Every one knows the story of Noah and his ark. Some believe it, some
don’t, but that is irrelevant. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the fist written
story ever found. This epic describes how Gilgamesh took two of each
animal plus his family into an ark to avoid a world wide flood sent by the
angry gods. The story was written between the years of 2750 and 2500 B.C.
It was was most likely passed by word if mouth before it was written. My
question is: is the story of Noah a stolen or borrowed myth?

In the end, it will be difficult to prove the case either
way. It seems undeniable that the Genesis account and the Gilgamesh Epic
are parallel, but who borrowed from whom, or are they separate accounts of
one actual event? What we should do is ask what is the most reasonable
explanation. Based on the massive and I believe incontrovertible evidence
that the Bible is the inspired word of God, I believe that the flood
actually happened and that the story recorded in Genesis is an accurate
account of the events surrounding the flood. The fact is that a great
number of ancient civilizations have a story of a great, world-wide
flood. In fact, the stories are so wide-spread and general, it creates
the impression that these accounts are the human records of some sort of
actual event in the distant past. If this is true, there are two
possibilities. Either the Epic of Gilgamesh borrows from the genuine
record of Genesis, or it is a separate but garbled record of the
Sumerians/Akkadians of the actual events. I believe the second choice is
the more likely.

One might argue that this is circular reasoning. The skeptic
might point out that I am assuming that the Bible is the inspired word of
God in order to prove that it is the inspired word of God. That is not
the case. I am simply pointing out that the evidence for the Bible being
a reliable account of past history is overwhelming if one compares it to
myths such as the Gilgamesh Epic. Many scholars have analyzed both
stories in attempts to prove which might have been derived from the
other. I believe the case in inconclusive and one must reach one’s own
conclusions. However, given the solid evidence that the Bible is inspired
by God and given the fact that there is no reason at all to believe that
the Gilgamesh Epic is inspired by any type of God at all, I would go with
the biblical account. You, of course, must reach your own conclusions.

John Oakes, PhD

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