If we are to understand that the earth is the known land and not the entire planet, then how could the flood destroy every living substance that He made?
Maybe the Bible really is just the origin story of the Hebrew people and not all people (which would explain where Cain's wife came from). In that case, the flood would have been a local flood, destroying everything in the "known" world and destroying everything YHWH had created, but not everything in existence that had been created by another god or that had come about through natural processes.
Not if you assume that world means only the "known" world. And the fact that the Hebrews believed their god created the whole world, when the only part of the world they knew was the part of the world that their god had created, doesn't necessarily mean the entire world was created by their god.
But that's just it, if they only knew of a small part of the whole, then everything that they know is destroyed, how would they tell the difference between everything and just the part they know?
If you never leave your town and have no access to news or internet to see what's happening elsewhere, so all you know is your town, then a tornado comes through and destroys the town and all the land around it as far as you can see, how would you describe it? You would say everything was destroyed, because as far as you know, it was.
I'm just saying that they thought everything they knew about WAS everything. Everything they saw was, in their mind, everything in the universe. If they couldn't see it, why would God have made it? (That's what, I assume, they may have been thinking, since they were God's chosen people.)
True, and really, I'm just arguing from a hypothetical framework.
To me, reading Genesis, it's obvious it's an origin myth about the creation of the Hebrew people. It seems quite obvious to me they did not think their god created everything, but were using hyperbole or exagerration. Where Cain's wife came from seems to indicate they knew there were other people and places beside what their god had created.
It makes much more sense to think they considered all of the creation stories floating around by different peoples to be valid. The first commandment would seem to say that while all those other gods exist for those other people, you (the Hebrews) are to have no other gods above me (YHWH).
The idea behind the story is that god wiped the entire slate clean, but the people at the time thought the entire slate was limited to their corner. Now that we know that their corner was not the entire slate, I don't think we should be limiting the wiping to just their corner. The point of the story was that it was the enitre slate, regardless of what the people at the time thought that emcompassed.
You could have it backwards. You argue that the entire slate was wiped clean, so they thought their local area was the entire slate, but they were wrong on that count. Could it be the other way around, they thought their local area was the slate, and so when their local area was wiped clean, they thought the entire slate had been wiped clean?
If we look at ancient writings from other parts of the globe, we find no mention of this global flood, so either they didn't notice it, paddling around on a palm frond, or it was a localized event that the people in that locale thought was an event that occured everywhere.
You're right, there are many flood myths, and almost (if not all) of them come from areas that are prone to local floods. If you could try and discover when the floods happened for each individual story, I doubt they would all occur at the same time, too.
Yeah but if they thought it was the entire slate then as we realize that the slate is more than they thought it was then the area the flood covered expands as the slate expands.
That's one conclusion, the other is, "Oh, gee, I guess the it wasn't the entire slate after all."
For example, let's say I live on a little island. A tidal wave comes and washes out my entire island. I sit there in despair thinking the entire world has been deluged and wondering why the deity I believe in has visited such destruction on the world. I teach my children that we must be careful never to anger that deity again or he may visit similar destruction upon us. My children have children who have children and eventually one of them decides to try and leave the island, floating off on a log raft. He reaches the mainland that they never even knew existed. They see people walking around and through various signs and gesturing, we find out that a tidal wave reached them, too. The man goes back to his island and tells them of his discovery. They rejoice at his return and realize their deity must be even more powerful than they thought to destroy a bigger world.
Scientists come along and begin to study the island these people live on and determine that the tidal wave that wiped out the island happened 100 years prior, but the tidal wave on the mainland was 200 years prior. Is that evidence that a deity wiped out the world with a tidal wave, or that tidal waves happen in different places at different times?
I'm not saying that the Genesis flood account is evidence of a global flood. I'm saying that the writers thought the whole world was flooded, not just their corner of it.
They thought it was, therefore they would write it that way. But what they thought has no bearing on what really happened. I'm just saying there may have been a flood, the Jewish people at the time attributed it ot their god because he was unhappy and therefore wiped everyone (as far as they knew) off the planet.
It turns out they were wrong, the flood didn't reach the entire world, but that doesn't change the fact that they wrote what they perceived, not what really happened.
I must have been misinterpreting what you wrote. It seemed to me that you were arguing that since the Bible says the flood covered the whole world, then however the Hebrews may have understood that word, it really was the whole world that was flooded or the myth means nothing.
In other words, while they didn't know the extent of the world as much as they thought they did, they still came to the correct conclusion that the whole world was flooded.