Is the account of the deluge true?
And if it is, did the great flood destroy all humans on the earth?
Gen 6:17 And I, lo, I am bringing in the deluge of waters on the earth to destroy all flesh, in which is a living spirit, from under the heavens; all that is in the earth will die.
Luke 17:26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destr28 Likewise, even as it happened in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from the sky, and destroyed them all. 30 It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
1 Pet 3:20 Who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, reverently prepared an ark to save his family, and by it he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Most Bible scholars believe that the flood was all over the globe. It may be difficult to understand and believe from where so much water could rain over the Earth for 40 days, so that the highest peaks of the mountains were covered under water. The Bible also says how much water was on top of these peaks: The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. (Gen7:20)
Where did the water come from? The explanation is different: most of the water came from under the earth’s mantle (Gen 7:11). In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep were burst open, and the sky’s windows were opened. – Ross, Hugh. The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1998. ”The fountains of the great deep” burst open with great pressure and the muddy water plunged high in the air and fell back, covering the world and the flora. It may well be that much larger amounts of water burst from beneath the ground than the heavens rained. Underneath the earth’s mantle are believed to have huge amounts of water. Studies show that there are still huge amounts of water beneath the surface of dry regions of Africa such as Sahara and Libya. It is a pity that these water reservoirs are not renewable. It has been calculated that the amount of water to cover the whole world should be 4-5 fold in relation to the waters of all the world seas.
Most people believe that the Bible’s account of the deluge is clear and does not leave room for interpretation.
Gen 7:19 The waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth. All the high mountains that were under the whole sky were covered.
20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.
21 All flesh died that moved on the earth, including birds, cattle, animals, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, of all that was on the dry land, died. 23 Every living thing was destroyed that was on the surface of the ground, including man, cattle, creeping things, and birds of the sky. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.
Flood reports are from all over the world on all continents. Common to them is similarity. Could such reports be made irrespective of each other? Even the number of survivors is in the same class. Some of the stories may even be older than Genesis. However, it does not prove that such an account is any more reliable than Genesis.
I look at the account written by Moses with open eyes looking for answers but there is no answer for all questions. There is also a need for scientific studies on events.
God was tired of the sinful life of mankind. So he gave Noah task of building a big ark:
Gen 6:14 Make an ark of gopher wood. You shall make rooms in the ark and shall seal it inside and outside with pitch. 16 You shall make a roof in the ark, and to a cubit shall you finish it upward. You shall set the door of the ark in the side of it. You shall make it with lower, second, and third levels.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 Of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 7:1 Jehovah said to Noah, “Come with all of your household into the ark, for I have seen your righteousness before me in this generation.
7 Noah went into the ark with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, because of the waters of the flood. 9 went by pairs to Noah into the ark, male and female, as God commanded Noah.
7:13 In the same day Noah, and Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, entered into the ark; 15 They went to Noah into the ark, by pairs of all flesh with the breath of life in them.
18 The waters prevailed, and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the surface of the waters.
The ark was unusually large according to the standard of those days: 6:15 This is how you shall make it. The length of the ark will be three hundred cubits [150 m], the breadth of it fifty cubits [25 m], and the height of it thirty cubits [15 m]. – All in all, a big vessel according to the perception of those days.
All the same, a lot of questions arise:
Noah’s family alone (8 people) probably did not have the ability to build the ark alone, although they had decades, maybe as long as a hundred years. Maybe Noah hired builders to help. Construction of a vessel this size at a modern shipyard requires hundreds of workers and subcontractors. On the other hand, the ark was a simple ”box” compared to modern ships. Was Noah wealthy enough to be able to hire the necessary auxiliary force? Well, let’s assume that Noah got the ark ready after a long construction period. Then what?
Who collected all the animals from all over the world? How were animals identified and how did they keep records to make sure just two of every kind would get into the ark? There are millions of different species. Even today not all species have been found, how did Noah find them and where were they stored before they were taken into the ark? How were polar bears transported from behind the polar circle, from areas not even known? Who penetrated the depths of the rainforests to find and identify unknown species? The big animals were probably in the fencing, but what about thousands of small mice, birds, snakes, etc. How could they be kept in place without them getting away? In nature, there are small animals far more than big animals What about the thousands of insects, where were they kept? How were the animals fed?
The answer is found in the Bible. The Bible really says that ”They went to Noah into the ark, by pairs of all flesh with the breath of life in them”. (Gen 7:15). The Bible says ”went”. How did insects go? Surely they will leave for their own ways if they are released.
Gen 6:20 Of the birds after their kind, of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come to you, to keep them alive. 7:15 They went to Noah into the ark, by pairs of all flesh with the breath of life in them. 16 Those who went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God commanded him; and Jehovah shut him in.
בּוֹא bow’ The KJV translates Strong’s H935 in the following manner: come (1,435x), bring (487x), … in (233x), enter (125x), go (123x),
This question was a great concern for me. I thought that Noah must have had a large network of agents to gather animals around the world. He must also have been very wealthy to pay for the animals to their suppliers. Then I found in the Bible an explanation: the animals came to Noah alone. Earlier, I had noticed that when the time came, the animals went inside the ark.
Animals act by instinct. The migratory birds know ‘when it’s time to go to the warmer countries of the south. In the spring, they return to the north and even to their former nests thousands of miles away. Nevertheless, it seems unbelievable how thousands of animals across the globe found their way to Noah; polar bears from the north, kangaroos from Australia, monkeys and gorillas from rainforests not to forget reptiles, birds, insects (?) …
And the other way round: once a year had elapsed, the animals had to go back to their nesting places. The whole operation is not possible without God’s guidance. To gather such a large number of animals would simply have been too much for any human organisation. People considered Noah crazy and laughed at him. Who would have begun to collect animals for him? Then there is the same problem in the opposite direction; restoring animals to their abodes. After the flood there was no one left! The animals themselves had to go back.
God said: Gen 6:17 I, even, I do bring the flood of waters on this earth, to destroy all flesh having the breath of life from under the sky. Everything that is in the earth will die. – “Everything that is in the earth will die”, said God. However, God did not want to drown the fish or other animals living in the water. Why were these allowed to stay alive? God did not want to destroy the whole life because of all species were assembled a male and female couples. Only humans were to be destroyed, except for the eight members of Noah’s family whom God considered righteous.
After all the foregoing reflection, the essence of the problem is crystallized into the question: if God intended to destroy the mankind, would not it be sufficient that the flood would have covered only those areas where people live? I.e. the question to be answered is:
Did the great flood cover the entire world or only the inhabited areas?
Was a) the entire planet covered under water? Or b) only the inhabited part of the world? What does it mean when the Bible says the “whole world”?
Luk 2:1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be registered.
Joh 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “See how you accomplish nothing. Behold, the world has gone after him.”
Act 17:6 When they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials and shouted, “These fellows who have turned the world upside down have come here, too,
Act 24:5 For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
Joh 21:25 Of course, Jesus also did many other things, and I suppose that if every one of them were written down the world couldn’t contain the books that would be written.
According to the literal interpretation of the Bible, the flood was comprehensive throughout the globe. There are also opinions that defend the view that the flood has left some uninhabited areas untouched.
What if the flood was limited to inhabited areas only?
The above questions give rise to the following considerations: what if the flood was territorial? In other words, water covered only the populated areas, in which case, however, the will of God was completed and all the people drowned. The destruction of all life was not the goal of God, because couples of all species of animals were brought into the ark.
What does the Bible mean when it speaks for instance in Gen 41:57 All countries came into Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all the earth. NIV And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.
Deu 2:25 This day I begin to put thy dread and thy fear on the face of the peoples under the whole heavens, who hear thy fame, and have trembled and been pained because of thee.
Gen 7:3 also, of fowl of the heavens seven pairs, a male and a female, to keep alive seed on the face of all the earth;
Gen 8:9 but the dove found no place to rest her foot, and she returned to him into the ark; for the waters were on the surface of the whole earth. He put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her to him into the ark.
When the Bible speaks of all the kings of the earth / world or of all countries … the Bible does not speak of the whole world but of the countries of a region and the kings of this region. This area spoken of in the Bible is often an area around Israel or more widely the ”known world”. At that time most of the world was completely unknown and uninhabited.
2 Chronicles 9:23 states, “All the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon.” – ”All the kings…” In one country there cannot be more than one king. This must mean the known world, the inhabited world of that time.
The Hebrew word meaning world is erez and it can be translated ’earth’. Gen. 6:17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. Genesis 6:17 states: “Everything that is in the land shall die.” (This means the flood was universal to wherever humans were). For example: where there were polar bears in the polar regions, there were no people, and the flood did not have to reach that far. The expression “the whole earth” may therefore be limited to the inhabited country.
This is the how argued the scientists who do not believe in the flood of the whole world, but only in regional floods. However, water is difficult to hold in place. Let us think that a certain area is to be covered with water so that the entire area has water with a five meter mattress. What is happening? Water flows into the surrounding areas and the ground is exposed. Water simply does not stay in the desired area all the time (because of the attraction of gravity).
Genesis proves: Gen 7:19 The waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth. All the high mountains that were under the whole sky were covered. Gen. 7:20 NIV “The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.”
OT scholar John Walton writes: This verb is used for a wide variety of ‘covering’ possibilities. A people or weeds can be so vast that it covers the land (Num. 22:11; Prov. 24:31); a blanket or clothing covers someone (Ex. 28:42; 1 Kings 1:1). Something can be covered in the sense of being overshadowed (cherubim wings covering the ark, 2 Chron. 5:8; clouds covering the sky, Ps. 147:8)… Even today when someone walks in from a downpour we might say, ‘You’re covered with water!’ If Genesis 7:19 is taken the same way, it suggests that the mountains were drenched with water or coursing with flash floods, but it does not demand that they were totally submerged under water.
I share the view that the water actually covered 20 feet below the mountain peaks of the area. But! It occurred to me that, when there were great ups and downs on the surface of the earth, mountain peaks could have escalated to their current heights after the flood. I remember reading that fossils of aquatic animals have been found up in high mountains. This must be due to the fact that the area has been in the past under water for a long time.
Summa summarum: Whether the flood covered all of the globe or just some parts, the will of God was fulfilled and the whole human race was drowned.
Could all the species on Earth fit into the Ark?
Scientific difficulties with a global flood
Who took the animals back to their original living areas? Polar bears, polar foxes and penguins to the north and south hemisphere? Kangaroos to Australia? The rainforest animals back to the rainforest?
Modern science proves that human-like beings existed before the Biblical time of creation of Adam and Eve. From 50,000 to about 40,000 years ago, mankind made a big breakthrough – a “quantum leap”. People started living in communities. They started making weapons for hunting and nets for fishing. People began to pay attention to dressing, they started to play music, paintings were made on rock walls and even jewellery. The dead were also buried as evidence of faith in post-mortem life.
The development of mankind leads my thoughts to the next big problem:
Science has timed the early stages of mankind (homo sapiens) up to about 40,000 BC. At that time, the aforementioned ‘quantum leap’ occurred. The development steps that science has registered are also listed in Chapter 4 of Genesis, which tells about the generations after Adam and Eve.
Surely you realise what the problem is in this observation! The timing of Adam and Eve according to the Bible is about 4,000 years before Christ. Science places Adam and Eve more than 40,000 years before Christ.
The first humans after the creation of animals were according to Scripture Adam and Eve. Science believes that before them there were human-like beings for a long time. God has created them as well, but the Bible does not say anything about it.
The creation of the world took place according to the Bible in six days. Some believe that creation took place literally in six 24-hour days, but the word used in the Bible in the day yowm יוֹם can also mean a period of time; Strong’s: day, time, period, days, lifetime, etc. In any case, man was created last. The Bible tells us the first people and their offspring. In Genesis chapter 4, we can read the descendants’ names and their professions.
If Adam and Eve and their descendants lived on earth some 40,000 years ago, when is the flood believed to have occurred? Science answers: Sometimes, about 8,000 BC – 5,000 BC. (Ian Wilson ‘Before the Flood’, 2002). God in his forbearance waited about 30,000 years before he had enough of the sinful life of mankind and decided to destroy all humanity except for Noah’s family.
As you read the description of the descendants of Adam and Eve at the beginning of chapter 4 of Genesis, your attention will certainly be attached to the fact that they have decent professions suitable for the world in which they lived; Cain was a tiller of the ground, Abel was a keeper of sheep, Enoch even built a town, Jabal had cattle, but lived in tents, Jubal, Jabal’s brother played music instruments and Tubal Cain was a blacksmith, a forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron. Such practitioners do not even remind us of simple hunters, not to mention hominids.
If scientists are to be believed, in Africa there were pre-humans based on fossil discoveries over several million years. These hominids developed slowly during millions of years. When the Bible lists the names and professions of Adam and Eve descendants there are quite sophisticated professions. The conflict seems to be timing; science will schedule these advances in mankind for about 40,000 years back. The genealogy of Jesus cannot go so far, maybe only about 4000 years back in time.
Could it be that God’s Flood destroyed all hominids? There cannot have been actual people very much given that Adam and Eve were just a few generations back. Science wants to believe that man has developed from these hominids. Believe if you want. Everyone living is God-created because God created life. In theory, it is also possible that hominids were God’s first version of man, but they did not satisfy God. Even when Adam and Eve and their descendants did not meet God’s human requirements, God decided to destroy all humans and animals from the earth. However, God did not want to destroy all the animals, this is why Noah was commissioned to collect two pieces of all animal species into the ark.
– After writing this I found the opinions of two researchers Rana and Ross. They present a theory that the original home of the hominids was in Mesopotamia and not Ethiopia: “What if the Garden did not include Ethiopia, but was limited to Mesopotamia? The “out of Africa” theory uses Genetic similarity to date and locate the original humans. However, this Genetic evidence does not mean the first humans lived in Africa. They could have migrated. Many human populations have collectively migrated thousands of miles. In addition, the Bible teaches that the first humans were formed in the Garden, but their population expansion occurred outside of the garden’s territory. Therefore, they could have migrated to East Africa, as Anthropology teaches.”
The human race differs from animals among others. in that human genetics have much less diversity than animals. “This means that when comparing DNA sequences for any two chimpanzees, any two bonobos, any two Gorillas, or any two Orangutans, a much greater Genetic difference will be observed than for any two human beings compared. The human similarity is observed worldwide, regardless of race and ethnicity. “(Rana, Fazale, and Hugh Ross,” Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to Origin of Man, Colorado Springs, 2005).
The NT authors believed that Adam and Eve were real, historical figures; Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren’t like Adam’s disobedience, who is a foreshadowing of him who was to come. 15 But God’s free gift is not like Adam’s offense. For if many people died as the result of one man’s offense, how much more have God’s grace and the free gift given through the kindness of one man, Jesus Christ, been showered on many people!
1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be made alive. 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Act 17:26 From one man he made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth, fixing the seasons of the year and the boundaries they live in,
Luke 3:38 … the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Mat 19:4 He [Jesus] answered, “Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,
1 Tim 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
2 Cor. 11:3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
How has 8 people managed taking care of animals?
The animals had to be two pieces of each kind except the so-called clean animals of seven pairs? Scientists generally believe that ‘kind’ is not the same as the Darwinian word species. Obviously it is the main kinds the Bible is talking about, which have produced ‘subspecies’ in nature even within a few hundred years. However, there were some 16,000 animals in the Ark, or about 8,000 species in the average size of a small rodent.
These thousands of animals require daily feeding, water, waste removal etc. Imagine a giant barn for a few people to handle. The Bible does not tell you how to do these tasks, but it is clear that the ark has had to take these needs into account at the construction stage. Perhaps there were sloping rails built to remove manure. Pipelines for water distribution. There were still no carnivores. When God created the animals, Gen 1:30 says: “And to all the beasts of the wilderness, and to all the birds of the heavens, and to all those who dwell in the earth and have a living spirit, I will give all the greasy grasses for food.” And it happened so. Perhaps in the future the current carnivorous animals will change back to grass eaters. The Bible promises, according to Isaiah 11:7, that in the coming Paradise: The cows and the beasts go past, their calves and their kittens together lie down, and the lion eateth feed as crushed.
Gen 1:30 To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food.”
Isa 11:7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
From where did the huge amounts of water appear? And where did they disappear?
The “lower parts of the earth opened”.
The starting point was, according to the theory, that the globe was much flatter than it is today. The highest mountains were not as high as today, seven kilometres, so water did not have to be a 7-kilometer thick mattress. According to a theory, before the Flood the atmosphere was covered with thick clouds of water almost covering the sun, and the cloudy water then discharged as a powerful rain. More credible and more realistic sounds the theory that underneath the seas the plates were torn apart, and the enormous amounts of water underneath them crashed and plunged into the sky. There were various ground masses besides water, which, when they fell back on the earth, covered the flora and the animals. However, it is not my intention to present a scientific proof of the correct theory. However, it is certain that great geological convulsions have occurred and, according to Scripture, God has done so with his own will and word. God has such unimaginable strengths that Jesus gives a small glimpse of when he told the disciples: “Because of your unbelief. For most assuredly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mat 17:20)
Why such a huge operation, scale of the entire planet?
When I write of my astonishment about the flood, I cannot help asking: why a cataclysmic series of events was needed to destroy a small number of people? At that time, there was only a fraction of the current number of over 7,000,000,000 people. I’ve seen an estimate of 250 million. There is also in my mind a Bible story where the angel of God destroyed 185,000 soldiers during one night. If God had given an order to his angelic forces to destroy the people on the earth the same way as one angel destroyed the enemy troops of Israel overnight, the destruction of mankind would have taken place in a minute.
Why did God choose such a massive way of destroying the sinful humanity? I do not know, but I know that God regretted doing his punishment this way and promised not to use the flood anymore. In my distant youth said the poet: ”God gave Noah rainbow sign, no more water, FIRE next time”. Whenever we wonder what God has done, it is good to recall the following Bible passage: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:9)