Category: Was Noah’s flood global or local?


By: Robert Ballard

Dec. 10, 2012                                                     
The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has found proof that the biblical flood was actually based on real events.In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC News, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s best-known underwater archaeologists, talked about his findings. His team is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah.Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is well known. In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.

Now Ballard is using even more advanced robotic technology to travel farther back in time. He is on a marine archeological mission that might support the story of Noah. He said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice.

“Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that’s a big ice cube,” he said. “But then it started to melt. We’re talking about the floods of our living history.”

The water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world’s oceans, Ballard said, causing floods all around the world.

“The questions is, was there a mother of all floods,” Ballard said.

According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there really was one in the Black Sea region.  They believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the rising Mediterranean Sea.  The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path.

Fascinated by the idea, Ballard and his team decided to investigate.

“We went in there to look for the flood,” he said. “Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed… The land that went under stayed under.”

Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea. By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC.  Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah’s flood could have occurred.

“It probably was a bad day,” Ballard said. “At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under.”

The theory goes on to suggest that the story of this traumatic event, seared into the collective memory of the survivors, was passed down from generation to generation and eventually inspired the biblical account of Noah.

Noah is described in the Bible as a family man, a father of three, who is about to celebrate his 600th birthday.

“In the early chapters of Genesis, people live 800 years, 700 years, 900 years,” said Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a professor of Talmud and Rabbinic at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. “Those are mythic numbers, those are way too big.  We don’t quite know what to do with that.  So sometimes those large numbers, I think, also serve to reinforce the mystery of the text.”

Some of the details of the Noah story seem mythical, so many biblical scholars believe the story of Noah and the Ark was inspired by the legendary flood stories of nearby Mesopotamia, in particular “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” These ancient narratives were already being passed down from one generation to the next, centuries before Noah appeared in the Bible.

“The earlier Mesopotamian stories are very similar where the gods are sending a flood to wipe out humans,” said biblical archaeologist Eric Cline. “There’s one man they choose to survive. He builds a boat and brings on animals and lands on a mountain and lives happily ever after? I would argue that it’s the same story.”

Catastrophic events of this kind are not unique to the Bible. Some contemporary examples include the 2004 tsunami that wiped out villages on the coasts of 11 countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.  There was also Hurricane Katrina, described as the worst hurricane in United States history.

Scholars aren’t sure if the biblical flood was larger or smaller than these modern day disasters, but they do think the experiences of people in ancient times were similar to our own.

“If you witness a terrible natural disaster, yes, you want a scientific explanation why this has happened,” said Karen Armstrong, author of “A History of God.” “But you also need to something that will help you to assuage your grief and anguish and rage.  And it is here that myth helps us through that.”

Regardless of whether the details of the Noah story are historically accurate, Armstrong believes this story and all the Biblical stories are telling us “about our predicament in the world now.”

Back in the Black Sea, Ballard said he is aware that not everyone agrees with his conclusions about the time and size of the flood, but he’s confident he’s on the path to finding something from the biblical period.

“We started finding structures that looked like they were man-made structures,” Ballard said. “That’s where we are focusing our attention right now.”

At first Ballard’s team found piles of ancient pottery, but then they made an even more important discovery. Last year, Ballard discovered a vessel and one of its crew members in the Black Sea.

“That is a perfectly preserved ancient shipwreck in all its wood, looks like a lumber yard,” he said. “But if you look closely, you will see the femur bone and actually a molar.”

The shipwreck was in surprisingly good condition, preserved because the Black Sea has almost no oxygen in it, which slows down the process of decay, but it does not date back as far as the story of Noah.

“The oldest shipwreck that we have discovered so far of that area is around 500 BC, classical period,” Ballard said. “But the question is you just keep searching. It’s a matter of statistics.”

Still, Ballard said the find gives him hope that he will discover something older “because there, in fact, the deep sea is the largest museum on Earth,” he said.

Ballard does not think he will ever find Noah’s Ark, but he does think he may find evidence of a people whose entire world was washed away about 7,000 years ago. He and his team said they plan to return to Turkey next summer.

“It’s foolish to think you will ever find a ship,” Ballard said, referring to the Ark. “But can you find people who were living? Can you find their villages that are underwater now? And the answer is yes.

New Evidence: The Great Flood And Noah’s Ark Were Real Events- Scientist Says 

MessageToEagle.com – 13 December, 2012

Many people associate the story of the Great Flood with the Bible.

However, ancient cultures all across the world have myths and legends describing a time in the  distant past when a horrifying Deluge wiped all almost all life on Earth.

The story of Noah’s ark is not just a Biblical story. Noah was known under a different  name in India, among ancient Egyptians and Native Americans, just to mention a few cultures.

Some of the details of the Noah story seem mythical, so many biblical scholars believe the story of Noah and the Ark was inspired by the legendary flood stories  of nearby Mesopotamia, in particular “The Epic of Gilgamesh.”

These ancient narratives were already being passed down from one generation to the next, centuries  before Noah appeared in the Bible.

    Gustave Doré’s Engravings of the Great Flood

“The earlier Mesopotamian stories are very similar where the gods are sending a flood to wipe out humans,” said biblical archaeologist Eric Cline.

“There’s one man they choose to survive. He builds a boat and brings on animals and lands on a mountain and lives happily ever after? I would argue that  it’s the same story.”

The truth is that except for Antarctica there is not a single continent whose population is not familiar with the story of the Great Flood and Noah’s escape.

Of course, one can wonder what scientific proof might exist that can confirm the veracity of this ancient event.

Fascinated by the idea that the story of the great Flood might be true, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s best-known underwater archaeologists decided to look  for traces of an ancient lost civilization that could reveal more information about the Deluge.   Robert Ballard has on several occasions shown he has a talent for discovering “the impossible”.In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.This time, he and his team believe that their marine archeological mission might support the story of Noah.

He said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice.

“Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that’s a big ice cube,” he said.  “But then it started to melt. We’re talking about the floods of our living history.”

The water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world’s oceans, Ballard said, causing floods all around the world.

“The questions is, was there a mother of all floods,” Ballard said.

The story of the Great Flood can be found among all ancient cultures.

According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there really was one in the Black Sea region.

They believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the  rising Mediterranean Sea.  The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path,” ABC news  reports.

“We went in there to look for the flood,” Ballard said.

“Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed… The land that went under stayed under.”

    Engraving of the Great Flood by Gutav Doré.

The mission was a success. About four hundred feet below the surface, Ballard and his team unearthed an ancient shoreline. This was proof to Ballard that a  catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea.

“By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates  happened around 5,000 BC. Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah’s flood could have occurred.

“It probably was a bad day,” Ballard said. “At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square  kilometers of land, went under.”

    Ballard and his team can soon offer more evidence of the Deluge.

Ballard does not have any hope he will find Noah’s Ark, but he does believe there are many treasures beneath the sea around Turkey and is making plans for more  expeditions in this region. He certainly thinks that he may find evidence of a people whose entire world was washed away about 7,000 years ago. He and his team  said they plan to return to Turkey next summer.

“It’s foolish to think you will ever find a ship,” Ballard said, referring to the Ark. “But can you find people who were living? Can you find their villages  that are underwater now? And the answer is yes.”

Hopefully, Ballard and his team will soon be able to offer more evidence supporting the ancient story of the Great Flood and provide more  information about a period in our history when the Earth nearly died..

The biblical passages regarding the flood make it clear that it was global. Genesis 7:11 states that “all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.” Genesis 1:6-7 and 2:6 tell us that the pre-flood environment was much different from that which we experience today. Based on these and other biblical descriptions, it is reasonably speculated that at one time the earth was covered by some kind of water canopy. This canopy could have been a vapor canopy, or it might have consisted of rings, somewhat like Saturn’s ice rings. This, in combination with a layer of water underground, released upon the land (Genesis 2:6) would have resulted in a global flood.

The clearest verses that show the extent of the flood are Genesis 7:19-23. Regarding the waters, “They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.”

In the above passage, we not only find the word “all” being used repeatedly, but we also find “all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered,” “the waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet,“ and “every living thing that moved on the earth perished.” These descriptions clearly describe a universal flood covering the whole earth. Also, if the flood was localized, why did God instruct Noah to build an ark instead of merely telling Noah to move and causing the animals to migrate? And why did He instruct Noah to build an ark large enough to house all of the different kinds of land animals found on the earth? If the flood was not global, there would have been no need for an ark.

Peter also describes the universality of the flood in 2 Peter 3:6-7, where he states, “By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” In these verses Peter compares the “universal” coming judgment to the flood of Noah’s time and states that the world that existed then was flooded with water. Further, many biblical writers accepted the historicity of the worldwide flood (Isaiah 54:9; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 11:7). Lastly, the Lord Jesus Christ believed in the universal flood and took it as the type of the coming destruction of the world when He returns (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27).

There are many extra-biblical evidences that point to a worldwide catastrophe such as a global flood. There are vast fossil graveyards found on every continent and large amounts of coal deposits that would require the rapid covering of vast quantities of vegetation. Oceanic fossils are found upon mountain tops around the world. Cultures in all parts of the world have some form of flood legend. All of these facts and many others are evidence of a global flood.