@PDPrice I happened to teach on this today (in an upper-level undergrad class on Genesis). I find it helpful to put all the options on the table…and that number is more than two (i.e., global vs. local). I know of at least 6 different views:
- Cosmic - Flood goes beyond the Earth (b/c of similar geological evidence on other planets and the moon) - [though not usually considered, it’s out there as a view that’s been postulated]
- Global - Flood covered whole Earth and killed all land life (but the 8) [most YECs]
- Universal but Regional - massive regional flood that killed all (other) existing creatures [many OECs’ e.g., Hugh Ross; tend to date flood early, c.a. 70kya]
- Massive flood of the known world to the biblical authors/audience (e.g., based on Table of Nations) [not necessarily every creature killed]
- Massive flood of the “world” utilizing intentional hyperbole
- Series of local floods (at best) – flood narrative is largely mythological or symbolic
So, your series of questions, while understandable, are not as pertinent to each of the views. We must distinguish between the story of the flood and the historical event behind the story. Obviously, some of the views see these as nearly the same; but others do not.
A big issue here is genre (of Gen 1-11 broadly and Gen 6-9 particularly). Honestly, this is where I struggle: because I’m not sure of the genre (and, thus, must be open to several possibilities), it is difficult to know about what exactly to be certain in details, authorial intentionality, etc. This is a struggle even when the science is ignored.
But when the science is considered, a whole new level of complexity arises. It’s not that science supersedes the Scriptures. But science is part of God’s general revelation, and therefore becomes a theological question and part of the hermeneutical task. I realize Christians will disagree with how to do this, but to ignore it is, IMO, sub-Christian.
I probably lean toward view #5 (I used to be more #4), but am willing to be corrected. I told my students to go with what you think the Bible is teaching (and I find #2 a viable option), but be aware why others land (faithfully) elsewhere. I do think there are details in the text that give pause to the supposedly straightforward reading offered by YECs, but I still understand why YECs land where they do. I appreciate the YECs who honestly acknowledge the difficulties with the scientific evidence (e.g., Todd Wood), but do their work with hope of finding resolutions in the future. Honestly, I struggle with YECs who act like there are no scientific challenges. (I’d say the same about OECs or ECs who act like there are no exegetical or theological challenges with their own position.)