Noah’s Flood: Its Scope

Question

Did the flood in Noah’s time cover the entire planet with water and wipe out all civilization and animals? Or did it only affect the geographic region covered in the Torah?

Were the Chinese, Native Americans, and Aborigines (just to name a few) affected by the flood? Or just those in and near the Middle East?

Did Noah take all animal species from all parts of the world on board the ark, including kangaroos and llamas, for example? Or just those animals found in the biblical region?

3 months

Answers

  1. According to Jewish Tradition the flood covered the entire world. It is my understanding that looking for naturalistic or scientific explanations for anything to do with the flood is futile. The flood was not a natural occurrence – it was miraculous and defied, in fact, destroyed much of, nature. I would look at the period of the flood as a supernatural period and event and I think that is how the commentaries understood it as well. The same commentaries who asked myriad questions on every sentence and word in the Torah, do not ask these questions. – perhaps they felt that the flood was a “singularity” not to be understood in terms of nature or science. (I think that the term is sui generis).
    The Rabbis teach that the whole environment, including the animals and the earth itself, had as a result of man’s actions become perverted. The Oral Tradition teaches that it was so bad that it had reached the point where the animals mating outside of their own specie which is why the Rabbis say that when God brought the flood only those animals who had not behaved in such a way were saved and the rest were destroyed because
    there was no need for their existence in their defiled state.
    I asked a great Torah Scholar your question and he explained that there are Midrashic Texts that state that the world began to “dis-connect” after the flood but the whole process did not actually finish until ten generations later at the time of the Generation of the Dispersal. That is how all the animals populated the world after the flood.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team