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How Did Noah Build the Ark?

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Sometimes I just shake my head when I read some of the comments people make concerning the life-size Ark that Answers in Genesis is constructing in Northern Kentucky, to open July 7 this year. As I respond to some of the comments, I have also included some recent photographs of the Ark’s construction, showing the stern and outside planking.

Noah’s Ark

Let me list and respond to just some of the questions/comments often seen on Facebook and in other places.

  1. Why aren’t you using the tools Noah used?1 Where are we ever told what tools Noah used? There is no mention in the Bible or even any hint as to what specific tools Noah used. So the answer is, we don’t know what the tools were—no one knows!
  2. Noah didn’t have modern tools, so you shouldn’t use modern tools to build the Ark.2 First, as stated above, no one knows what tools Noah had. Second, we live in modern world, so we are obviously going to use modern tools! We didn’t set out to build the Ark with tools Noah might have had, as we have no idea what they were. We wanted to design a wooden ship and then build it as a timber-frame building so the public can walk through it and get a sense of the Ark’s size and how such a wooden structure can be constructed.
  3. Ark Stern
  4. If Noah took 120 years to build the Ark, why are you building it so quickly? First of all, we don’t know how long Noah took to build the Ark. The 120 years reference in Scripture (Genesis 6:3) is not in the context of Noah building the Ark. The best explanation of the 120 years seems to be that it was the length of God’s patience, and then He sent the Flood. Shem was 99 when the Flood ended and he came out of the Ark. Genesis 6:18 indicates that when God spoke to Noah about building the Ark, he already had sons and they were married. So it seems logical to say that the Ark took fewer than 99 years to build.

    Second, Noah may have taken quite a number of years to build the Ark. Second Peter 3:9 reminds us that God is patient “not willing that any should perish.” So perhaps Noah took several years to build the Ark to give plenty of time to warn the population that they needed to believe God’s Word.

    Third, we are not building an Ark because God said there is a Flood coming! We are constructing an Ark to remind people of the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. Thus we want to build it as quickly as possible. And we will use whatever tools are available to us today to build it.

  5. Noah wouldn’t have had the adequate tools!3 Besides the fact that we don’t know what tools Noah had, we point out that many people wittingly or unwittingly have an evolutionary view (or evolutionary-influenced view) of history. Many think Noah must have been some primitive person maybe using primitive stone tools. When God made man, man was obviously highly intelligent. Genesis 4:21 tell us that within a few generations people were making musical instruments. By the time of Noah, and with people living for hundreds of years before the Flood, who knows what sort of knowledge was accumulated and the kind of sophisticated technology that was developed? Noah may have had tools and other impressive technology that we would be jealous of! And remember, we don’t know how ancient people built many of the stone structures in South America or even the remarkably constructed Egyptian pyramids. The ancients obviously had a technology we just aren’t aware of, as it seems no record was kept or the records were destroyed. In this area of ancient technologies, we need to think in terms of a Christian worldview based on the history in the Bible.
  6. Cusco Stone Work

    A section of a wall in Saksaywaman, Peru

  7. Noah didn’t use cranes.4 The Bible does not tell us whether Noah did or did not use cranes. From a Christian worldview, ancient people, including those living before the Flood, would have been highly intelligent, and no doubt would have understood about remedial things like leverage. Noah may have had ingeniously designed cranes that would make us stand in awe today!
  8. You shouldn’t have used any metal in the Ark as Noah didn’t use metal.5 But where in the Bible does it say Noah didn’t use metal? In fact, in Genesis 4:22, just a few generations after Adam, we read, “And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron.” So if they were using bronze and iron then, by the time of Noah people may have developed all sorts of sophisticated uses of metals. Noah may have used more metal than we do!
  9. You should be building it on water to show it floats!6 We didn’t build our Ark to float, for one, because there’s never going to be another global Flood (Genesis 9:15; Isaiah 54:9). There will indeed be another judgment, but next time it will be by fire (2 Peter 3:10). We designed the Ark as a wooden ship based on the dimensions in the Bible and built it as a themed attraction to teach people the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. It is constructed as a building (though designed as a ship) and therefore has to be built according to the building codes of our day. It is an ingenious design: anchored to three towers so the restrooms, exit stairs, and elevators are kept out of the Ark itself.
  10. There’s no way Noah could have built a wooden ship that size,7 especially not by himself. Actually, there are records going back over 2,000 years of ancient wooden ships as big and even bigger than the Ark. It’s just that we are not used to seeing such massive wooden ships today, and, therefore, many people think it couldn’t be done!

    Also, Noah had his three sons to help him8—and there’s no reason to doubt he would have hired people to help as well. Though many Christians are helping us build the life-size Ark in Williamstown, Kentucky, there are many contractors on site who are not Christians but who happily accepted a contract to use their expertise to work on sections of the project. In the Ark exhibit at the Creation Museum, we also suggest that Noah could have hired people to work on the Ark who may have scoffed while they worked on the project.

  11. Ark Stern
  12. What a lot of wasted money— money that should have been given to the poor.9 We have heard this ridiculous assertion many times. It echoes Judas Iscariot’s words in John 12:4–6:

    But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

    We’ve answered this claim before, but people continue to show their prejudice or ignorance. Think about it: the amount of money being spent on the current US presidential campaign alone is many times more than that being spent on the Ark. Also, what about all the money spent on constructing cruise ships, or roller coasters, or secular theme parks and museums—the list goes on. Why is it that people seem to single out the Ark for criticism in regards to funding, but they don’t say a word when it comes to the billions and billions of dollars spent by other groups? By and large it’s because of the message we proclaim. Most of these critics don’t want Christian messages getting out to the public, and some don’t see the importance.

  13. Noah didn’t use concrete.10 Again, we don’t know what materials Noah did or didn’t have, as we are not told. According to materials experts, the ancient Egyptians (descendants of Noah’s grandson Mizraim/Aegyptus) used a highly advanced form of concrete while constructing the Great Pyramid.11 We do know that Noah used timber to build an Ark, and we are given the dimensions in Scripture. We know it was built to float because a massive Flood was coming. The life-size Ark that Answers in Genesis is building is being constructed as a building for people to go through, and it’s built 15 feet off the ground. For code and structure reasons, we have used a lot of concrete for the piers. For fire code reasons, we had to use a concrete floor (that is covered by wood) to allow people to walk on all three decks. We’ve answered these criticisms and others before.
Ark Stern

Yes, we are building a life-size Ark called Ark Encounter as one of the greatest Christian outreaches of our day. Keep up to date at the Ark Encounter website.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

Footnotes

  1. This is called an Insufficient Evidence Fallacy.
  2. This is arbitrary (mere opinion).
  3. This is an Insufficient Evidence Fallacy. Consider the technology we have in the United States, which is less than 250 years old. Yet the Flood occurred 1,656 years after Creation.
  4. Another Insufficient Evidence Fallacy.
  5. This is a Contrary to the Fact/Conditional Error Fallacy.
  6. This is arbitrary (mere opinion).
  7. This claim is arbitrary.
  8. It is possible that Methuselah and Lamech, Noah’s elders, could have helped to their capacity for a while.
  9. This is arbitrary (mere opinion).
  10. This is another Insufficient Evidence Fallacy.
  11. Sheila Berninger and Dorilona Rose, “The Surprising Truth About How the Great Pyramids Were Built,” LiveScience.com, May 18, 2007, http://www.livescience.com/1554-surprising-truth-great-pyramids-built.html.

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