The Flood and the Rainbow Promise

When it comes to the Bible’s Flood account, the idea of the Ark floating on a planet totally submerged is the biggest objection people have. Usually skeptics will say that Noah’s flood was local in scope, limited to only his part of the world. However, if that were true, there would have been no need for the Ark to be constructed; Noah and his family could have simply fled on foot to another region. The reality that there was no other escape from humanity’s destruction is clear from passages before the Flood, such as Genesis 6:13 and 17, “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth…I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.’” And after the Flood, Genesis 7:23 states that “Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.”

Furthermore, Jesus spoke of mankind’s destruction in Matthew 24:38-39–“‘For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.’” The Apostle Peter repeats this concept in both of his letters; in 1 Peter 3:20, he says that “in it (the Ark) only a few people, eight in all, were saved,” and in 2 Peter 2:5, “He (God) did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others.”

But one of the best arguments against a local flood is the promise God made to Noah. Genesis 9:14-15 says, “‘Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.’” Isaiah 54:9 echoes the fact of a worldwide flood and an oath never to repeat it: “I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.” God did indeed flood the entire earth and told Noah in a covenant with the rainbow as a sign that He would never do that again. If Noah’s flood was local, this promise makes no sense; God has broken His vow countless times again and again, since local floods are a fact of life.

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