Does the Bible really claim that the Flood covered the ENTIRE Earth?
Nine Biblical Evidences that the Flood was Global
Some evangelical teachers today are claiming that Noah's flood did not cover the entire Earth nor all the mountains of the day. Further, they claim that Noah and the animals floated on a shallow, temporary inland sea caused by the flood, somehow covering only the Mesopotamian region. Thus, they must claim that the Earth’s entire human population was limited to this area, or that not all humans were killed in the flood. Is there really biblical evidence for claims of this nature?
All the Mountains Were Covered. The tops of all the high mountains under the entire heavens were at least 20 feet beneath the waters surface (Genesis 7:19-20). It would be absurd to think that a flood covering the highest mountains of the Middle East would not affect the rest of the world. In addition, the waters remained at this awesome, mountain-covering height for five months! (Genesis 7:18-24, 8:1-5).
The Ark Was Huge. The ark was necessary to prevent the extinction of humans and animals. If the Flood were merely local, God could have sent them to a safer part of the world. God warned Noah about the Flood 120 years prior to its start. Surely, Noah and his family could have traveled a great distance in that time. Also, if the Flood was local, the ark was unnecessarily large. Until the first metal ships were constructed in modern times, the ark was the largest ship ever built. It was big enough to house representative pairs of every created-kind of air-breathing, land animal on Earth.
Humans Populated the Entire World. After more than 1600 years of habitation on Earth, the planet's population was surely large (millions or billions). The Bible confirms that (a) Man had multiplied upon the face of the Earth (Genesis 6:1), (b) Violence and corruption filled the Earth (Genesis 6:11-12). The Bible is clear that man could not have existed only in the Mesopotamian region—a region too small to support such a large population, especially considering the natural dispersion affect of a violent society.
All Humans Were Killed. The Bible clearly teaches that all flesh died…every man (Genesis 7:21). Genesis 9:1 confirms that only Noah's family was saved and that every person living today is descended from his family.
All Air-Breathing, Land Animals Killed. The world's entire population of air-breathing, land animals died, except those taken into the ark (Genesis 7:21) — “everything that is on the earth” (Genesis 6:17) — “all living creatures of every kind on the Earth” (Genesis 9:16). If only those animals in a specific geographic location died, it would seem unnecessary for God to protect pairs in the ark for the express purpose of preventing their extinction. Surely there would be representatives of their kinds in other areas. If, on the other hand, there were some unique kinds of animals in the local flood’s path, then it would seem more logical for God to send representative pairs out of the area, rather than to the ark, as He did. The Bible is clear that all the air-breathing, land animals perished during the flood, except those preserved with Noah—from which all modern animals are descended.
A “Cataclysm,” Not a Mere Flood. Both Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) use words to describe Noah's flood which are different than the ordinary words for flood. In this way, Noah's flood was represented as a totally unique occurrence. [Hebrew: “Mabbool” / Greek: “Kataklusmos” (cataclysm)].
God’s Rainbow Promise. God promised never again to send a global flood (Genesis 8:21, 9:8-17). This promise is demonstrated by the symbol of the rainbow, a sign for God’s promise to all the Earth. The rainbow is a sign to every living creature, mankind and animals. If this promise was not made to all creatures on Earth, then God has broken His promise. Local floods have repeatedly killed hundreds and even thousands of humans and animals since Noah’s time.
Why Stay in the Ark a Year?! Noah was in the ark for more than a year, not just 40 days (Genesis 8:14). 53 weeks is absurdly long to stay in the ark for a local flood, since dry land would have been just over the horizon. After the flood waters had been going down for 4 months, the dove could still find no suitable ground (Genesis 8:9). This does not seem to fit the circumstances for a local flood in which the dove could fly to dry land. However, these situations are consistent if the Flood was global.
The Whole Earth Was Devastated. God said, “I am surely going to destroy both them (the people) and the Earth” (Genesis 6:13b). The global extent of the Flood is referred to more than 30 times in Genesis 6-9 alone! In Isaiah 54:9, God states, “I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the Earth.”
The Apostle Peter delivered a clear global warning, confirming that God created the Earth, devastated it by the Flood, and will one day destroy it again by fire (2 Peter 3:5-7). Peter certainly did not mean that just a local area on Earth would be burned. Just as the Flood was global, so will be the fate of Earth at the end of the Millennium, at the time of the final judgment.
The Bible specifically teaches that the Flood of Noah's time was global in extent and that all air-breathing, land animals and all humans were killed, except those saved in the Ark. How could the Bible be any more clear concerning the global nature of the Flood?! Or, if this was actually a local flood, how could the Bible have been any more misleading about its extent?!
Authors: Mark Van Bebber and Paul S. Taylor of Christian Answers
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