In an article in “The Christian Post” on whether the Flood of Noah covered the entire globe, Hugh Ross contended that the Flood was not global in extent but regional.
Taking Genesis as straightforward history, the reader of the text should have little difficulty understanding the account of the Flood in chapters 6–8. We are told that “the fountains of the great deep” burst open and poured out water onto the earth's surface for 150 days. The “floodgates of heaven” were open, producing torrential rainfall. These passages express a flood of global geographical extent. This view is confirmed by the words “all” and “whole” in Genesis 7:19: “And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.”
Furthermore, we read that all mankind was blotted out (except the eight people on the Ark). Genesis 6:7–13 tells us why God sent the Flood judgment: “The Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky.’” The Flood also came to destroy all land animals and birds wherever they were located, not just to kill sinful humans who were not on the Ark.
Furthermore, the Flood account is irreconcilable with a watery event being localized in the Mesopotamian Valley. As noted above, Genesis 7 teaches that “all the mountains were covered.” Because water will always seek its own level, how could the mountains be covered in only one region without also covering mountains in adjoining areas?
Likewise, there is no biblical or logical reason to assume that all humanity before the Flood lived only in the Mesopotamian Valley. Genesis 4 indicates that early man built cities, had nomadic herds of animals, and explored the earth (v. 17–22).
In 2 Peter 3, the Apostle Peter warned of a future time when people would willfully forget that after the earth was created by God, it perished “being flooded with water,” and that the present earth is “reserved for fire until the day of judgment.” Three events are referred to: the creation of the world (Greek “kosmos”), the destruction of that world (“kosmos” again) by a watery cataclysm (the Flood), and the future destruction of the heavens and the earth by fire. In other words, Peter accepted the Flood was global because the creation of the world was global and the future judgment by fire is to be global. This passage leaves no doubt that God’s Word — including in the New Testament — teaches a global Flood.
If the Flood were only regional in extent, why would Noah have even had to take birds on board the ark (Genesis 7:8) when the birds could have simply flown away to safe, unflooded areas? Similarly, why would Noah have needed to take land animals on board the Ark when representatives of those same animal kinds would surely have survived in an unflooded area?
Furthermore, why would Noah have had to build the ark to an immense scale as specified in Genesis 6:15 (about 510 feet long, 84 feet wide, and 51 feet high)? With three decks, the Ark would have had a total area of about 125,000 square feet for all the needed animals (and supplies). Obviously, an Ark of such dimensions would only be required if the Flood were global in extent, which was intended by God to destroy all land animals and birds living around the world (except for those preserved on that Ark). Because the Bible teaches that Noah was warned of the Flood several decades before it came (Genesis 6:3), God could have simply told Noah and his family to migrate out of the region with any required land animals and birds before the Flood started.
Finally, God gave the covenant of the rainbow to remind people He will never again send such a Flood. If Noah’s Flood was regional, then God has broken His promise over and over again because there have been multiple regional floods over the millennia.
Both the Old and New Testaments teach that the Flood of Noah was global. It could not be clearer. For the scientific evidence that confirms a global Flood, we have several articles by PhD geologists and others found on our website of www.AnswersInGenesis.org
This topic is ultimately one about the authority of God's Word, which plainly teaches a global Flood. Why should we accept the ever-changing opinions of fallible men as they reinterpret what the infallible God clearly communicated to us in Genesis?
Ken Ham is the CEO of the Ark Encounter, an evangelistic attraction that draws well over a million people a year to tour its full-size Noah’s Ark in N. Kentucky.