To date, anthropologists have collected between 250 to 300 such flood stories from various cultures.
A tale thousands of years old, pointing to a time even farther back, can be difficult to envision. How real, how concrete, is this story? What are we to take away from it? How important is it to reconcile every detail with what we know now, concerning geography, carbon dating, evidence of people groups, and timelines that don’t seem to dovetail with Genesis’ account of a world-wide cataclysmic event?
The Flood, in whatever iteration, is a story told round the world. All of humankind seems to have a shared memory of God’s judgment by water. Ancient accounts of a destructive flood can be found in every corner of the planet. Tribes in new Guinea, India, Brazil, China, Norway, Mexico, and even First Nation peoples from North America all have a flood story.
The difference between Noah and everyone else was merely their response to God’s grace. Everybody else scoffed, but Noah took God seriously. The difference between those who were saved and those who died in the flood was the difference between being in the ark and being outside it.