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Did something comparable to the biblical flood really take place? Cultures all over the world tell stories about it.
Some have argued that the idea that there was a worldwide flood at any point in human history is impossible. It has been said that the biblical flood, or anything close to that scale, is incompatible with the archaeological record, as far as the human era is concerned.
But, human cultures all over the world believe that a global flood occurred at some point in the remote past. Could the archaeological record be wrong, and the flood stories of people from different continents the truth?
Not only do people in Europe and Asia have stories about a worldwide flood, but those in the Americas do as well. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the stories could simply have spread from one place to another. And there is something very biblical about the flood stories of non-Christian cultures.
Non-biblical flood stories also claim that the flood was divine punishment, that few people survived, and that the few survivors went on to build a new world. Some believe that human stories of gods, mythological creatures, and ancient catastrophes were the work of extraterrestrials and not of divine beings. If the great flood was the work of a non-human civilization, why did they inflict such a punishment on humanity? For what purpose?
Regardless of what you might believe, the similarity of the global flood stories of different cultures is interesting. Here are a few examples of very different cultures who believe in very similar flood stories:
In the remote past, the gods had decided to destroy the entirety of humankind. The water god, however, took mercy on the human race and wanted to save some of them. A man named Ziusudra was instructed to build a large boat to save a small number of humans who could repopulate the world.
The global floods, according to the Akkadians, were periodic, occurring once every 1200 years to prevent overpopulation. The hero built a large boat and saved his family from the most recent flood.
Similar to the Sumerians, the Babylonians believed that most gods wanted to drive humans to extinction for their transgressions, but that one god decided to save them. The ship, in this case, came to rest on the top of a mountain.
While the ancient documents that describe their flood myth are damaged, there is nonetheless a story of a great flood sent to punish humanity.
After only one good man and one good woman are allowed to survive a great flood, they recreate the world by throwing stones, which turn into humans.
All of these old world cultures may simply have borrowed the flood myth from each other. But the Hawaiians and the Aztecs both have myths of a great flood that was sent to kill all but a chosen few, who all living people descend from. Cultures creating such remarkably similar myths in spite of being isolated from each other makes it seem believable that there really was once a catastrophic flood.