Tag Archives: legends

Was the Genesis Flood copied from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh?

Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet
Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet

It has often been claimed that the flood account found in Genesis Chapters 6-9, and later referenced in the New Testament, was actually a legend borrowed from other cultures, namely the Babylonians in their “Epic of Gilgamesh.”  Is there any validity to this claim?

In the mid-1800s in modern day Iraq, excavations uncovered many Mesopotamian-era tablets.  Included among these was the Babylonian flood legend, “Epic of Gilgamesh.”  The 11th tablet of this series recorded the flood account, and many of the details were similar to the Biblical Flood.   However, there were also many differences found.

This legend in particular tells the story of Gilgamesh, who, after losing his friend Enkidu, seeks out Utnapishtim to give him the secret of immortality.  Utnapishtim tells him of the gods’ desire to flood the world because the gods could not sleep due to the noise man makes.  Ea, the god of wisdom, warned Utnapishtim to convert his house into a boat, take the seed of all living creatures, and tell the people he was building the boat to escape the wrath of the god Enlil.  Utnapishtim complied and built the boat in 7 days and took all the animals and craftsmen on board with him.  The flood came but it was so terrifying even the gods fled in fear.  The world was flooded for 6 days and the waters receded on the 7th day.  Afterward, the boat came to rest on Mt. Nisir, and Utnapishtim sent out a dove, then a swallow, and then a raven.  When the raven didn’t return, he made a sacrifice and the gods gathered together over the sacrifice.

As you can see, there are many similarities in this legend with Noah’s flood, but also, there are a great many differences.  Only Noah’s family survived the flood, not Noah and the craftsmen.  There is only one God who was grieved over the sin and evil of the world, and that was the cause of the flood.  It was not because multiple gods of questionable moral character were bothered by men making so much noise.  The flood lasted for about a year in the Bible, but in this legend it was only for a week.  Noah took two of every kind of animal, but Utnapishtim took the seed of the animals.  Noah sent out the raven before a dove.  This is because ravens are scavengers while doves are vegetarian, and one of the goals was to see if plant life was available.  In the epic, the dove was sent first and the raven was last.

The boat constructed in the Gilgamesh epic was cubical (the length, width, and height were all equal) and 7 stories tall.  A boat like this would not be seaworthy, especially in a cataclysmic flood.  Noah’s ark, which the Bible records to precise measurements in a rectangular shape, would be seaworthy in that it provided maximum comfort for its occupants and strength to protect those inside.  A study was done on this by Dr. Seon Won Hong.  You can read about it here.

Moses compiled and edited the Genesis Flood account during the wanderings in the wilderness in the 15th century B.C.  The Gilgamesh Epic was dated between the time frame of 2200 B.C. and 620 B.C.  At the most, the Gilgamesh Epic was written 800 years before Moses’ writings—assuming the dating is accurate.  It does not require that Moses copied from the Babylonians.  There are options that both cultures recorded the same event, but one had embellishments.  Given the fact that there are almost 300 other flood legends, many of which have biblical similarities, most likely this Babylonian legend was written after the flood and embellished like the others.

Moses’ account of the worldwide, biblical flood contains the most detail as to who would be saved, the specific measurements of the boat, what Noah was to bring on board, and especially, why the world was going to be flooded.  Although this Babylonia legend may have been written before Moses wrote about Noah’s flood, it does not demand that the Babylonia legend was correct.  Given the shape of the Babylonian boat and its inability to be seaworthy, and given the lack of details in this epic as opposed to the details given in Genesis, most likely this version of the story was copied from Noah’s Flood and later embellished.  Dating methods are not always accurate, and that is when the feasibility and reliability of the texts, such as in this instance, takes precedence.

For more information, RTG recommends the book “How do we know the Bible is True?”  You can find it in our book store.

Did dinosaurs exist with man?

Although secular scientists, and the majority of people for that matter, believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years ago, there is much supporting evidence to show the contrary.  What kind of evidence would one expect to find if dinosaurs and man co-existed?  Here are some non-biblical accounts of dinosaurs existing with man:

  • A Sumerian story dating back to 2000 BC or earlier tells of a hero named Gilgamesh, who, when he went to fell cedars in a remote forest, encountered a huge vicious dragon that he slew, cutting off its head as a trophy.
  • When Alexander the Great (c. 330 BC) and his soldiers marched into India, they found that the Indians worshipped huge hissing reptiles that they kept in caves.
  • China is renowned for its dragon stories, and dragons are prominent on Chinese pottery, embroidery, and carvings.
  • England and several other cultures retain the story of St. George, who slew a dragon that lived in a cave.
  • There is the story of a tenth-century Irishman who wrote of his encounter with what appears to have been a Stegosaurus.
  • In the 1500s, a European scientific book, Historia Animalium, listed several living animals that we would call dinosaurs. A well-known naturalist of the time, Ulysses Aldrovandus, recorded an encounter between a peasant named Baptista and a dragon whose description fits that of the small dinosaur Tanystropheus. The encounter was on May 13, 1572, near Bologna in Italy, and the peasant killed the dragon.
  • Source: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/what-happened-to-the-dinosaurs

Please visit the following link where you will see many forms of artwork.  The details of the dinosaurs seen on these pieces of art show that the artist had to at one point in time seen the  dinosaur they drew or crafted.  Some of the piece of art show man and dinosaur together!  See it for yourself at Genesis Park.   RTG also recommends the documentary: Dinosaurs or Dragons and the following book: Dragon: Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs.  RTG has provided links for documentaries about dinosaurs here.  

Watch the following videos from Forbidden History:

The following link at Genesis Park provides historical writings of people encountering dinosaurs.

Lastly, here is a listing of words used from around the world to describe dinosaurs.  This further verifies that in the past there was a world-wide existence of dinosaurs.

Why are there so many flood legends?

Chart adapted from B.C. Nelson, The Deluge Story in Stone, Appendix 11, Flood Traditions, Figure 38, Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1931.
Chart adapted from B.C. Nelson, The Deluge Story in Stone, Appendix 11, Flood Traditions, Figure 38, Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1931.

When Noah and his family exited the ark and started life all over again, they were all very well informed about the flood and why it occurred.  They passed this information onto their children, and their children’s children, etc. and everyone was made aware of it.  About 100 years later, all of the post-flood people were living in the community surrounding the tower of Babel and they still knew about the flood.  After the great dispersal at Babel, the families separated and spread throughout the world, continuing with the flood and creation account but changing them up according to their own cultural and religious views.  Still, the flood legends we have today have many striking similarities.  The following website shows a chart revealing the similarities in flood legends and a narrative of some of the legends: http://www.nwcreation.net/noahlegends.html. This website shows many more flood narratives with references:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.htmlThis final website offers additional information about flood legends and a lot of information about Noah’s Ark: http://worldwideflood.com/flood/legends/flood_legends.htm