Sunday, September 09, 2007

Scriptural Evidence for a Worldwide Flood

[The following is excerpted from Donald W. Parry, "The Flood and the Tower of Babel," Ensign, Jan 1998, p.35.]

In the book of Genesis, Moses clearly states that a flood occurred, and the terminology definitely refers to a worldwide flood, as opposed to a localized flood. The Joseph Smith Translation backs up the Genesis account, modifying the wording only slightly.

Said the Lord, "I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die" (Gen. 6:17; emphasis added in this and other scriptures in this article). The phrases "all flesh … from under heaven" and "every thing that is in the earth" indicate a worldwide destruction of all creatures that lived on land. Note that the Inspired Version, translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, changes "in the earth" to "on the earth" (JST, Gen. 8:22).

Genesis 7:19–20 [Gen. 7:19–20] states, "All the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered … ; and the mountains were covered." These verses explicitly state that all of earth's high mountains ("hills" should read "mountains" here; Hebrew harim) were covered by the waters. Lest one believe that the statement "under the whole heaven" is figurative and can be read or interpreted in different ways, a scriptural search through the entire Old Testament reveals that the phrase is used elsewhere only in a universal sense, as it is here; the phrase does not refer to a geographically restricted area (see Deut. 2:25; Deut. 4:19; Job 28:24; Job 37:3; Dan. 9:12). For instance, Job 28:24 also uses the phrase when referring to God's omniscience, which is certainly not restricted to a specific geographical region on the earth.

Genesis 7:21 [Gen. 7:21] states, "All flesh died that moved upon the earth, … every creeping thing … every man." The phrase "all flesh" refers to all land animals, creeping things, and fowls and all of humanity, with the exception of those in the ark (see Gen. 7:23). The entry every in the Oxford American Dictionary reads: "each single one, without exception." Moses is clearly trying to let us understand that the Flood was universal.

Verse 22 [Gen. 7:22] states, "All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died." Again the term "all" expresses a sum total. The term "dry land" should be read literally here, having reference to the land masses of our planet.

Verse 23 [Gen. 7:23] states, "Every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl." Moses' list of those destroyed by the Flood is inclusive; only Noah "remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."

Genesis 8:5 [Gen. 8:5] states, "In the tenth month … were the tops of the mountains seen." After the flood, the "waters decreased" until Noah and his group were able to once again see mountaintops.

Verse 9 states, "The waters were on the face of the whole earth." The phrase "on the face of the whole earth" refers to a worldwide flood (see Gen. 1:29; Gen. 11:4, 8, 9).

Modern prophets have also taught that the Flood was worldwide (see, for example, Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:319).

Taken altogether, these statements should convince every believer in the Bible that the great Deluge was a worldwide event, not a localized flood that filled only the Mesopotamian or some other region.

[The above is excerpted from Donald W. Parry, "The Flood and the Tower of Babel," Ensign, Jan 1998, p.35.]


Anonymous WebWombat said...

And overwhelming geological evidence means?

9/10/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

It means (to quote a respected figure from days gone by):

"We have all grown up in a world nurtured on the comfortable Victorian doctrine of uniformitarianism, the idea that what happens in this world is all just more of the same: what lies ahead is pretty much what lies behind, for the same forces that are at work on the earth today were at work in the same manner, with the same intensity and the same effects, at all times past and will go on operating inexorably and irresistibly in just the same way forever hereafter. There is no real cause for alarm in a world where everything is under control beneath the watchful eye of science as evolution takes its undeviating forward course, steady, sure, reliable, imperceptibly slow and gentle, and gratifyingly predictable." (Hugh Nibley, New Era, Sept. 1973, p.38.)

9/10/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger BrianJ said...

"...undeviating forward course, steady, sure, reliable, imperceptibly slow and gentle, and gratifyingly predictable."

It's sort of off-topic, but I'm not aware of any evolutionary scientist that would use the words "steady" or "predictable" to describe evolution. Of course, that minor error on Nibley's part surely doesn't ruin his while argument---though I confess that I don't have any idea what his argument is.

9/10/2007 09:15:00 PM  

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