Flood, The

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This judgment of God upon the earth, when the whole world had become corrupt before Him, has often been thought to be a subject full of difficulties, the principal of which it may be well to consider. First, as to its extent, was the flood universal? Language can scarcely be more explicit than is the scripture on this point. We read that "all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And 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: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed.... and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (Gen. 7:19-2319And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 20Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 21And 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: 22All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23And 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 7:19‑23)). After the flood God said He would not any more smite “everything living,” as He had done (Gen. 8:2121And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. (Genesis 8:21)); "neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth" (Gen. 9:1111And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. (Genesis 9:11): Compare also 2 Pet. 2:55And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:5); 2 Pet. 3:6-76Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7But 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 Peter 3:6‑7)). Words cannot be plainer than the above to signify a universal deluge: the world that then was is distinguished from the earth that now is, and it is easy for faith to accept God's statement. It was a miracle, and it would require as great a miracle to cover all the high hills in one district only, without the water flowing to other parts, as to submerge the whole earth. The quantity of water required to cover the whole earth could easily be formed by God the Creator of all things, and be dispersed into its elements afterward.
It has often been contended that as man only was the guilty creature, the destruction of all mankind would have entirely met the case. It might have been thus if God had so pleased, but He has taken pains to tell us that all cattle, beasts, and creeping things were destroyed; and we must believe Him. Man was the head of creation, and all was involved in the consequences of his sin, and there must be a new start under the figure of the death and resurrection of Noah in the ark. God commenced a new economy as to the earth, in connection with the sweet savor of Noah's sacrifice. The flood was about 1700 years after the creation of Adam, and it is impossible to say how many millions of people there were on the earth at the time, or how far they had been dispersed.
Another difficulty felt is as to the great number of species being all preserved in the ark, such, it is said, as 1500 mammalia, 6000 species of birds, and some hundreds of thousands of reptiles and insects! It is very probable that at that time a great many of these did not exist. God foreknew that the flood would sweep away the great bulk of them, and He could have restrained the forming of species, and have kept them to a comparatively few genera. Compare the statement that “every living creature” was brought to Adam to be named. All the original generic types then existing were gathered into the ark, from which the species, under many varying circumstances, may have greatly increased. This would be from natural causes, as has been known to have been the case, without in anyway agreeing with or falling under the modern theory of evolution. The clean animals were doubtless only four in number: the ox, the sheep, the goat, and the pigeon—those offered in sacrifice; the distinction between clean and unclean animals for food was made long after.
Again it has been asked, How could the animals have been fed for a full year? and what could have prevented the wild animals devouring one another? Scripture does not say how the animals were fed. God may have caused many of them to have slept the greater part of the time, as some do now constantly in the winter. In Paradise the green herb was the food for every beast, every fowl, and every creeping thing, as well as for man (Gen. 1:29-3029And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Genesis 1:29‑30)); and they may not have become carnivorous until after the flood, when flesh was given to man to eat (Gen. 9:33Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. (Genesis 9:3)). If, on the other hand, because sin had come in, they had been previously living on one another, God could have altered this while in the ark, as He certainly will do in the millennium (Isa. 11:6-96The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6‑9); Isa. 65:2525The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 65:25); Ezek. 34:2525And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. (Ezekiel 34:25)). Men, and even professing Christians, scoff at this, because of their knowledge of physiology; but even history proves that carnivorous animals will feed upon vegetation when they cannot get animal food, and vice versa.
By faith Noah prepared the ark (Heb. 11:77By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)). Everything concerning the flood was arranged by God; Noah had simply to follow out the instructions given. The same faith believes that it was fully carried out as described; and there is no real difficulty in the matter, except by shutting out God, which must not be, for it was His flood. The old world was then destroyed except those in the ark, and they were perfectly safe, for God shut them in. The promise was afterward given that God would not again destroy the world with a flood; but it is, alas, reserved to be destroyed by fire (2 Pet. 3:7, 107But 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 Peter 3:7)
10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
). This is a prophecy as little believed by many, as was the deluge that was proclaimed by Noah; but which will as certainly come to pass. The details of the deluge are given in full in Genesis 6-8. In almost all heathen countries there exist ancient traditions of the flood, though with many variations. The descendants of Noah would carry the record of the solemn judgment wherever they roamed. See ARK.