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Was Noah's Flood Worldwide?

September 7, 2018


There is much debate as to whether the flood, as recorded in the Bible, covered the world or was just localized to the area of the Ancient Near East. The Biblical account is clear when it records, “Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth,rising more than twenty-two feet above the highest peaks. (Gen 7:19-20) But of course many modern enlightened humans don't accept anything written in the Bible. Well allow me to illustrate from a non-biblical viewpoint. 


In many cultures around the world there are recorded flood stories. Ancient Greek historian Pindar in 5BC records a world-wide flood. The Athapascan Indians have an account in their culture of a world-wide flood. The Papago Indians also have an ancestral story of a worldwide flood yet these two groups of Indians are both found in North America.  How is that the North American Indians have account of the flood if it was a small localised flood in the Ancient Near East as some would have us believe? There are many other groups wide spread from around the globe with oral records or written records of a worldwide flood. Over 150 different societies have the essence of the biblical flood story in their ancient origin stories. When I was compiling the material for God’s Awesome Book I collected many flood stories from translators around the world who had found such stories told among the people groups they worked with.  Our translators keep turning up flood and other origin stories in places where they work all over the world which match the Biblical account. Stories from Mongolia, Scandinavia, Egypt, Peru, India, China, Mexico, Hawaii, Sudan and Australia. 


The interesting thing is that Noah's name changes.  In India it’s Manu, in China it’s Fah-he, in Egypt it’s Toth.  In Mexico it’s Coxcox [pronounced Coshcosh], Hawaii it’s Nu-u and in the Sudan it’s Noh. The details in some of these accounts come down to the specifics.  Manetho, an Egyptian historian writing in 250BC records Toth went on the boat with his wife, three sons and their wives.  Eight people in all and exactly the same relationships relationships between therm as recorded in the Bible. Egyptian Priests still today celebrate Toth's survival by launching a little ark on the water on the 17thday of Athyr in the Egyptian calendar. That is exactly the same day the Bible records in the Hebrew calendar.  Different calendars but exactly the same day. Fascinating. 


According to Indian writings in Sanskrit from 6 BC we have the story of Manu getting drunk and falling asleep naked.  Charma, the eldest of his sons, comes along and reveals his nakedness but the other brothers cover their father's nakedness.Isn’t it interesting that is exactly the same story recorded in the Bible. The Aztecs also have flood stories. They too bear parallels to the Bible story. Mankind was overwhelmed by a flood butCoxcox and Xochiquetzal were saved in a little bark boat.They landed on the Colhuacan Mountains and repopulated the earth.A dove imparted languages to them. But they differed so much they couldn’t understand one another.This sounds like another slant on the Genesis stories and the table of nations from an Aztec perspective. 


The Choctaw Indians in North America have similar flood stories.Men were so corrupt that the Great Spirit destroyed them in a flood. One man was saved – the people ignored his warnings.He was told to build a raft of sassafras logs.A bird guided him to an island.The bird changed to a woman and they repopulated the earth.  Really, fanciful to say the least. Of course as the story has passed down through cultures it loses something in the telling and gets more fanciful but the core is still there.The Bahnars in Cochin (China) have a record that the rivers swelled till the waters reached the sky. All living beings perished except a brother and a sister.

They were saved in a huge chest and took with them a pair of every sort of animal. There is a recurring theme of saving the animals in the vessel. 


The Australian Aboriginal groups have different flood stories. Here is one of them. The earliest-time children ill-treated Dumbi, the winking owl.Ngadja, the Supreme Being, drowned everyone. Gajara built a raft for his wife, their three sons and their wives along with food and wildlife. Many types of waters came. The kookaburra was sent out and found land.Ngadja put a rainbow in the sky to say there will not be any more abnormally heavy rain.


The parallels continue beyond the flood story alone. In my collection of related flood stories I came across some interesting indirect evidence which I found substantiated the flood accounts. When detectives are piecing together the stories of witnesses they look for tangential corroborating evidence which authenticates the main plot. When the unrelated pieces match together as well it is strong evidence for the truth of the whole story.   


Deucalion was the Greek equivalent of Noah. He survived the flood in a chest. But he is also linked to the beginnings of wine. Why is that significant?Well think on this verse.“Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. One day he became drunk on some wine he had made and lay naked in his tent.”  (Genesis 9:20-21)  We are talking about the same person with the same traditions no matter what name you might call him. It gets even more interesting when the development of viniculture, or the growing of grapes to make wine began in the area of Urartu in the Mesopotamian basin. An earthware pot was found in the Miyandoab Plain containing a dark residue, believed to be primitive wine sediment. Even the unrelated pieces also fit. 


Please don't misunderstand. I am not suggesting these widespread and varied accounts prove that the flood happened all over the world because people all over the world recorded what happened in their area. No! I am saying the spread of mankind from the area of the Ancient Near East meant that the ancients took with them the story of the worldwide flood and the details of the events and preserved it in their oral traditions with some fanciful embellishment. However the heart of the story holds true and is strong support to the details recorded in the Bible.



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