Why an Ancient Tablet Describing an Ark Isn’t Proof the Biblical Story Happened


Amazing rescue stories are starting to emerge from Texas. The human chain that helped an elderly man exit his stranded car. Volunteers coming from afar on Jet Skis and fishing boats. It got us wondering about the biblical flood story, and what archeologists believe about Noah’s Ark. A 2010 discovery sheds some interesting light on the story.

The discovery, an Assyrian clay tablet with 60 lines of cuneiform writing, details, with great specificity, how to build an ark. The catch: the tablet is 3,700 years old, predating the biblical flood narrative.

In short, it led Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, to announce that he is “107% convinced the ark never existed.”

Here’s why: It is, Finkel believes, the original flood story. But Noah is not involved.

For Finkel, this is “one of the most important human documents ever.” Indeed, the notion that Noah’s flood story is just a rip-off of older pagan myths is world-shaking for those who believe that the Bible is a literal story.

Instructions call for a massive, circular coracle, 3,600 meters in dimension. When completed, it would resemble a “giant rope basket strengthened with wooden ribs and waterproofed with bitumen.” That the original ark was round is a bit mind-blowing. It was not made to sail, Finkel said, “it just had to survive the flood.”

And it works: the instructions were put to use for this 2014 TV documentary. The thing really floats.

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