There is some controversy on whether or not the flood was global and local. I have seen good cases for both, depending on how you interpret Genesis 6-8, but for me personally I believe that the flood was global rather than local. There are many reasons why I believe this, and I would like to point out a few of those reasons.
My question is simple, if God truly did only flood part of the earth, why did He not clearly say so? Why doesn’t the bible say, “and God wiped out all those in the land where Noah lived.”? Perhaps because it wasn’t local, it was global. My first thought is this; God said He would wipe out everything with the breath of life in it off the face of the whole earth. Here is an account from the flood as stated in Genesis 7.
“21Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.
(Genesis 7:21 NIV). Right here it is talking about every creature perishing that is on the earth, not just those that were in the area. As you continue reading the flood account, you can see many other passages that indicate it was a global flood (Genesis 6:7-8, 6:17, 7:4, 7:19, etc…) Over and over again it talks about God wiping away “all” of the creatures, not just “some” of them, off the face of the earth. Now, it is not specifically mentioned whether or not man and creatures had spread all the way around the world, in order that it would take flooding the whole earth to wipe them all out. However, man had been given more than 1,000 years to spread out, (and I truly believe that is what they did). So, if they had spread out, then in order to kill them all, there needed to be water that spreads all the way around the whole earth.
My next question is based purely on math and logic. In Genesis 6 it is recorded that from the time God told Noah he was going to flood the earth, to when he flooded it, was 120 years. The earth is approximately 24,900 miles around. If we cut that in half we have 12, 450 miles. Dividing that by 120 (years) and then by 365 (days in a year) we come to 0.28 miles. If Noah had started walking that day, and walked 0.28 miles a day, he would have been all the way on the other side of the world within 120 years. So, why did he waste his time in building an ark (and not just any ark, but an ark that was made to withstand a great storm) if he could have walked about a quarter of a mile a day in order to completely avoid the flood? It just doesn’t add up. It doesn’t add up, because the flood was not contained in one area, God truly did send a global flood that covered even the whole earth, (including the highest mountains) by over 15 cubits (20 feet).
My final question is about birds. In Genesis 7:21 & 23 it talks specifically of the birds dying. Now, if the flood was local, could the birds not have just flown to a different part of the world? I mean, they migrate north and south every year, why could they not have flown away and found an uninhabited part of the earth to fly to and reside in for the duration of the flood? And why would Noah send the dove out the window in Genesis 8, when it could have flown a ways, and then found a place to land? But in Genesis 8:9 it notes,
“The dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark.“
Not only does it say that the dove couldn’t find a place to rest, it also clearly states that the whole earth was covered in water. So, how could I interpret this to be anything but global? Answer? I can’t.
For me, I take the word of God at face value. If it says, “For God so loved the world…” I believe God loved the world. If it says, “Water was over all the surface of the earth…” I believe water was over ALL the surface of the earth. Now, if one part of the bible can be taken at face value, then it all should be taken at face value. And so, by believing that God sent a global flood (as I understand it to mean in Genesis 6-8), I should also, and will also, believe that the rest of the bible is true. As such, I am going to try and live my life accordingly.