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.

WinePusher

Post #21

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote: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?
otseng wrote: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?
If a global flood did occur, I would consider it miraculous. But consider this for a moment: Why would you need a natural explanation for it if God is capable of doing extraordinary things? Would you suggest that a global flood was not a product of divine intervention if you could explain it in natural terms?
WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote: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?
I'm not sure what you mean, could you please clarify.

My contention is that if an event is extraordinary, then it probably isn't literal. However, if the extraordinary event means a great deal to our faith, and taking into account God's omnipotence, then I would accept it as a literal occurence.

What is you standard in determining what is literal and what is not?
WinePusher wrote:Can you give some exact reasons why Christians should take the flood tory literally?
otseng wrote: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).
Well, let's see. Why do you rule out the possibility of the story being an allegory? Do you agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction, and that just because a biblical story is fiction doesn't mean it wasn't inspired?
WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote: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?
I couldn't say exactly how long it rained or how long the flood lasted. I think that if a global flood did happen, labeling it to be a "long period of time" with suffice.

What is your methodology in determining the historical validity of scripture?
otseng wrote: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
The only thing I am open to accept as real is the idea that God wanted to wipe out all of humanity because of their evil. But this poses a much bigger problem for the literalist. In the Bible, God is shown intervening very personally with characters such as Noah and Abraham and doing very profound things. Why do we not see these acts of God in the modern centuary? The God of the literal bible seems to be much more silent and distant in this day and age.

WinePusher

Post #22

Post by WinePusher »

otseng wrote:How large of a localized flood do you think occurred?

WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote: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?
I reject the premise that Noah existed. A large local flood may have occured, it may have been carried on by the Jews, and they may have morphoed it into an allegory and invented fictional characters such as Noah and the ark.

Frankly, I think it is very misguided to see theologians and YEC archaeologists go up to Mt. Ararat and search for the lost ark. Taking it that literally downplays the meaning of profound symbolism in the story, which was the intended message for humanity, IMO.
WinePusher wrote:But, assuming a local flood, not all of mankind would die in it.
otseng wrote:Which would be in contrast to what the Bible states.
Again, I'll ask you what your view of biblical interpretation is. When I say that the Bible is authoritative, I mean it is the primary authority on our faith and christianity. So, if you and I very arguing about the trinity, I would consider the Bible to authority on this subject to decide the matter. That doesn't mean its an authoritative history or science text.
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.
WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote:The whole world is not going to mythologize the Katrina flood.
I was using Hurricane Katrina as an example to show that a local flood can become a global concern.
otseng wrote: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?
Well, you're beginning to persuade me a little bit. But there are better explanations for this, in my opinion.

1) Other cultures and regions of the world may have experienced their own localized floods. This would account for the vast amounts of flood stories

You also claimed that the biblical flood story is the most accurate account. Can you prove this? It seems to be special pleading.
WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote: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?
None, but which verses indicate the flood was global? Can you bold it or underline it?
Although you said you couldn't provide a date for this, it is crucial to the story. Did the flood occur very late in prehistory, when the continents formed a single landmass(Pangaea) or did it occur during the early bronze age? How do you incoporate a global flood into history?
WinePusher wrote: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:Noah was not a Hebrew.
There are several implications to this. If Noah existed, why is he only mentioned in the Hebrew story of the flood and not all the other flood stories.
WinePusher wrote:If you're suggesting we take the flood story literally, should we not also take every part of the Bible literally as well?
otseng wrote: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.
Well, what's your standard of determining the literalness of the Bible? I may have asked you in the other post so just ignore this if I did.
WinePusher wrote: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?
otseng wrote: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.
Avoiding.
otseng wrote:What is your definition of inerrancy?
WinePusher wrote:To be without error. However, I apply this definition only to the theological aspects of the Bible.
otseng wrote:And how do you define what are "the theological aspects of the Bible"?
Like I said in the other post, the Bible is authoritative and inerrant on issues that are theologically based. Such as systematic theology.
WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote:I do not claim that the Bible is inerrant.
Then how do you view scriptures?
WinePusher wrote:Yes, I believe Abraham, Moses, Samson, and David were real. The difference between these people and Noah is the contextual story they are in.
otseng wrote: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.
True, but because Hebrew 11 mentions the faith of Noah doesn't convince me that he existed. Abraham, Moses, Samson and David played important parts in Israelite history, Noah did not. And the Author of Hebrews may have been referencing the fictional character of Noah rather then a historical figure.
WinePusher wrote: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?
otseng wrote: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?
Like I said above, they may have experienced their own local floods. i think that numerous local floods throughout different periods on the earth is more plausible then an entire global flood. And notice that every single flood story has its own twist to it, they don't specifically mention Noah or the God YHWH. If they were simply outgrowths of the biblical global flood, you'd think they would include the same characters and people.

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Post #23

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote: If a global flood did occur, I would consider it miraculous. But consider this for a moment: Why would you need a natural explanation for it if God is capable of doing extraordinary things? Would you suggest that a global flood was not a product of divine intervention if you could explain it in natural terms?
Not all parts of the flood would've required God's direct intervention and the violation of natural laws.
WinePusher wrote: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.
otseng wrote: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?
I'm not sure what you mean, could you please clarify.

My contention is that if an event is extraordinary, then it probably isn't literal. However, if the extraordinary event means a great deal to our faith, and taking into account God's omnipotence, then I would accept it as a literal occurrence.
You already acknowledge that the resurrection was extraordinary. Yet you accept it as a literal event. Though you claim special exception for this since it is critical to theology, it is nevertheless extraordinary. So, if you allow the resurrection to be possible, then all other extraordinary events are just as likely to be possible, including the flood. If you appeal to God to explain the resurrection, then why should God be limited in not causing a global flood?
What is you standard in determining what is literal and what is not?
It has to be internally consistent with scripture. And it has to be externally consistent with non-Blblical evidence. If it fails these, then most likely it is not literal.

In the case of the flood, a literal reading is consistent with the internal and external evidence.
Well, let's see. Why do you rule out the possibility of the story being an allegory?
I do not rule it out. I believe the flood story is both literal and symbolic.
Do you agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction, and that just because a biblical story is fiction doesn't mean it wasn't inspired?
No, I do not agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction. And why would God need to inspire fictional stories?
What is your methodology in determining the historical validity of scripture?
Natural evidence and historical evidence.
The only thing I am open to accept as real is the idea that God wanted to wipe out all of humanity because of their evil.
Do you believe humans lived all around the world, or only around the Middle East?
But this poses a much bigger problem for the literalist. In the Bible, God is shown intervening very personally with characters such as Noah and Abraham and doing very profound things. Why do we not see these acts of God in the modern centuary? The God of the literal bible seems to be much more silent and distant in this day and age.
I don't see how it is a problem. A literalist does not necessarily believe that God is intervening in history all the time.
I reject the premise that Noah existed. A large local flood may have occured, it may have been carried on by the Jews, and they may have morphoed it into an allegory and invented fictional characters such as Noah and the ark.
The thing is, many cultures share similar legends of a global flood. How could they all have morphed a local flood into a global flood that share parts such as having an ark, a favored family, universal destruction, animals saved, landing on mountain, and a bird sent out?
Again, I'll ask you what your view of biblical interpretation is. When I say that the Bible is authoritative, I mean it is the primary authority on our faith and christianity. So, if you and I very arguing about the trinity, I would consider the Bible to authority on this subject to decide the matter. That doesn't mean its an authoritative history or science text.
If you accept that the Bible was inspired by God, then wouldn't you think that God would know about history or science, as well as theology?
1) Other cultures and regions of the world may have experienced their own localized floods. This would account for the vast amounts of flood stories
It would not explain why they share so many similar features of the story. A better explanation would be that such an event occurred, rather than all of them making things up and then happen to share similar features.

For example, I bring in ten witnesses to testify about a car accident that they saw. None of them have talked with each other since the accident. Each share details that others also share. The better explanation is that they saw an actual event, rather than each making up details that happen to match each other.
You also claimed that the biblical flood story is the most accurate account. Can you prove this? It seems to be special pleading.
How is it special pleading?
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?
None, but which verses indicate the flood was global? Can you bold it or underline it?
Text bolded.

So, just on the Genesis text alone, I have presented many verses that it was global in nature, yet you can present no verses that it was local. Based on this, the evidence favors a global flood.
Although you said you couldn't provide a date for this, it is crucial to the story. Did the flood occur very late in prehistory, when the continents formed a single landmass(Pangaea) or did it occur during the early bronze age? How do you incoporate a global flood into history?
I do not believe in the evolutionary timeframe of a stone, bronze, and iron ages. So, there is no need to "fit" the flood into it. I believe in the literal history of the pre-flood account in Genesis. And there is no evolution of man from a prehistoric man into modern man according to the Bible.
There are several implications to this. If Noah existed, why is he only mentioned in the Hebrew story of the flood and not all the other flood stories.
If you mean the name "Noah" is not mentioned in other cultures, then it's not unusual, since different cultures have different languages. And translations of words from one language to another doesn't need to sound phonetically the same. But, if you mean the person, then I would disagree. There are references to a single family surviving the flood in many of the stories.
Then how do you view scriptures?
I believe it was inspired by God.
And the Author of Hebrews may have been referencing the fictional character of Noah rather then a historical figure.
And not only does Hebrews mention Noah, so do other books:

1Ch 1:4 The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Japhethites

Isa 54:9 "To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

Eze 14:14 even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.

2Pe 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

So, these authors also refer to Noah as an actual person, not some symbolic entity.

Not only this, Jesus referred to Noah and the flood as an actual event.

Mat 24:37-39 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

And since the coming of the Son of Man will be a global event, it points to the flood as being a global event.
Like I said above, they may have experienced their own local floods. i think that numerous local floods throughout different periods on the earth is more plausible then an entire global flood.
It's unlikely that they would share so many commonalities if they had their own local floods.

WinePusher

Post #24

Post by WinePusher »

otseng wrote: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?
WinePusher wrote:I'm not sure what you mean, could you please clarify.


My contention is that if an event is extraordinary, then it probably isn't literal. However, if the extraordinary event means a great deal to our faith, and taking into account God's omnipotence, then I would accept it as a literal occurrence.[/quote]
otseng wrote:You already acknowledge that the resurrection was extraordinary. Yet you accept it as a literal event. Though you claim special exception for this since it is critical to theology, it is nevertheless extraordinary. So, if you allow the resurrection to be possible, then all other extraordinary events are just as likely to be possible, including the flood. If you appeal to God to explain the resurrection, then why should God be limited in not causing a global flood?
God is not limited, a global flood is certainly possible, I never deny that. But it seems to have no importance whatsoever, on Christian Theology. Do you concede that?
WinePusher wrote:What is you standard in determining what is literal and what is not?
otseng wrote:It has to be internally consistent with scripture. And it has to be externally consistent with non-Blblical evidence. If it fails these, then most likely it is not literal.

In the case of the flood, a literal reading is consistent with the internal and external evidence.
So if something is not interally cosnsistent with scripture, then it should not be taken literally, correct?
WinePusher wrote:Well, let's see. Why do you rule out the possibility of the story being an allegory?
otseng wrote:I do not rule it out. I believe the flood story is both literal and symbolic.
Which parts where literally and which weren't?
Do you agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction, and that just because a biblical story is fiction doesn't mean it wasn't inspired?
No, I do not agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction. And why would God need to inspire fictional stories?
What is your methodology in determining the historical validity of scripture?
Natural evidence and historical evidence.
The only thing I am open to accept as real is the idea that God wanted to wipe out all of humanity because of their evil.
Do you believe humans lived all around the world, or only around the Middle East?
But this poses a much bigger problem for the literalist. In the Bible, God is shown intervening very personally with characters such as Noah and Abraham and doing very profound things. Why do we not see these acts of God in the modern centuary? The God of the literal bible seems to be much more silent and distant in this day and age.
I don't see how it is a problem. A literalist does not necessarily believe that God is intervening in history all the time.
I reject the premise that Noah existed. A large local flood may have occured, it may have been carried on by the Jews, and they may have morphoed it into an allegory and invented fictional characters such as Noah and the ark.
The thing is, many cultures share similar legends of a global flood. How could they all have morphed a local flood into a global flood that share parts such as having an ark, a favored family, universal destruction, animals saved, landing on mountain, and a bird sent out?
Again, I'll ask you what your view of biblical interpretation is. When I say that the Bible is authoritative, I mean it is the primary authority on our faith and christianity. So, if you and I very arguing about the trinity, I would consider the Bible to authority on this subject to decide the matter. That doesn't mean its an authoritative history or science text.
If you accept that the Bible was inspired by God, then wouldn't you think that God would know about history or science, as well as theology?
1) Other cultures and regions of the world may have experienced their own localized floods. This would account for the vast amounts of flood stories
It would not explain why they share so many similar features of the story. A better explanation would be that such an event occurred, rather than all of them making things up and then happen to share similar features.

For example, I bring in ten witnesses to testify about a car accident that they saw. None of them have talked with each other since the accident. Each share details that others also share. The better explanation is that they saw an actual event, rather than each making up details that happen to match each other.
You also claimed that the biblical flood story is the most accurate account. Can you prove this? It seems to be special pleading.
How is it special pleading?
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?
None, but which verses indicate the flood was global? Can you bold it or underline it?
Text bolded.

So, just on the Genesis text alone, I have presented many verses that it was global in nature, yet you can present no verses that it was local. Based on this, the evidence favors a global flood.
Although you said you couldn't provide a date for this, it is crucial to the story. Did the flood occur very late in prehistory, when the continents formed a single landmass(Pangaea) or did it occur during the early bronze age? How do you incoporate a global flood into history?
I do not believe in the evolutionary timeframe of a stone, bronze, and iron ages. So, there is no need to "fit" the flood into it. I believe in the literal history of the pre-flood account in Genesis. And there is no evolution of man from a prehistoric man into modern man according to the Bible.
There are several implications to this. If Noah existed, why is he only mentioned in the Hebrew story of the flood and not all the other flood stories.
If you mean the name "Noah" is not mentioned in other cultures, then it's not unusual, since different cultures have different languages. And translations of words from one language to another doesn't need to sound phonetically the same. But, if you mean the person, then I would disagree. There are references to a single family surviving the flood in many of the stories.
Then how do you view scriptures?
I believe it was inspired by God.
And the Author of Hebrews may have been referencing the fictional character of Noah rather then a historical figure.
And not only does Hebrews mention Noah, so do other books:

1Ch 1:4 The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Japhethites

Isa 54:9 "To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

Eze 14:14 even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.

2Pe 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

So, these authors also refer to Noah as an actual person, not some symbolic entity.

Not only this, Jesus referred to Noah and the flood as an actual event.

Mat 24:37-39 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

And since the coming of the Son of Man will be a global event, it points to the flood as being a global event.
Like I said above, they may have experienced their own local floods. i think that numerous local floods throughout different periods on the earth is more plausible then an entire global flood.
It's unlikely that they would share so many commonalities if they had their own local floods.[/quote]

WinePusher

Post #25

Post by WinePusher »

otseng wrote: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?
WinePusher wrote:I'm not sure what you mean, could you please clarify.

My contention is that if an event is extraordinary, then it probably isn't literal. However, if the extraordinary event means a great deal to our faith, and taking into account God's omnipotence, then I would accept it as a literal occurrence.
otseng wrote:You already acknowledge that the resurrection was extraordinary. Yet you accept it as a literal event. Though you claim special exception for this since it is critical to theology, it is nevertheless extraordinary. So, if you allow the resurrection to be possible, then all other extraordinary events are just as likely to be possible, including the flood. If you appeal to God to explain the resurrection, then why should God be limited in not causing a global flood?
God is not limited, a global flood is certainly possible, I never deny that. But it seems to have no importance whatsoever, on Christian Theology. Do you concede that?
WinePusher wrote:What is you standard in determining what is literal and what is not?
otseng wrote:It has to be internally consistent with scripture. And it has to be externally consistent with non-Blblical evidence. If it fails these, then most likely it is not literal.

In the case of the flood, a literal reading is consistent with the internal and external evidence.
So if something is not interally cosnsistent with scripture, then it should not be taken literally, correct?
WinePusher wrote:Well, let's see. Why do you rule out the possibility of the story being an allegory?
otseng wrote:I do not rule it out. I believe the flood story is both literal and symbolic.
Which parts where literally and which weren't?
WinePusher wrote:The only thing I am open to accept as real is the idea that God wanted to wipe out all of humanity because of their evil.
otseng wrote:Do you believe humans lived all around the world, or only around the Middle East?
That would depend on the time period. But I do think it's a fact that man primarily comes out of the African Region, and the other regions of the world would have some population, but very little.

But the issue of race comes up, if we're all descendents of Noah, how would you account for all the different ethnicities and races found in the world?
WinePusher wrote:But this poses a much bigger problem for the literalist. In the Bible, God is shown intervening very personally with characters such as Noah and Abraham and doing very profound things. Why do we not see these acts of God in the modern centuary? The God of the literal bible seems to be much more silent and distant in this day and age.
otseng wrote:I don't see how it is a problem. A literalist does not necessarily believe that God is intervening in history all the time.
Not all the time, just some of the time. The Bible retells these stories where God's intervention in the world is magnificent and clear, however we seem to experience none of these in the modern world. As I said, the God of the literal Bible seems much more silent in this day and age.
WinePusher wrote:I reject the premise that Noah existed. A large local flood may have occured, it may have been carried on by the Jews, and they may have morphoed it into an allegory and invented fictional characters such as Noah and the ark.
otseng wrote:The thing is, many cultures share similar legends of a global flood. How could they all have morphed a local flood into a global flood that share parts such as having an ark, a favored family, universal destruction, animals saved, landing on mountain, and a bird sent out?
1) An ark is one of the only means by which a person can save themselves from flood waters.
2) Stories (Whether they be fictional or non-fictional) focus on specific characters. This would account for the favored family.
3) Universal Destruction can be accounted for the fact that many ancient peoples were unaware of the global nature of the earth.
4) Animals would have to be saved if the goal was to start the population of the eart anew. It's a neccesary similarity.
5) If the flood waters covered the entire face of the earth, its more likely they would land on a high structure such as a mountain rather then the flat ground.
6) I will agree with you (to a certain extent) about the bird.
WinePusher wrote:Again, I'll ask you what your view of biblical interpretation is. When I say that the Bible is authoritative, I mean it is the primary authority on our faith and christianity. So, if you and I very arguing about the trinity, I would consider the Bible to authority on this subject to decide the matter. That doesn't mean its an authoritative history or science text.
otseng wrote:If you accept that the Bible was inspired by God, then wouldn't you think that God would know about history or science, as well as theology?
Of course, but the human authors didn't. The Bible is a manefistation of both God's intended message, and the attributions of the human authors.
WinePusher wrote:1) Other cultures and regions of the world may have experienced their own localized floods. This would account for the vast amounts of flood stories
otseng wrote:It would not explain why they share so many similar features of the story. A better explanation would be that such an event occurred, rather than all of them making things up and then happen to share similar features.

For example, I bring in ten witnesses to testify about a car accident that they saw. None of them have talked with each other since the accident. Each share details that others also share. The better explanation is that they saw an actual event, rather than each making up details that happen to match each other.
But this assumes that the many flood stories agree entirely with one another. The flood stories are not entirely harmonious, there are different people mentioned, there are different Gods mentioned, and different motives/reasons for destruction.
WinePusher wrote:You also claimed that the biblical flood story is the most accurate account. Can you prove this? It seems to be special pleading.
otseng wrote:How is it special pleading?
Like I said, can you prove that the Biblical Flood account is the most accurate? You seem to be accepting the biblical flood story as the most accurate, but haven't given many good objective reasons to justify this thought.
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?
WinePusher wrote:None, but which verses indicate the flood was global? Can you bold it or underline it?
otseng wrote:Text bolded.

So, just on the Genesis text alone, I have presented many verses that it was global in nature, yet you can present no verses that it was local. Based on this, the evidence favors a global flood.
As I said before, how do you know that the "alls" and "everythings" are referencing a global flood.
WinePusher wrote:Although you said you couldn't provide a date for this, it is crucial to the story. Did the flood occur very late in prehistory, when the continents formed a single landmass(Pangaea) or did it occur during the early bronze age? How do you incoporate a global flood into history?
otseng wrote:I do not believe in the evolutionary timeframe of a stone, bronze, and iron ages. So, there is no need to "fit" the flood into it. I believe in the literal history of the pre-flood account in Genesis. And there is no evolution of man from a prehistoric man into modern man according to the Bible.
On this note, I would like to expand the discussion just a little bit. I realize that you've debated this subject thoroughly in another thread on man and primates, but how does man evolving from primates conflict with Christian Theism?

I think its perfectly fine to think that man did evolve from other forms of life, but at one point or another, God breathed a "soul" into man and savage man became biblical man. In some senses, Adam simply means the first man, and the Bible records the beginnings of man and their interactions with God.
WinePusher wrote:Do you agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction, and that just because a biblical story is fiction doesn't mean it wasn't inspired?

otseng wrote:No, I do not agree that large parts of the Bible are fiction. And why would God need to inspire fictional stories?


Because fiction can just as accurately relay God's message to the human race as non-fiction can. Not many people believe Job existed, but his story gives us insight into the nature of God as it relates to evil and suffering and I believe God inspired that fictional story.
WinePusher wrote:And the Author of Hebrews may have been referencing the fictional character of Noah rather then a historical figure.
otseng wrote:And not only does Hebrews mention Noah, so do other books:

1Ch 1:4 The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Japhethites

Isa 54:9 "To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

Eze 14:14 even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.

2Pe 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

So, these authors also refer to Noah as an actual person, not some symbolic entity.

Not only this, Jesus referred to Noah and the flood as an actual event.

Mat 24:37-39 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Well of course other parts of the Bible menton Noah, fictional or not he would have been an important figure for Israel. But again, it doesn't prove that he actually existed. The sources are bias towards Noah's existence, and Noah clearly doesn't hold the same stature as Abraham does in other religions.

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Post #26

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote: God is not limited, a global flood is certainly possible, I never deny that. But it seems to have no importance whatsoever, on Christian Theology. Do you concede that?
I do agree that whether one believes in either a global or local flood would not be a matter critical to being a Christian.
So if something is not interally cosnsistent with scripture, then it should not be taken literally, correct?
I would agree.
Which parts where literally and which weren't?
I'm inclined to take the entire flood narrative as literal.
But I do think it's a fact that man primarily comes out of the African Region, and the other regions of the world would have some population, but very little.
I would not agree that it is a fact. Rather, it is the predominant theory right now.
But the issue of race comes up, if we're all descendents of Noah, how would you account for all the different ethnicities and races found in the world?
There is not really much differences between humans around the world. Sure, there is some difference in hair/skin/eye color and some difference in shapes. But small genetic variations would account for these minor changes.
WinePusher wrote:But this poses a much bigger problem for the literalist. In the Bible, God is shown intervening very personally with characters such as Noah and Abraham and doing very profound things. Why do we not see these acts of God in the modern centuary? The God of the literal bible seems to be much more silent and distant in this day and age.
otseng wrote:I don't see how it is a problem. A literalist does not necessarily believe that God is intervening in history all the time.
Not all the time, just some of the time. The Bible retells these stories where God's intervention in the world is magnificent and clear, however we seem to experience none of these in the modern world. As I said, the God of the literal Bible seems much more silent in this day and age.
There are two main methods I believe that God has specifically revealed himself to man - through the scriptures and through Jesus Christ. And I do not believe that God will reveal himself in other major way except through Jesus' return. All of this is consistent with a literal reading of the Bible. To say that God needs to actively and continually reveal himself through direct interventions is not consistent with a literal reading of the Bible.
1) An ark is one of the only means by which a person can save themselves from flood waters.
If a flood was local, an easier and more logical method would be to walk to a place where the flood would not occur. Only if a flood was global would it be more logical to build a giant boat of some kind.
2) Stories (Whether they be fictional or non-fictional) focus on specific characters. This would account for the favored family.
And some are uncannily similar to the Genesis account. For instance, the Chinese character for boat has the radicals "vessel", "eight" and "mouth" in it. And according to the Genesis account, there were 8 people in the ark.

Image
http://www.bibleprobe.com/chinese.htm
3) Universal Destruction can be accounted for the fact that many ancient peoples were unaware of the global nature of the earth.
I'm not sure what you mean by "the global nature of the earth." If you mean that it is spherical, then it does not matter. What they share is that the flood covered everything, whether it was flat or spherical.
4) Animals would have to be saved if the goal was to start the population of the eart anew. It's a neccesary similarity.
Only if the flood was global. If it was local, the animals that were not affected by the flood would survive.
5) If the flood waters covered the entire face of the earth, its more likely they would land on a high structure such as a mountain rather then the flat ground.
I'm not sure it would be more likely.
Of course, but the human authors didn't. The Bible is a manefistation of both God's intended message, and the attributions of the human authors.
Though I do not discount minor errors introduced by Biblical authors, I do not believe they would've introduced major errors into the Bible. So much so that it would require to interpret their meaning only symbolicly to cover up their errors.
But this assumes that the many flood stories agree entirely with one another. The flood stories are not entirely harmonious, there are different people mentioned, there are different Gods mentioned, and different motives/reasons for destruction.
No, they are not entirely in agreement with each other. Since stories were passed down orally, they would've changed. But, the basic elements are still found in flood legends around the world.
WinePusher wrote:You also claimed that the biblical flood story is the most accurate account. Can you prove this? It seems to be special pleading.
otseng wrote:How is it special pleading?
Like I said, can you prove that the Biblical Flood account is the most accurate? You seem to be accepting the biblical flood story as the most accurate, but haven't given many good objective reasons to justify this thought.
Special pleading is when one claims an exemption to a general rule. I don't see where I've claimed any status of exemption to the literal reading of the flood.

As for justifications for a literal flood, I've already given many verses throughout the Bible to support it. And as for non-Biblical evidence, there are several threads which I've already done this, most notably the A Deluge of Evidence for the Flood?. And I prefer to not to rehash things I've already covered in that thread. Rather, I'd rather we focus on the Biblical evidence since we both agree that the Bible is authoritative.
As I said before, how do you know that the "alls" and "everythings" are referencing a global flood.
If all humans and animals died and only those in the ark survived, it would mean a global event. The only way that it could not be global was that all the people and animals were only located in one particular part of the world. Since all the high hills were covered with water, the only way this can happen is that the flood was global.
On this note, I would like to expand the discussion just a little bit. I realize that you've debated this subject thoroughly in another thread on man and primates, but how does man evolving from primates conflict with Christian Theism?
I know of Christians who fully embrace human evolution from primates. And I personally do not discount them as Christians because they believe this. But I believe the evidence argues in favor of special creation of man.
Because fiction can just as accurately relay God's message to the human race as non-fiction can. Not many people believe Job existed, but his story gives us insight into the nature of God as it relates to evil and suffering and I believe God inspired that fictional story.
I would agree that large sections of the Bible are written in story form. But I would not agree that it is fictional.
Not only this, Jesus referred to Noah and the flood as an actual event.

Mat 24:37-39 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Well of course other parts of the Bible menton Noah, fictional or not he would have been an important figure for Israel. But again, it doesn't prove that he actually existed. The sources are bias towards Noah's existence, and Noah clearly doesn't hold the same stature as Abraham does in other religions.
I think the fact that Jesus referred to Noah is one of the strongest Biblical evidence that Noah was a real person. Since Jesus testified to his existence, it would be difficult to cast Noah purely as a mythical entity.

WinePusher

Post #27

Post by WinePusher »

I'll be leaving out major parts as they will be addressed in my other posts.
WinePusher wrote:Which parts where literally and which weren't?
otseng wrote:I'm inclined to take the entire flood narrative as literal.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought you said that you thought some parts of the flood story were literal and some parts were fictional?
WinePusher wrote:But the issue of race comes up, if we're all descendents of Noah, how would you account for all the different ethnicities and races found in the world?
otseng wrote:There is not really much differences between humans around the world. Sure, there is some difference in hair/skin/eye color and some difference in shapes. But small genetic variations would account for these minor changes.
I wouldn't say that the differences are small, there are pretty big differences found amoung different ethnicities in order for the flood to be consistent with this, there must have been an appropriate amount of time between Noah and the frowth of different races. If a time or date can't be placed on the global flood, I don't think people are inclined to accept it with such a vital piece of information missing.
WinePusher wrote:Not all the time, just some of the time. The Bible retells these stories where God's intervention in the world is magnificent and clear, however we seem to experience none of these in the modern world. As I said, the God of the literal Bible seems much more silent in this day and age.
otseng wrote:There are two main methods I believe that God has specifically revealed himself to man - through the scriptures and through Jesus Christ. And I do not believe that God will reveal himself in other major way except through Jesus' return. All of this is consistent with a literal reading of the Bible. To say that God needs to actively and continually reveal himself through direct interventions is not consistent with a literal reading of the Bible.
I have several problems with this. I agree that God has reveled himself to man through the scriptures, and Jesus Christ, but would also add nature. However, like I said, if we read most parts of the Bible literally we see God reveling himself in magnificent ways, through talking animals, through direct intervention with people, through miracles and so on. This would be inconsistent with the experiences we have now, which are not as magnificent, so I would suggest that biblical tales of God's intervention should be read liberally.
WinePusher wrote:Of course, but the human authors didn't. The Bible is a manefistation of both God's intended message, and the attributions of the human authors.
otseng wrote:Though I do not discount minor errors introduced by Biblical authors, I do not believe they would've introduced major errors into the Bible. So much so that it would require to interpret their meaning only symbolicly to cover up their errors.
I would not suggest that major errors exist in the Bible as well. Although you have said you are not a literalist, when one reads the Bible literally these minor errors become more of a thorn in the side of Christians.
WinePusher wrote:But this assumes that the many flood stories agree entirely with one another. The flood stories are not entirely harmonious, there are different people mentioned, there are different Gods mentioned, and different motives/reasons for destruction.
otseng wrote:No, they are not entirely in agreement with each other. Since stories were passed down orally, they would've changed. But, the basic elements are still found in flood legends around the world.
Ok, what reasons or evidence is there to support the assertion that the Biblical Flood story is the most accurate flood account?
otseng wrote:As for justifications for a literal flood, I've already given many verses throughout the Bible to support it. And as for non-Biblical evidence, there are several threads which I've already done this, most notably the A Deluge of Evidence for the Flood?. And I prefer to not to rehash things I've already covered in that thread. Rather, I'd rather we focus on the Biblical evidence since we both agree that the Bible is authoritative.
Here is evidence drawn from the Bible which I interpret to mean that the mean is not literal.

God is all good, and all knowing, so I think it goes aganist his character to "regret" the creation of humans and want to completely wipe them out.

The God of the Bible is a God who gives second chances, with examples from the Book of Jonah, so it seems that the God mentioned in the Flood Story is impulsive and rash in his judgement.

God clearly wants what is good for humanity, and wants to redeem mankind. Thus he sent his son to mediate for humans and make us justified before God, why would God not do the same for the people of the world at the time of Noah?
WinePusher wrote:On this note, I would like to expand the discussion just a little bit. I realize that you've debated this subject thoroughly in another thread on man and primates, but how does man evolving from primates conflict with Christian Theism?
otseng wrote:I know of Christians who fully embrace human evolution from primates. And I personally do not discount them as Christians because they believe this. But I believe the evidence argues in favor of special creation of man.
Such as how the Bible describes it? God formed man from the soil of the ground.
WinePusher wrote:Because fiction can just as accurately relay God's message to the human race as non-fiction can. Not many people believe Job existed, but his story gives us insight into the nature of God as it relates to evil and suffering and I believe God inspired that fictional story.
otseng wrote:I would agree that large sections of the Bible are written in story form. But I would not agree that it is fictional.
So you would consider Job, Jonah, and other Old Testament figures such as Ruth to be real?

WinePusher

Post #28

Post by WinePusher »

My source for the following is: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noa ... philosophy

Here are several problems that must be addressed if the story is to be taken literally. These are not neccesarily scientific or geological problems, rather they are problems with the content and implications of the story itself.

1) How was it possible for Noah to get the resources to build such an ark? Also, if it was before the development of civilization, technology such as this would be completely foreign.

2) Problems with the animals. How did Noah gather the animals, fit them on the ark and care for them?

3) Internal inconsistency with the story. Some creationists argue that many types of animals became extinct due to the flood, yet the literal text says that Noah was to take a sample of all animals and save them from extinction.

4) Many parts of the Bible, especially in Chronciles and other historical books, consist of dates and references to kings ruling at the time. The Flood story makes no reference to any date or figure that historians can use to date, whcih would seem toe exempt it from a literal, historica text.

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Post #29

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote: Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought you said that you thought some parts of the flood story were literal and some parts were fictional?
No, I never said that. However, I did say "it is both factual and symbolic."
I wouldn't say that the differences are small, there are pretty big differences found amoung different ethnicities in order for the flood to be consistent with this, there must have been an appropriate amount of time between Noah and the frowth of different races.
Well, I would disagree. I see differences among humans as trivial. What are the big differences that you are referring to?
If a time or date can't be placed on the global flood, I don't think people are inclined to accept it with such a vital piece of information missing.
Though some date the flood at a very specific date, I don't think that it can be dated so precisely. I only claim that it is on the order of tens of thousands of years ago.
However, like I said, if we read most parts of the Bible literally we see God reveling himself in magnificent ways, through talking animals, through direct intervention with people, through miracles and so on. This would be inconsistent with the experiences we have now, which are not as magnificent, so I would suggest that biblical tales of God's intervention should be read liberally.
It might be inconsistent with experiences we now have, but that doesn't discount the possibility of it happening. The matter is not what what we currently experience, but is God capable of doing such things. If you only go by what we experience now, the writing of the Bible could also be included with this. Since nobody is currently writing down inspired words from God into canon, then how could they have done it in the past?
Although you have said you are not a literalist, when one reads the Bible literally these minor errors become more of a thorn in the side of Christians.
And since I'm not an absolute literalist, it doesn't really apply to me.
Ok, what reasons or evidence is there to support the assertion that the Biblical Flood story is the most accurate flood account?
As I've mentioned, the evidence of scripture and the evidence of nature. But, in comparing with the flood stories of other cultures, we don't even need to assume that the Biblical account is the most accurate. Let's suppose that it is no more accurate than any other flood account. The question remains of how all these stories arose and share many similarities.
God is all good, and all knowing, so I think it goes aganist his character to "regret" the creation of humans and want to completely wipe them out.
I would not disagree that several passages have anthropomorphism in it when describing actions done by God.
The God of the Bible is a God who gives second chances, with examples from the Book of Jonah, so it seems that the God mentioned in the Flood Story is impulsive and rash in his judgement.
It would've taken Noah on the order of years (perhaps decades) to build such a massive ark. So, the flood could not have come immediately after God told Noah that it would come.
God clearly wants what is good for humanity, and wants to redeem mankind. Thus he sent his son to mediate for humans and make us justified before God, why would God not do the same for the people of the world at the time of Noah?
Noah did warn the people. Peter described Noah as a preacher of righteousness. I do not think he was silent in warning others about the impending judgment.

2Pe 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

And also surely rumors widely circulated about some strange man building a massive ark and would ask what he was doing.

The flood was also symbolic in that it foreshadows baptism.

1Pe 3:20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

1Pe 3:21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge [fn] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Such as how the Bible describes it? God formed man from the soil of the ground.
Yes.
So you would consider Job, Jonah, and other Old Testament figures such as Ruth to be real?
Yes.

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Post #30

Post by otseng »

WinePusher wrote:1) How was it possible for Noah to get the resources to build such an ark? Also, if it was before the development of civilization, technology such as this would be completely foreign.
Why do you think Noah did not know sufficient technology to build the ark?
2) Problems with the animals. How did Noah gather the animals, fit them on the ark and care for them?
If he had years to prepare, he could've gathered animals for the ark.

As for size, the ark was quite large.

Gen 6:15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

The volume of this is equivalent to over 1000 20ft containers.

Noah didn't have to bring in every single species that we have now. For example, there was most likely only one kind of canine on board.

Animals didn't also have to be full sized adults. They could've been smaller younger animals.

Caring for them would have required a lot of preplanning. But I don't think it would be out of the question.
3) Internal inconsistency with the story. Some creationists argue that many types of animals became extinct due to the flood, yet the literal text says that Noah was to take a sample of all animals and save them from extinction.
I believe they became extinct after the flood.
4) Many parts of the Bible, especially in Chronciles and other historical books, consist of dates and references to kings ruling at the time. The Flood story makes no reference to any date or figure that historians can use to date, whcih would seem toe exempt it from a literal, historica text.
Well, there were no other people that survived the flood, so there'd be no way to date it based on rulers or kings.

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