Recently, my fiancée and I were able to take a trip to Williamstown, Kentucky to visit the Ark Encounter Museum. The Ark Encounter is an attraction of Answers in Genesis and boasts a life-size Noah’s ark, a restaurant, petting zoo, zip-line course, as well as many other attractions that are still under construction. As a young-earth creationist and an avid believer of the global flood in Genesis, I was ecstatic to go see such a sight. (Yes, I did indeed “fan-girl.” My fiancee, Sarah, can attest to that).
The ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet tall in dimensions and even from the parking lot, the size of the massive boat is astounding to see. It is also the “largest timber frame structure in the world.”
As you are transported to the main Ark site, the immensity of the vessel looms ahead. Every time I have read the Genesis account of Noah and the Ark (Genesis 6-9), I always think that the Ark must’ve been large, but until I saw it, I don’t think I had truly understood what God had asked Noah to construct.
Upon entering the ark, you are immediately immersed into the heart of the Genesis account itself. The ark encounter is made up of three decks, each containing different attractions from the rest. The first deck introduces visitors to the idea of the Biblical “created kind” (I will go into more detail and depth on what these decks contained later). Also, visitors see how Noah and his family possibly stored food, water, other provisions, and kept animals.
On the second deck, the Genesis account is presented and you can see more examples of cages and created kinds. This deck explores many questions asked by visitors such as: How could Noah take so many species? How were these animals fed?
On the third deck (by far my favorite), visitors can see how Noah and his family possibly lived on the ark for the duration of the flood. You can see how they possibly ate, slept, cooked, made tools, etc. After leaving this exhibit, the science and evidence of the Genesis account for Noah’s ark and the flood are explained. Each exhibit has extensive explanations and details. Some of the exhibits include descriptions on how the vessel could survive the flood, how the flood occurred, before and after effects of the flood, and flood tales from around the globe.
Regardless of some organization building an Ark and claiming that not only does it fit the Biblical account, but that the Ark, along with all of its passenger cargo, was able to float survive a world-wide flood, the question remains: Could the Biblical account be true? Could there have been a “Noah’s Ark?” Is it even possible?
The whole story seems fantastic, doesn’t it? Supposedly, God told a man named Noah to construct a large boat in order to save the human race and animals from the destruction of a worldwide flood that God was going to send. We are told that God gave him specific dimensions and instructions to build such a boat, and to take specific numbers of clean and unclean animals on the boat. However, this boat was not to sail, but to save, an Ark. Then, when the flood does arise and everyone is aboard, the Ark survives the destruction. The individuals then exit the Ark on ground and repopulate the “new” Earth. I would agree that, from just reading this story, it seems highly unlikely this would ever occur or could occur.
Although it seems unlikely for such a large boat to have been constructed, it is not the only craft that seems outlandish in its size. Ptolemy Philopator (B.C. 244-204), an Egyptian pharaoh, constructed a massive warship that stretched to the massive length of 130 meters (420 feet). This ship was built with sails and rows upon rows of oars, equipping the vessel for travel. Another example is the Leontifera, a ship that was involved in a battle on the Aegean Sea. The ship was described by historian and bishop James Ussher. The ship was possibly as long as 150 meters (Range of 120-150 meters. So 400-500 feet.) This ship was able to carry a few thousand men, both crew and fighting men. There are also other accounts of massive treasure ships from China.
These accounts are of, not only historical large-scale vessels, but large scale vessels that were capable of sailing distances and even capable of battle! All Noah had to construct was a vessel to keep its cargo and passengers safe. The Ark did not need sailing capabilities or a way to direct its course. These accounts show that the Ark was not as outlandish of a craft as it seems.
But, wait! Weren’t ancient people…unintelligent? They couldn’t have had technology like that, right?
The only reason we would ask the above questions, is because we have always been told that earlier man was less intelligent than man is today. However, the truth is the exact opposite. Just because, today, we have cell phones, the internet, and modern technology doesn’t diminish the intelligence of earlier man at all. Have we recently gained the ability to think and form new ideas? No, absolutely not. The main reason we have increased our technology and advancements is because we are more connected and are able to swap ideas around the globe. The exchange of ideas is what fostered the explosion of technological growth we have seen in the past 100 to 150 years or so. That being said, there are also a number of feats and technologies that ancient civilizations possessed that we are dumbfounded by.
One example is the Baghdad Battery. The artifact is Egyptian in make and consists of a clay jar with an iron rod surrounded by a copper sheet and a copper plate. The jar contained some electrolyte and was capped at the top. This so-called “battery” has been considered to be able to form or contain an electric current. This has been thought to be used in medical practices. Wait. The Egyptians had electricity? Well, it seems like they had some understandings of the basics at least. The Egyptians also had a vast knowledge of chemistry as they made their “eye make-up.” They also built the pyramids which is still considered almost impossible for such an ancient civilization. There are several other advancements from other civilizations, such as Greece, that seem “ahead of its time” as well that were used for calculating planetary motion, positions of the sun and moon, and even being called an “analog computer.”
So, it seems as though Noah’s Ark is completely feasible. But could it survive the flood?
Well, let’s look at the dimensions of such a craft first. God instructs Noah to construct the Ark with the dimensions of “three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high.” God instructs him to make the Ark out of cypress or teak and gopher wood and to coat it in pitch. There was to be lower, middle, and upper decks, as well as a roof. The Ark constructed in Kentucky meets these descriptions. (1 Egyptian Cubit = apx. 1.7 feet). Awesome, but can it float, let alone survive the flood?
With those dimensions, and the necessity to contain passengers and cargo, the boat was most likely in the shape of a barge-like boat. The language of the ancient Hebrew describes a “box-like” shape. This shape has been found to be superior for the type of travel (or lack thereof) Noah and his family were about to be doing.
A team of naval architects completed a study and analysis of possible sizes, shapes, materials, and whether or not the ark would survive the trek. Twelve different vessel sizes were thought of. The architects included specific variables of sea travel for vessels, such as heave, pitch, and roll of the craft.
As the picture to the left shows, the Ark structure and shape could correct itself in the face of massive wind gusts and waves. The use of possibly teak or cypress wood provided immense strength and safety to the craft. These woods are resistant to weathering, deterioration, rot, and are structurally strong. Also, Genesis records man being able to forge tools out of iron and bronze (Tubal-Cain). These additions would have only increased the structural strength and safety of the Ark more. These architects determined that the Ark was astoundingly stable and would fit the needs to survive such an event. (To see their mathematics and calculations: here.)
Okay, so it sounds like such a boat could float and survive the flood. What about all of the
animals and cargo? Many times, I hear the argument that Noah could not possibly take the millions of animal species onto the Ark. I would agree. However, 4500 years ago, there would not have been such a sizable amount of species. According to Genesis, God created each animal according to it’s “kind.” (I have briefly spoken about this in a few posts.) The Biblical “kind” would be higher than genus in the cladistics hierarchy, possible at family or even order. So, in the beginning, God would have created one single “dog kind” which would have radiated into all of the canines we see today. This would include domesticated dogs, dingoes, hyenas, wolves, etc. God would have created a single or two cattle kinds, a single feline kind, etc. Therefore, when God tells Noah to take a specific amount of each animal according to its “kind,” Noah didn’t need to take millions of species. The Ark had more than enough space for Noah, his family, the animals, and his cargo. (There are great articles with more detail on the Biblical Kind on creation.com. I may write a further post on this in the future).
Prior to arriving at the Ark Encounter, I was skeptical. I had heard several skeptics, such as Bill Nye, claim that this attraction was filled with pseudoscience and utterly false. However, I think that they were largely blinded by their own dogma. Such critics did not look into the mathematics and actual science being presented. Instead, all they saw was “magic” and myths from ancient past, of which they thought they were smarter than and above such beliefs. That’s not good science. Science should look at all possibilities and explanations with all of the data and evidence before claiming that something is false. The Ark encounter conveys the truth of Noah’s Ark and of the Genesis account. I suggest everyone take a look for themselves.
On the Battery:
Accounts of ancient ships:
Ark dimensions and calculations:
Photos used from: