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Originally published in Creation 18, no 1 (December 1995): 31-33.
Read about ancient humans, the ark, and frogs in this 'Our World' article for kids.
There are many different kinds of musical instruments, making many different sounds. There are wind instruments, like trumpets, flutes, and organs, which make sounds when air is blown through them. And stringed instruments, like pianos, guitars, and harps, which make sounds when their strings are struck or plucked.
Some people believe that our ancestors discovered how to make music by accident long ago, maybe by twanging on a piece of vine stretched between two trees. In the Bible, we read that people were able to make musical instruments right at the beginning. 'Jubal was the first person to play the harp and flute' (Genesis 4:21). So stringed and wind instruments were made and used even before the Flood of Noah's time. Any musical instruments made before the Flood would have been destroyed, but some very old ones have been found, like a beautiful Sumerian harp which is 3,500 years old. This evidence shows that the Bible is right about how music began.
Were our ancestors 'ape-men'? Many people think they were, because they have been taught the theory of evolution. The Bible tells a very different story: that human beings have always been human since God created them, and that from the very beginning people have been wise and clever. In the Book of Genesis, chapter four, we can read about some of the things the earliest people did. These included building cities, keeping livestock, and making tools from iron and bronze.
Evidence from around the world shows the Bible is right. Hundreds of ruins of old metal-smelting furnaces show that people were making tools and weapons from metal more than 4,000 years ago. They made things from copper, bronze, and tin. The ancient Egyptians even knew how to cover objects with a thin layer of gold (called electroplating).
Ruins of ancient cities and great temples show that people had great building skills. Some of the great pyramids of Egypt have survived for over 4,000 years. The great pyramid of Cheops is as high as a 30-storey building. It is built of more than two million blocks of stone, and some of the blocks weigh 30 tonnes! The people who built it had none of our modern machines to dig the blocks from a distant quarry and carry them to the site, or to lift them. Yet they did it, and this pyramid is still standing today.
Many so-called modern 'discoveries' are really re-discoveries: the Chinese were using paper in the second century BC, although Europeans did not 'discover' it until AD 1430. The Chinese also used human-carrying kites (hang-gliders) in the fourth century BC. The idea that we have evolved from 'primitive' cave-men is clearly wrong.
But there couldn't have been room for all those animals', objected Greg, as they walked home from Children's Church. Tom and Jenny had persuaded Greg to go with them, but he was still sceptical after a talk on Noah. His parents did not go to church and he found it all very difficult.
That afternoon, Tom said, 'We've got to do something to show people how big the Ark really was.'
At school, the class had already worked out its measurements. It was 145 metres (450 feet) long, 24 metres (75 feet) wide, and 15 metres (45 feet) high—a similar size to modern car ferries. But it was still difficult even for grown-ups to picture it. Jenny got out the farm set they used to play with, which had cows, sheep, hens, and the farmer. 'If Noah were the size of this toy farmer, how big would the Ark be?' she asked. They fetched a tape measure.
'He's about five centimetres (two inches). I wonder how tall Noah was?'
'Let's say he was five feet tall, which is 150 centimetres', said Tom.
This meant that the real Noah would have been 30 times as tall as their model farmer. So they would have to divide the Ark's size by 30.
They did some sums, and Tom exclaimed: 'Wow! that's nearly five metres long. We can't make a model that big!' They wandered around thinking.
'I know,' said Jenny, 'We can make a paper Ark with a long roll of wallpaper.'
'Good idea!' agreed Tom. 'Dad may have a roll of left-over wallpaper in the loft.'
They went up and found a fairly strong piece, a plain buff colour. They measured 4.8 metres (15 feet), but left some extra to fold back to strengthen the edges.
'Oh, there was a window! Let's not be too fussy—make it about one centimetre high', said Tom. They cut it out (see Diagram No. 1). There were three decks, so they ruled these in, and painted the door and some ladders (see Diagram No. 2).
They took the length of paper on to the lawn. 'It was painted with pitch inside and out, but we can't paint inside, or we won't see the decks,' said Jenny. So they painted the back with black powder paint.
'But it won't stand up! What can we do?' said Jenny. After a while, they thought of sticking half cereal packets to the ends and weighting them with stones. They also stuck a box to the middle at the back. It could still be rolled up.
Other children came in to see. 'We've got some animals we never use,' said Babs. She ran off and came back with two horses, two lions, two tigers, two monkeys, and two camels. Rachel contributed dogs, ducks, pandas, and bears. By the end of the week they had two each of more than 20 different animals, and eight people. Mum put tiny dresses on Mrs Noah, Mrs Ham, Mrs Shem, and Mrs Japheth, and tunics and head-dresses on the men.
On Saturday they went into town and splashed out their pocket money on two elephants, two giraffes, two stegosauruses, and two kangaroos. The kangaroos both had babies in their pouches, so they had to replace one!
It was a happy group of children who put out their model on trestles in front of the church, and arranged the animals in front of it.
'The Ark was big enough to hold 432 double-decker buses—or cages that big,' they told the grown-ups, who were amazed when they saw the Ark's size compared with the animals and people.
'You could keep two giraffes in a double-decker bus!' someone remarked.
'And such a lot of mice, rabbits or gerbils in another!' laughed Mum, who had a shed full of them.
They showed the width by putting a piece of string around. Greg came and put something outside of the string. 'I thought you'd like a whale in the sea outside,' he laughed. 'I believe the Bible story now I've seen this!'
Tom and Jenny will be back next issue.
You can build a paper Ark too! Why not have a go?
All frogs like water, and spend much of their time in it. They also like to lay their eggs in water. So you may be surprised to learn that there is one kind of frog that lives in the desert! After all, deserts are very dry places, usually with very little water, and are the last place you would expect a frog to be able to live.
Yet the water-holding frog manages to survive in the deserts of Australia. Like other frogs, it needs water to stay alive, and also to lay its eggs, but in the hot desert where it lives there is often no rain for years at a time. How, then, does the water-holding frog stay alive, having to go so long without water? It does it in an amazing way.
The frog's name gives us a clue to how it survives. When a long dry spell begins, and the ground begins to dry up, the water-holding frog burrows backwards into the mud until it disappears. About 30 centimetres (12 inches) down it makes a space about twice as big as itself. The frog's body contains a lot of water, and in this dark hole its skin swells up until it looks as though it is wrapped in a piece of plastic. Apart from two tiny breathing tubes leading from its nostrils, it is sealed.
The frog then goes into a state of hibernation, and its heart-beat and breathing become very slow. It can stay in this state for several years, only waking when the rains arrive. As soon as this happens, the water-holding frog wakes up, comes out of its 'sleeping-bag', and springs into life again.
It feasts on insects, and quickly lays its eggs (spawn). Within a few days the tadpoles emerge, soon becoming tiny frogs. Then, as the puddles begin to dry up, these young frogs themselves burrow into the mud, to begin their own long sleep, until the rains come again.
It seems impossible that water-holding frogs could have evolved to live the way they do. If they had once been like ordinary frogs they would surely have become extinct, or else moved to live in a wetter place long ago. The fact that they survive in the desert—the last place you would expect to find frogs living—suggests they were created by God with the ability to burrow under the ground, seal themselves in their watertight bag, and sleep safely until the next rains come.