The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
ever-narrowing ridge until, at last, it looked down upon that other body of water, now
many hundred feet below it.
Again a trickle turned to a torrent. Again it tore away the solid rock of the mountains
and wore away a canyon all the way back to the saltwater sea. Again a huge wall of water
roared through the canyon like a gigantic hydraulic jet, blasting away the rock that had
restrained it. Shouldering its way through the mountain that shrank before this
devastating onslaught, it thundered its way down, pouring an avalanche of mud, rock and
salt water into the lake far below. A tidal bore, fed by this massively increasing surge,
rushed over the fresh water lake surface inundating the habitat of the culture that the lake
had sheltered since time immemorial.
The few survivors clawed their way up the surrounding hills and mountains, just
ahead of the rapidly rising water behind them. Their world was drowning. Their land was
quickly disappearing under the water that seemed to be everywhere. The end of
everything seemed near—and then it stopped!
Up and over the hills it had relentlessly pursued them. Now it lay churning and
boiling as it digested the gigantic meal of saltwater, rock, mud and vegetation that had so
greatly swelled its bulk, and had carried it into the distance as far as the eye could see.
The lake that once had fed them, now threatened to poison them as they searched far and
wide for what little was left that could sustain them in the danger of a new and dreadful
While looking for a clue that would explain the underwater dead zone discovered in
the western one-third of the Black Sea just north of the entrance at the Bosporus, some
researchers found what looked like the residue of a huge underwater landslide.
Beyond the reach of the area where a total lack of life of any kind was evident, the
solid remains of saltwater marine life were found to be normally abundant. A few meters
below that layer they found the solid remains of freshwater aquatic organisms, a sure
sign, they reasoned, that the Black Sea at one time in the past had been a large freshwater
lake. Searching further they came upon what appeared to be a remnant shoreline
approximately five hundred feet below the present level.
At the beginning of this chapter are two quotes, the second of which is an account of
a flood story quite similar to that of Noah‘s. It comes from the Epic of Gilgamesh. This
seems to be a largely mythical story of a -hero | King of Uruk, located close to the
confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. His adventures took him all the way up the
Euphrates River where he met Utnapishtim, revered survivor of a great flood. Some have
interpreted Utnapishtim of the Epic to be the same character as Noah of the Genesis
The headwaters of that river lay just south of the mountain chain that separates the
eastern Anatolian Plateau from the narrow strip of land that borders on the south shore of
the Black Sea. That plateau and la nds to the west of it was the homeland of the Hittite
Empire. This great rival to Ramses II‘s Egypt contested for control of the Fertile Crescent
lands of the Middle East for many centuries before it mysteriously disappeared from the
During the early history of that empire, aggressively hostile people to the north of
their homeland repeatedly attacked, in periods of Hittite weakness.
Those attacks forced them, sometime before the end, to move their capital city to the
southern part of the Anatolian Plateau near the shore of the northeastern Mediterranean.