We continue our study of Rich Deem:
Does the Genesis text indicate that the flood was local? If you read it carefully, you can determine that the perspective is local. Most English translations are actually interpretations that are intentionally skewed to favor a global flood interpretation. For example, Genesis 7:20 is usually translated as:
The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. (Genesis 7:20)
In reality, the Hebrew word ma‛al, translated "higher" really means "upward." So, in essence, the text is saying that the flood was 15 cubits (20 feet) deep, in total, not 15 cubits above the mountains. In addition, the Hebrew word har really refers most often to hills rather than mountains.
Douay Rheims : 7: The water was fifteen cubits higher than the mountains which it covered.
Vulgate : 7: Quindecim cubitis altior fuit aqua super montes, quos operuerat.
LXX : 7:20 πεντεκαίδεκα πήχεις ὑπεράνω ὑψώθη τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ ἐπεκάλυψε πάντα τὰ ὄρη τὰ ὑψηλά.
Fifteen cubits the water ὑπεράνω ὑψώθη and covered all the ὑψηλά mountains.
The first means sth like "rose up" and the latter means "risen, exalted, high".
Fifteen cubits the water rose (ὑψώθη) up (-άνω) above (ὑπερ-) and covered all the high/raised mountains.
Even LXX seems very much clearer if the 15 cubits are above the mountains.
Even though my Greek is worse than rusty, I'd say Deem's meaning would be clearer if we had instead had a LXX saying:
LXX translators took ma'al* as "upward and above" (ὑπεράνω), not just as "upward" (άνω).
Adding for Latin : the word super, a preposition, does for Latin what the word part ὑπερ of adverb ὑπεράνω does for Greek.
For this first part of the close reading, Deems would have not just tradition but all translations against him and be supported by only the naked text of the Hebrew. He would have to argue it was mistranslated into LXX and every other version.
He would then obviously also be arguing against Rabbinic tradition, which, if not first class, is at least enough to someone who is rejecting all other - namely Christian, ecclesiastic - tradition.
The translators of most English Bibles use the word "earth," which to us means "planet earth." However, their mistranslation can clearly be seen in the following passage:
Gen 8:5 And the water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.
Gen 8:6 Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made;
Gen 8:7 and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth.
Gen 8:8 Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land;
Gen 8:9 but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark; for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.
We see that in the tenth month, the mountains became visible to Noah (Genesis 8:5). Some 40+ days later (Genesis 8:6), Noah sent a dove out of the ark (Genesis 8:8). However, the dove was unable to land because of all the water (Genesis 8:9). Then, the text tells us that water was "on the surface of all the earth." This is obviously a bad translation of kol erets, since we know that the water had not covered the mountains for at least 40 days. The context makes it clear that kol erets must refer to local geography and should be translated as the "all the land" or "all the ground." In fact, all our major English translations (NASB, NIV, KJV, etc.) make this same error. It is no wonder that people who read the English translation of the Bible "literally" come to the conclusion that the flood must have been global. However, it is apparent that our English "translations" of the Genesis flood text are more than just "translations," but actually interpretations (and probably incorrect ones at that).
You are sure you don't want to try to argue that "visible" in verse 5 is mistranslation for "uncovered" or "dry"?
Because, just because a mountain top is five feet under clear calm water doesn't make it invisible.
But as long as it is under water at all, a dove can't take a stand on the ground.
So, there is no indication for a local flood here either.
There is another indication in the text that the flood did not cover the highest mountains. Again, from Genesis 8:
So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. And the dove came to him toward evening; and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. (Genesis 8:10-11)
If the ark had come to rest on the top of Mount Ararat, this would be at 17,000 foot elevation. Olive trees (and every other tree) do not grow at 17,000 feet. In fact, you will not find olive trees growing much above 5,000 feet. Therefore, we know from the Bible that the ark did not come to rest on or near the top of Mount Ararat, but probably somewhere on the foothills of the mountain.
While Ararat can have risen by folding of ground under it, it certainly can have risen during the Flood as a volcano.
This means that the olive twig need not be grown on the elevation it had then.
Also, it is due to relative elevation over sea level that the olive trees can't grow there now. Right in these verses, the sea level was far higher and so the elevation probably not fatal to an olive tree - any more than to the Mediterranean coast olive trees are endangered from survival by being 36 201 feet above the Mariana trench. Although that is of course even higher an elevation, relatively, than the 17 000 feet of Mount Ararat compared to today's sea level. Why? Because olive trees along Mediterranean are having the growth influenced by being close to sea level, not by being far above a very theoretical potential, but so far not actual sea level.
And the olive branch would have lived very well on top of Mount Ararat while that top was only - say 15 cubits? - above the surrounding sea.
The method by which the flood ended also tells us that the flood was local. According to Genesis, the water receded and was dried by the wind.14 If the flood were global, there would be no place for the waters to recede to. Likewise, a wind would not significantly affect a global flood, further suggesting that the Genesis flood was local in extent.
Here we will have to do a little interpretation, not just of Bible but also of natural phenomena in general.
Point one : "there would be no place for the waters to recede to"
This has been answered time after time by pointing out God could excellently well have made places by folding and deepening of seas. The Mariana trench along with the rest were being formed. Precisely so as to give water some place to recede to.
And land was folding inward and rising - with the result that as tops emerged, water would recede.
Point two : "Likewise, a wind would not significantly affect a global flood"
That is supposing the wind had to dry up all of the earth at once.
8: And God remembered Noe, and all the living creatures, and all the cattle which were with him in the ark, and brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated.
For some natural or supernatural reason, air pressure increases at least around the Ark (as local emergence from Flood, rather than Flood itself being just local), and probably it contributes to drying the land, but we do not see that (or I didn't when skimming through).
But when it comes to land being drier, we don't find any more reference to "kol eretz".
8: Therefore in the six hundredth and first year, the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were lessened upon the earth, and Noe opening the covering of the ark, looked, and saw that the face of the earth was dried.  In the second month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth was dried.
Note well that this drying could very well be local. No kol with the eretz.
Note also, there is a distinction between "the face of the earth was dried" and - next verse - "the earth was dried".
There is a time difference too.
Two Hebrew months, minus a few days. Two lunar months, nearly to the full.
So, drying air first exposes a dry surface, but, perhaps, it may still be brittle with mud under. Only after more than fifty days is the same ground firmly dried below surface too.
Was that a local Flood?
I rather think the wind making the waters abate was local. I rather think the full abating of Flood waters was so slow that if God hadn't made a miraculous wind, like during the Exodus, the people and animals aboard the ark would have starved to death.
And the drying under the wind happened locality after locality, often only after some longer drainage by mountain folding.
I have made cheese in my life. Solid or half solid cheeses are made from fairly wet ones, which when served immediately are called cottage cheese.
Now, put cottage cheese in a flat bowl, and it will not be drained of whey very fast. But use a cardboard milk tetra, properly cut up and with holes, so that the cheese can stand and the whey drain down from it, and after a week, the cheese will be fairly solid.
By adding a vertical factor, God speeded up the "draining of the cheese" stage of dry land reappearing after the Flood.
Very possibly, the cold during the ice age, by binding water, can also have contributed to giving us back the land a bit faster. And as for drying winds, except supernatural ones, they would even so have taken some time between a dry surface and a solid dry ground.
Another problem for the global flood interpretation is what happened to the "earth" after the flood. Read the following verses and see if you can see why the word "earth" does not refer to the entire planet: ... If one were to interpret these verses from a global perspective, one would have to conclude that the entire earth became a desert after the flood. Obviously this interpretation is false, so the translations must be bad. In these verses, the dryness of the earth is obviously referring to the local land area of the flood and not the entire planet earth.
Already answered. There is no word "kol" in these verses. These verses are dealing with a local, perhaps precocious, reappearance of solid dry ground.
Now, however, Deems is changing theme, and I will change message, finishing this one.
Hans Georg Lundahl
* Trusting Deem on the Hebrew.