Should The Biblical Flood Story Be Taken Literally?

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WinePusher

Should The Biblical Flood Story Be Taken Literally?

Post #1

Post by WinePusher »

As otseng suggested, I am creating a thread to further discuss the topic of the Biblical Flood story. Both otseng and I are Christians, however I do not think that the flood story should be interpreted literally. So, in this debate, I will affirm the negative, that the flood story in the Bible is not literally.

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Post #11

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote:
otseng wrote:But, even if it was a flood that covered as far as the eye can see that lasted for over a year, that would be quite a spectacular flood. How can you explain how such a flood can occur?
I'm afraid I can't address the meterological aspects of that question.
However, for a global flood, I do have an explanation (and there's no need to simply invoke "God did it" either). So, if you do not have an explanation for a local flood and I do have an explanation for a global flood, the global flood interpretation would be more tenable.
otseng wrote:Who would have been the flood eyewitness?
Assuming a local flood occured, people who survived it would have carried it out by oral tradition until it was written down. There was no single eyewitness.
How do you know there were multiple eyewitnesses (outside of those that survived in the ark)?
Assuming a global flood occured, would you ssay that Noah wrote it? Or that God reveled it to Moses?
The flood narrative was passed down orally starting with Noah and his descendents.
1) The author probably thought the entire earth was flooded because he saw water covering the entire ladn around him.
otseng wrote:Who was the author?
The Jawist source.
Are you saying the Jawist source was an eyewitness of the flood?
WinePusher wrote:But the difference is that his conception of the world would have been drastically different then ours, he would have viewed it as a flat surface while we would view it as round planet.
otseng wrote:I would not necessarily agree with that since nowhere is it explicitly stated in the Bible that the world is flat.
Well, that mutually hurts both our points. No where is it explicitly stated that the earth was round.
However, I'm not arguing whether the earth was thought to be spherical or flat. So, I don't see how it hurts my point.
otseng wrote:But, though man might have a limited view of the Earth, God would not. So, why would God have stated in Gen 6:7 to destroy things that He "created from the face of the earth"? This would indicate that all the world would've been flooded and not just part of the world.
That is very true, but we are arguing in secular terms.
Since you stated "I accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, I accept the Bible as my primary source of Dogma and truth, and I accept the Bible as a God-Inspired document." we are not debating on a secular level, but we are assuming that the Bible can be used as an inerrant primary document.

So, you cannot simply dismiss what the Bible states out of convenience. If you are going to accept that the Bible is inerrant, then you need to have a position that is consistent with what the Bible says. And saying that the flood was local would not be consistent with Gen 6:7.
This is similar to when to the "God Did It" explanation, I certainly believe that God could cast a global flood down on the earth if he wished, but that is the fundamentalist drug of biblical studies.
Actually, when I debate non-Christians on the flood, I never invoke "God did it". And I only present non-Biblical empirical evidence to support my position.
When faced with a historical problem, the fundamentalist appeals to revelation and scriptural authority, and the inquiry stops.
It's not really a historical problem for me, but is quite consistent with natural and Biblical evidence.
So you would also agree that the flood tale (if one actually occured) would have to be carried on orally since the only written history we have goes back as far as 3500BC.
I would say that most likely the narrative was passed down orally for some time. As for the length of time, I cannot give a number.
WinePusher wrote:-How would Noah and his family had gotten food?
otseng wrote:Do you mean while on the ark or after the flood?
Both.
They brought food along with them in the ark. And after the flood, the vegetation grew back. Vegetation even started to grow back before they left the ark.

Gen 8:11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth [was] an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
otseng wrote:Do you believe that Noah existed or not?
No, I don't believe he existed. Do you believe that he existed?
Of course I believe he existed since I interpret the text literally.

If Noah did not exist, what/who was he? What does Noah refer to in Gen 5-10 then?
There are huge similarities between the two stories, as noted in this Christian Website. Let me say that I agree with their conclusion.
The Sumerians were not the only civilization to have a flood story. There are many cultures that has a flood story.

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Post #12

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote:
otseng wrote:
WinePusher wrote:
otseng wrote:
WinePusher wrote: However, I do not accept the fundamentalist biblical interpretation that every single story in the Bible is meant to be taken literally.
How exactly do you interpret the flood narrative? Do you believe that the flood was local? Do you believe that Noah actually existed? Or do you believe the entire story was made-up?
Well, I believe that the flood narrative is partly fiction and partly true.
Exactly what parts would be true and what parts would be fiction? How did you decide what is true or false?
-The extraordinary measure of the claim/story. If the story is very extraordinary, then it is probably metaphorical.
-The weight it holds on the Christian Faith. For example, the resurrection is just as extraordinary a claim as the global flood story, but Christianity is based on the resurrection story and not the global flood story. The resurrection holds more wieght and meaning.
I believe the resurrection was more extraordinary than the flood since I do not have a natural explanation for the resurrection, but I do have one for a global flood.

And if being extraordinary is one of your criteria, then as you stated, it is in conflict with your criteria that extraordinary claims are exempt if it is important to one's theological position.

What is important for me is that a position be consistent. It must be consistent with Biblical, natural evidence, and logic. If it is not consistent, then the position is dubious.
-If the story can be attested to with some outside reference and objective evidence. Jesus' life, and his resurrection can. The global flood story, for the most part, cannot. The only extra-biblical references to teh flood is the Gilgamesh Epic, which is also considered mythical.
As I stated above, there are numerous non-Biblical references to a major flood from many cultures.

Since you claim that the story is mythical, you need to be explicit about this. Exactly which parts of the Biblical flood story is fictional and which is true?

WinePusher

Post #13

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:I'm afraid I can't address the meterological aspects of that question.
otseng wrote:However, for a global flood, I do have an explanation (and there's no need to simply invoke "God did it" either). So, if you do not have an explanation for a local flood and I do have an explanation for a global flood, the global flood interpretation would be more tenable.
Well, like I said earlier: heavy rainfall combined with the flooding of the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris river could account for a massive localized flood in that region. It might be scientifically improbable, but it carries more probability then water erupting spontaneously from Subterrean water chambers.
WinePusher wrote:Assuming a local flood occured, people who survived it would have carried it out by oral tradition until it was written down. There was no single eyewitness.
otseng wrote:How do you know there were multiple eyewitnesses (outside of those that survived in the ark)?
If you assume the flood story to be true, then there would be no multiple eyewitnesses other then Noah and his family. But, assuming a local flood, not all of mankind would die in it. So, the only logical deduction from that premise is that some people survived it.
otseng wrote:Who was the author?
WinePusher wrote:The Jawist source.
otseng wrote:Are you saying the Jawist source was an eyewitness of the flood?
No, I'm saying that no eyewitness actually wrote it down. It was passed along through oral tradition until it was penned down by a writer who wrote from knowledge of hearsay.

You said that Noah would have passed it along orally with his discendents, yes? Well, that would also imply the same thing, that it was penned down by a person who was not an eyewitness.
otseng wrote:I would not necessarily agree with that since nowhere is it explicitly stated in the Bible that the world is flat.
WinePusher wrote:Well, that mutually hurts both our points. No where is it explicitly stated that the earth was round.
otseng wrote:However, I'm not arguing whether the earth was thought to be spherical or flat. So, I don't see how it hurts my point.
-The story claims a global flood occured.
-The hebrew conception of earth was a flat surface.

So, are you saying that Noah (if he existed) would have diverted away from the flat earth train of thought and had some secret knowledge of a round earth. Because you saying that the flood was global and literal presumes the unproven premise that Noah was aware of a round earth.
otseng wrote:But, though man might have a limited view of the Earth, God would not. So, why would God have stated in Gen 6:7 to destroy things that He "created from the face of the earth"? This would indicate that all the world would've been flooded and not just part of the world.
WinePusher wrote:That is very true, but we are arguing in secular terms.
otseng wrote:Since you stated "I accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, I accept the Bible as my primary source of Dogma and truth, and I accept the Bible as a God-Inspired document." we are not debating on a secular level, but we are assuming that the Bible can be used as an inerrant primary document.
Ok, but if you assume that the bible is inerrant in this area, and in order to be consistent, you would also have to assume that the Bible is inerrant in all other claims of history and science. I don't believe the Bible is inerrant in these two fields, I simply believe that it is inerrant in the area of doctrine and theology.
otseng wrote:So, you cannot simply dismiss what the Bible states out of convenience. If you are going to accept that the Bible is inerrant, then you need to have a position that is consistent with what the Bible says. And saying that the flood was local would not be consistent with Gen 6:7.
Our definitions of inerrant differ. I do not think the Bible is inerrant in the area of history and science. It would be anti-intellectual, IMO, to say that the Bible is completly inerrant and error free in its history and science accounts when it was a man made document. Inspiration doesn't simply mean God dictated every single word to the human author.
WinePusher wrote:]This is similar to when to the "God Did It" explanation, I certainly believe that God could cast a global flood down on the earth if he wished, but that is the fundamentalist drug of biblical studies.
otseng wrote:Actually, when I debate non-Christians on the flood, I never invoke "God did it". And I only present non-Biblical empirical evidence to support my position.
I know, I wasn't accusing you of doing that.
WinePusher wrote:-How would Noah and his family had gotten food?
otseng wrote:Do you mean while on the ark or after the flood?
WinePusher wrote:Both.
otseng wrote:They brought food along with them in the ark. And after the flood, the vegetation grew back. Vegetation even started to grow back before they left the ark.

Gen 8:11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth [was] an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
Ok, I'm willing to accept this explanation. This leads me to a further point, do you claim that every single birth by Noah, his family, and the two animals were successful. Miscarriages exist, and so do disese and illness, anyone of these things could have killed Noah and his family and therefore prevented manking from re-populating.
WinePusher wrote:No, I don't believe he existed. Do you believe that he existed?
otseng wrote:Of course I believe he existed since I interpret the text literally.
Well, are there any other sources mention Noah other then the Bible?
otseng wrote:If Noah did not exist, what/who was he? What does Noah refer to in Gen 5-10 then?
A character made up to fit the fictional allegory.
WinePusher wrote:There are huge similarities between the two stories, as noted in this Christian Website. Let me say that I agree with their conclusion.
otseng wrote:The Sumerians were not the only civilization to have a flood story. There are many cultures that has a flood story.

Image
http://www.nwcreation.net/noahlegends.html
Ok, I think that an abundance of ancient flood stories is good evidence for a global flood. However, since many of these stories stray away from the original (Noah and the God Elohim) would it be appropriate to suggest that the Flood story was misconstrued over the years it was passed down to involve different Gods and different scenarios?

WinePusher

Post #14

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:-The extraordinary measure of the claim/story. If the story is very extraordinary, then it is probably metaphorical.
-The weight it holds on the Christian Faith. For example, the resurrection is just as extraordinary a claim as the global flood story, but Christianity is based on the resurrection story and not the global flood story. The resurrection holds more wieght and meaning.
otseng wrote:I believe the resurrection was more extraordinary than the flood since I do not have a natural explanation for the resurrection, but I do have one for a global flood.
But you assume your natural explanation for the Flood is viable. Also, does not producing a natural explanation for the flood downplay the miraculous nature of it? I could try to develop an argument that accounts for Jesus' resurrection in natural terms, but then that denegrates the miraculous nature of the resurrection.
otseng wrote:And if being extraordinary is one of your criteria, then as you stated, it is in conflict with your criteria that extraordinary claims are exempt if it is important to one's theological position.
I don't see how, and maybe I ordered it wrong. The importance of the event to the Christian faith would be my first factor in determining whether it is literal, then the extraordinary measure of the claim should taken. As for the resurrection in comparison to the Flood, would you agree that there is much more evidence for the first then the latter?
otseng wrote:What is important for me is that a position be consistent. It must be consistent with Biblical, natural evidence, and logic. If it is not consistent, then the position is dubious.
Let's look at my criteria for a moment. The flood qualifies as a extraordinary story, and I will admit that there is extra-biblical evidence for a flood (not the Noah story) but what weight does it carry on the Christian religion. My faith does not rest upon a Global Flood, but rather Jesus' resurrection.

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Post #15

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote: Well, like I said earlier: heavy rainfall combined with the flooding of the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris river could account for a massive localized flood in that region. It might be scientifically improbable, but it carries more probability then water erupting spontaneously from Subterrean water chambers.
How large of a localized flood do you think occurred?
If you assume the flood story to be true, then there would be no multiple eyewitnesses other then Noah and his family.
Correct.
But, assuming a local flood, not all of mankind would die in it.
And if it was localized, not all mankind would even know about it. And I would add that they would not really even care about it.
So, are you saying that Noah (if he existed) would have diverted away from the flat earth train of thought and had some secret knowledge of a round earth. Because you saying that the flood was global and literal presumes the unproven premise that Noah was aware of a round earth.
First off, you do not know if Noah thought the Earth was flat. And as I've mentioned, Gen 6:7 is evidence that the flood was global in nature. So, there is no need to invoke "secret" knowledge on my part. Rather, your assumptions that Noah thought the Earth was flat and that the flood was local are what is missing from scripture.
Ok, but if you assume that the bible is inerrant in this area, and in order to be consistent, you would also have to assume that the Bible is inerrant in all other claims of history and science. I don't believe the Bible is inerrant in these two fields, I simply believe that it is inerrant in the area of doctrine and theology.
Actually, I have not claimed anywhere that the Bible is inerrant (in this or any thread). Only you have made that claim. So, I'm simply applying your own standard to your arguments.

And this would be special pleading again. You stated on the outset, "First, let me preface all this by saying I am not a liberal Christian, and I oppose many aspects of liberal christianity. I accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, I accept the Bible as my primary source of Dogma and truth, and I accept the Bible as a God-Inspired document." You did not originally state that inerrancy only applies to areas of doctrine and theology.
Our definitions of inerrant differ.
What is your definition of inerrancy?
This leads me to a further point, do you claim that every single birth by Noah, his family, and the two animals were successful. Miscarriages exist, and so do disese and illness, anyone of these things could have killed Noah and his family and therefore prevented manking from re-populating.
It's not like miscarriages happen all the time. And a single miscarriage does not mean no more possibility of children later. Same with diseases and illnesses.
Well, are there any other sources mention Noah other then the Bible?
Since you accept the Bible as authoritative, there's no need for us to look for Noah outside the Bible. But, yes, there are sources outside the Bible that mention Noah (and/or his children).

What about other figures in the Bible (such as Abraham, Moses, Samson, David), do you believe they were real?
Ok, I think that an abundance of ancient flood stories is good evidence for a global flood.
Good, progress!
However, since many of these stories stray away from the original (Noah and the God Elohim) would it be appropriate to suggest that the Flood story was misconstrued over the years it was passed down to involve different Gods and different scenarios?
I think the most likely explanation is that a global flood actually occurred. And that the Biblical account is the most accurate.

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Post #16

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote:But you assume your natural explanation for the Flood is viable.
Well, I'm not simply assuming that my explanation is viable, but I have evidence and logical reasoning to support it. Though I would admit that I cannot conclusively prove that it is true, I see it as a very viable explanation.
Also, does not producing a natural explanation for the flood downplay the miraculous nature of it?
I don't see your point. Are you claiming the flood was miraculous?
I could try to develop an argument that accounts for Jesus' resurrection in natural terms, but then that denegrates the miraculous nature of the resurrection.
And there has been many attempts to explain Jesus' resurrection in natural terms, but none are persuasive.
As for the resurrection in comparison to the Flood, would you agree that there is much more evidence for the first then the latter?
Actually, I disagree. If the flood was global, you would see evidence of it all around the world (geologic features, fossils, canyons, mountains, erosion patterns, rock stratas, pretty much any area of geology would be affected). For the resurrection, it would be very specific evidence (some books of the Bible and some extra-Biblical documents).
Let's look at my criteria for a moment. The flood qualifies as a extraordinary story, and I will admit that there is extra-biblical evidence for a flood (not the Noah story) but what weight does it carry on the Christian religion. My faith does not rest upon a Global Flood, but rather Jesus' resurrection.
Your criteria is consistent in that if it's important to salvation, then it should be accepted as literal. What I'm pointing out is that you said if something is extraordinary, then it should be symbolic. Now, even if you reverse the order, there is another inconsistency. Since you accept that Jesus' resurrection was extraordinary, then you must accept that God is capable of doing extraordinary things. So, if God can resurrect Jesus (which has no natural explanation), certainly God can also create a global flood (which would then not require a natural explanation).

Also, you seem to be avoiding my question - exactly which parts of the Biblical flood story is fictional and which is true?

WinePusher

Post #17

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:Well, like I said earlier: heavy rainfall combined with the flooding of the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris river could account for a massive localized flood in that region. It might be scientifically improbable, but it carries more probability then water erupting spontaneously from Subterrean water chambers.
otseng wrote:How large of a localized flood do you think occurred?


I do not know the specifics. But since it was recorded in many ancient tales it must have been quite large. In informal terms, perhaps the size of the region west of the Jordan River.
WinePusher wrote:But, assuming a local flood, not all of mankind would die in it.
otseng wrote:And if it was localized, not all mankind would even know about it. And I would add that they would not really even care about it.
You're in error here. The cultures that have flood stories are mostly middle-eastern cultures (such as the Jews, the Sumerians and so on) and they recorded it and "cared" about it because it had an effect of some sort on their history. Katrina was a local flood, but all of this region knows about it. I don't see why we should exclude the flood story from this same standard.
WinePusher wrote:So, are you saying that Noah (if he existed) would have diverted away from the flat earth train of thought and had some secret knowledge of a round earth. Because you saying that the flood was global and literal presumes the unproven premise that Noah was aware of a round earth.
otseng wrote:First off, you do not know if Noah thought the Earth was flat. And as I've mentioned, Gen 6:7 is evidence that the flood was global in nature. So, there is no need to invoke "secret" knowledge on my part. Rather, your assumptions that Noah thought the Earth was flat and that the flood was local are what is missing from scripture.
Gen 6:7 simply makes reference to the "face of the earth." How do you infer from this that the earth was global? That conclusion does not follow.

And like I said in my beginning post, the hebrew conception of the earth was a flat surface. Are you saying Noah would have diverted away from this conception?
otseng wrote:And this would be special pleading again. You stated on the outset, "First, let me preface all this by saying I am not a liberal Christian, and I oppose many aspects of liberal christianity. I accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, I accept the Bible as my primary source of Dogma and truth, and I accept the Bible as a God-Inspired document." You did not originally state that inerrancy only applies to areas of doctrine and theology.
I also stated after that I don't interpret the Bible literally, but I should have been more clear.

If you're suggesting we take the flood story literally, should we not also take every part of the Bible literally as well? Such as many of the laws in Leviticus or Deuteronomy? I mean, where's the line in all of this, do you also believe Adam and Eve were real people, and an exact 6 days of creation?
WinePusher wrote:Our definitions of inerrant differ.
otseng wrote:What is your definition of inerrancy?
To be without error. However, I apply this definition only to the theological aspects of the Bible. If you would apply an "error free" standard to the historical nature of the Bible, wouldn't you have many contradictions? Such as two creation stories, two accounts of Sauls death, and so on.
WinePusher wrote:Well, are there any other sources mention Noah other then the Bible?
otseng wrote:Since you accept the Bible as authoritative, there's no need for us to look for Noah outside the Bible. But, yes, there are sources outside the Bible that mention Noah (and/or his children).

What about other figures in the Bible (such as Abraham, Moses, Samson, David), do you believe they were real?
Yes, I believe Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David were real. The difference between these people and Noah is the contextual story they are in. Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David all play crucial parts in different eras of Israelite history, however Noah is simply refered to as a righteous man who is found in a flood tale.
WinePusher wrote:However, since many of these stories stray away from the original (Noah and the God Elohim) would it be appropriate to suggest that the Flood story was misconstrued over the years it was passed down to involve different Gods and different scenarios?
otseng wrote:I think the most likely explanation is that a global flood actually occurred. And that the Biblical account is the most accurate.
I haven't done the research yet, but in order for this to be true the Biblical flood account would have to predate the others, yes?

WinePusher

Post #18

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:Also, does not producing a natural explanation for the flood downplay the miraculous nature of it?
otseng wrote:I don't see your point. Are you claiming the flood was miraculous?
I'm saying that if a global flood did occur, it would considered a miracle, yes? And miracles violate the known laws of nature, but when you try to produce a natural explanation for it, doesn't it cancel out the miraculous nature of it? Why attribute this story to God if it can be accounted for in natural terms?
WinePusher wrote:As for the resurrection in comparison to the Flood, would you agree that there is much more evidence for the first then the latter?
otseng wrote:Actually, I disagree. If the flood was global, you would see evidence of it all around the world (geologic features, fossils, canyons, mountains, erosion patterns, rock stratas, pretty much any area of geology would be affected). For the resurrection, it would be very specific evidence (some books of the Bible and some extra-Biblical documents).
I understand your point, but the flaw is that you're plugging these global geological features with an inprobable explanation.

Many resurrection apologists go about defense by showing the facts, and arguing that the resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts. In the same way you begin by listing the facts (in this case geological facts) and explain them with a global flood. The methdology is the same.

However, the difference is that the opposing explanations to the facts surrounding the resurrection frail in comparison to the explanation that the resurrection actually happened. Can the ssame be said about the global flood? Does the explanation of a global flood best account for all these geological feature better then some rival explanation?
WinePusher wrote:Let's look at my criteria for a moment. The flood qualifies as a extraordinary story, and I will admit that there is extra-biblical evidence for a flood (not the Noah story) but what weight does it carry on the Christian religion. My faith does not rest upon a Global Flood, but rather Jesus' resurrection.
otseng wrote:Your criteria is consistent in that if it's important to salvation, then it should be accepted as literal. What I'm pointing out is that you said if something is extraordinary, then it should be symbolic. Now, even if you reverse the order, there is another inconsistency. Since you accept that Jesus' resurrection was extraordinary, then you must accept that God is capable of doing extraordinary things. So, if God can resurrect Jesus (which has no natural explanation), certainly God can also create a global flood (which would then not require a natural explanation).
Sure, of couse God is able to do extraordinary things. And God could create a global flood, I'm not saying that he couldn't. My objection (at its root) lies in whether it should be taken as a literal occurence, not the capability of God's power. Can you give some exact reasons why Christians should take the flood tory literally?
otseng wrote:Also, you seem to be avoiding my question - exactly which parts of the Biblical flood story is fictional and which is true?
I thought I already did.

I don't believe that the character Noah existed, I don't believe it was global, and I don't believe it was exactly for 40 days. I believe that a local flood happened for a long period of time that is equivalent to 40 days. Remember that the number 40 is used in the Bible to represent long periods of time, it does not neccesarily mean and exact 40 days.

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Post #19

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote:
WinePusher wrote:Also, does not producing a natural explanation for the flood downplay the miraculous nature of it?
otseng wrote:I don't see your point. Are you claiming the flood was miraculous?
I'm saying that if a global flood did occur, it would considered a miracle, yes? And miracles violate the known laws of nature, but when you try to produce a natural explanation for it, doesn't it cancel out the miraculous nature of it? Why attribute this story to God if it can be accounted for in natural terms?
Like I said before, I do have a natural explanation for it. And no laws of nature were violated during the flood. And you, do you consider the flood miraculous?
I understand your point, but the flaw is that you're plugging these global geological features with an inprobable explanation.
You're assuming it's an improbable explanation. After studying and debating this for awhile, I find it to be a very tenable explanation.
Many resurrection apologists go about defense by showing the facts, and arguing that the resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts. In the same way you begin by listing the facts (in this case geological facts) and explain them with a global flood. The methdology is the same.
I wouldn't argue that the methodology is the same in that one tries to find the best explanation given the evidence.
Can the ssame be said about the global flood? Does the explanation of a global flood best account for all these geological feature better then some rival explanation?
Yes. And it is also the most parsimonious in that many geologic features can be accounted for by one mechanism. Unlike the alternatives which require many different (and sometimes unknown) explanations.
Sure, of couse God is able to do extraordinary things. And God could create a global flood, I'm not saying that he couldn't. My objection (at its root) lies in whether it should be taken as a literal occurence, not the capability of God's power.
Then extraordinariness should not be a factor in determining if something is literal or not. If you allow for one to be possible, then all can just as likely be possible. If you appeal to God to explain one, then why should God be limited with the others?
Can you give some exact reasons why Christians should take the flood tory literally?
The Bible and nature both provide plenty of evidence. In several other threads, I've covered the natural evidence. Instead of going over those again (which would take forever), I'd like to concentrate on the Biblical evidence (since you're the first one I've debated on the flood that accepts the Bible as authoritative).
otseng wrote:Also, you seem to be avoiding my question - exactly which parts of the Biblical flood story is fictional and which is true?
I thought I already did.

I don't believe that the character Noah existed, I don't believe it was global, and I don't believe it was exactly for 40 days. I believe that a local flood happened for a long period of time that is equivalent to 40 days. Remember that the number 40 is used in the Bible to represent long periods of time, it does not neccesarily mean and exact 40 days.
The flood didn't only last 40 days, it only rained for 40 days. If it represents a long period of time, then exactly how long did it rain? And if the flood actually lasted longer than how long it rained, how long did the flood exactly last?

And what about these? Are these parts fictional or real?
Sons of Noah
Ark
Animals on ark
God wanted to wipe out all humanity
Mountains were covered with water
Dating of all the events
Sign of the rainbow

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otseng
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Post #20

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote:
WinePusher wrote:Well, like I said earlier: heavy rainfall combined with the flooding of the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris river could account for a massive localized flood in that region. It might be scientifically improbable, but it carries more probability then water erupting spontaneously from Subterrean water chambers.
otseng wrote:How large of a localized flood do you think occurred?


I do not know the specifics. But since it was recorded in many ancient tales it must have been quite large. In informal terms, perhaps the size of the region west of the Jordan River.
If it did not extend very far (at most hundreds of miles), why would God need to instruct Noah to build an ark to save himself and all the animals?
WinePusher wrote:But, assuming a local flood, not all of mankind would die in it.
Which would be in contrast to what the Bible states.
otseng wrote:And if it was localized, not all mankind would even know about it. And I would add that they would not really even care about it.
You're in error here. The cultures that have flood stories are mostly middle-eastern cultures (such as the Jews, the Sumerians and so on) and they recorded it and "cared" about it because it had an effect of some sort on their history. Katrina was a local flood, but all of this region knows about it. I don't see why we should exclude the flood story from this same standard.
The whole world is not going to mythologize the Katrina flood. And suppose the Internet, email, phone, and even letters did not exist (which would be the case thousands of years ago). How would other regions of the world even know about Katrina? And if they did, why would they care enough to incorporate it into their own legends?

Also I've also demonstrated earlier that many cultures around the world have flood stories. It is not limited to the Middle East.

Here is another list of flood stories. As it states "Flood myths are common across a wide range of cultures."
Gen 6:7 simply makes reference to the "face of the earth." How do you infer from this that the earth was global? That conclusion does not follow.
I only presented one verse. There are many that indicate it was global in nature. Here are some more:

Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Gen 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.

Gen 7:4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

Gen 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that [were] under the whole heaven, were covered.

Gen 7:21 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:

Gen 7:22 All in whose nostrils [was] the breath of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died.

Gen 7:23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.

What verses indicate that the flood was local?
And like I said in my beginning post, the hebrew conception of the earth was a flat surface. Are you saying Noah would have diverted away from this conception?
Noah was not a Hebrew.
If you're suggesting we take the flood story literally, should we not also take every part of the Bible literally as well?
I do not take everything in the Bible literally. But for the flood, I think the evidence (Biblical accounts, non-Biblical accounts, geology) overwhelmingly supports a global flood.
Such as many of the laws in Leviticus or Deuteronomy? I mean, where's the line in all of this, do you also believe Adam and Eve were real people, and an exact 6 days of creation?
Yes, I believe Adam and Even were real people and in a 6 day creation. But, let's avoid getting into that for now. We can perhaps debate that head-to-head after this thread is finished.
WinePusher wrote:Our definitions of inerrant differ.
otseng wrote:What is your definition of inerrancy?
To be without error. However, I apply this definition only to the theological aspects of the Bible.
And how do you define what are "the theological aspects of the Bible"?
If you would apply an "error free" standard to the historical nature of the Bible, wouldn't you have many contradictions? Such as two creation stories, two accounts of Sauls death, and so on.
I do not claim that the Bible is inerrant.
What about other figures in the Bible (such as Abraham, Moses, Samson, David), do you believe they were real?
Yes, I believe Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David were real. The difference between these people and Noah is the contextual story they are in.
However, they are all mentioned in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith, including Noah.

Hbr 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

So Noah would be placed in the same category as Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David as men of faith. Since Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David were real, so would Noah have been real.
Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David all play crucial parts in different eras of Israelite history, however Noah is simply refered to as a righteous man who is found in a flood tale.
Well, Noah also placed a crucial part. Without him, there would be no Israelite history (or any history of mankind).
otseng wrote:I think the most likely explanation is that a global flood actually occurred. And that the Biblical account is the most accurate.
I haven't done the research yet, but in order for this to be true the Biblical flood account would have to predate the others, yes?
The Biblical written account would not have to necessarily predate the others. We both acknowledge that the oral account existed before the written account.

The point is given that cultures around the world have a flood legend, what is the most reasonable explanation for this?

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