Was the flood recorded in Genesis a local one or did it cover the whole earth?

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The Bible clearly teaches that the flood in Genesis covered the whole earth because it was God’s judgment upon all living things. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things” (Genesis 6:7).

Genesis 7:19-23 gives us details regarding the waters of the flood: “They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.”  The waters covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet,“ and “every living thing that moved on the earth perished.” This was a global flood.

But where did all this water come from? The waters came from two sources: the water above the earth which formed a canopy of vapor (Genesis 1:6-7, 2:6) and the water under the land, “all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11).

Isaiah confirms that the flood covered the earth (Isaiah 54:9) and Jesus equated the coming destruction of the whole world by fire with the waters of the flood that destroyed the whole earth (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27). Peter taught that God’s judgment on the whole world are like the flood of Noah that destroyed everything: “By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:6-7 also 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5). And the apostle Paul affirms the faith of Noah in building an ark to save all those who would listen from destruction by water (Hebrews 11:7).

The fossil record also bears witness that the mountains were covered with water. Today, there exist on top of the mountains countless of fossils of sea creatures that lived on shallow seafloors. This bears witness that the earth was indeed covered with water. And there are billions of dead animals and plants buried in sedimentary rock layers stretching across every continent all around the globe. Further, we find legends of a global flood in every ancient culture in the world.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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