The book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, recounts an epic disaster that destroyed almost all of life on earth and effected every corner of the planet. That event is the Flood, and it is capitalized for the simple reason that the word in Hebrew for this event refers to something more than just an overflowing river or even a tsunami. The only survivors of this event, according to Genesis, are a man named Noah, his wife, and his six sons and daughters-in-law, along with pairs of every kind of animal Noah was instructed to bring with him on a giant ark which he built at God's instruction. Most people dismiss the story as a legend, or at best as an overblown accounting of a much smaller, local crisis.
But is it possible there really was such a global catastrophe?
Stories of a global flood, from which only a few survived, exist in almost every culture around the world. The similarities between these accounts are startling: a flood that occurs because of rampant evil on the earth, a handful of humans and animals selected to survive, the global nature of the catastrophe, even the giving of a promise by a god or gods never to inflict such a disaster again. A small group of geologists believe a global, catastrophic flood would explain many fossils and their locations, the vast coal and oil deposits across the globe, and other geophysical phenomena.
Jesus himself believed the Flood to be a historic occurrence. He said that life on earth at His next appearing would be much like it was in the days of Noah, when people "were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away" (Matthew 24:38-39).