Almost every ancient culture told a similar story of submerged civilization. Recent research may have uncovered the inspiration for such legends—as well as support for the truth of Scripture.
Archeologists have discovered numerous ancient sites along the Persian Gulf shoreline. Among them, researcher Jeffrey Rose suggests that people may have been forced to reestablish settlements along this shoreline when rising sea levels flooded the area, which he refers to as the “Gulf Oasis.”1
According to Rose’s theory, civilization thrived sometime between 150,000 and 12,000 years ago on a landmass (roughly the size of Great Britain) exposed by recession of the Persian Gulf. Four large rivers plus fresh water springs and warm weather could have supported a lush agricultural enterprise in that era—and in that region. Rose calls for underwater exploration in the Persian Gulf to search for the remains of human civilization there. However, he also points out that a major flood event could have destroyed the very evidence he seeks.
His mention of fresh springs upwelling from subterranean aquifers bring to mind Genesis 2:6, which says that “streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.” Genesis 7:11 identifies “springs of the great deep” as one source of the flood waters that wreaked havoc upon the ungodly world of Noah’s day. Calibrating the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies yields dates for Noah and Adam roughly consistent with the timing of the existence of the Gulf Oasis. (I describe that calibration based on historical and scientific dates for Abraham and Peleg in my book More Than a Theory.)
Rose’s theory helps identify to the likely location of Eden. Genesis 2:10–14 tells us that the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates Rivers all met together in the Garden. For years, skeptics have mocked because nowhere on the planet do these four rivers come together. Their challenge holds true for today’s geography. However, the four rivers do meet together in the ancient Gulf Oasis.
Rose’s scenario provides support for the Genesis claims about the Garden of Eden and its surroundings. Ongoing research offers yet another reason for believing that the Bible is God’s trustworthy Word.