A fascinating piece appeared in the U.S. News & World Report authored by Michael Satchell (2000, 38). The article was titled, “An enduring mystery – Evidence points to a flood of biblical proportions.” The essay called attention to an amazing archaeological discovery beneath the surface of the Black Sea, a massive body of water (170,000 square miles—greater in size than the state of California) between Europe and Asia, and linked to the Mediterranean Sea.
The article rehearsed a recent find by an archaeological team led by Robert Ballard (who found the Titanic). According to Satchell, these scientists have been exploring beneath the surface of the Black Sea off the Turkish coast “for evidence of an apocalyptic natural event that could have inspired the Genesis account of the great flood.” In mid-September, the expedition discovered “a large wooden building 12 miles offshore at a depth of more than 300 feet.” Ballard described the find as “beyond our wildest imagination.”
Apparently there is an “ancient coastline some 550 feet below the present sea level.” It is speculated that several thousand years ago, melting glaciers “sent the Mediterranean Sea pouring through a natural dam across the Bosporus Strait, inundating a huge freshwater lake and creating the Black Sea.”
Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review (a liberal journal), suggested:
[T]hose who believe in the legend of Noah’s Ark will find great comfort in this [find] . . . . Any connection between Noah’s flood and this new finding is speculative, but it cannot be disproved (emphasis added).
It cannot be known for certain, of course, whether or not the evidence cited above bears any relationship to the Genesis flood—either directly or indirectly. The Bible student does not need any modern discovery to confirm his faith in the integrity of the sacred record. If such comes, we would be delighted; our faith, however, is not left hanging, awaiting modern scientific testimony.
Here is what we do know:
- The Genesis record consumes four chapters (6-9), detailing the narrative of a cataclysmic flood, and the sole family (Noah’s) preserved therefrom.
- This inundation was world-wide in its proportions (Genesis 7:19; 2 Peter 3:6). The idea of a local flood does not appear in any Jewish or Christian literature prior to about A.D. 1655 (see Allen 1949, 66-112).
- The flood was sent by God as a penalty for ancient humanity’s unrestrained wickedness (Genesis 6:5-7; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:3ff).
- Its historicity was widely accepted, both by biblical writers and secular sources (cf. Psalm 104:6-9; Isaiah 54:9; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:3-7). Some 250 to 300 flood traditions exist in the literature of various nations (Vos 1963, 32).
- The Son of God himself endorsed the reliability of the Old Testament record regarding the flood (Matthew 24:37-39). Since he is an eternal being (Micah 5:2; John 1:1) and therefore witnessed the flood (cf. John 8:58), his testimony must be accepted as fact.
- There are geological evidences that buttress the Genesis account relative to the flood. Marine fossils are found around the world in mountainous areas that are now high and dry. Old shore lines (or “strand lines,” as they are called) are spaced in mountain ranges at parallel heights on both sides of the Atlantic. (For further study, see Lessons from the La Brea Tar Pits.
If solid evidence for the biblical flood is forthcoming, we will rejoice. We must, however, be cautious in evaluating the data and in making unsupported claims. Ultimately, our confidence is grounded in biblical revelation. There is evidence aplenty that this is reliable.