Does the Bible mention the lost city of Atlantis?
Question: "Does the Bible mention the lost city of Atlantis? Is there any evidence for Atlantis?"
Answer: The City of Atlantis was a mythological island nation first mentioned in Plato’s writings around 360 BC. He claimed to have based his information on manuscripts given to the Athenian Solon (638-558 BC) by an Egyptian priest. Atlantis supposedly had conquered Italy and North Africa but was pushed back by Athens. Shortly thereafter, the island disappeared into the sea.
Plato speaks of Atlantis in the dialogues Timaeus and Critias. In the text, Socrates ponders if a perfect society could ever exist, and Critias tells the story of Atlantis. According to Critias, Atlantis was about 230 miles long by 340 miles wide and lay in the Atlantic Ocean, west of the Rock of Gibraltar. (There are other possible locations in Atlantis mythology as well.) According to the mythology, Poseidon’s sons, including Atlas (for whom Atlantis was named), lived there. It was destroyed around 9600 BC by earthquakes and a flood. Plato’s contemporaries were split as to whether Plato really believed Solon’s account. The early Christian scholars Clement and Tertullian seemed to think Atlantis was real. There is a discussion today as to whether Solon mistranslated the date in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, counting hundreds as thousands; if Solon was in error, then Atlantis’s destruction was closer to 1500 BC.
How does the story of Atlantis mesh with the book of Genesis in the Bible? There are a few different speculations:
Atlantis existed before the Flood. This would certainly explain the lack of physical evidence for the island, but not Plato’s historical account. Pre-Flood, there wouldn’t have been a Rock of Gibraltar to identify a location. And the nations Plato claimed Atlantis conquered wouldn’t have existed. It’s possible that the story was passed down through Noah and his sons, and later storytellers changed some of the details to match their own geography.
Atlantis existed between the Flood and the Tower of Babel. Genesis 10:25 says, "Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided…" (Genesis 10:25, NASB). We know the time frame refers to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), but the use of the word divided is less clear. Scholars argue whether it was the languages that were divided or the earth itself. If the continents shifted shortly after the people of Babel dispersed, the island of Atlantis could have been a casualty. But there wasn't enough time between the Flood and Babel for Atlantis to become a mighty nation that conquered much of Europe and Africa over several generations, as Plato described.
Atlantis existed after the Tower of Babel. Mythologically speaking, Poseidon’s father was Chronos. A variation of Chronos is Kittim. Kittim was the son of Javan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:4). The Kittites are described: "From these the coastland peoples spread. [These are the sons of Japheth] in their lands, each with his own language, by their families within their nations" (Genesis 10:5, AMP). It’s possible that Atlas could refer to Noah’s great-great-great-grandson. Plato said that the kingdom was passed on from Atlas’s sons for many generations. Paralleling Kittim’s line to the line that resulted in the Hebrews, Answers in Genesis estimates that Atlantis could have been destroyed between 1800 and 600 BC. It’s possible that rising sea waters during the tail end of the post-Flood ice age washed away the softer soil of the island. Combining Plato’s description that "there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body" with current geology, it’s possible that either the Canary Islands, the Azores, or Madeira Island is all that is left of Atlantis.
But, at the present, there is no way to know if Atlantis really existed, and geological studies give us nothing conclusive. The Bible doesn’t mention Atlantis; the first mention of it is in Plato’s writings, and the Bible doesn’t go into Platonic teaching. Some say that the Egyptians, known for their advanced architecture and science, were colonized by the Atlanteans (which might also explain the similarities between the Egyptians and their neighbors across the Atlantic in South and Central America), but the evidence is circumstantial. It’s just as likely that Plato merely revamped an obscure myth as an example of a near-utopian society.
Recommended Resource: Bible Answers for Almost all Your Questions by Elmer Towns
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Does the Bible mention the lost city of Atlantis? Is there any evidence for Atlantis?