4. The biblical deluge – designated also the great Asiatic deluge – is a fact which cannot be contested. It must have been occasioned by the uprising of a portion of the mountains of that country, similar to the phenomenon in Mexico. That which supports this theory is the existence of an inland sea, which formerly extended from the Black Sea to the Arctic Ocean, which has been attested by geological observations. The Ocean of Azov, the Caspian Sea, whose water are brackish, although not in communication with any other sea, the Sea of Aral, and the innumerable lakes scattered over the immense plains of Tartary and the steppes of Russia, appear to be remains of this ancient sea. Then, by the uprising of the Caucasian Mountains, a part of these waters have flowed back northward to the Arctic Ocean, and another portion to the south toward the Indian Ocean. These inundated and ravished Mesopotamia in particular, and all the country inhabited by the ancestors of the Hebrews. Although this deluge extended over a considerable surface, it is well understood today that it has been only local in its extent; that it has not been due to rain: for, however abundant and continuous rains had been for sixty days, the calculation proves that the quantity of fallen water could not possibly have been sufficient to cover all the Earth even to the tops of the highest mountains.
But men were then acquainted with only a very small portion of the globe, and had no idea of its configuration. As soon as the inundation had encompassed all know countries, it was for them a universal flood. If, to this belief, one adds the hyperbolical form and imagery peculiarly Oriental in style, one cannot be surprised at the exaggeration in the biblical recital.
5. The Asiatic deluge was evidently posterior to the advent of man upon the Earth, since the memory of it has been preserved by tradition only in the memory of the inhabitants of this part of the world, who have consecrated it in their theogonies. *
It is equally posterior to the great universal deluge which has marked the present geological period; and, when they speak of pre-diluvium men and animals, geologists make reference to this first cataclysm.
* The Indian legend about the diluvium states, according to the Book of Vedas that Brahma, transformed into a fish addressed the pious monarch Vaivaswata telling him: “The time for the dissolution of the Universe has arrived; shortly, everything existent upon the earth will be destroyed. You need to build a ship in which you will board, after you have gathered and loaded the seeds of all plants. You will wait for me, for I will be with you at the ship; you will recognize me because, as a sign, I will have a horn on my head.” The saint obeyed; he built a ship in which he boarded and, using a strong cable, tied it to the fish’s horn. For many years the ship was towed with great speed through the darkness of a frightful thunderstorm, landing finally at the top of the Himawat (Himalaya) mount. Brahma then instructed Vaivaswata to create all beings in order to populate the Earth.
The analogy between this legend and Noah’s biblical report about the deluge is evident. From India this legend made its way to Egypt, along with a multitude of other beliefs. Being that the book of Vedas antecedes that of Moses, the narrative it contains about the deluge cannot be a copy of the latter. Rather, it is possible that Moses, who had learned the doctrines of the Egyptian priests, may have taken his information from them.