Noah's Flood: Global or Local?

Donald Hochner and Richard Anthony

I would like to share what I learned about Noah's flood. Luther maintained that the original location of the garden of Eden, though known to Adam and his descendants, was obliterated by the devastating effects of Noah's flood. The geographical conditions of that region had changed significantly, including the rivers which served as the borders of the garden. I believe Noah's flood was not global, which I will attempt to show you.

In scripture, the phrases "the earth" and "the world" pertaine to a locality, and not to the whole earth. Even when America was first discovered by Europeans, it was called "the new world." This phrase did not refer to a new planet, but just a locality on the same planet.

1. Most would say that the flood covered all the earth, but in Hebrew, the word for "earth" can mean locality as well:

a. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot's daughters said "there's not a man in the earth (erets) to come in unto us" (Genesis 19:31) We know that not every man in the world was killed ... only those in the area of the destruction.

b. Exodus 9:33 "the rain was not poured upon the earth" #776 (erets)... Of course we understand it is just speaking about a certain area in Egypt.

c. In Jeremiah 34:1, "all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the peoples, fought against Jerusalem." There the phrase "of the earth" is limited to "his dominion," i.e., the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar.

d. In II Chronicles 36:23, Cyrus' empire is said to have encompassed "all the kingdoms of the earth." But there were kingdoms in the Far East which were surely not included.

e. Acts 11:28 speaks of a similar famine "throughout all the world," yet it is not likely it really meant over the whole globe including the New World.

f. Luke 2:1 refers to a decree which went out to tax "the whole world." But this only refers to the territories that the Romans controlled.

I could go on with the list but this would be suffice.

2. If the flood was global, how did it recede? Why didn't the oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, etc.) recede? This would be like dipping water out of one end of a swimming pool and pouring it in the other end. The level would be remain unchanged!

3. How did the plants, trees, etc. survive with the salt water that covered the whole earth. Remember that the flood took place over a year. That would be impossible.

4. How did the animals arrive in Australia? What about those Sloths (those animals that depend on the trees and live in South America. They cannot walk on the land). I could go on with a list of different animals from different environment, climate, etc.

5. If the whole planet was covered with water, how did it drain away or evaporate in 164 days? This could not have taken place in 100 years. I also found something about mathematics which supports a local flood which you will see shortly.

6. One cannot deny the existence of archeological evidence that many great civilizations existed in various parts of the world at the time of the Flood and continued through it.

7. "All" does not always mean all mankind. Did Christ die for "all" mankind?

8. If the flood covered the highest mountain (Mt. Everett), how would they survive in extremely cold and thin air for over a year?

9. Would people who lived in Europe, North and South America, Australia, etc. have heard Noah's message about God's judgment? Suppose Noah had gone on an evangelistic campaign: by what sign could he have convinced them? Merely to mention that his family at home was constructing an ark would hardly have carried much weight. In other words, the building of the ark was a testimony only to those who could actually see it or have first hand knowledge of it. People can hardly have been scattered to the ends of the earth if this was to be a testimony to them.

10. Even fish life would suffer in a universal catastrophe. The mingling of the salt and fresh water could be fatal to many of them.

11. What about in Genesis 6:4, "There were giants [nephilim] in the earth in those days; and also after that...the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." Also in Numbers 13:33, "And there we saw the giants [nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants:" "Giants" is the same Hebrew word #5303. Why weren't they destroyed during the flood? I think this is a stumbling block for those who hold there was a global flood.

Let me add one more thing why I may be convinced it was a local flood: Sodom and Gomorrah, Egypt, and Jerusalem in AD 70 were destroyed locality. All futurists believe there will be worldwide destruction but they misinterpreted it. Seems to me that is why they think the same thing with the worldwide flood.

There are so many problems in such a view which have been overlooked.

You might ask about God's covenant in which he said he would never again destroy all mankind and animals with the flood. That is true, I could say that He would never again destroy ALL people and animals in THAT local flood.


We have been told in the biblical account that the flood would cover the "earth," that everything in the "earth" would die, and other statements about the "earth," all of which would teach the idea of a world-wide flood - EXCEPT for one thing: Hebrew word "erets", especially in the Book of Genesis.

Erets (#776 in Strong's), the Hebrew word that translated "earth" throughout the flood account and it does not require a world-wide meaning. This word translated "country" (140 times) and "land" (1,476 times!) in the Bible. Many of them are often of limited land areas.

We need to keep in mind that the people living at the time of Moses had no concept of a "global" planet ... to them the "earth" would be the extent of the geographical land area known to them. To apply this literal meaning throughout the Bible causes problems. (as does other LITERAL exegesis)

These false interpretations are assumed and encouraged so that we can continue to support "tradition" or orthodoxy - never mind what Scripture is really saying. In so doing, we allow these min-interpretations to contradict other verses where the same word is used! We end up making a mockery of Scripture by trying to get it to fit ill-conceived theology.

If we view the flood as global, then we must (if we are consistent) apply that same usage in other places were the same words and phrases are used.

For example, Cain was cursed by God and driven from the "face of the earth" (Genesis 4:14) We know Cain was not driven off the planet... but out of the land he knew as "home" ...

The word is used concerning Abraham. "Get thee out of thy country [erets]...unto a land [erets] that I will shew thee" (Genesis 12:1). Or another one, "Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country [erets], and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur" (Genesis 20:1).

Other references in Genesis also show that "erets" was used to show specific lands: "The whole land [erets] of Havilah," "the whole land [erets] of Ethiopia," "the land [erets] of Nod, on the east of Eden," Famine at the time of Joseph affected "all lands [erets]",etc.

Also during the plagues upon Egypt, at one point we read that "the rain was not poured upon the earth [erets]" (Ex. 9:33). Do the word study. Try put the word "land" instead of global "earth" and it may make more sense. I believe some Bible translations are misleading.

Here's a good one too: In Exodus 10:5-15 we read about a plague of locusts that "covered the face of the whole earth." It should be pretty evident that this locust plague covered only a limited LAND of Egypt... it is the same wording in both places. Yet we never assume these locusts covered the entire globe...

Genesis 7:4 "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 7:23 "And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the *ground*, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark."

Genesis 8:9 "But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters [were] on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark."

But remember we let the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures about "the face of the earth [erets]":

Genesis 41:56 "And the famine has been over all the face of the land, and Joseph openeth all [places] which have [corn] in them, and selleth to the Egyptians; and the famine is severe in the land of Egypt," There is no evidence of a global famine at that time... the Bible states "all countries (erets) came to Egypt" to buy corn (Genesis 41:57) Surely it means the countries close to Egypt... Certainly not "all" countries -- unless we assume the Australians or the American Indians... were in Egypt buying corn.

If we take "erets" to mean the entire planet, then we also have to interpret that OTHER PLANETS came to Egypt to buy corn. All this, so we can maintain the false teaching of a universal flood.

Num. 11:31 "And a spirit hath journeyed from Jehovah, and cutteth off quails from the sea, and leaveth by the camp, as a day's journey here, and as a day's journey there, round about the camp, and about two cubits, on the face of the land."

1 Sam. 20:15 "but thou dost not cut off thy kindness from my house unto the age, nor in Jehovah's cutting off the enemies of David, each one from off the face of the ground."

2 Sam. 18:8 "and the battle is there scattered over the face of all the land, and the forest multiplieth to devour among the people more than those whom the sword hath devoured in that day."

Isa. 23:17 "And it hath come to pass, At the end of seventy years Jehovah inspecteth Tyre, And she hath repented of her gift, That she committed fornication With all kingdoms of the earth on the face of the ground."

Jer. 47:2 "Thus said Jehovah: Lo, waters are coming up from the north, And have been for an overflowing stream, And they overflow the land and its fulness, The city, and the inhabitants in it, And men have cried out, And howled hath every inhabitant of the land."

After the Israelites were delivered from Egypt and settled in Canaan, the scripture says they "covered the face of the earth" (Numbers 22:5,11) Not even fundamentalists would say that Israelites covered every square foot of the planet...This is simply a way of stating that they occupied the land in which they were dwelling.

Jeremiah said he was "...a man of contention to the whole earth!" (Jeremiah 15:10). Obviously, the whole planet did not know about Jeremiah.

Zechariah 5:3, "Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it." Only Israel knew of God's covenant. The Heathen nations did not know the details of God's Law.

There are many instances in the Bible where it speaks of "the earth" or the face of the earth... which clearly refers to a limited land, area, or country. We read about "all" the hills being covered... or "all" flesh destroyed. When God spoke of destroying "all flesh", He said he "will destroy them with the earth" (Genesis 6:13) The planet earth was not destroyed (of course not) neither was all the flesh on the planet -- only that flesh and land where Noah lived was destroyed.

Why, then, should any insist that the flood covering "the face of the whole earth [erets]" must mean a universal flood?

We know that after Joshua had led the Israelites into the promised land, we read: "So Joshua took the whole land [erets]...and the land [erets] rested from war" (Joshua 11:23). No one would think of reading "earth" into this passage! We know that the conquest of Canaan didn't include America, China, and Australia! So, I think the "land" in a limited area is more correct than the "earth" or global flood.

The following are all limited land areas that were destroyed:

Isaiah 13:5, " destroy the whole land [erets]" (speaking of Babylon).

Jeremiah 4:27, "...The whole land [erets] shall be desolate..." (speaking of Jerusalem).

Jeremiah 12:11, "...the whole land [erets] is made desolate..."

Jeremiah 25:11, "And this whole land [erets] shall be a desolation..."

Zephaniah 1:18, "...but the whole land [erets] shall be devoured by the fire..."

As I said before, the Hebrew word "erets" can be translated "land" or "country" which is more consistent than the word "earth". Also the "mountains" can be translated "hills" We must not forget that the waters were dried from the "earth." You may have seen the list of why the global flood may not be true.

Let me give you a few more points to ponder

1. Notice the order of events in Genesis 8:4, 5:

"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen."

It was 74 days AFTER the ark rested that "the tops of mountains were seen." We believe these were some mountains right around the spot where the ark came to rest. If the writer meant all the mountains in the world, he should have said the tops of the mountains were seen and AFTER this the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. This is self-evident, for there are MOUNTAINS ALL OVER THE WORLD THAT ARE HIGHER THAN ANY IN THAT LAND THAT WAS ANCIENTLY KNOWN AS ARARAT!"

2. After it stopped raining and the water began to go back down, the Bible implies the water receded at the rate of 15 cubits in 74 days (Genesis 7:20; 8:4, 5). A number of recognized commentators have mentioned this points. If we figure a cubit at about 18 inches, the water level would have dropped 270 inches during this time or, to round it off, 4 inches a day. If the flood depth was 29,050 feet (348,600 inches) and the water level dropped 4 inches a day, it would take 87,150 days to get back down to normal sea level. That would be almost 239 YEARS!

3. God told Noah to bring the creatures into the ark and sort the male and female creatures. If there were every creatures in the world, this would require more knowledge than distinguishing between a bull and a cow. What about snakes, ants, termites, snails, etc?

4. What more, how about feeding lions, leopards, tigers, cats, etc.? How much extra animals would be required for all the meat-eating animals? What about the elephants? One elephant can eat 44 lbs of grain, 66 lbs of hay, 20 to 70 lbs of turnips, carrots, cabbage or fruit. If an elephant eat 170 lbs of food each day, this would be 62,050 lbs during the year in ark. Don't forgot to double that pounds to 124,100 for two elephants! Even some animals like panda (Asia), koala (Australia), three-toed sloth (South America) require a specialized diet. Did Noah and his family gather some for them? What about the woodpeckers that peck the wood or termites that eat the wood! That would be much trouble! Were the dinosaurs also included as some have claimed? Poor Noah and his family. But, it is possible that all the animals were young, and not fully grown. This would mean a lot less feeding.

5. When the rain came, the rivers filled and ran into the seas which rose until the entire world was covered - according the universal flood view-point. All water became salty. Some fish can only live in fresh water and some require water of a certain temperature. I don't suppose Noah provided climate-controlled aquariums for fish!

6. If we figure a cubit at 18 inches, this works out to the ark being 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Dividing the height of the ark by 3 (for the three levels) would allow a maximum of 15 feet per level. But we must remember that to support the tremendous weight that would be carried, large beams in floors and ceilings would be required, making actual clearance about 13 feet. The door would have been no higher than this. If huge animals such as African elephants and giraffes were involved - as world-wide flood would require - some would have had problems even getting in the door! Unless, of course, they were all young animals.

7. What I find very interesting is this, from the writings of Josephus, the noted 1st century Jewish historian. He quoted from Nicolaus of Damascus, "There is a great mountain in Armenia...upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in the ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote." (Antiquity of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 3)

Josephus goes on to say: "Now the sons of Noah were three...these first of all descended from the mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there; and PERSUADED OTHERS WHO WERE GREATLY AFRAID OF THE LOWER GROUNDS ON ACCOUNT OF THE FLOOD, and so were very loath to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their examples. Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar. God also commanded them to send colonies abroad..." (Antiquity of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 4)

8. Lastly, after the flood, the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth traveled and settled in various countries. "By these were the isles [coastlands] of Gentiles DIVIDED in their lands, every one after their tongues, after their families, in their nations...These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations in their nations: and by these were the nations DIVIDED in the earth after the flood" (Genesis 10:5, 32). Now, if the flood had drowned all but eight people, how can we explain the existence of these nations to which Noah's descendants migrated and which "divided" them? Therefore, the belief that all nations of the world that came from Noah's three sons is filled with difficulties.

Also, I am sure that we have been hearing that Noah was building the ark and preaching for 120 years. Others say that people will not live after 120 year old. Anyway, we read in Genesis 6:3, "And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." Judgment was pronounced upon the people in that land but the Lord was willing to delay this for 120 years. This passage doesn't say anything about a flood, or about building an ark, or about HOW this judgment would be carried.

What I find interesting is at this time, 120 years before the flood, Noah would have been 480 years old (for he was 600 at the time of the flood - Genesis 7:11). Later when Noah was 500 years old, his sons were born (Genesis 5:32). And it was later still, AFTER these sons had grown and married, that Noah was told to build the ark. "Make an ark...I do bring a flood of waters upon the earth...and you shall come into the ark, you, AND YOUR SONS, and your wife, AND YOUR SONS' WIVES WITH YOU" (Genesis 6:14-18)."

Clearly, then, it did not take 120 years to build the ark. It is possible that the legend handed down in the book of JASHER - that it took five years (Jasher 5:34) - is correct, but the Bible itself does not say how many years it took.

Lastly, read Luke 17:

Luke 17:26-30, "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."

You see, God destroyed ALL people in the DAY of Noah, in the DAY of Lot, and the DAY of the Son of Man (during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70), which means locally only, not worldwide. I think this would be a closed case.

Did Noah's flood cover the whole planet?

To determine this, we might first look into the meaning of the word used for "earth" in the Genesis account of Noah's Flood.

The word is #776 'erets (eh'-rets); from an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land) KJV translates it: common, country, earth, field, ground, land, nations, way, wilderness, world.

That, in itself, may not tell us very much. So we must look to the context of the surrounding scripture.

There is another word which is also translated "earth" in these same passages concerning Noah's flood... That word is : #127 'adamah (ad-aw-maw'); from 119; soil (from its general redness): KJV translates this -- country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land.

This word relates to Strongs #120 ADAM

So the scripture reads:

Genesis 6:20, "Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth [#127 Adam's earth) after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive."

Here is a case where the TWO Hebrew words are used in the same passage!

Genesis 7:4, " For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth (erets #776] forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth (Adam's earth #127]."

Would we be assuming too much to say that the usage of #127 "adamah" interdispersed with #776 "erets" would qualify that word? Would we be assuming too much to say that land affected was "Adam's" land, field, ground etc? (Opposed to Cain's or other tribes or nation's ground)

Noah's Floating Zoo

Those who claim a universal flood say every species on earth was brought into the ark. The Bible tells us every "clean" animal were brought by sevens and the unclean animals by twos. (Genesis 7:2) For the universal theory to be correct, Noah would have been required to bring a sample of each species now living (and many hundreds more, now extinct) onto the ark. Could this even be possible considering the number of animals and the size of the ark? (see Genesis 6)

A cubit is about 18 inches long ... so the ark would have been about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. The total volume would have been about 1.5 million cubic feet. (I have seen measurements which claim this ark was configured in relation to the temple...)

Anyway, a squirrel or rabbit would need about 3 cubic feet -- an elephant about 1400 cubic ft. A turkey 9 cubic feet, a lion 120 and a giraffe, 900 cubic feet. We could justly figure about 10 cubic feet per animal on average --- this does not count the insects or any space for stalls or cages or containers.

We also have to consider food for the animals which God told Noah to bring on the Ark (Genesis 6:21). Since the ark was "home" to everyone for over a year, there would have to be storage space for food for everyone. The average person eats about 1300 pounds of food a year (about 7 times his weight) An elephant eats about 60,000 lbs. of food a year which is 7 to 8 times its weight. An ox or cow (clean animals BTW) can consume about 24,000 lbs of hay a year. A wolf can eat a sheep a week or 52 per year - 20 times its weight and a lion 35 times its weight. (well, the list goes on... but you get the idea)

With only 1.2 million cubic feet available on the ark, it appears Noah would have needed at least 43 arks to accomplish the job of storing all the animals and their required food. AND we have not considered all the vegetation and water for drinking and bathing.

We must also consider the impossible task of Noah gathering every species of plant and animal on the planet and then somehow, redistributing them back to their original habitat. Many animals require specific climate and habitat in which to live. How would Noah have provided this on the ark? I'm also not going to put you through the considerations of the monumental task of just 8 people tending to keeping this many animals, clean, groomed and exercised! Nor will we consider what might have been done with the waste products of these animals.

In all fairness to those who believe in a global flood, in was not necessary for Noah to gather the animals, because God could have brought all of them to him. To fit all the animals on the boat, the animals could have been all small or new borns, and not necessarily full grown animals. This way, the amount of food necessary to feed them would have been a lot less. It is also possible that, if there was a global flood, God could have caused a deep sleep to fall on these animals (many animals do go into hybernation), which would have helped Noah and his family greatly in tending these animals.

Then too, there is the problem of the salt water and the fresh water mixing. This would kill off the various species of marine life. It would also wipe out all of the trees and seeds of other vegetation as well. If the tops of the highest mountains (about 29,000 feet) were covered, this means the water level would have been five miles above the present sea level. The water pressure would have been about 800 tons per square inch. Ten months of this pressure, along with the lack of light and mixture of salt water would have destroyed all plant life and seeds on the planet. The entire life cycle, which depends upon plants would have ended. Still, the animals released obviously found vegetation to eat.

If the whole planet was covered with water, how did it drain away or evaporate in 164 days? This could not have taken place in 100 years.

The Bible is regarded as infallible and the fundamentalists believe it must be read in a literal context. This is done out of a misguided reverence for the Bible. There are many types and shadows throughout the Bible which revolve around certain words. Water, ark, saved, world, fire, etc. Many of these symbolic words can be found in Genesis, Daniel, Revelation and many of the prophecies.

We must also remember what we have is not the original word of God... but copies, versions and translations of the original words from God. Translations and copies of the Bible by men are not infallible. The Bible does contain poor or even wrong translations, some were by accident while some were intentional. Can these mis-translations be read at "face value?" To do so may render an understanding which may be in conflict with science, history, or the Bible itself.

The Map of History

The Flood of Genesis was a true historical event. According to historians, and Bible scholars, the date was from November in the year 2345 to November 2344 BC. These dates fall smack in the middle of the period in history known as the BRONZE AGE. (3000 BC to 1200 BC) This was a significant period in history. The technology to forge bronze increased trade routes, necessitated the domestication of draft horses, the invention of bellows, ox carts, potters wheels, as well as the invention of the plow for cultivating the soil. These were great advances. If there had been a global flood, it would have set civilization back to the Stone Age and it would have taken centuries to recover what was lost.

Written records dating from this time are, of course, not too plentiful. But one cannot deny the existence of archeological evidence that many great civilizations existed in various parts of the world at the time of the Flood and continued through it. If Noah's flood had been universal, all civilizations would have been destroyed along with their inventions, language, art and whatever other advancement each unique civilization would have made. History does not reveal gaps or a large void in any of these cultures which would be the natural result of a catastrophic event such as a global flood.

Earliest written records of an advanced civilization are those of the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. Their King Lists date to about 3350 BC. This shows an ongoing civilization well through the period of the flood.

Egypt's history shows no record of a sudden, complete disruption by a great deluge. The pyramids and other monuments erected there before the time of the flood would surely have been destroyed (or at the very least) badly damaged by a universal flood.

China's civilization experienced a prosperous period during the Yao Dynasty (between 2400 - 2200) with no record of a cataclysmic interruption.

The Minoan civilization on the island of Crete entered a cycle of cultural advancement about 2500 BC. These people had already produced works of art, established cities, had an alphabet and made use of bronze prior to the date of the Flood. It continued to develop and was established as a center of trade until is was destroyed by a volcano in 1470 BC. Though this civilization was based on and island, there was no evidence of a flood in written or archeological evidence.

The civilization of the Indus Valley was a thriving state in 2500 BC. It boasted of two great cities harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. This civilization rivaled that of Egypt and Mesopotamia and continued to exist uninterrupted until 1500 BC.

More evidence is found in Phoenicia. This was a thriving trade center which existed before, during and after the flood.

These along with other groups, the Japanese, the American Indians, and the Negro tribes of Africa, all survived the period of the Flood. There is no evidence that any of these millions of people suddenly disappeared from history and then suddenly re-appeared all over the world carrying the same culture, art, language, writing and architectural designs -- unique to each civilization.

The real tragedy is, when fundamentalists try to make history conform to their false notions about the Bible, it makes both them and God's Word seem foolish and unrealistic.

This is the last part of what I had planned for proof of a local flood. There are other proofs in archeology and evidence of racial types progressing through this period without interruption.

The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden to the East. Genesis 3:24, "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

This land East of Eden was to become Adam's new home. Since we learned in the first part of this study that the flood occurred in #127 Adamah, we can assume this land East of Eden was the general location of the flood.

It is a popular opinion that Eden was located near the Tigris-Euphrates river in a place now called Mesopotamia. However, at the time Moses would have written these words, this land (then called Shinar) was as well known and populated as the land of Egypt. He would have logically referred to it as the land of Shinar. Because this is how Moses referred to it in other places in the Bible i.e. (Genesis 10:10, 11:2, 14,1 14:9, and 24:10) This area was well known to Moses by it's familiar name.

According to L.A. Waddell, in his book "The Makers of Civilization, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia understood (even before the time of Moses) that Eden had been located East of their land.

Reading further in the Genesis account, we find other clues as to the exact location of Adam's land. There was a river with 4 heads. In Genesis 2:10, the account goes on to name the four rivers; Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates.

Frederick Haberman "Tracing Our Ancestors" considers the plateau of Pamir to be the original Eden. He believes this was the homeland of Adam's descendants up until the time of the Flood. Today this area is known as the Tarim Basin or Eastern Turkestan.

This region is surrounded by a ridge of very high mountains forming a gigantic basin in the midst of them. It measures 1,000 long and is about 350 miles wide. From the lakes of this plateau come four great rivers: the Indus, the Jaxartes, the Oxus, and the Tarim. The Oxus is still called by the natives the Digihun or Gihon; the Chitral branch of the Indus answers the description of the Pison; the Jxartes is the original Euphrates and the Tarim going toward the east is in all probability, the Hiddekl. It was a flood of gigantic proportions which brought judgment upon all that were in this land. It may have been "local" but it was my no means minimal.


If the flood was local, it would explain how, only 292 years after the flood, at the birth of Abraham, Egypt was a great nation. It would also explain how there were many other nations, such as the "The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites" (Genesis 15:19-21).

Your Questions Answered

  1. In Genesis 8:21; 9:11,15 and Isaiah 54:9, God promised no more floods like the one in Noah's time. However, local floods have ravaged the earth down through the ages, killing millions. So, if the flood of Noah was local, it would contradict God's promise. If the flood was worldwide, it would not contradict his promise.

    Answer: The difference between the flood of Noah and other local floods is that the purpose of the flood in Noah's time was sent as a punishment to destroy all flesh in that local area, and this is the kind of local flood that God promised not to do again:

    Genesis 9:15, "...and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."

    The local floods that have happened throughout history were not sent as punishment by God to destroy all flesh in those local areas (and there are always survivors in local floods), therefore, this does not contradict God's promise.

  2. God gave Noah 120 years to build the Ark (Genesis 6:3). If the flood was local, why go through the trouble of building a huge boat for 120 years? Migrating into the mountains, or to a different land, would have been far easier.

    Answer: Genesis 6:3 says nothing about God giving Noah 120 years to build the ark. This verse says God gave those men 120 years before they would die in the flood. God gave them space to prevent it by their repentance and reformation. But there is nothing in scripture that says it took 120 years to build the ark. The ark could have been built the last month of the 120 years, scripture does not say.

    And as to why God had Noah build an ark, instead of having them migrate to a different land, only God knows. But through history, God has used physical objects to demonstrate spiritual truths.

    For example, we know that, in Noah's day, the rainfall coming down from "heaven" had two different affects. Obviously, it was a destructive force as far as the lost were concerned. They were outside of the ark of safety, and therefore beyond any hope of survival. However, when the water hit the earth it raised the ark. Raising the ark heavenward symbolizes our being "lifted up to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). The same waters that destroyed the wicked also caused the people of God to be lifted up (thanks to the ark). God poured His judgments upon the ark. He knew it would stand fast. It was built to His plans and specifications. Why would God require the people to build an ark if He did not plan on sending the same judgments upon it as he sent upon the people who were not in it? The Ark was a God given escape route from judgments which fell upon them all. The forty days and nights of the flood are symbolic of God's judgments which fall primarily upon his people and the spiritual ark today. Even though the wicked drowned right away, God still had a purpose for the ark to go through the 40 day and night period in order to picture the spiritual type. The judgments of God had to fall upon even his true people, but He had provided a means which would save them from those judgments.

    Also, Noah’s ark rested in the seventh month (Genesis 8:4), it rested on the sabbath (Leviticus 23:24,27,34,39,41)! Which shows, spiritually, how we are to rest on the sabbath as well.

  3. Psalms 104:6-9 seems to describe the flood of Noah. It says "the waters stood above the mountains." If this was a local flood, only the mountains in the area would be covered with water. But Genesis 7:19-20 says that all the mountains “that were under the whole heaven, were covered,” not just some of the mountains in a local area.

    Answer: First of all, Psalms 104 is about the Creation, not Noah's flood:

    Psalms 104:5-6, "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains."

    Secondly, when Genesis 7:19-20 says that all the mountains under heaven were covered, the term "heaven" refers to the sky. The Scripture mentions three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2), not just one! The first heaven is earth's atmosphere where birds fly (Genesis 1:20, Jeremiah 4:25; 34:20, Lamentations 4:19, Zephaniah 1:3). One of the Hebrew words for ‘heaven’ is shamayim. This same word is translated as ‘sky’ in the Scripture, as can be seen by comparing Genesis 7:3, "fowls also of the air," with Genesis 7:23, "fowl of the heaven." The word ‘sky’ and ‘heaven’ are used interchangeably from the same Hebrew word (Psalm 8:8). So the first heaven is synonymous with ‘heights’ or ‘elevations.’

    Here are other examples to illustrate the first heaven. Exodus 19:20 says the Lord was on top of Mount Sinai when he called Moses up there, and God describes Mount Sinai as ‘heaven’ (Exodus 20:22, Deuteronomy 4:36). Here, everything above the ground is called ‘heaven’. Another example of the first heaven is in Amos 9:1-3, where God states that at the time of this judgment, nobody will be able to flee away (verse 1), even "though they climb up to heaven" (verse 2). This "heaven" is defined in the next verse, verse 3, as climbing to the top of Mount Carmel.

    Another example is where the Scripture speaks of the dew from heaven (Genesis 27:28,39, Deuteronomy 33:28, Daniel 4:15-33; 5:21). The first heaven, from which dew comes, means the atmosphere, where the clouds and the wind roam. Therefore, everything above the ground is called ‘heaven."

    Another Hebrew word for the first heaven is ‘shachaq.’ This same word for heaven (Psalm 89:6,37) is also translated as ‘sky’ or ‘skies’ (Deuteronomy 33:26; Job 37:18; Psalm 18:11), and as ‘clouds’ (Job 35:5; 36:28; Psalm 36:5; 68:34, Pro. 3:20; 8:28).

Final Thoughts

Jesus compared the end of the age with Sodom and Gomorrah and to the time of Noah's flood. 70 AD is spoken in global language, as it was in Noah's time, but it was local. And if the flood was local, it would give that much more evidence to the end of the age being local as well.

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