Reference: Flood, The
This judgement of God upon the earth, when the whole world had become corrupt before Him, has often been thought to be a subject full of difficulties, the principal of which it may be well to consider. First, as to its extent, was the flood universal? Language can scarcely be more explicit than is the scripture on this point. We read that "all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed . . . . and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." Ge 7:19-23. After the flood God said He would not any more smite 'every thing living,' as He had done, Ge 8:21; "neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." Ge 9:11: cf. also 2Pe 2:5; 3:6-7. Words cannot be plainer than the above to signify a universal deluge: the world that then was is distinguished from the earth that now is, and it is easy for faith to accept God's statement. It was a miracle, and it would require as great a miracle to cover all the high hills in one district only, without the water flowing to other parts, as to submerge the whole earth. The quantity of water required to cover the whole earth could easily be formed by God the Creator of all things, and be dispersed into its elements afterwards.
It has often been contended that as man only was the guilty creature, the destruction of all mankind would have entirely met the case. It might have been thus if God had so pleased, but He has taken pains to tell us that all cattle, beasts, and creeping things were destroyed; and we must believe Him. Man was the head of creation, and all was involved in the consequences of his sin, and there must be a new start under the figure of the death and resurrection of Noah in the ark. God commenced a new economy as to the earth, in connection with the sweet savour of Noah's sacrifice. The flood was about 1700 years after the creation of Adam, and it is impossible to say how many millions of people there were on the earth at the time, or how far they had been dispersed.
Another difficulty felt is as to the great number of species being all preserved in the ark, such, it is said, as 1500 mammalia, 6000 species of birds, and some hundreds of thousands of reptiles and insects! It is very probable that at that time a great many of these did not exist. God fore-knew that the flood would sweep away the great bulk of them, and He could have restrained the forming of species, and have kept them to a comparatively few genera. Compare the statement that 'every living creature' was brought to Adam to be named. All the original generic types then existing were gathered into the ark, from which the species, under many varying circumstances, may have greatly increased. This would be from natural causes, as has been known to have been the case, without in anyway agreeing with or falling under the modern theory of evolution. The clean animals were doubtless only four in number: the ox, the sheep, the goat, and the pigeon