The Origins of the Story of Noah’s Flood
Calendar is based on the Old Testament and it dates the creation
of the world at 3761 BCE, that is 5,760 years ago (present: 1999
CE). It was put together at about 360 CE.
The Jews have been observing this calendar ever since. For the
Christians the date of the creation of the world was originally
calculated by Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh in 1650-1654 CE.
He, too, based his calculations on the Old Testament.
His calculations were exhibited in the Bible in the King James
Version, the Bishop Lloyd’s edition, 1701 CE. According to
Archbishop Ussher, the creation took place in 4004 BCE. Today,
many believers adhere to the calculations of Archbishop Ussher.
The Jewish Calendar is probably more biblically accurate than
Archbishop Ussher’s calculations. The Jews probably had
genealogical information that is not available in today’s Old
The Bible says that the human kind is less that six thousand
years old, while scientists have traced sculls and bones of human
beings that existed more than 50 thousand years ago.
According to biblical archeologists, Moses died around 1245
BCE, that is, during the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1212 BCE).
According to the Jewish calendar, Bible
places Noah’s flood at about 2105 BCE.
(Click at the underlined text to go to the hronological chart
and then click at the destination point to return here.) One can calulate this his date through the
biblical genealogies, starting with Moses.
From Moses to Noah the ible lists about fifteen generations, a
period that amounts to a few hundred years. (See chapter,The
Jewish Calendar from Adam to Moses. (Again, after viewing the Jewish
callendar click at the destination point to return here.)
The story of the flood leaves many questions unanswered. For
example, how did animals that require the wet and freezing
temperatures of the north pole survived with animals and insects
that require the dry and hot temperatures of the Sahara desert.
They were all enclosed in a box for over a year. Or, how did
the saltwater fish and the fresh water fish survive in the same
water (the water or the flood). Or, how did the carnivorous
animals survive after they came out of the ark.
Normally, they would have eaten the few pairs of herbivorous
animals of the ark and then starve to death. Either God solved
these problems with miracles that are not mentioned in the Bible,
or the story is a legend.
Furthermore, there is no biological evidence that around 2105
BCE the animal population of the world diminished to a pair of
each species. There is no geological evidence indicating that at
2105 BCE the whole earth was covered with water fifteen
cubits above the tip of Mount Everest (measuring from
today’s sea level, over 29,028 feet deep) for about seven and a
half months and the flat land for about eleven months.
Many are pointing to sea-life fossils on mountains as evidence
that the flood covered the mountains. Such sea-life fossils are
millions of years old, while the flood, according to the Bible,
took place at about 2105 BCE.
Furthermore, there are Egyptian mummies that are five to six
thousand years old. They predate the flood. Those mummies have
been preserved dry up to today.
Supposedly, after the flood therewere only eight people alive
in the whole world (the family of Noah). But historical and
archaeological records show that before and after 2105 BCE there
were millions of people on the face of the earth.
Sites in Palestine and Anatolia that existed thousands of years
before 2105 BCE show no evidence of destruction by flood or
interruption of civilization (other than the usual destruction
from wars and declines from migrations).
The city of Thebes was for many centuries the capital of
ancient Egypt. It originated in prehistoric times and became
prominent during the Old Kingdom (ca. 2755-2255 BCE). Scattered
over the site of Thebes are the remnants of numerous temples,
tombs, and other monuments of various eras.
Before and after the time of the flood pharaohs ruled over
hundreds of thousands of Egyptians. Representations (on Egyptian
granite) made before 2000 BCE portray black men with lips as full
and hair as closely curled as today’s blacks.
Obviously, the black race did not evolve from Noah right after
2105 BCE. It existed before and after that time, as did the
Chinese race and other peoples.
Genesis states that Noah lived three hundred fifty years after
the flood: "And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty
years." (Genesis 9:28 KJV) He died at 1755 BCE. Calculations of
the genealogical ages of Genesis show that Noah died when Abraham
was 60 years old.
That is, when Abraham was still in Sumer (Mesopotamia),
the area where a great flood took place. Yet, the Bible does not
indicate that Abraham had a relationship with Noah or that he even
knew him. When Noah died he was the oldest person on earth.
All who were alive at that time, from Abraham to the kings of
Egypt, were indebted to him. At that time, in the ancient Near
East patriarchs were revered. Yet, the alleged patriarch of all
post-flood humankind lived his final decades in anonymity.
Allegedly, he died in historical times, in which Sumerian and
Egyptian inscriptions abound.
Many grave monuments of Egyptian and Sumerian-Akkadian kings
survive, but, to our knowledge, no monument was raised to mark the
spot where the second father of mankind (first being Adam) was
buried. To our knowledge, no account exists describing his burial
or his grave.
The answer to these puzzling questions is that the legend of
Noah’s flood is a copy of one or more legends that circulated in
the ancient Near East. These legends are recorded in Akkadian
texts, which date to about 1800 BCE, long before Genesis was
written. One of them is The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was
discovered in 1853 in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.
Many details of this epic are strikingly similar to the
biblical legend of Noah. Most scholars agree that the biblical
account is dependent on the Gilgamesh text but there is a
possibility that both may depend on an even earlier common source.
Even the conservative Christian editors of The NIV Study
Bible acknowledge that the eleventh tablet of The Epic of
Gilgamesh is similar in its outline to the story of Noah.
In both versions the heroes are informed by divine revelation
that a great flood will occur. They were given instructions to
build a boat to save themselves from drowning.
The similarities include such details as the construction of
the boat, the embarkation, the release of a dove and a raven at
the end of the flood, the landing on a mountain, and the
Here are some excerpts for comparison:
Gilgamesh, tablet 11
"Dismantle your house, build a boat
6:14 You make an ark [boat] of gopher
Put aboard the seed of all living things,
into the boat.
6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh,
two of every sort you will bring into the
The boat you are to build will have
her dimensions in proportion ...
6:15 And this is the fashion which you
will make it of:
Ten dozen cubits the height of each of the
Ten dozen cubits each edge of the square
6:15 The length of the ark will be
three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and
the height of it thirty cubits.
Gave her six decks
6:16 ... with lower, second, and third
stories will you make
Three sar of bitumen I poured into the
Three sar of pitch I poured inside
6:14 ... and will pitch it within and
without with pitch.
Enter the boat and shut the
I went aboard the boat and shut the
7:1 You Come and all your house
into the ark;
7:7 Noah went ... into the ark, because of
the waters of the flood.
A black cloud came up from the base of the
For six days and seven nights the wind
Flood and tempest, overwhelmed the land
7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty
days and forty nights.
7:18 the waters prevailed, and were increased
greatly upon the earth;
For all mankind returned to clay
7:22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of
life, of all that was in the dry land,
I opened a hatch, and light fell upon my
8:6 ... Noah opened the window of the ark
which he had made:
The boat had come to rest on Mount Numush
8:4 And the ark rested ... upon the mountains
When the seventh day
8:10 And he stayed yet other seven
I put out and released a
The dove went; it came back,
For no perching place was visible to
8:8 Also he sent forth a dove from
8:9 But the dove found no rest for the sole
of her foot, and she returned to him into the
I put out and released a
The raven went and saw the waters
8:7 And he sent forth a raven, which went
forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off
Then I put out everything to the four
and I made a sacrifice."
8:20 And Noah built an altar ... and
offered burnt offerings on the
"When ... the Great Goddess
She lifted up the great jewels
"... verily by the lapis around my neck
and I will not forget these
Surely I will remember and not
9:13, 16 I set my bow in the cloud, and it
will be for a sign of a covenant between me and the
earth. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon
it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and
every living creature ...
Geological Evidence Concerning the Flood
archaeologist Leonard Wooley in 1929 in the excavation of Ur, in
southern Babylonia, made an astounding discovery.
His crew was digging at the depth of about forty feet. They
found under layers of rubbish the tombs of King Mes-kalam-dug and
Queen Shub-ad, who ruled sometime toward the end of the 4th
millennium BCE. Under their tombs they found more rubbish, clay
tablets, pottery, and implements.
The relics indicated a continuous history. When they dug
deeper, they discovered a clean water-laid stratum of clay. This
layer was eight feet deep. Under it they discovered normal soil,
which contained more rubbish, implements, and other man-made
However, the articles under this water-laid layer were of a
different character than those above it. The layer of clay
indicated a distinct break in the historical continuity of the
The objects found below this flood level consist of painted
pottery, metal, flint, and implements. Above the flood deposit
were found such tools and artifacts that indicate a definitely
different mode of living. A shaft was dug some distance away and
revealed similar results. The flood layer was throughout the area.
The evidence excavated by Leonard Wooley dates to about 3200
BCE. The layer of clay of about 8 feet thick was caused by a flood
of unprecedented magnitude.
However, the flood was regional. It covered a strip of 400
miles long and 100 miles wide in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. (It
is likely that the torrential rain may have caused the overflow of
a large lake in the mountains of north of Mesopotamia. This
overflow may have caused the erosion and eventual collapse of the
earth that contained such a lake.
The spilling of that lake may have contributed to the volume
that water.) The flood wiped out the local Sumerian civilization
along the banks of the river Euphrates and assumed great
importance in the minds of the Sumerians who survived it and in
the traditions of the Akkadians and the Babylonians who came after
Another startling discovery was made by the archaeologist
Stephen Langdon at Kish (another Sumerian city). His discovery
confirmed the findings of Leonard Wooley at Ur. In the location of
Kish, Professor Langdon found a stratum eighteen inches thick
consisting of fine river sand, shells, and small fish.
This layer separated the debris above from the debris below
consistently around the entire site. Below the stratum of the
river sand, to about fifteen feet, Professor Langdon found a
continuous civilization with implements of the Neolithic age and
painted pots dating not later than 4000 BCE. The excavations at
Kish show a complete and continuous stratification.
Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived in the first century
CE, tried to prove in his writings that the ark was still on
Ararat. People have been trying to prove this in the past two
In the 20th century more claims than ever were made. However,
their evidence did not withstand rigid, scientific scrutiny.
Eyewitnesses contradict each other.
The photographs they have produced are either missing or have
been exposed as counterfeit. Pieces of wood claimed to be parts of
the ark are dated to the 7th century CE. Nonetheless, the
belief that the ark is still on Ararat is strong in America.
Jesus believed that the story of Noah was real. He said, "For
the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah
entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came
and took them all away." (Matthew 24:37-39 NASB) This is another
clue that Jesus was not omniscient.