UNIVERSAL OR LOCAL FLOOD?
(Gen 7:19) And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered.
As you read some Bible commentaries and listen to some Bible teachers, they will speak of the flood of Noah as being only limited, and not all over the world. What does the Bible really say about Noah’s flood? Was it universal or local? And does it really matter?
First of all, the language is very clear in that the waters covered ALL the high hills under the WHOLE heaven. One of the most helpful hints of Bible interpretation I have ever received was “If the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense”. We are to take the scriptures literally until the text proves itself to be otherwise. The Bible means what it says!
Next, you can take that common sense and apply it to the story of Noah in a practical way. So we would surmise that if it was a local flood there would be no need for an ark. Noah and his family would have just left the area and let God wipe out the region. Makes sense to me! Why frustrate the meaning of the Bible?
Other passages point to a universal flood. Why would the Bible contradict itself? (Isaiah 54:9) “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer COVER THE EARTH, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. See also Psalm 104:5-9, 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5, 2 Peter 3:5-6, Hebrews 11:7.
Jesus Himself believed in a universal flood and took it as the type of the coming destruction of the world when He returns (Mat 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27). He reminded us that "the flood came and destroyed them ALL" (Luke 17:27).
Then how do you explain the fossil record? And animals deposited where they don’t belong? There are vast fossil graveyards found on every continent and large amounts of coal deposits that would require the rapid covering of vast quantities of vegetation. Oceanic fossils are found upon mountaintops around the world. What explains the huge amounts of animal species buried in mud, frozen in ice, or petrified?
And consider that literally hundreds of people-groups have their own accounts and legends of the flood. One of the most remarkable is the Babylonian account, which is similar to the Genesis account in many ways and is clearly drawn from it. Since all mankind came from Noah’s sons, it would seem mankind would have some kind of recollection the flood.
I vote for a universal flood. But I also believe God so loved the whole world too! (John 3:16)