Noah and the Flood: Part 2 – The Big Boat

God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark out of cypress wood, make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: the ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for the ark and finish it to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle, and upper decks (Gen. 6:12-16). Let’s address three of the popular arguments that have been raised by scoffers trying to discredit the notion of a world wide flood through which a human family, together with pairs of every animal variety, were preserved in a big boat.

That’s a Big Boat

But was the ark big enough? 450 feet is 1 1/2; times the length of a football field. Stood on end, the ark would be about as tall as a 45 story office building. At 75 feet wide each of the ark’s three decks contained 33,750 square feet of floor space for a total of 101,250. Since the ark was 45 feet tall there was over 1.5 million cubic feet of space under its roof, equivalent to a train with 500 boxcars. If you take every animal, from a mouse to an elephant, and average their size, you’ll find that sheep are exactly average. I’m told that shippers allocate about 250 sheep per boxcar when moving them by train. A train with 500 cars would accommodate 125,000 sheep or 62,500 pair.

According to zoological studies, of the 1.8 million named species on Earth today, there are 1,000 species of amphibians, 6,000 reptiles, 9,000 birds, 15,000 mammals, and 20,000 of fish (who don’t count), for a total of 31,000 species.  The rest are insects.  At 2 per specie the ark would have easily accommodated the number that would be required today, and in Noah’s day there were far fewer species.  If the total animal count was about 50,000, it would have only taken 40% of the ark’s capacity to house them. Even if they used 1/2; of the ark’s total space for food storage, Noah would have had 10,125 square feet left for himself and his family. I personally believe that the animals were put into some form of hibernation or suspended animation and would have needed very little food, otherwise the job of feeding them and cleaning up after them would have been too much for the 8 humans on board to handle. Also there’s no mention of either a birth or death among the animal population during the entire 53 weeks they were on board together.

By the way, ever wonder how Noah knew which animals were “clean”? The same way Cain and Abel knew what to bring as an offering. God told them. The Levitical system began in the Garden not in the wilderness. Moses simply put into writing what God’s people had always known.

That’s a Lot of Water

“I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish (Gen 6:17). Two of every kind of animal and every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you” (Gen 6:20). I love the cartoons of Noah running around with butterfly nets trying to catch the animals when in fact, God the Creator of all living things put it into their heads to come to Noah.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life on the seventh day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of heaven were opened. And rain fell on the earth 40 days and 40 nights (Gen. 7:11-12). By this we know that there were enormous supplies of water available for the flood. First, the springs of the great deep that up till then had irrigated the earth (Gen. 2:5-6) were opened up. And then the floodgates of heaven, a water vapor barrier that had protected earth from harmful ultra-violet rays enabling long life spans (Gen. 1:7-8) collapsed. This caused rain, which had not yet fallen on earth (Gen. 2:5-6 and Hebr. 11:7) to fall for 40 days and 40 nights. Ever wonder how it is that if our bodies’ cells regenerate on average every seven years, why we deteriorate with age? These ultra violet rays, from which we were once protected, contaminate the regeneration process and shorten our lives. This condition will be reversed in the millennium (Isa. 65:20-22).

But Lord … You Promised

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than 20 feet. Everything that moved on the earth perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm on the earth – and mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died (Gen. 7:20-22). Beside the inclusive intent of this passage, two factors argue undeniably for a world wide flood: the nature of water and the rainbow. Some of the highest mountains on earth are found in the region and water seeks its own level. If it covered the mountains there it would have to cover them every where else in the world as well. There are no natural barriers high enough to contain it. And in Gen. 9:11-17 the Lord promised never to destroy the world by flooding again and put a rainbow in the sky as a token of this promise. There have been many local and regional floods since Noah’s time. If Noah’s flood was only local, then God has broken His promise. Arguments against a universal flood are really attempts to deny God’s capacity for judgment. The last folks who tried that all drowned. The next ones will burn (2 Ptr. 3:3-7).

More next time.