Many folk believe that this picture is what Noah’s Ark was really like. That idea is wrong.
Let us think about this. I am sure you have heard the saying, “Trust the Science.” Let us trust the science to disprove the title of this post, or, perhaps, prove it.
Let us look at some of the sciences. Let us first consider Zoology. Zoology is a science isn’t it? I believe we will agree that Zoology is a science. Geology, Biology, and Paleontology are sciences as well.
How about Architecture? It is also a science, right? I consider it a science; it is an art as well.
Many also consider shipbuilding to be a science; I do, and it is also an art.
Let us define art: 1. a skill acquired by experience, study, or observation. 2. an occupation requiring knowledge or skill. 3. the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects. 4. a skillful plan.
Science and art often work together. In order for science to succeed, the scientist must be curious, creative, imaginative, thoughtful, attentive, etc. Science usually involves at least one of those attributes, usually more. In fact, for a scientist to truly practice real science, that scientist would likely have all of those attributes.
Let us begin with zoology.
Scientists in the field of zoology through observation and experimentation over a few centuries, have determined that there are groups of living things that share similarities of structure or origin etc. This is known as taxonomy. Through the taxonomic process, scientists have developed a hierarchy or ranking of animal groups. These rankings are “domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species” in that order.
Let us consider one commonly known animal and determine its taxonomy. We are all very familiar with dogs. The taxonomic ranking for dogs is:
Animalia simply means animal. Chordata is a group of animals that have a notochord, or primitive backbone in the early state of development. Mammalia or mammal is a vertebrate with milk-producing glands. Carnivora means meat eater. Canidae means canines, domestic and wild. Canis means multiple species of Canidae. Canis familiaris are multiple breeds or species of domesticated dogs.
Mating and reproduction cannot take place between members of the same kingdom, same phylum, same class, or the same order. However, mating and reproduction can occur between members of the same family, same genus, and the same species. Dogs can mate with other dogs, but dogs cannot mate with other members of the same kingdom, phylum, class, and order, that are of a different family, genus, or species than dogs. That holds true with any species. All animals within the same family, genus, and species can mate with each other and reproduce but cannot mate with other animals and reproduce outside of that family, genus, or species. The science is truly settled on these facts.
To recap. An animal in the ranks of family, genus or species may mate and reproduce with any other animal in those three rankings. However, they cannot mate and reproduce with animals outside of those three rankings.
The Hebrew language has a word for the rank of family. It is מין, myn, pronounced meen. According the several Hebrew Lexicons, the word can mean kind, animal species, a category of species, or a noun indicating a kind, a species. It indicates an animal or something that shares common characteristics.” It is the equivalent of ‘Family‘ in the taxonomy ranking. Most Bible translations used the word kind, to translate מין, myn into English.
When God instructed Noah what animals to bring on board the ark, He said,
“And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind (myn), of animals after their kind (myn), and of every creeping thing of the earth after it kind (myn), two of every kind (myn) will come to you to keep them alive” (Gen 6:19-20 NKJV).
Note that Noah did not need to go and gather the animals; God caused them to come to him: “two of every kind will come to you.” (Gen 6:20)
(For each time your read the word, kind, in the flood account in the Bible, when it refers to animals, you can substitute the taxonomy rank of Family.)
Thus Noah was to bring only two members of each Family into the ark, not every animal in the world. So after the flood the two of each kind could mate and begin to refill the world.
Of course, that is still a large number of animals, birds, creeping things, etc. Though we don’t see it in the Genesis account, it is likely that all the animals were young and thus smaller than mature adults. The younger animals would take up less room on the ark, and be able to reproduce more offspring in their lifetime than older adults.
Yes that included dinosaurs. Dinosaurs all came from eggs and were very small at their birth. So bringing two of each dinosaur species that were very young would not take up nearly the space as an adult brontosaurus would.
Answers in Genesis had a study done of the number of species that were likely present on the ark. Here is their statement:
“While there are many land-dwelling, air-breathing animal species, there are only about 1,398 (the true number could even be a thousand or so) of such kinds, including extinct ones. This means Noah only needed to bring around 6,744 animals onto the ark. While some animals are quite large, many of these are very small, with the average creature being about the size of a sheep. So, there was plenty of room on the ark for a few thousand animals, Noah and his family, and the supplies they would need to survive the year-long voyage.”
(Quote from https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2022/09/08/how-many-animals-were-noahs-ark/)
That number includes the seven pairs of each clean animal. Clean animals are those that can be used for sacrifices. After the flood, Noah sacrificed some of the clean animals as a burnt offering to God. He did not sacrifice them all but allowed breeding pairs to remain alive.
If we had to get a million animals on a ship today, we would need several ships the size of supertankers to get all those animals aboard. However, as we see from our discussion of the science of Zoology, that millions of animals were not needed.
Let us look next at the science of architecture and shipbuilding.
There are records of shipbuilding as early as 6000 years ago. The Egyptians built boats to carry building materials like cut stones, obelisks, etc. Some of the boats were 300 feet long. The ships were equipped with both sails, and oars. The Romans began to build boats with two and three decks. The triremes were Persian ships of three decks equipped with sails and oars that were light, fast, strong, and maneuverable. Evidence gathered by archaeological excavations have provided the ability to construct an actual trireme.
Large, sailing, ocean-going vessels came into being around the eleventh century AD. The Venetian sail buss was an early sailing sea-going ship that sailed out of the Mediterranean, through the strait at Gibraltar, and into the Atlantic Ocean. In the renaissance, ships grew larger and heavier with tall masts for sails and began to traverse the world and eventually large modern sea-going metal ships powered by huge steam turbines and piston engines came of age.
The Ming Chinese Treasure ships built in the early fifteenth century (1405-1433), dwarfed European ships of the day. The largest treasure ships built were nearly 500 feet long by 210 feet wide, had 4 decks, and displaced 30,000 tons. They had nine masks each and square sails. There were almost 90 of them built. Emperor Zheng also had a fleet of smaller craft.
Here are some facts about the Ark:
- The Ark had about 621,000 cubic feet of inside space.
- It had about 130,000 square feet of useable surface on its three decks (nearly 3 acres).
- That is about 1.5 football fields in length. Three Space Shuttles would fit atop the ark.
- It was as tall as a four story building. That equals three extra tall decks.
- That is the size of 450 standard semi-truck trailers. It could hold 120,000 sheep
- It was about the size of space in a building that is 360 feet wide by 360 feet long
From the day of creation until Noah’s flood was about 1660 years. This is ample time to develop the tools, materials, and techniques to build the ark. Technology was developed in the pre-flood world.
We only have the Biblical account of the ark Noah built. But the Biblical account is quite instructive. We do not know how much technology was available in the pre-flood days but we do know of some technology that was available. We do know from the Scripture that there were metal craftsmen before the flood.
Genesis 4:20-22 mentions some technologies and those who developed them. Jabal developed livestock husbandry and tents. Jubal developed musical skills, thus technology was obviously used to make musical instruments. Tubal-cain developed the technology of metal smithing, and the technology of metal tool making.
The extra-Biblical book of Enoch, tells about the technology of smelting metals, creating weapons and jewelry as well as teaching Meteorology and Astronomy in the preflood era.
Since we are told of some technology in the preflood era, it is likely there were other types of technology that developed during this time. We are not told what tools Tubal-cain developed, just that he did. There were obviously tools available to construct the ark. Lifting, cutting and fastening technology would have been needed to construct the ark. Remember the Egyptians and their advanced technology. Their civilization flourished shortly after the flood. Therefore, it is evident that a good bit of technology and technological knowledge survived on the ark and was used by the people that constructed the tower of Babel, as well as the Egyptians whose technological expertise was evident in the monuments they built.
There were likely written records of many things aboard the ark; things like history, arts, knowledge, sacred scriptures, etc. We know from Scripture that the worship of God occurred in pre-flood days (Gen 24:6). When Moses wrote Genesis, it is certainly possible that most of the knowledge was passed on to the generations by Noah’s family and were passed from generation to generation until Moses had access to them. After all, Moses was a nobleman that was well educated in Egypt.
It is possible that Noah and his sons built the ark by themselves and it could have taken a hundred or more years to construct. It is also possible that Noah hired workers to build the ark. We don’t know what kinds of tools were used but we do know that the technology to create tools was available. What we also know is that the ark was constructed of wood, and was quite large.
God said to Noah, “Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.” (Gen 6:14-16)
The ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. Using the royal cubit, that translates to about 510 feet long, about 85 feet wide and about 50 feet high. It had three decks inside and rooms where Noah’s family lived, worked, ate, slept, etc. We are not told how many rooms there were.
The bottom line here is that history proves that large sea-going wooden ships existed from ancient times. There is no reason to doubt that Noah, his sons, and hired skilled workers could easily have created the ark, even though it may have taken years to build.
Let us look at Geology and Paleontology
Here we will examine the sciences of geology and paleontology as they pertain to the flood.
Evolutionists tell us the there was a slow process that took billions of years for the geology of the earth the develop. That includes mountains, valleys, canyons, rock formations, basins, hydrology, etc.; in other words, the general structure of the earth.
When we look at the Grand Canyon, for example, we see layer after layer of rock. We see different types of rock, different colors, different consistencies, etc. Yet they are all arranged in fairly orderly layers.
You may have been taught that erosion caused by the Colorado River created the Grand Canyon. This is the belief that a small amount of water took eons of time to create the Grand Canyon. The river is tiny in comparison to the monumental size of the canyon.
The canyon itself is 18 miles wide in several places with an average width of 10 miles and an average depth of one mile. It is very unlikely that the Colorado River could have created the canyon. Only a huge amount of water in a short time could have created this chasm. However, many sources of information have told us over the decades that it takes millions of years to do that. It is therefore understandable why so many would accept that statement as fact.
For proof that a huge amount of water in a short amount of time occurred, we will discuss the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State. The volcano is located in the Cascade Mountain Range in the southwestern part of the state. The nearest town is Randle, Washington, about 25 miles northeast of the volcano.
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. A 5.1 Richter earthquake beneath the mountain triggered the eruption, which was a major explosive eruption as powerful as a 26 megaton bomb. Debris was blown out of the north face of the mountain at about 300 miles per hour. The cloud of hot gasses, volcanic dust, and debris reached 660° Fahrenheit and rose 80,000 feet into the atmosphere.
There were several glaciers on the mountain that entirely melted and caused liquified mudslides that reached 50 miles to the southwest. All of this occurred in days. These mudflows carved canyons like we see in the Grand Canyon and other canyons. The flows created zig-zag canyons in soft mud 100 feet deep in hours. Perpendicular side canyons were produced reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. The mud flows cut hundreds of feet into solid rock in days.
The blast snapped off trees like toothpicks that formed a log mat on Spirit Lake. The bark that dropped off the trees floating on the lake has sunk to the bottom and is in the process of forming peat. Trees that landed upright in the lake sunk to the bottom. A decade later, these trees had turned into petrified trees like those in Yellowstone Park’s petrified forest. We were told that the petrified forest there took fifty-five million years to form.
The Mount Saint Helens eruption proved that flowing liquified mud can carve canyons similar to the Grand Canyon and others worldwide in just hours and days and not in millions of years.
We find similar formations throughout the world with similar layering of materials. Deposits in layers like we see in the Grand Canyon occur worldwide.
At the bottom of the Grand Canyon is the original granite basement rock (or bedrock), which normally lies just above the mantle and beneath soil, other rocks, and sediment. On top of that basement rock lies eleven layers of rock. The first layer is sandstone and there is a boundary that appears to be a stark line between the basement rock and the layer of sandstone above.
The various layers of rock tower 4000 feet above this boundary and consist of sandstone, shale, and limestone. This boundary is known as the Great Unconformity. This is the result of a colossal flood of water flowing over the surface. This great unconformity is continent wide and continues in Europe and Africa. Unimaginably huge volumes of water stripped away the soil above the basement granite and deposited layer upon layer above it. Only a worldwide flood could provide enough water to move this much material across entire continents.
Dating methods are another aspect of geology and paleontology. Many dating methods assume data not available. An example is carbon-14 dating. To use this method, we must know the date that a particular fossilized animal died; carbon-14 in the specimen begins to decay to nitrogen beginning at the death of the animal. Obviously we do not know that date nor how much carbon-14 and carbon-12 was in the specimen when it died.
Carbon-14 is produced in the stratosphere by nuclear reactions of atmospheric nitrogen with thermal neutrons produced naturally by cosmic rays. Then it spreads naturally throughout the atmosphere. Carbon-12 is found in the atmosphere in carbon dioxide CO2. Carbon-14 also combines with oxygen to form 14CO2.
The decay rate of carbon-14 is known. Its half life is 5,730 ± 40 years. That is the amount of time it takes for carbon-14 to lose half its atoms. When it loses those atoms it decays to or becomes nitrogen. This means that we must know the amount of carbon-12 and carbon-14 molecules there were in a specimen when it died.
Today, we know the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the atmosphere. It is 1 carbon-14 molecule to each 1 billion molecules of carbon-12. That ratio is at the same levels in living tissue because plants absorb carbon-12 and carbon-14 from the atmosphere and from rain. Then animals eat the plants. We assume that that ratio is constant; that it never changes and has never changed in the past.
We can measure the amount of carbon-14 that decays in a fossil and compare it to Carbon-12, which does not decay. The amount of carbon-12 in a fossil minus the remaining carbon-14 tells us how much carbon-14 has decayed. Since we know the decay rate of carbon-14, we can use that to determine the age of a specimen.
However, we can only know that because of the assumption that the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the atmosphere never changes in the present nor has it changed in the past. That is quite an assumption to make considering we were not there in the distant past and cannot truly know the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 that was originally in the atmosphere or contained in a specimen.
There is a table that scientists can use to determine the age based on the decay rate of carbon-14. Again, that table is based on the assumption that all things always remain the same. Carbon-14 dating has been used to date items with a known age and show the item to be tens of thousands of years old, when we know it is not.
Because of the major assumption made, that the decay rate of carbon-14 is steady, we can get outrageous age discrepancies. For example, bones of an animal that we know died recently, have been carbon-14 dated, and shown to be tens of thousands of years old even though we know the bones are actually recent.
We must also understand that cosmic radiation is not constant. It varies with the activity of the sun and with the earth’s magnetic fields. Thus the amount of carbon-14 created varies. Some plants take in no carbon-14 at all, and some take reduced levels of carbon-14. That means that some animals will have different amounts of carbon-14 in their tissue depending on the plants they eat and the time the plants are eaten.
The amount of CO2 formed with both carbon-12 and carbon-14 varies. The burning of fossil fuels in the last two centuries has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which has affected the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12. The atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the past has increased the levels of CO2 containing carbon-14. Additionally, with the catastrophic upheavals in the earth and it’s climate that have occurred in the past, we cannot be certain that the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 has remained constant in the past.
Because of the half-life of carbon-14 there is no carbon-14 remaining in a specimen after approximately 50,000 years. Therefore it cannot be used to date millions of years of age.
Because of the things discussed in the previous paragraphs, carbon-14 dating can vary quite a bit in age. So, measuring the amounts of carbon-14 in historically dated objects we can determine the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere at that date. Historically dated objects are things like seed found in graves where we know the date of burial and thus the date of the objects that can be tested
Dating rocks can have a similar problem. An example is basalt, which is a rock that is only produced by volcanic eruption; basalt is rock made from lava. The Hawaiian Islands are made of a considerable amount of basalt. One test similar to carbon-14 dating is used to date basalt. Instead of carbon-14, the decay of potassium to argon is used.
Potassium-40 decays to argon-40 so the ratio of Potassium-40 to argon-40 in a sample is used to date the sample. The rate of decay of potassium-40, also known as its half-life, is based on known properties of potassium-40 and radiation counts determined with a radiation monitor. The currently accepted half-life rate of Potassium-40 is 1.25 billion years.
Not knowing the amount of argon initially in the sample, it is assumed to be zero. Thus any argon remaining in the sample is assumed to have decayed from potassium-40. Then next assumption is that the argon-40 is sealed in the rock and none has leaked out or in.
If the rock actually contained some argon-40 when it cooled and hardened and the argon could not leak out, the calculated age would be too old. If the rock cracked, or was somehow damaged and allowed the argon to escape the calculated age would be too young. The age determined by this method is then checked with other accepted methods to aid in determining its accuracy.
If the accuracy of the test is in discord with other methods then other assumptions are made to bring the current results into conformity with current models. Sometimes such results are used to change the accepted model to meet the current calculations. This is how old-earth geologists make sure that the dates always remain very old.
In other words if the basalt in question is believed to be billions of years old by other old earth geologists, and results of a test say that is not so, then the existing paradigm is retained and the test results are discarded or the test results are modified to stay within the accepted paradigm.
We can test a basalt rock we know the age of because we know the date that lava flow began. Such rock has often been erroneously dated using the potassium argon dating method and shown to be tens of thousands of years old. That is because argon-40 was present in the rock when it was created. The argon was sealed there when the basalt cooled and hardened.
Since we know the exact age of the basalt rock tested, we also know the test was in error. The reason for the discrepancy is that basalt rocks often have more or less argon in them than the assumption allows for.
The problem with such dating methods is assuming that the decay rate always remains the same. There is no way we can know that for sure because we cannot go back into the past to test that assumption.
The point of this discussion is that we cannot really know for sure if fossils or rock are millions of years old. These ages are only determined by using assumptions. Unfortunately all the text books state these assumptions as though they are unquestionable facts. However, as one can see, the claim that animals lived millions and millions of years ago, is often sprinkled with assumptions and speculation.
Now what was out first question? It was, ” Surely Noah Could Not Get All The Animals On The Ark! Come On, Who Can Believe That?”
I will answer that. I can believe it.
Hopefully this essay has made a dent in the assumptions many of us have regarding Noah’s flood, the Ark, and the idea that Earth is millions or billions of years old.
I say that the Earth and all on it was created by God in six twenty-four hour days one day immediately following the day before it. The Earth is a Young Earth like the Scripture teaches.
Using science, we can demonstrate the Bible is a straightforward book. Though it is not a science book, it can be shown by science to be quite accurate. I hope this essay has helped you to understand that the Bible is not myth, but it is a useful book for every day reading. Our use of science proves that there is much more to the Bible than skeptics preach.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).