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BIBLE APOLOGETICS ON ORIGINS
Part V: Explaining The Scientific Credibility Of Noah's Ark
Lesson: The Bible's record of the ark and its use to save life in the Noahic Flood is scientifically defensible! The dinosaurs became extinct due to the earth's harsh postdiluvian climactic conditions!
- We have provided a credible answer for the origin of massive fossils deposits -- the Noahic Flood.
- However, we also say the current land animals and man were preserved by Noah's ark, so we need to show the scientific credibility as to the ark's capacity to save all this life as noted in Scripture as follows:
- Explaining The Scientific Credibility Of Noah's Ark (I am indebted to Whitcomb and Morris' The Genesis Flood; to Whitcomb's The Early Earth; to Alexander Heidel's The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels and to The Ryrie Study Bible: King James Version.)
- The Biblical record on Noah's ark is clarified as follows:
- Genesis 6:14-16 lays out the physical features of the ark: it was 300 by 50 by 30 "cubits", and a cubit was c. 18 inches (Z.P.E.B., v. Five, p. 914). The ark would then measure 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high. The boat was built with three decks and possibly a roof air vent running the length of the ark as its "window." The boat was also coated inside and out with pitch for seaworthiness!
- Genesis 6:20 and 7:9 states God sent the animals to Noah in pairs.
- Genesis 7:11 with 8:14-15 with the Ryrie Study Bible: KJV ftn. to Gen. 8:14 reveal Noah and the animals with him were in the ark for 371 days, or for nearly 53 weeks!
- Critics of the Biblical record object to these details, saying they are not scientifically defensible! Some say the ark was not big enough to house the world's animals. Others doubt the ability of Noah to gather, store feed and govern life on the ark for a year (Ibid., Whitcomb & Morris, The Genesis Flood, p. 63-75).
- However, scientific observations of actual data argue in favor of the Biblical record!
- Earnest Mayr, a leading American systematic taxonomist, has concluded there are currently 1,000,000 species of animal life in the world -- aquatic and otherwise, Ibid., p. 68. Since there was no need to house aquatic animals in view of the deluge, it would leave 17, 600 current land animal species needing the ark for survival, Ibid. Ryrie allows room for 45,000 land animal species to account for extinct species of land animals that are suggested in the fossil record, Op. cit., ftn. to Genesis 6:15.
- If the ark was built like a barge with straight sides unlike modern ocean ships, it would have been able to carry 522 standard sized railroad cars, Ibid., Whitcomb & Morris, p. 67-68. Considering the sizes of land animal species taken in pairs each, Noah would have needed 188 railroad cars worth of room to house these life forms and 104 cars worth of room to store food for a year, leaving 230 cars worth of room for humans on board and limited "range" for the animals! (cf. Ryrie ftn. to Gen. 6:15) Besides, reptiles such as dinosaurs attain sexual maturity long before they reach maximum size, making it possible to have housed small dinosaurs on the ark, Op. cit., Whitcomb, The Early Earth, p. 132.
- Oceangoing vessels need to be six times longer than they are wide to minimize the tendency to capsize in turbulent seas. Well, the ark's width (75 feet) is 1/6 its length (450 feet), fitting this need! Also, the ark's size would have equipped it to displace 13,960 tons, making it slightly smaller than the U. S. S. Mariposa! (Op. cit., Whitcomb & Morris, p. 10 in referring to the 1960 World Almanac, p. 680)
- The Babylonians had a myth of a great flood where a man built a boat, loading it with people and land animals to escape a great deluge, Heidel, Op. cit., p. 269. This account is scientifically inferior to the Biblical one as it describes an unworkable boat design (a 120 cubit cube-shaped hull with seven decks, Ibid., Heidel, p. 81 [Tablet XI, lines 28-30, 57-61]) and only seven days of precipitation (Ibid., p. 85 [Tablet XI, lines 108-131]). However, the fact that this record exists along with the Biblical account and over 270 other accounts of a great flood from all around the world argues for the reality of a great flood sometime in antiquity, cf. Ryrie Study Bible: KJV, footnote to Genesis 7:19.
- The care of the animals on the ark for a year would have been possible with the use of hibernation (winter sleep) and estivation (summer drowsiness) which "occur in every group of vertebrates save birds, and its predisposing causes, immediate and remote, are by no means uniform." (Pycraft, "Hibernation," Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 11, p. 539 as cited in Whitcomb & Morris, Op. cit., p. 71)