With millions and millions of species living on the earth today, how did Noah build a boat that could hold all those creatures and how did he round them up to get them on the boat?
The Simple Explanation:
Put very simply, firstly, the Bible doesn’t talk about “Species” it talks about “Kinds”.
Secondly Noah didn’t have to go and collect the animals, God made them go to the Ark. (Genesis Ch 6 v 20)
Now, here’s more detail:
“KInds” in Hebrew means “things that look like each other”. Even quite late in Bible times, domestic animals were often referred to as “cattle”, though they might have been all sorts of four footed beasts. They all looked roughly like each other. Cats, lions, tigers, pumas, leopards, would all constitute one “kind”. Ants, spiders, and many other insects would all be considered a “kind”.
It’s difficult for our poor modern brains to understand, but the world has not always had the understanding of the relationship between animal types which we have. People in the past had to rely on what seems obvious.
And the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is ALWAYS written from the point of view of the “common man” – he’s the man who sees the sun rise one side of the sky and set the other, and AS FAR AS HE IS CONCERNED it is the sun which moves.
So Ecclesiastes 1 verse 5 says: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.” Our scientific generation says, “The Bible is WRONG”. But we forget that the Bible was not written JUST for us, it was written for Jews and non-Jews of 100 BC, and Mid-European peasants of 400 AD and farmers of 1400 AD. It was written in the language of the common man for the common man to understand.
So, what do we know about the Ark?
First, it was VERY big, about a third longer than the biggest wooden ship ever built in modern times. (About 137 metres long)
Wikipedia says, “According to Ark dimensions commonly accepted by Biblical literalists, the Ark would have had a gross volume of about 1.5 million cubic feet (40,000 m³), a displacement a little less than half that of the Titanic at about 22,000 tons, and total floor space of around 100,000 square feet (9,300 m²).”
Second it had NO NEED of forward propulsion. It didn’t need to “cut through the waves”. All it needed was to float, then to settle. This meant that it could be much wider and square-ended than boats which needed to travel from A to B. This gives the massive floor area above, about one and a half times bigger than the Spurs football pitch. That’s half the Spurs pitch for each deck of the boat – though obviously not the same shape!
Third, you need to realise that this was not only a massive construction, it also took a very long time – about a hundred years – to build. For most of this time he would have had the help of his three sons, so it was a multi-decade, four-man project.
In recent years a man called Ron Wyatt has claimed to have found the Ark in a very remote area of the Turkish mountains – near a mountain called Ararat. There is an old YouTube report here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y5ORpMTebI
Whether this is the actual remains or not, it shows what a gigantic size the Ark must have been. We have in our minds the pictures in children’s books about Noah’s Ark – you know, a 25 ft long boat with the heads of the lion, the giraffe and the hippo all sticking out of the portholes and smiling at us. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There’s a lot more explanation possible than this, some of which we really don’t know, and other stuff we can speculate upon.
And you’ll often hear the story of the flood dismissed because other societies had myths and legends which mention a great flood. Of course, this actually reinforces the possibility that the Bible account is true.
Let me know how this takes you, and if it raises more issues.