Evidence and Significance to Us
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
by Dr. Jesus Milton Rousseau
Noah is remembered for his undoubting, affirmative, strong faith in God, complemented with loyalty and obedience, expressed by constructing a massive ark when there were no signs of floods or past episodes of massive destruction. Noah trusted God even when he did not have any experience with a massive flood to destroy all humans and living creatures. Noah was a “just man,” “perfect in his generations,” and “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Therefore, God chose him to save all the living species on the earth.
Noah’s irrevocable faith in God made him one of the great heroes of faith in the Holy Bible (Hebrews 11:7). Peter attributes to Noah the title “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). Noah is an example for us as we struggle against principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), while anticipating the establishment of our Lord’s kingdom.
All of us have read the episode of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6:8-9:17). Now, let us see, how Noah’s Ark is significant in our daily lives.
First, did Noah’s ark really exist? Various records by historians, legends, and many expeditions to Mount Ararat by different teams of archaeologists and researchers over the centuries have yielded positive information on the findings of Noah’s Ark.
In 1955, French explorer Fernand Navarra, on his third visit to Mount Ararat, discovered Noah’s ark and brought back a 1.5-meter piece of wood from a deep crevasse. Pieces from that wood were sent for rigorous testing, which confirmed that the wood was more than 4,800 years old, dating back to the time of Noah’s era. In 1979, Ron Wyatt and other researchers went to Mount Ararat, Turkey. They used molecular frequency generators, metal detectors, and sub-surface and radar equipment to prove that the “boat-shaped object” was the remains of Noah’s ark. After 10 years of research and substantial evidence, in 1987, the site was declared Noah’s Ark National Park by the Turkish government. Recently, in 2010, according to National Geographic News and Fox News, a group of Christian explorers from Noah’s Ark Ministries International claimed to have found Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey.1
(1) Editor’s note: These three are mutually exclusive; there can be only one Noah’s Ark. The 2010 claim appears to have been staged, (youtube.com/ watch?v=ohErNwECcvw), and so does not detract from the other two possibilities.
Though the remains of Noah’s ark may have been seen historically, geologically, scientifically, archaeologically, and technologically, still there are various theories challenging the proof of Noah’s ark. However, as Christians, we truly believe that God’s word written in the Bible is true, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35. See also Luke 21:33, Psalms 12:6, 89:34, 2 Peter 1:20, 21, 2 Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 30:5).
Reason for the Flood
In Noah’s time, the angels possessed a special power of materialization, given by God, through which they could transform themselves into human beings (see Genesis 18). These angels transformed themselves into men and married human daughters, who in turn gave birth to giants (nephilim is the Hebrew word used, which means “fallen ones”). These offspring were not considered part of the natural human race (see Genesis 6:1- 4). These giants were physically and intellectually superior to normal humans, and they filled the earth with wickedness and violence: “The wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5). The iniquity became so great that God regretted making man (Genesis 6:6 or, changed his way toward man). Therefore, God would destroy sinful humanity along with the giants; i.e., the illegitimate race of nephilim, of mixed ancestry (Genesis 6:7).
These giants were not authorized by God and not from the seed of Adam. Because it is for Adam’s race that our Lord died, these giants will have no resurrection. “By man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead … as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21,22, Romans 5:12-19). After the flood, the angels that sinned dematerialized and were delivered into “chains [pits] of darkness,” “reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6).
According to the Bible, the ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high (Genesis 6:15). A cubit is an old measurement system based on the length of the arm from the elbow to the longest finger. There have been various suggestions for the length of a cubit, from 17.6 inches to 21.88 inches. If the longer length is assumed, then Noah’s Ark would have been 547 feet long, 91.2 feet wide, and 54.7 feet high. The ark also had a window, door, and three floors (Genesis 6:16). In terms of safety, modern engineers agree that the dimensions of Noah’s ark made for a stable vessel.
The ark was built with Gopher wood, which according to some researchers is cypress wood. “Pitch,” a tar-like substance, was used to seal the wood, preventing water leakage (Genesis 6:14). The ark may not have been in the shape of modern ships built today, because the purpose of the ark was to float stably in the water and not to navigate. Thus, the base might have been flat. Also, the ark floated with divine protection against the deluge and accomplished the task of preserving all the precious lives in the ark.
Three floors of 547 x 91.2 feet would be nearly 150,000 square feet. With only about 5,500 species of land mammals, there would be an average of 27 square feet for each. (By one estimate, 12 percent are larger than a sheep, 31 percent between the size of a sheep and a rat, and 57 percent are smaller than a rat). With the average about the size of a house cat, there would have been ample room for all, even before taking into consideration the stacking of many cages. The five million species of insects need not be considered, nor some 40,000 species of fishes which live in the water.
Duration of Stay in the Ark
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day” (Genesis 7:11) the traumatic floods began. On the 601st year of Noah’s life, 2nd month, 27th day, the earth was finally dry (Genesis 8:13,14). According to Genesis 7:7-10, Noah was in the ark for 7 days until the rains began. Hence, Noah stayed in the ark 7 days plus one year and 10 days, or 377 days (by a 360-day per year calendar).
Who Were Saved?
The ark carried only Noah, his wife, his three sons, and three daughters-in-law, i.e., eight human beings (Genesis 7:1,7,13, 1 Peter 3:20). There were also seven pairs of clean animals, two pairs of unclean animals (Genesis 7:2), and seven pairs of all the birds (Genesis 7:3). The clean animals were suitable for human food, e.g. sheep, while the unclean animals were unsuitable for food, but useful in other ways, e.g., horses.
After disembarking from the ark, Noah expressed his heartfelt gratitude to God. “Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20). Then, God accepted his sacrifice and said in his heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake” (Genesis 8:21). In Genesis 9:9-17, God established his “Rainbow covenant” with every living creature, that he will not again destroy the earth with a flood. “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:13).
The flood was meant for the destruction of ungodly people. Only eight noble souls were saved, by water, which is a symbol of baptism. The Apostle Peter connects the saving of Noah’s family with baptism, that which saves us. “When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20,21).
Water was also used as a symbol for baptism in Israel’s crossing of the Red sea (1 Corinthians 10:1,2). Similarly, only through baptism into Christ can we enter the ark of safety of our Lord and be saved. Only “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).2 Baptism is much more than the mere act of submerging and rising from the water. Through baptism, a symbol of faith and consecration, we enter the ark of safety as we are immersed into Christ’s death (Romans 6:4). After baptism, we have “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27) by receiving our begetting as New Creatures through God’s holy Spirit (Acts 2:38. See also Acts 22:16, Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 4:4- 6, Romans 6:3-8, John 3:5, Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
(2) Editor’s note: Mark 16:9-16 is absent from several best manuscripts and is therefore doubtful.
The ark, made of wood, saved Noah’s family from the wrath of God (flood). Similarly, the wooden cross, symbolic of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, saves us from our sins (John 3:36).
Noah’s family survived by entering the door of the ark. Likewise, we must enter the door, Jesus, to be saved. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9. See also John 14:6).
The ark was a refuge for those inside. Correspondingly, our Lord Jesus is our refuge from God’s wrath. “We shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9,10). By providing Jesus as our savior, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1. See also Psalms 91:2, 34:8, 9:9, 16:1, Isaiah 25:4, Jeremiah 16:19, Nahum 1:7).
Finally, the second presence of our redeemer Jesus Christ is compared to the time of Noah. “And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming (Greek: parousia, presence) of the Son of man” (Matthew 24:37-39 ASV. See also Luke 17:26,27). Likewise, the present world is filled with wickedness, ungodly and unjust ways, as it was in the time of Noah. Today, we are witnessing increased pornography, cruelty, and violence against mankind by extremist groups (like ISIS), the rape and murder of girls and women, gay marriage, modern technology being used to make weapons of mass destruction (nuclear missiles, biological agents, etc.) (See Matthew 24:7,21).
Like the giants in Noah’s time who were “men of renown,” today’s world has “corporate giants.” Thus, the present world shows all of the signs of our Lord Jesus Christ’s presence, for as Noah was present when all the evils were occurring, so the Lord is present now. Therefore, we must be prepared like the “wise virgins” to accept our “Bridegroom” Jesus (Matthew 25:1-13, 9:15).
Significance in our Daily Lives
Noah’s faith was severely tested by this experience. But Noah had sincere trust and undoubting faith in our God, Yahweh, and obeyed all His commandments (Genesis 6:22). Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” Similarly, we should also trust and have an undoubting faith in our God Yahweh, “Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust” (Psalms 40:4). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). Paul warns us, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men [Greek andrizomai, to act manly], be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). He also exclaims, “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). As real followers of our God through his son Jesus Christ, we need to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7. See also Hebrews 11, 1 Peter 1:7, 1 John 5:4, Psalms 118:8, 1 Corinthians 2:5, Ephesians 6:16). Gladly, we need to bear in our mind that though God will test us; certainly, He will give us the strength to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God gave Noah the required strength, skills, instructions, and intellectual capacity needed to construct the ark. Therefore, while God had only given Noah the dimensions and materials to be used, Noah could complete the enormous task successfully. Similarly, God will give his children the strength to do everything needed to secure their salvation. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength” (Isaiah 40:29). David said, “The Lord is their strength and he is the saving strength of his anointed” (Psalms 28:7. See also 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). God will guide His chosen children, irrespective of whether they are strong or weak, wise or foolish, according to the flesh (1 Corinthians 1:26,27).
At the time of Noah, the whole world was making merry and rejoicing, without knowing their own destruction was imminent. Only Noah and his family were patiently constructing an ark to save their lives, as instructed by God. Likewise, in the present time, while a majority of the population in the world is rejoicing in their lifestyles, selfishness, evil thoughts, and treacherous deeds, we as the “chosen” should be vigilant and follow the commandments of our living God. We need to watch and pray, as Jesus cautioned us in Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always.” (See also Matthew 26:41.)
While there were yet no signs of rain, Noah obeyed God’s words by patiently constructing the ark. While his neighbors probably mocked Noah and his family, yet he persevered and diligently completed the task of constructing the ark. Similarly, we must fight every day against mockery, temptations, trials, and tribulations, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12, we fight “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We must be “patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12. See also Romans 8:35, Acts 14:22, Colossians 3:12, 1 Timothy 6:11, James 5:8).
Let us keep in mind Psalms 40:1, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” We should always acknowledge that our present trials are God’s will in training us to develop the Christian character needed to receive the crown of life. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life” (James 1:12. See also 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Peter 4:12,13). Again, Paul strengthens us with the words of Romans 8:18, “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.”
Finally, Noah’s actions “condemned the world, and [he] became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7). We, too, must value righteousness by being baptized into Christ and following our Lord Jesus Christ, taking up our own cross (Matthew 16:24-26, Galatians 5:24). Noah was chosen for this noble task just as those who are baptized into Jesus are “chosen” by God (John 15:16, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 8:28, 2 Thessalonians 2:13) for spiritual salvation and the salvation of souls. If we have been baptized into Christ, let us use every second in our life to serve God’s will. Let us endure all of the trials, tribulations, and mockery that God permits the worldly people around us. Let us be righteous, steadfast, and firm in our never-ending faith in our ever-loving true God Yahweh, through his only son, the captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ!