It’s actually not difficult to argue for a local-regional flood from the biblical text. In what follows I’ll show you how. My purpose is to say that, if a global flood really is geologically denied or impossible, you really don’t need to care with respect to biblical accuracy. The biblical text can indeed sustain a local-regional flood. Another purpose is to promote debate via inspection of the text, as opposed to pejorative or ad hominem attacks (i.e., promote charity among those who disagree). As you’ve heard me say many times on the podcast or elsewhere, we should care only about what the biblical text can sustain, not what tradition says. That means the task of both sides to read the text closely and think carefully about it. What follows is how a local-regional flood theorist would do that.
To begin, the argument / approach would go this way in a nutshell:
Demonstrating that the word “all” (כֹּל / kōl) doesn’t solve anything. Rather, it begs an obvious question: “all of what?” The same goes for words like “mountain” (הַר; har). What we think of as a mountain may not be what the word must mean. And let’s include the word translated “earth” in the flood account. It’s the frequently-found ʾerets (אֶרֶץ), which often means some point or piece of land.
Demonstrating that phrases like “all flesh” or “all humankind” or “the whole heavens” (all of which use kōl + noun) do not speak of exhaustive totality in various places in the Bible. Once that is known, you’d ask a simple question: are we justified in taking the “less than exhaustive totality” meaning back to Genesis 6-8 and interpreting the flood event accordingly — an event that did not cover the earth in exhaustive totality?
Supporting a “yes” answer to the above via context. Context in this case means interpreting Gen 6-8 in light of the known world at the time, described in Genesis 10. That also produces a question: Is there a textual way to connect Genesis 10, the nations that extend from the sons of Noah, to the flood account?…
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