Hermeneutics 101: Genesis Flood is Global or Not?

6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

We do not approach this passage with the fear and enormity that was intended. As usual, we do our casual, cocky, human thing and gloss over this Scripture, not knowing that this pronouncement was the very end of us. We should actually not even be here today discussing this matter.

When we see the Divine actually speak, we know we are not dealing with just a retelling of events. We should listen and shut-up. The language here cannot capture the regret, disappointment, anger, remorse, anguish, and finality of the moment. In short, God intended to wipe us out. He had made us and it was his decision to undo us if he so chose. And here, nothing could be more clear – humanity would cease to exist.

So how is this going to happen if the Flood was not of the extent that every single individual alive had a contract on their head? Your answers are not satisfactory. That you would leave some alive – whether human or animal (or both, as your silly hypotheses inform you) – clearly puts you in charge, not God. Do you actually imagine that you – so far removed, so ill-informed, so very small – will supplant the decision of God in this matter?

Your answers are not satisfactory.

@noUCA If God’s intention was as straightforward as you seem to want it to be, are we to conlude that God failed at His announced intentions?
Instead, the flood story communicates God’s grace and mercy in saving a remnant of Adam’s descendants, and thus slowing sin’s inevitable takeover.
No worries; God already had a larger plan in action to reverse the effects of the fall, which He’d announced prophetically to Adam and Eve in the garden.
Totally satisfactory.
By paying close attention to the text.


That is a strange way of stating what you know I already know, yet attacking me at the same time? Strange.

Of course I know of Noah.

Amazing that you’d feel “attacked,” simply because I disagree with your objection to my scenario. As fellow believers, we both know better.


Ok, fine. I guess I missed something. So what is your scenario? How many people are you leaving alive after God’s decision to wipe out all but Noah (and family)?

Why does this put Guy Coe in charge?


Here on PS, you have to define what “people” means. Sometimes it refers to Adam’s descendants, sometimes to all members of Homo sapiens, which is not always the same thing. So if we suppose that the flood killed all people except Noah’s family, does that count any members of the species who were in, say, South America and were not descended from Adam?


In context, Genesis is talking about the “ground” in that area, the “land”, not the whole globe. Moroever, the word “destroy” can also be interpreted as “displaced”. So, taking the Genesis text literally, the whole land was covered in a large regional, but not global, flood. You have to depart from taking Genesis literally to say it was a global flood. There is no reference to a “globe” there, nor did they have any concept of a globe.

With that in mind, all the descendents of Adam in that area were “destroyed”, but Genesis is silent about all the people across globe at this time. From science, not Scripture, we can affirm they were untouched by the flood. That is what literally Genesis says, and what a plain reading of the scientific evidence shows. It would be interesting to understand if and why you deviate from this plain literal reading here. Genesis is clear here, and it tells a different story than yours.


I know you like that, but I’d say it’s bogus. The question isn’t about the shape of the earth. “Global” would just mean “all of it”, or at least the entire part in which there were any humans or animals. And “destroy” doesn’t mean “displace”; why would you suppose so? Nor is Genesis silent on who was destroyed. It was everything that had the breath of life. That is what literally Genesis says. You can reinterpret it, but the interpretation is strained. Claiming that as the natural reading just seems perverse to me.

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All of “it.” Sure, I agree. What is “it” though? That is the question. The word is not “Earth” but eretz. Remember, also that the Earth in Genesis 1 exists before the eretz.

Aha. I knew you would do this and that is why I went straight to the words of God on this one. I deliberately never mentioned the globe. Read his sworn statement again, and then tell me where your idea stands. Now you tell me how many humans or hominids* you have decided to keep alive after God has sworn to kill every last one.

Discuss the words of God only. Do not quote from the rest of Gen 6. Look at his words only and tell me the meaning of them.

  • An idea which in my opinion is rubbish, but you love it, so I mention it

Look at the text:

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

Every last one of them, “in the land.” You are mistranslating “earth” as a “globe” rather than “land” or “dirt.” I have no problem with Scripture, GOd’s word. It’s your interpretation that is the problem.


Sure. But the eretz is the dry land that emerges from the waters, i.e. the entire land surface of the world, beneath which is water and around which is water. It’s not just the Fertile Crescent or the Middle East that emerges from the waters. And it’s not just those places in which animals with “the breath life” exist.

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Not a chance. You are laying confusion on God. He clearly says he will destroy what he has created. You are the one interpreting that to mean he will destroy “only a portion of what he has created”. His regret encompassed the entirety of his creatures. You are trying to make him confused.

Talk about projection!!
Either God is saying what I’m interpreting, or He’s confused?
Oh, please. Just be willing to listen for a change, huh?
The question is, what do the Scriptures mean, given their context.
That’s what @swamidass is saying.
Go back over the comments carefully, rather than conflating various topics in your zeal to refute.
God simply DIDN’T visit the kind of destruction you suggest, as the story of Noah makes abundantly clear.


How does the story make that clear?


Read it. From the Bible. The story was as much about who He rescued as about the reason for the wider judgement. Adam’s bad influence on the rest of the earth’s humanity had to be slowed WAY DOWN.

Where is that stated in the story? The rest of earth’s humanity is not mentioned. The story, in fact, is written as if they didn’t exist, and in fact if you believe the story, they didn’t. Everyone except Noah’s family died. God repented that he had created them, and the animals too. All the animals died. Everywhere. And that’s what the story says.


@John_Harshman, that is what it is saying in the english translation to a modern reader, I agree. That isn’t what the original language says in the original context.

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Maybe it would help to remember the original context of the flood area was only to the region that Adam’s influence had spread.
But remember also, that if you read the account of the creation of mankind “in His image, male and female” as taking place well before the story of Adam and Eve takes place, which is a viable reading of the Hebrew (and even of the English; only an interpretation forces them together as concurrent), then “Adam’s descendants,” by that time, would NOT have implicated the whole of “global humanity” at that time, and the GAE reading is clear that this is a viable option.
For those who insist on a “global flood,” they do so based upon a conjecture which is not, in fact, sustained by a de minimus reading of the Hebrew text.
Even @jack.collins , who does not prefer a sequential reading, still highlights this fact: the “land” for the Adam and Eve story is only in a regional context, not a “global” milieu.
The language is phenomenological, not loaded with uncontextual prescience.