We all know the story of Noah and the Ark. But I’ve noticed that other ancient mythologies of various cultures around the world have a story like it(bad humans, angry god(s),flood) so my question is, Was there a Massive global rainfall that caused planet wide flooding?
There is no evidence that there was a truly global flood within human history. It is not even possible, given the amount of water needed, the source and the destination, that is, there is no place it could come from and no place it could go to in the volume necessary.
However, many geographical areas have floods on a regular, even annual basis. Think Nile and Mesopotamia.
Remember that “the world” was a vastly smaller place many years ago. If your local flood reached as far as the eye could see, that was “global” to you. Do you think that could explain the legends?
Exactly; there is simply not enough water to cover the entire planet. Not on the surface, not underground, not in the air. And if there was a flood at the time the Bible says it happened, the Chinese didn’t seem to have noticed.
nope. Just a fair sized flood in your own area is enough to become a myth. Just because there are several similar myths doesn’t mean it happened. I’m sure many more societies don’t have a flood myth then do have one.
There is absolutely no geological or archaeological evidence pointing to any short-term flooding on a global scale. If any such flooding had occurred, it would have left ample evidence. The myths in different cultures may refer to actual floods, but they would have been on a local scale and would not have occurred at the same time. It’s not like flooding is a rare event in many parts of the world.
Occasionally it is alleged that the flood myths found in various cultures could refer to sea-level rise due to the melting of the glaciers after the last Ice Age. While sea level did rise globally, it would have been very slight on a year to year basis and would not have led to the kind of catastrophic myths that are found.
There are some who hold that the area to the north and west of the Black Sea was subject to a sudden flood when water from the Mediterranean finally breached the gap. It is controversial how sudden this might have been. I don’t know the current thinking by geologists.
Rain comes from water vapor which comes from water evaporation in the ocean, lakes, and even soil. It then falls onto the ocean, lakes and ground and does it all over again. So to get a worldwide flood would require most or all of the water on the surface of the earth to evaporate up into the sky and fall as rain, but of course when it fell it would just fill up all the lakes and oceans that it came from.
Is there a map of all the cultures that have a flood myth? That might be interesting to see.
As far as I understand this, it’s undisputed that what would become today’s Black Sea was, following the last ice age, much smaller and shallower, and presumably a fresh water lake. At some time, or over a stretch of time, the southwestern “wall” of this area was breached and the sea water poured in–or maybe trickled in. We don’t know if it happened over days, years, or centuries.
I could see this as being the kernel of truth behind the Noah stories of the three Abrahamic religions, and I picture the real Noah, if you will, to have been a locally prominent and wealthy herdsman who responded to one of these flooding events by taking one or two of each type of livestock he owned onto a boat to sail to he knew not where. It’s not altogether ridiculous when you consider that the man would likely have had no wider geographical understanding of what was happening. On the other hand the stories all say that the waters receded afterwards, and that never happened after the Black Sea surge. But even so I don’t think it’s impossible that the legend of a worldwide flood could have been the final result of the original true story being told and embellished over the millennia.
Geology question aside: Given the normal workings of artesan springs, is it possible that the sea water could have entered the Black Sea region via such springs, rather than by some kind of “over the top” breach of a natural dam?
There was snowball Earth, but that was long before anybody was around to make up myths about it, and we only learned about it fairly recently.
Right. Remember Alexander conquered the world. To him. A huge flood doing the entire Tigris/Euphrates basin has occured in the past, and would ‘cover the entire world’ to those people.
But a “Waterworld” style deluge is simply impossible.
Since Noah’s flood seems to follow the tradition of flood myths in Mesopotamia where river floods would have come close to wipe out all of (locally known) civilization, I don’t think we need to postulate ancestral memories of the Black Sea flood.
I thought the main flood myths came from the draining of Lake Agassiz
Lake Agassiz’ major drainage reorganization events were of such magnitudes that they had significant impact on climate, sea level and possibly early human civilization. Major freshwater release into the Arctic Ocean is considered to disrupt oceanic circulation and cause temporary cooling. The draining of 13,000 years ago may be the cause of the Younger Dryas stadial. The draining at 9,900–10,000 years ago may be the cause of the 8,200 yr climate event. A recent study by Turney and Brown links the 8,500 years ago drainage to the expansion of agriculture from east to west across Europe; he suggests that this may also account for various flood myths of prehistoric cultures, including the Biblical flood.
As far as the Black Sea deluge hypothesis is concerned: Supposedly this occurred over a period of 300 days or more and caused a rise in water levels of perhaps 80 meters. So, if you lived on the shore of the Black Sea, you would have observed a sustained rise of about a quarter of a meter per day - scary in its way, and a problem for any nearby structures, but not something you couldn’t avoid. Also, it wouldn’t have been raining any more than usual over the 300-day period, presumably, and certainly not for the entire 300 days. So it doesn’t sound much like the familiar flood myths.
As for Lake Agassiz, I see no reason why that would have resulted in any flood effects outside of North America, regardless of other effects on climate. Presumably the flood myths are (mostly) not of North American origin.
The Zanclean deluge, when the Atlantic ocean burst through the straits of Gibraltar some 5.33 million years ago and caused the water level of the Mediterranean to rise more than 10 meters per day, seems more flood-like, but that predates humanity.
Also, all of this discussion kind of presumes that worldwide-flood myths are based on the most accurate and sincere available reporting of locally observed floods.
But that’s not necessarily true. A myth of a worldwide flood could arise even in a culture that had no historical encounters with a truly catastrophic near-total-destruction-of-civilization local flood.
All it takes is Grandpa remembering a really bad (but not all-encompassing) flood that happened when he was a kid and exaggerating the story a bit to tell the grandkids, who in turn remember the story in a somewhat enhanced form, and so on.
A long time back someone posted a large collection of flood legends from around the world on talk.origins. Their diversity is quite interesting. The Greek one, which I was familiar with, has the survivors climbing a mountain. Some have the only survivors getting off their raft and then being joined by others from over the mountain.
The whole world was flooded. All the way from that side of the valley to this one.
Then there’s the generally accepted fact that sea levels were roughly 4 to 4.5 meters lower about 10,000 years ago and rose fairly rapidly over the next 3-4,000 years to being close to where they are today. As they did so, they covered a large amount of formerly habitable land. When the sea reached high enough levels, inland valleys would suddenly flood over.
To be sure, it was never “and then one day all that land was flooded and everyone died” on a planetary scale, but on a village and tribe level, it would have been periodically cataclysmic.
I have heard that researchers have noted that many cultures worldwide seem to have some version of a flood myth.
Jared Diamond (among others) has shown that settled farming communities marginalized hunter-gatherers (and to a lesser extent, herders).
One logical result of this trend is that many, perhaps most, of the cultures whose myths we know about arose from settled farming communities at some point.
ALL settled farming, of necessity, takes place beside water sources. I think any water source (lake, river, what have you) must flood sooner or later.
Is it possible that the worldwide prevalence of a flood myth stems from something as simple as most civilizations experiencing floods early in their formative stages?
This theory has always seemed the most intuitively obvious. I think Isaac Asimov held this view, as in his guide to the Bible.
This is exactly what I was going to say.
For a flood to occur, water in one form or another has to move from one place to another place. And then, if the flood isn’t permanent, the water was to move from the second place back to the first place, or to a third place.
So how does a global flood occur? Almost all the water on Earth is already in the oceans. For most of the land on Earth to flood, a whole bunch of water would have to be added to the oceans. And once the oceans rose to flood the land, where does the water go next so the land isn’t flooded?
A flood that covered almost all land on Earth is physically impossible unless there was some sort of, you know, miracle. Since there is no geologic evidence for a global flood, and a global flood would be impossible without violating the laws of physics, we therefore have absolutely no reason to believe that a global flood ever happened.
Yes, there have been spectacular floods in the past that have covered vast areas with water that used to be dry land. Some of those floods were permanent, such as the drowning of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Others were temporary, like the flooding that caused the Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington.
But those aren’t very large floods on a global scale. Water from one part of the world moved from here to there. Flooding from glacial lakes means land gets flooded for a week or so, but now there is dry land where there used to be a giant lake. You can’t get flooding for nothing, the water has to come from somewhere and go somewhere.