January 28th, 2014
10:37 AM ET

Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

(CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was).

Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.

In ancient Mesopotamia, a round vessel would have been perfectly reasonable - in fact, we know that this type of boat was in use, though perhaps not to such a gigantic scale, on the Mesopotamian rivers.

The ancient Israelites, on the other hand, would naturally have pictured a boat like those they were familiar with: which is to say, the boats that navigated not the rivers of Mesopotamia but the Mediterranean Sea.

This detail of engineering can and should stand for a larger array of themes and features in the flood stories. The Mesopotamian versions feature many gods; the biblical account, of course, only one.

The Mesopotamian versions tell us that the Flood came because humans were too noisy for the gods; the biblical account says it was because violence had spread over the Earth.

Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. Neither is history; both are theology.

What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”? Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. But not so fast.

Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.

More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.

(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.)

This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.

There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.

One version says the Flood lasted 40 days; the other says 150. One says the waters came from rain. Another says it came from the opening of primordial floodgates both above and below the Earth. One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. The other says he sent out a raven, once.

And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.”

Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? Certainly not.

If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense. And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.

Likewise, the relative age of the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts tells us nothing about their relative authority.

Even if we acknowledge, as we probably should, that the biblical authors learned the Flood story from their neighbors - after all, flooding isn’t, and never was, really a pressing concern in Israel - this doesn’t make the Bible any less authoritative.

The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.

There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important. But from a biblical perspective, its importance resides mostly in the way it serves to remind us that the Flood story is a malleable one.

There are multiple different Mesopotamian versions, and there are multiple different biblical versions. They share a basic outline, and some central themes. But they each relate the story in their own way.

The power of the Flood story, for us the canonical biblical version, is in what it tells us about humanity’s relationship with God. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. formcritic

    *Huge Yawn*

    This is all trivia. The Mesopotamian version of the Biblical flood story has been known for a long time.

    Round – oblong – irrelevant. It might be interesting to debate the shape of a boat. It reveals nothing about the Bible.

    April 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
    • Dorian Mattar

      How does a story similar to another story that is claimed to be real not affect it's credibility?

      You're not an investigator are you?

      April 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  2. dojams

    the truth of the flood should and will stand on its own. The design of the ark will always be in question to those who search. I choose to believe the description found in scripture for many reasons. More importantly if men concede the flood they must also concede the God of the flood.


    April 26, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
    • Dorian Mattar

      There is no truth to Noah's Arc as depicted in the bible.

      There are flood stories as described here and nothing more. The rest is word of mouth getting out of control.

      To believe in such fables as real, is to believe in Santa as real.

      April 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
      • benhoody

        Wrong again.

        May 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
  3. mperkel

    I am a REALIST, a person who puts Reality first. Realists are not scared of the Truth so whenever someone is asking the question, "Is this Real? Did this Really Happen?" we win. We want people to talk about Reality. We aren't scared of the word Reality. We honor Reality. Every time you say the word Reality the world gets a little smarter.

    April 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  4. bernardharrison2u

    The Visitation...... http://youtu.be/-932XPhUUNo, Many of mankind are going to be quite shattered after hearing this testimony...For God did visit the earth and fulfill that promise of his covenant to never destroy this present earth by drowning it again for mankind sake but next time he going to burn it up....Doubt all you will but after the fulfillment of the second woe, every one of every color, tongue and nationality will come to know the he exist....Read Revelation 11: 1-13....Then will mankind come to know that he had laid a path for man to walk upon, but the fallen deceiver condemned to this earth has laid all kind of deceiving obstacles in the path only to confuse man....Yes, God did flood this earth and next time he is going to burn it leaving in void of any life, or form of present existence.....Enjoy this present earth for now and all your works there within during if last remaining days....Enjoy it all for now......

    April 23, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Religious gibberish without a shred of evidence to back it outside of the holy book you depend on to survive.

      April 23, 2014 at 11:00 am |
    • G to the T

      Two questions:

      1) Do you have a 401K plan?
      2) If so, why?

      April 23, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • Dorian Mattar

      Don't go anywhere! You'll be OK, I just dialed 911 and help is on the way!

      April 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
  5. Garet

    It's important for folks to realize that the stories in the Torah / first five books of the Old Testament are ascribed to Moses. He had these stories passed down to him verbally over generations. While portions are accepted as inspired text, the purpose of the creation story up until a little past the flood isn't exactly meant to be a play-by-play in the first place.

    I'm quite firmly a Christian myself; and I hope that more of us can realize some of these things about the earlier texts.

    With Moses writing about his great grandfather's great grandfather – Abraham – vs Abraham's great grandfather's – great grandfather's – great grandfather's – grandfather.....you should be able to imagine the amount of rigor going into the retelling. He accounted for what he could as he could.

    Abraham was fairly well known and fairly recent yet how much do you know about your family from 250 years ago? Today we have vastly improved writing, but many of these stories came from oral traditions. All of the accounts have been changed since the time when Moses wrote them as well. This not even to mention what's been lost in translation – the creation story is quite different in Ancient Hebrew than it is in English. Even more so if you understand the colorful and dualistic expressions used, the many names for different aspects of God, a variety of contextual meanings all completely filtered out of translations.

    Now -after- this point, things do begin to have much more consistency as far as literature goes, but that's not even the point of the bible; where does God ever say in the bible that the whole and canonized version is meant to be perfect in a literary sense? Scrutinizing the Bible this way makes about as much sense as checking the Gettysburg Address for spelling and grammar errors.

    We don't have a perfect account of those times; and judging the faiths which stem from these text based on that is a fallacy all it's own steeped in misunderstanding, often caused by us as Christians who argue pointlessly about some things.

    IMHO, this article is kinda meh and flakey because of a mixed understanding....but I can hardly blame them given our community's lack of education on these things and the way we represent ourselves on the early bible. As for other Christians, we should learn to be researching the meaning of the Bible before ascribing the meaning we want to it.

    April 21, 2014 at 9:20 am |
    • Garet

      (for clarification, when I mentioned Moses talking about Abraham vs Abraham's ancestor, I'm refering to Noah..)

      April 21, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • igaftr

      The myth of Noah never happened, that has been proven by science. It is just a myth. Also it is NOT accepted that anything is "inspired" text, since there is NO evidence of that at all. The bible at best is something to study from an anthropological standpoint...the myths and stories of baseless beliefs.

      April 21, 2014 at 9:31 am |
      • Garet

        About the flood:
        That the flood happened has actually been proven by science. In both anthropology, geology, archeology and genetics we can see that

        1) There was a cataclysmic flood which wiped out nearly all of established human society. Debates are on going as to whether there was a global warming type event, a planetary body crashing into the earth, tremendous rains, underwater geyser activity etc etc... Debates also exist as to the extent of the flooding on the global scale, but the Great Flood certainly existed.
        2) We find mass extinctions and fossil records associated with this flooding
        3) Sheets of alluvial soil found across the globe in the crust at layers which had to be caused by such a flood
        4) Our DNA shows this population bottleneck in history after while also showing a common female ancestor for all living humans
        5) Numerous historical accounts exist in many different cultures all referring to the time when humanity survived such a flood. The Noah character exists in almost all of these accounts.

        Regarding inspired texts:
        Certainly there are many portions in the Bible accepted as inspired text with a wide variety of proofs. That said, proof has very little to do with acceptance. While you may not accept these facts, many communities, both of scholars and laymen, do accept the existence of inspired texts.

        Proof can offer validation something whether or not it is accepted; perceived validity can encourage acceptance. These remain individual concepts that don't fully rely on each other. Something can well be accepted on faith, and believing in a proof is also based on faith whether from science, history, religion or otherwise.

        Aside from the literal meaning of the words, if you're going all in on empirical data, there's too many times in which the scientific method still yields proofs which are commonly disproved later on. At any given moment, fully accepting the modern view presented by the scientific community is a sure way to be wrong and most scientists worth their salt realize this as a fallacy. Modern science consists of a group of theories trying to become more accurate and is known to be in an incomplete state.

        April 21, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • G to the T

          1) There was a cataclysmic flood which wiped out nearly all of established human society. Debates are on going as to whether there was a global warming type event, a planetary body crashing into the earth, tremendous rains, underwater geyser activity etc etc... Debates also exist as to the extent of the flooding on the global scale, but the Great Flood certainly existed.
          2) We find mass extinctions and fossil records associated with this flooding
          3) Sheets of alluvial soil found across the globe in the crust at layers which had to be caused by such a flood
          4) Our DNA shows this population bottleneck in history after while also showing a common female ancestor for all living humans
          5) Numerous historical accounts exist in many different cultures all referring to the time when humanity survived such a flood. The Noah character exists in almost all of these accounts.

          1) Provide evidence (any evidence) of a world wide flood. My understanding of the geological column does not support your assurtion.

          2) No we don't. We find evidence of creatures slowly transitioning over time. It would be VERY easy to prove this correct (if it was), you would only have to find a "modern" animal's skeleton in the same layer as those thought to contain it's antecedents. This has yet to occur (to my knowledge).

          3) Citation please, I am not aware of any such discoveries.

          4) Our DNA shows SEVERAL bottlenecks. And while we can trace our mitochondrian DNA back to a single female, there was never a time in our genetic history when there were less than a dozen humans (the breeding population is too small for a start).

          5) Cultures that live near the water and/or flood plains have flood myths, but I am not aware of any flood myths other than in Abrahamic religions that mentions "Noah".

          Floods are some of the most violent and unexpect disaster that can befall a people. I'm sure we in the US will remember Katrina for some time, that does not mean we are speaking about the same flood. Again, the genetic, archeological and geological data does not support such an event.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • igaftr

          While there is eveidence of flooding at many parts of the world, there is no evidence anywhere that all of the individual floods happened at the same time. The evidence indicates that there has never been a world wide flood event at ALL points around the world at the same time. There should be evidence , but there is not.

          It would take 5 times the amount of water on the planet to flood to the level the the myth indicates. That would eliminate the food chains, and wipe out all life in the oceans, pretty much destroying all of the food chains. It would take millenium for enough of anything that may have survived to then be able to sustain anything but the tinyest life forms.

          It is only creation "scientists" that5 you are getting your info from, and by definition, they are not scientists at all. They are far too biased, and try to fit science into their dogma.

          In REALITY, the flood never happened ( at least not on Earth).

          I only breifly touched on a few of the MANY reasons we know the flood never happened. It is a myth, just like most of the bible.

          April 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Dorian Mattar

          Show us the peer reviewed papers that support all your claims.

          April 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          according to Bill Moyers and most all anthropologists virtually every culture on earth has the flood story. it's absurd to suggest that they knew the extent of the flood in regard to the rest of the earth whether it was localized or worldwide. atheists pride themselves on being so logical and are fond of rallying "science" to their cause but just like the fools they worship, they are quick to revise their "facts" when their theories are disproved.

          April 30, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • igaftr

          There are flood stories from areas that flood, fire stories in areas where there are fires, earthquake stoies, volcano stories.
          That's what man does, create stories. Noah's myth never happened. There has never been a single worldwide event. the proof is in the earth at your feet, in the ice core samples, iand the myth has been proven impossible, and false by many branches of science.

          Keep on believing your man-made book of myths. we KNOW the flood never happened...that is fact. If it did happen, it did not happen on this planet.
          You book is flawed, and yet you believe it is true, and then try to throw out valid science because it proves your book is false...willful ignorance. You would rather wallow in your book of ignorance than accept fact.

          April 30, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        igarfr: Garet is rather ignorant. It seems he has a friend acting as a POE named evan who is just as ignorant...read further down the page. Evan fails to comprehend that the theory of evolution is fact. Garet below was ignorant enough to call LGBT a lifestyle. I am left wondering if these two got their education from the bible only and if they have ever set foot outside of their trailer parks.

        April 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "Evan fails to comprehend that the theory of evolution is fact." this is an ignorant statement and even a children would recognize. Theory is NOT fact, go back to school.

          April 30, 2014 at 8:54 am |
        • igaftr

          It is accepted as fact, scot.
          You do know it is a fact that viruses and bacteria cause disease, right. But no, it is still just germ theory.
          Evolution theory is similar...we know evolution has been happening, is happening, and will continue to happen. The only reason it remains as a theory, is because as a field of study, we do not know everything, and how would we know if we did.

          Evolution is fact. To say it isn't is your ignorance.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          It is explained here http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html.
          "A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon."

          Now who is the one needing the education??

          April 30, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Dorian Mattar


          The theory simply explains the observed facts.

          We observe a natural event and come up with a theory to explain it.

          There are theories for everything, from gravity to hydrogen.

          Do you think hydrogen is a fact?

          Hint, even if the theory of gravity is WRONG, gravity would still be a FACT.

          Same with Evolution.

          April 30, 2014 at 11:34 am |
      • Keith

        Every society in the world has a flood story, "why is that?"

        April 23, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • otoh2

          **Every** society in the world? Are you sure about that?

          April 23, 2014 at 12:34 am |
        • Keith

          If you have some information, share it.

          I do know about the America's and Australia.

          April 23, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • Dorian Mattar

          Yes, that too. There are several stories of floods, but certainly not in every civilization.

          April 23, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • Dorian Mattar

          I'm not sure if you are trying to be sarcastic, if you are, then please disregard this message.

          The story of Noah would be known ONLY to people AFTER the flood and it would be known ONLY by word of mouth as past down from Noah to further generations.

          But what do we find? We find stories of floods all over the world at DIFFERENT times, and not only different times, BUT thousands of years before Noah. So there is no way that everyone is talking about the SAME flood.

          The reason why there are many flood stories, is because floods happen at known intervals. If you contact the Army Corps of Engineers, they will tell you that flood channels are designed to protect cities from floods. The channels are designed depending on the known possible flood types in that region. There are floods that happen every 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, etc. etc., depending on the region, and the higher the year interval, the larger the flood is.

          But NO FLOOD EVER is large enough to cover the entire world.

          April 23, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        • Keith

          I dont' know if there ever was a flood that could cover the whole earth, I don't even care. The Christian bible is no more than teaching stories, not a history book.

          The flood stories I know of in North and South America and Australia all have similar themes after the flood. Rebuilding mankind is the common story. I like the Copper Woman story from the Northwest tribes the best.

          The flood story was well known hundreds of years before the Jewish story was even written in Babylonia.

          April 23, 2014 at 1:12 am |
  6. jcs6


    April 20, 2014 at 5:34 am |
  7. jcs6


    April 20, 2014 at 5:31 am |
  8. aslamproductions

    Arrrgghh! People really believe this nonsense? How much longer will it take until people shed this nonsense we call religion. Don't people understand that all of these stories in the bible, torah, Quran, Bagavadghita, etc… THEY ARE ALL MYTHS. No more true than the Greek myth of Athena being born from Zeus' forehead.

    April 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
    • benhoody

      Arrrggghhh, How much longer will it take for you to grasp the reality of a God Almighty who created the heavens and earth and that you are not here because of some big bang that originated from absolutely nothing, and then like magic something appeared and couldn't contain itself any longer and then poof, here we are after billions of years of growing from something that once wasn't. If you don't believe in a God that created and would rather believe that intelligence came from nothing and then dead matter appeared, that's fine, up to you, I would never put you down for you beliefs or non beliefs. On the other hand why does it bother you because of what others believe as long as they don't try to force it on to you. I believe and you don't, it doesn't matter, in the long run we will all find out one way or the other..In the meantime why argue about it, that is absolutely pointless because no one is going to change the mind of someone else who's mind is already made up in what they believe, unless of course the other person doesn't have a closed mind and wants to know the real truth.One thing for sure, let's hope this isn't all that there is.

      April 20, 2014 at 4:51 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        And how much longer will it take you to realize that your bible is easily debunked and that saying a god exists is merely opinion, not fact??

        April 20, 2014 at 5:43 am |
        • evanrhys9

          What is a fact? Is it a fact that when I bang my head on a desk that I am "banging" my head on the desk? According to Quantum Mechanics and the Quantum Theory, not necessarily. I am an atheist an d I don't believe in god, but don't scold Christians when they could right. There is no evidence other than the bible to say whether Christianity is true or not, so how can we determine whether it is true or not?

          April 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          evan: It is very obvious that you're a POE, not troll off back to your bridge and be a good little ignorant ass!

          April 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          saying there is not a supreme all-powerful, all-knowing being called God is just an opinion too. the reason you can't see Him is because you are spiritually dead. you have no more reasoning than a weasel and are only concerned with where your next meal will come from.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wow, I have already dismissed you as being an ignorant, uneducated dolt. What would make you think for one second anything more you say would mean anything? If you have no comprehension as to what scientific theory is and think a god exists without any evidence outside of your bible to support it, then you can't be taken seriously. An education is a wonderful thing...get one and stop the holier than thou crap, you only hurt your own ilk.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " reason you can’t see Him is because you are spiritually dead. you have no more reasoning than a weasel and are only concerned with where your next meal will come from"

          This coming from the one who believes on faith (belief without evidence) and from the one who doesn't know what a theory is in the scientific sense. Talk about the reasoning of a weasel.
          Next time you want to toss around insults you should be sure to back your insults with proof that you are right and we are wrong.
          Once again we're sorry your parents and the education system failed you.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • igaftr

          "the reason you can't see Him is because you are spiritually dead"

          And that is based on.......

          You reject legitimate science, yet make wild unsubstantiated claims as if your opinion is reality. Most likely , we cannot see "god" because there aren't any gods. No evidence of any gods has ever been found. They live in mens imaginations, as far as any evidence goes.

          So you keep misunderstanding and misrepresenting science, and let your baseless beliefs run your life.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:12 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Oh the big bang is fact, evolution is fact...your god not so much. As for why it bothers people, Christianity is the one going door to door selling their fallacies; Christianity is the ones telling people they are sinning and that if they don't believe they go to hell; Christianity tell LGBT they are not natural and thus shouldn't have rights...shall I go on??? When Christians stop the arrogance and learn to give the respect they demand, including not teaching it to innocent children then we'll have reason to back off and shut up, until that happens you can count on people speaking out.
        Face it...christianty is a dying religion and it won't take much longer for people to really steer away. People like you who whine drive others away.

        April 20, 2014 at 5:49 am |
        • benhoody

          You obviously didn't read a thing I wrote, but that's okay, it really doesn't matter, we will all find out in the long run, until then you can argue with yourself because no one else is going to listen to you because you obviously no nothing of what you are talking about.

          April 20, 2014 at 6:29 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ben: I read it and understood. I'm not the only one who thinks like this and yes, much to your dismay many more are following the path of disbelief daily-a true benefit to society and saving our world. I wouldn't go judging an Atheists knowledge if I were you-judging is wrong-even in the bible. Most of us are recovering Christians but after an open-minded read of the bible, it is obvious it is a true horror story talking about a vindictive ass of a god that isn't worthy of worship!

          April 20, 2014 at 6:36 am |
        • Garet

          The word calls for us not to judge whether or not each other is going to heaven or hell, but we're also called to judge about specific situations all the time. People who live in sin certainly will fall to Hell's destruction if they don't rely on the forgiveness offered. 'lgbt' lifestyle is one of the ways this can happen; but it's not impossible for one of them to be forgiven. basically all the people going to heaven have been sinners that had already committed spiritual suicide.

          it is somewhat difficult for me to see how you can think of God as vindicative given the relationship between the two of you. even if you think He's not real then what are you losing out on? perhaps you'd rather ignore the existence of hell so that you don't have to think about it during life; but believe or not people do have souls and left to their own devices that soul will not survive an eternity. we may as well be an atom on a skin cell in comparison to God, yet to give us a fraction of an extended chance and actually invite us into his family is pretty awesome.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • evanrhys9

          Why are you so stupid? I am an atheist but even I know the Big Bang and evolution are not facts. They are merely "Theories". Stop assuming that theories are facts because if you do it proves that you don't understand anything about what your saying.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          evan: You ignorant fool!! How very wrong you are:
          "A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon."

          April 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dorian Mattar

          Evan, theories are explanations. They are bodies of information that explain observed facts, like gravity, electricity, etc.

          You observe a fact, you come up with a hypothesis of who this fact works or what causes it, you test it, and if you find enough evidence, it graduates to a theory.

          Even if the theory of evolution was 100% wrong, the actual fact of evolution would still be a fact! We would just have to figure out another way to explain that fact.

          Get it?

          April 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  9. charlesdbruce

    The Noah story is ridiculous. If the people of the world spent as much energy in the pursuit of science rather than on the fairy tales of religion, we'd all be much better off.

    April 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • benhoody

      Ya right, I guess we should believe the fairytale that everything came from nothing. Once there was nothing, and then like magic something, dead matter appeared. And then one day it all exploded BANG, and as time went on this dead matter began to think and reason, this dead matter wanted to see, and poof, it had eyes, then this dead matter wanted to hear, it never knew what it meant to hear but like a rabbit out of a hat, poof, it had ears, and a nose to smell and it wanted to feel so it grew nerves and feelings etc. Out of nothing, out of nowhere, BANG here we all are! Talk about a myth, fairytale and magic, and we should believe this nonsense rather than God created is absurd.

      April 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • igaftr

        "fairytale that everything came from nothing"

        That is not what any valid theory indicates. Nice strawman though.

        What created your god?

        April 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • dylanesq

        'Bang, here we all are !"

        I know it's hard to comprehend what billions of years of evolution mean. It's almost beyond our imagination but, that's the way we have developed. mankind, especially those enmeshed in religious mythology' is still stuck back in the age when the apes left the forest for the plains and began to expand their minds. Unfortunately , unable to absorb natural events, mythologies took their place. The only problem for you is to truly open your mind to our true vulnerability in this cosmic shooting gallery. Either way we are all inconsequential as the inevitable space rock is going, once more, to eliminate most of the life on this planet, if not the planet itself. I know this and it doesn't bother me. The sun rises every day so far in my life and I make the best of it, thrilled for the ride.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • glenn1062

          Why humanity places so much significance on it's own existence is beyond me. When they ask "Why are we here?" I can't help but think "Why not".

          April 20, 2014 at 12:50 am |
    • philbugg

      If it is a fairy tale, why are there over 200 flood "legends" from every corner of the earth? Is it possible that we all descended from Noah and his wife? Even the genome project found that we all descended from one mother. I don't know. Just saying... It's not unreasonable. However, most people have been brainwashed since kindergarten that the bible is a fairy tale and taught the state religion's creation myth(Darwinian evolution).

      April 17, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
      • Dorian Mattar

        There are floods all over the world all the time, just not at the same time.

        The scientific Eve is dated at over 200,000 years, there is no correlation between the bible character and the aforementioned.

        Darwinian evolution is one of the most robust theories known to mankind. It explains the fact of evolution pretty damn well.

        You are probably thinking, "ah ha, evolution is not a fact, it's a theory", sorry to dissappoint you, evolution is a fact, Darwin's theory simply explains the observed fact.

        April 23, 2014 at 1:29 am |
  10. iowasundevil

    Noah's ark is an absolutely absurd story. The amount of rain falling from the sky to create a flood of that magnitude would have completely obliterated everything on the face of the earth. The pyramids, Grand Canyon, and the Great Wall of China would be gone if the story were true. Nothing on the surface of earth would have survived. Not to mention the fact that launching a giant boat stuffed full of animals in those conditions is also impossible. Religious belief is a mental disorder.

    April 17, 2014 at 9:38 am |
  11. doctordave777

    The difference between this new find and the authentic ark, as described in the Bible, is that Noah's Ark could and would have floated. The Biblical description of the size and the number of animals plus supplies makes perfect scientific sense. For those that doubt the Word of God (ie. the Bible), please see the following;



    April 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
    • dylanesq

      '..the word of God... the bible..'...Mein Kampf..it's all the same. Whether you control by brutal domination or by subtle storytelling..it all has the same outcome. The goal being to dominate and control and deny free thinking and living in the real world.

      April 15, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
    • Elbonian

      Dear Dave: The article makes clear that you have a theological dispute with the authors of other versions of the flood story. If you want actual scientific discussion search out the National Geographic exploration of the Black Sea in 1999/2000 where they confirmed the flood theory originally proposed by Ryan and Pittman that roughly 5,000 years ago the Mediterranean Sea broke through the Bosporus and flooded into what is now the Black Sea. The residents were driven out in every direction by water rising at the rate of 6 inches per day, with the salty ocean water overlying a fresh water lake that had previously served human habitation in that area. The people who were chased out of their homes in that fashion must have felt they had offended the gods in some way, so they made up stories about that, and each resulting tribe of humans had slightly different versions of the story. Since Abraham (the first actual Jew) was a citizen of Ur in Iraq, the Mesopotamian version of the flood story would certainly have influenced what was eventually written down as the Jewish Torah. However, as this article clearly states, even that version is actually two different versions of the flood story! But science tells us there was never an actual worldwide flood. Only the filling up of the Black Sea with salt water. So, you are denying scientific truth in your assertions, and you should thus to attempt to live totally without science in order to be true to your own beliefs.

      April 17, 2014 at 5:11 am |
  12. jcs6

    The only question it should raise is why are so many people stupid enough to believe in such things, and given that fact, why aren't we more concerned that adults with an imaginary friend are in positions of power.

    April 15, 2014 at 1:13 am |
  13. ftank58

    It seems as though to me that people who think the idea of God is so far-fetched are always rushing to any story that has anything to with him to insert their disrespect. I just find it odd that if people strongly believe it is make believe, why even waste the time to go out of your way to type words.

    April 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
    • dylanesq

      You hang onto that bubble, that's right. Imagine, those nasty truth tellers, trying to shatter my illusions !

      April 11, 2014 at 12:18 am |
    • jcs6

      Show some sign of valid proof that is not make-believe. You can't. All you have to go on is faith based on a collection of badly written and translated fairy tales. Without proof you are a 6 year old having a tea party with your imaginary friend. But somehow, that's normal.

      April 15, 2014 at 1:16 am |
      • ftank58

        Everybody exercises faith when it comes to historical events that no human was present for, you were not there for the bigbang or to see anything evolve, so I ask you show me evidence of that happening, you cant, because at the root level of EVERY world view is a presupposed assumption.

        April 15, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • iowasundevil

          There is quite a large volume of evidence supporting the Big Bang. A simple search of "evidence supporting the big bang" on your favorite search engine is a good place to start. I know I'm likely wasting my time since you are not likely to acknowledge any facts you will encounter that contradicts the myth of the buybull. Confirmation bias being what it is.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • Dorian Mattar

          By your own standards, how do you know the bible is the word of god, you weren't there when these people wrote the letters because they were written in the past.

          Just a bit of contradiction on your part?

          But let me ask you something, when a crime takes place, do we have to be present at the time of the crime and witness the crime to know who committed the crime?

          Do you ever actually think about the childish things you say?

          April 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • benhoody

        Show us proof God doesn't exist, oh, wait a minute , you can't. Proof of God and creation is all around you but you refuse to see. You would rather believe the fairytale that one day BANG, like magic, now here we are. Like the bible tells us "The fool has said in his heart there is no God".

        April 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • dylanesq

          Sorry you never made it past 3rd grade.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Dorian Mattar

          We'll do that right after you prove that Allah doesn't exist.


          April 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          well said Ben; however, these cretins will believe any other fool who grows nose and ear hair calling himself a "scientist" and have not a clue what atmospheric mixing of carbon and decay rate is all about, not caring to check the facts for themselves. they only deny the existence of a supernatural being because they don't want to be accountable to Him as their creator. Fools can't see the wind either yet they believe it exists. duh

          April 30, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • igaftr

          What you would have people believe is the same as saying that the wind is caused by giant invisible dragons. You feel the wind, therefore the dragons must be real.

          Take a course in logic and cause/effect relaitionships

          April 30, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " not caring to check the facts "

          This coming from the dolt who refuses to accept that Evolution is fact and not understanding what a scientific theory is. Talk about hypocrisy. Too funny really.

          April 30, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Dorian Mattar


          The people in charge of checking their facts are the scientist responsible for that computer you are typing on.

          The problem here is that you don't want to let go of your placebo and therefore accept the claims of your church and apologetics who misinform you to keep you under their control.

          Listening to apologetics in matters of science, is like listening and taking the advice of a mechanic over a doctors advice in medicine.

          Bad idea.


          April 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Garet

          Well that's just silly; theres no single group of scientists in charge of the computer. For that matter I'm a computer scientist myself and carbon dating is known to be flawed. Or did you not realize you can cause petrified wood to form over the course of 40 years but appear to have form 120 million years ago?

          People on both sides of these arguments are doing way too much ego stroking to actually think; both just keep accusing the perceived opponent. If ya'll actually care about truth go look into to things deeply rather than waste so much time trying to "win" on a forum.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • Dorian Mattar

          I said "responsible" meaning that they created the "technology" associated with that computer, which is Quantum Physics.

          You are accepting apologetics claims against scientists that are changing and uniting our world thru technology.

          You ascertain that somehow carbon dating is flawed is an ignorant thing to say. Please provide the peer reviewed papers that state that carbon dating is flawed.

          We reference scientific facts backed by evidence NO EGO NECESSARY, your side references apologetics that have NO evidence.

          That is the difference and before you claim to have evidence, please go find out what actual evidence is.

          Hint, a claim is NOT evidence.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • Garet

          quite a large ego

          May 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Garet

          you ask for peer reviewed evidence but you dont provide them yourself; they exist, if you want them go look. that's no ultimate proof however.

          May 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • mperkel

      The reason we care is the Noah believers brought us the BUSH administration what crippled America.

      April 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
  14. oldbear60

    Let's see, god(s) destroyed mankind because 1. violent- been to a soccer game or watched a movie lately ?
    2. Too noisy- been to a rock concert or football game? Always found it interesting that all flood stories out of Europe and the Middle east are by cultures on rivers or seas= and before you all jump up and say how Israel of the time wasn't on a sea, rember Abraham and his people supposedly came from UR which is in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. And people make fun of science fiction and fantasy!

    April 10, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • tardisramblings

      I grew up in West africa, where we could see fossils of seashells in a landlocked country, was there a flood? ask the locals, they will tell you, so these "stories" are not confined to europe or middle east. Ask aboriginals in Austrailia! the flood is history, we know it had to have happened or everyone really likes the same story and are willing to tell it to you as fact...yeah thats ridiculous...

      April 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • Keith

        Seriously, you don't know how the sea shells got to the land? Education is in sad shape in Africa.

        April 23, 2014 at 12:36 am |
        • Dorian Mattar


          Sea shells are just ONE of the things you will find in plains, mountains, or many other dry places around the world and the reason they are there is because of tectonic plate movement and climate change.

          The entire world has CONTINUOUSLY shifted and oceans are now located where deserts used to be and vise-versa.

          The entire world had ONE massive continent at one point in time, called Pangea.



          April 23, 2014 at 12:49 am |
        • Keith

          Maybe the person I was commenting to will read your information. He needs some help

          April 23, 2014 at 1:13 am |
  15. sealchan

    Contrary to what so many Christians feel they must believe, the Noah flood story does not have to be historically true to be of value to contemplating faith. Its literal reality is a far second to its interest as an adopted and altered tale (a fiction even) from local and even at the time ancient culture. What did the author try to communicate with this version of the flood story? Such myths are invitations to explore what it means to be a human in a world much more powerful and easily capable of destroying us all. In modern terms this means supernova or meteoric impact. All it takes is a little (more) imagination to see the value here.

    April 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
  16. charlesdbruce

    All this proves is that the bible story was ripped off from a previous myth. The story of Noah is absurd.

    April 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
    • sealchan

      Whether you believe in God or not, the story contains insight into human experience and how to understand the nature of catastrophe. If you don't see this then try Bill Moyers, Genesis A Living Conversation for several thoughtful insights.

      April 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
  17. dylanesq

    It never fails to amaze and horrify me how some humans will go to such ridiculous lengths to justify their religious stories. They conveniently ignore the absolute scientific absurdity of many of them while chasing around the deserts on the Middle East to try to justify those barely possible ones. Israel itself must have a theatrical staging department where 'tablets' are recreated and spirited away to 'unexplored' caves, you know the ones that escaped 20,000 years of human history ! It reminds me that even today, of the flourishing business in 1960's / 70's pristine, unbent and unstained concert posters, even this almost 50 years since. I don't know about you but I don't know a single soul who has one of those original babies. Some research a few years ago lead me to believe that there must be, in one of those non-descript boring industrial buildings that we all pass by, a flourishing trade in artistically recreating 'antiqued' reproductions. I actually don't have much trouble with the concept of establishing the truth of historical events, even the somewhat incredulous ones. It's when actual human events that have some God driven interference or purpose that I lose interest, excepting to note how it's all so much theatre.

    April 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
  18. sirhuxley


    When the "evidence" supports the claims of the scam it is proudly held up, but when the evidence discounts the bible, it is a matter of "faith" to believe.

    April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.