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The Genesis Flood: Local or Global?

Essay by review  •  January 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,806 Words (12 Pages)  •  827 Views

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THE GENESIS FLOOD: LOCAL OR GLOBAL?

CONTENTS

Introduction ............................................................................... 3

Definition of the Hebrew Word "Erets" ............................................... 3

The Local Flood View ................................................................... 4

Global Flood View ....................................................................... 7

Conclusion ................................................................................ 10

Bibliography .............................................................................. 12

THE GENESIS FLOOD: LOCAL OR GLOBAL?

INTRODUCTION

The Genesis Flood is one of the most controversial issues in the Christendom today and "has been a subject of intense controversy and debate." The contention whether the Biblical accounts of the flood is either a Global or a Local Flood.

The Local flood view has gained popularity in the modern times and has captivated many so called "Christians" in this present generation. The contentions between the creationist movement that supported the Global deluge and the Local view have brought much confusion among the believers in the Christendom today. It also created doubts in the hearts of the people whether the biblical narrative of the flood was true or just a mythical story copied from other extra biblical sources.

The presupposition of this paper is that the Scripture is the infallible and inerrant authority over all things, henceforth; this paper seeks to examine closely the evidences presented by the so-called modern Biblical scholars of today.

This paper will focus on the argument of the Hebrew word "eretz" as the mainline argument of the local flood advocates.

DEFINITION OF THE HEBREW WORD "ERETS"

James Strong defined the Hebrew word erets as "common, country, earth, field, ground, land, ...world."

THE LOCAL FLOOD VIEW

Local Flood advocates believed that God destroyed the local inhabitants in the local geography through the deluge, saving only Noah and his family and all the animals in that area from the deluge. One of the basic arguments of the Local Flood advocates is the usage of the Hebrew phrase erets meaning "earth."

Rich Deem who was a microbiologist, claimed that one of the reasons why people tend to misinterpret the narrative is lack of understanding of the text. He claimed that "today we look at everything from a global perspective, whereas the Bible usually refers to local geography." In other words, the author of the scripture sees the world in the local realm and not the world as a whole. Charles A. Weisman intends to disproved the claims of the creationist who believes on the global deluge saying

It is the intent of this material to show that the idea of a worldwide flood is neither biblical, historical nor scientific. In this endeavour, we will need to examine exactly what is and is not being said today on this matter, and compare it to evidence derived from the Bible, science and history.

He asserted that the claims of the Creationist were unbiblical, non-historical and un-scientific. In other words, the scripture must be subjected to the so-called scientific evidences. In lieu of this, Deem strongly stresses that the word erets means only a local geography. He pointed out that Genesis 2:11, 13 proved that this word only means locality. He asserted that is a fact that the whole OT used this term in a confined geography rather than whole earth as it was used in the majority of the scriptures. He claims that

Outside Genesis one (through Genesis 2:5), the entire Genesis account through the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) specifically refers to local geography. All the place names mentioned are in the Mesopotamian flood plain. Therefore, all the instances of the word erets can and should be translated "land," instead of "earth," since it all refers to local geography. There is no reason to think that the flood account is any different from the rest of the Genesis account through chapter 11.

In other words, he acknowledged that it's only from Genesis 2:5 that this term was used to mean the local geography.

In addition, Charles A. Weisman had difficulties in believing that the people in the past have the idea of a global planet. He further brings in his recollection saying that "it was not much more than 500 years ago that people believed the 'earth' was flat." In other words, the scripture can be validated in what the majority of the people believed in. Timothy P. Martin also, claims it as a fact that Hebrew word erets was in itself used locally saying

The Hebrew word translated as "earth" in this passage is "erets." Many overlook the fact this word carries no inherent global, spherical connotation from the Hebrew. "Erets" is translated as "land" in the Old Testament over a thousand times. It is also repeatedly translated as "country" and "ground."

Deem noted that there were more scriptural examples that refer to this term in a literal localized geography. In support to their claims, they sighted several scriptural examples that use this term erits as used in the local spectrum. Weisman quoted Genesis 4:14 where Cain was driven "from the face of the earth" and argued that Cain was driven out from his land and not out of this planet. Martin also strongly argued in the light of Genesis 12:1 when the Patriarch has been told to leave the erits. He claimed that God told the patriarch to leave the erets, but He cannot possibly command him to leave the planet. Again Weisman contended that Lot's daughters used the term in geographical sense after the Sodom and Gomorrah incident. He commented that it was obvious to them that there are still men in the nearby vicinity. Moreover, Timothy Martin wisely quoted the example of Ezra where the King Cyrus declared his God given Kingdom over the whole erits. In addition, he highlighted Jeremiahs prophecy of Israel's destruction.

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