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[__ Science __ ] Noah's Boatyard

Dant02

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I was a shipyard welder/fitter for a number of years before retiring so the construction of Noah's ark is pretty interesting to me.

It's sometimes argued that he couldn't have built the ark without modern tools and equipment. But ancient craftsmen were far more ingenious than most people living today realize.

For example, nobody yet has really figured out how the Egyptians built the pyramids nor how the people of Easter Island cut, carved, and moved all those big stone heads around. And the Egyptians aren't the only ones to mystify us. There are ancient stone structures around the world that seem impossible to be erected by human hands prior to the age of heavy industrial machinery (e.g. Stonehenge) but nevertheless, there they are.

"The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits." (Gen 6:15b)

The cubit of Noah's day remains a total mystery. We have no way of knowing exactly how long it was. Maybe Noah and his boys passed on their antediluvian knowledge of weights and measures to the post-flood world and it stayed pretty close to the original standards over the years; but it's impossible to know for sure.

If we use an 18-inch cubit as a close approximation, then the ark would have been in the neighborhood of 450' long x 75' wide x 45' high. The ark's beam was 30 feet wider than its height, so should have proved very stable, and difficult to capsize even in rough seas-- especially since it had a flat bottom, which was good too for the purpose intended.

Nothing fancy. Since the ark didn't have to navigate; then it didn't require a means of propulsion nor was there any practical use for a bow, or a stern, or a wheel house, a rudder, sails, engine room, anchor, windlasses, or masts-- not even a handrail around the main deck. Since the ark didn't have to cut through the water like a schooner, then it didn't need tapered undersides. All the ark really had to do was float. It was really nothing in the world but a barge: and a very crude barge at that. Really little more than a very large watertight crate.

Compared to modern ships, 450 feet is not all that big. Oil tankers are around 1,500, and the Nimitz aircraft carrier is about 1,092 feet. The distance from home plate to the center field fence in major league baseball, averages 400 feet or better. So the ark would just about fit into Yankee stadium. The main playing area of a football field is 300 feet. Add 26 more for the end zones, and the total is 326; which is still 124 feet short of the ark's length but at least gives some idea of its scale.
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Tessa

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I've never thought about the measurements, or what the ship didn't need before. That's very interesting Dan. It makes me wonder just how many animals were in there.
 

Dant02

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It makes me wonder just how many animals were in there.
Lucky for Noah he didn't have to go out on safari. The only critters he had to take aboard were those that came to him.

"From birds of every kind, cattle of every kind, every kind of creeping thing on earth, two of each shall come to you to stay alive." (Gen 6:20)

The critters that didn't to come to Noah, were left behind and of course went extinct.


FAQ: How did life from all around the globe get across the seas to Noah's place?

A: In the past that was doubtless a thorny theological problem. But with today's knowledge of the geological science of plate tectonics, the answer is as simple as two plus two. Scientists now know that continental land masses can be shifted, and in point of fact the dry parts brought so close together as to form one single super continent.

Scientists also know about magma hot spots and pressure points that can raise and lower the earth's crust like a service elevator. Subduction no doubt played a role by pushing sea beds up above sea level and made to form land bridges; thus expediting migration.

Normal geological processes take thousands of years to accomplish, but when you factor in the creator's participation in the Flood event, it's no problem at all for the supreme being who has absolute power over not just the earth's geological processes; but all the rest of nature's processes too.


FAQ: What about dinosaurs? Did they go aboard with Noah too?

A: No; too late. Paleontologists are pretty sure the Jurassic era was over and gone by means of a mysterious mass extinction event several millennia before the entrance of human life on the earth.

FAQ: So all the life on Earth today was aboard the ark?

A: As the planet's topography underwent continual alteration by enormous geological forces, resulting in a variety of global climatic conditions, many species became isolated and underwent some interesting adaptations and mutations in order to become the highly specialized creatures that we find living around the world today.

Darwinian evolution is, I believe, a spurious fantasy because it discounts intelligent design and a singular source of all life. But Bible students have to allow for at least a degree of genetic and somatic adaptations and mutations. It is just too unreasonable to insist that the incredible variety of life existing in our world today was aboard the ark.

After all; every known variety of human life existing today came from just three of the four men aboard the ark (Gen 9:18-19). If they produced all the different races of human life in our world today, then it isn't unreasonable to assume that the species aboard the ark were the foundation of all the varieties of non human life in our world today.
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Nathan12

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The cubit of Noah's day remains a total mystery. We have no way of knowing exactly how long it was.
I believe there is a consensus that Noah's cubit was the long cubit of 20.4 inches. That is the cubit which Ark Encounter has used to construct an exact replica of the Ark in Williamstown, in northwestern Kentucky.

Ark Encounter’s Cubit
Here at Ark Encounter, we’ve chosen to use a cubit of 20.4 inches, which makes the Ark about 510 feet long and over 50 feet tall.
 

Dant02

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Gen 6:14 . .Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood

Nobody really knows for sure exactly what kind of trees Noah used to make the ark. The word for "gopher" has nothing to do with little subterranean rodents. It's a transliteration of the Hebrew word gopher (go'-fer) which only suggests a kind of tree suitable for building structures out of wood. Some think it was cypress because the wood of those trees is so resinous that it resists rotting even after prolonged submersion in water. Others think it may have been cedar or spruce; which are good too.

Unfortunately, this is the one and only occurrence of gopher in the entire Old Testament so there's no other passages that might help identify a specific kind of tree.

Gen 6:14c . . make it an ark with compartments,

The word for "compartments" is from qen (kane) which means: a nest (as fixed), sometimes including the nestlings; figuratively, a chamber or dwelling. The construction of nests (and stalls) indicates the animals weren't just herded or jammed together like the crowds attending an outdoor Metallica rock concert. They were neatly stowed aboard in their own areas and apparently made to feel quite comfortable.

Gen 6:14d . . and cover it inside and out with pitch.

The word for "pitch" is kopher (ko'-fer) which means: a cover. It can also mean a village (as covered in); and also bitumen (as used for coating) and the henna plant (as used for dye).

Coating the ark with bitumen not only served to waterproof it; but also preserved the wood for future uses after the Flood subsided and Noah no longer had need of a titanic water craft.


NOTE: Bitumen is a naturally-occurring kind of asphalt formed from the remains of ancient, microscopic algae (diatoms) and other once-living things. In order for bitumen to be available in Noah's day, the organisms from whence it was formed had to have existed on the earth several thousands of years before him. In point of fact, I read somewhere that the biomass that gave us fossil fuels existed even before the dinosaurs. That's really going back a ways.

Gen 6:15a . .This is how you shall make it:

How did Noah cut the logs that went into constructing the ark? Well; according to the Bible, Cain's people were proficient with metals. If nothing else; it's probably pretty certain that Noah had at least a metal hammer and an axe; maybe several metal hammers and axes; and quite possibly saws too.

How did Noah join the logs and other wooden pieces that went into constructing the ark? Well; you know, a good cabinet maker can assemble a very nice armoire without using nuts and bolts by the strategic use of dowels and clever joinery like grooves, rabbets, dovetails, mortises, and tenons.

Skeptics object that a wooden vessel the size of the ark would never hold up on the open sea without steel reinforcement; especially when the super storm of Gen 8:1 began blowing to mop up the water. But the skeptics typically fail to factor God's involvement in the Flood. You really think He left the only surviving humans and the only surviving beasts on the whole planet to the mercy of the elements?

No; with God's oversight, even a house of cards would have survived the Flood had He wished it to because the strength of natural materials isn't fixed; they can be greatly enhanced, e.g. Samson (Judg 13:2-16:31). He was just an ordinary man of flesh and blood; but via God's intervention, Samson became strong enough to do things that no one man alone could possibly attempt unassisted.
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Dant02

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Gen 6:16a . . Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and terminate it within a cubit of the top.

Whether the window was shuttered isn't stated, but was very likely a practical consideration. The first forty days of the Flood were extremely inclement; and later on down at the end of the voyage there was a howling wind to reckon with.

The window's primary purpose was illumination; but undoubtedly served for ventilation too. With all that respiration going on in there, Noah's air supply would become foul in very short order.

Later, Noah sent out some birds to determine whether the Flood had diminished. Why didn't Noah just look out the window and see for himself? Well; the design of the ark's top is a bit of a mystery. Apparently the position of the window was such that structural portions of the top obscured his view; allowing Noah to see the sky but not the ground.

Gen 6:16b . . Put the entrance to the ark in its side; make it with bottom, second, and third decks.

A hatch in the hull was practical. Its cover could be let down as a boarding ramp. This entrance to the ark was "the" entrance. In other words: the only way in and the only way out. That's important because once everyone was aboard; God shut the hatch, no doubt sealing it with bitumen, so that if perchance later on Noah and his family changed their minds, it would be too late: they were stuck, i.e. prisoners.

The very bottom of a ship is normally not counted as a deck. The lowest deck is usually somewhat above the bottom and separated from it by a void called the double bottom. That way if the actual bottom is pierced, the ship won't sink because the void is sealed.

Whether or not Noah's craft had a double bottom is unknown; but likely it had at least a bilge because the lowest deck needs to be above the bottom a bit so the passengers and crew don't have to slosh around down there in the lower parts of the ship where fetid water and other unsavory liquids typically collect.

The spaces between decks were fairly tall. If we divide 45 by 3 we get roughly 15 feet apiece not counting a bilge, nor the thickness of the deck planks and their beams. Fifteen feet (more likely ten) can accommodate pretty tall animals; and provide enough room for the birds to exercise now and then too.

An ark 450 feet by 75 feet, with three decks would have provided 101,250 square feet of living space. If Noah were resourceful, he might have installed shelves and cabinets on the hull and the bulkheads, plus more on the overheads, and the underside of the ark's roof for even more storage/living space. thus he would have taken advantage of not just the ark's square feet; but also its cubic feet.

Larger creatures could have shared their spaces with smaller creatures, even permitting the ones smaller than themselves to climb up and rest on their backs. Life finds a way.

They say there are seven wonders of the ancient world, but that is not quite accurate. There's actually eight if we include Noah's ark. Sure, building a giant floating barn like Noah's would be child's play for a modern shipyard like Northrop Grumman Newport News; but in Noah's day, it had to be quite a feat.
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WIP

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One thought about this is that for Noah to house all those animals for the time they were in the ark would require very large amounts of feed. Since the Bible doesn't say and we weren't there, we can speculate on many possibilities but one that seems plausible is that God could easily have put them into a state of hibernation which would also eliminate the need to manage waste.
 

Dant02

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Gen 6:21-22 . . For your part, take of everything that is eaten and store it away, to serve as food for you and for them. Noah did so; just as God commanded him, so he did.

God didn't specify precisely how much food to load aboard. He only instructed Noah to store things that are edible; but not their quantity. Nobody can be sure whether or not Noah knew just how long the Flood was going to last. If he didn't, then of course he would have no idea how much food he needed to bring along.

So what about the carnivorous animals that came aboard with Noah-- the lions and tigers and hawks and eagles and meerkats and alligators and crocodiles? No problem. Carnivores can be domesticated when the situation calls for it. Take for example Daniel in the den of lions. None tried to eat him. And according to Isa 11:6-9 and Isa 65:25, there's a day coming when the nature of carnivores will be changed to that of herbivores. And besides, at the time in Earth history, all terra life subsisted on vegetation. (Gen 1:29-30)

Some have proposed that the animals hibernated so they wouldn't have to be fed very often nor require much room for exercise nor would they generate much manure to clean up. That's actually a very plausible explanation. For example: arctic ground squirrels can lower their body temperature below freezing and avoid serious head injuries while hibernating for as long seven months. Why the little guys don't freeze to death is a mystery.

Others have proposed that Noah didn't actually load an entire year's supply of food aboard the ark. Just a minimum amount that God then miraculously sustained. That too is a very plausible explanation.

For example: there are incidents in the Bible where small amounts of food stuffs were miraculously extended. One example is 1Kgs 17:8-16 where a tiny bit of flour and oil nourished Elijah and a widow woman, and her son, for a good many days during a time of prolonged drought.

Another incident is at 2Kgs 4:1-7 where a certain widow's husband died and left her deeply in debt. God extended her last pot of oil sufficiently to sell off enough to retire her debts, thereby saving her two sons from slavery.

At 1Kgs 19:5-9, when Elijah was running away from that horrible Jezebel, he was fatigued and napping under a bush when a messenger of God woke him up to eat a single biscuit and drink some water. Elijah survived on the nourishment of that measly little snack for the next forty days.

I'm not insisting that God sustained everyone aboard the ark via hibernation and/or like He did Elijah and the widows. But in the light of nature's examples, and the Bible's examples, it isn't unreasonable to believe that's exactly what happened. Many details remain a mystery and apparently God didn't feel it was important for everybody to know how He and Noah did it. Well; that's His decision and I respect it; but I still wish Genesis told us more.

Another logistics problem was feeding everybody when the Flood was over. What would they eat then? Well, that was no problem. The olive leaf that a dove had in her beak at Gen 8:10-11 indicates that earth's flora was spared mass extinction by the Flood. The Hebrew word for "plucked-off" is from taraph (taw-rawf') which means: recently torn off; in other words: the dove didn't pick up an old dead leaf lying around on the ground; no, it was fresh cut and green right off the tree.


NOTE: It's not unreasonable to believe vegetation survived the Flood. The prairie grasses that once flourished in America's corn belt was some really hardy stuff. Prior to the White Man, prairie grass roots grew as deep as four feet, and sometimes eleven, so that no matter how much or how often the grass was burned off, it bounced right back.
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for_his_glory

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My husband and I went to Kentucky to see the Ark Encounter. It would have been more realistic if all the wood was ruff wood like Noah would have used and the riveting more like he would had used, but it does give you insight of how big it was and shows what we call dinosaurs that did roam the earth in the days of Noah.

8507

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for_his_glory

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We are hoping to be able to go to the Creation Museum in Kentucky this summer.


8511
 

Dant02

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Re: The photos in post No.11

They got the hull's contours all wrong. According to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the beautiful minds call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box-- the top, the bottom and all four sides were flat; no curves nowhere, which was adequate enough because the ark didn't have to navigate, it only had to float.
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Dant02

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Gen 7:19-20 . .When the waters had swelled much more upon the earth, all the highest mountains everywhere under the sky were covered. Fifteen cubits higher did the waters swell, as the mountains were covered.

FAQ: Is it possible that the Flood was local rather than global?

A: Well; the problem with that theory is: the waters breeched the highest mountains by fifteen cubits (aprox 22½ feet). So then, if perchance Noah lived in a geographic basin, the waters would have overflowed the mountains surrounding him and kept on going before they ever got up to that 22½ feet of extra elevation.

But the water would start spilling past Noah's area long before it breeched the tops of the highest mountains surrounding him because mountain ranges aren't shaped smooth, level, and even like the rim of a domestic bath tub. No; they're very irregular and consist of high points and low points; viz: peaks, valleys, canyons, saddles, and passes.

Thus mountain ranges make poor bath tubs because you would lose water through the low points before it even had a chance to fill to the peaks. In point of fact, were the sides of your bathtub shaped like a mountain range; you could never fill it. And in trying to; just end up with water all over the floor.

22½ feet may not seem like a lot of water but when you consider the diameter of the Earth, that is an enormous amount when it's above the highest mountains. How high were the highest mountains in Noah's day? Nobody really knows. But just supposing the tallest at that time was about equal to California's Mount Laguna east of San Diego; viz: 5,738 feet above sea level-- about 1.1 miles. Adding 22½ feet to that comes out to approximately 5,761 feet.

The amount of rain it would take to accumulate that much water in only forty days would be something like six global feet of depth per hour (not taking into consideration that the diameter of the water's surface would increase as the water got deeper)

To put that in perspective: the lobby of the Empire State Building in New York city is approximately 47 feet above sea level. At 6 feet per hour, the lobby would be under water in less than eight hours. The whole building, lightening rod and all; would be under water in just a little over ten days. The new One World Trade Center would be gone in about thirteen days, and Denver in less than thirty-seven.

It's sometimes objected that there is no geological evidence to support the Flood. Well it only lasted a year so what do the skeptics expect? And beside, it was essentially standing water rather than flowing water so it would've produced relatively little erosion, if any.

And the water was pulled off the Earth all at the same time from all over the globe rather than drained off from a single location, viz: God didn't pull the plug, so to speak. And then we should also take into consideration that though the Flood's arrival was swift and violent, it's removal was relatively gradual and gentle.

FAQ: Does the presence of marine fossils and sea shells up in the mountains verify the Flood?

A: Fossils and sea shells only prove that the those land masses haven't always been mountainous.

Take for example Mount Everest. Today its tippy top is something like 29,029 feet above sea level. The discovery of fossilized sea lilies near its summit proves that the Himalayan land mass has not always been mountainous; but at one time was the floor of an ancient sea bed. This is confirmed by the "yellow band" below Everest's summit consisting of limestone: a type of rock made from calcite sediments containing the skeletal remains of countless trillions of organisms who lived, not on dry land, but in an ocean.
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for_his_glory

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Re: The photos in post No.11

They got the hull's contours all wrong. According to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the beautiful minds call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box-- the top, the bottom and all four sides were flat; no curves nowhere, which was adequate enough because the ark didn't have to navigate, it only had to float.
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There are many interpretations and replications as to how the ark would look like since no one has ever seen it. The most popular interpretation is the box type, but yet can not be proven to look like a long box.

The ark in Kentucky is built by the exact dimensions found in Genesis 6:15 as a cubit is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. The whole point is to realize the massive size, the animals that entered the ark and all the supplies that were needed.
 

for_his_glory

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For example, nobody yet has really figured out how the Egyptians built the pyramids nor how the people of Easter Island cut, carved, and moved all those big stone heads around. And the Egyptians aren't the only ones to mystify us. There are ancient stone structures around the world that seem impossible to be erected by human hands prior to the age of heavy industrial machinery (e.g. Stonehenge) but nevertheless, there they are.
I have to disagree as we can know how these pyramids and Stonehenge were built if you do the research.

As for the building of the pyramids I found this from livescience.com

Physicists at the University of Amsterdam investigated the forces needed to pull weighty objects on a giant sled over desert sand and discovered that dampening the sand in front of the primitive device reduces friction on the sled making it easier to operate.

To make their discovery, the researchers picked up on clues from the ancient Egyptians themselves. A wall painting discovered in an ancient tomb of Djehutihotep, which dates back to about 1900BC, depicts 172 men hauling an immense statue using ropes attached to a sledge. In the drawing a person can be seen standing on the front of the sledge pouring water over the sand.

It's the same with Stonehenge as you only have to look it up ashow it was built.
 

for_his_glory

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The critters that didn't to come to Noah, were left behind and of course went extinct.
There were species of every living thing of flesh being one male and one female of every kind. Fowls after the different kinds, cattle after their kinds and every creeping thing after their kind. God saved a male and female of all the animals He created.

Genesis 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
 

for_his_glory

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One thought about this is that for Noah to house all those animals for the time they were in the ark would require very large amounts of feed. Since the Bible doesn't say and we weren't there, we can speculate on many possibilities but one that seems plausible is that God could easily have put them into a state of hibernation which would also eliminate the need to manage waste.
Genesis 6:21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

I do believe the food for them means all the animals, birds and creepy things that entered the ark.
 

for_his_glory

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Nobody can be sure whether or not Noah knew just how long the Flood was going to last.
God told Noah it would rain forty days and forty nights so I would think Noah would calculate how much food to bring for his family plus all the animals and birds on the ark. Also notice that Noah was to take seven, male and female, of clean animals and only two, male and female, of unclean animals. We couldn't even fathom how many animals, birds and creeping things that entered the ark.

Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
 

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