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Implications Of Noah's Flood Not Being Global


maupayman

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I have been reading through some papers and discussions regarding Noah's flood. I, as it seems are many LDS scholars, am of the belief that it was not a global flood. The fact that plant and animal life exist in remote areas like Australia where Noah would not have been able to transport animals etc. There are other historical and scientific problems with the story being interpreted literally, but my question is for LDS believers who have decided it must have been a localized event etc. It seems to me that a non-literal interpretation is problematic for LDS teachings.

For instance, Joseph Smith taught, and recieved revelation regarding the garden of Eden being located in Missouri. If this is so then Noah would have likely lived in North America. How would he have landed his ship in the mountains of Ararat (Gen 8:4) ?

â??The Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Noah was taken to the Old World by the Flood. This teaching was given by Joseph Smith and is still accepted as true doctrine. Given this teaching, Mormons have to accept the flood as a global phenomenon.â? (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie, "Adam-Ondi-Ahman" p. 19-20)

We are also taught that the world was baptised during this flood. Is this teaching incorrect?

Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: â??Latter-day Saints look upon the earth as a living organism, one which is gloriously filling â??the measure of its creation.â?? They look upon the flood as a baptism of the earth, symbolizing a cleansing of the impurities of the past, and the beginning of a new life."

Ether 13:2 seems to indicate that the flood was global in scale.

Current leaders still teach that this was a global event.

â??There was the great Flood, when waters covered the earth and when, as Peter says, only â??eight souls were savedâ??â? â?? Gordon B. Hinckley, If We Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear, 175th Semi-Annual General Priesthood Meeting)

Do we simply write these teachings off? Why do we still teach these things? Any other thoughts?

I look forward to other insights.

Thank you.

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Another problem if the Flood is local is the concept that the earth was baptised at this time which is still doctrine according to the Guide to the Scriptures.

(Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie, "Adam-Ondi-Ahman" p. 19-20)

Not a doctrinal work thankfully.

Do we simply write these teachings off? Why do we still teach these things? Any other thoughts?

I think we have a few minor doctrines that are actually opinions based on a 'reasonable explaination' that was extant at whatever time they came about. I have no problem with these doctrines changing as more information becomes available. Until then, they are indeed doctrine according to the Church's standard of doctrine.

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Let me ask a fair question- Do we try to understand and interpret the bible from a worldly understanding, or do we try to understand and interpret the world from a biblical perspective? matters that tend to our own eternal welfare will almost always be looked at from a biblical perspective regardless of what worldly and scholarly views say. Take resurrection unto eternal life for example- if we take the worldly or scientific view, then there is no such thing as resurrection let alone living forever without ageing. So in this instance we take the biblical approach even though man has never scientifically documented a person being resurrected and living forever. We put our total faith in something that otherwise defies all scientific logic. So then why is it different in areas like the flood? Is it because it doesn't effect our eternal welfare on a personal level? These are the types of philisophical approaches that are very intriguing to me. It is as if we have a switch in our mind that separates observations and data according to what we "want to believe" at any given moment, - we see what we want to and hear what we want to and believe what we want to irregardless of what our contemporary religious leaders might say.

Is it at all possible to look at the interpretive observations of past prophets to try to understand how the flood "was possible" instead of trying to debunk the "global flood" from a mere worldly stance? Is our preconceived switches already turned one way over the other? Let us examine the possibilities of a global deluge-

Noah was first warned that god would destroy the earth and all living breathing land dwelling lifeforms if man did not repent. He was given this warning 120 years in advance of the flood.-

17 And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.

(Pearl of Great Price | Moses 8:17)

Noah was given ample time to both preach the gospel and gather animals and build a boat. 120 years is a very long time! God himself said that he would destroy "all flesh" from the face of the entire earth-

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.

(Old Testament | Genesis 6:17)

This was made manifest shortly after-

18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.

19 And the awaters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and ball the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

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 aevery man:

22 All in whose nostrils was the abreath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

23 And every living substance was adestroyed 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 bNoah only remained calive, and they that were with him in the ark.

24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

(Old Testament | Genesis 7:18 - 24)

Only Noah and his family and those anomals on the boat (land animals, not sea) were saved. Every other living thing died upon the whole face of the earth. One of the most important aspects and problems of this doctrine has been the many islands and the problem of gathering animals from far distances, even across oceans. But according to the bible, the land masses had not yet been divided, they were still all one land mass. In Genesis we read-

25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was aPeleg; for in his days was the earth

(Old Testament | Genesis 10:25)

Also in D&C we read-

22 And it shall be a voice as the avoice of many waters, and as the voice of a great bthunder, which shall cbreak down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found.

23 He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the aislands shall become one land;

24 And the aland of Jerusalem and the land of bZion shall be turned back into their own place, and the cearth shall be like as it was in the days before it was ddivided.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 133:22 - 24)

What the D&C is referring to is the dividing of the earth by the separation of water. Only after the waters recede off the face of the land right before the second coming, will the land become again undivided. So back to Noahs day- After the flood there needed to be a boundary for the flood waters. The great mountain chains and valleys were formed as a result of the flood as a barrier for the flood waters to no more cover. This is given to us in Psalms-

6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the awaters stood above the mountains.

7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to acover the earth.

(Old Testament | Psalms 104:6 - 9)

The greta mountain chains around the world today once stood under the water as flat sediment which were then lifted up while valleys also formed. This process caused the waters to recede from the mountains and into the valleys (under water now) and provide a place for the flood waters to retreat to. All major mountain chains contain flood laid sediment that was once level with the surrounding land. After the flood in the days of peleg the land was divided by water. This occurance was around the time of babel when god caused man to depart from there and for mans language to be confused. People from that point gathered all life forms and spread out over the earth to repopulate it. So it is of no consequence then that there are vastly different animals all accross the world in different places. The Jaredites took all manner of animals and seed and even the bee to help with polination. Surely they would not have had to do this if there wasn't a global flood in the semi recent past.

God promised that he would then stay the flood waters that they would no more cover the entire earth to destroy all flesh. -

50 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying: I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the afloods.

51 And the Lord could not withhold; and he acovenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the bfloods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;

(Pearl of Great Price | Moses 7:50 - 51)

Surely smaller floods are not what is meant in this promise. A localized flood event as some have discussed would mean that God has broken his promise many many times because we almost always see parts of the world going through a localized flood event.

From a biblical standpoint, I then interpret the world and see vast evidence of the many testimonies in the watery laid sediment of the flood now captured in stone of the many countless lives of all animals. Almost everywhere I go i see evidence of the described biblical events. It was a global catastrophic event. Even Peter from the New Testament testifies to this and warns us in our day. He even says that we in our day "will deny" the global flood happened! Check it out-

3 aKnowing this first, that there shall come in the blast days scoffers, walking after their own clusts,

4 And saying, aWhere is the bpromise of his ccoming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5 For this they willingly are aignorant of, that by the bword of God the heavens were of old, and the cearth standing out of the water and in the water:

6 Whereby the world that then was, being aoverflowed with bwater, perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto afire against the day of judgment and bperdition of ungodly men.

(New Testament | 2 Peter 3:3 - 7)

Even Christ himself testified to the global catastrophe and likened it with his own return at the second coming-

38 For as in the days that were before the aflood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

(New Testament | Matthew 24:38 - 39)

I think then it is clear that it was global and destroyed "all flesh" from the face of the "whole earth".

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Do we try to understand and interpret the bible from a worldly understanding, or do we try to understand and interpret the world from a biblical perspective?

this statement is problematic unless you can define the term worldly and biblical. When you say biblical you are assuming that there is a universally established interpretation. We cannot prove that 'whole earth' or 'whole land' means whole planet. In terms of the bible, there is no perspective. The people did not have a global perspective that we have today. They could not see the planet on google earth. Their entire world, as far as they were concerned, went from one mountain peak to the next. We need to interpret from a linguistic and cultural perspective. Unfortunately, the language and culture the produced the story of Noah has been lost for thousands of years.

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I think then it is clear that it was global and destroyed "all flesh" from the face of the "whole earth".

When we use the words "whole earth", caution is in order. Think about it.

Luke 2: 1

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

Really?

HiJolly

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Prove that the flood was just a localized event then as you would assume. Explain also how God breaks his promise everytime a localized flood happens. Explain also how the world that then was, was destroyed if it only meant a localized "world". You see, I don't have to prove that it was global as the bible claims it was. What the bible never claims is that it was localized. It is harder to disprove it was global rather than to disprove it was localized.

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I'm with Ron on this one. The flood was global, that has never been disproven by "science" so-called at least not to me. You can believe as you want, but I believe it was just as it says and have no reason to believe otherwise. Science also does not believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected with an immortal body of flesh and bone but I do. A lot of what I believe and know to be true is not in harmony with what so-called science thinks is true, but so what?

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The account in Genesis of the Flood claim the waters rose to a depth of fifteen cubits. Some bible versions read the tops of the mountains were covered to a depth of fifteen cubits. So I have the question, how did Moses or the original writers of the Flood account know that the depth of the water was fifteen cubits. If you're floating around the earth on a barge there is no way of knowing when you're on top of mountain so that you can measure the depth. Therefore those who believe in the bible accounts would have to admit it was inspired information, right? If it was inspired then who ever inspired it would certainly know if the Flood was Global or local.

The LDS Church claims it was a Global Flood and that's good enough for me, there's nothing left to argue, though I don't believe it because it is impossible.

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I'm with Ron on this one. The flood was global, that has never been disproven by "science" so-called at least not to me. You can believe as you want, but I believe it was just as it says and have no reason to believe otherwise. Science also does not believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected with an immortal body of flesh and bone but I do. A lot of what I believe and know to be true is not in harmony with what so-called science thinks is true, but so what?

Science has no opinion, pro or con, on that subject. None. Scientists have their opinions, but that is not science.

HiJolly

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I'm with Ron on this one. The flood was global, that has never been disproven by "science" so-called at least not to me. You can believe as you want, but I believe it was just as it says and have no reason to believe otherwise. Science also does not believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected with an immortal body of flesh and bone but I do. A lot of what I believe and know to be true is not in harmony with what so-called science thinks is true, but so what?

This is what is wrong with religion, it offers such an inflexible static worldview that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, one is not able to see the world as it is when presented the facts.

The belief in literalistic biblical stories should be a very telling to everyone that Christian religions, fundamentally, may not be vehicles of truth. I mean to say, if the religion and its leaders who claim to speak for God cannot filter out the mythical or fantastical from the real, why or how could they be trusted to tell us about God or what his will may or may not be? They have light years to go to just understanding the physical world we inhabit. If a leader claims to know about this world and its literal history and teaches it as a doctrinal basis and is found to be patently and wholly wrong (in a literal sense), how can religions be trusted at all to know anything about anything?

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Tchild2:

Yours is an equal absolutist position. While there certainly are LDS that hold those positions. I'm not too sure the preponderance do. I am thankful for what I know of the Gospel, and try to learn more all the time. The Church doesn't hold even Prophets, Seers, and Revelators as inerrant. We have no concept such as Infallibility of anything that goes through the hands of man.

This puts the Saints in the position of questioning, testing, and trying, everything. Then going to God for the answer.

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The LDS Church claims it was a Global Flood and that's good enough for me, there's nothing left to argue, though I don't believe it because it is impossible.
The Church is silent on the issue. Members can be in good standing and believe in either a local or global flood at all levels of Church hierarchy.

PS: Additionally, we haven't been told that the earth has to be "baptized" with water. Some Church members like the symbolism but liking a concept doesn't necessitate it being true.

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The Church is silent on the issue.

In that case then Donald W. Parry was lying when he gave the talk below:

Donald W. Parry, â??The Flood and the Tower of Babel,â? Ensign, Jan 1998, 35

Because of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints have additional knowledge that confirms the reality of these world-changing historical events.

The Flood

...........................................................

...........................................................

There is a third group of peopleâ??those who accept the literal message of the Bible regarding Noah, the ark, and the Deluge. Latter-day Saints belong to this group. In spite of the worldâ??s arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of Godâ??s prophets.

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The Church is silent on the issue.

In that case then Donald W. Parry was lying when he gave the talk below:

Donald W. Parry, â??The Flood and the Tower of Babel,â? Ensign, Jan 1998, 35

Because of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints have additional knowledge that confirms the reality of these world-changing historical events.

The Flood

...........................................................

...........................................................

There is a third group of peopleâ??those who accept the literal message of the Bible regarding Noah, the ark, and the Deluge. Latter-day Saints belong to this group. In spite of the worldâ??s arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of Godâ??s prophets.

Yup. Just in the last year or two there was an article on the literal global flood in the Ensign. <sigh> Good thing my eternal salvation doesn't hinge on my believing that error.

HiJolly

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Yup. Just in the last year or two there was an article on the literal global flood in the Ensign. <sigh> Good thing my eternal salvation doesn't hinge on my believing that error.

HiJolly

There is no reason that a religion cannot have its own mythology, however it does seem unwise to tout the impossible as being true. Doing so lessens the rest of the message.

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There is no reason that a religion cannot have its own mythology, however it does seem unwise to tout the impossible as being true. Doing so lessens the rest of the message.

Well.... I'm not sure I really like the use of the word 'impossible' here, but yes, in general I agree.

It becomes problematic when someone suddenly turns and declares angelic visitation, or the existence of God 'impossible'. After all most mythic stories have a basis in truth, even if it is only symbolic, and not literal. viz. Jesus' parables.

HiJolly

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I figured since I've joined the thread, I ought to at least address the OP.

I have been reading through some papers and discussions regarding Noah's flood. I, as it seems are many LDS scholars, am of the belief that it was not a global flood. The fact that plant and animal life exist in remote areas like Australia where Noah would not have been able to transport animals etc. There are other historical and scientific problems with the story being interpreted literally, but my question is for LDS believers who have decided it must have been a localized event etc. It seems to me that a non-literal interpretation is problematic for LDS teachings.

I agree with you.

We are also taught that the world was baptised during this flood. Is this teaching incorrect?

Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: â??Latter-day Saints look upon the earth as a living organism, one which is gloriously filling â??the measure of its creation.â?? They look upon the flood as a baptism of the earth, symbolizing a cleansing of the impurities of the past, and the beginning of a new life."

I don't believe this teaching is correct. It was borrowed from certain protestant camps. Some LDS leaders thought it was a good defense of biblical teachings, and adopted it. Ooops.

Ether 13:2 seems to indicate that the flood was global in scale.

"this land" is global? Hmm... I'd say that's an overstatement.

Do we simply write these teachings off? Why do we still teach these things? Any other thoughts?

Yes, some of them. Others, there are underlying truths and principles that must not be disregarded. So, in all I believe that these teachings still have value, and should be taught. More or less.

I think this points out the extreme importance of reading scriptures, praying and pondering their meaning, on a daily basis. Not to mention keeping our baptismal and temple covenants. If we understand the spirit, it helps us in the 'writing off' process. Scary, but I think needfull. Nothing brought this home to me more than a perusal of the Journal of Discourses. It's gotta be done.

HiJolly

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Science has no opinion, pro or con, on that subject. None. Scientists have their opinions, but that is not science.

HiJolly

Nice making a man an offender for a word...I was speaking in general terms of "consensus" not quoting a particular scientist, you need not be insulting just because I disagree with you opinions. Still I ask for a CFR on what scientific opinions (or whatever you want to call it) that state that the resurrection of a body of flesh and bones is even possible? If there is one I stand corrected. My point was that some things I take on faith whether the scientific community say it is possible or not. I believe Jesus walked on water, fed the 5,000, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind...these are all in the realm of faith and I do not expect that any scientists will be able to prove, or disprove them for that matter.
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THe whole earth was flooded.

Mt. Ararat was connected near Florida. Pre continental shift. Which was as the waters receded.

God has never stopped creating, if there are plants, and animals that were not on the boat, they were created for God's and mans pleasure post flood.

Do we think all plants survived. I didn't see a Redwood tree on Noah's boat.

son

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Nice making a man an offender for a word...I was speaking in general terms of "consensus" not quoting a particular scientist, you need not be insulting just because I disagree with you opinions.

You said "Science also does not believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected with an immortal body of flesh and bone". This is incorrect. Science doesn't have an opinion on the matter. If you meant to use the word scientists, then please clarify. Even then, scientists disagree in their opinions on the matter, some believing and some not.

Please don't think that because science does not address God and His doings, that it means that science doesn't believe in God and His doings. That's like saying My wristwatch won't fry me a ham sandwich. It can't. Science can't.

Still I ask for a CFR on what scientific opinions (or whatever you want to call it) that state that the resurrection of a body of flesh and bones is even possible? If there is one I stand corrected. My point was that some things I take on faith whether the scientific community say it is possible or not. I believe Jesus walked on water, fed the 5,000, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind...these are all in the realm of faith and I do not expect that any scientists will be able to prove, or disprove them for that matter.

There is no reference to cite, because science doesn't address the issue whatsoever. Just like my watch doesn't fry sandwiches. I take a lot on faith, too. As do we all, even Tchild2, Jaybear and the rest of the MA&DB community.

HiJolly

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