Noah and the Flood - just a legend?
The answer of the Bible
The Flood really did happen. It was caused by God to destroy evil people. But so that good people, as well as animals, could survive the Flood, God instructed Noah to build an ark (Genesis 6:11-2. We can assume that the Bible's account of the Flood is true because the Bible "is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Fact or fiction?
According to the Bible, Noah and the Flood are not a fairy tale or myth, but a historical person and event.
For the Bible writers, Noah was a real person. The expert historians Ezra and Luke, for example, list Noah in lineages of the nation of Israel (1 Chronicles 1:4; Luke 3:36). The Gospel writers Matthew and Luke record Jesus speaking about Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26, 27).The prophet Ezekiel and the apostle Paul also mention Noah, as an example of faith and righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; Hebrews 11:7). How meaningful would it have been for these Bible writers to refer to someone who never lived as an example? Examples of faith worthy of imitation, such as Noah or other men and women, are mentioned precisely because they were real persons (Hebrews 12:1; James 5:17).
The Bible gives precise details about the Flood. Fairy tales usually begin with words like "Once upon a time." This is not the case with the biblical account of the Flood. On the contrary, for the events related to the Flood, the Bible gives the day, month and year (Genesis 7:11; 8:4, 13, 14). It also gives the exact dimensions of the ark (Genesis 6:15). As these details make clear, the account of the Flood in the Bible is not a fictional story, but a factual account.
Why did the Flood occur?
The Bible says about the time before the Flood that "the wickedness of man was exceedingly great" (Genesis 6:5). It goes on to say that "the earth, however, was corrupt from the point of view of the true God" because it was full of violence and immorality (Genesis 6:11, NW, 2013; Jude 6, 7).
Evil angels who had left heaven to have sexual relations with women on earth were a major cause of these conditions, according to the Bible account. Their descendants, called Nephilim, caused chaos and devastation (Genesis 6:1, 2, 4). Therefore, God decided to cleanse the earth of all evil and give good people a new start (Genesis 6:6, 7, 17).
Did people know that a flood was coming?
Yes. God told Noah what was going to happen. He also instructed him to build an ark so that Noah and his family and animals could survive the flood (Genesis 6:13, 14; 7:1-4). Noah warned his contemporaries of the coming destruction, but was ignored by them (2 Peter 2:5). The Bible describes their reaction as follows: "They took no notice until the flood came and carried them all away" (Matthew 24:37-39).
What did the ark look like?
The ark, a large rectangular box, was about 133 meters long, 22 meters wide, and 13 meters high. * It was built of resinous wood and covered with tar inside and out. It had three floors or decks and various compartments. There was a door on the side and apparently a light opening along the top of the roof. Apparently the roof was slightly sloped from the center to allow the water to drain away (Genesis 6:14-16).
How long did Noah build the ark?
Although the Bible does not say how long it took Noah to complete the ark, we can assume several decades. Noah was over 500 years old when his first son was born, and when the Flood began, Noah was 600 years old * (Genesis 5:32; 7:6).
By the time Noah was commissioned by God to build the ark, his three sons were already grown and married, so perhaps 50 or 60 years had passed (Genesis 6:14, 18). If this assumption is correct, it would have taken 40 to 50 years to build the ark.