The world-renowned archeologist credited with discovering the shipwrecked Titanic in 1985 claims he has found evidence of an ancient, cataclysmic flood in the Middle East, much like the one detailed in the book of Genesis.
Robert Ballard and his team discovered piles of ancient pottery buried in the depths of the Black Sea, on the coast of modern day Turkey. Those remnants, along with other evidence of an ancient shoreline, prove that at one time water inundated the area and stayed around for a long time.
“It’s not a crazy thing to think that the flood stories of various cultures, including ours, are based upon true, cataclysmic events,” Ballard said during an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour set to air later this month.
Ballard believes melting glaciers contributing to a rise in sea level might have caused the flood. But it was a theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists that prompted him to take his team to the Black Sea, a 168,500-square-foot body of water bordered by Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. The scientists speculate the now salty sea was once a freshwater lake surrounded by farmland. They think a rising Mediterranean Sea flooded the area by cutting a channel through the Bosphorus.
Ballard and other scientists who have investigated the flood point to stories about similar events in several religions and cultures. To them, the multiple stories lend credibility to the probability of a flood event but do not offer evidence of biblical truth. Contrary to the scientific speculation, the Bible says in Genesis that God caused the flood by sending rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.
Christians excited about Ballard’s discovery need to remember that the archeologist and his researchers approach the Bible with a very different attitude than believers, said Dr. Corné Bekker, department chair of biblical studies at Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Va. He added that believers who view the Bible as the inspired Word of God should be interested in areas where science agrees with Scripture but careful not to adopt all of Ballard’s theories about what happened.
“We can’t look to science exclusively,” Bekker said. “But this is an example where incrementally science is catching up with what Scripture has to say.”
Ballard’s flood evidence is the latest in a long line of archeological discoveries that have dispelled claims among secular scientists and researchers that biblical history is nothing more than a collection of myths. For years, scholars maintained that the kingdoms of David and Solomon never existed. But as recently as this year, archeologists discovered artifacts dating back to the time they would have ruled. Researchers made similar claims about Jericho, until archeologists decided in the late 1980s the evidence pointed to the city’s destruction about the time Joshua would have led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
But, according to Bekker, science must be viewed with a huge measure of humility because the knowledge it provides is incremental. He pointed out that Christians too often make the mistake of jumping on a scientific claim only to find out later it was a hoax, or only partially true.
“This can be studied for the next 1,000 years, and we still might not be able to understand everything,” Bekker said. “But Scripture says, this is indeed what happened.”