‘The Flood’ – Allegory, exaggeration or literal world-wide disaster?

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The Calamities post brought up the topic of the flood of Noah.

I’ve always thought that the current LDS belief was that this event was a localized disaster and not to be taken literally as read in the Bible.

Am I wrong here? Are there still members who believe that the entire Earth was once under 26 feet of water? Or that there were literally two of every species stuffed into a boat?

If that is indeed the case, colour me surprised.

66 thoughts on “‘The Flood’ – Allegory, exaggeration or literal world-wide disaster?

  1. My point, ltbugaf, is that we cannot take the entire Bible at its literal word. Even if the flood was actual history, it’s still not clear that Moses (or whoever wrote Genesis) meant the same thing as we read into when he said such things as “face of the earth”, “above the earth”, “under the whole heaven”.

  2. I agree with your point, Kim. I just think using one of parables–which Jesus frankly presented as yarns he was spinning–doesn’t support the point you’re making.

  3. Bookslinger: It’s one thing to say “We find no evidence of a universal flood.” But that does not prove there wasn’t one.

    I think what Jeffrey and Jeff and many others are saying is actually “We find the evidence that there was no global flood conclusive”. That is why the issue becomes one of deception by God. If the earth was completely submerged in the last 5000 then God must have miraculously hidden all of the evidence of that cataclysmic.

    I personally believe that interpreting the scriptures in a way that insists on a worldwide flood is one of those “traditions of men” that the revelations warn us about. So I suppose I will throw the “you lack faith” attack back and say that perhaps it takes more faith to let go of incorrect traditions in the face of new truth…

    (That ought to fire things up, eh?)

  4. Yes, I think Geoff is right. It’s not just that there isn’t evidence for the flood. It’s that there is overwhelming evidence against the flood. So it’s not equivalent to the situation with say the Book of Mormon.

  5. Geoff,

    What do you make of Moses chapter 7? Even though the bulk of has an eschatological feel, there are obvious events recounted that have a literal quality to them–at least in the sense that the reader is led to assume that something is taking place. The flood; the Lord’s first coming; His return; all of these events seem to be set forth in the same manner. One does not get the sense that some events are figurative while others are literal. Now certainly, the whole thing may be somewhat figurative, but even so, those events surrounding the Savior’s coming to the earth cannot be viewed as simply figurative. Therefore, it seems to me that the flood ought to be taken in that same light.

  6. Geoff J (#53):
    I’ve admitted all along the _possibility_ of a localized flood, though my personal beliefs lie elsewhere. I’m contrasting that with the others who allow _no_ possibility of a universal flood. Who’s being more dogmatic?

    Others say there is no archeaological evidence of a universal flood, and seem to be closed to the possibility of new discoveries or new interpretations of previous obvservations.

    Not only that, but we have never observed a universal flood, and its 5000 year aftermath, so any ideas of what the evidence of a 5000 year old universal flood should look like are speculative.

    I say there is no _scriptural evidence_ of a _localized_ flood, but I’m open to receiving further light and knowledge from authorized sources on the interpretation and scope of those scriptures.

    I’m not a geologist or archaeologist, so I’ll acknowledge their claims that they haven’t found evidence whose commonly accepted interpretation supports a universal flood.

    But both physical evidence and scriptures are subject to new understandings when further light and knowledge are shed upon them.

    The history of scientific understanding is one of discovering new evidence, and re-evaluating old evidence and coming up with new or modified understandings.

    Therefore, to close off the possibility of scientific reinterpretation of evidence exhibits a “faith,” or rather a dogmatism, in science that is unwarranted.

    My bone of contention isn’t their belief in the current scientific understanding (of there not having been a universal flood), it’s their assertion that scientific understanding of the matter can’t and won’t change, and their disallowing even the possibility that the scriptures mean what they say.

  7. of course the parables of talents is just a story.. it states that and we all know that.. it was given as an example of what happens when you don’t have faith and willingness to commit in doing what you are told.

    But the scriptural “story” of Noah and the Ark is not a parable. Parables don’t give you literal measurements and blueprint on how to build an ark. God was able to build an entire earth and bring forth every flower, plant, tree and animal at the beginning of mankind. What was to stop him from doing so again after the flood? Even after devastating forest fires or volcano eruptions etc where there is no life afterwards.. given time everything grows. It may not be what was originally there but life starts over. And so it did after the waters receded.

    Thank you Kim for pointing out that Rick was not a Christian and therefor was allowed (HEHEHE) to not believe in the bible. And I have a serious problem with those who go farther then studying the scriptures and cross the line into dissecting it bit by bit to the point that it no longer makes sense. You do not need to find nuances in every little line. Somethings are just supposed to be.

  8. “God was able to build an entire earth and bring forth every flower, plant, tree and animal at the beginning of mankind.”

    How he did so would affect how the rest of the question could be answered. If he used natural means (such as the Big Bang and evolution), then a flood restoration following similar natural methods would have taken millions of years.

  9. If its a question of which is more dogmatic “There was no universal flood” or “There could have been a universal flood” given the evidence I’m going to have to say that the latter is actually far more dogmatic. ALL of the evidence points toward the former, while the only thing pointing toward the latter is a pre-scientific reading of a more-than-slightly mythical text.

  10. Let’s also be honest here. You aren’t really just saying “there could have been a universal flood”. What you are really saying is “there was a universal flood and it could have happened in such-and-such a way.” That is far more dogmatic than anything anybody else here has suggested.

  11. Sally #47 said “I would hate to be standing in your shoes on Judgement Day.”

    …and I’d hate to be in your shoes during tithing settlement, so I guess it’s a wash. ;)

  12. Hey Rick.. ok maybe I am just having a DUH moment but what does tithing settlement have to do with my comment?

  13. Well, I’m going to Hell and you have to pay tithing…

    Sounds like a fair trade to me.

  14. I never said you were going to hell Rick I said I would hate to be in your shoes on Judgement Day and I love to pay tithing!!!!

  15. You and I must have a different definition for the word ‘love’, Sally.


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