Why Noah's Flood was worldwide

I have heard some Bible teachers say that Noah’s Flood was a local flood.  Why do you feel that it is so important to believe that it was a worldwide flood and not a local flood?

Teaching that the Genesis Flood was a local flood seems to be growing very popular, but unfortunately those who teach this are not doing so because of evidence in the Bible.  The only reasonable and obvious interpretation of Scripture is that the Flood described in Genesis was a global event.  However, many feel they must re-interpret the Scripture in order to accommodate the 4.5 billion year age that many scientists have given to the earth.  As I showed last week the evidence in science at Stone Mountain can be explained well with the young earth model of the earth.  Likewise, every other area of geology such as salt in the sea, the fossil record, the lack of a consistent geologic column can be explained well (and in most cases much better) with the young earth model.  The idea of an old earth is not the result of evidence in geology or any other field of science but is the starting point with which scientists try to fit the evidence.  Therefore, to re-interpret the Bible to accommodate science is not only unnecessary but it is wrong.

Genesis 7:19-20 records that "…all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.  The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered."  Note the words "all" and "everywhere."  Water seeks its own level.  Certainly a local flood could not have covered all the high mountains everywhere and leave the rest of the world untouched.

Furthermore, in verse 23, "Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from the animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark."  It cannot be clearer in this verse that the Flood was global in impact.

Jesus Christ confirms the universal nature of the Flood by referring to it destroying "all" mankind: "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all."  A local flood would indicate partial judgment and in these verses it is obvious that Jesus based His teaching of a coming judgment on all mankind on the judgment "on all mankind" by Noah's Flood.

If the Flood were not worldwide then God is a liar.  Genesis 9:11 states, "And I establish my covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."  Then in verse 13 God establishes the rainbow as a sign of this promise: "I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth."  If the Genesis Flood were a local flood then every time there is a local flood then God breaks this promise.  

If it was a local flood then why did God have Noah build such a large Ark?  Most people do not stop to think of the massive size of the Ark.  It was about 430 feet long, 43 feet high and 75 feet wide.  It was not until 1884 that a ship was built, the Eturia, that exceeded the size of the Ark.  To believe that God would require such a large vessel for the purpose of escaping a local flood is unreasonable.

Why was there a need for an ark to carry the animals to escape death?  Why not send them to a safe place to escape the Flood?  The same goes for Noah and his family.  They could have just gone elsewhere and missed it and saved a lot of work in building the Ark.  Also, if the Flood was local then why did birds go on the ark?  They could have flown to a different part of the earth.  The entire story of Noah begins to lack credibility and borders on the ridiculous if it were a local flood. 

The most important reason for believing Noah's Flood was worldwide is seen in 2 Peter 3:5-7.  Peter states that "in the last days scoffers" will come and "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby 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."  Peter not only uses the Flood as a comparison of the future Second Coming but also warns that because of the denial of the Flood a time will come when people will no longer think seriously about the Second Coming as a universal cataclysmic judgment.

The teaching of a local flood is a harmful one because it brings into question so much of the Bible.  The teaching that the Flood was worldwide could not be clearer in Genesis and is confirmed by the apostle and by Jesus Christ Himself.  

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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen