Our children’s class began a new story today. They are talking about Noah’s Ark (and if you didn’t go downstairs—you should see the room!). In Genesis 6:13-16 the story of the ark begins. “Then God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to put an end to every creature, for the earth is filled with wickedness because of them; therefore I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it with pitch inside and outside. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its width 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. You are to make a roof, finishing the sides of the ark to a cubit of the roof. You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.’” While we mentally picture some sort of large boat similar to what we know of today, with a hull that has an inverted peak, in all likelihood it was not a boat, but was rather a “floating box” made of cypress wood. If you calculate a cubit as 24”, the ark’s size would be 600 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 60 feet high. If you calculate an 18″ cubit the size becomes 450 x 75 x 45. In either case, the ark was large enough to hold the collection of animals and the members of Noah’s family.
Knowing and understanding Biblical stories is vital to the growth and spiritual education of our children. Beyond just basic Bible literacy, knowing what God has done helps to cement a faith and trust in what God has promised to do. This faith is the crux of Christianity. “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) You have to not only believe God exists, but also believe that His promises of eternity, forgiveness, redemption and salvation are true. That He will do what He says He will do. That is why knowing and understanding what He has done is the foundation of this principle.
This is why the story of Noah’s Ark is more than just a cute Biblical story. In fact, using the smaller cubit of just 18” the ark would have had a volume of approximately 570 standard railroad stock cars. How did the animals fit? How did the animals survive for over a year on the boat? How did the lions, tigers and bears not eat all of the people cows, sheep and similar animals? How could 8 people take care of so many animals? Would there have been enough room on the boat for the animals and the food? These are great questions, questions that God does not specifically answer in Genesis. But God does give us clues—after all the lions didn’t eat Daniel (Daniel 6), Israel survived forty years in a desert with shoes and clothes that never wore out (Deuteronomy 29:5), and we already know that a few loaves and fish served a crowd of more than 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21, 15:32-39). Finally, while questions remain—and likely will until heaven—it must be noted that neither science nor archaeology have been able to disprove any Biblical story yet. For more research on science confirming the biblical story of the ark you may wish to check out: www.answersingenesis.org, www.apologeticspress.org, www.christiananswers.net or simply search for Noah’s Ark online.