Did the Bible Flood Happen?

So I have a co-worker that’s asking me about the ark but honestly I haven’t done a lot of research on it. Is there historical evidence to back it up?

There is no evidence. There are many ancient stories about a giant flood, which implies collective memory of a large-scale event. But whether it did or didn’t happen, the story of the ark is more important theologically than it is literally. It’s the same thing with the creation story in the Bible: God didn’t have to create the world in a week. He could have done it through evolution if he wanted. What’s important about these stories is what the Bible writers try to communicate theologically.

So the main points are that, yes, the world got really bad. And yes, it needed to be baptized, cleansed, and restarted. There’s no way scientifically that the water got as high as the highest mountain, nor could ancient people have known the whole earth was flooded because they didn’t know the earth was a globe and that they hadn’t seen the whole thing. From their perspective, the world was flat. So if the water got high, it was that high across the whole earth.

So was there a great flood? Probably. Did it have a theological point? Absolutely. Did the Bible writers over-embellish the flood to make their point? Also yes.

For more thoughts, check out Bible scholars Tremper Longman III and John Walton’s book, The Lost World of the Flood.

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