aChristian and Faithful believe that the Bible speaks of a local flood, a flood over what they call the “land of Noah,” not a global flood. There is much evidence against this, not the least of which is the fact that the Genesis author gives not the slightest hint that the flood was local.
The only “evidence” they’ve been able to come up with is the statement by the writer in 2 Peter that “Noah was a preacher of righteousness,” and from this they jump to the conclusion that the writer was referring to preaching Noah did before the flood, rather than after, and they furthermore assume that if Noah preached before the flood then that preaching Noah did must have included admonitions to repent.
Next, aChristian and Faithful assume that if it’s true that Noah wanted the sinners to repent, then it was God’s will that he do so. Then, they assume that if God wanted them to repent, it must have been so he could forgive them and remove the death penalty he levied against them, and invite them to come to the saving ark. Thus, these fellows layer one unsupported assumption over another, and another, and another, and another, to get from Peter's "preacher of righteousness" to a local flood. aChristian and Faithful think that God left it for them to unravel this puzzle and discover his true will.
Now, if it’s true that God would have rescinded his death penalty, they argue, then it must have been true that God would have planned to have space for the sinners on the ark, just in case they did repent. That’s why God ordered Noah to build an extra-large ark, they think. They never explain why God, who inspired his Bible writers to record the Word of God, never had even one of his writers say a word about how he had really hoped to restart civilization with hordes of repentant sinners
Besides the fact that the plainest and simplest reading of Genesis would tell any intelligent person that the writer wanted us to know that the flood was over the entire globe, and not local, what other evidence do we have that the flood was global?
The other evidence is found in 2 Peter, in which the writer speaks of the “ancient world” not being spared by the flood:
God …did not spare the ancient world [kosmos] when he brought the flood on its ungodly people (2 Peter 2:5)
Who on this list seriously believes that “ancient world” the writer referred to was not really the “ancient world,” but actually the “ancient land of Noah”? Do you, aChristian? Do you, Faithful?
Consider also the passage below, in which the “world of that time” was flooded and destroyed:
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world [kosmos]of that time was deluged and destroyed. (2 Peter 3:5)
How is it possible that the writer above meant for his readers to believe that “the world of that time” was not the whole world, but instead was just the “land of Noah”? Wasn’t this writer inspired by God to write the Word of God? If so, then God would have guided the writing of this passage, and God is smart enough to know that intelligent readers would surely believe that the writer was not talking about a local flood. Knowing this, God would never have let the passage be written like this, would he? Thus, it must
be true that if the writer was inspired by God, then the writer must have wanted us to know that the “world of that time” was the whole world.
The word used in the passages above for “world” is kosmos, which appears 187 times in the New Testament. The word kosmos, is not used to represent a local area even once in those 187 occurrences. One can use the concordance in the Blue Letter Bible to confirm this: just enter the verse 2 Peter 2:5, and click on “C” for concordance, then look for the word “kosmos” (world), and click on the Strongs Number (it’s 2889) to see all 187 occurrences of the word.
I’ll cite below just a few of the examples of the use of the word kosmos.
the Christ, the Saviour of the world [kosmos]. (John 4:42)
I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world [kosmos]. (Matthew 13:35)
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world [kosmos], and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26)
Now, if aChristian and Faithful want us to believe that the writer of 2 Peter 2:5 and 2 Peter 3:5 wanted us to think that “world” ( kosmos
) really meant “land of Noah,” then why won’t they explain why he used a word which everywhere else
in the Bible means the “whole world”?
Can they find a single example among the 187 of the use of the word kosmos to mean a local area? If they cannot, why won't they admit that the kosmos the writer in 2 Peter 2:5 and 3:5 was referring to--the one which suffered the deluge--was the "whole world"?
Why, also, won’t aChristian and Faithful explain to us why not one single one of the Bible writers were guided by God to explain to Bible readers that the flood was only over the “land of Noah,” and that God really did plan to fill the ark with repentant sinners?
Finally, why won’t aChristian and Faithful explain why not one single Bible writer told us that the vast ark was mostly empty, because only local animals were on board, and all of the sinners God had hoped would repent, didn’t? How come God didn’t have at least one of his Bible writers tell us this--if that’s really what happened?
Joseph F. Alward
"Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"