Does the Bible teach that the flood in Noah’s day was worldwide?
Most scientists and some Christians do not believe in a worldwide flood, but we know that the answer is, yes, the Bible clearly teaches us that the flood of Noah’s day was worldwide.
It is understandable that secular scientists believe that if there was a flood in Noah’s day, it would be a local flood. These are people who don’t believe in a Creator God and don’t believe in His Word. But we are not unbelievers. What does the Bible actually say?
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:7, 11–13
Notice how the passage is written; there is no doubt that God intended for the flood to be worldwide.
And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. Genesis 7:18–20
We read that the mountains were covered by more than twenty feet (15 cubits). Because water always seeks its own level, if the mountains are covered in one local area they would cover all areas.
Read how straight forward this passage is:
And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. Genesis 7:21–23
It isn’t wise to argue with the plain meaning of Scripture.
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:11–13
God made a promise not to destroy the earth with a flood, and as a sign, He gave Noah a rainbow. If the flood found in Genesis were a local flood, the promise would be a lie, because there are local floods today. Every year, somewhere on this planet there are numerous local floods.
Think about this: it had been 1600 years since creation that Noah’s flood occurred. Man has spread out and explored, built cities, and has left the local area, so a local flood would not wipe out mankind.
Jesus knew that the flood killed all mankind.
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26–27
In context of this passage in Luke, Jesus was explaining to His disciples the judgment of God that everybody who is not a believer will have to endure. He is comparing this future event to the past event of Noah’s flood where all people (except Noah and his family) had received judgment from God by way of a worldwide flood.
If you know people that believe that the flood in Noah’s day was only a local flood, here are some great questions.
- Why did Noah have to take birds on the ark? Why didn’t they just fly to a safe area?
- In fact, why did Noah have to take any of the animals? They could have migrated to areas not affected by a local flood.
- Why did God even command Noah to build an ark? He could have told them to move away if He was only going to destroy the people of that area with a flood.
Why do some people believe in a local flood instead of a worldwide flood? First, because of man’s sinfulness, we do not want to believe what God has plainly written in His Word. Second, the flood easily explains the rock layers and other geographic landforms that point to an earth only thousands of years old. If you believe in an earth billions of years old, a worldwide flood really messes up your timeline.
When you read Genesis as a factual historical account and trust that Scripture is truly the Word of God, then it is easy to believe the flood of Noah’s day was indeed worldwide.