Almost all of us have heard of The Great Flood, which turned Earth into a water-world. It is referred to in religious texts and folktales including ancient texts.
But scientists or sceptics say that there is no proof that such a great catastrophe hit our planet in some distant past. Even though there is an ongoing argument amongst scientists, there is quite a bit of evidence that such an event did occur that once flooded almost all the land on Earth.
For one, every major mountain range has deposits of remains or fossils of marine life or underwater organisms. How they got on top of such high altitudes can only be due to the fact that these mountaintops were once covered by water. Then there are fossils or remains embedded in the layers of sedimentary rock all over the world.
Since sedimentary rock is itself made up of layers upon layers of rocks and erosions spanning millions of years, each layer is a story by itself. In this case, deposits of water fossils present in layers at the estimated time of the flood do give us evidence that there was water in those layers at that time. But all this evidence is enough to make a “case” for The Great Flood; not proof, say people who debate the theory.
Another name for the mythical Great Flood is ‘The Deluge’. Some argue that the marine fossils found on mountaintops could be due to the fact that the land on this planet is constantly been shifting for thousands and millions of years and some part of land was submerged in water at some time in the past, while lands underwater have come up from time to time.
As to the sedimentary rocks having layers of water remains, they say that such layers can be formed over a long period of time and not necessarily mean that it happened during one big event.
One factor, though that no one can deny, is the fact that stories and legends of the flood are told, written about and believed by almost every major religion, culture and tribe all over the world. And, interestingly, all these people are far away from each other. They each have their own flood myth but with the common belief being that mankind was almost wiped out by a great deluge that came from the skies and raised water levels to such an extent that only a few people remained. The reason? That too seems the same. The people on Earth had become too barbaric and sinful so it was sent as a punishment from the Heavens.
From really ancient records to historic texts, some accounts run quite parallel while some differ in timelines. Moreover, it is also believed that in the past people lived much longer, probably a life spanning a thousand years before the flood and were also vegetarians. But afterwards, their lifespan became much shorter and they were also allowed to eat meat. This theory is mostly based on religious texts. But there is also is scientific reason. It is assumed that if such a huge quantity of water flooded the whole planet, it must have had a great effect on the atmospheric conditions of the planet as well.
Scholars say that the ultraviolet rays reached Earth more easily and much of the antediluvian (before the flood) plant life on the ground was no more. Thus this caused a change in diet and also due to the death of populations, possibly destroyed most of the genes in humans and animals for a much longer life. Records of humans living much longer before the Great Flood are found in Greek, Egyptian, Jewish and Biblical accounts.
The Holy Quran too gives a similar account as in the Bible and Torah. According to religious texts, Prophet Noah was asked by The Creator to construct a huge ark or ship. Then he was instructed to take his family and believers into the Ark and also animals and birds in pairs. After they entered the ark, a great flood took over the entire earth with rain pouring from above and waters rising from below.
The reason… humanity had so far gone in evil and barbaric deeds that the world needed a new human race. It had to be cleansed of the depths of sinful acts committed by man. References to the flood are present in 300 cultures around the world. Some even describe the size of the raindrops, as ancient Persians do, as being the size of a man’s head, and the temperatures being boiling hot of the drops. The Chinese have their own Great Flood myth.
Twelve clay tablets were discovered in 1853 in the library of the ancient Assyrian King Ashurbanipal. The tablets date back to 2000BC. They speak of an ancestral being told to build a boat for his family and friends, including wild and tame animals. Here too the huge boat, which was also three stories high, came to rest on a mountain after constant rain for many days and nights. In Hindu texts too, around 2000BC, an ark was constructed to save some higher beings from a deluge.
The Hawaiian legend of the Great Flood tells of a pious man Nu’u, who set on a huge vessel with his wife and three sons and their wives while the world was destroyed by water. Here too, the vessel comes to rest on one of the highest mountains on the islands — a very similar account to that of Noah.
In Venezuela there are ancient carvings on rocks in very high cliffs relating ‘Time of the Great Water’. It is believed by historians that the legendary island of Atlantis and Lemuria also drowned in the same flood. Then there is evidence that the Black Sea was once an inhabited piece of land, as remains of dwellings have been found underwater.
Scholars put the approximate date of the Great Flood to 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. But scientists argue that it was the last Ice Age that drowned Earth and that it was a purely geographic event due to global warming.
If that is true then what are almost all the cultures around the world so far away from each other talking about and the evidence that supports all the myths and legends handed down from generations in written and spoken texts?
Scientists still have a lot to learn.