There is a good chance that you might be hearing quite a bit about Noah’s Ark in the near future…
Today, Answers in Genesis, will be opening a brand new museum, ArkEncounter, in Williamstown, Kentucky. Ken Ham, the visionary behind the project, believes that the story of the Bible teaches that a global flood cataclysm enveloped the earth less than 6,000 years ago. To drive home this interpretation of the Bible, Ham’s team has built a full-sized replica of the original ark, as a type of educational, Christian-themed amusement park.
Contrary to the quaint, Sunday-School description of cute giraffes sticking their heads out of the top of the ark, the primary message behind Noah and the flood is deadly serious. Humanity is sick with sin and rebellion against a holy and loving God, and apart from the Good News of Jesus Christ, we all deserve to perish underneath the waves of His holy judgment. While those who believe the Bible embrace these truths, not every believer interprets the scientific details of the flood in the same, precise manner as presented by ArkEncounter.
For example, ArkEncounter promotes the interpretation that the great mountains of the world, such as Mount Everest, were a great deal shorter just a few thousand years ago, prior to Noah’s flood. Therefore, God would not have needed five miles high of water to envelope the planet. Nor would have the animals required oxygen at such a great height, aboard the ark. This presupposes that once the great flood began to recede, a rapid series of plate tectonic movements resulted in the creation of mountains, like Everest, even though no such event is clearly described in the Bible, and no scientific evidence of such catastrophic tectonic movements has been found. Other Christians, on the other hand, believe that Noah’s flood was more local in scope to the Mesopotamian area, though sufficient enough to wipeout the then known, “world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). Such a large scale flooding event, though not global, does find support within current scientific research.
Several years ago, John Paine and I put together a bunch of posts examining the flood from a biblical point of view:
- Noah, featuring the ministry of Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe
- Flood, Faith and Russell Crowe, a look at how different Christians view the biblical teaching on the flood.
- Noah vs. Noah, more on the flood, and how Hollywood often gets the story wrong.
Also, Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman has a few blog posts, at Biologos.org, looking at the question of what is the ancient and proper literary genre of Genesis 6-9, as the key to understanding Noah and the flood. His answer, briefly? The flood story is “neither literal history nor myth.” It is something far more interesting.
Here is a flyover of the ArkEncounter exhibit: