People that argue a local flood are denying the Bible's account...
Why is it that phrases such as "...the flood covered the whole earth..." need to be literal, when there are numerous examples in the Bible where that phrase has to be understood in a relative sense?
Here is an excerpt from a letter to the WTS:
We well know how common it was for Bible writers to describe events from their geographic standpoint, both in the Greek and in the Hebrew scriptures.
At Colossians 1:23 Paul speaks of "that good news which YOU heard, and which was preached in all creation that is under heaven." It is acknowledged in all our publications that since this was written in c.60-61 C.E., Paul meant 'all creation under heaven' known to him at that time. Logically so, since at that time Christianity had by no means reached the Americas, the Far East, Southern Africa or Australasia.
The words at Romans 10:18, "..to the extremities of the inhabited earth...", must of course also be understood in the relative sense.
At Acts 2:5 we read "...there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, reverent men, from every nation of those under heaven." This was written in c.61 C.E. Here too, 'every nation under heaven' cannot be literal, since there were no South American, Chinese or Australian proselytes in Jerusalem at that time. Once again, 'every nation under heaven' is to be understood as a relative phrase.
At Isaiah 13:5 [concerning the Babylonians] we read that "They are coming from the land far away, from the extremity of the heavens." On a global scale, the Babylonians were not far away, they were literally next door to the Israelites! Yet, relative to the known earth of that time, they were "from the extremity of the heavens".
At Genesis 41:57 people from "all the earth" came to buy food from Joseph "because the famine had a strong grip on all the earth." Does this mean Aborigines, South American Indians and Japanese peasants also came to buy food? Of course not, that would be absurd. The famine was limited to Egypt and to the lands immediately around Egypt, like Palestine (Ge.41:54). Yet again we see how "all the earth" does not mean the entire planet, but is to be understood as the lands immediately around the Bible writer.
I'm sure you have anticipated what my primary question is.
Based on the preceding examples, why is it we understand the Flood to be global and not local? Why is it that phrases such as "...the flood covered the whole earth..." need to be literal, when there are numerous examples in the Bible where that phrase has to be understood in a relative sense?
For what reason are the words regarding "all the earth" at Genesis 6-8 to be understood differently from the words at Colossians 1:23, Romans 10:18, Acts 2:5, Isaiah 13:5, Genesis 41:57 and other like verses?
It says in the Creation book p25, par2: "When examining the Genesis account, it is helpful to keep in mind that it approaches matters from the standpoint of people on earth. So it describes events as they would have been seen by human observers". I know those words were written with the Genesis creation account in mind, but for what reason can they not apply to the Flood account?
Surely a huge local flood would also prompt expressions such as: "...I am bringing...waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active from under the heavens. Everything that is in the earth will expire." (Ge.6:17)?
Why would Jehovah expect Noah to understand those words to mean the entire globe and its life, when Noah did not even know the entire globe existed? All that existed to Noah was the visible land and its indigenous wildlife; to him that was "the earth".
In all earnestness, do you not agree that words such as the ones at Genesis 6:13, 19 and 7:4, 10, 19, 20, 21, 23 can also be understood as pertaining to a local flood?
My question then brothers is just this: if the possibility exists that the words at Genesis 6-8 can apply to a local occurrence, why do we say the Flood must have been global?________________________________
The book of Genesis states that the flood was earth wide. The Hebrew word for 'earth' is 'erets'. Other occurrences of erets include:
Exodus 9:33: this verse states that the "rain did not pour down on the earth". Here, the word earth must be understood to mean only in the area of Egypt.
2 Chronicles 36:23: here, Cyrus' empire is said to include "all the kingdoms of the earth". But surely this scripture is not meant to include empires in the Far East, Africa or in the Americas.
At other times, the word erets is not even translated as earth, making it even more obvious that the word does not necessarily imply the entire physical globe. Examples of this include:
Genesis 12:1. That reads: "Go your way out of your country...to the country that I shall show you".
Genesis 19:31: here Lot's daughter's state that there is "not a man in the land (earth, King James version) to have relations with us". Obviously, they are not referring to the entire physical globe, only the general area in which they live.
And Genesis 20:1 states "Abraham journeyed from there to the land of the Negeb".
Thus, it appears as though the word erets can be translated as earth, land or country.