Have you ever told a story only to have it come back to you after several tellings and it has become so altered as to be almost unrecognizable? That happened to Noah and his family.
The year-long Flood was a life-changing event. When the eight survivors walked off the Ark, they carried a common account. Japheth likely told his son, Gomer, the account, Gomer passed it down to Ash-ke-naz, and he to his son. Shem and Ham probably did the same. If the details changed, Noah was still alive to correct them and the account likely remained pretty much true to fact.
Then came the Tower of Babel, where God scrambled the common language, forcing men to spread out across the whole earth. The Flood account went with them, but without its original biblical figures on hand to correct errors, the details changed, and changed, and changed. The Ark became a canoe, or a mountain top. The length of the Flood became just a few days in some of the stories.
Today, over 270 cultures retain distant memories of that “life-changing event.” The details have been lost, but most of the legends share common themes: Man became corrupt; the Flood was worldwide; eight people survived; representatives of all land animals were saved; a dove was released to seek dry land; the survivors came down from a mountain to re-populate the whole world, and so on.
Critics claim the Bible’s account borrows from earlier myths. But it’s the other way around. We know the Bible is the only true account, and thus the reason the Flood stories use names similar to the Bible’s is because they are borrowing from God’s Word. That’s why Noah-like names such as Nu-u, Nu-Wah, Noh, Nos, and Nuh are preserved in so many of the Flood legends.
Help us build a full-scale Noah’s Ark! AiG’s part in the Ark Encounter project is raising $24.5 million in donations for an all-wood Ark, the centerpiece and first phase of the whole multi-attraction complex! A finished Ark will be a great testimony to the historicity of the Bible and will proclaim the gospel. For an explanation of the funding of the entire Ark Encounter, go to ArkEncounter.com.