Deeper Questions about Noah’s Ark

One of my favorite religious cartoon drawings was that of two unicorns standing in the rain with Noah’s ark far away in the background. One unicorn looks at the other unicorn and says, “I thought he said Thursday!” It was a cute explanation as to why we have none of those mythical unicorns with us today. It’s not a worthy theological response to the issue but I don’t think anyone took it for anything other than laughs.

As literature goes, the story of Noah’s ark definitely qualifies as a climax. The narrative is monumental from every angle: the world falls into depravity, the ark is built, Noah and the animals are saved. What more could you ask for in a good action thriller? It’s a saga that is entertaining, not only because of its doctrinal applications, but because we see the evidence for it in our world today.

While it’s safe [and proper] to dispute the churches claiming to hold pieces of the sacred gopher wood that Noah used to build the boat, our planet does bear the scars of a deluge. The Grand Canyon, for Noahs Arkexample, was quite obviously carved up by a large swathe of water at some point. The evidence of global flooding (regardless of arguments about earth age), is abundant in our world. The Grand Canyon is just one grand example that can’t be easily debunked.

The geological evidence of the flood coupled with the stories from different religions and culture really sink a hook in us when we read about the flood and Noah. Even if you don’t believe in it, when you read it, you have to admit you kind of want to. If the narrative was a corporation, you could certainly label it “too big to fail”. The story of Noah’s ark is epoch and we like it that way.

Noah’s Ark Museum

What epoch historical narrative doesn’t deserve it’s own museum? If you’re looking for such a place, you probably don’t have to go far. Every state has at least one or two (if not 3 or 4) places dedicated to Noah and all of those critters. If that’s not enough for you, fly or sail on over to the Netherlands and check out the almost life size replica. A museum like that will give you an idea of the lumber requirements for housing so many animals (and probably the madness one man endured trying to get it built without God’s divine assistance).

Despite the number of museums selling stuffed mammals, Noah’s jewelry collection, biblical costumes and other paraphernalia, I’d love to see another museum built – but I want this one to be a life size replica on Mt. Ararat. Can you imagine the aerial view postcards? 🙂 Yes I know I’m being silly: gopher trees don’t grow on the mountainside and no donkey is gonna haul wood up that icy weather. But still, it’d make for a cool museum. Until that one gets built, the guy in Holland wins the kudos award.

Were there dragons on Noah’s Ark?

The bible tells us that the clean animals entered Noah’s boat by pairs of seven and the unclean by pairs of two. Someone somewhere once asked if a dragon was a clean animal or an unclean animal. Given historical descriptions, I think it was a sea bound creature that really didn’t mind a bit of extra water in his earthly tank. If you’re wondering about the komodo dragon, I think it’s safe to classify that particular species as unclean! Those are normal questions to ask but fundamentally simple (in depth that is).

I continue to be surprised by the number of people who ask such basic questions. Of course we all want to know the in and out of such logistics. How did Noah have room for them all, how did he feed them all, and as I tend to wonder this time of year, where did he get the Benadryl to use for allergic reactions from the cat dander! Natural bee pollen perhaps. Regardless of those answers, such facile questions about Noah’s ark cause us to miss deeper doctrinal matters.

Better Bible Questions

Why have so many clean animals? What’s the spiritual significance? Why was there forty days and nights of rain, is there a comparative analysis with the number of days that Christ fasted? These types of questions cause us to better understand the character & nature of God. This in turn helps us to live a holier life. Those aren’t always easy questions to come up with but, with broken hearts, God will help us to ask them.

The simple questions about Noah’s ark are entertaining (how long does it take to sweep away that much poo?) but they are ultimately ineffective for our spiritual nourishment. The best bible questions are the ones that cause us to change our lives when we find the answers. Having a knowledge about the dragons on Noah’s ark won’t do that for us.

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