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Was the story of the flood adapted from the epic of Gilgamesh?

Hello W,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

Skeptics claim that the story of the flood has been adapted from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, but no conclusive proof has ever been given for that. There are many stories in the Bible that have similarities with stories from other religions, legends, and myths. It is a fact that the Bible is regarded as a historical work, even by many liberal scholars, while the Epic of Gilgamesh is regarded as a legend.

Dating of the oldest fragments of the Gilgamesh account originally indicated that it was older than the assumed dating of Genesis. But, the possibility exists that the Biblical record had been preserved either as an oral tradition, or in written form handed down from Noah, through the patriarchs and eventually to Moses, thus making it in reality older than the Sumerian accounts which were mere re-tellings of the original Biblical flood story.

Jesus Himself testified to the reality of the global flood. Accepting the testimony of Jesus Christ demands that the story of the Flood be taken as a literal event. The Lord Himself addressed the topic of the great Flood in Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:39 when He drew the following parallel:

“And as it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed.”

The Lord predicted an impending doom that was to befall the Jews of His day who would not heed the Word of God. Note the context in which Jesus discussed the Flood destruction of Genesis 6-8. He placed the Flood alongside the destruction of Sodom, and He also placed it alongside the destruction of the ungodly at His Second Coming. From His remarks, one can clearly see that Jesus accepted the Genesis account of a global flood as a historical fact.

A Christian cannot maintain a belief in Jesus and His teachings while denying the details of the accounts that He endorsed as factual. And we know that Jesus’ testimony is true because of His sinless life (1 Peter 2:22), supernatural miracles (John 20:30), and His resurrection from the dead (Luke 24).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team