Let me re-boot here and go with a topic most members of this forum should welcome. The bible does not teach that the flood was global in extent, just in consequences as it would have ended the line of Messiah- and therefore condemned the earth to ruin. A close look at the text, including understanding who is saying what, shows this. This uses a model where humanity was created as a group and then Adam was created to initiate the process of bringing God and Man together- ultimately achieved despite the fall in the person of Christ. Note that in this model there is no need for the flood to have destroyed all of humanity- only the line of Adam/Seth.
I do find it interesting that in an Ancient Near Eastern context, the ‘whole earth’, needn’t literally be, the ‘whole earth’. The Babylonian world map, for example, shows the whole earth as consisting entirely of the Mesopotamian region and the immediate hinterlands, even though they new full well of the existence of other lands, such as Egypt, which are not shown on the map.
And that would explain any human references to the “whole earth”. The controversy I think lies where God is using language which indicates that the whole earth is going to experience this or that. Even if people had a parochial idea of what ‘the whole earth’ meant- and they did - God should know better. It turns out He does, but He is not saying what they think He is saying. That and not understanding which parts of the account are supposed to be from the perspective of the sons of Noah and not God. I.E- the narrator of the account is not God, its Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
But to me the most interesting aspect of the whole thing is how much more reasonable it sounds when viewed through the lens of Christ and the substitutionary atonement. The idea that an account thousands of years old does not make sense is not extraordinary, but that it elegantly resolves when viewed through the lens of the gospel IS extraordinary.
good poinr, Reggie. There is evidence that the people of the ancient Mesopotamian region believed generally that there had been a massive Flood event some time in the past, and the region apparently has had a long history of flooding, at least in the past. Even as late as Roman times, the whole earth basically meant the world that they knew – not including North and South America which they did not know.
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