“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth… For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” (Genesis 6:11-13, 17)
Any rudimentary study of history yields an abundance of flood folklore. From the oral histories of the native Americans to the earliest writings of the ancient near East to Greco-Roman mythology and everything in between, the collective historical record of humanity seems to agree — there was a flood of epic proportions in the past. It’s been estimated that there are some 300 different flood legends from around the world.
Many of these flood stories contain the same basic narrative. It goes something like this. The gods became angry with the wickedness of mankind and in judgement brought a flood upon the earth. Usually in this collective legend, only one man and his family survive on a boat and become the new progenitors of the human race.
So what are we to make of this collective mythology? Do ancient flood legends diminish the Biblical account of the flood in Noah’s day? Is the Biblical flood story just that – just another mythical story to be lumped in with the rest and dismissed altogether? After all, some of the earliest flood legends discovered through archeology are thought to predate Moses and the writing of Genesis. Did Moses just borrow from one of these legends?
Or do these ancient legends simply substantiate the reality of one true, catastrophic flood event in the past? Maybe that which has been preserved and passed down through the generations is more than myth.
It’s been said that reality becomes history. History becomes legend. And legend becomes myth. But when one traces the various diversions of mythology back to its original source, he often can discover the true narrative. As one who unapologetically believes that the Bible is the revealed word of the One True God, I am convinced that God has preserved for us the one true account of history in Scripture. After all, there can only be one true past.
So the various ancient flood stories in no way violate or threaten the validity of Biblical flood. If anything, these legends only point us back to the flood of Noah’s day. It only stands to reason that the true account of the flood would have been passed on from Noah and his three sons to the next generation, and as the nations were scattered after the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), every people group would have taken the flood story with them. Over time, these oral traditions were embellished and distorted from the truth … except one.
But whereas our ancestors would have unequivocally acknowledged the truth of an epic flood in our past, there is an entire generation alive today that categorically denies a flood ever occurred. What happened? Why so many modern-day scoffers?
Considering the mass wake that Darwinian evolution cast upon the scientific community over the last 150 years, the most foundational Biblical doctrines of 6-day creation, original sin, and the global flood have been scrutinized, ridiculed, and outright rejected. What may be even more surprising is that many of these skeptics are now found within the community of faith – Christians who apparently have replaced “thus says the Lord” with “thus proves science.”
The reason we are seeing more objections to a literal, global flood within the community of faith (i.e. the church) is because a global flood is irreconcilable with Darwinian evolution and uniformitarianism, which postulates that the geologic changes that have taken place on the earth were caused by slow, gradual, natural processes over millions of years. When an evolutionist looks at rock layers and the fossils buried within, he automatically assumes millions of years of slow, gradual formations – each layer upon layer representing different periods of the distant past (i.e. the geologic column).
With the success of mass indoctrination and the institutionalization of darwinian evolution in our modern culture, many within the community of faith have been blinded by an entirely man-made fabrication of the facts. The worshippers of this evolutionary belief system have conveniently hijacked the term “science” and have made themselves the collective voice of authority for all mankind. This idea of “science” is not true science at all, but rather it is a fundamental belief system based on mere speculation about the past, not the observable present. Science has been deified, replacing God, and the scientists have become the zealous preachers of our day. Anyone who would dare disagree or object to the authority of the scientific community is to be maliciously maligned as an enemy of progress and considered most imbecilic.
In making an attempt to reconcile the Word of God and the new “revelations” of science, many in the community of faith have quickly compromised and looked for ways to force darwinian evolution into the Scriptures. One of these compromises is the idea that Noah’s flood was merely local, not global. Nearly all proponents of the local flood paradigm also hold to some form of progressive creationism or theistic evolution. While there have been many books and peer-reviewed articles written on this subject, I only would like to propose a few reasons why I believe that Noah’s flood was indeed global.
What does the Bible say?
“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” (2 Peter 3:3-6)
At the very core of this debate between a global and local flood is an even more serious issue. In my estimation it all comes down to whether or not the book of Genesis – more specifically the first 11 chapters of Genesis – is to be understood as literal history or not. As I stated before, it is impossible to harmonize the creation and flood accounts as recorded in Genesis with Darwinian evolution and uniformitarianism. To affirm the Biblical account of creation and the flood is to categorically reject evolution.
What does the Evidence say?
I would like make some critical observations that compel me to believe the Word of God at face value and allow it to form my understanding of creation and the ancient world. Noah’s flood is no myth. It is the true, historical account that explains what really happened to the ancient world. And Noah’s flood was not local, but global in nature, covering the entire planet. This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are some reasons why I understand Noah’s flood to be both historical and global.
- For the Bible tells me so – As simple as it may sound, I trust the eyewitness account of history, not man’s vain attempts to pervert God’s word with limited knowledge. Our Creator God was there. He knows how it all happened, and He just so happened to tell us in His Word.
- Read the Text – The most basic reading of the the flood account clearly and explicitly describes a global event. Consider … “I have determined to make an end of all flesh” (Gen. 6:13), “I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die” (Gen. 6:17), “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground” (Gen. 7:4), “Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark” (Gen. 7:23). These are but a few Scriptures that clearly emphasize the global catastrophic nature of the flood in Noah’s day. Not to mention, Jesus also affirmed the Genesis account of the flood.
- What about the rainbow? – Another critical element that many overlook when proposing a local flood would involve the obvious violation of God’s covenant with mankind. Consider the following passage. “When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Gen. 9:14-16) If the flood were only local, then God promised Noah and every following generation that He would never flood the earth again. Considering the countless local floods that have occurred on this earth since that promise was made by God, we are forced to on conclude that God is perpetually breaking His promise, failing to keep His covenant and violating His own Word. Impossible.
- The rocks cry out! – Vast geologic formations all around the world cannot be explained apart from a global flood. Mountain ranges that jut out like they were rapidly pushed upward under extreme pressure. Swirling rock formations that leave the obvious remnants of rapid hydraulic formation. Layers upon layers of sediment that were rapidly buried and hardened. What we observed during the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens proves that rock layers and massive canyons can be formed very rapidly under extreme catastrophic conditions.
- The Fossil Record – Finally, a global flood is the only logical explanation of the mass graves of plant and animal fossils all over the world. The fossil record could not be possible without rapid burial that is consistent with a global flood. We find fossil beds all over the world on every single continent, which can only be explained by a global flood. Fossils almost never form when plants and animals die under normal conditions. Few animal remains are left intact due to scavengers, exposure and the elements. For a fossil to form, very specific conditions must exists. As organisms were buried rapidly during Noah’s flood, vast fossil beds were sorted in the layers of mud and sand, which eventually hardened and turned to sedimentary rock. Not to mention that archeologists also find marine fossils and sea shells on the highest mountain peaks all over the world, which implies the obvious. The entire earth was once covered in water.
In these last days, scoffers continue to scoff as they hide behind the name of “science,” but those who deny a global flood or propose that Noah’s flood was merely local deny both the Word of God and the real scientific evidence. And the Bible tells us why. Sinful men will deliberately suppress the truth in order to follow their own sinful desires and will intentionally deny the evidence in order to deny the dreadful reality of the coming judgment at the hands of a Holy God.