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image: illuminated manuscript of Noah’s Ark (15th century) Jean Colombe, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Mark Haas, Catholic Exchange, Aug. 13, 2021

Mark Haas is a Catholic composer and speaker. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia, with his wife and their five original compositions.

The great flood story from Genesis 6-8 has been widely debated among theologians with regards to accuracy and authenticity. The Catholic Church neither requires or prohibits a worldwide flood to be interpreted from Sacred Scripture. Rather, the Church understands these accounts to be translated with “simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people.” (Pope Pius II, Humani Generis, 38)

Okay – so, Catholics can interpret Genesis 6-8 as accurate, poetic, or both. What about non-biblical, ancient historical records? If there was a worldwide flood, wouldn’t there be similar accounts among early tribes and indeginous peoples? Upon digging a little deeper, what we find is that virtually every ancient civilization, from every living continent, has a great flood story inculcated within their ancient mythology. In fact, when early missionaries spread out to all nations to preach the Gospel, they were shocked to discover these societies to have their own accounts of a great flood. These were cross-continental, isolated groups; having never fraternized with each other to transmit stories or tales. Consider this list of ancient civilizations, and some of their stories: …

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