The NLT of Genesis 7:20 says the water was “standing more than 22ft above
the highest peaks” What may I ask is ambiguous about that? You cannot be
“agnostic” about the Word of God. It is perfectly clear in what sense it
covered the mountains. The depth of the water matters as much as any
other statement of fact in the Bible, and you know it, because it calls
into question the inerrancy of Scripture.


I am reading Genesis 7:20 in the translation closest at hand (The Holman
Christian Standard Bible). It reads: “Then the waters surged even
higher on the earth, and all the high mountains under the sky were
covered. The mountains were covered as the waters surged more than 20
feet.” I will admit that this statement can be taken as consistent with
the water being 20 feet higher than Mount Everest, but I believe this is
not the most reasonable interpretation. I doubt the writer was even aware
of where the highest peak on earth is. To try to make this a literal and
exact 20 feet above the highest mountain makes the passage border on

I will be honest, I am truly not certain exactly how to take this passage.
One interpretation is that it rained everywhere. Water inundated
everything. It rained more than 20 feet over the entire earth. Is that
the correct interpretation? I am not sure. Does this mean that if on
some point on the earth it only rained 19.5 feet the Bible is not inspired
by God? Does this mean that if at some place on the earth it actually
snowed rather than raining, therefore the Bible is not inspired by God?
Is there any room for us to extract the meaning of the statement, rather
than to judge the literal implication of the statement? Is there some
chance we should understand this in light of a Near Eastern author in the
second millennium BC rather than a modern, Western writer in the
twenty-first century who considers the literal implications of the 20
feet? In fact, is not the main point here that God judged the world for
its sin rather than the depth of the flood? I am not an expert in
Hebrew. However, to state that unless the water in the flood literally
was exactly 22 feet above Mt.Everest, the Bible is not inspired by God is
to commit a rather absurd hyperbole. To state that the literal depth of
the water in the flood is as important a fact as whether or not Jesus was
resurrected from the dead is to make your argument appear unworthy. I
suggest we try toget a sense of balance on this. Clearly the depth of
water is a matter of interpretation. I simply do not know how deep the
water was, but I am extremely doubtful that the water literally covered to
Mt. Everest by 20 feet.

John Oakes

Comments are closed.