[asa] The Bible and the Anthropologically Universal Flood

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Mar 15 2007 - 09:19:56 EDT

I'm wondering if anyone can help clarify for me the specific Biblical
arguments, outside the story of the flood in Genesis, that the flood must
have been anthropologically universal.

I'm familiar with Jesus' sayings in Matthew 24 and Luke 17. I'm also
familiar with 2 Peter 2. In re-reading this, one thing I noticed that I
hadn't noticed before is that in both Luke 17 and 2 Peter the Noahic flood
and the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah are mentioned together as examples
of sudden judgment, linked to a warning that people should always be alert
for Christ's return. Luke 17 says this:

*"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the
Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in
marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and
destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating
and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot
left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all."
It's interesting that the phrase "destroyed them all" (apoleon toutas) is
used in regard to both the Noahic flood and the destruction of Sodom.
Obviously, the "all" in relation to Sodom isn't all of mankind, but rather
those who experienced that judgment. It seems reasonable that the "all" in
relation to the flood serves a similar function. Likewise, in 2 Peter,
where it says Noah "and seven others" were saved, given that the whole
passage seems to echo what Jesus says in Luke 17, it again seems reasonable
that Noah and seven others were saved from among those people who were
subject to this judgment -- just as in both Luke 17 and 2 Peter Lot is
mentioned as a person rescued from among the people judged in Sodom. The
overall context of both passages isn't to provide a particular detail about
the scope of the flood or Sodom judgments, but simply to use the
preservation of Noah and Lot from those judgments as a picture of how only
the Church will be preserved from judgment at the time of Christ's return,
which will come without warning.

I'm only an armchair exegete, however, so I wonder if anyone could comment,
or could point me to some good scholarship on this.

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Received on Thu Mar 15 09:20:14 2007

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