Earlier this week I reviewed at debate between Biblical creationists and old earth creationists. I pointed out the clear problem that old earthers have with Bible exegesis.
Today, I want to bring light to a major problem that they continue to propagate. The old earther, Hugh Ross, continues to claim that the Bible teaches that the flood of Noah’s day was a local flood. There are a number of biblical problems with the claim that the flood of Noah’s day was simply a local flood. We’ll discuss a few of them here.
Hugh Ross struggles to make his point using Psalm 104 as his primary text. In fact, the only place in the Bible that he can bend the words to his liking is verse 9 of Psalm 104.
You (God) set a boundary they (the waters) cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
This poetic passage includes phrases like:
“O LORD…you are clothed…”
“He wraps Himself in light”
“He stretches out the heavens like a tent”
“He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the winds”
“He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants”
“He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved”
This passage is clearly a passage of poetry. Why build one’s doctrine on poetry at the expense of historical revelations from God?
So, Ross’s assumption is that the entire passage of Psalm 104 is a commentary about only the creation week, and he claims that (rather than Genesis’ historical account) this poetry is a solid foundation upon which to establish his untenable position. In his belief that the entire Psalm 104 passage is about creation, Ross says that the flood of Noah’s day could not have covered the earth since verse 9 says that the water will never again cover the earth. Since the creation account talks about how the earth was brought forth from water, Ross thinks that his sandy foundation in the Psalms absolves him from proper exegesis. It is important for us as Christians to interpret the Bible according to its genre and within the context of the whole of scripture. I’ll show below how the rest of scripture does not allow a local flood.
For a biblical creationist, the resolution is simple. Psalm 104 is a poetic account of both creation, the flood, and post flood world as a way to bring glory to the Almighty.
So, let’s look at some of the other reasons why the local flood advocated by Ross is contradicted by God’s Word.
- At the end of the worldwide flood in Genesis 9:11, God promised to never flood the earth again. His covenant was memorialized with God placing the rainbow in the sky. If Noah’s flood was a local flood, then God would have broken his word by allowing local floods all over the earth.
- From Genesis 6:17 – Genesis 7:23 God reveals in his Word 20 superlatives describing his utter destruction of the earth and all air-breathing animals with a flood. The old earthers have got to overcome or dismiss each usage of these 20 superlatives to accommodate their local flood story.
- Genesis 7:19 says “They (the waters) rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.” It cannot be a local flood because all the high mountains under heaven were covered with water.
- Genesis 8:4 specifically mentions the mountains of Ararat. Today Ararat measures almost 17,000 feet high. It’s likely that this peak was taller in the past since it has lost height from multiple eruptions. The only mountain specifically mentioned in the Biblical account was Ararat. So, we know that the flood would have had to at least cover this mountain. There is no basin deep enough to contain the amount of water necessary to cover Mt. Ararat. Therefore, the flood of Noah’s day could not be a local flood according to the Bible.
- Matthew 24:38-39 are the words of Jesus. “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood took them all away.” Another superlative. All were washed away in the flood. Everywhere on earth, all were washed away according to Jesus, and if they are all washed away, it must have been a worldwide flood.
- 1 Peter 3:20 Only 8 people in all of the earth were saved from the worldwide flood.
- 1 Peter 3:21 The worldwide covering of the earth by water symbolizes baptism. If the flood was a local flood, does baptism just need to be partial covering of water. The symbolism of Jesus’ death (which was complete) and the complete covering of the earth by water, is strongly recognized in the complete submersion by water in baptism.
- 2 Peter 2:5 Only 8 people in all of the earth were saved from the worldwide flood.
- 2 Peter 3:6 The world was deluged and destroyed. There’s no room here for a local flood.
The old earthers have to dismiss or re-interpret each of these revelations from God in order to make their localized flood fit.
There’s no need to build doctrine on the poetry of Psalm 104 at the expense of the historical account in Genesis as well as the other passages in scripture that clearly teach God’s judgment on the sin of mankind with a worldwide flood.
Thankfully, there is hope. God has a plan of redemption that those who confess their sin and rely on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus will not only be spared from God’s wrath but be joint heirs with Him in the eternal kingdom.