Bible Answer

Why didn’t fish have to die in Noah’s flood?

Pastor Armstrong's lesson on Genesis 6 referred to all creatures having "lifeblood" dying in the flood, with the exception of the fishes because they are not considered to have lifeblood. Can you please explain more about this lifeblood and what the implication is? Additionally are there any sea creatures that have lifeblood, such as sea mammals like whales?

First, the Bible teaches that the life of a living creature is found in the blood. 

Gen. 9:3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
Gen. 9:4 “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

But when the Bible speaks of life in this way, it’s not making a biological determination; scripture is emphasizing the symbolic importance of blood. Obviously, biological life exists in organisms that do not possess blood (i.e., in plants), but the Bible uses the term “lifeblood” more specifically than merely to describe biological life. 

The Lord associated blood with life and death for the purpose of picturing the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross:

Lev. 17:10  ‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.
Lev. 17:11 ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’

Therefore, plants have biological life but they do not possess “lifeblood” in the sense that they cannot die to atone for the sin of a living creature. 

Secondly, fish do possess lifeblood. Nevertheless, fish were spared from destruction in the flood because the Lord brought the flood specifically to target mankind living on the earth. Since man (and land animals) must breathe air, the Lord determined to extinguish life with a flood. But notice how the Lord specifically targeted creatures (including man) that live on land and breathe air: 

Gen. 7:4 “For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.”
Gen. 7:15 So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life.

The Lord was intent on destroying sinful man who had been corrupted by the demonic realm (see Genesis 6). To accomplish this goal, the Lord flooded the entire earth, which naturally resulted in all air-breathing land animals dying too. Therefore, the Lord made provision to save the land animals along with Noah’s family in the Ark. 

On the other hand, a massive flood is not a threat to water creatures, so no plan of rescue was required for them. Their preservation was not a matter of possessing (or not possessing) “lifeblood” but merely a consequence of the method the Lord chose to bring destruction.