The Screams Heard Round the World
In late August, 2005, hurricane Katrina ripped through southern portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. While citizens in New Orleans dodged a direct hit from this major storm, the intense rain eventually proved too much for the outlying system of canal levees and substations. For citizens of “The Big Easy,” the next few hours would place them on an emotional roller-coaster that few will ever forget. After experiencing the joy of having “dodged the bullet” they discovered that the levees broke, and many parishes began to fill with water. Individuals were trapped inside their homes as the water washed away their furniture, along with a lifetime of memories. Up and down the streets people found themselves trapped in upper levels of their homes, as cries for help rang out incessantly. There was no way out. People were dying all over the city…and yet the water kept on coming.
This modern day tragedy was a harsh reminder of the power of Mother Nature. While we can still visualize television images of those who were stranded on rooftops, take a minute and try to imagine the horror and the screams that echoed around the globe when God let loose His fury on a sinful world. In August of 2005 we only heard the screams from the citizens of New Orleans and outlying regions. Thousands of years earlier there were screams heard literally around the world. Literally millions of people perished from the Global Flood that forever changed this Earth.
For decades atheists and evolutionists have scoffed at this ancient account. They assign it the label of myth or fairy tale. The mainstream media continues to bombard us with news clips, movies, and “documentaries” that call biblical accounts into question. For instance, on June 22, 2007, Universal Pictures released Evan Almighty, a modern day comedy about a politician who prays for divine help in changing the world. God’s response was for Evan to build an ark in his backyard. He was to be a modern day Noah. While audiences may find some of the jokes funny, the point should not be missed that more and more Christians have begun to question the validity of this account. Many college students find themselves abandoning their faith in favor of “science,” rather than defending accounts such as the Global Flood or Adam and Eve.
Consider the following charges that are often leveled by atheists and evolutionists:
1. The ark would not have been big enough.
In Genesis 6:15 Moses wrote: “And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.” A cubit is defined as the length of a man’s forearm. In ancient times there were “royal” cubits measuring up to 20 inches, and common cubits that measured approximately 17.5 inches. In their classic work, The Genesis Flood, John Whitcomb and Henry Morris used a conservative 17.5 inch cubit, and demonstrated that the total volume on the ark would have been 1.39 million cubic feet of storage—taking into account the three decks mentioned in verse 16. They then demonstrated that an ark of this size would have had the carrying capacity equivalent to that of 522 railroad boxcars! This was not some little Sunday afternoon sailing vessel. This was the largest ship built to that day. Is it not logical to conclude that God—the Creator of the animals—could give the appropriate dimensions for a vessel to house all of the land-dwelling animals He created?
Currently docked near Pier 39 in San Francisco is the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien—the last of a fleet of ships known as the Liberty Ships. These boats were specifically built to carry massive loads through rough seas. However, when I called a retired Navy sailor to discuss this particular ship he told me the entire fleet was built to the exact dimensions of Noah’s ark! God was the initial Architect Who provided the dimensions for a boat that could carry a heavy load through rough seas.
2. But you still can’t get two of every species on the boat!
It is important to point out that no where in God’s Word does it say Noah had to take two of every “species.” The text indicates that he was to take two of each “kind” of animal (Genesis 6:20). For instance, would Noah have had to take two Golden Retrievers, two Labrador Retrievers, two English Setters, two wolves, two coyotes, etc.? Or could he have simply taken two of the dog “kind”? But even when one examines the evidence for the species argument, we realize the ark could have easily done its job.
For instance, in 1980 Ernst Mayr, a very famous evolutionary taxonomist, published a book titled Principles of Systematic Zoology. In his book he outlined every creature we knew of that was alive on the Earth. According to Mayr’s own numbers, Noah would have had to provide protection to:
- 3,700 Mammals
- 8,600 Birds
- 6,300 Reptiles
- 2,500 Amphibians (even though some would like the water)
Thus, 21,100 different species would have needed protection aboard the ark. We can multiply this number by 2 because we know he was to take two of every unclean animal. We also know Noah was to take seven pair of the clean, so we can look through the Old Testament and discern which animals were considered clean for sacrificing. If we use the “species” definition, the total number of individual animals that would have needed protection on the ark would be approximately 50,000. If we average these 50,000 animals to the size of a sheep (knowing that most birds, reptiles, and amphibians are much smaller—but there will be cows and elephants much larger), then we can ask the question: Can we get 50,000 sheep sized animals onboard the ark? Well consider that one boxcar is capable of holding 240 “sheep-sized” animals. Thus, we could place 125,000 sheep-sized animals into 520 boxcars—and yet we only had to get 50,000! That would have left plenty of room for Noah, his family, and all of the food necessary.
3. Noah would not have had sufficient time to build a boat that big
Many creationists have proposed that Noah hired out men to help him build the ark. They Bible however remains silent on the specifics of how the boat was constructed. Given that Noah and his family were the only ones saved, we can safely assume most people considered this “preacher of righteousness” a raving lunatic. As such, hired hands may have been extremely difficult to come by. However, John Morris and Tim LeHaye wrote a book titled, The Ark at Ararat in which they proved mathematically it could have been accomplished with just Noah and his sons! They described how four men could have cut, dressed, and installed approximately 15 cubic feet of gopher wood per day. Since we know the dimensions of the ark (Genesis 6:15) we can safely assume they would have needed approximately 380,000 cubic feet of wood to complete the ark. If they worked six days per week, these four individuals could have completed the task in only 81 years!
4. How could Noah have collected that many animals by himself?
Often we find that those who utter the most complaints against God’s Word have usually read it the least. The text never indicates that Noah had to collect the animals. In fact, it says quite the opposite. Genesis 6:20 states: “Of birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the Earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive” (emp. added). Noah simply had to provide the ark of the appropriate dimensions with a door that would allow the animals to enter two-by-two.
5. Well, you may be able to get them all on the ark, but how did Noah feed, water, and clean up after that many animals?
There is a theory that is popular with many creationists suggesting that God put the animals into a state of hibernation. Obviously, atheists would charge that Christians are playing the “God card” to get around answering the question. In 1996, John Woodmorappe wrote a book titled Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Studyin which hewent into painstaking detail to show not necessary “how” it was done, but rather that it could be done. Drawing on previous research and mathematical calculations, Woodmorappe demonstrated how, using 80 man-hours per day, we can account for waste management, feeding, and watering of all the animals. His research clearly indicates that Noah and his family working ten hours per day, could have easily taken care of the animals—and this does not take into account the possibility of God miraculously caring for the animals.
6. Where did all that water come from?
The second half of Genesis 7:11 records, “on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” While even young children recognize that it rained for “forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:12), the text indicates that the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven continued to usher water on the face of the Earth for several months (Genesis 7:24-8:2). While most have no problem envisioning fountains of the deep (as we know we have fresh-water springs even in the oceans today, Job 38:16), the question remains: What does it mean that the windows of heaven were opened?
Part of the answer can be found in Genesis 1:6-7. Moses recorded: “Then God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.” The word translated “firmament” is the Hebrew word raqij`a, which refers to an expansion or the heavens. So Moses described waters above and below this firmament. Today we are familiar with waters below the firmament. However, what were these “waters above the firmament”? Many creationists believe that there was once a water vapor or ice crystal canopy around the Earth—and when God opened the “windows of heaven” it was the ultimate collapse of this canopy. This presence of the canopy would explain how earlier in the Earth’s history much of the land was tropical in nature.
Consider that God not only had to cover the Earth with water, He had to know how much water to place on the Earth. Most individuals living in coastal areas know that the draft of a boat is how deeply it sits in the water. A speed boat has a shallow draft, because its purpose is to move quickly across the water, whereas the draft of an ocean-going freighter is much deeper. Most ship-builders will tell you that the draft of a boat that can withstand the pounding waves of the ocean is ½ its height. In other words, that boat has to be able to settle into the water roughly ½ its own height to keep from capsizing. What about the ark? Was it built for speed? No. It didn’t have anywhere to go. But it did need to be able to withstand the pounding waves. So again, the draft would have been ½ its height. In Genesis 6:15 we learn Noah was to make it 30 cubits high—which means it would have settled into the water roughly 15 cubits. That means it would have required 15 cubits of water clearance. Now look at Genesis 7: 18-20: “The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the Earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered” (emp. added). God knew precisely how much water He needed to place on the tops of the mountains to keep the bottom of the ark from crashing into them.
7. Then where did all of the water go?
If there was a Global Flood, then where did all of the water go? Genesis 8:1 indicates that God “made a wind to pass over the Earth.” We know today that trillions of gallons of water are now in our atmosphere in the form of clouds. Additionally, we know that trillions of gallons are stored below the Earth’s crust in the water table. However, the inspired psalmist informs us that God changed the topography of the Earth after the Flood, thus accommodating much of the water. Psalm 104 states: “You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass over, so that they will not return to cover the Earth (Psalm 104 6-9, emp. added).
Noah obeyed God, and for that, he and his family were saved. If God needed a Noah today, could He count on you? The skeptics and infidels will continue to scream and argue against God’s Word. Their collective voices do nothing to change the validity of the Bible. God’s Word will remain. The prophet Isaiah observed: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (40:8). Jesus Himself warned that “heaven and earth shall pass away” (Matthew 24:35), but went on to note that “my words shall not pass away.” One wonders: Will the skeptic’s screams be heard once again around the world when heaven and Earth pass away?