US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Is the story of the Great Flood based on a real event?

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

In 1985 Robert Ballard became famous for his discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic. Now, the underwater archaeologist believes that by using even more advanced technology, he can prove that the biblical Great Flood may have been based on an actual historical event.

Ballard’s team is investigating the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey to find evidence that supports the idea of a great flood wiping out a civilization. "We went in there to look for the flood," he told ABC News. "Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed...The land that went under stayed under." Their research has already unearthed an ancient shoreline – proof that some sort of catastrophic event happened near the Black Sea around 5,000 years ago.

The Catholic Church doesn’t exactly have a spotless track record of being open-minded to scientific advancement and innovation – just ask Galileo. But in this case, I think it would be fascinating if modern technology helped unearth some evidence that supports a well-known episode from the Bible. Even more so if it lends support to a biblical event that many do not interpret literally.

Ballard does not believe that he will ever find remnants of an actual Noah’s Ark, but the prospect of discovering an ancient civilization still fascinates him. "It's foolish to think you will ever find a ship," he said. "But can you find people who were living? Can you find their villages that are underwater now? And the answer is yes."

Image of Noah's ark by unknown artist, 11th-12th century [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.