Correct proportions of the vessel in
the "Gilgamesh Epic - a cube, not a ship
The Gilgamesh Epic is a series of Sumerian poems that tell heroic
stories about the Sumerian god Gilgamesh. Included in the poems is a
story of a global flood. That story is named after the people in
Mesopotamia who occupied the land after the Sumerians - the Babylonians.
The stories are written in clay tablets in cuneiform - one of the oldest
if not the oldest form of writing known. Thus the Epic of Gilgamesh has
come to be known as the Babylonian flood epic, and is one of the oldest
written stories known.
Secularists who (true to form) deny the existence of the supernatural of
course do not believe the Babylonian flood epic either. But they use it
as a means to try to disprove the Biblical flood epic - since that is
clearly a symbol of divine judgment. Using the story of Pandora as an
example, their logic goes something like this:
The story of Pandora and the closed
box of evil that she opens which releases all manner of evil upon
the world is myth, not to be believed.
The story of Eve in the garden of
Eden who takes a bite of the forbidden fruit, which releases all
manner of sin and evil upon the world is borrowed from the story of
Pandora, and thus is also a myth, not to be believed.
Of course they have more sophisticated
reasons for doubting the Biblical flood account, which we'll get to, but
that's basically the reasoning. The flaw in such reasoning should be
obvious: Just because there is a false variant of a true story,
the mere existence of a variant does not make the original true story false. That
just means there were errors in the re-telling of the story. Consider
the following diagram:
Suppose you had a true story with
elements ABCD as in the top of the diagram. The story was shared among a
group of people, who went off and became separate distinct groups from
the original teller of the story. As different groups
tell it various elements might be changed. Instead of elements ABCD, you
might have ABDE. Notice the minor change: one element is gone, and one
new element has been added. No doubt you can still recognize the
original story, but clearly, this story is different.
As people migrated away from each other
after the flood, (below is a possible migration route) it's easy to see
how various elements of a story could get isolated, and localized to a
particular region. You can also see why the estimate of the number of
different flood stories range between anywhere from hundreds, to
thousands, to nearly one in every culture.
But if you're unsure of the original
and thus start with only the various
stories from the various people groups, (the bottom line in "Story
Elements" graphic) how can you know which is the correct version?
As Christians, we know because we have the inspired word of God which
has given us the original, correct version found in Genesis 6.1 - 9.29.
Therefore we know all other versions are derivations from the original
Biblical account. Other flood stories include various changes and/or additions made by
different people groups.
But is there another way (apart from
Biblical authority) to identify the
original? Can science and logic help us identify the true flood account?
And can they tell us whether that original account was factual - that it
actually happened? Indeed they can. They can help with both -
indentifying the correct version and whether that version relates
true history. And though there are literally hundreds of different flood
accounts, we will limit our comparison to the one used by secularists to
try to discredit the Biblical account: the Babylonian flood story, the
Identifying the True Flood Account
In broad strokes, the stories look
similar: A: A divine judgment B: A global flood C: A hero with builds a lifesaving ship D:
group of humans are saved along with animals. But as is typical, it's not the broad strokes that's key to
identifying the truth, it's the final details. As we examine the details
of the two accounts we'll note two types of evidence that will help us
identify the true flood account.
1. Included elements that are not
2. Omitted elements from one account that point to one or more truths
by their inclusion in the other account.
In type 1 elements, inclusion
disqualifies that story as being original. In type 2, omission of these
elements disqualifies the omitting story as being original.
(It's easy to delete
something that's already existing. And if you don't know a hidden truth,
like the cause of the ice age, it's unlikely you'll include it.
Especially if it's not plainly obvious. Thus an element that points to a
hidden scientific truth that's missing points to a derived work omitting
it.)What we'll see is that
the Gilgamesh epics has included elements that aren't true,
has omitted elements
that the Biblical account include that science indicates are true, that
indicate the Gilgamesh epic is not original. This is another reason to
disqualify the Babylonian account. Together
these reasons disqualify the
Babylonian account from being either true or original.
For those not familiar with the
Gilgamesh epic, following is a summary, told from a secular point of view.
The secular view characteristically tries to discount the Biblical
account and shore up the false secular account. The below video summary does
both. The most notable lie in this account is the shape of boat, which
is not as specified in the Gilgamesh Epic. More on that below.
Elements Used to Identify the Truth
For a comparison of the various
elements and how they differ between accounts, see
article. But we can narrow our focus to four items which will
decisively tell us unequivocally which is the correct account. Those
Items inherent in the account:
1. The Shape of the boat
2. The source of the flood waters
Items that can be verified as a result of the account
3. The reason for the Ice Age
4. The reason for the current count of Mitochondrial DNA lineages we
Evidences that Identify the Biblical
Account as the True and Accurate account of the Global Flood
1. The Shape of the Vessel
This is an obvious one.
As pointed out in the Gilgamesh video above, the producers of the
Unearthed episode "Lost City of the Sumerian Gods" lied
about the shape of the vessel as stated in the Gilgamesh epic. The
vessel in Babylonian
story is clearly stated to be a cube as depicted in the featured picture
at the top of this article
from AIG's Ark Encounter.
Why would they lie about the shape? Perhaps they know that as Ken Ham and Answers in
Genesis points out, a cube vessel in the storms of a global flood would
be unstable, and there would be no survivors, as AIG depicts below.
The dimensions of the Biblical ark -
Noah's Ark - are known to be quite stable and would weather the storm
well. For more on why Noah's Ark is stable and the Gilgamesh vessel is
not, see Jonathan Sarfati's article "Noah’s
Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic"
2. The source of the water
The Gilgamesh epic only mentions rain
as the source of the water. The Bible mentions that when the flood
began, the "fountains of the great deep" (Gen 7.11) broke open,
and the "fountains of the deep" (Gen 8.2) were closed
when the rain stopped . Geologist Andrew Snelling explains in the video
below with a
demonstration of the water pouring out of the fountains of the deep, which are
responsible for not only the floods, but also jets of water that
shot up in to the atmosphere, (which cooled and came down as snow,
creating our next piece of evidence). But first, here is a model of the
effects of the breaking of the "fountains of the great deep" and how
they explain much that happened with the flood and subsequent events.
The Gilgamesh epic has no mention of
the breaking up of the earth, or of "the fountains of the great deep," so it
cannot explain where much of the water came from, nor the Ice age which
followed the flood.
3. The Ice Age that followed the Flood
How do you get an Ice Age? Creation
Ministries International (CMI) and Answers in Genesis (AIG)
explain the heated waters from "the fountains of the great deep" are
critical to the dynamics of the ice age:
"To develop an ice age, where ice
accumulates on the land, the oceans need to be warm at mid-and high
latitude, and the land masses need to be cold especially in the
"An ice age also requires huge
amounts of precipitation. The Genesis account records the "fountains
of the great deep" bursting forth during the Flood. Crustal
movements would have released hot water from the earth's crust along
with the volcanism and large underwater lava flows, which would have
added heat to the ocean."
"Warm oceans evaporate lots of
water, which then moves over the land. Cold continents result in the
water precipitating as snow rather than rain, and also prevent the
snow from thawing during summer. The ice thus accumulates quickly."
"A shroud of volcanic dust and
aerosols (very small particles) would have been trapped in the
stratosphere for several years following the flood. These volcanic
effluents would have then reflected some of the sunlight back to
space and caused cooler summers, mainly over large landmasses of the
mid and high latitudes. Volcanoes would have also been active during
the Ice Age and gradually declined as the earth settled down."
"Therefore to cause an ice age,
rare conditions are required - warm oceans for high precipitation,
and cool summers for lack of melting the snow. Only then can it
accumulate into an ice sheet."
The jets of lava-heated water ejected
into the atmosphere when "the fountains of the great deep" broke open
are a key component to creating the ice age. Thus the Biblical account
also explains the ice age that followed the flood. The Babylonian
Gilgamesh account does not.
4. Current Mitochondrial DNA lineages
The Bible records that Noah, his wife,
his sons and their wives (Gen 7.7) entered the ark. Noah was 600 years old at the
time. With Noah being 600 and the testimony of Gen 9.19 that the earth
was re-populated by Noah's three sons, it's a safe assumption that Noah's
wife did not contribute to the repopulation after departing from the
ark. Thus the only people reproducing immediately after the flood are
the three couples consisting of Noah's three
sons and their wives.
Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only
from the mother. So all mitochondria has been handed down from the
mother's side of the family. Interestingly, scientists now say
that all people on earth have mitochondrial DNA that can be trace back
to one of three woman. And those three woman are all descendants of one
woman - since there are little differences between the three
mitochondrial lines. This fits perfectly with the Biblical account of
both the flood - with three women reproducing after the flood - and the original creation of
one couple in the garden - Adam
and Eve. But this does not fit with the Babylonian account. For more on
Mitochondrial lineages, see the footnoted articles
Summarizing the Scientific Evidence
With these four elements, we've made a
positive case that the original flood account is the Biblical one, based
on these strong evidential items:
Identified by the Biblical Account, but
not the Gilgamesh account:
1. The Shape of the boat - stable enough to survive the flood
2. The source of the flood waters - breaks in earth's crust verified
by plate tectonics
Evidence possible only from the Biblical Account, not the Gilgamesh
3. The dynamics that make an ice age possible
4. The reason for current count of exactly three Mitochondrial DNA lineages
which we find in all people, all over the world.
Having established the Biblical account
is true not only because it is the inspired word of God, but
also because it is scientifically supported by a number of lines of
evidence, let's turn our gaze and look at the arguments secularists make
to support the Gilgamesh epic, and see why their claims don't work to
undermine the Biblical Account.
Secular Arguments Against the Biblical
After using the story of Pandora's box
as an illustration of erroneous thinking I mentioned above that
secularists offer reasons for their misguided claim that the
Gilgamesh epic undermines the Biblical flood account. Here are the popular ones
reasons for that:
1. The written Babylonian Gilgamesh
Epic is older than the Biblical account.
2. Therefore since it is older, the Hebrews copied the Biblical
account from the Babylonians when they were taken into captivity in
the 6th Century BC (2 Kings 25.1 and following)
3. The Babylonian account is not true, so the (supposedly) copied
Hebrew account is also not true.
4. Besides, there was no global flood, only local or regional
floods, so the Biblical account can't be true.
These arguments are easily refuted, so
let's take them one by one:
1. The Babylonian written story is
older than the Biblical account.
You may have noticed from the dates
provided in the video of the Gilgamesh epic above that they claim a date
of the 17th century BC for the written version of the Gilgamesh epic,
which was written in cuneiform. Let's review the history of the world as
give by the Bible. Key dates according to the Bible are given
in the chart below. (Click to see the entire chart.)
Moses, author of the Pentateuch (the
first five books of the Bible), which
includes the account of the flood and Noah's ark, wrote in the 15th
century BC. The flood was in the 24th century BC. They're claiming a
date in the 17th century BC for the Gilgamesh epic. If true that would
make it some 200 years older than the written Biblical account.
But the "earlier" date for the
Gilgamesh epic doesn't help their claims. Whenever skeptics do textual
criticism, they consider the text closest to the events most reliable.
That's why they fight over the date of the Gospels. Were they really
written in first century (very close to the actual events)? Or were they
written later, like in the second or third century (and thus accuracy is
more questionable)? If first century, that leads credence to their
accuracy. (In passing the gospels were indeed written in the first
century, starting with Mark's Gospel around 50 to mid 60 AD, followed by
Matthew and Luke (not necessarily in that order) followed by John -
estimated at between 70 and 90 AD.)
Children older than their parents?
But we already know the Gilgamesh epic
is a derivative work - derived from the Biblical account, based on
the four evidences examined above. Being "older" and thus closer to the
actual event should make it more accurate. But it is clearly less
accurate. That's a big problem.
So what are we to make of the claim it
is older? Can children be older than their parents? Of course not.
Neither can a derivative work be older than the original. It's also not
surprising when children look like their parents. Thus when we see
echoes of the Genesis creation account in the Babylonian account
(example: a 6 day flood followed by a blessing in the Gilgamesh epic;
reminiscent of the 6 day creation followed by the hallowed Sabbath day
of rest in the Bible) clearly point to the Gilgamesh epic being the
copy, the derivative work, with the Biblical account being the original.
Thus being first in written form
clearly didn't help make the story to be more accurate or believable. It
has merely served to record in written form for all to see the errors of
this clearly pagan text. Notice I said "written form." That's because it
is widely believed that at least some of the early Biblical accounts
were passed on via oral tradition. So though they may not have been
written, the Biblical account likely existed in oral form (long before
the Babylonian story) before God led Moses in how to record it
accurately with the elements God wanted us to know.
Echoes of The Ancient Dinosaur Art
If the claim is that the Babylonian
story is myth that the Hebrews copied, then the question becomes how did
the Hebrews copy it so inaccurately, so incorrectly, that they managed
to add scientific truth to it? Truth about things like climate dynamics
and mitochondrial DNA that they could not have known? This is similar to
the problem of ancient dinosaur art:
There are numerous examples of
dinosaur art, like this sauropod dinosaur on a cave wall. If the
ancients didn't see them, how did they know to draw them? Likewise how
could the Biblical account get factual items like the breaking of the
earth's crust, creating the dynamics of plate tectonics (which geologist
study today), all due to the opening of "the fountains of the
great deep"? Why are there three mothers to repopulate the entire earth
in the Genesis account - the exact number science has determined is
correct according to mitochondrial DNA lineages - not one or two or four
or five or some other number? Precisely three.
These all point to the fact that
despite the alleged age of the Babylonian text, the Biblical account, is
the original, older, historically accurate text.
2. The Hebrews copied the account
while in captivity in Babylon
Secularists generally take pleasure in denying claims of the Bible.
Among the claims they like to deny is that Moses wrote the first five
books, and that there was a global flood. The challenge to Moses'
authorship comes in its most heated form from a theory called the
documentary hypothesis, which has been thoroughly discredited. For more
on the documentary hypothesis, see my article on the
Tower of Babel (where they make the same false claims).
Besides the fact that the documentary
hypothesis gets the author wrong, additionally it gets the time frame
for writing the first five books of the Bible wrong. Since those five
books are key to understanding the rest of scripture, it is quite a
serious error to get the time of when they were written incorrect, as
does the documentary hypothesis.
This theory can be rejected on the
timeline alone. From the timeline above you can see the fall of
Jerusalem in 586-587 BC - the 6th century BC. Notice this is centuries
after the exodus. We have very strong evidence for the date of the
exodus which I document in "Do
Ancient Chronologies Challenge the Bible? Part 1: The Date of the Exodus."
Moses, the leader at the time of the exodus, would have written his
books during this time period.
Even scholars who deny things like
miracles in the Bible and thus accept neither the miracles of the
exodus nor the correct date of the exodus accept what is known as the
"late" date for the exodus. The late date is around 1270 BC during the
reign of Rameses II due to the mention of his name in Ex 1.11. (That's
the time frame Ridley Scott uses in his blasphemous movie, "Exodus
- Gods and Kings.") Even by that incorrect date, the exodus (and
thus the writing of the first five books of the Bible) are written more
than 600 years before the Babylonian captivity. So the Biblical account
was written hundreds of years before the Babylonian captivity. Clearly
the Bible skeptics are grasping at straws and anything else to provide
reasons (however faulty) to disbelieve the Biblical account if they're
suggesting the reason the Biblical account can't be true is because the
Hebrews copied it during the Babylonian captivity. Unfortunately for
them, their attempts to deny Biblical truth are extremely transparent,
and more importantly, easily falsified.
3. The Babylonian account is not true,
so the (supposedly) copied Hebrew account is also not true.
This argument is clearly fallacious. To
name just a few of the logical fallacies this argument commits:
Suppressed Evidence and no doubt others. There are two many to go
into detail on each one. But here is the main point that should be clear
It is invalid to take a myth, which is
known to be false, and then because another story has a number of
similar elements claim it's the same myth and claim this other account
is likewise a myth and false. Particularly when the other account has
much evidence to back up its veracity.
Suffice it to say, that once again
secularists are grasping at straws, any false straw, to try to convince
you the Biblical flood account is not true. Most do so for an obvious
reason: They don't like the point of the Biblical flood account.
The point is, of course, that there is a holy God who judges sin.
There's only one method of escape from his judgment that he himself has provided. While
salvation has always been through faith in God's provision, in Noah's
day God made an objection lesson of what that looks like: That object
was, of course, the ark. Today (and always) the objection of faith
for salvation is Jesus Christ. You have but one option to save yourself: believe and
accept God's provision. If not, judgment has already been pronounced:
18 "Whoever believes in him
[Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands
condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's
one and only Son.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved
darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
4. Besides, there was no global flood,
only local or regional floods, so the Biblical account can't be true.
Because secularists don't like the idea
of being sinners under the judgment of a holy God, from whom they need
to accept the gift of salvation; since they rebel against that idea,
they deny any evidences that is true. This is particularly true
regarding the massive evidence of a global flood. Many of those
evidences are listed in my article "The
Global Flood: The Best Evidence of Creation?"
I present many lines of evidence for
the flood in the article. Let me give you just one here - one I consider
particularly powerful because of its pervasive nature - its worldwide
If there were a global flood, what
would you expect to find as evidence? You'd expect to find:
Billions of dead things, buried in rock layers,
laid down by water, all over the earth.
What in fact has been found all over
Billions of dead things, buried in rock layers,
laid down by water, all over the earth
The article of course covers this in
more detail, but a little reflection on this fact alone should help you
realize that the fossil record is not a record of evolution. It is a
record of the deposition of creatures that died during the global flood
that occurred during the days of Noah nearly 4,500 years ago.
Secularists hate the account of the
global flood of Noah's day. They deny the massive amounts of evidence
for it. They're fine saying they see evidence of a global "mega flood"
on Mars but absolutely refuse to
acknowledge the evidence of a global flood on earth. The dynamic is
similar to the many scientists, the main stream media and social media
sites who denied the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in treating
Covid-19 - though it was clearly true and could have saved many lives.
But they refused to acknowledge it because they didn't like the bearer
of the message - the 45th president Donald Trump. (In passing, the
effectiveness of HCQ in treating Covid-19 has now been admitted by the
American Journal of Medicine.)
Likewise secularists don't like the
message of the flood. (Nor do they like the bearers of the message -
Christians particularly Creationists.) They don't like hearing that
they're sinners who now stand under condemnation and need to be saved.
They don't like the reminder that God destroyed the world once by water,
and has promised to do it again - next time by fire. (2 Pe 3.7) They
don't like being told they need to accept God's provision of salvation -
Jesus Christ. So rather than accept the truth, they prefer lies. And
they prop up lies to support their denial of reality. And so they
mislead by promoting the lie that the Gilgamesh flood story is older
(the story itself is not older - only the written version), and the lie
that the Hebrews copied from it. The only truth they maintain is that
the Gilgamesh story itself is a myth - only so they can also
falsely claim that the Biblical flood is also a myth.
So don't be surprised when people who
don't believe the Bible, and don't believe the account of creation, or
the flood, or the dispersion at Babel want to tell you that a clearly
false story is the basis as what the Bible presents as history. In this
they're like the serpent whispering in your ear, "Did God really say..."
Yes, all God said about the flood is true. So don't listen to the
whispering lies of the fools and the hypocrites who want you to be just as
foolish as they are and stay outside of God's provision with them, where
there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt 24.51) when the
judgment comes. Don't be foolish. Look at the evidence. God judged the
world by water once. The flood proves it. He has promised to judge the
world by fire next. Your only hope: Trust in Jesus Christ. Like the ark,
he is God's provision to keep you safe through the onslaught of God's
judgment. As for the Babylonian flood myth, I suggest you look at it
with knowing amusement; knowing it's false. The same type of knowing
amusement when you look at children's stories with bathtub shaped arks
with giraffe heads hanging out the side. You know better about that
ark. You also now know better about the supposed Babylonian
and the story that goes with it.
Duane Caldwell | June 18, 2021
1. Stating there are "over 200 legends about a
massive global flood found in cultures around the world." AIG's
Journey Through The Ark Encounter, Green Forest, AR: Master Books,
2017, p. 74
Stating "..there are thousands of such flood legends all around the
Jonathan Sarfati, "Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic" CMI,
Creation 28(4):12-17, September 2006,
Stating: "Nearly every culture around the world ahs a creation legend
and just as many have worldwide flood legends..."
Troy Lacey (With Bodie Hodge) "What about creation, Flood, and Language
Division Legends" from The New Answers Book 4, Green
Forest, AR: Masterbooks, 2013, p. 199
2. Frank Lorey, "The Flood of Noah and the Flood of
Gilgamesh", ICR, March 1, 1997,
3. Unearthed episode "Lost City of the Sumerian Gods", Science
Channel documentary, 2021
4. Jonathan Sarfati, "Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic" CMI,
Creation 28(4):12-17, September 2006,
5. Walter Brown states that due to huge pressure the water was under,
the water shot up through cracks (which acted like a jet nozzle) at
super sonic speeds, propelling it not only into the atmosphere, but also
ref. from Creation in the 21st Century, episode "The Horror of
the Flood", broadcast 9/2/2017