Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., explains the purpose for Ark Encounter and the reason it is being built on land.
If the ark was supposed to be able to float, why are you building your full sized replica on land? Wouldn’t you want to prove people who say it couldn’t float that they are wrong?
Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis and for your questions. Your queries give us an opportunity to correct some misconceptions people have about the Ark Encounter. So let’s take a look at each of them.
If the ark was supposed to be able to float, why are you building your full sized replica on land?
First, as we explained in last week’s feedback, the Ark Encounter is not being promoted as a replica of Noah’s Ark. We do not know exactly what the original Ark looked like so it would be very difficult to replicate it. However, we have designed our Ark in accordance to the scant details of the biblical text (Genesis 6:14–16), basing our design on research into ancient shipbuilding.
Second, the purpose for Noah’s Ark is different than Ark Encounter. Noah’s Ark was used for its eight human passengers and large number of animals to survive a year-long worldwide Flood. Whereas the Ark Encounter is being designed as a testimony to the biblical Ark and the account of God’s judgment upon an unbelieving world. Also, the setting for our Ark is the pre-Flood world so there would be no reason to have it float at that point. We want this attraction to stand for years to come (Lord willing), demonstrating the trustworthiness of God’s Word and telling people about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Third, if you want us to build an ark like Noah did, then you should be pleased that we are building our Ark on land. The Bible indicates that Noah built the original Ark on land. It wasn’t until after the Flood started that the Ark was “lifted up” from the ground. While we are building our Ark on land, we have no plans to put it in water because the goal of our endeavor is different.
Wouldn’t you want to prove people who say it couldn’t float that they are wrong?
I don’t think there are many skeptics and critics of Noah’s Ark who would claim that it couldn’t float—at least initially. Many large wooden vessels have been constructed that have floated without problems. One of the major skeptical criticisms of the Ark and Flood account in Genesis is the contention that such a boat would not remain afloat in turbulent waters. However, several scientific studies have shown that Noah’s Ark was built to optimal proportions to provide a perfect blend of comfort, strength, and stability.
It will be a structurally sound ship, so with some basic modifications, it could actually float.
The Ark Encounter is a theme park attraction; it is not being built for the purpose of floating. However, it will be a structurally sound ship, so with some basic modifications, it could actually float.
God used Noah to save the lives of eight people as well as the land animals and birds that were brought to him on the original Ark. Although it will be an important teaching point, our primary goal is not to prove to people that the loaded Ark could float.
Our main objective is to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). We believe the Ark Encounter will be a powerful evangelistic and apologetic tool to do just that. By showing visitors that God’s Word is authoritative and absolutely trustworthy from the very first verse, guests will learn that the gospel’s historical foundation in Genesis is true.
Man’s sin brought death and suffering into this world, and just several generations later the earth was corrupt and filled with violence (Genesis 6:11). God provided a way of physical salvation for Noah and his family from the Flood’s global judgment. God will one day judge this wicked world again, this time by fire (2 Peter 3:10). He has already provided the means of eternal salvation by sending His Son to bear the punishment for our sins on the Cross. Those who receive His offer of salvation by faith will be spared from the eternal punishment we deserve. But those who reject Christ’s sacrifice can expect the terrifying judgment of the holy and righteous Creator (Hebrews 10:26–27).
The Ark Encounter is being built because we desire to see people turn from their sins and call upon Jesus Christ for salvation. What about you? Have you turned your life over to Christ, trusting in Him as Savior and Lord, or will you trample Him underfoot, insult “the Spirit of grace,” and one day face His vengeance upon sin (Hebrews 10:29–31)?