Noah’s Ark

Thinking Outside The Box

A pastor was called to a local church and the people soon discovered that each and every sermon seemed to have something to do with baptism.  The congregation complained to the deacons who met with the minister and a solution was reached – the board would pick out his weekly sermon text.  So the next Sunday, Genesis 1:1 was chosen (In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth).  The  preacher got up and said, “You know, when you think about the earth, it’s one-third land and two-thirds water.  And speaking of water, today’s sermon is on baptism!”

Speaking of water, Answer In Genesis will open The Ark Encounter in Kentucky on Thursday, July 7, 2016.  The multi-million dollar, world-class, 200-acre theme park will feature a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark.  The boat, costing $40,000,000 to build, is the largest all-wood structure in the world.  It’s 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high; being constructed from 3.2 million feet of lumber (12′ x 12″ x 1″) and hundreds of log beams (a number of them 50 feet in length and 3 feet in diameter).  The park is forecasted to draw over a million visitors a year.  16,000 people can be handled daily by the 350 employees with 4,000 parking spaces, a 10,000 square-foot store, and  a 2,100 seat restaurant.  Ticket prices are as follows: $41 (adult), $31 (senior) and $28 (child).  A combo-package can be purchased for the Creation Museum, 45 miles south.

● What was its shape?  The Bible gives us the ark’s dimensions but not the ark’s shape.  And although 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits may make for a nice rectangular form (and ease of figuring out how many square feet inside for animals), it does not mean the ark was in the shape of a box – anymore than the dimensions (length, width, height) of a car or truck mean the vehicle is box-shaped.  For a vessel on rough flood waters, such a sharp-cornered design would cause great problems in the areas of (balance, comfort, safety) and almost certainly result in capsizing.  However, the ark was a vessel and would be built to be sea-worthy, with a contoured body having a fixed mast at the front (catching the wind) and a fixed rudder at the back (rooted in water) to balance these two very  powerful nautical forces and keep the boat afloat.

● How long is a cubit?    The measurement itself was determined by the distance from the middle of the elbow to the tip of the finger.  But ancient people groups assigned various lengths to the term.  The Hebrews has a short cubit (17.5 inches) for daily basics and a long cubit (20.4 inches) for building projects; thus it’s believed Noah’s ark was based on the latter.

● Why such a small window?  The question is asked, How could a small one-cubit window allow enough light and ventilation for a 1,400,000 square foot ship full of animals and people?  The answer is, the cubit measurement had to do with the height of the window on top of the ark.  It’s most likely that the window opening extended twenty inches above and across most of the ark’s top using coaming (a raised rim or border around an opening designed to keep out water).   All this allowed Noah to open the ark window.

● How tight was it?  Ancient shipbuilders usually began with a shell of planks (strakes) and then built the internal framing (ribs) to fit the inside.  This is the complete reverse of the familiar European method where planking was added to the frame.  In shell-first construction, the planks must somehow be attached to each other.  Some used overlapping (clinker) planks that were doweled or nailed, while others used rope to sew the planks together.  The ancient Greeks had a more sophisticated system, where the planks were interlocked with thousands of precise mortise and tenon joints.  The resulting hull was strong enough to ram another ship, yet light enough to be hauled onto a beach by the crew.  If this is what the Greeks could do centuries before Christ, what could Noah do centuries after Tubal-Cain invented forged metal tools?  (Genesis 4:22).  And we haven’t even mentioned the tarring of the ark both without and within or the swelling tight of the wooden nails when exposed to the waves.

● How big was it?  Few wooden ships have ever come  near to the size of Noah’s Ark (according to nautical engineers, the ark was the max dimension for the making/sailing of a wooden vessel).  But there were two contenders that came close, one ancient and one modern.  The older was the Greek ship Teesarakonteres (“forty-rowed”) constructed in 300 B.C..  The name refers to the number of rowers on each column of oars that propelled it.  The all-wood vessel was 450 feet long (60 shorter than the ark). The newer was the schooner Wyoming, built in 1909 in Bath, Maine.   It was called such because the main investor was the governor at that time of Wyoming.  This all-wood vessel was 400 feet long (110 shorter than the ark).

The bottom line?  On July 7, the voyage begins again