Keller: “Noah’s flood … was a regional flood”

One of the hot debates over how to interpret Genesis is what to make of Noah’s flood. Is it myth or history? Was is worldwide or local? Here is Tim Keller’s answer:

In order to be true to my own principle, I won’t bother you with information about the different views of the flood. Let me just lay out my own assumptions. I believe Noah’s flood happened, but that it was a regional flood, not a world-wide flood. On the one hand, those who insist on it being a world-wide flood seem to ignore too much the scientific evidence that there was no such thing. On the other hand, those who insist that it was a legend seem to ignore too much the trustworthiness of the Scripture. After Genesis 1, the rest of Genesis reads like historical narrative. If, it is asked, ‘what of the Biblical assertions that the flood covered every mountain over the whole earth (Gen.7:19,21), we should remember that the Bible often speaks of the ‘known world’ as the ‘whole world’ — compare Gen. 41:56,57; Acts 2:5,9-11; Col.1:23. (Tim Keller, Genesis: What Were We Put in the World to Do? [New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2006],81)

It is interesting to compare his answer to what Peter Enns wrote over at BioLogos:

However, a balanced interpretation of Scripture does not force the reader to believe that the Flood was a worldwide phenomenon. The scientific and historical evidence summarized below supports the idea that the flood was indeed catastrophic, but that it was local, recent and limited in scope.