Genesis global flood and the problems – part 2

Genesis global flood and the problems – part 2


CIMG7809Ok guys, Mike from godneighbor shared some really good points with me regarding the Genesis Global flood .

I will try to respond to them one by on here. Before I start, let me say that I enjoy Mike’s blog and I would recommend that if you are in apologetics, he has some good things to say on the subject over at his place so do check it out, I recommend it.

Mike’s post is in quotes.

Great analysis! I appreciate your desire read and not read into; that’s where true exegesis starts. I’ve looked at many of the issues with a global flood and have considered myself fairly convinced it was global in scale but I’ve been open to persuasion. Just a few points in response to the ones you make in your post.

Thank you for taking the time and effort for this discussion, Mike. I appreciate it. As you may have noticed in the previous post, I am not against the global flood just for the sake of it. I mean the earth literally was in water at some point in the last ice age so a global water scenario is not the problem, it is the timing of the whole thing as relative to the time of Noah is what makes me doubt it.

Erets is used in every book of the OT, first appearing in Genesis 1:1… “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth [erets],” where the meaning must be seen as the entire planet. This doesn’t mean that every occurrence of erets means the entire planet, but I don’t think we can look at tebel as the exclusively proper word for whole earth given it’s relative scarcity in scripture and it’s favored use as a synonym to erets in poetic writing. Your conclusions on the meaning of erets (that it means local area) in Gen. 6:11-12 and 11:1 seem to be driven by that assumption.

Without this assumption, taking into account the first 11 chapters of Genesis, erets occurs 96 times in the context of a global earth (i.e. “every creeping thing that creeps on the earth [erets]” in Gen. 1:26) and only 12 times in a localized “geographic area” context (i.e. “the land [erets] of Nod” in Gen. 4:16)

Well you are not necessarily wrong here. But I also think that Gen 1:1, never talks about the planet. It actually says what it means, land. In the beginning God made land, and the “tent” or covering to cover it. You can easily see that when you read that the word used for heavens in the original ancient Hebrew, means a tent, a cover, you begin to see that the Genesis account is highly symbolic in its choice of words. At least it is not making claims about the scientific nature of the truth.

Second I am sure you are aware that Genesis one is parallel poetry, close to psalms and the poetic expression there in, and was mostly intended to be sung via oral tradition too. And while this goes against my point for a literal meaning, I think it is fairly easy to conclude that the poetic expression does not mean the planet. They wrote what made sense to them and I can understand that. Even if earth in Genesis 1:1 means all the land, it still does not mean the planet. That is why we have, land (earth), tent (heaven), and face of the deep (sea). They divided the elements in the poetry.

When you use the word global, it means as in everywhere which was immediate.

For example, and you are going to smile on this but dont blame me, 🙂

  • Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. (Genesis 8:6-7,)
    After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. (Genesis 8:6-7, NIV)
  • Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. (Genesis 8:13a, NASB)
    By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. (Genesis 8:13a, NIV)
  • and in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. (Genesis 8:14, NASB)
    By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. (Genesis 8:14, NIV)

Please see these verses. If I go by your theory here, the entire water on the face of the “planet” just dried up? No. Obviously, it is the local flood water. But notice how the scriptures put this. “The earth was completely dry”. Can the planet be completely dry? not planet earth. Only land can be completely dry and that is what the text is saying.

The flood could not have been global, it was not global.

First, the altitude/oxygen problem: We measure altitude as distance from sea level. Oxygen levels at sea level are dense. In a global flood scenario, where the “sea level” rose to the height of the highest hills/mountains, the dense oxygen level would be unchanged for the ark’s inhabitants since they would have technically been at sea level the entire time (Raised water level globally would have pushed the dense oxygen mixture up with it).

Fair enough. I think I would need to look into that but yeah I agree, this seems likely to have happened.

As for an accounting of the water necessary to cover the highest mountains, I think we have to consider that a global flood would have drastically reshaped the surface of the earth through plate tectonics and likely created mountain ranges during the flood and in the period of geologic instability that would have followed. It’s possible that the mountains we see now are newer or taller than what existed pre-flood, which would lessen the volume of water required.

Its possible, but not likely. The tectonic plates have their own mechanisms. The tibetian plate is being speared by the Asian plate which forms the Himaliyas, Floods dont do this, not in 40 days anyway.

Another consideration is the detection of vast reservoirs of water hundreds of miles below the surface of the earth that researchers estimate could add an ocean to what is currently on the surface (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070227-ocean-asia.html).

We’d have to see how much is there for sure.

While “the English word mountain in the original language is can also means hill” is true, the vast majority of the occurrences of har/harim translate as mountain/mountains. Where the extent of the flood is described in Genesis 7:19-20, harim is accompanied by kol (all) and gavoah (high, exalted), as if to distinguish these from lesser hills.

It can, I never said it means only hills. but even if I take this as mountains  from where I look on the issue, this does not affect it either way.

Thank you anyway, I wanted to expound a bit further but things to do just keep coming so better post this now before I have to postpone publishing this post for one more day.

God bless you and good day.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Genesis global flood and the problems – part 2

  1. John,

    I apologize that I had not seen this until now! Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for the kind endorsement for my blog. 🙂

    Regarding the use of erets as land instead of planet, I think that is generally fine, although I think in the flood account it can still refer to the land that is everywhere on the planet, except of course where there is ocean. I would have to believe though that Genesis 1:1 refers to the planet, including water, since it’s a summation of all that God first created; “the heavens (everything outside of the earth) and the earth (in this case, the entire planet).” Water must be included in the first day of creation since in verse 2 “the deep” is already mentioned.

    I agree that the style of Genesis 1 is different than most of the rest of Genesis. It’s also not quite as illustrative as other poetry, like the Psalms, and bears more detail. It’s quite unique, and I think that’s where a lot of the difficulty lies. What really affirms a younger earth (literal days in Gen. 1) for me is not what Genesis says, but the New Testament, particularly statements Jesus makes in a very non-allegorical manner that basically makes the idea of millions or billions of years before Adam untenable. (I wrote about that here: http://godneighbor.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/the-young-earth-positions-of-jesus-and-paul/) But that’s off topic here, except to affirm that we can look to other parts of scripture to clarify the Genesis text.

    The drying up of the earth in Genesis 8 was a process, but I think the “dried up from the earth” refers to what was normally dry land pre-flood, all over the planet, certainly not the oceans.

    Now even if we say that the language allows for a flood confined to the Mesopotamian plains, there are facts in the Genesis account that we can’t dismiss by varied interpretation, and these facts cause problems for the local flood theory.

    1. There would be no imaginable purpose for God to have Noah build an ark large enough to house two of every land animal and bird kind if the flood were not global. There would be no reason to spare them since populations could be replenished from animals outside the flood zone.

    2. There would be no purpose for the 120 years of warning before the flood (Gen. 6:3) if all the people had to do was travel south to higher ground or cross the mountains to the north to avoid it

    3. If the ark is indeed a picture of the salvation of God, to which there is only one way, a local flood would have allowed many routes to salvation, since people could either board the ark OR move out of the area in numerous directions to escape judgment.

    4. There would be no reason for the ark’s inhabitants to be on board for an entire year. A local flood would have allowed them to land and vacate a lot sooner, and its receding waters certainly would have deposited the them someplace lower than “ON the MOUNTAINS of Ararat.”

    5. If the rainbow was God’s promise not to flood the Mesopotamia or some other isolated region again, that promise has been broken many times over.

    I think a year long global flood (not just 40 days) and geologic instability afterwards could account for significant reshaping of the land, and what we have finally discovered in the way of underwater reservoirs (probably signaling more we haven’t yet detected) can account for the large volumes of water needed. On the other hand, there are too many problems with the idea of a local flood, considering a parsimonious approach to the language, and the other details in the greater context that don’t seem to allow it.

    Thanks again! I believe even this counts as irons sharpening iron. 🙂 God bless.

    Mike

    1. I appreciate your thoughtful answer, I would like to remark a few things but I am very busy these days, especially because of my paper, I hope to be back soon and resume regular blogging.

      hope you are doing good.

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