For the following reasons we are certain that the Flood was global.
1. The Bible’s description points to a global flood.
The Bible plainly states that the flood of Noah’s day was worldwide. The great detail in which the Flood is described witnesses against a poetic or allegorical interpretation.
“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” (Genesis 6:7).
“And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:17).
“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth” (Genesis 7:4 ).
“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 7:19-20).
2. The mechanics point to a global flood.
The flood of Noah’s day was not merely a long season of heavy rain.
It was a great deluge of water from the sky combined with a deluge of water from below. The water from the sky came from a vast ocean of water that had been suspended above the earth in vapor form since the creation week (Genesis 1:7). The deluge from below came from “the great deep,” which was an ocean of water below the surface of the earth. The “fountains of the great deep” were broken up (Gen. 7:11).
This cataclysmic action would have resulted in massive tidal waves which swept across the world. The tidal waves created by just one volcano (Krakatoa) in 1883 produced immense waves at least 100 feet high; traveling up to 450 miles per hour they resulted in the death of nearly 40,000 people; the sound of the eruption could be heard 3,000 miles away (Simon Winchester, Krakatoa). When a series of earthquakes struck Chile in May 1960, the resultant tidal waves up to 50 feet high and traveling at 525 miles per hour caused massive damage in Japan one-third of the way around the world from their origin.
3. The length of the deluge points to a global flood.
The deluge continued for 40 days and 40 nights (Gen. 7:12; 8:2). At 40 days the water reached its greatest height, but it continued to prevail on the earth for another 110 days (Gen. 7:24).
4. The practical issues point to a global flood.
If the flood was local, God would not have instructed Noah to bring all the animals into the ark (Gen. 6:19-20; 7:1-3).
If the flood was local God could simply have instructed Noah to move! “The whole procedure of constructing such a vessel, involving over a century of planning and toiling, simply to escape a local flood, can hardly be described as anything but utterly foolish and unnecessary. ... The entire story borders on the ridiculous if the Flood was confined to some section of the Near East” (Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood).
5. God’s promise points to a global flood.
God promised there would be no more floods after the fashion of Noah’s day (Gen. 9:11), but there have been many large local floods, including those which have killed thousands. The following are only a few examples:
200,000 drowned when tidal waves swept across the Bay of Bengal in 1876
3.7 million people drowned in a flood of the Yangtze river in China in 1931
10,000 drowned in floods in Iran in 1954
100,000 drowned due to flooding in the Red River Delta in North Vietnam in 1971
1,300 drowned and 30 million became homeless from monsoon flooding in Bangladesh in 1988
3,000 drowned in the flooding of the Yangtze in China in 1998
5,000 drowned in flooding and mudslides in Venezuela in 1999
2,000 drowned in monsoon floods in China, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh in 2002
2,000 drowned in monsoon floods in Bangladesh in July 2004
6. Peter’s prophecy points to a global flood.
Peter likened the flood of Noah’s day to the coming destruction of the entire world by fire (2 Peter 3:5-7).
7. Flood stories from all over the world point to a global flood.
“Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Hindus, Greeks, Chinese, Phrygians, Fiji Islanders, Esquimaux, Aboriginal Americans, Indians, Brazilians, Peruvians, and indeed every branch of the whole human race, Semitic, Aryan, Turanian--have traditions of a Great Deluge that destroyed all mankind, except one family, and which impressed itself indelibly on the memory of the ancestors of all these races before they separated. ‘All these myths are intelligible only on the supposition that some such event did actually occur. Such a universal belief, not springing from some instinctive principle of our nature, must be based on an Historical Fact’” (Halley’s Bible Handbook).
Though containing mythical elements brought in by idolatrous minds, the stories represent a universal memory of the Flood. Hundreds of these stories have been discovered in 70 languages from throughout the world, and the vast majority mention a large vessel that saved the human race from extinction, NINETY-FIVE PERCENT DESCRIBING THE FLOOD AS GLOBAL (Andrew Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Vol. 1, p. 99). As Dr. Snelling observes, “... if there actually was a flood that destroyed mankind, as the Bible teaches, then universal flood traditions would be exactly what we would expect to find” (p. 104).
Theological modernists claim that the Bible’s account is based on one of these other stories, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh from Babylon. In fact, it is obvious that the Bible’s account is the true one, with its amazing detail, its ark having proper dimensions for sea travel, and its lack of polytheistic nonsense. The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, says the “gods” almost starved to death during the Flood and cowered like dogs in fear. It also claims that the ark was a giant cube, which would have been a nonsensical shape for a ship built to withstand the raging seas for a year. It would have been wildly unstable. The biblical ark, on the other hand was 450 long by 75 feet wide by 30 feet high, which is similar to the proportion of large modern sea-going vessels such as oil tankers and aircraft carriers.
8. Global layers of sedimentary rocks point to a global flood.
The whole earth is covered by facies or continuous layers of sedimentary rocks having similar characteristics. About three-fourths of the earth’s land area has sedimentary rock as the bedrock, ranging in thickness from a few feet to 40,000 feet or more.
“Sedimentary rock was originally formed in almost all cases under water, usually by deposition after transportation by water from various sources. Sedimentary rocks are made up of pieces of rock or other material which existed somewhere else, and were eroded or dissolved and redeposited in their present location. Sedimentary rock results from moving water which lays down layer upon layer by what’s called hydrologic sorting (sandstone, siltstone, shale, limestone, etc). This means that over 70% of the earth’s crust has been moved by a great movement of water giving strong evidence for the flood” (Steve Carr, “Evidence for the Flood,” http://www.calvaryag.org/apologetics/apologetics_11-evidence_flood.htm/).
“This very specific kind of sedimentary rock is found to extend in a continuous band from western Australia to Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi, then to Northern Ireland through England to become the famous white cliffs of Dover. It continues in northern France, Denmark, northern Germany, southern Scandinavia, to Poland, Bulgaria, and then to Georgia in the Soviet Union, and the south coast of the Black Sea” (Ian Taylor, In the Minds of Men, p. 95).
Derek Ager, professor of geology at University College of Swansea, England, in The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record (1973) challenged his fellow evolutionary geologists with “The Persistence of Facies.” Ager wanted to “find an explanation for the phenomenon before the vocal opponents of evolution made use of it,” but in fact it is irrefutable evidence for the Genesis Flood.
9. Massive fossil graveyards point to a global flood.
Throughout the earth there are massive fossil graveyards that offer profound witness to a global flood.
The Burgess Shale in British Columbia contains countless thousands of marine invertebrates, that have been preserved in exquisite detail, “with soft parts intact, often with food still in their guts” (Andrew Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Vol. 2, p. 537). It is obvious that they were buried in an unusual and catastrophic manner.
“The Burgess Shale is, therefore, an enormous fossil graveyard, produced by countless animals living on the sea floor being catastrophically swept away in landslide-generated turbidity currents, and then buried almost instantly in the resultant massive turbidite layers, to be exquisitely preserved and fossilized” (Snelling, p. 538).
The Ordovician Soom Shale in South Africa is 10 meters thick and stretches hundreds of kilometers. It contains thousands of exceptionally preserved fossils. The eurypterids even show “walking appendages that are normally lost to early decay after death” and “some of the fibrous muscular masses that operated these appendages” (Snelling, Vol. 2, p. 538).
“The evidence is clearly consistent with catastrophic burial of countless thousands of these organisms over thousands of square kilometers, which implies that the shale itself had to be catastrophically deposited and covered under more sediments before burrowing organisms could destroy the laminations” (Snelling, Vol. 2, p. 539).
The Devonian Thunder Bay Limestone formation in Michigan is 12 feet thick and stretches for many hundreds of miles. It contains billions of fossils that were catastrophically buried.
The Carboniferous Montceau Shale in central France has yielded the fossilized remains of nearly 300 species of plants and 16 classes of animals. There are fossilized scorpions with their venomous vesicle and sting preserved.
“ ... numerous footprints of amphibians and reptiles have been found, complete with finger and claw marks, and sinuous lines made by tails trailing in the mud. Even raindrop imprints and ripple marks have been found preserved, signifying that burial and lithification must have been extremely rapid. Similarly, the preservation of the fragile hinges in the bivalve mollusk fossils suggests that these animals were not transported before burial, but were entombed abruptly by rapid deposition of sediment” (Snelling, p. 540).
The Carboniferous Francis Creek Shale in Illinois forms a fossil graveyard containing specimens representing more than 400 species of a mixture of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine organisms. The preservation of even soft part details is evidence of rapid burial.
The Triassic Mont San Giorgio Basin in Italy and Switzerland, 300 feet deep and about four miles in diameter, contains thousands of well-preserved fossils of fish and reptiles. Details of delicate bones, tiny spines, and scales are distinctly visible. Fossilized fish contain embryos inside their abdomens. The fossilized Tanystropheus, a 4.5-meter giraffe-necked saurian, also contains the remains of unborn young.
“Fish, like so many other creatures, do not naturally become entombed like this, but are usually devoured by other fish or scavengers after dying. Furthermore, when most fish die their bodies float. In the fossil assemblage at Mont San Giorgio are some indisputable terrestrial reptiles among the marine reptiles and fishes. Thus, to fossilize all those fish with the large marine and terrestrial reptiles, so that they are all exquisitely preserved, would have required a catastrophic water flow to sweep all these animals together and bury them in fine-grained mud” (Snelling, p. 543).
The Triassic Cow Brand Formation in Virginia also contains a mixture of fossilized terrestrial, freshwater, and marine plants, insects, and reptiles that were buried together in a massive graveyard. “Microscopic details are preserved with great fidelity, and the resolution of preserved detail is approximately 1 micron” (Snelling, Vol. 2, p. 543).
The Cretaceous Santana Formation in Brazil preserves fossils of marine and land plants and animals, including shrimp, bivalves, fish, sharks, crocodiles, spiders, frogs, turtles, dinosaurs, and pterosaurs [extinct flying reptiles], including pterodactyles with wingspans of over nine feet.
“Preservation has been so rapid, and so perfect, that structures such as muscle fibers with banding present, some displaying ultrastructure, fibrils, and even cell nuclei arranged in neat rows, have been fossilized. Underneath the scales, small pieces of skin are preserved and show thin sheets of muscle and connective tissue. In a female specimen the ovaries have been preserved with developing eggs inside, and one egg even had phosphatized yolk. Many specimens display the stomach wall with all its reticulations, and often with the last meal still in the stomach. One specimen has no fewer than 13 small fish in its alimentary tract, with a number of shrimps, that even had their compound eyes preserved with the lenses in place. But the most spectacular tissues found in these fish specimens are the gills, many having the arteries and veins of the gills preserved with the secondary lamellae intact. ... It is clear, therefore, that the fossilization process took place moments after the fish had died, and was completed within only a few (probably less than five) hours” (Snelling, p. 545).
The Siwalki Hills north of Delhi, India, 2,000 to 3,000 feet high and several hundred miles long, are composed of sediment laid down by water and are packed with fossils of land animals.
Similar deposits thousands of feet thick are located in central Burma, which are packed with the fossils of large animals such as mastodon, hippopotamus, and ox, plus fossilized tree trunks.
The Morrison Formation covers an area of about a million square miles in 13 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, stretching from Manitoba to Arizona, and Alberta to Texas. Dinosaur bones have been found at hundreds of sites, fossilized together with fish, turtles, crocodiles, and mammals.
The Green River Formation of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado contains fossils of palms, sycamores, maples, poplars, deep-sea bass, sunfish, herring, alligators, turtles, lizards, frogs, snakes, crocodiles, birds, bats, beetles, flies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, and other plants and animals, terrestrial and marine.
A fossil graveyard near Florissant, Colorado, contains fossilized fish, birds, insects, and hundreds of species of plants. Fruit and even blossoms have been found.
The lignite beds of Geiseltal in Germany contain “a complete mixture of plants and insects from all climatic zones and all recognized regions of the geography of plants or animals.” Leaves have been so well preserved that alpha and beta types of chlorophyll can be recognized.
“[Also preserved are] the soft parts of insects: muscles, corium, epidermis, keratin, color stuffs as melamine and lipochrome, glands, and the contents of the intestines. Well preserved bits of hair, feathers and scales ... stomach contents of beetles, amphibia, fishes, birds and mammals ... Fungi were identified on leaves and the original plant pigments, chlorophyll and coproporphyrin, were found preserved in some of the leaves” (N. O. Newell, “Adequacy of the Fossil Record,” Journal of Paleontology, 1959, 33: 496).
These are examples of the massive fossil graveyards that blanket the earth and that give evidence for the Biblical Flood.
10. Sea creatures on the tops of mountains point to a global flood.
Fossilized whale skeletons have been found 440 feet above sea level north of Lake Ontario, 500 feet above sea level in Vermont, and 600 feet above sea level near Montreal. A whale’s skeleton was found on top of the 3,000-foot Sanhorn Mountain on the Arctic Coast and a mile high on California’s coastal range.
Clusters of gigantic fossilized oysters were found atop the Andes Mountains in South America.
Clam fossils have even been found on the summit of Mt. Everest. Many ammonite fossils (sea animals of the octopus family), some with a diameter up to six feet, can be seen at 12,000 feet in the Himalayans in the Kali Gandaki River in Nepal (http://library.thinkquest.org/10131/geology_visual.html/). I have purchased beautiful ammonite fossils in Kathmandu that came from this region.
Thus, just as the Bible says, in ancient days floodwaters covered the mountains.
Question: Was there enough water to cover the earth?
Skeptics have challenged the biblical flood with the claim that there isn’t enough water to cover the earth to the tops of the mountains. This challenge has been disproven by Bible-believing scientists.
“We now know, of course, that the earth has plenty of water to launch a global flood. It has been calculated that if the earth’s surface were completely flat, with no high mountains and no deep ocean basins, that water would cover the earth to a depth of about 8,000 feet. But is there enough water to cover a 29,035 foot mountain? The key is to remember that the Flood didn't have to cover the present Earth, but it did have to cover the pre-Flood Earth, and the Bible teaches that the Flood fully restructured the earth. ‘The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished’ (2 Peter 3:6). It is gone forever. The earth of today was radically altered by that global event. That Flood accomplished abundant geologic work. Eroding sediments here, redepositing them there, pushing up continents, elevating plateaus, denuding terrains, etc., so that the earth today is quite different from before. Today even mountain ranges rise high above the sea. Mt. Everest and the Himalayan range, along with the Alps, the Rockies, the Appalachians, the Andes, and most of the world's other mountains are composed of ocean-bottom sediments, full of marine fossils laid down by the Flood. These rock layers cover an extensive area, including much of Asia. They give every indication of resulting from cataclysmic water processes. These are the kinds of deposits we would expect to result from the worldwide, world-destroying Flood of Noah’s day. At the end of the Flood, after thick sequences of sediments had accumulated, the Indian subcontinent evidently collided with Asia, crumpling the sediments into mountains. Today they stand as giants--folded and fractured layers of ocean-bottom sediments at high elevations. No, Noah’s Flood didn't cover the Himalayas, it formed them!” (John Morris, Ph.D., “Did Noah’s Flood Cover the Himalayan Mountains?” http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=520/).
There was a “drastic rearrangement of terrestrial topography, with continental land masses rising from the waters, and ocean basins deepening and widening to receive the waters draining off the lands. ... Somehow, these great subterranean caverns, no longer pressurized, collapsed and the surface elevations sank correspondingly. Since these had been mainly underneath the antediluvian continents, to serve as the storage reservoirs for their rivers, and since these continents had by this time been essentially planed off by flood erosion, this means that they now became the bottoms of the postdiluvian ocean basins” (Henry Morris, The Genesis Record).
You can disbelieve the Bible if you please, but you cannot say there is no evidence that it is true and that biblical faith is blind.
THE ATTACK UPON THE GLOBAL FLOOD
As Peter prophesied, there is a vicious attack today upon the Bible’s account of the global Flood in “the last days” (2 Peter 3:3-7).
By this prophecy we learn that the “last days” began in a special sense in the 19th century, because prior to that it was generally believed even by secularists and scientists that God created the world and there was a universal Flood. In 1930, Merson Davies observed, “We should remember that, up to 100 years ago , such a marked prejudice against the acceptance of belief in the Deluge did not exist” (“Scientific Discoveries and Their Bering on the Biblical Account of the Noachian Deluge,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. LXII, pp. 62,63).
In the 17th and 18th centuries, for example, Cambridge scholars universally believed in a global flood and wrote about it (e.g., Thomas Burnet’s A Sacred Theory of the Earth; John Woodward’s An Essay Toward a Natural Theory of the Earth; William Whiston’s A New Theory of the Earth); but by Charles Darwin’s day they had largely abandoned this position for the uniformitarian view of geology.
The attack upon the global Flood has been so widespread that it has affected many “evangelical” scholars.
“... today more and more evangelical scholars and leaders have compromised, quietly going ‘soft’ on the early chapters of Genesis and relegating them to myth and legend, or simply regarding them as irrelevant” (Andrew Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Vol. 1, p. 102).
Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, documented this spreading unbelief in his 2011 book Already Compromised.
In volume 1 of the Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Andrew Snelling, Ph.D. in geology, answers the challenges by secularists, theological liberals, and compromising evangelicals to the Bible’s account of a global flood. He observes, “those who promote the local flood view have seemingly tried to outdo one another in their efforts to depict the supposed absurdities in the biblical account” (p. 125).
Snelling shows that the water would have been sufficient to cover the earth to the height described by Scripture. He shows that the ark was large enough to hold all of the kinds of animals (not according to the count of modern “species,” but to the count of true biblical kinds, which in Hebrew are baramin). He demonstrates that there would have been at the most about 16,000 animals on the ark with a median size of a small rat. He shows that plants could have survived the global flood and that fish could have survived the mixing of fresh and salt water. He shows that it would not have been beyond the capacity of a few people to care for the animals. He also shows that the animals could have repopulated the entire earth since the Flood and discusses in particular the issue of marsupials in Australia (fossil marsupials have been found in Europe, Africa, North and South America).
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