With all their failings, corrupted accounts of the Flood—such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Epic of Atrahasis, and the even older Eridu Genesis—are yet a significant treasure.
First, similarities between the Genesis Flood account and corrupted Flood accounts are best explained by a “common inheritance.” Put another way, they all derive from the same source—an actual event. It stands to reason that, as descendants of Noah drifted from God and from one another, human embellishments and interpretations would be imported into the actual historical event.
Furthermore, the existence of corrupted Flood accounts underscores the reality of an actual flood—which is precisely what the Genesis account provides. Genesis is written as history and corresponds to reality. No unpredictable gods clutter the text, and details that can be tested in an age of scientific enlightenment are found to be wholly plausible. For example, in contrast to the cube-shaped ark of Gilgamesh, modern engineering standards have proven the ark of Genesis to be ideally suited for floating and stability.
Finally, corrupted Flood accounts remind us that the reality of a great Flood is imprinted on the collective consciousness of virtually every major civilization from the Sumerian epoch to the present age. Although these corrupted accounts view the waters of the Flood through the opaque lens of paganism, they nevertheless lend credence to the occurrence of an actual flood.
In short, corrupted accounts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh provide independent confirmation of a vast flood in ancient Mesopotamia, complete with a Noah-like figure and an ark.
under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in
it. Everything on earth will perish.”
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011).