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Dr. Barrick responds to Dr. Heiser on the Flood

Editor's note from Caleb: I reached out to Dr. Barrick and asked him to weigh in on Dr. Michael Heiser's article entitled, "How to Argue from the Biblical Text for a local-regional flood instead of a global Flood." Both are Hebrew and Old Testament scholars in their own right, but both come to different conclusions on the extent of Noah's flood. Was it local or global? Dr. Barrick offers a concise reply and explains how the text points to a Global flood. He graciously allowed me to publish it below.

Dr. Bill Barrick's response:

Michael Heiser is correct on several points:

  • “All” doesn’t always mean “all without exception.” There’s nothing mysterious or special about the Hebrew — it is true in nearly every language on earth. Context determines meaning.

  • Too often people tend to use ad hominem arguments to support their particular viewpoint, rather than dealing directly with the biblical text.

What he does not mention in this particular article is all the contextual matters that demonstrate that the Flood was truly global, not a local or regional flood.

  • Why preserve birds on the ark when they fly to neighboring hills and distant valleys to escape local or regional floods?

  • Why does the text specify that the birds are included in order “to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth” (Gen 7:3)?

  • Why build an ark of such large proportions for a merely local or regional flood (Gen 6:14–16)?

  • Why did the Flood last so long (371 days)? Is there any example of any local or regional flood ever lasting so long? We suffered massive flooding in Bangladesh and the water was gone within a couple of weeks at most!

  • How could God promise not to send any more local or regional floods, when they still happen (Gen 9:11–17; Isa 54:9)?

  • And, his attempt to separate the globality of the Flood from the global waters of Genesis 1:1–3 fails to take into account 2 Peter 3:5–6. And, Peter ties that global judgment with the future global judgment by fire later in this same chapter of his epistle. In other words, Heiser would have to deny a future global judgment as well.


Heiser makes many sound observations about the possible meanings of words like “all,” “land,” “earth,” “sky,” “all flesh,” etc., but does not handle important contextual matters that give adequate direction for understanding how the terms are used in the Flood narrative. There is absolutely no argument from the Hebrew that shuts the door to the text talking about a global flood. Making the argument that the Hebrew rules out a global flood does not give sufficient attention to the Hebrew. What it does do, unfortunately, is to convey the idea that the Hebrew has little to say about the flood’s global and catastrophic nature. The Hebrew words, phrases, and sentences comprise a legitimate case for a global, catastrophic flood."

Thank you for your concise reply, Dr. Barrick. For those that would like more info about Dr. Barrick, you can check out his info below. For another helpful article on the flood, check out CMI's article here.

Info about Dr. Barrick:

Personal Web site: Chairman, Board of Directors, Canyon Ministries Emeritus Professor of Old Testament The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, CA:

Secretary-Treasurer, Creation Theology Society:


Want to read more articles?

  • For more Engage Apologetics resources, click here.

  • For more on the El Paso Creation Network, click here.

  • For more on our upcoming "Flood Geology" hike and conference, click here.

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