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The Truth About Noah’s Ark

By Bob Knopf

It’s difficult to visualize Noah’s ark. But it was roughly the size of today’s huge ocean cruise liners. It was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It had three storiesand could have easily have held 20,000 animals. Misconceptions about Noah’s Ark abound even today.

When Christians talk about Noah’s Ark, many question: “How could Noah take all the various animals on the ark?” “How many animals could have fit on the ark? Did dinosaurs go on the Ark? Was the ark seaworthy? How could Noah and his family survive on the Ark for more than a year?”

Skeptics have doubted the biblical account of a worldwide flood even though the Bible tells us quite clearly that there was a worldwide, cataclysmic flood. It wasn’t a local flood. It was a worldwide flood that killed off all land animals, and birds, and all humankind except for Noah, his wife, his three sons (Ham, Shem, and Japheth) and their three wives.

In Genesis Chapter 6, Verse 5, it tells us that the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of man was only evil continually. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man and beast and creeping things and bird whom I have created from the face of the earth. But Noah found grace with God."

And then in Genesis Chapter 7, the LORD said unto Noah,“Come into the ark for I have seen you righteous before me in this generation. God then told Noah to take of every clean beast thou shall take seven pairs, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.  Of fowls also of the air also by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.”

Here, Noah is commanded to take two pairs of all animals, except he was to take seven pairs of all clean animals, such as sheep and goats, those that would be used for sacrifices and food.

Noah took only pairs of animals on the ark as stated in Genesis Chapter 7, Verse 8: Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah." 

God brought the animals to Noah. Noah didn’t have to go roaming about with a butterfly net to collect the dinosaurs. God would have selected genetically fit specimens.

Then, continuing in Chapter 7, Verse 4 it says: For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 

It is quite clear from this that God was to bring a worldwide cataclysmic flood upon all the earth. It covered all the high hills. It didn’t cover the tall mountains we see today, because these mountains didn’t exist before the flood. There was no Mt. Everest. There were no Rocky Mountains. These were formed during and following the flood.

So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark. Then in verse 10 it says: And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. On that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

Here the hydrosphere (a water canopy that previously surrounded earth) that had formed the outer atmospheric layer emptied its contents. (Visit our Exploring God’s Creation radio shows for more information on the hydrosphere.) Also, and quite importantly, the fountains of the deep broke open and the water layer that was immediately under the earth’s surface gushed forth flooding the earth from underneath. It was a double whammy: rain from above and flooding from beneath.

Now it’s important to note that Noah didn’t take species of animals. The Bible uses of the word “kind.” These were not species, but “kinds” or reproducing types of animals. It can be shown that a kind is about the same as what we call a “family” or sub-family today. E
ven though today there are more than 350 variations of dogs, Noah only had to take one pair of dogs on the ark.

Over time, during the 4,400 years since the flood, this one kind of dogs, through normal genetic variation, has given us the different varieties of dogs we see today. This isn’t evolution, it is normal genetic variation. Noah didn’t need to take every species. He only needed to take various “kinds.”

Then, the account continues in Chapter 7, Verse 17: "Now the flood was on the earth forty days.The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.  The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.  And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man (and woman) All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.  So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.  And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days."

In these passages, the Bible makes it very clear. The flood wasn’t a local flood, but was a worldwide flood with cataclysmic activity that formed the world we see today, and gave us the rock layers that geologists claim took millions of years to form. The truth is that the rock layers formed in days, months and years following the flood as the flood waters settled. And, it was this worldwide flood that also gives us the fossil record we have today and our rich coal and oil deposits.

Why is this important? Because we need to understand that the Bible is the Holy Word of God. It's perfect and true throughout its entire content. This is important because it tells us about God's Special Promise to Each of Us, and how we
can spend eternity with God in heaven.

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