It is baffling to me that scientists and historians today who are not of a persuasion of faith outright deny the possibility of a large, catastrophic flood in the past. I suppose the geological evidence could be confusing and possibly not cut-and-dry (or else there probably wouldn’t be such doubt about the flood in the first place) however something that cannot be ignored is the veritable mountain of written evidence of such a flood. And I’m not simply referring to many copies of the Hebrew scriptures.
It may come as a surprise to those reading, but the biblical account of Noah’s flood is not the only account of a flood story. Some may have also heard of the Epic of Gilgamesh as well (see below for more on this story), but in addition, there are probably in excess of 100 written stories of a great flood from a great number of peoples, countries and continents that have emerged over the years. This alone would seem enough evidence that some great flood occurred, since almost every ancient culture had their own written version of it.
One may question if the flood really killed everyone but Noah and his family if so many accounts exist, however it seems just as plausible that an event of such magnitude would have been noteworthy and therefore preserved and passed down through the generations after Noah’s children. We must also remember that one of the next major events in scripture was the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel. This could explain why a flood story exists in so many different languages – the story would have been passed down beyond Noah’s children and captured in whatever language they spoke.
There are, of course, differences in the flood stories. Some are quite long, some short; many are written as if fictional, involving gods such as those of the Greeks and Romans, or characters such as Gilgamesh who are half-divine, but the basic elements of the accounts are similar in that they involve a large flood that kills many with only few survivors, the flood being brought on by God (or gods) and a hero or survivor of the story.
As for the Epic of Gilgamesh, many assume Gilgamesh was the equivalent of Noah’s character. Gilgamesh is a king however – not the person who actually endures the flood. The plot of the story isn’t even the flood itself, but rather Gilgamesh loses his best friend, and then becoming very afraid to die, he seeks a way to eternal life. He has heard of an individual who survived the great flood brought by the gods before his time, named Ut-Napishtim (which we would equate to Noah) and seeks him out to know how he can live forever as well. There are varying accounts of this story and some do not get into much detail about Ut-Napishtim’s character, so you may want to research what is available if you decide to pick up a copy at your local bookstore.