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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 4

Noah and the Flood

And then there is Noah. It is fashionable in our day to ridicule a simple historical understanding of the account of Noah and the flood. The evident fact that there are many flood stories in various parts of the world makes it difficult to deny that there was indeed a flood of some sort in man’s history but most regard the Genesis account as just one legend among many.

One of the casualties of the compromise belief in millions of years to account for the fossil record is a corresponding denial that the flood of Noah’s day was universal. The flood tends to be treated as a “local” or “regional” event that perhaps killed wicked men but certainly did not inundate the entire globe. This belief results from the recognition that a flood of worldwide proportions as described in Genesis would have destroyed the fossil record they so carefully wish to preserve as evidence of long ages prior to the flood. Those who hold such a view understand that a universal flood is an alternative explanation of the fossil record and is totally incompatible with an “old earth” belief.

But what saith the scripture? Hear God’s pronouncement in Genesis 6:7: “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth ... men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air ... for I am grieved that I have made them.” That sounds pretty universal to me!

In verse 13 the Lord tells Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am going to destroy both them and the earth.” Note: God promised to “destroy both them and the earth.” The flood was not only meant to kill wicked men but also involved major changes to the earth itself.

See verse 17: “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.” Genesis 7:4 says, “...I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

Genesis 7:11-12 says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month ... on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.” Note: it wasn’t just a lot of rain but the “springs of the great deep” bursting forth. All of the water on the planet was suddenly brought to bear upon every land-dwelling, air-breathing creature God had made.

We saw, in December 2004, just a little glimpse of what an underwater earthquake and the resulting tsunami can do. Can you imagine that happening everywhere all at once, and for an extended time?! Not only would nothing on land survive but untold billions of sea creatures would be washed over the land masses and suddenly buried in great layers of sediment, hundreds and even thousands of square miles in size. By the way, that’s exactly what you find in the fossil record!

In Genesis 7:19-23 we find that the waters, “rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished ... birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.”

After the flood, Noah and the animals came out of the ark and the Lord made a covenant with Noah in part of which He promised never again to destroy “all living creatures” as He had done (Genesis 8:21). I am aware that all of this raises many science questions and many books have been written on these subjects but for the present my purpose is simply to establish what the Bible clearly says.

I don’t know how anyone can read these scriptures and still attempt to contend that this was a local flood! If it truly was local or regional then language means nothing. The language is utterly clear as to what happened. The only possible reason for trying to make such clear language mean something other than what it says is the seeming “need” to compromise with evolutionary science. Now let’s look at how the rest of the Bible treats Noah and the flood.

Other References to Noah’s Flood

In Isaiah 54:9 God gave a comforting word to His people: “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.” In Ezekiel 14:14 and also 20 we find Noah referred to by name.

Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

In 1 Peter 3:20 we read that “...God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water....”

In 2 Peter 2:5 we see that God, “did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others....”

In Luke 17:26-27 Jesus said, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

In each of these cases Noah is referred to by name but there are other references to the flood and its consequences.

Psalm 104:5-9 says, “He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down To the place which You established for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass over, So that they will not return to cover the earth.” NASU. The language is poetic but the underlying historical reference is clear.

Listen to Peter’s words of warning in 2 Peter 3:3-7: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

Very straightforward language indeed! There is no hint in any of these scriptures, including the words of Jesus Himself, that the account of Noah and the flood was understood to be anything but a simple historical account, something that really happened.

There are many references that make it obvious that the human authors of the Bible understood the fact of divine creation. Among them: Psalm 33:6, 96:5, 100:3, Matthew 13:35, 25:34, John 17:24, Romans 1:20, Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 4:13, 1 Peter 1:20, just to name a very few. But when did this creation take place?

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