No story in the Bible has received more criticism than the story of Noah’s flood. Atheists have made it a target, hoping to capitalize on the public’s reluctance to accept the idea that God could destroy the world with water, crowd representatives from every kind of animal onto an ark, and save eight souls from the devastation.
In modern times, even Christians have grown skeptical of the Genesis account. Even the popular one-volume commentary on the Bible by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown written in 1870 questions whether the flood was global, outlining a lengthy defense of the local flood theory. Many Christians, including some prominent so-called apologists, have since jumped on board, saying God did not destroy the whole world with water, just the Mesopotamian valley where Noah’s family lived.
There is no way to reconcile the biblical record with the idea of a localized flood. First of all, why would God ask Noah to build an ark if the flood were only local? Noah could have saved time, energy, and resources by simply moving his family outside the flood’s reach.
Furthermore, the biblical account says that “all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.” This wasn’t Moses using hyperbole, for he gave details, saying the waters covered the mountaintops fifteen cubits deep! (Gen. 7:19-20).
Also, we read that “all flesh died that moved on the earth…Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark” (Gen. 7:21-23).
The rest of the Bible agrees with Genesis. Psalm 104:6 reads, “You covered [the earth] with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.” 2 Peter 3:6 says that “the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.”
There is plenty of evidence supporting the biblical record. I encourage you to examine the work of Dr. Henry Morris who has written extensively on this subject. You can also find good information online at ApologeticsPress.org.
One piece of the evidence that fascinates me are the more than 200 flood myths from all over the world that tell of a catastrophic flood that destroyed most of mankind and spared only a few people and animals.
My favorite of these legends has to be the Greek myth of Deucalion, the son of Prometheus, and his wife Pyrrha. Angered by the wickedness of man, Zeus flooded the earth for nine days and nine nights. Only Parnassus, the highest peak, was not covered by the deluge. After the flood there came drifting to that spot what looked to be a great wooden chest. Safe within it were Deucalion and Pyrrha. Prometheus had prepared them by ordering his son to build the chest, store it with provisions, and embark in it with his wife.
Zeus was not offended because the two were pious worshipers of the gods. When the two got out, they saw no sign of life anywhere. They were surrounded by dreadful loneliness. Deucalion turned to his wife and said,
O sister, wife, and only woman left,
you, whom the bonds of race and family
and our marriage bed have joined to me,
we are now joined by our common perils—for we two are the crowd that fills the lands
seen by the rising and the setting sun—
we two are all: the sea now has the others.
What are we to make of all these legends? These stories could not have been passed from civilization to civilization—they are too widespread. They were recorded long before any missionaries arrived to relate the Genesis account of Noah. The only possible explanation is that every civilization in history can be traced back to some catastrophic flood, the echoes of which survive in these tales.
You can trust the Bible, even when it relates miracles that confound the imagination. With God all things are possible, even Noah’s flood.