It is part of the Western world’s childhood, the Great Flood.
In Genesis 6 – 9, Noah becomes an unlikely hero and convinces those around him to prepare. The image above is the 16th century wood etching by Jost Amman. It shows a busy scene prior to launch. The ark and its content were enough to protect those on board from the “rain (which) fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights”. — Genesis 7:12
The flood myth is a part of many cultures. It is probably a story as old as any human settlement on the banks of a river. Three surviving Babylonian deluge epics – Ziusudra (Eridu Genesis) – Utnapishtim (Epic of Gilgamesh) – Atrahasis (Epic of Atrahasis) are historically linked to river floods in Shuruppak, Uruk, Kish dated to ca. 2900 BCE. Oral stories of devastating floods surely pre-date that.
Floods and flood heroes are found in literature worldwide, including the Sumerian epics, Deucalion in Greek mythology, the Genesis flood narrative, the Hindu texts of Vishnu Purana and Mahabharata, Bergelmir in Norse Mythology, and in the lore of the K’iche’ and Maya peoples in Mesoamerica, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa tribe of Native Americans in North America, the Muisca, and Cañari Confederation, in South America.
Study of human civilization shows the earliest settlements such as Çatalhöyük to be 10,000 years old. Human are said to have left Africa 60 – 70,000 years ago, and modern humans have existed as a species some 200,000 years. There have been innumerable floods in all areas of the world in that time. partial flood list
The Big One
Only in the last few years can humans understand and see that an exceptional flood in an entire region is still only a partial flood. What about this notion that the entire world be flooded?
Now at the beginning of the 21st century, humanity is finally facing the possibility, or even likelihood of a world-wide flood. And like river floods that travel for weeks from upland deluges to coastal city devastation, humans are watching the building flood that is coming with climate change. We see an inevitable global flood coming, threatening our lifestyle, and possibly our existence.
Missing from our contemporary flood story is the hero. Where is Noah in today’s flood threat? A single hero will not be able overcome problems so large, certainly not alone. Instead the world has a myriad of people working towards an advanced knowledge of our complex world. It is among them we’ll find heroes. Who will captain the ship is not as important or interesting as the epic measures needed for an ark.
What preparations are being done to save something of this world from the growing threat? Who is studying, preparing, and building the ark? What will be on it? What will it be like when it again finds land?
Science is collecting an understanding of our world, the symbiosis of our planet with the life that flourishes on it. Will it have enough of a grasp to be able to represent to biosphere?
An examination into these developments is a worthy target, as we move ever closer to the Age of Noah.