Search Bible Outlines and commentaries




It is easy to find quotations from people who think Noah’s Flood is a joke:

The Sensuous Curmudgeon: Conserving the Enlightenment values of reason, liberty, science, and free enterprise. Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology

Number 10: Where’s the Ark?

Number 9: Why has Noah been forgotten?

Number 7: Conditions aboard the Ark were unsurvivable.

And the Number One reason the Flood is mythology is: It didn’t work!

We’re told that the purpose of the ghastly planet-killing exercise is that mankind was wicked. That’s the reason everything was cruelly destroyed — except for Noah, his righteous family, and their chosen menagerie. Okay, fine, but there’s one little detail — the whole business was a colossal futility !There is still wickedness in the world, which means the planetary slaughter was not only cruel beyond imagining, it was also stupid. But even a creationist would agree that such behavior is incompatible with the nature of God, so the only rational conclusion is that the Flood is a childish myth. — Ridicule of the Word of God

Common Sense Atheism: As if the scientific evidence against Noah’s Flood wasn’t clear enough, it’s also worth noting that the Genesis flood story was merely adapted from an earlier Mesopotamian flood myth, the Epic of Gilgamesh.

At issue:

– REAL – The historicity of the Flood – or is it just a nice story or myth

– CATASTROPHIC – The worldwide scope of the Flood – or is it just a local flood

– INESCAPABLE – Is there any way of escape apart from divine deliverance?

All 3 questions answered here emphatically

Steven Cole: no other judgment in history was as widespread and severe as that of the flood. As such, the flood stands as the past example, bar none, of the fact of God’s judgment on the whole earth. Just as He judged the whole earth with the flood, so He will judge the whole earth in the end times, and none will escape

These Truths are Supported by 4 Proofs:


A. (:1) Preservation of the Righteous — Only the Righteous are Preserved from God’s Wrath

“Then the LORD said to Noah,”

1. Divine Call for Salvation

“Enter the ark, you and all your household;”

Ark is built; now Noah commanded to Enter the ark

What is the relationship between the Efficacious calling of God and human responsibility?

S. Lewis Johnson:

I do want to believe that man has free agency. That is, the decisions that he makes he feels are his own decisions. He does not feel any divine compulsion to make this decision. He is not dragged screaming into the kingdom of God, but from other passages in the word of God, it is evident that it is God who works upon our wills to will toward him. Dr. Barnhouse used to like to say we do not make any decision before God with our wills until the Lord has jiggled our willer. Now we do make that decision, it is our decision. We should never say that because we believe that God is sovereign in his salvation that men do not make a decision, they do. But the decision is one that is prompted by God and it does not arise sovereignly in the heart of man.

2. Divine Criteria for Salvation

“for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.”

Parunak: God demands righteousness of us. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:13). Yet the best righteousness we can generate on our own is no more than filthy rags in God’s sight (Isa 64:6). Only “the righteousness which is of God by faith” can satisfy his requirements. As David observed in another context, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chr 29:14).

S. Lewis Johnson: the righteousness that Noah possessed is a forensic, a legal, a standing before God by which he is acceptable through the sovereign grace of God . . . Noah then is a righteous man and he is invited in to the Ark, because he has been justified by grace through faith in the promises of God.

B. (:2-3) Preservation of Animals and Birds

1. (:2) Animals

“You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female;”

Seven pairs

Parunak: The distinctive feature of this part of the command is the distinction between clean and unclean, which has not previously been made explicit. It has two effects in later books:

• Only clean animals may be eaten, but man has not yet been authorized to eat meat. Gen 1:29; 2:9; 3:19 all anticipate a vegetarian diet, and only after the flood is he allowed to eat meat, 9:3.

• Only clean animals may be sacrificed. We know from 4:4 that the race already knows something about sacrifice, so it must be in this context that God has taught them the distinction between clean and unclean.

So from Noah’s perspective going into the ark, the motivation for the distinction must lie in sacrifice. He is not being saved just for his own comfort. He is a worshipper of God, and is being preserved along with the resources necessary to worship God. For himself and his family alone, a much smaller boat would have sufficed, one with room for their provision, since seeds apparently survived the deluge. But, like the later worshipper taking care to have “full hands,” Noah must exert himself to be able to worship.

Adam Clarke: So we find the distinction between clean and unclean animals existed long before the Mosaic law. This distinction seems to have been originally designed to mark those animals which were proper for sacrifice and food, from those that were not. See Leviticus 11.

2. (:3) Birds

“also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female,

to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.”

C. (:4) Prophecy of Destruction

1. Timeframe – Ticking Time Bomb about to go off

“For after seven more days,”

The Coming Judgment is Certain; very real

Steven Cole: The flood came suddenly, but not without warning. God had been warning that evil world for almost 1,000 years. Enoch preached against the ungodliness of his day. He named his son Methuselah, which means, “when he is dead, it [judgment] will come.” As a testimony of God’s grace and patience, Methuselah lived 969 years, longer than any other human being. Finally he died in the year of the flood. [7 days of mourning for his death] But God’s warnings were ignored.

Noah’s ark was finally finished after 120 years. People watched as the animals migrated toward the ark, two by two. Can’t you hear the people hooting, “Hey, everyone, Noah’s finally getting ready to sail!” Remember, there wasn’t a drop of rain yet. The ark sat there on dry ground. The day of the flood dawned just as every other day had. Then God closed the door of the ark, the rain began, and the earth quaked as the deeps were opened. Judgment came suddenly, but not without warning.

2. Duration

“I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights;”

The Coming Judgment is Catastrophic (Universal) in its scope – rain on the entire earth, not just a small portion

3. Extent of Destruction

“and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.”

The Coming Judgment is Inescapable apart from divine deliverance

D. (:5) Refrain of Obedience

“And Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him.”


A. (:6) Timeframe for God’s Judgment

“Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth.”

The Coming Judgment is real – time stamped in history


B. (:7-9) Response to God’s Sovereign Call to Salvation

1. (:7) Noah and His Family

“Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood.”

2. (:8-9) Animals and Birds

“Of clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female,”

3. (:9b) Refrain of Obedience

“as God had commanded Noah.”

C. (:10-12) Execution of Divine Judgment

1. (:10-11) Timeframe

“And it came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day”

2. (:11) Extent

“all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”

Parunak: Two sources for the water:

• “fountains of the great deep”: subterranean waters flowed up

• “windows of heaven”: perhaps from a vapor canopy that had been around the earth.

Jack Arnold: Canopy Theory. The proponents of this theory say that before the Flood there was a water canopy that surrounded the earth (Gen. 1:7). They think the earth at one time was very much like the planet Saturn today, surrounded by rings, forming a canopy over the earth. Many scientists believe that the rings of Saturn are made up of ice particles, which would, of course, be water, sus¬pended in vast, thick rings around the planet. If something like that were true of the earth of that day, then perhaps the Flood represents a collapse of that canopy of vapor, water, or ice. NOTE: This accounts for the sudden death of not just a few but large numbers of great mammoths and other animals suddenly imbedded in ice. These animals are being discovered in the Arctic regions. Evidently at one time the area was tropical, but it was suddenly plunged into sub-freezing temperatures of such intensity that animals immed¬iately perished, frozen in a quick deep-freeze. They are discovered now with buttercups still in their mouths, unchewed, so sudden was their death!

3. (:12) Duration

“And the rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.”


A. (:13) Noah’s Extended Family

“On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark,”

B. (:14-16a) Animals and Birds

1. (:14) Identified by Kind

“they and every beast after its kind,

and all the cattle after their kind,

and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind,

and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds.”

2. (15) Identified by Quantity

“So they went into the ark to Noah,

by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life.”

3. (:16a) Identified by Gender

“And those that entered, male and female of all flesh”

C. (:16b) Significance of Entering the Ark

1. In Accordance with God’s Sovereign Call

“entered as God had commanded him;”

2. Before it was Too Late

“and the LORD closed it behind him.”

Door of salvation does not remain open forever

The Lord is the one who shut the door

Steven Cole: Even though the door was open until the last possible moment, there is a sense in which those outside the ark had sealed their own doom years before the flood. There are very few deathbed conversions. A person fixes his mind in unbelief so that he can continue in his sinful ways. He deliberately ignores warning after warning. Perhaps he thinks that when he has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, he will repent. But by then it’s too late. God has closed the door of salvation.


A. (:17-20) Waters Cover the Highest Mountains on All the Earth

1. (:17-18) Covering all the Earth – Ark Floats Securely

“Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days; and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth.

And the water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth;

and the ark floated on the surface of the water.”

Parunak: The same event that brings death to the world, lifts up the ark and delivers Noah and his family. We need to learn to see God’s providential blessing even in things that the world considers disasters. Cf. the murder of Christ, which brings judgment to the unbeliever but salvation to us, Acts 2:23. More generally, Rom. 8:28.

2. (:19-20) Covering the Highest Mountains – Ark Floats Securely

“And the water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.

The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.”

Remember, a significant part of the ark would be under the water; had to allow for enough clearance for the ark to float over the highest mountains

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jack Arnold: The Arguments Against a Localized Flood

1. Depth of the Flood. The Floodwaters went 15 cubits above the tops of the mountains (7:20). This depth was evidently the depth to which the ark sank in the water, half its height, so that it could now float freely over the highest mountaintops. NOTE: Mount Ararat, where the ark landed, is over 17,000 feet high, and it is in the Mesopotamia basin. If the waters covered that mountain alone, it could not have been a local flood.

2. Duration of the Flood. The great amounts of water over a long period of time would produce no local flood. The slow rate of decline for the water level is cited as showing that it had to be more than a local deluge.

3. Need for an Ark. If it was only a local flood, Noah and his family could have moved over to a dry area by the warning of God. He could have migrated rather than built an ark

4. Expressions of Universality (6:7,17; 7:4; 8:9,21; 9:11,15). These expressions certainly indicate that the Flood was universal.

5. Peter’s Statement. In 2 Peter 3:3-7, Peter speaks of the “earth that then was”, which definitely indicates that the flood was a worldwide catastrophe.

6. Testimony of Christ (Luke 17:27). He testifies to the fact of the Flood and says it “destroyed them all.” This is a statement of universality for all men on the earth had to be touched by the Flood, and surely men had migrated out of the Mesopotamian basin by this time.

7. Promise of God (Gen. 9:11). God promised that He would never destroy the world again by flood, and this would have little meaning if it were only a localized flood. There are many who have died in local floods since the days of Noah.

8. Ancient Records. A universal flood is mentioned in the records of almost all ancient peoples. The Sumerians, Babylonians and Egyptians all have recorded history of the Flood but most of them are distorted and are obviously not factual. But it shows that ancient men had a concept of a universal flood, for all post-Flood people descended from Noah and his sons. (cf. Morris and Whitcomb, Genesis Flood, pp. 38-39).

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

B. (:21-23) Extent of Destruction

1. Every Living Thing

“And 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;”

2. Only Noah and His Family Spared

“and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.”

C. (:24) Duration and Scope

“And the water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.”

Steven Cole: Then there is the time which it took for the flood waters to abate. The water prevailed upon the earth for 150 days (7:24). This means that it took 110 days after the rain stopped for the water to recede enough for the ark to touch down on Mount Ararat (8:3, 4). It took another ten weeks for the water level to go down enough for the tops of other mountains to become visible (8:5). All told, it was just over a year before it was safe for Noah and those on the ark to disembark (8:14-15). No local flood would require that much time to subside.


What do we learn about Accountability before God from this study of Noah’s Flood?

For the non-believer:

– Judgment is coming and it is very real

– Judgment will be catastrophic in its scope

– Judgment will be inescapable – Don’t miss the boat!

For the believer:

We will all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ – there still is accountability; but at issue will not be our eternal destiny but the extent of our rewards