Whether you look to the Bible theologically or historically; literally, figuratively, or a mix, there are some very real and profound historical events referenced within the text. The Great Flood was supposed to have happened long before the time of Abraham, and apparently wiped out every living human being on Earth except for Noah and his family.
Where do the stories come from?
Oral tradition, stories passed down from one generation to the next. Events so cataclysmic they were seared permanently into the fabric of an entire culture. By the time the Jews got it, the stories had already been passed down, generation to generation, for thousands of years by the Sumerians, who passed it to the Babylonians, who passed it to the Hebrews.
The Great Flood didn’t quite cover the whole Earth. The Bible says it did, and I might get a slap on the wrist from my more fundamentalist associates, but there’s a good chance the flood actually refers to the Younger Dryas Climate Catastrophe.
Most biblical scholars place the Great Flood between 5 and 6 thousand years ago. Trouble is, there is no evidence that there was a flood great enough to cover the whole Earth during that time. There may have been catastrophic flooding in the Nile, Tiger, or Euphrates river basins or in the frequently flooding regions around the Caspian Sea during that time, but there is a strong possibility that the stories do refer to a much earlier, global flood. There was a global flood that occurred sometime between 11 and 13 thousand years ago that sent massive tidal waves tearing across much of the Earth’s surface and obliterating most, but not all, of the human population.
Also, just how did Noah, his family, and truly impressive, if legally obtained, collection of wild animals manage to survive the flood? Did they really build a massive, wooden boat that would have required modern technology to construct? Or did he just go ahead and build a really, and I do mean really, big raft?
Also, there’s a really good chance Adam and Eve were black…