At 09:56 AM 11/5/97 -0800, Arthur V. Chadwick wrote:
>A friend who does know Hebrew writes in response to your comments:
>Sometimes we get a little too "Greek" (westernized) in interpreting Hebrew
>(a more eastern style language). We want one solid meaning for each word,
>but Hebrew isn't always that way. The word eretz means ground, or more
>often country, or sometimes earth, depending on context.
This is exactly the point I am making. The word can be translated either
way. People have largely chosen to use one of the least used meanings of
the word in Genesis 6-7.
> Its meaning in
>Genesis 6-7 is clearly global by the context -- see Richard Davidson's
>excellent article on the universality of the Flood in Origins 22(2)58-73.
>Some of the most obvious clues from words in Genesis 6-8 include:
> 1. ha eretz used 46x in Gen 6-9 without any genitive of limitation
I would be interested in hearing from any of the ASA Hebrew experts on this
> 2. "upon the face of all the earth" (7:3; 8:9) is global, as in 1:29
But if eretz should be "land" in these verses then it would read:
"upon the face of all the land" which sounds much less universal than
"earth". Your friend is assuming the answer before the translation.
> and "face of the ground" 5x, in paralles with the above (cf 2:6)
Once again, it could be translated 5x "face of the land". That doesn't
> 3. "all flesh" 12x
> ("all" can express less than totality if context demands, but
> with no article or posessive it indicates totality)
> and "every living thing of all flesh" ... "all existence"
> 4. "under the whole heaven (7:19) has global meaning
> as in Deut 4:19, Job 28:24, 41:11, ...
Your friend missed Job 37:3-4. It says, He unleashes his lightning beneath
the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the
sound of his roar: he thunders with his majestic voice." The phrase "under
the whole heaven" here is certainly limited in extent. Living in Dallas I
can't hear thunder from my hometown of Drumright, Okla. Nor can I hear
thunder from Keene Tx. Yet the verse says I can hear thunder from beneath
the whole heaven. I would suggest that this usage refers to an area from
horizon to horizon.
> 5. "all the fountains of the great deep" (7:11, 8:2) refers to the
> world ocean, as in Gen 1:2 and Ps 104:6
I am not sure about this one.
> -- the genealogical lines indicate that just as Adam was
>progenitor of all pre-flood humanity, so Noah was father of all post-flood
>peoples. From his descendents "the nations spread abroad on the face of
>the earth after the flood" (Gen 10:32) and the same inclusive diving
>blessing to be fruitful and multiply is given to Noah's family, as it was
>to the first pair (Gen 1:28, 9:1)
all this requires is an anthropologically universal flood, not a flood of
> -- striking extra-biblical evidence that all human races, not just
>those in the Middle East, retain memory of the universal flood is found in
>the amazing prevalence of ancient flood stories all over the world (he
There are a lot of differences between these various flood stories. If one
is to hold that they have a common source then the different details of the
accounts doesn't matter from an evidential circumstance.
Here are a few flood legends collected by Mark Isaak from a note he wrote
several years ago.
"After Ahura Mazda has warned Yima that destruction in the
form of winter, frost, and floods, subsequent to the melting
of the snow, are threatening the sinful world, he proceeds to
instruct him to build a _vara_, 'fortress or estate,' in which
specimens of small and large cattle, human beings, dogs,
birds, red flaming fires, plants and foodstuffs will have to
be deposited in pairs." [Kramer, p. 344] "Beneath this earth
there is water everywhere." [Kramer, p. 339]
Chameleon, hearing a strange noise in a tree, cut open its
trunk. Water came out in a great flood that spread all over
the earth. The first human couple emerged with the water.
The old spirits destroyed a town by flooding it with beer,
while the inhabitants took refuge in caverns nearby.
None. The very idea is ludicrous.
"The Lord of the Universe," to preserve king Satyavarata from
dangers of the depravity of the age, sent him a large ship,
and told him to gather himself, medicinal herbs, and pairs of
brute animals aboard it to save them from a flood. Seven days
later, the three worlds were flooded and darkened. The god
appeared in the ocean as an enormous fish, a million leagues
long, and Satyavarata tied the ark to its horn. [Howey]
A 22-year-long flood, caused by the water god Gong Gong,
drove people to mountains and treetops. The supernatural hero
Gun dammed up the waters with Growing Soil stolen from heaven.
**end of Isaak's note**
Now considering that the details do not match any biblical detail other than
rising water, let's apply this standard to the Creation account. Most
cultures have a creation legend also. Does this mean that all of them,
regardless of their details are remembrances of the Creation? Thus the
creation of the earth from two chamelions mating is a remembrance of what
God did? Of course we wouldn't believe that. So why do we believe that any
old flood story is a remembrance of Noah's flood? I believe in Noah's flood,
and I believe that it was Anthropologically universal, but I don't think all
these flood stories are very good evidence of its occurrence. Physical
evidence would be much better.
> -- God's covenant (Gen 9:9-10), with the rainbow sign (Gen 9:12-17)
>includes the whole earth (Gen 9:13-17)
>also note: The integrity of God in keeping His promise is wrapped up in the
>global extent of the Flood. God's promise not to bring another worldwide
>flood is fulfilled; but if the flood was local, God's integrity would be
>questioned each time a local flood occurred!
No God's integrity is not questioned. Genesis 6:13 says "I will destroy them
with the earth." Well the earth was not destroyed. It still exists, they
don't. Thus if you take a globalist position, God didn't destroy the earth.
If you put the flood where I do, in the Mediterranean basin and translate
the verse as, "I will destroy them with the land", God carried out his
prophecy. The land at the bottom of the Mediterranean WAS destroyed. Under
your interpretation, the earth was not destroyed, just the surface of the earth.
> -- the enormous size of the ark would be unnecessary for a local flood and
>there would be no necessity of the ark at all if there were no other escape
>for air-breathing land animals from the overflowing waters.
The size of the ark was insufficient to feed and house all the animals of
the earth anyway. Thus the size of the ark does not support your position
because the Ark would have had to have been many, many times larger than
reported which would have been structurally unsound. The ark was probably
smaller and we just don't know the cubit they used. See my review of
Woodmorappe's book at
> -- the covering of "all the high mountains" is not possible in a
>local flood, because water seeks its own level across the surface of the
>globe; to cover even one truely high mountain would require a water level
>that high all over the earth.
Covering the high mountains is possible if the Mediterranean basin is the
site of the local flood. There would have been mountains, now under sea, as
much as 10,000 feet above the basin floor. 5.5 myr ago, the Mediterranean
was dry as a bone.
> -- the duration of the flood does not make sesnse with local flooding
It would take at least a year for the Mediterranean to fill up. See,
Kenneth Hsu, When the Mediterranean was a desert, Scientific American Dec. 1972
> --New Testament passages concerning the Flood use global language:
> Matt. 24:39 "swept them all away"
> Luke 17:27 "destroyed them all"
> 2Peter 2:5 "did not spare the anceint world...when He brought a
>flood upon the world of the ungodly."
> 1Peter 3:20 "few,that is eight persons,were saved through
> Hebrews 11;7 "Noah condemned the world..."
1 Peter 3:20 uses the word "kosmos" which means the "universe". If we must
translate 'eretz' in its largest sense "planet earth" why shouldn't we think
that the entire universe was flooded?
>"we have the unequivocal corroboration of the New Testament that the
>destruction of the human race at the time of the flood was total..."
>Archer 1985, p 208
I agree. It was anthropologically universal
>Also, NT typology assumes and depends upon not only the historicity but
>also the universality of the Flood to theologially argue for an imminent
>world-wide judgment by fire (2 Peter 3:6-7)
Foundation, Fall and Flood