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Apathy Girl and Other Tales

Musings of the Overly Naive Cynic

Greece, New Guinea, Nigeria, Mongolia, China, North Korea, all places that have their own, not so unique, version of the flood story. In Nigeria the Sun and the Moon invited their friend Flood for a visit, to wash away the filth in their home. The Supreme Sovereign of ancient China ordered the water god Gong Gong to create a flood as punishment for human misbehavior. In Egypt God told his messenger Moses to bored a boat with his family so that the Lord may wash away the wicked. All over the world there are stories of rising waters and less than moral humans. One has to wonder is this the spreading of stories from region to region, or is the explanation really simpler; ages and ages ago, there was a huge flood brought to Man by his Creator. This paper will explore the possibility of an actual flood and the reality of oral tradition.

Approximately 8000 year ago there was, indeed, a flood. The Black see began to rise, creating a ditch between the then fresh water sea and the salt of the ocean. As the salt water began to replace fresh, creatures began to die, fish, plants, mammals. The water rose rather quickly, and stayed up. Eventually different springs, fed by melting glaciers, began to erupt over the Fertile Crescent. (Ryan and Pittman 2000) Also, if the melting of the ice of the Ice Age had been gradual, over tens or hundreds of years, costal lines would look much different than they do now. Chaotically, glaciers would melt from the inside out, causing a sudden burst of water to come over the land, an occurrence that is often said to support the Black Sea flood theory. (Franklin 2002)

However, very little scientific evidence points to a world-wide flood. That leads to the question: how do people in China have the same story as people in Egypt as people thousands of years earlier in ancient Sumeria? The best answer is the oral tradition. An event happened, there can be no doubt about that, and maybe different levels of flooding happened world-wide. Theoretically, the flood could have taken place as a contemporary event of the earliest account we have, the Sumerian epic is the true beginning. As people begin to move about, to travel and trade, however slightly, they take this story to other parts of the world, where it becomes adapted to those specific cultures and histories. Where the Sumerian tale first sends out a dove (Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet XI), the Judeo-Christian tale first lets a raven light out upon the carrion (Genesis, chapter 5-9). The Chinese version with the Supreme Sovereign tells the story of the actual flood while maintaining the strict structure of ancient Chinese society.

Given evidence available it is reasonable to believe that the similarities between cultural versions of the flood story exist because at one point and time there actual was a flood, water covered the Earth and many died. This story was told and retold and adapted and retold until eventually most cultures were left the same shell and they filled it with whatever story fit and comforted them the most.

Works Cited

“Epic of Gilgamesh.” Ancient Texts. 8 Feb. 2009 <ancienttexts.org>.

Franklin, Dave. “Scientific Evidence of a Worldwide Flood.” Online Article. 2002. Helium. 9 Feb. 2009 <http://www.helium.com/items/113430-scientific-evidence-of-a-worldwide flood>.

New International Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

Ryan, William, and Walter Pittman. “Noah’s Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event that Changed History.” 2000. Muse. Olin Library, Springfield. 8 Feb. 2009. Keyword: scientific evidence of flood.

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