The man who found the Titanic is at it again. Marine explorer Robert Ballard has told ABC News how he accompanied two scientists to investigate the possibility of a Great Flood having taken place in the Black Sea. The idea has been described as controversial but similar theories have been floating around (if you’ll excuse the pun) for some time.
The Story of Noah
The story is well-known: God sent a great flood to punish humankind for their wickedness. “All the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened. The rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights…the waters swelled so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains of the earth were covered fifteen cubits deep” (Genesis, chapter 7). There was happy ending, at least for Noah, his family and their boatful of unusual domestic pets, all of whom survived to repopulate the planet.
The story of a flood isn’t confined to the Bible. Numerous ‘great deluge’ myths have their origins in the Middle East/Mesopotamia (at least three are referenced in Angela Harris’s Flood Myths in the Religions of the Ancient World). Together these imply some major event which left its mark in the region’s cultural consciousness.
Impossible Flood? Reasons Why
The Internet is full of sites ready to debunk the Noah story and it’s easy to see why: there are obvious difficulties with the scale of the boat, whether it could hold the animals, what they would eat and how they would be cared for – not to mention what would happen when the flood was over. But it’s interesting to note that the National Centre for Science Education, while focusing closely on these problems, doesn’t tackle the chances of such a flood occurring in general.