Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. How was it possible for Noah to make a ship large enough to carry the many species of animals safely through the Flood?
 
A. Think for a moment. Would God assign a job like building the Ark to someone without being sure the person could get the job done?

Many people assume that the account of the building of the Ark is a myth. They conceive of Noah as a sort of old, bearded hermit who had little or no education, and who certainly must not have had proper tools to build a ship as large as the Ark.

True, Noah may not have had computers, gasoline-powered saws, hydraulic lifts, rivet guns or micrometers. But to assume that Noah had no nails, bolts, saws, axes or hammers, along with other needed tools and supplies and the necessary technical knowledge, is simply na´ve.

Most fail to grasp the tremendous size of Noah’s Ark because they have not figured out its capacity based on the measurements given in the Bible (Gen. 6:14-16).

Bible commentators do not all agree as to the specific size of the cubit used in building the Ark. Some suggest an 18-inch cubit, others a 21-inch cubit. On the basis of a 21-inch cubit, Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary states, “The ark would be 525 feet in length, 87 feet 6 inches in breadth and 52 feet and 6 inches in height.”

Some have calculated the displacement of the Ark would have been between 40,000 and 50,000 tons! It would have been the height of a 45-story building if it stood on end. Comparing this to the largest, most modern luxury liners of today, the Ark may well have been larger than Britain’s Canberra, which has a displacement of 44,807 tons gross!

But there was an older Hebrew cubit that measured about 25 inches. This cubit would have made the Ark 600 feet long, 100 feet wide and 60 feet high. No small size! Its three decks (Gen. 6:16) would have contained an area of about 38 standard college basketball courts. Its volume would have been 3.6 million cubic feet. This is the carrying capacity of 25 trains, each one 52 freight cars long. Many think of the Ark as a small vessel, not realizing how large it really was.

How many animals were on the Ark? Notice that God told Noah there would be one male and one female of each unclean “kind” of animal and seven pairs of each clean “kind” of animal on the Ark (Gen. 7:2, 14). When the Bible speaks of a “kind” of animal, it is not speaking of what scientists today would identify as a “species.”

Turn to Genesis 2:19-20 and notice an important point: “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field.”

The number of Genesis “kinds” were so few that Adam was able to easily give them each a name that day. This shows that the original Genesis “kinds” were relatively few in number.

With regard to the animals, the Bible definition of “kind” is much broader than the evolutionary concept of “species.” The Genesis “kind” more nearly equates with the biological definition of a “genus.” Notice the facts presented in the The Genesis Flood, pp. 67, 69: “It is unwarranted to insist that all the present species, not to mention all the varieties and sub varieties, were represented in the Ark.”

God is a practical God. God’s instructions to Noah were simple and left a lot of planning on Noah’s shoulders. Noah may already have had some experience in building large oceangoing ships.

With regard to adequate supplies of food and potable water, Noah had received instructions from God (Gen. 6:21). Eggs, for example, may have been obtained from many birds, milk from the cattle and goats, fresh meat from a variety of sources. And Noah could easily have stored fresh water in advance. Remember also that plant life was reestablished quickly after the Flood (Gen. 8:11), and that Noah himself planted a vineyard (Gen. 9:20), indicating he had taken on the Ark cuttings and grains that could germinate with cultivation.

Most of those who scoff at the record of the Flood have never bothered to approach the problem as the Bereans did, willing to prove with an open mind “whether these things were so” (Acts 17:10-11). Had Noah assumed the task was impossible, and had he not worked for 120 years to accomplish it, where would we be today? The facts prove the task was not impossible, and that Noah succeeded as the Bible records.
 
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