Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flood Legends Demonstrate a Common Catastrophic Experience

Practically every ancient culture on earth has legends telling of a traumatic flood in which only a few humans survived in a large boat. These legends contain many common elements, suggesting the they have a common historical source that left a vivid impression on the survivors of that catastrophe.

  • FLOOD STORIES—Races and tribes all over the world have, as part of their traditions, stories about a great flood of water that covered the whole earth. The event was so world-shattering and life-changing that, from parents to children, stories of that great upheaval passed down through the generations. Gradually, as mythologies developed, legends about this flood became part of them. These stories include various aspects of the Genesis account of the Flood:

    "It has long been known that legends of a great flood, in which almost all men perished, are widely diffused over the world."—*George Frazer, Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1 (1919), p. 105.

    One survey of 120 tribal groups in North, Central, and South America disclosed flood traditions among each of them (*International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 822).

    (1) There was general wickedness among men.

    (2) God saw that a flood was necessary.

    (3) One family with eight members was protected.

    (4) A giant boat was constructed.

    (5) The family, along with animals and birds, went into the boat.

    (6) The flood overwhelmed all those living on the earth.

    (7) The deluge covered all the earth for a time.

    (8) The boat landed in a high mountainous area.

    (9) Two or three birds were sent out first.

    (10) The people left the boat with all the animals.

    (11) The survivors worshiped God for sparing them.

    (12) A promise of divine favor was given that there would not be another worldwide flood of waters.

    Another survey of ancient Flood literature and legends is discussed by B. Nelson in The Deluge Story in Stone (1968). In this tabulation, the stories and writings of 41 different tribal and national groups were given.

    First, we will list these 41 groups, many of which were ancient races. ("A and B" indicate two different sub-groups; example: Fiji A and B.)

    Assyria-Babylonia (A and B), Alaska, Andaman Island, Asia Minor, Aztecs, Brazil, Cherokee, China, Cree, Egypt, Esquimaux (Canada), Fiji (A and B), Greece, Hawaii, India (A and B), Italy, Lapland, Lenni Lenape, Lithuania, Leward Islands, Mandan, Michoacan, Nicaragua, Papagos (Mexico), Persia (A and B), Peru, Pimas, Russia, Scandinavia (A and B), Sumatra, Syria, Takoe, Thlinkut (A and B), Toltecks, Wales.

    Second, we will list twelve points in their legends, according to the number of times each is included by each of the 41 groups.

    Destruction by a flood—41 times.

    Some humans saved—38 times.

    A boat saved them—36 times.

    Universal destruction by the flood—24 times.

    One family was especially favored for protection— 15 times.

    The flood was caused by man’s transgressions—14 times.

    The flood came as a result of a divine decree—10 times.

    Birds were sent out first—9 times.

    Animals were saved by the boat also—8 times.

    The survivors worship God after leaving the boat—7 times.

    The boat landed in a high mountainous area—6 times.

    After leaving the boat, God spoke favor to the saved—5 times.

    An even larger collection of Flood stories is to be found in *Sir James G. Frazer’s book, Folklore in the Old Testament (1919), Vol. 1, pp. 146-330. There are 11 Hellenic stories from ancient Greece, 6 European stories, 29 Persian and Indian stories, 31 Australian, Southeast Asia, and Pacific stories, 63 North, Central, and South American stories, and 3 African stories related in 185 pages of Frazer’s book; a total of 143 Flood stories. You will find them listed in Donald W. Patten (ed), Symposium on Creation IV (1972), pp. 36-38.

    An excellent five-page analysis of confusion-of-tongues legends will be found in James E. Strickling, "Legendary Evidence for the Confusion of Tongues, "in Creation Research Society Quarterly, September 1974, pp. 97-101. Quotations from a number of sources are given.

    "There are many descriptions of the remarkable event [the Genesis Flood]. Some of these have come from Greek historians, some from the Babylonian records; others from the cuneiform tablets [of Mesopotamia], and still others from the mythology and traditions of different nations, so that we may say that no event has occurred either in ancient or modern times about which there is better evidence or more numerous records, than this very one . . It is one of the events which seems to be familiar to the most distant nations—in Australia, in India, in China, in Scandinavia, and in the various parts of America."—Stephen D. Peet, "Story of the Deluge," American Antiquarian, Vol. 27, No. 4, July-August 1905, p. 203.

    NOAH’S NAME—If the story of the Ark and the Flood is to be found among 120 different tribes of earth, should we not expect that Noah’s name would be remembered by some of them also?

    Noah’s name is found in the stories and languages of mankind. That is a striking cultural evidence of the worldwide Flood which, itself, left so many physical evidences upon our globe. Not only do the rock strata and their fossil contents vindicate the veracity of the Flood story, but the languages of man do also! Here are some interesting facts

    Sanskrit (of ancient India) is a basic language, dating back nearly to the time of the Flood. According to the legends of India, Ma-nu was the man who built the boat and then, with seven others, entered it and were saved. Ma is an ancient word for "water." Ma-nu could then mean "Noah of the waters." In Sanscrit, Manu later came to mean "mankind."

    The most ancient man in the Germanic tribes was called Mannus. Mannus was also the name of the Lithuanian Noah.

    In the Hebrew, "karat" is the same as "Armenia." The prefix Ar means mountain, so "Armenia" probably means the mountain of Meni. According to Genesis 8:4, Noah landed somewhere in the Ararat mountains.

    The legendary founder of the first Egyptian dynasty was Menes; and Minos was the man who is said to have been the first man of Crete. The nearby Greeks said that Minos was the son of their god, Zeus, and the ruler of the sea.

    The English (as well as all Germanic) words for man comes from the Sanskrit, manu.

    The Egyptian god, Nu was the god of waters who sent a flood to destroy mankind. They identified Nu with the rain and the atmosphere. Summerians taught that Anu was the god of the atmosphere. The rainbow they called "the great bow of Anu."

    In ancient Africa, the king in the Congo was called Mani Congo. Later, Mani became the title of respect given to all leading men of the country.

    In Japan, manu became maru, a name included in most Japanese ship names. Chinese mythology taught that Hakudo Maru came down from heaven to teach men how to build ships. We know that Noah was the first shipbuilder and that all ancient and modern hulls are basically designed in the same manner. The ancient boats were copied from an archtype. The Ark was the great pattern boat. Men who had to traverse the coasts of the new oceans knew that, nestled in the mountains of Ararat, was a boat which had successfully done it. They carefully copied its structural design.

    In Japanese, Maru also means a protective circle or enclosure of refuge. The first people to inhabit Japan were called Ainu, and mai means "original man" in some Australian aboriginal languages.

    Among the North American Indians, manu became minne, meaning "water" for the Sioux; hence our Minneapolis (city of water) and Minnesota (sky-blue water). Minnetoba (our Manitoba, Canada) meant "water prairie" to the Assiniboines.

    In South America, we find the Nahuatl, managuac (our Managua, capital of Nicaragua) which means "surrounded by ponds." The fabled city, Manoa (meaning "Noah’s water"), was supposed to be the capital of the god El Dorado. A number of important rivers in South America are derived from manu: The Amazon (named after the Manau), the Manu in Peru, and also the Muymanu, Tahuamanu, Pariamanu, Tacuatimanu, etc. In all of these, manu means "river" or "water."

    The Egyptians invented their picture writing—hieroglyphics, we call them—soon after the Flood. Their word for water was a wavy line. When the alphabet was later developed, that symbol became the letter "m," for mayim, the Semitic word for water. It later became the Greek letter Mu, the Roman letter Em, and our Western M.

    The Assyrian name for "rain" was zunnu. The Roman god, Janus (our January), was originally the Estruscan father god of the world and inventor of ships. This could have easily have been derived from the Hebrew word for "God of Noah," and by the Estruscans, who pronounced this Jah Nu.

    The Greek sea-goddess was naiade, which meant "water goddess."

    The ancient Norse of the Scandinavians called their ship god, Njord (Niord), who lived at Noatun, the great harbor of the god-ships. Noa in Norse is related to the Icelandic nor, which meant "ship."

    The original Sanskrit word for "ship" was nau, which later passed into our English word, navy, nautical, nausea (sea sickness).

    (We are indebted to Bengt Sage for the above information. See "Noah and Human Entomology" in Creation, the Cutting Edge, pp., 48-52. The publisher, Creation Life Publishers [Master Books], in El Cajon, California has many, many other excellent books. Write them for a book order sheet.)

    BEHOLD NOAH'S ARK: Video 1

    BEHOLD NOAH'S ARK: Video 2