Great Flood

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The Flood, by Michaelangelo, detail from the Sistine Chapel, 1509.

The Great Flood, or Deluge, is the event recorded in Genesis, chapters 6 through 9.

Genesis describes the condition of mankind in the years following the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden:

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." --Genesis 6:5 (NASB)

God had repented of His creation, and decided to destroy it; only Noah was righteous before Him, and God decided Noah and his family was to be spared the destruction of the world by a flood. Noah was told to build an ark, place onboard pairs of animals, and ride out the waters. The ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat, where Noah made a sacrifice to God, who accepted it and swore never to destroy the earth with a flood again, giving the rainbow as a sign of His covenant.

Other flood accounts

The vast majority of cultures around the world have remnants of traditions which state their ancestors escaped a great and cataclysmic flooding of the world. Many of these accounts involve a vessel carrying a few human survivors, animals, and a landing on a mountain as the waters drained away.

Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh

Excavations in the ancient city of Nineveh in 1853 unearthed 12 clay tablets detailing the story of a mythical king of Uruk named Gilgamesh, and written between 2750-2500 B.C. [1] Tablet 11 of this Epic of Gilgamesh had the hero learn the secret of immortality by going to the island of Utnapishtim, where he discovers that Utnapishtim is also the builder of the ark which carried man and animals on the seas of the flood.

Six days and seven nights came the wind and flood,the storm flattening the land.When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,the flood was a war--struggling with itself like a woman writhing (in labor).The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up.I looked around all day long--quiet had set in and all the human beings had turned to clay! [2]

The tablet has remarkable similarites to the Biblical account, such as the collection of animals; the violence of the Flood; the landing on a mountain (Mt Nimush); and the sending forth of a dove. However, differences abound: the ark is cube-shaped; such a vessel actually being built would have been tossed and spun around severely in the waves. Utnapishtim refers to the gods being frightened by the Flood, and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu. The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall; a sacrifice by Utnapishtim after he left the ark collected the gods like flies over a (sheep) sacrifice [3]. This is in sharp contrast to the God of the Bible, who is in total control.

Chaldean

Xisuthrus built a large vessel at the warning of the god Chronos, who spoke of a coming flood. Xisuthrus was to gather his family, friends, and two of every animal. Birds were sent out in search of land when the waters began to subside, some of which bore mud on their feet. [4]

Zoroastrian

The god Ahura Mazda warned Yima of the destruction of the sinful world, and to escape the flooding Yima was to build a vara with which to carry pairs of animals. [5]

Hindu

A fish, in gratitude for Manu saving its life from another fish, warned him of a coming flood and told him to build a boat and put many animals on it. During the flood, Manu threw a rope to the fish, which towed the vessel to a mountain, allowing Manu to tie the vessel fast to a tree as the waters swept away all remaining life. [6]

Greek

The Greeks had a tale of Zeus being enraged over a king's sacrifice of an infant on an altar in his temple, and discovering the depraavity of man in general. Zeus gathered a council of the gods, and together washed away mankind; only Deucalion, having been warned in advance by Prometheus, escaped by building a great chest whereupon he and Pyrrha escaped to safety, landing on Mt. Parnassus. [7]. [8]

Australian

The Flood of the Aborigines was called the Dreamtime Flood, where the ark Gumana carried men and animals came to rest on the plain of Djilinbadu, about 70 km south of where Noonkanbah Station stands now. [9]

Native American tales

Salish

An ancient tribe suffered from a lack of game to hunt, and quarreled over hunting territories. Old men had dreams of the future, and these dreams involved a great flooding of the land. They built a large cedar raft and had it tied to Mt. Cowichan, where survivors rode out the flood. [10]

Chippewa

Nanabozho made a serpent angry in Lake Superior, and the serpent caused a flood which sent the tribe fleeing for the highest mountains; from the Nanabozho built a raft and floated with other survivors until the waters subsided. [11]

Aztec

The Creator told Tapi to build a boat, and place his wife and pairs of animals onboard it, as the Creator was going to flood the valley of Mexico. The water crested over the mountaintops, and receeded; when a dove was sent off and did not return, Tapi rejoiced. [12]

Evidence

Many people, including some Christians do not believe that the Great Flood had taken place, and have cited a lack of geological evidence for a global flood [13][14]. What is ignored in this statement is the fact that approximately 75% of the earth's land area is sedimentary rock (water-laid), as well as evidence from the fossil record showing animals which have died violently, as in a cataclysm, and buried so rapidly that normal biological agents could not completely dispose of the carcasses, as is done under normal observation.

Fossilized tracks

According to scientists, tracks can be fossilized under certain conditions: they must be laid down in moist, fine-grained sediment (such as a beach); the track needs to be exposed to the sun so that it may dry and harden, and one hard, the imprint must be buried for lithification [15][16], prior to erosion taking place by which the track is exposed.

Direct observation as to how tracks are made in accordance with the [[Scientific Method] contradicts this explanation. There is no known way for the sun to bake soft mud in such a manner as to prevent it returning to soft mud when water washes over the surface. Even in arid environments it has been demonstrated that tracks left behind in soft soil that has been baked by the sun will disappear during the next rain, even if that rain takes place a year later, such as in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. This photograph taken in Argentina shows dinosaur tracks across what appears to be a land parched by the sun [17]; such land can be observed anywhere on earth when the sun dries out the water and the soil begins to contract and split. Under normal conditions both the tracks and the parched land would have been erased by the next rain.

Observation on dinosaur trackways in several examples [18][19][20] reveal a lack of clarity on trackways made near other, clearer tracks. The only explanation for this is the less-clear tracks were made prior to a wave of water washing over the beach, followed by the next set, and so on, until they were buried and preserved immediately. Such a demonstration is apparant in the January, 1993 article on dinosaurs from National Geographic (pg 16-17), where not only are five sets of tracks laid one after the other with water washing in between, but a layer of a different kind of sediment was embedded into the last set of tracks.

Fossilization has also occured with raindrops [21]and other evidence of water action [22]. For the preservation of such evidence in soft mud to survive being fossilized, such evidence must be buried rapidly by other material to remove it from the weather, and place it in a condition to allow the original material the trace was left in to harden into rock. The only known agent to allow this to happen is by destructive flooding.

Coprolites

Coprolites are essentially fossilized dung, and according to science, the fossilization of coprolites "is dependent on their original organic content, water content, where they were deposited, and method of burial" [23], usually at a river or floodplain. Coprolites are trace fossils, and since they contained much organic matter when deposited, they would have been subject to destruction by insects, animals, and the weather almost immediately, as demonstrated by observation today.

Black Sea theory

In 2000, explorers discovered evidence that humans lived where the Black Sea now is and speculated the sea was created during a great flood [1]. Dr. Robert Ballard expanded on this theory, postulating that the Black Sea was much lower during the Ice Age (including the finding of a beach thousands of feet underwater), and when the walls holding back the Mediteranean Sea at the Bosporus broke, the sea rushed in and drowned the inhabitants; those who survived told the tale orally, and according to Ballard this became the basis for the flood accounts of Genesis and Gilgamesh [24]. This theory is dependent on a localized flood, and not the world-wide flood as recorded in Genesis and many other cultural traditions.

References

  • Holy Bible, King James Version, as published by Kirkbride Bible Co. Indianapolis, IN (1982)
  • Unger, Merril F. Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, IL (1966)
  • National Geographic, Dinosaurs (article), January 1993.

External Links

Fossil links

Notes

  1. http://archives.cnn.com/2000/NATURE/09/13/great.flood.finds.ap/