It’s a story which over half the people in the world (Christians, Muslims, and Jews) believes as historical fact, and perhaps nearly everyone has heard of in some form or another (Epic of Gilgamesh). It’s the story of Noah’s Ark.
Story of Noah
According the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6-8), God determined to destroy mankind because of man’s wickedness. However, as the Bible says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God told Noah to build a large boat (ark) and then take his family and pairs of animals into the ark.
After everyone had entered the ark, “all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.” Then it rained 40 days and 40 nights and water “flooded the earth for 150 days.”
No one knows for certain if the entire globe was covered with water or only Mesopotamia (Turkey-Iran-Iraq region). There is evidence to support both theories. There’s also evidence which suggests that was the first time it had rained on the earth and that when the water “burst forth” from the earth, it was the beginning of the splitting of the continents. Scientists know from studying regional modern day floods how much damage and change water can cause.
Regardless, after the flood waters subsided, the ark came to rest on top of Mount Ararat. The ark was opened and Noah, his family, and all the animals came out and started anew on the earth.
Ark Found on Mt. Ararat?
Mount Ararat stands in Turkey near the Turkish-Iranian- border and is a snow-capped dormant volcano. It came into Turkey’s possession during the 1930s after a border settlement was made with Iran.
The post-World War II search for Noah’s Ark first began in 1949 by US, British, Dutch, and Turkish researchers. The Soviet Union scoffed at the project and accused it of being a spying plot covered in a “biblical masquerade.”
The 1949 research yielded no tangible evidence of Noah’s Ark but the search continued. French and even Soviet scientists got in on the act. “Boat-like” shapes were photographed from the air but scientists thought those were rock formations or were forged photos.
The latest Noah’s Ark find is yet to be substantiated but, what will serve as substantiation? Mount Ararat petrified planks which date to 5000 years ago aren’t enough to prove Noah’s ark to any reasonable person. Even ardent Christians shouldn’t believe such finds as “proof positive.”
The strange and fascinating thing about human beings is we’re able to convince ourselves of almost anything which we want to believe or not believe. I once saw a bumper sticker that read “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.” That’s good advice.
A Bible believer can believe the Bible; there’s sufficient evidence for its authenticity. However, the Bible is silent about many things and it certainly doesn’t state that we’ll find Noah’s Ark.
A person who doesn’t believe the Bible probably won’t believe in the existence of Noah’s Ark unless a large boat with the exact biblical dimensions is discovered on top of Mount Ararat. Even then, someone could claim hoax. With today’s technology and internet dis-information, reality seems to be harder and harder to grasp.
Likewise, a few planks from Mount Ararat shouldn’t have any bearing on a Bible believer’s faith. It’s possible that if old wood was found on Ararat that it could be from structures other than the ark. Remember, Ararat was covered with water during the deluge. Other wooden objects could have been washed onto the mountain just as easily as was the ark.
Are searches for Noah’s Ark a waste of time and money? Perhaps they are. I don’t want to look for it. It’s enough for me to know from the Bible that it once existed.
And one thing is certain; it’ll take more than a few scraps of old timber to make a convincing case the ark has been found. It’ll take a boatload of timber to do that.