It was in the 600th year of Noah’s life, on the 17th day of the 2nd month. All the springs in the deep burst open and the floodgates of heaven opened. Forty days and forty nights it rained in torrents.Genesis 7:11+12
Hardly any story from the Bible is better known than that of Noah and the ark. Nice story, you might think. But is that really how it happened? It can’t be! Let’s see…
Build yourself a ship, the ark! Make it out of solid wood and seal it inside and out with pitch! It should have three storeys and each storey should have several rooms. It must be 150 metres long, 25 metres wide and 15 metres high. Put a roof on it that is half a metre high and build a door into one side of the ship! For my plan is clear: I will flood the whole earth with a great flood, so that man and beast perish in it. No living creature shall be spared. But with you I will make a covenant: Go into the ark with your wife, your sons and your daughters-in-law. Take two of every animal into it, one male and one female, so that no species of animal dies out. Of every kind of bird, of cattle, and of all other land animals, take a pair with you into the ship, that they may all be preserved. Put in enough provisions that there will be enough for you and the animals!” Noah carried out everything exactly as God had instructed him.Genesis 6:14-22
Noah was neither a fisherman nor a boat builder. Yet he was instructed by God to build an ark – because he followed God.
The dimensions of the ark are perfectly balanced so that it is extremely seaworthy, it lies stably in the water and it was comfortable to “travel”. (cf. The Strangest Ship in World History by Prof. Dr. Werner Gitt)
Noah spent 120 years building the ark.
Of all the birds and land animals, one pair each entered the ark; of the clean animals, seven. Within 7 days, God had gathered all the suitable animals to the ark.
Only eight people were in the ark.
It rained for 40 days and nights; the sources of the deep burst open.
The water then stood above the highest peaks of the earth for 110 days. All land creatures died.
The flood lasted 371 days.
What questions come to you when you read the report?
Maybe ones like…
What are the sources of the deep?
Presumably, these are underground water reservoirs that broke open. When this happens, it is easy to imagine that strong geological changes of the earth’s surface take place – accompanied by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Thus, the image of the earth’s surface may have changed completely.
Was the whole world really covered with water? How can that be?
Presumably, the earth’s surface was completely different before the Flood. There was probably one land mass (see Genesis 1) and the mountains must not have been eight thousand metres high. There was a kind of water belt in the sky (also to be read in the creation story). Together with the sources of the deep, this adds up to the amount of water on earth today. If you now level the entire surface of the earth, including the continents, this results in an average sea “height” of about -2,400 metres. This means that there is enough water to cover everything…
How did all the animals fit in the ark?
If you look at the creation account, it says that the animals were created according to “their kind”. So God did not create just ONE plant species and ONE animal species from which everything evolved, but different ones. However, the biblical concept of species is not necessarily identical with today’s concept. There is much to suggest that in Genesis 1 creation groups or basic types are meant. Then the situation is relatively clear. I.e. different races and biological species can develop from the chicken birds (was indeed established many years ago, e.g. with the Darwin finches on the Galapagos Islands – see Charles Darwin; it doesn’t take millions of years…).
Today there are about 64,000 vertebrate species, of which about 32,000 are fish species. That is about 5,000 genera or 1,015 families. If you add the invertebrates, you are at about 1.4 million species, many of which are firstly small and secondly did not necessarily have to be in the ark. There are 5,090 families of them. That means – if you take the pairs into account – there are about 16,000 animals that had to enter the ark. In addition, most of the animal species are not overly large. (Source: Noah’s Ark – Myth or Truth, pp. 95-106)
The ark was – depending on which measurement one assumes for the cubit – between
- 138 – 162 m long
- 22 – 27 m wide
- 13,2 – 16,2 m high
This results in an area (with 3 decks) of 9,108 to 13,122 m²and a volume of 40,075 to 70,859 m³ – the ark was not a small nutshell from which the giraffes had to stick their necks out! (Source: Noah’s Ark – Myth or Truth, p. 72, only available in German)
Mathematically, there is enough room…
Where did Noah get the skill to build the ark?
He probably didn’t – in the end he gets the exact instructions from God what he has to do. The perfect measurements, how the ship should be designed, which wood he should take (gofer wood, cf. Genesis 6:14 in the ELB), how he should seal it and so on. Besides, 120 years gives a lot of time to think about how to take care of the animals and how to divide the ship well. And surely Noah was in contact with God all the time.
These are just a few questions to think about. Much is discussed in the book Noah’s Ark – Myth or Truth. I can only touch on it superficially here.
Of course, one can approach this report scientifically and in my opinion it is also plausible that everything happened as it is written in Genesis 6-9. In any case, the scientific approach helps me because I can understand many things better and take the wind out of the sails of some doubts. However, it is even easier if you trust God and believe His Word. That pleases God. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
After the Flood, God makes a covenant with Noah:
And this is my promise: Never again will I send such a great flood to destroy the earth and everything that lives on it.” He went on to say, “This covenant I make with you and all the inhabitants of the earth, always and forever I will stand by it. Let the rainbow be a sign of this promise.Genesis 9:11-13
God no longer wants to destroy the earth with a flood. That is what the rainbow stands for. There will be an end of the world one day, but then it will really be over – Jesus will come again and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. This can be read in the Book of Revelation.
As long as the earth exists, there shall always be sowing and reaping, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.Genesis 8:22
If you read this verse carefully, you come up with two things:
- The world will keep turning, no matter what. Until the final end. There will be food, the circle will work. No matter what we humans do. Even if some think we are the last generation. It is not we humans, but God who determines the end.
- Since the Flood there have probably been seasons – initially with a continent and the water belt in the atmosphere it sounds reasonable that before the Flood the climate was quite even.
We are no longer vegetarians
Before the Flood, all humans and animals were vegetarians:
Then he (i.e. God, note) said: “Behold, for food I give you all the plants that bear seed and the fruit that grows on the trees everywhere; but the birds and the land animals shall eat grass and leaves.”Genesis 1:29-30
That changed after the Flood….
“All the animals on earth, all the birds in the sky and all the fish in the sea will have to fear you, for I am giving them into your hand. From now on you may feed on their flesh, not only on the plants I have assigned as food. But do not eat flesh that still has blood in it, for in the blood is life.”Genesis 9:2-4
In the days of Noah, things were terrible on earth because people no longer wanted to know anything about God:
The Lord saw that the people were full of wickedness. Every hour, every day of their lives, they had only one thing in mind: planning evil, doing evil.Genesis 6:5
But the rest of humanity was completely corrupt, the earth filled with violence. Wherever God looked, injustice was everywhere, for all people had gone astray.Genesis 6:11+12
Therefore, God becomes very angry and will destroy all people except Noah and his family through the Flood. Jesus says in Luke 17:26 that it will be like the days of Noah again when He returns. People don’t want to know about God any more. They live, eat, drink, marry, do business, but they don’t care about God at all. As a result, evil spreads and people do the most evil things to each other.
A city flourishes through the blessings that honest people bring; but the words of the wicked are its downfall.Proverbs 11:11
The more godless people, the more crimes.Proverbs 29:16a
It is not good when man moves away from God!
What about you? Don’t you care about God? Or do you follow Him? Sooner or later you will have to make a decision. In this case, no decision is a decision. You can either listen to God, follow Jesus and be saved like Noah before the flood, or you are one of the people who are on the losing side. This sounds very hard, but Jesus clearly says: The only way to God is through Him (John 14:6).
Please accept this gift from God and entrust your life to Him!
Thank you for reading and God’s blessing!
Other Bible passages with reference to Noah
- The whole account of the Flood is found in Genesis 6 – 9.
- 1 Peter 3:18-22 – Jesus as hope for the world.
- Luke 17:20-37 – the Second Coming of Jesus
- Isaiah 54:7-10 – God’s mercy on Israel
- Hebrews 11:7 – Noah’s faith