Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 16, 2022

What Was Noah’s Flood Like?

(4 Minute Read plus video. 16Mar2022)

Nobody alive today has ever seen anything like the Great Flood of Noah’s day. The only eyewitness information we have of the event is the record in Genesis from Noah and his sons.

Scripture reports the Flood occurred when the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened (Genesis 7:11). The source of the flood waters was two-fold: subterranean eruptions and rain from the sky.

The waters above the expanse (Genesis 1:7) precipitated over the course of 40 days in a heavy, intense rainstorm. The Flood was so massive that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered by over 20 feet of water. (Genesis 7:19-20)

The damage and death toll were extreme, like nothing before or since. The economy of the world was destroyed and all people and animals worldwide were killed except for those on the Ark.
All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.
(Genesis 7:21-23)

Only the 8 people on the Ark
were saved from Noah’s Flood

It is likely that the fountains of the great deep bursting open generated worldwide tsunamis causing towering tidal waves hundreds of feet high crashing across continents at hundreds of miles per hour. Horrific hypercanes likely pounded earth with 300 mph winds, drenching earth with 10 or more inches of rain per hour.

It’s really not possible to grasp the magnitude of Noah’s Flood, but a look at some epic examples of local floods can hint at the forces and damage of Noah’s Flood. How does the worldwide deluge reported in Genesis compare to horrific flooding caused by extreme volcanoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis?

Krakatoa Volcano (1883)

A small-scale example of the forces involved in the upheaval during Noah’s Flood is the undersea eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in May 1883. Estimated to be of magnitude 8.8-9.2 on the Richter scale, the eruption was one of the largest ever.

Map showing Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra

Ocean waves generated by Krakatoa’s eruption totally covered nearby islands and inundated Java and Sumatra 130 feet above sea level six miles inland. Waves killed 36,000 people, destroyed 5,000 boats, and obliterated 295 towns.

Waves caused by the Krakatoa volcano tore across the open ocean at 400 mph, almost the speed of a passenger jet. Surges were recorded on tide gauges 5,000 miles away in South Africa, 6,000 miles away in Alaska, and 11,000 miles away in the English Channel. Krakatoa’s brief eruption produced shock waves detected for five days on barographs around the world.

The explosion is believed to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history. People reported hearing it 3,000 miles away.

Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)

The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 was generated by an underwater earthquake of magnitude 9.1–9.3 off the west coast of northern Sumatra. Tsunami waves 100 feet high killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries. Local economies along the coasts were devastated. Countries worldwide provided over US$14 billion in humanitarian aid, and even that could only begin support and restoration after the water’s unimaginable destruction.

Hurricane Katrina (2005)

In US history, the worst natural disaster was Hurricane Katrina with 1,245 fatalities in August 2005. Its $108 billion damage quadrupled fierce Hurricane Andrew’s 1992 record. Reaching 175-mph winds and 25-foot storm surges, Katrina hit Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, practically destroying New Orleans. Three million lost power; 700,000 lost homes. Refugees fled to all 50 states.

The magnitude of the disaster is further indicated by the relief effort. Nine thousand Southern Baptists from 41 states contributed 120,000 workdays serving 10,000,000 meals and working on recovery. Salvation Army personnel served 5,000,000 hot meals from 11 field kitchens.

Reporters, preachers, pundits, and politicians lamented flooding of “Biblical proportions.” Although shocking and tragic, Katrina’s flooding which pummeled eight states was trivial compared with Noah’s Flood — when countless tsunamis crashed across continents and hypercanes pounded the globe.

If Hurricane Katrina had been of “Biblical proportions,” who would remain to write or read about it? Ascribing “Biblical proportions” to natural disasters exaggerates far beyond anything I’ve heard in a half-century of news. God will never again send floods of “Biblical proportions,” as rainbows regularly proclaim (Genesis 9:8-17).

Japan Tsunami (2011)

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0–9.1 off the coast of Japan generated a Pacific-wide tsunami. Waves over 130 feet high and traveling at over 400 mph hit Sendai, Japan, reaching six miles inland. Deaths numbered 19,747 with 6,242 injured and 2,556 missing.

The quake epicenter in the ocean was 81 miles east of the city of Sendai, 231 miles north of Tokyo. Over 100 aftershocks occurred with most of magnitude 5 or 6 but several of magnitude over 7. The devastation from the quake and resulting tsunami stretched 400 miles along Japan’s northeast coast.

It was a mind-boggling disaster of immense proportions. The World Bank estimated the economic cost at US$235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in history.

This six-minute video shows much of the Japanese city of Kesennuma (pop. 74,000) being destroyed and swept away by the tsunami flood waters.


What Was Noah’s Flood Like?

The Krakatoa explosion and tsunami, the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Japan Tsunami were devastatingly awful. But they were nothing compared to Noah’s Flood!

In these disasters the flood waters had drained away in a few days. But during Noah’s Flood, the “fountains of the great deep burst open” worldwide for five months. It took five more months for the waters to recede and then two months for the earth to dry. Post-flood geological adjustments continued for centuries.

To get an inkling of what Noah’s Flood was like, imagine hundreds of Krakatoas scattered throughout the oceans erupting for five months generating hundreds of tsunamis washing across continents at hundreds of miles per hour eroding land forms and depositing layer upon layer of sediments.

The oceanic, atmospheric, and geological upheavals of Noah’s Flood defy imagination. For a year, water enveloped earth to a depth of 20+ feet above the mountains. Noah’s Flood actually destroyed the world as it then was, including every man and animal that breathed outside the ark.
By the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (2 Peter 3:5-6).

Questions to Ponder

1. Have you ever been afraid in a storm? What was it like for those outside the Ark in Noah’s Flood?
2. Noah’s Flood was scary beyond imagining. What response to a holy and righteous Creator does it stir in you?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

This is the eighth in a series of articles on Noah. This Noah Series will suggest answers to many of the questions believers and skeptics have about Noah, Noah’s Ark, and Noah’s Flood.
Read the prequels:
1. Think You Know Noah?
2. Did Jesus Think Noah Was Real?
3. How Long Did It Take Noah to Build the Ark?
4. Could Noah Build the Ark in 75 Years?
5. How Big Was Noah’s Ark?
6. Were Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?
7. Could Noah Fit All the Animals on the Ark?

Read the sequel:
9. Was Noah’s Flood Global or Local?

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 16, 2022 A.D.

Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
(Genesis 6:13-17)

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