The Flood: Why must Christians accept that the Flood of Noah was a historical event?
1. Was there a flood?
As with everything, we must start with what the scripture says. This is what we read;
1 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. …… 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5 And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. Gen 6:1- 5.
17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Gen 6:17-23.
We can conclude a number of things from this account;
• The flood was universal since all living things were ‘blotted out’.
• The flood was catastrophic since all mountains were covered.
• Only Noah and his family survived because they were righteous and obeyed
God’s command to build an ark.
2. Could all the livings species really be contained in the Ark?
Well, if the the Bible account is true then all creatures alive today must be descended form those on the ark. Is this possible? Yes, and this brings us to a key point, the species we see today have undergone further speciation events in the time since the flood. It was only necessary to have representatives of every Biblical ‘Kind’ on the ark, as we read in Genesis;
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
The picture the Bible presents is not of numerous species being created initially, but of ‘Kinds’. We can understand this if we assume that these ‘kinds’ must have incorporated all of the genetic information to provide the varieties of species in the future. Provided this genetic information was in the ‘kinds’ on the Ark then we can easily account for the existence of the large number of species we find today.
3. What did Jesus and the Apostles believe?
This is what Jesus said;
37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt 24:38,39).
Jesus clearly believed the historical account. If we reject the testimony of Jesus then we have taken a serious and significant step in rejecting the Saviour Himself.
We also have the testimonies of the writer to the Hebrews and the Apostle Peter,
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Heb 11:7)
See also 1Pet 3:18-20, 2Pet 2:5.
These references from Jesus and the apostles are clearly linked to a warning of the consequences of failing to repent.
By rejecting the clear testimony of Scripture to the Universal Flood of Noah we have rejected God Himself and unless we repent we must face the inevitable consequences of our position.
DS Walton October 2022