Genesis and the Necessity of the Flood

I didn’t say he falsified anything. I said it looks to you one way. That fulfills a prophecy so that’s OK.

2 Peter 3.

1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 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.” 5 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, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,a not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodiesb will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.c

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Didn’t you already agree that it looked that way to you too?

That’s the prophecy? You’re full of accusations today; first God, and now me. So I’m a scoffer, following my sinful desires? I deliberately overlook the facts? Do you even realize how insulting that is? Shame on you.


Yes, Jesus affirmed the Old and New Testament—and so do I. But I certainly don’t affirm a young earth, although I did do so for many years because that was my church background and I grew up under the influence of The Genesis Flood (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.) As to Jesus, the New Testament doesn’t record him taking a position on the age of the earth or whether or not the Noahic Flood was global.

I agree that there is a “prophecy” of a sort in 2 Peter 3 but I don’t see any affirmation of Young Earth Creationism in it. (And as I’ve mentioned in the past on these forums, I see evidence in the Greek text which would actually weigh against a global flood.)

Anyway, 2Peter 3 may merit its own thread, if you like. We’ve certainly covered it before on these forums, so you could also pursue it in the archives if you’d like to get a head start.

Lastly, I do very much like your recently adopted thumbnail-icon identity. My thumbnail has an ancient origin of its own, a whimsical cartoon character planned for a Dr. Suess-like children’s book: Zack the Ex-YEC Yak.

Also, I appreciate the “diversity” which our YEC participants bring to these not-really-echo-chamberish forums.


It may help to understand my thumbnail if you know that I’ve studied the genus Dendrocygna.

I’ve always wondered if the Dendrocygninae are particularly well-suited for walking past graveyards at night.

(@swamidass, that’s yet another comic that I’m not a sufficiently talented artist to draw.)

He didn’t have to. Those things were undisputed and obvious in his day.

Take a look at Genesis 6. I recently re-read this, and I realize the text is saying the same thing over and over again so there are no loop holes because he knows the reader is going to say - was it really global?

Let’s see if we can count the ways:

  1. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.

  2. And all flesh died that moved on [c]the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.

  3. All in whose nostrils was the breath [d]of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.

  4. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth.

  5. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.

FIVE. The text has to say the same thing five times because God knows we’re that stubborn.

Notice #1 if you dispute what “earth” is, you’ve got “under the whole heaven.”

(Side story: Notice #4 has got “face of the earth” - I have been thinking about GAE and @swamidass differentiation about adamah and eretz. I was wondering today whether adamah could be better translated Planet Earth or man’s habitation. I looked at all the references briefly, but I thought about plugging that in to all of them to see if it worked. There was one in Exodus that was awkward, but I think “habitation” still fit it. I actually wonder why it’s never translated that way. I don’t know enough of the history of that.)

Tbh, I haven’t really looked at the evidence for common descent, I was just assuming that if I looked at it, it would appear like it was true to me too. But because I’m a Christian, I follow the Bible.

I was quoting the Bible, so that’s God not me. That section wasn’t what I was emphasizing. But I don’t apologize for it either:

I’m a sinner in need of grace. All humans are. I would happily have you for my brother in faith - loving you means telling you you’re a sinner in need of grace too.

Well so was Geocentrism ( i guess some people also thought the earth was flat)… Jesus never spoke about astronomy either. Do you assume that the “undisputed and obvious” conclusions on astronomy during Jesus’ time were endorsed by Him because He didn’t speak on it?

You’re deflecting or moving the goalposts. Noah’s flood is an event described in the Bible as global. It has spiritual relevance. It’s not a fact about science.

Do you REALLY think that Jesus would say this about his return to judge the earth if he KNEW the flood wasn’t global?

Luke 17

22 Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, [h]‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. 24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

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You made the comment about Jesus in Reference to a Young earth.
I am not moving any goalposts, just making a comparison to show why your logic doesn’t hold.

What does the above verse have with a Global flood?
It just says that people in Noah’s time rejected Noah’s prophecy and went on with their lives. So they were taken by surprise when the flood came.

Look at what the bible teaches us.
When Nineveh was going to be destroyed, God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them. This is true of every prophet. They are sent to the effected area to give warning.

Yet Noah was sent only to warn a small region on the earth. If the flood was to be global in geographical terms, why weren’t prophets sent to warn everyone all over the earth?
Look at the great commission. We as Christians are sent to every tribe and nation all over the earth to warn them and preach the Gospel. This is because the coming Judgement is Global, hence very nation needs to be warned and given an opportunity to repent.
Why wasn’t something like this done in Noah’s days if the flood was to be global in its geographical extent?

Don’t make the mistake of assuming all these guys hold to an orthodox view of Christ. :wink: It’s been said before that Christ was simply wrong on some of his doctrines.

They are very wrong to make that claim. They have apparently lost touch with the vital understanding that evidence must be interpreted, and our starting assumptions guide our interpretations. I would never say that the current state of the evidence favors old earth, because both the young and old earth paradigms run into anomalies and problems with certain things they cannot explain. Both are a set of starting assumptions that guide how all the evidence is interpreted. Without God’s testimony as to what happened, we could have no certainty at all about the age of the earth, and old earthers are constantly guilty of overplaying their hand.

Check this out:

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It is certainly not described as “global”. Don’t add to scripture that way!

Interesting article. But yes, I’m not assuming anything. I was pressing the point to show they don’t. It’s not surprising though. We all try to elevate our knowledge above God’s. That’s why we fell into sin.

So we can agree that Jesus never made those claims. Excellent.

Lots of wrong ideas were “undisputed” and “obvious” in first century Palestine. Jesus corrected some of those wrong ideas by means of explicit teachings (e.g., the wrong belief that people who were born blind were blind due to someone’s sin) but did not comment on some other wrong ideas (e.g., some people thought snails melted as they glided along, Psalms 58:8.)

You re-read Genesis 6 in English and anachronistically extrapolated and imposed a lot of modern-day English concepts into the ancient Hebrew text. That’s not an uncommon practice. Let’s review some basics:

The Hebrew word ERETZ includes the meaning earth in much the same way as the 1611 KJV Bible applied the word earth: as in the opposite of sky. The ERETZ is the land or country. It does not mean planet earth in the modern NASA-era sense where most people think of a global/planet earth when they hear the word earth (rather than the older sense of “the ground” or “the soil”, which would have been the first thought of most people in 1611 England.)

ERETZ YISRAEL is the official name of the country of Israel. I doubt that anyone assumes that Israel is a planet, much less something global, when they see the word ERETZ in that context. You must always interpret the Hebrew word ERETZ in its cultural and historical context, not through the denotations and connotations inherent in a word from many centuries later, earth. This is basic Linguistics 101. You are making an all too common Dunning-Kruger Effect error.

Surely you are not suggesting that a flood which covers “the high hills” must be global. Surely you would concede that plenty of high hills are submerged by bodies of water which are not at all global in scope.

I used to give my students a simple exercise which they could perform using any word-processor: Copy the complete Noah pericope into a word-processor. (Genesis 6 through 9. KJV preferred, since that translation has tended to dictated the traditional views absorbed by most Christians.) Then make the follow global [no pun intended] word-replacement substitutions reflecting the meanings of some key Hebrew words:

ERETZ: swap earth with land (or even country)

SHAMAYIM: swap heaven with sky

HAR: swap mountain with hill.

Of course, a lot of modern Bible translations and commentaries already make these better translation choices—and the resulting renderings of the text are far less likely to be distracted by modern day connotations.

Let’s apply his process to your list:

. . . now becomes:

And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the LAND (or COUNTRY)

Yes, the global connotation you are assuming from modern English disappears.

. . . becomes:

. . . and all the high hills under the whole SKY were covered.

No global connotation there!

OK, so the flood waters rose about 23 feet. (By the way, this is a much debated Hebrew sentence, one in which a modern day language would probably resolve the ambiguity by means of a punctuation mark which the ancient language didn’t have. I sat in on some debates [Gleason Archer, one of the original NASB translators, was among the scholars; I can’t recall the others] on whether the Hebrew text is saying that the flood waters were fifteen cubits in total depth or fifteen cubits above the highest hill.) In any case, nothing global here!

By the way, notice that your translation excerpt uses “high hills” in verse 19 and “mountains” in verse 20 even though the same Hebrew word, HAR, appears in both. Interesting. In any case, nothing global about it.

. . . can be better rendered (without the modern day assumptions of “planet earth”) via:

And all flesh died that moved on the LAND: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the LAND, and every man.

Nothing global to be found here!

Thanks. The NKJV already applied LAND here. Yes, everything with nostrils that was on the dry land of Noah’s country died. Nothing global here.

. . . by substituting the less misleading land for the word earth becomes:

So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the LAND.

Yes, the animals of Noah’s ERETZ (land) were destroyed. We agree on that.

What I find particularly interesting about this one is that not only does it say absolutely nothing about a global flood, someone who affirms a young earth view and believes that Noah lived only a few generations after Adam should also believe that the population of Adam’s descendants could not be all that numerous. And based on what we read about human nature in Genesis, they were prone NOT to disperse throughout the ERETZ. They tended to stay together. Wouldn’t you expect the relatively small Adamic population of Noah’s day to reside in one region and not the entire planet earth? So destroying the Adamic population would not require a global flood. Does this perhaps help explain why we find absolutely zero evidence for a global flood in our world today? (And wouldn’t a year long flood throughout the entire planet earth just a few thousand years ago leave unmistakable evidence everywhere we look?)

I agree entirely! Please re-read the entire pericope very carefully. And if you don’t read Hebrew, consult a good exegetical commentary of the Noahic pericope.

Yes! You and I in our day no longer speak in King James English. So swap “under the whole heaven” with “under the whole SKY.” When a tornado threatened my community some years ago, people had observed that “the whole sky was an eerie green-black color.” Do you think they were applying that description to the entire planet or just the entire sky they saw around them, all the way to the horizon?

The ancient Hebrews thought of themselves as living on the ERETZ (the land) and everything that they saw above them to the horizon in all directions was the dome known as the HASHAMAYIM (the sky, the heavens.) Yes, this was a common and obvious viewpoint at the time which Jesus had no reason to correct.

So, without any personal knowledge of the Hebrew language, you are trying to force Planet Earth into the text regardless of whether it is an accurate translation? Surely you can’t mean that.

Based on what I’ve been explaining, I think you can answer your own question here.

I do very much appreciate that you have been thorough in listing your reasons for a “planet earth”, global view. It makes a structured reply very straightforward.


@thoughtful please see the Creation Answers Book, Ch. 10 (available below for free) for a refutation of this exceedingly bad misinterpretation of the text, rife with obfuscation:

There’s no need for me to individually refute all of these points, since they are already dealt with.

[Edit: Yes, I know this is a fairly harsh tone to respond with, but as far as I’m concerned, to say you believe the Bible and then horribly mangle the text in order to claim it says the opposite is worse in my estimation than just saying you don’t believe it.]

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Sadly, when I was a Young Earth Creationist speaker/debater long ago, I used to make many of these same 1970’s types of The Genesis Flood Morris-Whitcomb arguments. They have not aged well, to say the least.

@thoughtful, most of all I would refer you to the Genesis text itself, not a set of tired mantras. If anyone would like to pick what they consider to be the three strongest arguments, I would be happy to critique them one-by-one.

No. The chapter is largely oblivious to the main points I’m making.

Hand-waving away all the arguments with a dismissive cite does not make a strong case for a global flood. It is simple and all too easy—but certainly not persuasive. And I freely admit that I used to be guilty of the very same thing. In my YEC debater days I treated The Genesis Flood (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.) as my personal baseball bat just as you are doing with

(That said, I certainly do encourage everyone with an interest in the topic to read the linked Chapter 10 at To call it self-refuting is virtually an understatement.)


What high hills are you thinking of there? Nothing comes to mind.

But that interpretation wouldn’t even cover a low hill, much less a high one. 23 feet is a hill only in Florida.

Not very helpful, since a year long flood throughout a large country would also leave unmistakable evidence. There’s nothing like that, just a lot of very local floods that could easily have been avoided by walking a few miles.

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Once again PDP ignores all the physical evidence he can’t explain, makes his usual excuse “read this link!” back to his own CMI anti-science nonsense. The hand waving nonsense about “Flood” geology is particularly brutal. :smile:

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If the late Glenn Morton were still with us, that geologist would point to those hills and mountains which remain flooded by the Mediterranean Sea. He wrote in detail about the high hills and mountains which he studied on oil exploration maps from the two major Mediterranean Sea basins. And we can all agree that the Mediterranean Sea is not a global body of water.

And in Texas. And in Palestine. And in various areas of Mesopotamia. (But seeing how you already mentioned Florida as an example, you already answered your own question!)

I used to live on a Texas ranch where there were several hills which would get completely submerged during rainy periods. (Indeed, Hurricane Harvey a few years ago brought just such a situation.) And when the waters receded enough to expose them again, the cattle would soon be munching on the grass which quickly grew on them. I once had a city-dwelling visitor who saw the well-manicured grass ask me, “Wow! How are you able to so perfectly mow the grass on those hills? They look like golf-course grass!” He had no idea that cows were the lawn-mowers and they loved to graze on those ten to thirty foot hills.

Yes, an ancient Hebrew would have called them HAR, just as the Bible does.

To the contrary, the total absence of evidence for a global flood is extremely helpful.

Yes. And it certainly does. Ever been to Bangladesh? Year long floods have left LOTS of evidence. Of course, lots of local/regional floods have longer durations and similarly leave lots of evidence. Check out the Missoula floods. Of course, the Great Lakes remain flooded even today after melting glacier water filled the basins that the ice had carved long ago.

Glenn Morton would probably cite the Mediterranean Sea as the most obvious evidence of a regional flood.

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