Noah’s Flood

The Bible teaches clearly that the flood God sent in Noah’s day was a world-wide flood that covered then entire planet completely with water, destroying all living creatures not housed on the ark, or capable of living in turbulent waters for long periods of time. Many people, including professing Christians, want to argue that a global flood did not, and even could not, have occurred, that it is a misunderstanding of the Scripture to suggest that God destroyed the entire world with a flood that submerged the surface of the whole globe.

The two issues to consider are what the Bible says about that flood, and what physical evidence exists to support or refute the event. We’ll look here at the language of the account in Genesis chapter 6 and related passages, and demonstrate that the only possible meaning of the Biblical text is that Noah was a real man who lived in history, that the flood was a real historical event in which the entire world was completely covered by the waters and that all life not preserved upon the ark was destroyed. A person may choose to disbelieve the account, but it is not possible to argue against the understanding based on the text.

Language of the Text – Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:19-23

Gen 6:17 “…I do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.”

Gen 7:19-23 “…and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man; all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”

The only possible understanding of the texts quoted is that the whole earth was covered, and that everything that had lived died unless it was on the ark. The text does not allow for a local flood.

Consider also some other passages which refer to the event of Noah’s Flood in such a manner as to demonstrate that it was a global flood, and a true historical event involving real people living at a specific time in history:

2 Pet 3:6-7, 11-12:

“… by which the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men …. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

The context of verse 7 is the entire planet. Since v. 6 speaks into vv 7, 11 & 12, it must also be a reference to the entire world.

Is 54:9 Referring to His judgement of Israel for their faithlessness and disobedience, God states to Isaiah that, having severely judged them, He would then “gather” (restore) them to Himself forever, “For this is as the waters of Noah to me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you nor rebuke you.”

God has here promised the people of Israel that He would not remain angry with them or punish them forever. Comparing His judgement of them to the ‘waters of Noah’, which once they were past, He would not bring back, God has given His word to this people. The Noaic flood must be real for this statement to be meaningful. To support His promise with a mythical, and therefore false, event would be to make His promise meaningless and contradictory to His stated intention.

Ezekiel 14:14, 20 “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in [the city] they should deliver only their own souls by their righteousness…” In this passage, God has sworn to destroy the ‘land’ which separates itself from Him through idolatry, and is emphasizing that there will be no mercy for those who, having known God as they did, rebelled against Him by refusing Him. God has chosen three men known to the Jews as having been righteous, God-fearing men, as examples of good men whose presence among the wicked would not change His judgement upon the group. All three men must be real historical characters for this to have meaning.