Although people doubt that the Great Flood ever happened, the story of this catastrophic event goes back for millennia. The Genesis Flood Narrative is written in books 6-9 of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, but there is a description of the event that predates the Bible!
The narrative of the flood is about God bringing back Earth to its pre-creation state, a reversal of creation which would “reset” the world due to humanity’s misdeeds. The world would be later re-created through the microcosm in Noah’s ark. The same event is present in numerous cultures in the world – in Mesopotamia there were numerous flood stories, while the Greek mythology had the Deucalion. Similar events were described in Indian Hindu texts, and the Norse mythology has the Bergelmir. Flood events were also mentioned in the lore of K’iche’ and Maya peoples in Mesoamerica, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa tribe of Native Americans in North America and other cultures. However, most people aren’t aware that the oldest story of the Great Deluge originates from ancient Sumeria.
Ancient transcriptions found in Iraq talked about “Eridu” when gods created the first city on Earth. Eridu was home to the Sumerian God Enki who erected it in 5400 BC. The Sumerian Nippur tablet describes a flood event as well as the creation of humans and animals, while also recording the names of Antediluvian cities and their rulers.
The Eridu Genesis was composed around 2300 BC and is the oldest account of the Great Flood in history. The Nippur tablet, which contains 6 columns of written text with 10-15 lines per column, is the oldest document about the Sumerian great flood. The tablet is written in ancient Sumerian language.
This ancient clay tablet from ancient Nippur is the only surviving document of the Sumerian flood story.
Here’s what’s written on it:
“…By the wall I will say a word to you, Take my word, Give ear to my instructions: By our…a flood will sweep over the cult- enters; To destroy the seed of mankind…, Is the decision, the word of the assembly of the gods. By the word commanded by Anu and Enlil…, Its kingship, its rule will be put to an end…”
“…All the windstorms, exceedingly powerful, Attacked as one, At the same time, the flood sweeps over the cult-centers. After, for seven days, the flood sweeps over the cult centers. After, for seven days and seven nights, The flood had swept over the land, And the huge boat had been tossed About by the windstorms on the great waters, Utu came forth, who sheds light on heaven and earth, Ziusudra opened a window of the huge boat, The hero Utu brought his rays into the giant boat…” the text continues.
The final chapter says: “…At the same time, the flood sweeps over the cult-centers. After, for seven days, the flood sweeps over the cult centers. After, for seven days and seven nights, The flood had swept over the land, And the huge boat had been tossed About by the windstorms on the great waters…”