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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Did the Flood Really Cover the WHOLE Earth?

In the Genesis account of Noah's flood, the words and phrases used to describe the event paint the picture of it being a worldwide catastrophe:

So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!" (Gen. 6:13, NLT)

“Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die." (Gen. 6:17, NLT)

"There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.” (Gen. 7:3b-4, NLT)

Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth. He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives. (Gen. 7:6-7, NLT)

After seven days, the waters of the flood came and covered the earth. When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights. (Gen. 7:10-12, NLT)

Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. All the living things on earth died—birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. Everything that breathed and lived on dry land died. God wiped out every living thing on the earth—people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat. And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days. (Gen. 7:19-24, NLT)

Some scholars have taught that the flood was local, and did not cover the entire earth. They point to words or phrases such as 'all flesh died' (Gen. 7:21) as meaning all living things within the local area. But when a word can have more than one meaning, the context must define its true meaning. In Genesis 6-10, the context is one of a global Flood!

In these five chapters, words and phrases of a global scale are used more than 30 times. In every instance, the primary meaning is global, and in totality. When these words are found in such close proximity, the meaning is unmistakable -- this was a worldwide flood.

If you compare this with the words of Jesus, Isaiah, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews, you see that a global destructive flood is assumed.

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you." (Is. 54:9, NLT)

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matt. 24:37-39, NLT)

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 17:27, NLT)

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Heb. 11:7, NLT)

... who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (1 Peter 3:20, NLT)

If Noah's flood were merely local, Jesus' comparison of the judgment on the people in Noah's time to  the coming judgment of all men (Matthew 24:37-39) makes no sense. Jesus Himself makes it clear that Noah's flood was, indeed, a worldwide flood.

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