As we read the Genesis account of the flood, we find that most of the claims of religious fundamentalists about Noah, the ark, and the flood are derived from denominational traditions, and not from the Bible. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of their beliefs about Genesis 6-9 are wrong. However, when people present traditions instead of Bible facts, errors are possible. One issue where people are often wrong is the location of Noah’s ark.
The Ark Encounter attraction in Kentucky is a major promoter of many of the traditions about the flood. While it gets a lot of press and a great deal of money, it also provides atheists and skeptics with ammunition to attack the faith of believers. The recent case where the Ark Encounter managers sued their insurance company for rain damage is a classic example.
Over the years, we have published numerous articles about attempts to establish the location of Noah’s ark. You can find them with the search engine on doesgodexist.org. One of the points that we have made repeatedly is that the Bible does not say that the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. Modern-day Ararat in Armenia is almost certainly not what was called Ararat in Noah’s day.
Genesis 8:4 tells us the ark came to rest in “the mountains of Ararat.” People who know the topography of that area tell us that a continuous belt of peaks called the Kagizman Ridge is known as “the mountains of Ararat.” That ridge is located west of the present Mount Ararat in the country of Turkey. Those who have climbed Ararat and brought back what they claim are pieces of the ark, have credibility problems. They not only have the problem of how wood could survive all that time and the effects of glaciers, but they are almost certainly on the wrong mountain.
The July 2019 issue of Acts and Facts, published by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), carried an interesting article about the ark. It admitted that the ark did not come to rest on present-day Mount Ararat and it discussed the geology of the area. It concluded that saying the ark came to rest on “the mountains of Ararat” was the most accurate way to describe its landing spot.
Perhaps the most argued event in the Old Testament is the flood of Noah described in Genesis. For the past several days we have been examining some of the questions people have. Today we will look at two modern misconceptions about the flood.
Did the Ark come to rest on Mount Ararat? The answer to that question is “no!” Genesis 8:4 says that the Ark came to rest “upon the mountains of Ararat” which is not modern day Mount Ararat. This is of little interest except that the claims of some people that they found the Ark on modern-day Mount Ararat are clearly erroneous.
Was the Grand Canyon caused by the flood laying down strata and then carving the canyon by erosion? The answer to that question is also “no.” The rocks in the canyon are not of one deposition and are not flood strata. Floods leave a tangled mess of debris. The majority of rocks in the Grand Canyon are limestone which is a chemically precipitated rock. The limestone is interspersed with conglomerate, shale, desert deposits of sandstone, and some volcanic deposits. A flood would produce none of those except shale.
Do fossils in the Grand Canyon verify the flood? No, a flood produces a tangled mess of all kinds of remains of plants and animals. The rock layers in the Canyon have different animals at different layers. Each animal or plant grouping is a function of the environment in which they lived. That is not what a flood would do.
The question is not whether the flood happened, but rather what a flood would do and what remains from the flood. There are dozens of flood layers in the stratigraphy all over the American southwest, but which one might be related to Noah’s flood cannot be determined.
Perhaps the most argued event in the Old Testament is the flood of Noah described in Genesis. This week we have been examining some of the questions people ask. Today we will look at the question, “How extensive was the flood of Noah?”
Taking the Bible literally does not mean a superficial reading of the King James translation of the Bible. You have to look at who wrote it, to whom it was written, why it was written, and how the people to whom it was written would have understood it. The language of Genesis 6-8 certainly seems to indicate that the waters of the flood covered the whole globe.
Many times biblical passages sound like the event was global when it clearly was not. Luke 2:1-3 says “There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed…” Was that the whole globe or the Roman world? Did Rome collect taxes from the Incas, the Hopi, or the Denali? The people of the time would have understood that to mean the entire Roman world. In Colossians 1:23 Paul says that the gospel of Christ “was preached to every creature which is under heaven.” I have visited with the native people at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and they have no record of the gospel ever having been preached to their ancestors there. Clearly, Paul was talking about the world that he knew.
The message of Genesis 6-8 is that humans discarded God and became corrupt to the point that God destroyed them by a flood. The one person who stayed faithful to God was a man named Noah who was warned that the event was coming. God gave him time to construct a way to save his family and the animals of his area. There is evidence to verify this that we have considered in this series of posts and which is available on our website.
How extensive was the flood of Noah? It ended the lives of all but the few people on the boat. The Bible tells us that a flood like that will not happen again. However, it also says that the Earth will be destroyed by a fire that melts the very elements of which we are all made ( 2 Peter 3:8-13).
Perhaps the most argued event in the Old Testament is the flood of Noah described in Genesis. This week we have been examining some of the questions people ask. Today we will look at the question, “Where did the water go after Noah’s flood?”
If the flood covered the whole Earth so that the highest mountain was under water by 15 cubits (Genesis 7:19-20), what happened to all that water? Genesis 8:1-3 says that “God made a wind to pass over the Earth” and stopped the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven. That indicates three methods of removing the water. If the fountains of the deep involved underground springs that gushed massive amounts of water, that water could be removed by flowing back into the caverns from which it came. If “the windows of heaven” indicates an extraterrestrial source, it is difficult to suggest any significant return. High winds which the Bible mentions would maximize evaporation, but there are some other factors to consider.
It is important to point out that nowhere in the Bible is there an indication that the waters were level. We will discuss the extent of the flood in our next post, but the known earth at the time of this event was a limited area. At the Straits of Gibraltar, there is a normal fault with the downthrown side to the west. At the base of that fault is a large waterfall gouge. The Glomar Challenger Oceanographic Research Vessel has documented what appears to be an opening of the Straits with the whole Atlantic Ocean having access to the Mediterranean Sea at a time in the past, which was a desert before the flood. It is reasonable to propose a model where hydrostatic pressure could drive water up the western shore of the Mediterranean which is of course where the biblical story takes place.
Perhaps the most argued event in the Old Testament is the flood of Noah described in Genesis. For the past two days, we have been examining some of the questions people ask. Today we will look at the question, “How could all those animals fit in Noah’s ark?”
The Bible gives the dimensions of the ark, and it indeed was huge, especially for that time. How do you get the 25 million or so species of animals on Earth today into that ship? The answer is that you couldn’t.
Genesis 6:20 lists the same groups that are described in Genesis 1. Those are (1) fowl, (2) cattle, (3) “creeping things,” and (4) fish. We pointed out in our lessons on evolution that the word “kind” in Hebrew is not the same as “species” in modern scientific terms. The word “kind” is the Hebrew word “min,” and the Bible tells us in both the Old and New Testaments that there are four kinds: the flesh of fish, the flesh of birds, the flesh of beasts, and the flesh of man. First Corinthians 15:39 identifies these four and Genesis 1 identifies them as well. The same groupings are used in Genesis 6 to describe what Noah took on the ark.
The Hebrew word “remes” is rendered as “creeping thing” in some translations of the Bible. “Sherets” is also translated creeping thing (see Leviticus 11). “Remes” was an animal the Jews could eat, but “sherets” was not. “Remes” clearly refers to goats and sheep – animals that could be eaten by the Jews. But “sherets” refers to things like snakes and lizards which they could not eat.