One of the most compelling facets of the Bible that help people understand its contents to be true is the literary style in which it is presented. For example, much of the Old Testament is written in the form of historical narrative. While many people criticize the Bible's contents as being equal to fairy tale, the presentation of the Bible's details simply don't match other creative writing styles that existed at the various times that scripture was documented. The Bible provides an ample amount of detail to show that the authors were seeking to document real life events as they witnessed and experienced them - in most cases, first hand.
This truth is made evident in Genesis 7:11-24. As the Bible presents the details about the flood, there are details that are important to consider because they show that the author of the narrative seeks to document history, not teach a moral lesson like a fable. The first set of details in Genesis 7:11-24 is the date of the flood. The Bible actually provides a time reference for the flood. The Bible dates the flood as happening in the 600th year of Noah's life, which would have been 1,656 years after creation. The author further explains that the flood took place on the second month, on the seventh day of that month. The writing style of Genesis 7:11-24 shows that the author wants to ensure his readers are given facts.
Next, Genesis 7:11-24 explains how the flood happened. Many people are skeptical about the possibility of rain covering the whole surface of the earth. However, the Bible doesn't say that God only used rain to flood the earth. The scriptures explain that the first thing God did to flood the earth was that He made the flood gates under the crust of the planet burst open and then rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights. Many Bible scholars believe that when God created dry land, He created one massive continent that has been called "Pangea." If this is true, the massive amounts of water in the oceans that would have surrounded the land mass could have easily covered over the entire globe. Today scientists speculate that the planet is about 71% water (give or take). This means that there is still enough water to flood the world even today since there is still an abundance of water tucked away beneath the earth's crust in pockets or "floodgates."
The scriptures go on to say that God brought rain upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. For those who live in areas that get heavy rain fall in short periods of time, it is familiar subject matter to understand how much damage heavy rain can bring in just a few days, let alone 40 days and nights straight through! Many Bible scholars speculate that God destroyed the protective firmament that He created on the 2nd day in order to cause as much rain as the Bible documents. The creation account states that God created a protective layer of water as an atmosphere. Many Bible scholars propose that this firmament is what allowed mankind to live as long as the Bible genealogies document. Since the planet had this extra coat of protection, conditions upon the earth would have been much different, thereby possibly facilitating longer life. However, after the flood, the genealogies dramatically change in the Bible. Where the average age of people was over 700 years old before the flood, the average age of people after the flood was much closer to the ages we see today. The flood caused the dynamics of life to change dramatically, and many Bible students agree that God broke down the firmament to a degree to cause rain to come over the whole planet during the time frame that the Bible documents. Considering that the firmament was a thick protective layer of moisture that surrounded the planet before the flood, it would have provide sufficient assistance to the floodgates under the ground to flood all of the earth's surface.
The author of Genesis genuinely desired his readers to understand that the whole earth had been flooded. Genesis 7:11-24 goes on to provide more details concerning the affects of the flood. The author confirms that each "kind" of animal that God desired to save was placed safely on the ark so that its life could continue after the flood and the species grow again with great variation. The scriptures also confirm the safety of the ark's 8 human passengers - Noah, his wife, his sons, and his son's wives. The scriptures further explain that it was the Lord who “shut in” Noah, his family, and the animals to keep them safe on the ark. It was God who provided protection. It was God who provided the means to salvation. It was God that kept life sustained. Many people mistakenly place all of the responsibility on Noah. The scriptures simply don't allow that to be true. The scriptures repeatedly show God's sovereign hand over the events surrounding the flood to show that all of it was His own doing according to His almighty nature.
The author of Genesis desired his readers to understand the extent of the flood as well. Many people have tried to rationalize the scriptures with flawed human logic by proposing that the flood was local. This simply doesn't make sense. If the flood was local, why didn't Noah and his family just leave - they had 120 years to get a head start. Secondly, the scriptures simply cannot be interpreted in such a way. The scriptures repeatedly confirm that the waters covered all of the earth, and that the waters surged to such an extent that the water covered the mountains by approximately 20 feet (Genesis 7:20)! While it is impossible to know how high the highest mountains were before the flood, when considering such details as the scriptures provide, one must admit that the scriptures plainly explain that everything was covered by water. The scriptures also repeatedly confirm that all living things died. All creatures that God breathed the breath of life into were destroyed. Many people seek to dismiss the flood account for this very reason. The fear is that, if God judged the whole world by a flood and destroyed all living things that were contrary to Him, then God's judgment is real. If God's judgment is real, then mankind is truly in a position of need to serve God rather than serve self. Therein lies the rub.
Genesis 7:11-24 explains that God wiped out every living thing that was on the surface of the earth. God said He would destroy mankind because of sin, and God was faithful to His promise. God said He would bring a flood to cause water to cover all things on the earth, and God exercised His almighty and sovereign control over His creation to prove Himself faithful to His Word. God declared this judgment and then executed it because sin had reached its measure. Though God is patient, the Bible clearly explains that God is also a perfect and righteous Judge and cannot let sin go without consequence. Since the wages of sin is death, God allowed an unrepentant generation to pay the wages of their conduct. The Bible explains that the waters surged upon the earth 150 days. For 5 months straight there was waters surging on land to ensure that all land was covered. This would have caused catastrophic topography changes, the breaking up of the continents, and many of the other geographic marvels that can be plainly observed today.
Many people have asked why God used a flood to judge the world at that time. While the scriptures do not provide a plain and simple answer to that question, one truth about the flood does help bring clarity when one understands the Living God according to the scriptures. God may have used a flood because a flood leaves evidence. God wanted His creation to know what He did, which is why it is documented with great detail in the scriptures, and the earth is filled with evidence of God's judgment. One is then put in a position of accountability based on this presentation of evidence. One can accept the work that God did, seek Him in repentance through Christ, and be saved from the judgment God promised would come again (though by different means) in the future. Or, one can examine the evidence, try to rationalize them to disprove God's judgment as false, using flawed human logic, and find out the hard way when its too late that God's judgment is real and true. Noah was saved from God's wrath because He trusted God's Word.