The Significance of a Global Flood

by David Dann

October 16, 2000

     With regard to the great flood of Noah’s day, we learn from the Genesis record that, "the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered" (Gen. 7:19). The Bible clearly describes the flood as a worldwide catastrophe during which the entire globe was submerged in water. However, the current popular scientific theories of evolution, historical geology, and strict uniformitarianism will not allow for the type of worldwide catastrophe described in Genesis. To the proponents of these theories, it seems to matter very little that the theories themselves cannot be empirically tested, and therefore, can never be proven true.

     It is disturbing to find that Christians, who are to live, "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4), have chosen instead to compromise with nearly every word that proceeds from these atheistic, unproven theories. Sadly, it seems many brethren have, at least in some cases, given up on the idea that the Bible means what it says. Among these compromises is the notion that the Genesis flood was merely a local, or regional flood that only covered a relatively small portion of the globe. While such a conclusion flies directly in the face of the plain teaching of God’s word, it also strips the story of the flood of its true significance. The simple fact is that a global flood accomplishes some things that a local flood cannot. Let’s consider the significance of a global flood versus a mere local flood.

     1. A global flood is a testimony to the power of God. For many years skeptics have attacked the Genesis record because it contains the story of a global flood, which they say could never have occurred. They claim that such a story proves the Bible to be a collection of fairy tales. However, for the God "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness" (2 Cor. 4:6), and "in six days…made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Ex.20:11), a global flood is not an impossible task, for, "with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). While numerous local floods cause widespread destruction each year, a global flood never occurred before the days of Noah, and will never occur again (Gen. 9:11). A local flood is a demonstration of natural disaster, but a global flood demonstrates the supernatural power of God. Perhaps as significant as the global flood itself is the truth that in the midst of such an unparalleled catastrophe, God further demonstrated his power in that, "eight souls were saved by water" (1 Pet. 3:20). The Genesis flood speaks to the fact that our God possesses unimaginable power.

     2. A global flood demonstrates God’s attitude toward sin. God’s attitude toward sin is well summed up in the following statement: "And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD" (Zech. 8:17). The Genesis flood became necessary as the profound evil of mankind collided with God’s attitude of perfect hatred toward evil. God decided to bring a worldwide flood upon the earth only after he, "saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). As a result of man’s wickedness, God said, "the end of all flesh has come before me" (Gen. 6:13). It is important to note that "all flesh" included the animals as well (Gen. 6:7). Only a thorough, global destruction could satisfy the justice of a God who hates sin. A local flood would not have destroyed all men, let alone, "all flesh." But, the global flood of Genesis did, and stands as a monumental display of God’s attitude toward sin. The righteous are called upon to imitate this attitude (Psa. 97:10).

     3. A global flood foreshadows the final destruction of the world. While a local flood could never destroy the earth, God said the purpose of the Genesis flood was, "to destroy the earth" (Gen. 9:11). Because of the worldwide destruction brought about by the flood, it is fitting that Peter would use it to illustrate the destruction that will take place at Christ’s return. Speaking of the Genesis flood, Peter says, "the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished; but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Pet. 3:6-7). By implying that Peter would compare the complete dissolution of the physical realm (2 Pet. 3:10-12) to a mere local flood, men make a mockery of the inspired apostle’s words.

     4. A global flood is a testimony to the clarity of Scripture. The Genesis record of the flood is replete with statements that could only refer to a global flood. Among many clear examples are the statements that, "all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered…and the mountains were covered" (Gen. 7:19-20). The results of the flood were such that, "all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man" (Gen. 7:23). It would be hard to imagine how the Holy Spirit could have more clearly conveyed the idea of a global flood in the pages of Scripture. By ignoring or reinterpreting such clear passages of Scripture, local flood advocates destroy the integrity of the Scriptures, and turn the Bible into a riddle that no human of average intelligence can ever hope to solve.


     Let us always be mindful of the significance involved in the fact that this planet was once submerged in water at the command of a grieved Creator. "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:38-39).

by David Dann
2 Wesley Street #5
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M8Y 2W3

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