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The Evidence for Noah’s Flood, Part 2: The Literary Evidence

Updated on December 28, 2018
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

Records may have been destroyed but

We do not need the records from the pre-flood world to show that there is literary evidence verifying the biblical global flood. There are enough ancient written texts still surviving to help us see that Noah’s flood was historical and real.

1. The Sumerian King’s List

It should be noted that while smaller pre-Sumerian societies existed prior to the rise of the great Sumer civilization, very little is known about them. Most of the information about the early past does come from Sumer, and some of its successors.

One item that brings physical evidence of the biblical flood was discovered in the early 1900s by Hermann Hilprecht, a German scholar digging in the area of Nippur. His discovery was not the only Sumerian King’s list to be found and while they are not identical, their contents point to a single historical source.

3 Key Pieces

The information on these ancient king’s list provided 3 clues or pieces of physical evidence to support the biblical account. First, there is the acknowledgement that man or rulers were had a divine origin.

Second, the exaggerated reigns of the first kings show validity to the long lives of the original biblical figures. The Sumerian kings may have had longer lifespans of the pre-flood biblical figures, yet that record is consistent with the Biblical author’s work. Third, the Sumerian King’s list mentions the flood. It does not mention this flood was local. It does say that the flood was global.

Keep in mind, the Sumerian King’s list was written 10 to 20 centuries before the OT, so the Sumerian’s could not copy from the Hebrew Bible.

2. The Flood Myths

Throughout the world there exists in almost every ancient society, records of a flood that destroyed the earth. Not all of the records are consistent in this detail but enough are to avoid the charge of coincidence.

What removes the element of coincidence is the fact that these accounts all refer to a flood that took place around the same time in history. They also have similar details of a boat, a god, water and wind, the whole earth was destroyed and more.

Yet, there are other elements that help make these accounts a viable witness for the biblical flood:

Who is Copying Whom

I will conclude that just about every one has heard different scholars claim that the Israelites copied their flood account when they were Babylonian captives. Unfortunately for those scholar, they have yet to prove their claim.

They have produced no physical evidence whatsoever that the ancient Hebrew biblical writers plagiarized the Babylonians. While the scholars point to the Gilgemesh Epic and other earlier flood accounts as their proof, The oldest discovered does not mean it was the original.

Also, there is no evidence that the Israelites were or had the reputation of being copyists. In fact, it has been shown that the Old Babylonians were fervent copiers. They copied all the ancient works from other nations when they could.

Why would the Hebrews Copy

Then, why would the ancient Hebrews copy? Their contemporaries would know the story was a lie and would protest the inclusion of a false story in their holy book. Or at some point in history some concerned citizen would do a historical study and find out the truth.

That person could raise the alarm or eave evidence for others to find so that the truth would get to the people. Action would have been taken and the account removed.

Copying from the Babylonians would not serve any real purpose for the biblical writers.

Since others have the same account

How did they get their story of a global flood. It would be a mighty coincidence to have a multitude of local floods taking place in the same historical era. It would also be a very big coincidence that so many different nations, most of whom did not have contact with or knowledge of Babylonians and other Middle Eastern Kingdoms, would record these floods for posterity and put them in religious works.

Actually, outside of news agencies and governments, no one records local floods and then puts those accounts in their religious writings. While some would write legends and myths about local floods they would not have the same or similar details as the biblical account.

The only explanation for all these ancient nations having a flood account would be that there was actually global flood experienced by their ancestors. These ancestors in turn would pass down their knowledge or record it for posterity.

There was such an impact by the global flood on these people that they took the pain and trouble to record it for all time.

Babel’s Influence

While most people do not accept the biblical flood or the changing of the language at Babel, that first major event after the flood is the best explanation for the existence of the different ancient flood stories.

When you read the account of the confusing of the languages in Genesis 11, you will note that God only changed the language. He did nothing to the people’s memories.

The account of the global flood told by Noah and his family would still exist in the minds of their descendants even after their language had been changed. This is the only way so many different people could come up with the same flood story at the same historical point.

Of course, as these people strayed from God and the truth, the accounts of the flood would be influenced accordingly. More and more faulty details would enter into the account as people dismissed the truth and wrote what they wanted to believe.

Most of the nations were very separated from each other so who could they copy from and why would they do it? The only people who take other societies’ holy stories and put them in their own religious writings, are the false religions of the world.

Mormonism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Mithra-ism and other religions have done this. They have taken great portions of the biblical record and altered it to fit what they want to believe. The Bible does not contain the works of other religions within its pages.

Some Final Words

You may think that these two examples of literary evidence are scant. But there Is not time or space to put all the historical literary works here to demonstrate how the biblical flood is real.

The historical mentions of a global flood are not coincidental, nor are they few in number. This literary evidence provides some of the verification that is needed to show that Noah’s flood was historical.

© 2018 David Thiessen

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      The flood is a fascinating subject in literature.

    working

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