Question: 
If the flood was limited to Noah’s region of the world, then why would he need to take animals onto the ark? The account is clear that the animals on the ark, as well as Noah and his family, are the stock which replenishes planet Earth. Genesis 8:15-17 (NKJV) says, “Then God spoke to Noah, saying, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’” This proves all animals and people on the earth descend from Noah and the ark.
 
Answer: 
 

There are a few unexamined assumptions in this objection to a local flood. First, it is important to note that Genesis 8:15-17 uses the Hebrew word erets for “earth.” This, by itself, cannot prove the context of the account is “planet Earth” or the globe as we think of it. This objection assumes what first must be proved.

When placed in the wider covenant context of Scripture, it is not difficult to see why animals are intimately involved in the account. Animals are always involved in how God deals with man: both in judgment and salvation. When Israel was in Egypt and Pharaoh’s disobedience brought the plagues on the land, the plagues affected both man and beast (Ex. 8:18; 9:1-4, 19; 11:5; 12:12, 29). Also, when God delivered Israel from Egypt he delivered Israel’s animals as well. In fact, this was a bone of contention between Moses and Pharaoh (Ex. 10:24-26; 12:31-32). The Sabbath prohibited work for both man and animals (Ex. 20:10). We see another connection between man and animals at the conquest of Canaan. Israel was told not only to utterly destroy the human population of the Canaanites, but their animals as well (Jos. 6:21). When we get to the prophets we find that our gracious God cares not only for man, but his animals, too (Jon. 4:11). The animal sacrifices were to be the best of the flock or herd, raised by the owners’ own two hands (Gen. 4:4, Deut. 12:6). The family had a personal stake in their sacrifice.

The easy answer to this objection is that God’s covenant judgments and salvation always involve animals throughout redemptive history. All through the Bible it is as if animals are, in a very real sense, part of man’s household. Those who live in a modern, urban setting often miss the natural connection between animals and human life because we are far removed from the agrarian context of the Bible. Perhaps the closest modern experience to help us understand Noah’s situation with the animals would be our relationship to our pets. If we experienced a raging house fire, we would not only want our family saved, but our pets saved as well. Could we really say that our entire family survived a house fire if everyone got out of the burning house except for our beloved family dog?

It would have been distinctly out of character for God to save Noah and his family without including the animals that surrounded him. To argue that Noah took animals on the ark merely for the purpose of replenishing planet Earth after the flood misses the holistic character of God’s judgment and salvation. God’s salvation is total; it does not apply merely to individual human souls. This objection also overlooks the fact that some animals from the ark were sacrificed to God after the flood (Gen. 8:20).


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