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Thursday, August 27, 2015

ORIGIN OF THE FLOOD MYTH


Most cultures around the world possess a mythology which describes the origins and customs of its people. They stories typically include the emergence of gods, the creation of humans, and the establishment of codes and laws.
These myths often establish models of behaviour, explaining how to live a spiritual and enriching life. This is typically exemplified by a hero’s journey, whereby their survival and ascension depends on the way in which they conduct themselves.
One myth which perfectly epitomises this heroic journey is that of a culture hero who manages to survive a great flood. It is a tale that can be found all around the world, from Sub-Saharan Africa to the island of Hawaii. What makes this myth so compelling is that the plot is almost identical the world over.
Typically it includes a sky god becoming angry with his human creations who have become troublesome and wicked. As an act of punishment, he sends a great flood upon his people, wiping out nearly all life on earth.
Typically, another friendly god selects one mortal, or a group of humans for survival. He sees great virtue in them, and tells them to make a boat, take refuge in a cave, or to hold onto a tree. Very often, the survivors end up on top of a mountain, where the flood waters were unable reach.
These culture hero/s then go on to repopulate the earth (e.g. Noah from the old testament, Gilgamesh from Babylon, Manu from Hinduism, Loralola and Kalola from the Andaman islands, etc).
But just how old is this myth? Some claim it was based on the following events:
The Burckle Impact:- a meteorite may have struck the Indian ocean around 5000 years ago, flooding the lands of Africa, India and the Middle East.
The Black Sea Deluge:- As the last Ice Age came to an end, masses of ice-water from glaciers began to flood into the Black Sea, displacing all the people who lived around its shores.
The Younger Dryas Impact:- A series of meteorites struck the Earth 13,000 years ago, causing a huge swell of flood water to consume the lands. The majority of these impacts hit the Americas, killing off much of the mega-fauna that once roamed its lands.
All these theories offer evidence of a catastrophic flood. However, they all fail to explain how the same flood myth can be found in several Stone Age cultures that have lived, isolated and undisturbed from Eurasia and the Americas for tens of thousands of years.
Two prime examples are Australia and the Andaman islands, which were curt off from the rest of the world for millennia. Genetic testing has proved these indigenous people are the direct decedents of humanities first migration out of Africa, which took place 60,000 – 90,000 years ago.
Isolated from the rest of the world, they had avoided the advent of agriculture, metal smithing and writing. Yet when their myths were studied, they provided stories about an angry god sending a great flood upon the world, whereby only a few people survived to help repopulate the Earth.
What this tells us is that the flood Myth is ancient, and dates back at least to the Middle Palaeolithic era. It is possible this story can be traced back further, to Africa, where humanities journey first began. A story that defines all people, of all races, that is as old as humanity itself.