Old Religious Flood Stories
August 24, 2008 21 Comments
So I’m talking with this guy about Noah’s ark and the Great flood. He tells me that most cultures, religions, and races have a flood myth.
I say to him “yeah, that’s because most old societies back then gathered and created towns and villages near a water source, and those sources would occasionally flood.”
“No,” he says, “I’m talking about the stories they tell about their god’s flooding the whole world and choosing some ‘good’ people to survive on a boat or raft. You know like Noah.”
I ask for examples, but he really doesn’t know any, he just knows that other religions and races have flood stories. We talk of other things for awhile and finally we go our separate ways.
Once at home I decide to research the flood stories on the Internet. I’ve heard this before, and never really researched it much. I found that many of the flood myths contain similar qualities
- Humans are guilty of sin or transgression against the gods
- A god or gods sends a flood as punishment.
- Instructions are sent to an individual to build a boat or craft of some kind.
- The instructions include ensuring the survival of all species…or at least some of them
- The flood destroys the old race of sinners
- After the flood, a new, less sinful race emerges to regenerate the species.
The Hebrew (Noah’s) flood is one of the few that can…kind of…be dated. Most of the Christian religious sects agree on a window of from 2700 to 2200 BC, with around 2300 to 2500 BC being the average. Of course, as I have wrote here before, there is absolutely no evidence for a world-wide flood anywhere near those dates. In fact there is no evidence for world-wide flooding at any past age.
The oldest story I have found is the Epic of Gilgamesh, tentatively dated at about 1000 or more years before the OT Hebrew legend. Since the Hebrew story has so many similarities to Gilgamesh, and the Gilgamesh story is out of Babylon, where the Jews just happened to spend a lot of time (think of the ‘Exile), and is where many scholars think the majority a lot of the OT was put to papyrus. By the way, you can see this late composition of the scriptures by noting that there are some glaring anachronisms in Genesis.
There are a number of flood stories that some scholars think have been polluted by early Christian proselytizers. These are primarily American Indian and South American Indian. (Minus the really old South American tribes) As you read some of the old stories you can see the Biblical influence.
So, yes there are many flood stories from around the world, but most of them disagree on the details, but some of them kind of agree. Why do you think this would be? Is there some kind of ‘group’ human memory going on here?
Believe me, if the people that research these kinds of things (geologists, archaeologists, etc.) ever found some kind of proof for a historical world-wide flood, and they have been looking down through the years, you would hear about it. A find of that magnitude would make him/her rich and famous.
There is a man, George Valas, of the National Technical Information Centre and Library, in Hungary who has an interesting theory. The full paper can be read: Here:
“It is an old enigma whether the myths of Flood obtained in different mythologies created independently of each other in different parts of the world are based on real events or not. The paleoclimatologic research obtained in the late eighties that the melting was extremely violent in some periods of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, creating “ideal” conditions for cataclysmic floods, more violent than we can imagine now. The period about 8250 B.C., the years after so called Younger Dryas episode of severe refreezing rises above the others of such periods with the second most violent melting of the whole Pleistocene-Holocene transition, with strongly increased seasonality concentrating the melting to a short period within the year, and a monsoon activity in the presently arid Middle East 30% stronger than it is observed in the contemporary monsoon zone. It is very likely that this coincidence of circumstances might cause such cataclysmic floods that may cause to born the myths of Flood.
A series of the largest natural catastrophes in the history of mankind can perhaps be discovered by comparison of recent results in paleoclimatology with traditions of religions. The origin of the biblical myth of the Flood is an ancient enigma that is complicated by similar myths in other beliefs in other parts of the world. An old hypothesis suggested that in the background of these myths there were real floods of cataclysmic size. Attempts to identify these real floods or find any connection between them have as yet been unsuccessful. However, recent paleoclimatic investigations have put this enigma in a new light, as a consequence of which it seems likely that all these floods took place during the last deglaciation period, during the transition from Pleistocene to Holocene. The most likely time for the biblical Flood is about 8,250 B.C. (10,200 B.P.), the end of the Younger Dryas cold episode.
Given that the text of the Old Testament should not be taken literally, one of the first questions is: Do verses 7:10-7:12, 7:17-7:24, and 8:2-8:11 of Genesis reflect some real event? Was there any real flood of unprecedented size in the background of the biblical myth of the Flood? Even though one of accepted answers is that indeed there was (Tokarev (ed.) 1982), attempts to identify the geological layers of that flood have been unsuccessful. One possible reason for this may be the incorrect dating of the supposed event.
The situation is complicated by other similar myths in other beliefs in other parts of the world, from Sumerian Ziusudra myth through different Indian and Chinese myths to a large variety of myths of flood among different native American nations and tribes (Tokarev (ed.) 1982). It is not likely at all that these myths are spread from one centre, because
i) There are too great differences between them (Tokarev (ed.)1982);
ii) The cultures in the Middle East, in India, in China, and in
Americas developed independently of each other in the last
20,000 years (Barraclough and Stone 1990).
A real flood of global size is simply impossible, because the amount of all water on the Earth is far not enough for a “global” flood: any real floods in the background of these different myths had to be different ones (except the Biblical and the Sumerian myths that can reflect the same event observed independently of each other by two different populations at two different places). Despite it being difficult to imagine that these different myths reflect events completely independent of each other, there is no evidence of any connection between these different floods.”
There is more to this paper, and it’s an easy read, you may want to follow the link. Here
That makes two theories now, if you also consider the Black Sea Deluge , that make infinitely more sense to explain this damnable flood story that the Hebrews wrote of and the Christians gloomed onto as the workings of Yahweh, Elohim, El, Jehovah, or whatever. The other cultures also attributed ‘their’ flood to their gods, but Christianity says they are false gods so their stories are not true…well maybe Yahweh is false too. These are just old stories and myths; they can’t be proven, but most of the assertions (Noah’s two or seven of every animal, only 8 people survived, etc.) can be disproved.
The Christians just keep trying to put a square peg into a round hole. Maybe they need to regroup and rethink the reality out here.
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