A source of debate among many scientists, theologians and average church goers is the question of the Great Flood described in the book of Genesis, and whether or not it was truly a global flood or a local flood.  In all honesty, the absolute answers are out there to be found.  First, the answers come from the Holy Bible, itself, and we will examine those proofs.  But not only does the Bible have the answers, but nature gives us answers to this question.


In a nutshell, when God declared that He was going to judge the world with a flood because of its wickedness, He said that he would “destroy man from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air” (Genesis 6:7).  But He did bestow grace upon a man named Noah (v. 8), and gave him instructions to build an ark (v. 14-16), gather his family (v. 18), and two of all the kinds of the animals (v. 19-20) into so that they would be saved from the flood.

The first evidence from the Bible as to the global nature of this flood is the declaration from God, Himself, when He said that he would “destroy man from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air.”  In 6:13, God further states that “the end of all flesh has come before me.”  True to His prophecy, “all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive” (7:21-23).

The New Testament is consistent with God’s proclamation that this flood was global in nature to judge the whole earth.  When speaking about His second coming unto judgment, Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).

Giving a list of God’s judgments on men, Peter said, “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned . . . and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people . . . bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:4-5).  In the next chapter, he goes on to write “the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water” (3:6).

This information in this collection of verses raises some interesting questions to inquisitive minds.  If the flood were a local flood, why would the Bible record God making such a declaration, and then write the obituary of all land-dwelling creatures on the planet?  If the entire world was so filled with wickedness and violence that it merited destruction in God’s eyes (6:5-7, 7:1), why cause only a small portion of the planet to die?

Next, one must commission an examination of the immense size of the ark.  God instructed Noah to make it with the following dimensions: “the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits” (6:15).  If one were to consider a conservative figure of 18 inches for a cubit (some theologians suggest a length as long as 22 inches), that would make the ark 450 feet long, 75 feet long, and 45 feet high, which had three decks (v. 16).  That would make the ark much longer than a football field (from back of the end zone to back of the end zone) and 1 ½ times the width of a football field.  According theologian Charles Ryrie, these dimensions would allow for a cargo load equal to that of over 500 railroad box cars!

So these figures beg us ask the following questions:  If the flood were to be a local flood, why build a boat of such immense dimensions?  Why not have all the animals walk to the other side of the mountains where they would be safe from death?  Why put Noah and his family through the paces of making such an ark if they could, like the animals, could simply travel a short distance to escape the danger?

The third point to examine is the amount of time of the rain and the amount of time that the water was on the earth.  Before sending Noah and his family on the ark, God told him that He would “cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights” (7:4).  After that, there was a period of about 150 days during the buildup of the waters and then over 250 days in the waters receding.  In any case, Noah, his family and the animals spent over a year on the ark.

With such a long period of time for the buildup and recession of the waters, certainly these activities could happen quicker if the flood were a local flood instead of a global flood!

Next, consider that God made a pact to Noah, all his descendants, and all animals on the land of the earth (9:9-10), “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh” (9:13-15).

If God made such a covenant not to destroy life, and this was a local flood, how many times has God broken these specific promises listed in the previous paragraph?

The final circumstance to consider comes from Genesis 7:19-20, where the depth of the flood coverage is discussed.  “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” (7:19-20).  If the waters covered “all the high hills” and covered the mountains to the height of “fifteen cubits upward,” how could it have been just a local event?


Not only does the Bible have plenty to say about the scope of the great flood, but there are geologic phenomena to show that the flood was a global event, indeed.  When examining such evidence, it is important to understand that when examining the evidence, the worldview which one accepts may be the determining factor as to what is revealed.  All the evidence from nature presented here will be examined from the world view that the great flood was a global catastrophe.

First is the curious, fascinating discovery of fossils near the summit of Mt. Everest.  Fossilized clam shells with their mouths closed have been discovered in past decades.  The fact that they were closed indicates that they were still alive when buried, which would indicate a rapid event.  It is entirely possible that Mr. Everest probably has not always been the height that it is now; as it may have risen as the result of land masses slamming into each other during continental drifting (which creationists largely believe happened during the flood).  But the question of how they were so rapidly buried still has to be answered.  The obvious answer from the Biblical world view is that this happened during the great flood.

Second, we will examine multi-strata fossils.  These curious fossils are called other names, such as polystrate fossils.  These fossils are ones that traverse different layers of strata.  They demonstrate rapid sealing to prevent decay, as they are as well preserved at the top as they are at the bottom.  But most scientists believe that such strata were deposited slowly over millions of years.

Polystrate tree fossils are commonly found in the eastern United States, eastern Canada, England, France, Germany and Australia.  For example, there is one polystrate tree fossil which pokes through several levels of rock, including a coal bed.  This is an incredible find, as coal, according to most scientists, is formed over millions of years.  Yet this one same tree thrusts through the layers below the coal bed, through the coal bed, and into the layers above the coal bed.

There are also accounts of polystrate whale fossils.  There has been one discovery at Lompoc, CA of a polystrate whale fossil, found in 1995.  A team from Loma Linda University discovered over 300 polystrate whale fossils and other animal fossils in Peru in 2004.  Both cases are clear demonstrations of burial and fossilization by rapid depositing rather than by slow sedimentation rates suggested by most scientists.  For more detailed information about the polystrate whale fossils, go to www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/43/43_4/polystrate_fossils.htm.

Next, the interesting case of folding in rock formations in areas such as the Grand Canyon demonstrate formation in a rapid manner as opposed to occurring over millions of years.  Folding occurs when sedimentary layers are folded, or bent.  If this occurred after the layers of rock had solidified and hardened then they would be fractured and broken.  However, there are dozens of examples of folded/bent layers from across the globe.  The multiple layers had to be folded or bent as soon as they were deposited, indicating that these various layers were laid down in rapid secession, not over the period of millions of years.

Finally, there are several small examples of geologic findings that demonstrate rapid formation.  At several layers, there are rapid burial of plants that die within hours after death, but are perfectly preserved.  Rapidly deposited sediment layers across vast areas and sediment that is transported over long distances also add weight to the global flood debate.  The scarcity of animal burrows and roots between layers also show that they have been laid down in rapid succession.  Preservation of dinosaur tracks, raindrops and ripple marks further demonstrate that rapid depositing of layers in a catastrophe such as the great flood must be given very serious consideration.


The Bible’s historical record is clear from both the Old and New Testaments:  God brought a global flood as judgment to the world, preserving a remnant to repopulate the earth.  The deluge destroyed the life and greatly altered the geography of the “world that was.”  The natural record, after examining case after case, declares the glory of God.  The rocks shout out the praises of the Lord.  Their record points us to the Biblical record concerning the great flood.

It was global – no doubt about it.


1 Response to “Was Noah’s Flood really global?”

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