Noah's Ark, Hong Kong Style

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We were deluged with media tips this week about the Wall Street Journal’s front-page coverage of a Noah’s Ark replica.

The full-sized reconstruction of Noah’s Ark sits on 270,000 square feet on a small island in Hong Kong, where it was built by the billionaire Kwok brothers. At 450 feet (137 m) long, this ark’s spacious interior houses a restaurant, an exhibition hall, a children’s museum, and a rooftop luxury hotel (“Noah’s Resort”), along with 67 pairs of fiberglass animals.

One commenter on the Journal article declared:

As a Christian, I am always embarrassed for my deluded brothers who feel a children’s tale is somehow a way to exhibit their faith. God bless them for their intention, but they should realize how stupid they make Christians look by first (1) Thinking there is enough water hidden somewhere to flood the planet (2) Underestimating the number of animal species needing to be saved my [sic] about a billion (forgetting about plants).

We wanted to briefly answer the questions this commenter raised (though Answers in Genesis has done so many times before):

  1. There is already enough water on the earth’s surface to flood the entire world—it’s just that the modern earth is far from flat. The continents are higher, and most of the liquid surface water is in the ocean basins (there is also some under the surface). See “Was There Really a Noah’s Ark & Flood?
  2. The commenter gives no grounds for why we’re supposedly underestimating the number of animals that needed to be on the Ark. On the contrary, we’ve made a very rigorous, specific, biblical case; see “Caring for the Animals on the Ark.” (And God did not tell Noah to take plants on the Ark, though the implication is that he would have taken some for food. See the ICR article “What Happened To Land Plants During The Flood?” for that discussion.)

We understand why—given his compromised perspective—this commenter thinks young-earth creationists make Christians look stupid. But we would ask him for his response if someone said believing in the “children’s tale” of Jesus’s Resurrection was stupid!

A project 17 years in the making but whose foundations were just set in 2004, the Ark replica was constructed in conjunction with five Christian organizations. The replica Ark’s specifications match what the Bible records, giving visitors a true perspective of the massive scale and carrying capacity Noah’s ship had. (Read more about determining the Ark’s size in “Thinking Outside the Box.”) That sets it apart from many other Ark replicas around the world, which are all built on a smaller scale.

For instance, the widely publicized “Dutch ark” is built on a 1:5 scale—see “Noah’s Ark—Sailing in the Netherlands?” and “Johan Huibers and His Ark.” (See also a Wall Street Journal slideshow of other Ark replicas around the world.) A worker on the Dutch ark, however, emphasized that the Hong Kong ark-builders and the Dutch ark-builders “stand for the same goal as far as I can tell.” She added that the Dutch team is working on a full-size water-faring ark now.

Among the Kwok brothers, the Hong Kong ark is especially a project of Thomas Kwok, whom the Journal identifies as an evangelical Christian. In the 1990s, Thomas, the middle Kwok brother, even set up a church on the 75th floor of a Hong Kong skyscraper.

The Ark replica project also highlights the international scope of the creation movement, which has been covered in several articles over the past few months (see the February 21 News to Note and last week’s, where we reported that China could become the world’s largest Christian country by 2050). That said, the article notes that the team must devise a marketing strategy to attract mainland Chinese to see the ark, as many of them are not familiar with the Genesis account.

For better or worse, the Journal article spends time relating the Flood story to modern-day economic troubles. “Some latter-day Noahs believe the biblical story of a flood washing away man’s misdeeds resonates in a time of sunken financial institutions and economic tumult.” The article quotes one woman who praised the Ark replica, saying, “When you go to Disneyland, there’s really no message there. But at Noah’s Ark, there is such a strong message that life goes on.” While this is indeed one of the messages of Noah’s Ark—that God chose to preserve life—we hope visitors will recognize that the Ark represents far more than that: the true history of Genesis, including the necessity of God’s judgment of sin and the Ark of salvation He provided then—and provides now through Jesus Christ.

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