The Great Flood Regularly Generates Interest even among Secular Scientists – There are Hundreds of Ancient Great Flood Stories Around the World

Scripture tells us that there was a worldwide flood. God called for an extinction-level event

Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil. Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground—man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky—for I am sorry that I have made them.”  (Gen 6:5-7 WEB)

These were dark days indeed. The Creator, gazing upon his creation, was filled with sorrow. The thoughts of men were consumed by evil, prompting God to withdraw his protective hand. In his absence, the adversary, the god of this world, could wreak havoc without restraint. The earth was engulfed in violence and corruption and was about to pay the price. God said he was going to allow an extinction-level event, that is, an event that would kill all men, animals, birds, and even creeping things.

But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes.  (Gen 6:8 WEB)

God’s plan was meticulous. Noah, the sole beacon of righteousness, was chosen to lead the new beginning.  Yahweh detailed the construction of a massive ark, capable of housing not only Noah’s family but also a diverse array of animals. He even provided instructions on stocking it with food.

Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. Noah went into the ship with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, because of the floodwaters. Clean animals, unclean animals, birds, and everything that creeps on the ground went by pairs to Noah into the ship, male and female, as God commanded Noah. After the seven days, the floodwaters came on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the sky’s windows opened. It rained on the earth forty days and forty nights. (Gen 7:6-12 WEB)

Actually I can understand the reluctance to believe some of the accounts in the Scriptures like the flood. Despite being a committed Catholic growing up, I found myself at times a little skeptical of the story of Noah’s worldwide flood. To my young, scientifically oriented mind, there would never be enough water on earth to explain the great flood. I was not alone. I’ve found  articles that show that a number of people believe that there is not that much water in the world and that it is a topic of discussions in forums.[1]

One critic estimated that over three times as much water would be needed to be on Earth as it is currently, and another source stated that we would need a 250% increase.[2]

So, in today’s world, the amount of water required to flood the earth above the mountains due to a simple rainfall is beyond any “reasonable expectation.” I mean, isn’t that just common sense?

But we’re talking about more than common sense. We’re both talking scientifically about the potential of water on the earth that people don’t either know or talk about much, as well as the incredible power of God, as evidenced in the Scriptures.

Now we have to discuss terms in the above verses, “the fountains of the great deep burst open” and “the sky’s windows opened.” What exactly do those things mean?

There is Enough Water in the Earth for Noah’s Flood to Occur

The Global Environment Facility is an organization focused on preserving the environment, including water. They make an amazing statement that 97% of the Earth’s water is underground, not in the oceans, lakes, and rivers that many of us consider the bulk of the Earth’s water.[3]  Well, that indeed allows for huge fountains from the earth.

Another amazing article says that huge amounts of water are deeper into the earth, including a giant underground ocean that is three times the size of Earth’s oceans combined.[4]

So, the people mentioned above said we needed three times as much water as we currently have. Yet a source says there is 33 times as much water as we have on the surface of the earth. So, Yahweh didn’t need to use all the water underground to flood the place. He just had to use about 10%.

Did you know that there was that much water in the earth?

Suppose something happened to cause the pressure in the earth to rise to the point that it started expelling vast amounts of water from underground.  That is what these verses in Genesis are saying. In that case, there is plenty of water to raise the sea level of water well beyond what we see as normal water levels in modern times.

The Genesis record says that a cataclysmic event expelled water from the earth (opening the fountains of the deep) and then subsided, meaning the water moved back into the earth.

Then, there’s the “sky’s windows opened” element.  Some models generated talk about a utopian atmosphere with a much different composition than after the flood; this water was part of the process.[5]  While they are interesting speculations, the explanation can be much more straightforward; the term “sky’s windows opened” could just be a figure of speech, meaning that it rained torrentially for a lengthy period of time.

There are certainly Christian groups like the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis dedicated to exploring and proposing possible scientific explanations for Noah’s flood that reinforce the Genesis record. What surprises me is that numerous secular sources propose possible explanations thousands of years after Noah’s flood.

Dr. Robert Ballard, an acclaimed underwater archaeologist, proposed a possible explanation on ABC News.[6]  Ballard interest centers on his discovery of a hidden civilization found deep underwater off the coast of Turkey that has been submerged since the time of Noah.  His theory would not substantiate a worldwide flood but rather a regional flood that would have submerged the Black Sea region. He says that at one time 15,000 years ago, the world was more like a giant ice cube where his hometown in Connecticut would’ve been under a mile of ice. This ice began to melt, and the resulting rising waters would have caused the Mediterranean to flood with a force of about 200 times that of Niagara Falls.

While not a corroboration of the Genesis story, this shows that there is too much there for secular scientists to ignore.

Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has proposed an explanation that has been submitted several times over centuries: that a comet or asteroid collision or impact caused an extinction-level event (which Noah’s flood is, according to Scripture).[7]

Previously, among others, Isaac Newton had proposed this hundreds of years ago.[8]

The group, Answers in Genesis, acknowledges the possibility that part of the process that caused the opening of the fountains of the deep was a cataclysmic event that may have been caused, at least in part, by meteors or other space bodies striking the earth.[9]  The impact or impacts on the surface of the earth caused a reaction that built up pressure internally in the earth, possibly shifting plates, expelling waters stored underground, raising the temperature of waters affected by the impact, sending steam into the air, and creating a 40-day storm with ever-rising waters. Eventually, the storm stopped, the earth settled, and as it cooled, the excess water returned to the places where it had been previously stored, or maybe to new places.

Yahweh’s intervention with Noah Reminds Us that He Intercedes in Extinction Level Events

I’ve seen more than one science-fiction movie in which the possibility of the end of all mankind is part of the storyline. One thing that I’ve never seen is divine intervention, whereby God communicates to men how to survive the impending disaster. What a blessing that is!

Also, one thing we know for sure is that future destruction of the earth will not be by water.

I will establish my covenant with you: All flesh will not be cut off any more by the waters of the flood. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”  (Gen 9:11 WEB)

The Sheer Number of Cultures with a Flood Story Shows the Universality of Belief in the Great Flood.

When a single culture has a unique story about the earth that is peculiar to it, that makes it suspect, however, when culture after culture has a similar story, it builds trust that there is something there.

Of course, we have the biblical account above. But it is also in the Quran.  And at the same time, there are stories on the other side of the world. The Chickasaw nation in North America have a flood story where only a family survives and everyone else is drowned.[10]   In fact, the cited article says that  culture after culture after culture all over the earth has a story where everyone on earth dies by water except for one family. The Babylonians, the Greeks, the Hindu, the Chinese all tell a similar story.[11] One article cited over 200 cultures telling a similar story of a great flood.  So, it’s either an amazing coincidence, or like other things in folklore, there is a common truth that is being handed down, even if some of the details vary.

One thing is sure: there is enough water in the world for this flood to happen. And too many cultures from opposite sides of the world recall a similar account of the great flood for them all to be wrong.

As believers, the story of Noah and the flood is part of the law and the prophets given to us by revelation. We do not accept this as the word of men or some interesting folklore. We believe it because it is the word of God and a testament to God’s power, judgment, and care for those who choose to follow the word of God.

[1] An example is at quora.com, How much water was on the earth before the flood?,

[2] How much water would be needed for Noah’s Flood? Warning – language

[3] Water underground: why protecting what’s hidden matters to our health and for the planet

[4] Amid water crisis, scientists discover gigantic ocean beneath Earth’s surface; say, ‘like sponge, soaking up water’

[5] A Computer Model of the Pre-Flood Atmosphere. Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism.

[6] ABC News, Evidence Noah’s Biblical Flood Happened, Says Robert Ballard

[7] Discover Magazine, Did a Comet Cause the Great Flood?

[8] Why Newton Believed a Comet Caused Noah’s Flood

[9] Did Meteors Trigger Noah’s Flood?

[10] Story of the Flood

[11] Flood Myth, Wikipedia

© copyright Mark W Smith 2024, All rights reserved Last revised 7/11/24

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