There’s been a lot of skepticism regarding Noah’s Ark. You’ve heard the criticisms: Society could not have been advanced enough to build an ark of that magnitude. Where did the materials come from? Is it plausible to believe just Noah and his sons build this mammoth structure? How could all the animal species fit on board? Are we to believe that dinosaurs were on the ark? How could fresh water fish possibly survive a so-called flood? Also, it’s fine to believe a local flood occurred, but a world-wide flood?
Answering these questions and more was Tim Chaffey. Tim is the Director of Midwest Apologetics and also content manager for Ark Encounter & Answers in Genesis. He’s an apologist with a passion for training young people. He’s the author of numerous books, such as ‘Old Earth Creationism on Trial’, ‘Noah: Man of Destiny,’ ‘Noah: Man of Resolve,’ and ‘Noah: Man of God’.
What was the size of the ark? Tim said that we should be thinking along the lines of a football field/stadium. The Bible describes the ark by using a measure called the cubit (from the elbow to the tip of your finger). The Ark Encounter used a 20.4 inch cubit so their ark is 510 feet long and 85 feet wide.
Regarding the accusation that Noah was too primitive to have built the ark, Tim believes that’s an assumption regarding people who have gone on before us. We typically think we’re more intelligent than they were because we live in a time with greater technology. This increased technology doesn’t mean we’re more intelligent than people in the past. Instead, we’ve merely built upon what others have done in the past.
Is it plausible that Noah and his 3 sons were the only ones working to build the ark? Tim believes it’s possible but unlikely. He could have hired other workers and they didn’t have to be believers. If there was compensation to be had, they would have been willing to work for him. In fact, Tim described how there were unbelievers that were part of the construction of the Ark Encounter.
Where did the materials come from? Noah was told to make an ark out of gopher wood. We’re not sure where that came from. Some Bibles attempt to communicate that it may have been cypress but Tim believes that’s a mistake. Those Bible translators are looking at the Middle East today and trying to decide which type of wood from that region might have been used. The problem with that method of interpretation is that we don’t know where the ark was built. We need to remember that the ark was built during the pre-flood world, a world that may have been comprised of only one continent. Also, since the ark would have been on the water for several months, we don’t know how far it drifted from its launch point.
Wouldn’t a wooden vessel have been destroyed by the flood? Tim indicated that Bill Nye (the science guy) used that argument in his debate with Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. Nye talked about the Wyoming, a 430 foot, 6 masted schooner that was built by his ancestors. Nye believes that when you have very long wooden boats, they begin to twist, bend and start springing holes. In the case of the Wyoming, it sank and all 14 people on board were killed. Tim agreed that this is true of wooden boats. In fact, an article by Tim will be appearing soon in
Answers Magazine about the challenges that large wooden vessels face and how to overcome them. On the other hand, what Nye failed to mention is that the Wyoming was in operation for almost 15 years.
This is just the beginning of a fascinating program that respectfully informs while answering the skeptics and their problems with the Bible’s account of Noah’s Ark.