Part 2 of an in-depth analysis of the key words used to describe the Genesis Flood. That cataclysm left its mark everywhere. Here is what happened. This is science vs. evolution—a Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia, brought to you by Creation Science Facts.
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CONTENTS: The Genesis Flood: 2
5: Exceedingly: A terrific increase of water
6: Prevail: An overwhelming coverage of the land
7: Upward: The water went up and up above everything
8: Continually: Back and forth, the churning action of the subsiding water continued
This material is excerpted from the book, THE
EFFECTS OF THE FLOOD.
An asterisk ( * ) by a name indicates that person is not known to be a creationist. Of over 4,000 quotations in the books this Encyclopedia is based on, only 164 statements are by creationists.
You will have a better understanding of the following statements by scientists if you will also read the web page, Effects of the Flood.
A terrific increase of water.
Unlike the first four words, which are less common in the Old Testament, the fifth is found in many parts of those 39 books. Meod means "exceedingly." The Genesis Flood was an event which could only be described by superlatives, and meod is an outstanding one.
Meod comes from a root word which means "massive strength." Twice it is translated as a verb ("might") and 23 times as different adverbs. One of these 23 is "exceedingly." As a sampling, here is where meod is translated by "exceedingly" in the Old Testament: Gen 7:19; 13:13; 17:2, 20; 30:43; 47:27; 2Kgs 10:4; Esth 4:4; Ps 119:167.
In Genesis 1:31, meod is found, where the Creator states that everything which has been created is "very [meod] good." In Hebrew, a word could be intensified by saying the word twice. A superlative doubled becomes even more powerful. Five times meod is doubled in the Old Testament. The first two are in Genesis 7:18 and 7:19:
"And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly [meod meod] upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly [meod meod] upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered."
It is obvious that "greatly" and "exceedingly" in these two verses do not express what happened strongly enough. They do not express the powerful doubled meod which Moses used to describe the Genesis Flood. It was an incomprehensible explosion of water everywhere! At first there is relatively little water to be seen, and then, dramatically,—vast quantities of it soon covered the earth!
Another example of powerful multiplication is shown in Genesis 17:2, 6 and 20, where meod is also doubled. God made a convenant with Abraham, who had no children,—and promised to give him so many descendants that (the time would come) they could hardly be counted for the multitude. That promise was later to find a meod meod fulfillment (Gal 3:29; Rev 7:9).
The immense increase of water is described by the doubly emphatic superlative, meod meod, which is used on only one other occasion in the Old Testament. Maximum emphasis was used to describe the maximum flood.
An overwhelming coverage of the land.
There is a sixth special word that is used to describe the Flood. Four times it is used, and a study of that word will help us better understand conditions during that earth-shaking event.
Gabar means "to be strong, great, mighty." When used in the Qal stem, it becomes an extra powerful word meaning "to overcome, prevail, conquer." Everywhere this verb is used in describing the Genesis Flood, it is translated "prevail." We find it in Genesis 7:18: 20, and 24. Each time it is rendered more forceful by being in the Qal stem. Five of these times are in Genesis 7 (listed above). The other four occurrences will greatly help us understand the meaning of this word.
In Genesis 49:26, while blessing Joseph, Jacob says that this blessing prevails over the blessings given by his ancestors. It is greater than the earlier blessings; it covers them up. In Exodus 17:11, when Moses' hands were held up, Israel prevailed in battle against the Amalekites. They were "gabaring" them, overwhelming, conquering them. One powerful force was overcoming another one.
In 2 Samuel 1:23, David laments that his fallen friend, Jonathan, was stronger than lions; that he could prevail over them. Once again, one force is conquering another one. In Job 21:7, the wicked overcome the righteous.
In Genesis 7:18, 19, 20, and 24, we find the water overcoming the land, conquering it, and completely covering it up. This was no mere local flood! It was worldwide, and all the world was covered with water! The land was entirely overcome by the water. "The waters prevailed" pictures a conflict between the waters and the land, and the waters became the victor.
The water went up and up above everything.
In trying to understand the meaning of milemaelah, we shall learn something very important about the Flood: its depth.
Genesis 7:19-20 states: "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward (milemaelah) did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered."
What technical dimension is discussed here? What does this Hebrew word mean?
Milemaelah comes from a root word, ma'al. Written as Mima'al, it means "higher, the higher part." The word can have a prefix, mi(n), which renders it "from above." It can also have a suffix, ah, which indicates direction. It can also have a prefix, le, ("to") which renders it "upwards." But, Genesis 7:20 and 6:16 has the two prefixes and the suffix also! What does it mean, then, in Genesis 7:20 and 6:16?
In these two passages, milemaelah literally means "from the above," "from the thing that is above," or "from the top." Now we can understand the depth of the Flood!
In Genesis 6:16, that which was above the window was the top of the Ark. God was telling Noah to finish the window so that it would be not over one cubit from the top of the Ark. He well-knew that the Ark would float low in the water and that window would need to be placed high on the side of the Ark. With that window high up, the second and third decks of the Ark would be placed below that window.
Genesis 7:20 would then mean this: "Fifteen cubits from the top of the ark did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." The waterline of the Ark, as it rode the Flood came halfway up to the 30-cubit-tall Ark! The verse adds the fact that the waters also covered the mountains. The 15-cubit dimension does not, therefore, refer to flood depth (from the surface of the earth to the surface of the water), but instead to the draft of the Ark as it floated on the flood waters. The surface of the ocean was not 15 cubits above the land, but the depth (draft) needed for the Ark to float above the tops of the mountains.
Back and forth, the churning action of the subsiding waters continued.
We have here another key word to our understanding of the Genesis Flood. "The waters returned from off the earth continually (halok wesod) and, after the end of the hundred and fifty days, the water were abated" (Genesis 8:3). "The waters decreased continually (halok wehisor) until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen" (Genesis 8:5).
In these words are described another powerful portrayal of the immense turbulence of the Flood waters.
In Genesis 8:3, "continually" is a translation of two Hebrew verbs: sub, which means "to turn about, to return," and halak, which means "to go." Together they present us with a graphic picture of the powerful churning action of the flood waters! A going is followed by a returning. Both verbs are set in the infinitive absolute form, indicating emphasis and duration. The flood waters did not tranquilly seep into the soil. This was a moving Flood, carrying back and forth vast amounts of water, soil, vegetation, and sediments. Gradually, layer after layer of sediments, vegetation, and other materials were laid down and covered over. The infinitive form means that it kept happening over a period of time (instead of only once if the imperfect form had been used).
Terrific hydraulic forces were at work. Massive erosional and depositional actions were taking place. Gradually, layer after layer of sedimentary deposits were laid down.
Then, a new action began in Genesis 8:5, as the first mountain tops were seen. The waters now decreased continually (halok wehisor). We now have a different pair of Hebrew infinitive verbs translated as "continually." The result is that the meaning has changed from "returning" to "lessening." The wave action continued, but now the reciprocal return action was no longer taking place. Literally miles of material were deposited by the flood waters during this astounding event, called the Genesis Flood.
From this eighth word, we learn that massive erosional and depositional activity took place, and that much of it apparently occurred after the first 40 days when the rain stopped falling. An immense commotion of water, capable of fantastic erosional and depositional action, took place.
The preceding study was primarily based on "The Hebrew Flood Even More Devastating than the English Translation Depicts," by G. Russell Akridge (Creation Research Society Quarterly, March 1981). Akridge is not only a scientist at home with complex mathematical formulas, but also with detailed Biblical studies.
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