God can create a something with the appearance of age, but only of He loses His morality. A moral God would do no such thing because that would be deception.

  4. I’m not even sure where to begin with the comments here. Haha. You must understand and interpret the culture WITH the language. Even finding a perfect word-for-word translation does not suggest a perfect, or even good, translation. This applies to every single book of the Bible. Many traditional views are simply under-thought, and set into dogma, which I find utterly sad. It perpetuates further misunderstandings because subsequent ideas are based on false pretenses.

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