British Museum: Babylonian Flood Tablet

The Bible Book of Genesis – Geology, Archaeology, and Theology – Part 11

Genesis 7 & 8: The Cataclysmic Deluge Account – a Worldwide Catastrophe or Local Flood? Part 3

Flood Traditions, Myths, and Legends – Memories of a real World-Wide Catastrophe?

There are various estimates of the number of flood myths and legends found in every corner of the world. The highest estimate the author has found so far is some 500, [1], but there are at least 267 (at last count) as one internet site has a short summary of each one, with references.[2] (This does not take into account that some cultures have more than one version, like Roman and Greek).

Many of the reference books listed are written by scholars who also believe the Bible Account is also a myth, but despite this, they readily admit of commonality of various aspects of the myths with the Genesis account, whether in the number of people who survive, the Creator or the Gods being responsible and the like.

What follows is a summary created for the reader to understand the overwhelming amount of Flood myths and legends, which surely argue for the Cataclysmic Deluge of Noah’s day actually occurring worldwide as the Bible states. There is no other reasonable explanation that can explain the evidence. Certainly, it is highly unlikely a local flood would have remained so vivid in the minds of the various tribes over approximately 4,400 years. By contrast, if we accept the Bible’s account of the dispersion of mankind from Babel recorded in Genesis 11:9, then we have a reason for many points of commonality among the Flood legends all over the world, as they would have a single origin, although distorted through time.

Global Flood Traditions Found in every inhabited Continent

This section will show examples of traditions, myths, and legends of a cataclysmic deluge from each inhabited continent, i.e. excluding Antarctica. This highlights how diverse an area these traditions can be found in. The widespread distribution of such traditions gives weight to the conclusion that while diverse in details included, it is reasonable to conclude that they are altered and inherited memories of a though distant in time, real historical event.


Ancient Egyptian Coffin Text:

“O Thoth, who are those who are like the sons of Nut? They have stirred up hostilities, they have raised storms, they have committed iniquity, they have raised rebellion, they have perpetrated murder, they have done oppression, and furthermore they make the great to be small in all I have done. Grant, O Thoth, that that may take place which Tum has commanded, viz., thou shalt not see evil, thou shalt not suffer for their years are but dust, and their months are nearing (their end), while they are designing evil against what I have done.

Tum answers: henceforth he who has previously been directed by the Princes, he will rule (on his throne, and his son will inherit his throne) in the isle of fire… And further, I am going to deface all I have done; this earth will become water (or an ocean) through an inundation, as it was at the beginning. It is good what I have done to Osiris, exalting him above all gods. I give him the power over the land of the Netherworld; his son Horus will inherit his throne in the isle of flame. I have placed his throne in the boat of millions, I have given him what the Princes have ruled over, (that he should do) what he likes on earth, in order that Horus may stand on his seat and that he may take possession of his place of rest.”.[3]

The Masai of East Africa have the following tradition of a great flood :

“Tumbainot was a righteous man whom God loved. He married a wife Naipande, who bore him three sons, Oshomo, Bartimaro, and Barmao. When his brother Lengerni died, Tumbainot, in accordance with Masai custom, married the widow Nahaba-logunja, whose name is derived from her high narrow head, that being a mark of beauty among the Masai. She bore her second husband three sons ; but in consequence of a domestic jar, arising from her refusal to give her husband a drink of milk in the evening, she withdrew from his homestead and set up one of her own, fortifying it with a hedge of thorn-bushes against the attacks of wild beasts. In those days the world was thickly peopled, but men were not good. On the contrary they were sinful and did not obey God’s

commands. However, bad as they were, they refrained from murder. But at last, one unlucky day, a certain man named Nambija knocked another man named Suage on the head. This was more than God could bear, and he resolved to destroy the whole race of mankind. Only the pious Tumbainot found grace in the eyes of God, who commanded him to build an ark of wood, and go into it, with his two wives, his six sons, and their wives, taking with him some animals of every sort. When they were all safely aboard, and Tumbainot had laid in a great stock of provisions, God caused it to rain so heavily and so long that a great flood took place, and all men and beasts were drowned, except those which were in the ark; for the ark floated on the face of the waters. Tumbainot longed for the end of the rain, for the provisions in the ark began to run short. At last the rain stopped. Anxious to ascertain the state of the flood, Tumbainot let a dove fly out of the ark. In the evening she came back tired, so Tumbainot knew that the flood must still be high, and that the dove could have found no place to rest. Several days later he let a vulture fly out of the ark, but before doing so he took the precaution to fasten an arrow to one of its tail-feathers, calculating that if the bird perched to eat, it

would trail the arrow behind it, and that the arrow, hitching on to something as it was dragged over the ground, would stick fast and be lost. The event answered his expectation, for in the evening the vulture returned to the ark without the arrow and the tail-feather. So Tumbainot inferred that the bird had lighted on carrion, and that the flood must be abating. When the water had all run away, the ark grounded on the steppe, and men and animals disembarked. As he stepped out of the ark:, Tumbainot saw no less than four rainbows, one in each of the four quarters of the sky, and he took them as a sign that the wrath of God was over.” [4].

Another from the same area of East Africa, also quoted from Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, states:

“He obtained it at the mission station of Mkulwe on the Saisi or Momba river, about twenty miles from where the river flows into Lake Rukwa. His informant professed to have had it from his grandfather, and stoutly asserted that it was a genuine old tradition of the country and not borrowed from foreigners. His statement was corroborated by another truth-loving native, who only differed from his fellow in opining that the African Noah sent out two doves instead of one. The story runs thus:- Long ago, the rivers came down in flood. God said to the two men, ”Go into the ship. Also take into it seeds of all sorts and all animals, male and female.” They did so. The flood rose high, it overtopped the mountains, the ship floated on it. All animals and all men died. When the water dried up, the man said, ” Let us see. Perhaps the water is not yet dried up.” He sent out a dove, she came back to the ship. He waited and sent out a hawk, but she did not return, because the water was dried up. The men went out of the ship, they also let out all animals and all seeds.”” [5].


The Hindus have several flood traditions. One found in the Bhagavata Purana is summarised as follows:

“At the end of the past kalpa [an age], the demon Hayagriva stole the sacred books from Brahma, and the whole human race became corrupt except the seven Nishis, and especially Satyavrata, the prince of a maritime region. One day when he was bathing in a river, he was visited by a fish which craved protection and which he transferred to successively larger vessels as it grew. At last Satyavrata recognized it as the god Vishnu, “The Lord of the Universe.” Vishnu told him that in seven days all the corrupt creatures will be destroyed by a deluge, but Satyavrata would be saved in a large vessel. He was told to take aboard the miraculous vessel all kinds of medicinal herbs, food esculant grains, the seven Nishis and their wives, and pairs of brute animals. After seven days, the oceans began to overflow the coasts and constant rain began flooding the earth. A large vessel floated in on the rising waters, and Satyavrata and the Nishis entered with their wives and cargo. During the deluge, Vishnu preserved the ark by again taking the form of a giant fish and tying the ark to himself with a huge sea serpent. When the waters subsided, he slew the demon who had stolen the holy books and communicated their contents to Satyavrata.” [6]


Aboriginal Natives of the State of Victoria, Australia, have the following flood tradition:

“Bunjil, the creator, was angry with people because of the evil they did, so he caused the ocean to flood by urinating into it. All people were destroyed except those whom Bunjil loved and fixed as stars in the sky, and a man and a woman who climbed a tall tree on a mountain, and from whom the present human race is descended.” Paraphrased from Frazer [7].


The Transylvanian Gypsies have the following tradition:

Men once lived forever and knew no troubles. The earth brought forth fine fruits, flesh grew on trees, and milk and wine flowed in many rivers. One day, an old man came to the country and asked for a night’s lodging, which a couple gave him in their cottage. When he departed the next day, he said he would return in nine days. He gave his host a small fish in a vessel and said he would reward the host if he did not eat the fish but returned it then. The wife thought the fish must be exceptionally good to eat, but the husband said he had promised the old man to keep it and made the woman swear not to eat it. After two days of thinking about it, though, the wife yielded to temptation and threw the fish on the hot coals. Immediately, she was struck dead by lightning, and it began to rain. The rivers started overflowing the country. On the ninth day, the old man returned and told his host that all living things would be drowned, but since he had kept his oath, he would be saved. The old man told the host to take a wife, gather his kinfolk, and build a boat on which to save them, animals, and seeds of trees and herbs. The man did all this. It rained a year, and the waters covered everything. After a year, the waters sank, and the people and animals disembarked. They now had to labor to gain a living, and sickness and death came also. They multiplied slowly so that many thousands of years passed before people were again as numerous as they were before the flood.” Paraphrased from Frazer[8].

North America

A tradition from the Eskimos of Norton Sound is as follows:

In the first days, the water from the sea came up and flooded all the earth except for a very high mountain in the middle. A few animals escaped to this mountain, and a few people survived in a boat, subsisting on fish. The people landed on the mountain as the water subsided and followed the retreating water to the coast. The animals also descended.” [9].

Some traditions suggest there were no mountains before the flood. One example comes from the Tsimshians:

“The Tsimshians, an Indian tribe who inhabit the coast of British Columbia, opposite to the Queen Charlotte Islands, have a tradition of a great flood which was sent by heaven as a punishment for the ill-behaviour of man. First, all people, except a few, were destroyed by a flood, and afterwards they were destroyed by fire. Before the flood the earth was not as it is now, for there were no mountains and no trees. These were created by a certain Leqa after the deluge. Once when a clergyman, in a sermon preached at Observatory Inlet, referred to the great flood, a Tsimshian chief among his hearers told him the following story. ”We have a tradition about the swelling of the water a long time ago. As you are going up the river you will see the high mountain to the top of which a few of our forefathers escaped when the waters rose, and thus were saved. But many more were saved in their canoes, and were drifted about and scattered in every direction. The waters went down again; the canoes rested on the land, and the people settled themselves in the various spots whither they had been driven. Thus it is the Indians are found spread all over the country; but they all understand the same songs and have the same customs, which shows that they are one people.” [10]

Also, from the Kato of Mendocino County, California, there is the following (summarized) tradition:

“The previous world had a sky of sandstone rock. Two gods, Thunder and Nagaicho, saw that it was old. They stretched it, propped up its four corners, created flowers, clouds and other pleasant things. They created a man out of earth, putting in grass for the stomach and heart, clay for liver and kidneys, pulverized red stone mixed with water for blood. They split one of his legs to make a woman. Then they made the sun and moon. But the creation didn’t last. It rained day and night as people slept. The sky fell. Humans and animals were all washed away by a flood which covered everything. There was only water, no wind, rain, frost, clouds, or sun. It was very dark. Then this earth, with its long horns, traveled underground from the north; Nagaicho rode on its head. Where the earth dragon turned its head upwards, mountain ridges and islands formed. It lay down in the south; Naigaicho covered it with clay and plants to create the mountains. People appeared who had animal names. Later, when the indians came, those people turned into animals. Naigaicho traveled over the earth making sea foods, creeks, trees, ocean waves, and generally making it comfortable for people. When he got to his home in the north, he and his dog stayed there.”. [11]

South America

Moving to South America, high in the Andean Mountain range, the Incas of Peru had also a tradition of a deluge:

“They said that the water rose above the highest mountains in the world, so that all people and all created things perished. No living thing escaped except a man and a woman, who floated in a box on the face of the waters and so were saved. When the flood subsided, the wind drifted the box with the two in it to Tiahuanacu, about seventy leagues from Cuzco. There the Creator commanded them to dwell, and there he himself set to work to raise up the people who now inhabit that country. The way in which he did so was this. He fashioned each nation out of clay and painted on each the dresses they were to wear. Then he gave life and soul to every one of the painted clay figures and bade them pass under the earth. They did so, and then came up at the various places where the Creator had ordered the different nations to dwell. So some of them came out of caves, others issued from hills, others from fountains, and others from the trunks of trees. And because they came forth from these various places, the Indians made various idols (huacas) and places of worship in memory of their origin ; that is why the idols (huacas) of the Indians are of diverse shapes.” [12].

One additional example from British Guyana gives the following tradition:

“The Macusis of British Guiana say that in the beginning the good spirit Makunaima, whose name means “He who works in the night” created the heaven and the earth. When he had stocked the earth with plants and trees, he came down from his celestial mansion, climbed up a tall tree, and chipped off the bark with a big stone axe. The chips fell into the river at the foot of the tree and were changed into animals of all kinds. When he had thus provided for the creation of animals, the good spirit next created man; and when the man had fallen into a sound sleep he awoke to find a woman standing at his side. Afterwards the evil spirit got the upper hand on earth; so the good spirit Makunaima sent a great flood. Only one man escaped in a canoe; he sent out a rat to see whether the water had abated, and the rat returned with a cob of maize. When the deluge had retreated, the man repeopled the earth, like Deucalion and Pyrrha, by throwing stones behind him.”[13]

Myths and Legends found in unexpected Geographical Areas

This section highlights myths and legends found in areas where potential floods from large lakes and rivers could not happen. Alternatively, potential flooding from an exceptionally high tide or tsunami from the sea could not reasonably reach.

Remoteness from Oceans and Large Lakes and Rivers

If a tradition of a massive flood is found in an area of remoteness from oceans and large lakes and rivers then it stands to reason that it cannot be a memory of a local flood. Such an example is the tradition of the Altai. Much of Mongolia is desert or desertlike. The eastern edge of Mongolia is also over a thousand kilometers from the nearest sea (Yellow Sea area of Pacific). It is also mainly a plateau with an average elevation of about 5,200 feet (1,600m). The Altai people come from the very southern part of Siberia, and North-Western Mongolia, close to the center of the continent of Asia. This area is in the center of the Asian continent, as far from any sea as it is possible to be, the closest ocean being around 2,500km away or more. Their tradition is as follows:

Tengys (Sea) was once lord over the earth. Nama, a good man, lived during his rule with three sons, Sozun-uul, Sar-uul, and Balyks. Ülgen commanded Nama to build an ark (kerep), but Nama’s sight was failing, so he left the building to his sons. The ark was built on a mountain, and from it were hung eight 80-fathom cables with which to gauge water depth. Nama entered the ark with his family and the various animals and birds which had been driven there by the rising waters. Seven days later, the cables gave way from the earth, showing that the flood had risen 80 fathoms. Seven days later, Nama told his eldest son to open the window and look around, and the son saw only the summits of mountains. His father ordered him to look again later, and he saw only water and sky. At last the ark stopped in a group of eight mountains. On successive days, Nama released a raven, a crow, and a rook, none of which returned. On the fourth day, he sent out a dove, which returned with a birch twig and told why the other birds hadn’t returned; they had found carcasses of a deer, dog, and horse respectively, and had stayed to feed on them. In anger, Nama cursed them to behave thus to the end of the world. When Nama became very old, his wife exhorted him to kill all the men and animals he had saved so that they, transferred to the other world, would be under his power. Nama didn’t know what to do. Sozun-uul, who didn’t dare to oppose his mother openly, told his father a story about seeing a blue-black cow devouring a human so only the legs were visible. Nama understood the fable and cleft his wife in two with his sword. Finally, Nama went to heaven, taking with him Sozun-uul and changing him into a constellation of five stars.” [14]

This account may also suggest a change of diet for some creatures, birds eating carrion in this instance.


Description automatically generated

The remoteness of the Altai people from the oceans and large lakes.

Height above Sea Level

One of the traditions quoted above is that of the Incas, who lived mainly on the Andean Altiplano. The Andean Altiplano, especially in this area going through Peru and Bolivia, has a typical altitude of 3,850 meters above sea level (12,630 feet), eg Tiahuanaco, which was mentioned in the tradition. There are a few lakes on the altiplano, the largest being Lake (Lago) Titicaca. However, as in other traditions, this Incan flood tradition states that the floodwaters covered the highest mountains. Given that the highest Andean mountains in this area can reach over 6,300 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level, this gives little support for interpreting this legend as a local flood. Rather it supports the idea of a global flood. For example, Mount Illimani, visible from Tiahuanaco (and the capital of La Paz) is 6,438 meters, as is Ancohuma (6427m).

Common Threads running through Cataclysmic Deluge Traditions

When examined the flood traditions can be seen to have a number of common threads in their accounts. The following is a non-exhaustive list, of common threads.

  1. The Creator, or head God or divine being(s) sent the flood.
  2. A warning was given.
  3. Divine favor is shown to one man, couple, or family.
  4. The reason for the flood was the evil ways of humanity.
  5. There were Giants before the flood (some say, stone giants).
  6. A vessel was made in which a man and usually a woman survived
  7. A few mention that the man and woman had 3 sons with their wives who were with them.
  8. All mankind comes from that man and woman who survived.
  9. Animals and plants were taken on the boat.
  10. Rains lasted for a long time.
  11. Waters came up from the springs, cracks in the earth.
  12. The waters covered all the highest mountains.
  13. A mountain – where either the vessel finally came to rest or only the top of one mountain was not covered.
  14. Birds (or animals) are sent out to find out the depth of water.
  15. Birds or animals bring back evidence of waters having receded.
  16. Survivors worship or sacrifice after the flood.
  17. A rainbow and/or a promise not to flood the earth again.
  18. Some mention that the survivors were scattered all over the land/earth.
  19. Indications that the earth changed:
    1. The receding water carved great valleys; until then, the earth had been level. (Lushai – Assam, India)
    2. Mountain ridges and islands formed. (Kato, California)
    3. The people climbed trees because there were no mountains to escape to. (Pomo, North-Central California)
    4. No mountains and no trees before the flood. (Tsimshian (British Columbia, Canada).
    5. Before the flood the land had been quite flat, many mountains and valleys were formed by it. (Formosa, – interior)
    6. the earth was then entirely flat, … the waters which covered the earth formed mountains and valleys as they rushed out. (Kiangan, Ifugao, Philippines)
    7. Fossils on mountains prove flood. (a number of accounts)
  20. The name of righteous man often a variant of Noah, such as Noe (European), Nama (Altaic), Nuwa (Chinese), Noj (Siberia), Manu (Hindu), etc.

In an analysis of the flood traditions at the time of writing the following commonalities and potentially interesting points can be extracted:

As of 28/07/2021, the author has examined 141 flood tradition accounts from all over the world.

The following downloadable Excel Spreadsheet contains the more detailed results of that tabulation and analysis

Alternatively, look at the table online by clicking the following Google Sheets Link.

122 (87%) mention that very few humans were spared. Sometimes one man, or a husband and wife, or a man and his family.

91 (65%) mention the survivors made or used a vessel of some kind to escape, often a canoe.

73 (52%) mention that the land was completely covered. Additional accounts imply that.

65 (46%) mention that animals were spared as well.

62 (44%) mention that all humans or all their people (the source of the tradition) came from the only survivors.

55 (39%) mention landing on a mountain (usually the highest local mountain) or the few survivors were on the top of the highest mountain.

46 (33%) mention that God, a God, the Creator, or a Divine being caused the flood.

43 (30%) mention a warning was given.

35 (25%) mention that evil or disobedient men were the reason for the flood being brought upon mankind.

26 (18%) mention birds or animals or a mixture being sent to check if the waters had abated.

9 (6%) mention that the surface of the earth was changed from before the flood, typically mountains and islands appearing.

Other notable points include:

Some accounts mention that giants existed before the flood.

A number mention fires or hot waters perhaps alluding to the geological upheaval which would likely have ensued following the arrival of so much water from above and below.

A small number also mention the springs and water from the ground contributing to the flooding.

Others point to the fossils of shells and fish in stone found on the mountains as proof of the deluge.

Mathematical Analysis of Regions:

For further analysis, the flood traditions were split by region. Those 8 regions being the following:

North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Near East, Africa, Asia, Oceania.

All the categories with percentages mentioned above that are above 10% are found in each region in percentages close to the overall total percentages. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that all the main points are found consistently around the world. It is very difficult to write this off as a coincidence. It would indicate a common memory of one original catastrophe event. Even the categories below 10% are still distributed widely, none are just found in one of the 8 regions, they are found in 3, 4, or 5 of the 8 regions.

This analysis will be updated as time permits as more flood traditions are examined and analyzed.

Also, as time permits the traditions in this analysis will be added to the world map on the following link:

Differences between Flood Traditions and the Genesis Account

  • Almost without exception, the vessel (or canoe) landed on the highest mountain found near to the area in which those telling the tradition lived. This fact differs greatly from the Genesis account which maintains the Ark landed on the mountains (range) of Ararat. The mountains of Ararat are far from Israel where the account was kept and passed down. If the Bible account followed the pattern of other flood traditions it would have stated that the Ark came to rest on Mount Hermon or Mount Zion, the highest and the holiest mountain respectively, in the land of Israel.
  • Another difference is the marking of time. The Genesis account stands out as reading like a ship’s log of events and times. Only a few accounts mention how long the flood lasted and none of them date all the different events, such as the boarding time, the length of the rain, the time for waters to subside, the timing of sending out the birds (or animals) to check if the waters had receded.
  • Additionally, another vital point to consider when trying to ascertain the trustworthiness of the Genesis account would be the detail against lack of detail, and whether there are mysterious transformations to complete the story. The Bible account is full of detail, whereas a good size proportion of flood traditions are light on detail, and also have animals or stones or dead flesh turning into humans to populate the world or similar fanciful ideas.

Conclusions arising from the flood traditions

Today scholars make the following claims to deride the Genesis account of the cataclysmic deluge:

  1. The Genesis account is a late amended copy of the Babylonian accounts of Atrahasis and Gilgamesh.
    1. This cannot be proven. The basis of this claim is without provable facts. Rather it is based on suppositions, many of which are colored or created from an evolutionary mindset. For example, the oldest extant copy of Genesis is much younger than the clay tablet dated by carbon dating. However, this does not prove that the original Genesis account was not written before the clay tablet, nor that the story was changed since that time. These are merely assumptions and assertions that some scholars like to make. The Bible’s internal evidence suggests Moses compiled Genesis around 1520 BCE – 1450 BCE. However, the actual account reads like a log (ship’s) or eyewitness record of the event which suggests an earlier origin perhaps preserved on a clay tablet from which the Genesis account was compiled.
    2. Likewise, that a monotheistic religion such as that of the Hebrew Bible must be a later development from the polytheistic religion of the Assyrians and Babylonians. Again, there is no proof that this happened.
    3. An example of the circular logic used to dismiss the flood of Noah as a myth can be found in Sir James Frazer’s Folklore in the Old Testament from which many of the flood traditions have been examined by the author. On p 334 he claims “Formerly under the influence of the Biblical tradition, inquirers were disposed to identify legends of the great flood, wherever found, with the similar Noachian deluge, and to suppose that in them we had more or less corrupt and apocryphal versions of that great catastrophe, of which the only true and authentic record is preserved in the Book of Genesis. Such a view can hardly be maintained any longer. Even when we have allowed for the numerous corruptions and changes of all kinds which oral tradition necessarily suffers in passing from generation to generation and from land to land through countless ages, we shall still find it difficult to recognize in the diverse, often quaint, childish or grotesque stories of a great Flood the human copies of a single divine original. And the difficulty has been greatly increased since modern research has proved the supposed divine original in Genesis to be not an original at all, but a comparatively late copy, of a much older Babylonian or rather Sumerian version. No Christian apologist is likely to treat the Babylonian story, with its strongly polytheistic coloring, as a primitive revelation of God to man; and if the theory of inspiration is inapplicable to the original, it can hardly be invoked to account for the copy.”
Neo-Assyrian clay tablet. Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet 11: Story of the Flood. Known as the “Flood Tablet” from the Library of Ashurbanipal, 7th Century BC. (In the British Museum, London, UK)

Notice the circular reasoning:

  • That the Bible account is a later copy of the Sumerian flood account and therefore cannot be an original. (Of this claim, there are only claims and suppositions like those made in this quote, but no proof.)
  • Yet clearly the polytheistic Sumerian version is not likely to be treated by anyone as of divine origin.
  • If the Sumerian version is not of divine origin, then neither can the Bible account be of divine origin as it is (allegedly) a copy of the Sumerian version.
  • If the Bible is not of divine origin then the flood traditions from around the world cannot have come from the Biblical account!

Another claim is that the flood traditions are of local events. Now, this may be true of a few of the accounts, in fact, in the analysis given above, about 10 accounts were omitted that exist in Frazer’s book. This was because those accounts were either very scant on details and/or contained none of the many main threads identified above, or could reasonably from the description given, have been caused by a river flood or earthquake, etc. However, to try to apply this conclusion to all of the 136 included above is just not possible. Furthermore, in any large flood in the last 300-400 years of recent history, there have always been multiple or large numbers of survivors. By contrast, all the accounts in the analysis have only one man, a couple, or a couple and their family or similar very small numbers (< 10) as survivors.

Relevant Scientific Fact: Pascal’s Principle – Water will find its level.

As water finds its level, (gravity assists in this), water has to be contained if it is to be higher than the water level of a surrounding area, or it is not to flow away quickly. Hence, if the water level is stated to be over the mountain peak(s) or all but one, then logic and science dictate that the water must be at that level all over the world.

The only other explanation of this description can be that area must have a mountain barrier either fully enclosing it, or with only a small outlet, that allows less water to escape than is falling in the enclosed area. Yet this latter possibility contradicts the statement that the water level was covering the highest mountain(s). One has to (wrongly) start interpreting the account to mean just the mountains within range of human sight were covered, to justify this. Yet, not one account states that water covered all the land as far as one could see, which is how we would describe being in the middle of a flood on a floodplain with mountains out of sight.

If it was true that the earth before the cataclysmic deluge was flatter than it is today, (as suggested by a number of accounts) then the chances of any encircling mountain range to stop the water from finding a natural level are even slimmer.

Likewise, if, for example, the Altiplano of South America had so much rain that it flooded over the top of even just one of the surrounding range of mountains, it would have drained away quickly once reaching the lowest point of escape and the rushing water would have gouged a great gorge. It also would not be able to rise high enough to cover every mountain or all but the highest mountain, without spreading out globally.

How much more reasonable than the scholar James Frazer’s claims mentioned above, is this statement “If this awful tragedy ever happened; if the entire human race perished save one family, and perished by the hand of God in punishment of sin, then that judgment must have cast long shadows. Through generation after generation the story must have lived on. It must have been the most awful and solemn recollection of our race. Many things may have been forgotten, but that could not be forgotten. . . .”[15].

What better reason could there be to explain all these traditions than that such an event actually occurred. Furthermore, it was so devastating and of such great enormity, that it became engraved in people’s memory as something never to be forgotten. The cataclysmic deluge should truly never be forgotten. Though modern scholarship may try to explain it away, in part, because of the implications that if it really happened, then there is a God and mankind is accountable to a higher being, yet to dismiss these accounts is to ignore history. Do we not as a human race, accept as facts, characters and other events in history, with far, far less evidence than the flood traditions alone. Mankind has a habit of not learning from the lessons of history and repeating the same mistakes.

Conclusion: We should not ignore the hundreds of worldwide traditions of a great flood. They give evidence that the Bible account in Genesis 7 and 8 of a cataclysmic deluge are true, and hence to be taken seriously.

The next parts of this series will examine the evidence of the Geological record and whether it gives evidence of a global flood.

To be continued ….

Additional Resources Claims Flood is Mythological story, plus legends


  1. p122 of pdf, p120 of Book, chapter 14 “Deluge Myths”, para 1.
  3. Naville (P.S.B.A., 1904, pp. 251–257, 287–294) quoted by Skinner p175
  4. Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 330-331 (pdf p352-353) quoting from Die Masai by M.Merker (Berlin,1904) pp.265-267.
  5. Quoted from Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 332 (pdf p354). Quoted by Frazer from Alois Hamberger, ”Religiose Uberlieferungen und Gebrauche der Landschaft Mkulwe (Deutsch-0st- Afrika),” Anthropos, iv. (1909) p. 304.
  6. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 190-192 (pdf p212-214)
  7. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 236 (pdf p258)
  8. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 177 (pdf p199)
  9. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 327 (pdf p349) Quoting from E. W. Nelson, ”The Eskimo about Bering Strait,” Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau ef American Ethnology, Part i. (Washington, 1899) p. 452.
  10. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 320 (pdf p342)
  11. Gifford, Edward W. and Block, Gwendoline Harris. Californian Indian Nights, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1930, 1990.
  12. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 271 (pdf 293) quoting from Christoval de Molina, op. cit. pp. 4 sq. As to the Inca tradition of the deluge compare Garcilasso de la Vega, First Part of the Royal Commentaries of the Incas, translated by (Sir) Clements R. Markham (London, Hakluyt Society, I 869-1871), i. 71 ; J. de Acosta, Natural and Moral History of the Indies (London, Hakluyt Society, 1880), i. 70 sq.
  13. Source: Sir James Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol 1 p 266 (pdf 289) quoting from Richard Schomburgk, Reisen iii Britz’sch-Gzeiana (Leipsic, 1847-1848), II. 319, 320
  14. p.364-365 Holmberg, Uno. Finno-Ugric, Siberian, in MacCulloch, C. J. A., ed., The Mythology of All Races, v. IV, Marshall Jones Co., Boston, 1927.
  15. John Urquhart p117, “The Testimony of Tradition to the Flood” in Bible League Quarterly, no.152, 1937.
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