For various reasons, many people today find the story of Noah's Ark
quite difficult to believe. I have always found it quite fascinating myself.
Let's examine whether this could have actually occurred or if the tale
is merely a myth invented many centuries ago, keeping in mind that the
real issue is: can we trust the
words of Genesis chapters 6 through 9?
Before the Great Flood the Bible tells us that mankind's behavior degenerated
to where people's minds were thinking about "only evil continually" and
"the earth was filled with violence." Our righteous God became sorrowful
for having created people who became so wicked. So, God decided to destroy
all people, all land animals, and all birds. (Gen 6:5-7,11).
Noah was trying to live righteously in this wicked world, so God was
merciful to him and his family. (Gen. 6:8-9; 7:1). Noah was given instructions
about how he was to build a big boat—approximately 450 feet long, 75 feet
wide, and 45 feet high. (Gen. 6:14-16). I am told that its dimensions were
similar to today's oil tankers, making it practically impossible to overturn
even in the worst storm at sea.
God told Noah, "Everything that is on the earth shall die" by a flood.
(Gen. 6:17; 7:4). Noah was also told that the Ark would save his family
(four married couples) and a male and female pair of every kind of "unclean"
animal and 7 each (or 7 pairs) of every "clean" animal. (Gen. 6:18-19).
Noah was also instructed to store food in the Ark
for his family and for all the animals. (Gen. 6:21).
Noah did "all that God commanded him."
(Gen. 6:22; 7:5).
Seven days before the rain started, God ordered Noah, who was 600 years
old, to come into the Ark
with his family and all the animals. (Gen. 7:1-4, 6). God sealed them in
the Ark. (Gen. 7:16).
God caused water to both rise up from below the earth and to fall from
the sky for 40 days, until the water was 22 feet deep over the highest
mountain. (Gen. 7:11-12, 19-20). Everyone and everything
that had lived on dry ground was drowned. Only those in the Ark
survived. (Gen. 7:21-23).
After 150 days the water began to subside. The Ark
came to rest on a high mountain
of Ararat. Three months
later the tops of the mountains could be seen. (Gen. 8:3-5). When the surface
of the ground was dry enough, the Bible says that God told Noah to go out
of the Ark, 365 days
after he entered it. (Gen. 8:16).
Later, God made a promise that "never again shall there be a flood to
destroy the earth." The rainbow is the sign of His covenant. (Gen. 9:8-17).
From both believers in God and non-believers, there have been many
objections to the credibility of the story above. Also, there have been
many attempts to concoct different versions of what might have really happened.
In other words, many people don't believe God really meant what He tells
us through the writings of Moses in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. I
will try to address all of the objections to a Great Flood that I have
I believe that God said what He meant to say and that He revealed to
us things that we can understand. The writings of Moses about Noah and
the Flood are too simple to misunderstand, in my opinion.
OBJECTIONS TO THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
story is a myth based on other flood fables told by various groups who
populated the Middle East at the time of Moses.
Almost every culture throughout the world has tales of a flood that
completely covered the earth and destroyed all but a few people. I argue
that the reason that there is so much similarity between the myths and
the Genesis account is that this was a real event. All men and women being
descendants of Noah, they passed down the story of this major episode in
the life of their ancestor. The only truly accurate account is the one
which God reveals to us in Genesis through the pen of Moses.
By the days of Noah there were not enough people on the earth to
require a worldwide flood.
One source estimates that 12 to 15 generations had been born on
the earth by the time of the flood. (Genesis chapter 5 tells us that Noah
was the ninth generation from Adam.) The Flood occurred during Noah’s 601st
year. If you do the math, it would not be hard to suggest as many as 20
generations had been born by his 600th birthday. Easily, there
have been a billion people alive on the earth by this time.
The flood was only a local flood and not worldwide.
I see two major problems with the local flood theories. You cannot
cover the highest mountains with water for several months if the flood
was only regional. (Gen. 7:20). Secondly, and even more significant is
the covenant which God made after the Flood. God promised, "Never again
shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." (Gen. 9:11). If the flood
of Noah was merely a local flood, then God would have broken that promise
hundreds of times since then. Other problems include that a population
as large as one billion would not likely be contained within a single valley
that would be amenable to local flooding. Besides, some people and animals
could have simply gone to higher ground as happens during local flooding
today. Even if the world's human population was not widely spread, nothing
would have kept the birds and all the animals confined within that local
flood area. Genesis 7:21-23 says that all creatures outside the Ark
who lived on the land were destroyed.
I also object to the possibility of a local flood because God could
have merely instructed Noah and his family, along with the animals to be
saved, to migrate out of the area that would be flooded.
There is not enough water to cover the entire earth.
There is nothing to convince us that the oceans were as deep or
that the mountains were as high prior to the flood. Consider Psalm 104:5-9.
"You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved
forever, You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood
above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder
they hastened away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place
which You did establish for them. You have set a boundary that they may
not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth." From these
verses we might reasonably conclude that God made the mountains higher
and the valleys deeper to make adjustments for the greater quantity of
water on the earth after the Flood.
There was not enough extra water to cover the entire planet.
The Bible says, "all the fountains of the great deep were broken
up, and the windows of heaven were opened," in Genesis 7:11. This is consistent
with saying that volcanoes erupted and that previously stored water high
in the atmosphere was released. A great quantity of water is released with
a volcanic eruption. If hundreds of volcanoes erupted both above and below
the surface of the oceans, then the amount of water spewing forth on the
earth is unimaginable. Genesis 1:7 tells us that the earth originally had
water above the sky. With the greater surface area at a very high altitude
in the earth's atmosphere, the thickness of water, probably in a gaseous
state, would not have to be very great to store an incredible quantity
of water which God could release upon the earth. This water would have
been thin enough to allow adequate sunlight through. Also, the weight of
this water would have caused there to be a greater barometric pressure
prior to the Flood. Worldwide atmospheric barometric pressure drops and
increased sunlight penetration would have created a world that was very
different after the Flood. These changes provide reasonable theories about
the decreasing life spans and the extinction of numerous species after
Noah and his family could not have traveled to all lands and caught
all those animals.
Fortunately for Noah, he did not have to search the world and capture
them. God caused these animals and birds to come to Noah. (Gen. 6:20).
The animals could not have all migrated to the Ark
because of natural barriers like high mountains, rivers, and seas.
We cannot be sure what the earth's geography was like prior to
the Flood. Five or six generations after Noah, we can read in Genesis
that in the days of Peleg (which means "division")
that "the earth was divided." Many believe that this means that God divided
the earth into the continents we now see (though, I have to admit, it might
instead mean that God divided people by language). If the land prior to
the Flood was one big continent, this would indeed have facilitated the
migration of animals to Noah's location. After the Flood it would have
provided a way for the animals unique to Australia
to get there.
The Ark was not
big enough to hold all those animals and carry enough food for a year.
According to calculations, the Ark
could hold the equivalent of 522 standard two-decked railroad stock cars.
To carry the no more than 35,000 estimated individual vertebrate animals,
the average size being that of a sheep, would require no more than 146
such railroad cars.
The animals would be out of control in the Ark
during the rough weather.
We must remember that God did not abandon Noah in the Ark.
The Lord did not say get into the Ark
at the beginning of the trip, nor come out of the Ark
at the end. God told Noah to join Him in the Ark.
(Note "Come into the Ark"
in Genesis 7:1 and "Go out of the Ark"
in chapter 8:16.) There is no doubt in my mind that God could have calmed
the animals during the storm, as easily as Christ calmed the Sea
of Galilee. (Mark 4:37-41). It is entirely possible that God
even caused many of the animals to hibernate throughout much of the trip.
Just as when he caused the animals to come to the ark, with God in charge,
this is not even an issue.
The Ark could
not have carried enough fresh water for a year.
This is clearly not true when we consider that the Ark's
cargo space was equivalent to 522 railroad cars, as mentioned above. Also,
just as something to ponder; if we assume that the ocean's salt content
was the same as today, then the excess Flood water likely diluted it sufficiently
Saltwater fish could not have survived in fresh or less salty water.
Freshwater fish certainly cannot survive in saltwater. But, there
are numerous examples of saltwater fish being able to survive for extended
periods in fresh water. Keep in mind that the whole Flood period was a
miracle of God, and I see no reason not to believe that He could keep saltwater
fish alive during the event.
There wouldn't be enough oxygen for them at the high altitude at
the peak of the flood.
Atmospheric pressure and oxygen concentration are relative to sea
level. As the sea rose, so also did the air we breathe. No matter if the
Flood waters were as high as Mount Everest,
the oxygen necessary to sustain life would have been more than adequate.
The Ark had no
rudder or sails.
The Ark needed
no means of propulsion or steering. There was no particular place that
it needed to go. After exposing the land to the incredible Flood waters,
it is unlikely that Noah's family could have recognized any landmarks after
the Flood. The Ark came
to rest where God wanted it to come to rest.
Noah and 7 other people would not be able to care for that many animals.
This might be true if they were out of control or if they were
all fully grown or if they were always awake or if they had no assistance
from their Creator. The God, who was powerful enough to destroy the earth
with a massive Flood, was unquestionably able to care for those in the Ark
for a year.
God would not have killed innocent children in the Flood.
History is filled with examples where children were destined to
suffer because of the choices of their parents. If we believe these children
were innocent, then we should be comforted to know that by their drowning,
God removed them from a wicked society and took their souls to eternal
peace and rest.
There is not enough evidence that the whole earth was under water.
I am told that prior to the theories of Charles Darwin,
most educated men explained the vast quantities of fossils as evidence
of the global Flood from the days of Noah. Animals and plants decay rapidly
under normal circumstances, rarely leaving any trace for very long that
they ever even existed on the planet. The mechanism for creating fossils
requires unusual circumstances where an organism is buried before it can
be eaten by other animals and bacteria. It is my opinion that the fossil
record and sedimentary layers are best explained by a worldwide Flood.
I am convinced of the truthfulness of the story of Noah, because my
Savior Jesus Christ believed it to be true. He said:
"But as the days of Noah were, so also
will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the
day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and
took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly
fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned
the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
The Apostle Peter believed it--
formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in
the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that
is, eight souls, were saved through water." (I Peter 3:20).
did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a
preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly."
(II Peter 2:5).