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Noah's Flood - Universal? #1

Things that may surprise you



                           Written and Compiled

                                    by

                                Keith Hunt


INTRODUCTION 

I grew up like MANY believing that Noah's flood was word-wide,
covering the entire planet earth. I never really proved it,
though I thought at one time I did by reading books like "The
Genesis Flood" - but I never read the other side of the question.
I was challenged on the matter, when reading a book by Ralph
Woodrow. When I read his study on it all, in 1999, I was indeed
challenged. After much meditation, and not being able to answer
the main arguments put forth by Woodrow, I have to agree with him
that Noah's flood was REGIONAL and NOT universal. Others I have
discovered down through the last few hundred years have also
written on this subject, claiming Noah's flood was REGIONAL and
not all over the entire globe.

WAS THE FLOOD UNIVERSAL?

     Many if not most "religious" people of different faiths have
grown up being taught about Noah's flood and that it was a flood
that covered the whole planet earth. Some books down through the
last canruties have been written by well meaning people, I'm sure
quite sincere, trying to prove and uphold the teaching that
Noah's flood covered all the surface of the earth and all the
mountains upon it, and that all present human life and animal
life are so descended from the eight humans and the animal
creatures on board that ship Noah built.
 
     But was the flood universal, covering the entire globe? Or
was it regional, involving human and animal life in one specific
area of land on earth? There are, of course, dedicated Christians
on both sides of this question, and each side has its able
defenders. But looking at the main evidence, I believe the bulk
of that evidence favors Noah's flood as being REGIONAL, and not
universal, covering the entire planet.

     If the flood was universal, then as stated before every
animal on earth today would have descended from those on that
ark. As Woodrow has stated in his book "This raises questions, of
course, as to how this many animals would be able to fit into
Noah's ark, how they were able to cross vast continents to get to
the ark, and how they managed, after the flood, to get back
home."

     According to Ussher the flood was in 2,348 B.C. Does this
really give enough time for tiny creatures like the worm and
snail (and we all know how fast they travel) to get from Noah's
ark to the other side of the world.  

     The snail, some could argue got to North America by catching
a ride with the Indians, but could snails, or say worms, get to
cover North America in such a relatively short time (if we go
with Ussher's chronology of the Bible)? Then they say there are
more "species" of insects than any other living thing. Sure, as
the argument goes, all "flies" (fruit and other) come from the
same stock, but could Noah really have all "species" of insects
from around the whole earth come to him and be on the ark, and
then get back to all parts of the globe again, in such a
relatively short time (if we go with Ussher's chronology that
is)? As Woodrow says, that part of it is just the tip of the
iceberg.

     Many will point to the verse in Genesis six, and say, "There
you are, this verse say Noah's flood was world-wide, for the
verse reads, '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'" (Genesis 6:17).

     The same people will then take you to Genesis chapter seven:

     "The waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all
the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered
... and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved
upon the earth ... Noah only remained alive, and they that were
with him in the ark (verses 19-23).

     Hummmm, does kinda sound like Noah's flood covered the
entire globe. But don't run off into the sunset too quickly, not
without taking a good long look at the Hebrew word used -
"erets." The Englishman's Concordance of the Hebrew Old
Testament, will give you every place where this word "erets" is
used. by looking at the context where this Hebrew word is found,
we can clearly see the word itself does not mean a dogmatic
"universal" aspect. many passages certainly within the very
context cannot mean, or canot have, a GLOBAL meaning! 

     "Erets" (#776 in Strong's Concordance'), if you want to use
that popular concordance of the Bible, will show you  it is
translated "country" 140 times, and 1,476 times it is translated
"land."  Hence we can see the word "erets" is used with
LIMITATIONS!

     The example of Abraham:

     "Get thee out of thy country [erets]... unto a land [erets]
that I will shew thee" (Genesis 12:1). 

     Was Abraham told to leave planet earth? 

     Later, "Abraham journeyed from there toward the south
country [erets], and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur" (Genesis
20:1). 

     Does this mean there are to plantes being talked about?
Obviously that was not the case.

     As Woodrow points out we also have these verses:

     "the whole land [erets] of Havilah," "the whole land [erets]
of Ethiopia," "the land [erets] of Nod, on the east of Eden,"
"the land [erets] of Shinar," "the land [erets] of Canaan," "the
land [erets] of Egypt," "the Philistines' land [erets]," "the
land [erets] of Moriah" (Genesis 2:11,13,etc.). 

     No one would think of the entire earth, or the entire planet
from these verses.

     Also as Woodrow discovered "erets" is used in the plural. We
read of Gentiles "in their lands [erets]," of "enemies' lands
[erets]," and of various nations called "lands [erets]" (Genesis
10:5; Lev. 26:36; 2 Kings 19:11,17; etc.). The word "every" is
used with erets: "I will get them praise and fame in every land
[erets] where they have been put to shame" (Zeph.3:19). 

     Again to think these verses mean entire planets is quite
rediculous and nobody jumps to so understand those verses.
     
     Genesis 41:54,57. People from different planets are not here
being taught as coming to Egypt.

     The reader can look at MANY more places from the above two
Bible Concordances aforementioned, and see for themselves that
the Hebrew word "erets" HARDLY EVER means the ENTIRE GLOBE of
this earth.

     So, it is not then at all out of the question that this word
"erets" as used in the account of Noah's flood, was NOT meaning
the entire earth being covered with water. The word "erets"
itself and the context it is used in for Noah and the flood of
his days,does not automatically mean we are to understand the
account as a UNIVERSAL flood, covering ALL nations and ALL the
mountains on the earth.
     
     When we understand "erets" as used with reference to Naoh's
flood, with our English words "land" and "country" we can readily
see that Moses (who most argee wrote the first five books of the
Bible) was NOT trying to teach us that the flood of Noah's time
covered the entire planet earth.

     In other words, the use of the Hebrew word "erets" with
Noah's flood does NOT automatically prove THAT flood was over the
entire globe we call "earth." If you are going to try and prove
Noah's flood was a world-wide flood you will have to do it
another way entirely than from the argument of the word "erets"
and the context it is used for Noah's flood.
          
WITHIN THE CONTEXT

     Why a flood to destroy? We are told the "wickedness of man
was great in the earth (erets)" Genesis 6:5. Did man inhabit
every single nation or land mass on the planet at this time in
human history? It is very doubtful that this was so. And even if
it was, were the reletively few, say in Alaska (if mankind was
all over the globe) so sinnful that they also had to be destroyed
together with obviously the sinful ones in Noah's land? and why
did God have to destroy the animals, creeping things, and fowls
of the air, say in Alaska, or Australia? 
     
      Genesis 7:17. The water were lifted above the "eret" -
earth or land. This again cannot by itself prove "above the hight
of the planet, or highest mountains anywhere on the globe.
  
     "God made a wind to pass over the earth [erets -land]" and
the waters receded (Genesis 8:1). A wind picks up water (though
we do not see it happening per se) and the vapore water rises to
form clouds that float away (excuse the pun), but the water does
not DISAPPEAR into space. It moves on in those clouds to be
dropped as rain on another part of the globe. If the entire
planet was covered with water this would be like scouping out
water from a bath tub with one hand and putting it back in with
the other hand. The logic of the sentence does not make any
logic, unless you take these words to be telling us in a kind of
human way that God worked a miracle. But Moses knew all about
miracles, so he could have simply told us that the Lord worked a
miracle and "just made the water go away." But he put it the way
he did because it was a logical and human way to tell us what
happens everyday, wind or air evaporates water, carries it up to
form clouds and the clouds move on to later drop that wtaer in
other parts of the globe. So indeed the water that Noah and the
ark was floating on did recede in a natural way, for it was taken
by the wind and dropped on to dry parts of other lands at a later
time.
     This I maintain is the normal logical sense of the sentence
here used in genesis 8:1 and 3.
              
     "The waters were dried up from off the earth [erets - land]"
(Genesis 8:13). 
     If we understand this to mean the whole planet, in the
context of Noah's flood, then there is a large problem, when you
think of three-quarters or so of the globe is covered with water.
but if the context is talking only about a reginal flood then it
can be understood with normal logic.
     
UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN WAS COVERED?

     "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth
[erets]; 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" (Genesis 7:19,20). 
     Sounds like this is saying the whole globe was covered with
water, well if you again take the word "erets" to mean the entire
planet.
     And "under the whole heaven" - surely some will say, that
phrase clinches it, the flood of Noah's day covered the entire
planet.
     Once more, this expression and other very similar in the
Bible are there for all to read if they will but look for them,
and many times the context is clearly of a LIMITED nature.

     Deuteronomy 2:25: "...the nations which are under the whole
heaven," is limited by the context. The nations and tribes of
people on the African continent or over in India or China are NOT
meant by this phrase.
     Please note such passages as Isaiah 13:5,7. Did "end of
heaven" mean they came from Spain or Brazil?  Cities that were
"walled up to heaven" (Deut.1:28) did not mean the walls rose
thousands of feet into the sky. The context limits the phrase
used.
     Note the phrase "all the world should be taxed" in Luke 2:1.
Obviously such a phrase used in the context did not mean for us
to understand that it meant people from Japan were to come to
Palestine to be taxed.

     The Bible uses MANY types of "figures of speech" just as we
use figures of speech today in our writings and in our
conversations. If we say about some great Olympic wrestler that
"he was as big and as strong as a bull" it is a figure of speech,
and not a phrase we should take to its literal end. It gets a
point across but no Olympic wrestler is as big as a bull, let
alone as strong as one.
     Figures of speech are so numberous in the Bible that 
Dr.Bullinger thought it important enough to write a 1,000 page
book on the subject. I have that book of his in my personal
library.
          
     I agree with the conclusion Ralph Woodrow came to when he
wrote in his book on this subject, "the expression about all the
high hills 'under the whole heaven' is best understood as all
hills a person might see from one place - from horizon to
horizon. There is no reason to suppose this included hills
thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet!"

     The "local flood" advocates try to argue that the waters
would have been just way to high to have covered Mount Everest,
way over 30,000 feet.
     Then of course the argument put forth by the "entire globe
covered by water" advocates is that mountains like Everest, did
not form until AFTER the universal food of Noah's time - but that
is EVERY QUESTIONABLE indeed. It is more probable that mountain
chains like Everest is in and the great Canadian Rockies were
formed in Genesis chapter one, when God made the dry land appear
from the waters. The fact is there is no concrete proof for any
date as to when the largest mountain chains on earth were formed.

     The natural logic to my mind is that the Genesis flood of
Noah's time is talking within a context of REGINAL scope, and not
addressing the thought of vastly larger in height, mountain
ranges being covered than those in Noah's part of the world. But
again I know the "world-wide" flood advocates would like to say
those mountain ranges like the one where Everest stands, did not
form until after Noah's flood. But I say again, such an idea
cannot be proved.
     We shall discuss later again, the idea that the waters did
cover Everest, if believing Everest was created in Genesis
chapter one. Which of course also cannot be positively proved to
have been created in that first chapter of Genesis. 
  
THE WATER FROM WHERE?

     Believing the flood covered every mountain on earth, we must
ask the questions, "Where did all this amount of water come from?
And what became of the water when the flood subsided? The classic
book "The Genesis Flood," (I have it in my library), a book
written to uphold the universal flood concept, admits:

"A global rain continuing for forty days, as described in the
Bible, would have required a completely different mechanism for
its production than is available at the present day. If all
the water in our present atmosphere were suddenly precipitated,
it would only suffice to cover the ground to an average depth of
less than two inches."

     Yes, the Bible does say the spings of the deep also opened
up, water then under the earth came forth. And I guess if you
want to argue that with God nothing is impossible, you have an
answer as to where all the water came from to cover the entire
planet. Then add to that argument the argument that mountain
ranges like the Canadian Rockies did not exist or were not formed
until after Noah's flood, then you could come away believing
Noah's flood did cover the whole globe.
     But, as we shall see in more chapters, there are many other
factors to consider and to answer, before we can come to a
dogmatic conclusion that Noah's flood did in fact engulf the
entire planet earth.    

     Continuing now to quote from The Genesis Flood:

"The process of evaporation could not have been effective during
the rain, of course, since the atmosphere immediately above the
earth was already at saturation level. The normal hydrologic
cycle would, therefore, have been incapable of supplying the
tremendous amounts of rain the Bible record describes."

     Some of course would argue that, "Well with God anything is
possible. He just makes a miracle." Such arguing cannot
be answered per se. But the book "The Genesis Flood" at least
looks at the normal sight of things, and admits it just could not
be possible in the world as we have it today.

    It is really futile to try and argue as Woodrow does in his
book on this subject that in forty days "ex" amount of water
would have to come and rise on the earth (an amount per day or
hour that would amount to hundreds of feet) to cover Mount
Everest, for as stated above the universal flood advocates would
simply dismiss his reasoning with their teaching that Everest and
other mighty high mountains, did not exist until after the days
of Noah's flood. 
    
     Woodrow does argue this: "After it stopped raining and the
water began to go back down, the Bible implies the water receded
at the rate of 15 cubits in 74 days (Genesis 7:20; 8:4,5). A
number of recognized commentators have mentioned this point? If
we figure a cubit at about 18 inches, the water level would have
dropped 270 inches during this time or, to round it off, 4 inches
a day. If the flood depth was 29,050 feet (348,600 inches) and
the water level dropped 4 inches a day, it would take 87,150 days
to get back down to normal sea level. That would be almost 239
years! The whole time of the flood is normally figured at around
a year in duration certainly not 239 years! All of this argues
against the idea that the flood was thousands of feet in depth
and strongly suggests, rather, that it was a flood of regional
proportions."

     A nice try on Woodrow's part, but once more the universal
flood advocates would answer with, "The mountain ranges like that
in which Mount Everest is found were not created until AFTER the
time of Noah's flood, so no need to be thousands of feet in
depth. And, with God anything is possible, He is a miracle
working God, and hence the waters could have receded in other
parts of the world MUCH faster than in the Ararat area where Noah
was in the ark."

     And they do, I admit, have an argument with those arguments.
But there is more to this subject, we have to have the rest of
the story.

                         ..............

TO BE CONTINUED
                                    


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