The most commonly known flood myth in the western world is the Christian myth about Noah from the bible (Genesis 6:1 – 9:17). Being an atheist myself, I cannot help pointing out the more ridiculous parts of that particular myth, but that’s not what this page is about, so I’ll just put that in a separate section at the bottom.
So what is this page about then? Well, as many have pointed out through time, flood myths are common to most older religions and cultures. So, is there some truth behind them?
Flood myths in religion
In the bible, God gets pissed off over the wickedness of man, and says to himself; “Man I really messed this one up. I’d better start over…” So he goes to this guy, Noah, and tells him to build a big boat, huge actually, that can hold one male and one female specimen of every living thing on earth.
Noah bitches a bit at first, but he does build the boat, and god sends animals from all around the world to him, and they happily climb aboard and somehow manages to not eat each other.
When everyone is aboard, god tells Noah to close the doors, and then he (god) sets of the mother of all rains. It rains constantly for a couple of months until even the highest mountain peaks in the world are hidden below the surface of water. When every living thing on the old surface is dead, god lets the water recede, Noah lands the boat on a mountain, and all the animals spread out over the world again. Noah, his wife, and all the animals then proceeds to repopulate the world, and that’s it.
This is the story that Christians subscribe to, but since it is from the Old Testament (Genesis), I suppose that Jews and Muslims also believe in it since they all share the same god, the god of Abraham. Not that I really care, the point of the story is just to say that many religions have similar myths: Their god or gods get mad for some reason of other, and sends a huge flood to punish the humans.
So if so many cultures have similar stories, does that mean that there is some truth behind them? Well, not the religiuos part obviouisly, since there is no god, but I have come to believe that there might actually have been a huge flood of sorts. See the next section for my theory about it.
Around 10000 years ago, the glacial ice sheet of the last ice age was still melting fast. Huge lakes of water was created on and below the ice where the ice sheet met the ground. These giant lakes were essentially just encased in walls of ice, and when these walls melted and broke, fantastic amounts of water would surge over the lands in great distances as floods that may have lasted for quite some time.
It is easy to see how ancient man might have interpreted these as the wrath of a pissed off God. The same thing would have happened in America, Europe and Asia around about the same period of time, and since people back then didn’t exactly get around very much, it is also easy to see how they may have got the impression that the flood that killed their own cattle and submerged their own village for days, was the same one as the flood in far off lands that they may have heard about some time later – perhaps even generations later.
When you look at any of the old flood myths today, it is not possible to accurately say anything about when the actually happened other than that it (obviously) happened before the story was written down, which probably commonly was several generations after it happened.
Well. This is my theory to cover all of the flood myths. I find it quite plausible myself, but no, I don’t have a shred of actual evidence to support it.
Actually, the bible story about Noah is so easily disproven that it is almost no fun to do it, but here goes…
God omnipotent and omniscient. means that he knew…