The Flood - Fact or Fiction?

E. L. Lovering, Ilfracombe

Part 11 of 24 of the series Problems

Air-Commodore P. J. Wiseman, G.B.E., who spent many years with the R.A.F, in the Middle East and took part in archaeological work then with many of the leading modern scholars, gives the evidence found there concerning the flood.

It is an undeniable fact that modern archaeological research has 'been a valuable ally to those scholars who accept the Bible view of its own history and compilation. It has been my privilege to meet many modern archaeologists and excavators, both European and American, to watch, and often to help them in their work. We often discussed this question of the relation of modern archaeological discovery to the historicity of the Bible. Generally they agree that the effect on their minds of these discoveries was to create a greater respect for the historical value and accuracy of the Bible.

Yet it is very necessary to explain that excavators do not begin by assuming or even expecting that their discoveries will show the truth of the Bible. As many of them have told me, they began their work with the usual stock of sceptical ideas about scripture, which existed in their places of education. In many instances these were often destructive of any real belief in its historical value. This unverified trust in the so-called “assured results of modern criticism” (so many of which are neither "modern" nor "assured"), is usually the groundwork on which they begin; but a new respect for the historical value of the Bible grows as their work proceeds.

Until more recent years the tendency of archaeologists was to regard the flood as mythical, or at least merely a reflection of an exceptionally bad flood in a country subject to flooding. This was changed by Sir Leonard Woolley's discovery in 1929 at Ur. He describes what he calls "the most momentous discovery made" in these words: "As we went deeper the successive strata showed very little change; the types of pottery were uniform, and every­thing seemed to show that civilization had long been consistent, not to say static . . . at last, when we got to about the level of the outer plain, the workmen announced virgin soil, a clean water-laid clay without the slightest admixture of pottery or ash or other human debris: the only object that did come from it was a frag­ment of fossilized animal bone. That there might be no possible mistake we carried our pit deeper, through eight solid feet of clean clay, and then suddenly came on a flat stratum rich in flint chips and cores, pottery like that found above and painted fragments'.

He ended this account thus: 'Only a flood - anti that one of unexampled magnitude - could have deposited the eight-foot bank of clay which we have found overlying the original settlement at Ur . . . He would have been an optimist indeed who had hoped to produce material evidence for such an event as the flood of Sumerian legend, which is also the Flood at the book of Genesis; but in no other way can I interpret the facts which our excavations here give us'.

Two days later Dr. Langdon, then Professor of Archaeology at Oxford University, gave what he described as 'conclusive evidence that the Genesis story of the deluge is historical'. His opinion was based on the evidence he had discovered at Kish, near Babylon. He said: 'When we made these discoveries two months ago we were loth to believe that we had obtained confirmation of the deluge of Genesis, but there is no doubt about it now'.

It is very noticeable that scholars, who once used to write of the flood as mythical, now write of it very confidently as historical. Of one thing we can be certain, the flood to which the Sumerians referred so frequently, though in crude, polluted form in comparison with the Biblical account, was not merely an event which frequently happened, but one great flood which cut clean across their history and left its mark to the remainder of time.

AIR COMMODORE WISEMAN has written about these and other discoveries in New Discoveries in Babylonia about Genesis, and in Modem Archaeology and the Bible.

A message well worth pondering by all who take, or aspire to, the position of elders.

There are 13 articles in
ISSUE (1948, Volume 2 Issue 2)

Children’s page

The Flood - Fact or Fiction?

The Future Care of Assemblies Part 3

The High-Priestly Work of Christ

Laodicea - “The Amen”

Leadership

Missionary Brevity, China—Advancing in New Areas

The People of the Bible

Philadelphia - “He that is Holy”

Redemption

Reports of Gospel Work

Rulers in the Church of God

Spanish Bible School

There are 12 articles in this series

Moses And The Pentateuch Part 1

Moses And The Pentateuch Part 2

The Flood - Fact or Fiction?

Can a Science Master Believe the Bible? Is the Bible True?

Go to Jericho!

More Early Bible Documents Found

Christ and the Bible

Christ and the Bible

Matter in Miniature

‘What is Conversion’

Fact and Faith

‘The Proof of the Pudding’

There are 84 articles by this author

The Trials of Persecution and the Wisdom of God

The First Main Division

The Triumph of Redemption and The Work of God

The Teachings of Jehovah and the will of God - Part 1

Revelation of Divine Purpose in Exodus

The Teachings of Jehovah and the will of God - Part 2

Lessons from Leviticus - Introduction and Chapter 1

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapters 6-10

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapters 11-17

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapter 23

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapters 24-25

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 22 - 25

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 26-30

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 31-35

In the Beginning

Trivials or Spirituals?

Patient Perseverance

Restful Resignation

The Flood - Fact or Fiction?

Gifts to the Church - 1 Cor. 12.

Christ and the Bible

Go to Jericho!

Worship: The House Filled (Part 4)

Matter in Miniature

My Beloved

My Beloved ”My Beloved ”

‘My Beloved’ - His Bride (Part 1)

My Beloved

‘My Beloved’ - His Bride (Part 3)

Joel

Amos

Second Epistle of Peter

Obadiah

Habakkuk

The Inspiration of Scripture

Perfect Humanity

Absolute Deity

The Death of Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Ascension and Exaltation of Christ

The Holy Spirit - His Person

The Holy Spirit - His Work

The Holy Spirit and His Work (2)

Spiritual Blessings - Remission

Spiritual Blessings - Redemption

Spiritual Blessing - Atonement

Spiritual Blessings - Justification

Spiritual Blessings - Sanctification

John’s Gospel Chapter 1

John’s Gospel chapter 1

John’s Gospel Chapter 1

John’s Gospel Chapter 1

John’s Gospel Chapter 2

John’s Gospel Chapter 4

John’s Gospel Chapter 5

John’s Gospel Chapter 6

John’s Gospel Chapter 6

John’s Gospel Chapter 9

John’s Gospel Chapter 11

John’s Gospel Chapter 6

John’s Gospel Chapter 8

John’s Gospel Chapter 10

John’s Gospel Chapter 11

John’s Gospel Chapter 13

John’s Gospel Chapter 15

John’s Gospel Chapter 3

John’s Gospel Chapter 4

John Chapter 8

John Chapter 12

John Chapters 13-16

John Chapters 17-19

John Chapters 20 & 21

The Preparation for a Gospel Message

By Galilee

Walking on the Waves, Mark 6. 45-52

Ritual and Reality

Highlights of the Gighway (1)

Highlights of the Highway (2)

The Unclean Spirit, Mark 1. 21-28

The Man with the withered hand, Mark 3. 1-6

Scenes in the Synagogue (3)

Gathering To His Name - Matt. 18. 20

The Lord’s Table And The Lord’s Supper 1 Cor. 10, 15, 23. 11. 20—34

Himself