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Catholic Dictionary




The biblical term for the destruction of the human race by water as a punishment from God. All were destroyed except for a small group whom God miraculously preserved to propagate a new race of people (Genesis 6, 7, 8, 9). It is clear that God caused the deluge because "the wickedness of man was so great" that he "regretted having made him" (Genesis 6:5-7). So "I will rid the earth's face of man, my own creation." He gave Noah, "a good man, a man of integrity among his contemporaries," ample warning and detailed instructions as to how he and his family and two birds and animals of every living species would be saved by remaining in an ark for the duration of the deluge. Study of Scriptural evidence seems to indicate that the earth was in a flooded condition for approximately a year before Noah and those in the ark could safely leave and begin renewing life in the world. The account concludes with God establishing a covenant with Noah and his sons, giving them lordship over the earth and promising that never again would a flood destroy the world (Genesis 9:7-11).