When we read the biblical record, no other section in the entire Bible covers as much time and as many events as Genesis 1-5. As we come into Genesis 6-9, we arrive in the section that deals with the world-wide flood that God brought upon this world in the days of Noah. Remarkably, the three chapters will cover a period of time encompassing a period of time less than 18 months (377 days for chapters 6-9).
According to the Biblical record, when we take modern day measurements into consideration, the Ark was a vessel 450 ft long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It had an opening up top, near its roof measuring 18 inches. The vessel had 3 decks with a total deck space of over 101,000 square feet or to a holding capacity of 522 railway cars.
Native global flood stories are documented as history or legend in almost every region on earth. Old world missionaries reported their amazement at finding remote tribes already possessing legends with tremendous similarities to the Bible’s accounts of the worldwide flood. H.S. Bellamy in "Moons, Myths and Men" estimates that altogether there are over 500 Flood legends worldwide. Ancient civilizations such as (China, Babylonia, Wales, Russia, India, America, Hawaii, Scandinavia, Sumatra, Peru, and Polynesia) all have their own versions of a giant flood.
These flood tales are frequently linked by common elements that parallel the Biblical account including the warning of the coming flood, the construction of a boat in advance, the storage of animals, the inclusion of family, and the release of birds to determine if the water level had subsided. The overwhelming consistency among flood legends found in distant parts of the globe indicates they were derived, more or less, from the same origin - the original account as we see in the Bible. The Israelites would had been exposed to Egyptian and Canannite flood stories. Undoubtedly the one given in Genesis is unique, in that it was given by Divine Revelation, whereas all the others were just mere retellings by men.
In tomorrow's blog we will consider why the flood account is crucial to the Christian faith.