Robert Ballard Claims He’s Found Evidence for Noah’s Flood

The guy who found the Titanic wants to find Noah’s flood.

Stories about Robert Ballard’s search for proof of the Biblical flood that put Noah in his ark were all the rage back in early December.

I ignored them then because I had other things on my mind. The reason I got interested now is that I’ve just finished reading the Noah and his flood story in the Bible.

I try to read through the Bible on a regular basis. I’ve looked at those “read through the Bible” reading schedules that you find on various websites and even in the backs of some Bibles themselves. But that is way too complicated for me.

I usually pick up a Bible and just start reading at the first and keep going until I read “May the spirit of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” I change the translation almost every time I read. I find it interesting to compare the way the different translations handle the text. This year, I’m reading one of those one year Bibles called My Daily Catholic Bible.

I read about Sodom and Gomorrah last night, and a few days before that, I re-read the story of Noah and his ark. That made Robert Ballard’s new quest to find the flood swim into focus for me.

Mr Ballard theorizes that the flood resulted from a confluence of events. The main event he points to is the sudden release of huge amounts of water when the ice melted at the end of the last ice age.

It’s difficult for us today to imagine what the world was like during the ice age. Huge parts of what we now know as temperate areas were under hundreds of feet of ice. The way things usually happen in nature is that there is a trickle and then a gush and finally things just give way suddenly in a flood or an explosion or a collapse. Fires smolder, volcanoes smoke and floods send off rivulets. Then, they burst through in a conflagration or flood.

Mr Ballard is basing his flood theory on this kind of sudden giving away, coupled with topography that led to a huge rise of waters in one area of the world. This was a flood where, in his words, “the waters came up and stayed up.”

He thinks he’s found such an area. He’s used underwater exploration to find a lost civilization from that time which he says underscores his theory.

It’s a tantalizing idea.

Is he right?

All I can say is that Robert Ballard’s track record requires us to consider what he says and think about it. He’s done the undoable and found the unfindable too many times to ignore him out of hand.

An ABC News article about Robert Ballard’s search for Noah’s flood reads in part:

Evidence Noah’s Biblical Flood

Happened,Says Robert Ballard

This ark, located an hour south of Amsterdam, is a replica of Noah’s Biblical boat. Underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard is in Turkey, looking for evidence that the Great Flood happened. (ABC News)


The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has found proof that the biblical flood was actually based on real events.

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC News, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s best-known underwater archaeologists, talked about his findings. His team is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah.

Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is well known. In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.

Now Ballard is using even more advanced robotic technology to travel farther back in time. He is on a marine archeological mission that might support the story of Noah. He said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice.

“Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that’s a big ice cube,” he said. “But then it started to melt. We’re talking about the floods of our living history.”

The water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world’s oceans, Ballard said, causing floods all around the world.

“The questions is, was there a mother of all floods,” Ballard said.

(Read more here.)

  • Bill S

    Oh come on. If anything, the Flood was a localized event in the Middle East and became a legend of epic proportions. The Israelites made it into a story that focused on man’s sinfullness and the preservation of life by God’s mercy and forgiveness. There can’t be any truth to the story.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You’re as predictable as drought in the desert Bill.

  • Brent R.

    “Noah’s Flood” was borrowed and adapted from the epic of Gilgamesh. There are at least 2 versions of the story in Genesis. How many animals did Noah include on the ark? If you answered 7 clean (or 7 pairs of clean) and pairs of unclean, then you are reading one version of the tale. Why are some people so bothered by myths that they try to suck the life out of them by explaining them in 21st century scientific way?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You probably should direct this question to Robert Ballard, since he’s the one who is pursuing this line of research.

  • Bill S

    It’s the only way I keep my sanity.

  • SD

    Why is there this need to literalize everything in the Bible?

  • Russell Holder

    Why is there the need to literalize indeed… and the obvious answer is to receive the truth of what is there, to not just think it is a waste of ‘story’ or ‘truth’ found- to know the word of God is where truth is found. Good on you Rebecca to carry this story of a search to find the truth of God’s word can be found- if you open the Bible and find it.

  • neenergyobserver

    I think he’s got a chance of it, some of the details may of course be wrong, given how long it was an oral document. But the breaking of the land bridge between continents is somewhat well established. So why not? It’s certainly fascinating.

  • FW Ken

    There can’t be any truth to the story.

    Yes, and if God wanted people to fly, he would have given us wings. Fortunately, science and history are the business of scientists and historians, not internet kevetchers. Narrow-minded fundamentalism (secular fundamentalism, in this case) always opposes real science, even when it gives lip-service to science, corrupted into materialism.

    Fortunately, Christians don’t have to be scientists or historians and can respect those disciplines in their competencies. The Flood story, as myth is, indeed told for a reason: to announce the mercy of God that overcomes human sin. Indeed, the first 12 chapters of Genesis are a series of myths that repeat that theme. Myths can, of course, be historically and scientifically accurate. Personally, I am cheerfully agnostic as to the historical realities behind the Flood and cheerfully leave the science to real scientists Robert Ballard.

    God’s mercy overwhelming humanity’s rebellion is probably the central and cumulative theme of the Bible, culminating in the greatest mercy of all: the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Prefiguring the Lord, however, my own favorite statement of this theology comes from the greatest and most complete theological and devotional work of all time, the Psalter, specifically Psalm 85, vs 7 to 11:

    7 Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
    8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
    9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
    10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
    11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

    12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

  • Bill S

    ” Narrow-minded fundamentalism (secular fundamentalism, in this case) always opposes real science, even when it gives lip-service to science, corrupted into materialism.”

    The term “secular fundamentalism” doesn’t seem to make any sense. And materialism is not a corruption of real science. It is the essence of real science.

    Old Testament stories are mostly fiction. Especially Genesis. Yes. There is a message. But there is no scientific or historical truth to the stories.

    • Thomas R

      Fundamentalism is, originally, just about believing in certain fundamentals of a creed and holding them with a certain rigidity. I’m not sure if secularism has any fundamental notions, but it might. If so “secular fundamentalism”, more accurately secularist fundamentalism, could be possible.

      That being said I also don’t believe in a literally Global Flood and am not sure a literal belief in Noah is necessary to be Christian.

  • FW Ken

    Thanks for illustrating my points so aptly, BillS. Your materialism seems to be a real fundamental of your belief system. I’ve known Christian fundamentalists to lose their faith over a biology class. What would you do if they actually found Noah’s ark? How nice that you believe, but what you gonna do if something happens to prove your belief wrong?

  • Jason Mankey

    When people read these stories (or write about them) they tend to focus on the parts of the story that appeal to them. I wrote this on my on Patheos blog about Ballard’s research/discovery:

    ” . . . . Yes, it appears there was a giant flood affecting the area around the Black Sea 7000 years ago (5000 BCE), but that doesn’t make the flood “Biblical.” The researchers claim that a giant rush of water swept in from the Mediterranean Sea and poured into the Black Sea, causing a major flood extending for thousands of square miles. I’ve heard this theory before (I keep up on my religion news), and the science behind it seems pretty good (the main researcher in the current crop of stories is Robert Ballard, who discovered the remains of the Titanic in 1985), but a giant flood caused from glacial runoff is not “raining for forty days and forty nights.” It’s geological, not Biblical.”

    No one is really suggesting that the flood Ballard is researching covered the entire world, and besides there’s no rain involved. Was there a giant flood in the Middle East? Undoubtedly. Did it influence religion and mythology? Of course. Is the story of Noah told in Genesis literally truth with all details accurate? Not even close.