The Great Flood

Practically every culture around the world has a story about a worldwide flood. This definitely seems like a common knowledge event.
Practically every culture around the world has a story about a worldwide flood. This definitely seems like a common knowledge event.
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. Genesis 7:1 CSB

All around the world, people know there was a flood. Practically every culture has a story about it. In some ways they're very different and in some ways, they're very similar.

Abrahamic Faiths

The Abrahamic religions share the story of Noah and the Ark


  • the epic of Gilgamesh (most often brought up)
  • recorded on 12 stone tablets
  • Gilgamesh reigned for 126 years; was afraid of death and searched for immortality
  • Utnapishtim was an immortal man met by Gilgamesh; his story is similar to Noah
  • Utnapishtim was given immortality after building a ship called “preserver of Life” and surviving the great flood. He brought his relatives and all the species aboard the ship
    • Note, someone like Noah would seem immortal to people who lived after him and had significantly shorter lifespans!


  • Titlacauan (an Aztec god) warns a man and his wife of a flood
  • They are sealed inside a cypress tree
  • In this story the people aren’t killed in the flood, they’re turned into fish!
  • The man and woman disobey Titlacauan (who told them only to eat one ear of maize) and eat fish
    • This is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden where God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
    • They are punished for disobedience; Titlacauan turns them into dogs
  • Then the world starts over (somehow)


  • Zeus is the angry god
  • Zeus has Deucalion (the son of Prometheus) construct an ark for him an his wife
  • The flood is 9 days long and the world is destroyed (the Biblical flood lasts about a year)
  • The ark rests on Mount Parnassus
  • After the waters recede, Deucalion offer sacrifice to Zeus
  • Zeus tells them to throw stones over their shoulders to repopulate the earth; those thrown by Deucalion become men and those thrown behind his wife became women


  • a fish (perhaps a deity) tells a man the world is to be destroyed in a great flood
  • He builds a boat and ties it to the horn of the fish
  • This boat is guided to a mountain
  • He performs a sacrifice
  • A woman rises from the sea and that who he repopulates the earth with


  • a farmer captures and imprisons a thunder god
  • the farmer's his children release the thunder god
  • so the thunder god warned them there would be a flood
  • they hid in a gourd he gave him that would keep them safe
  • the brother and sister are the only survivors
  • multiple endings exists (mostly to get around incest)—one says the repopulated the human race by creating them from clay
    • Remember God created humans from the dust of the earth, othen referred to as clay


  • Earth flooded with blood, not water, when Odin and his brothers killed a giant
    • Giants are first mentioned in the Bible at the time of Noah's flood
    • Revelation 14:20 talks about blood running so deep it reaches the horses' bridles
  • a couple made an ark and were saved


  • a frog drank all the water causing a drought
  • the other animals tried making him laugh
  • when he laughed the water came out and flooded the land
  • his laughter sounds like thunder (thunder seems to be a running theme)


  • Samudda-vāṇija Jātaka
  • 1000 Dishonest carpenters, they upset the village by taking money without delivering
    • Interesting that they are carpenters (Messiah is also a carpenter)
  • they built a ship to leave and arrive on an island haunted by spirits
  • the spirits give them on rule: bury their human waste to keep the island clean
  • They ignored the rules, so the spirits decide to flood the island
  • one spirit becomes a ball of light in the sky and warns them they should flee
  • another spirit told them the first spirit was joking
  • there was a wise ruler and a foolish ruler over the carpenters
  • the wise ruler told his people to build a ship; the wise man and his people set sail, while the foolish man and his people died

First Nations

  • Waynaboozhoo survived a flood caused by the great spirit via a raft
  • He floated for a month
  • he sends animals into the water to get mud from the old world to rebuild
  • 3 different animals attempt to get the mud (reminds of the 3 with the dove to find land in the Biblical account)
  • the mud grew on a turtles back until it was the size of the whole earth
  • “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: Luke 17:26 CSB


    1. Lennlee Keep. "A Flood of Myths and Stories". PBS. February 14, 2020
    2. "World Flood Myths". Ark Encounter; visited June 2021

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