A Whole World Destroyed!
Look at the world around you, with its cities, its culture, its scientific achievements, its population of billions. It is easy to be impressed by its apparent permanence, is it not? Do you think that some day this world could completely disappear? That may be difficult to envision. However, did you know that according to a very good source, a world existed before this one and it was completely destroyed?
WE ARE not talking of a world of primitive tribes. The world that perished was civilized, with cities, artistic achievements, scientific knowledge. Yet, the Bible record tells us that suddenly, on the 17th day of the 2nd month, 352 years before the patriarch Abraham was born, a deluge began that swept away a whole world.*
Is that record correct? Did such a thing really happen? Was there really an ancient world before the present one that flourished and was then destroyed? If so, why did it end? What went wrong? And is there any lesson that we can draw from its demise?
Was an Ancient World Really Destroyed?
Such an awesome catastrophe, if it really happened, would never have been completely forgotten. Hence, in many nations there are reminders of that destruction. Consider, for example, the precise date recorded in the Scriptures. The second month of the ancient calendar ran from what we now call mid-October to mid-November. So the 17th day corresponds approximately to the first of November. It may not be a coincidence, then, that in many lands, festivals for the dead are celebrated at that time of year.
Other evidences of the Deluge linger in mankind’s traditions. Practically all ancient peoples have a legend that their ancestors survived a global flood. African Pygmies, European Celts, South American Incas—all have similar legends, as do peoples of Alaska, Australia, China, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Micronesia, New Zealand, and parts of North America, to mention only a few.
Of course, over time the legends have been embellished, but they all include several details indicating a common source narrative: God was angered by mankind’s wickedness. He brought a great flood. Mankind as a whole was destroyed. A few righteous ones, however, were preserved. These built a vessel in which humans and animals were saved. In time, birds were sent out to search for dry land. Finally, the vessel came to rest on a mountain. Upon disembarking, the survivors offered a sacrifice.
What does this prove? The similarities cannot possibly be coincidental. The combined evidence of these legends corroborates the Bible’s ancient testimony that all humans descend from the survivors of a flood that destroyed a world of mankind. Hence, we do not need to rely on legends or myths to know what happened. We have the carefully preserved record in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible.—Genesis, chapters 6-8.
The Bible contains an inspired record of history extending back to the dawn of life. Evidence proves that it is more than mere history, however. Its unfailing prophecy and deep wisdom demonstrate that it is what it claims to be—God’s communication to mankind. Unlike myths, the Bible includes names and dates as well as genealogical and geographical details in its historical accounts. It gives us a picture of what life was like before the Flood and reveals why a whole world came to a sudden end.
What went wrong with that antediluvian society? The following article considers that question. It is an important question for those who may wonder just how secure the future of our present civilization is.
[Chart on page 4]
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Flood Legends Worldwide
Country Correspondencies 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Greece 7 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Rome 6 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Lithuania 6 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Assyria 9 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Tanzania 7 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
India - Hindu 6 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
New Zealand - Maori 5 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Micronesia 7 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Washington U.S.A. - Yakima 7 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Mississippi U.S.A. - Choctaw 7 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Mexico - Michoacan 5 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
South America - Quechua 4 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Bolivia - Chiriguano 5 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Guyana - Arawak 6 ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
1: God angered by wickedness
2: Destruction by a flood
3: Ordered by God
4: Divine warning given
5: Few of mankind survive
6: Saved in a vessel
7: Animals saved
8: Bird or other creature sent out
9: Finally comes to rest on a mountain
10: Sacrifice offered