Contrary to some of the most common arguments raised against the story of Noah and his Ark, modern man has no reason to suppose that Noah could not have built his Ark, as the Bible describes it. Furthermore, recent discoveries and insights provide good reason to suppose that Noah did indeed know enough to build it.
Noah’s Ark remains today the most important and memorable achievement in naval architecture and engineering. Without it, humanity would not have survived the greatest disaster that the earth has ever known. But for many, the technology required to build a wooden vessel 515 feet long (300 long, or royal, cubits, according to Tim Lovett) remains an insurmountable obstacle. How could ancient, Stone Age man even conceive of such a vessel, much less build it? (The actual engineering challenges are a subject for the future. The present subject is whether ancient, and specifically antediluvian, man would have been up to the challenge.)
First, assuming “Stone Age” man is a particular form of circular reasoning called “Your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong.” The problem: phrases like “Stone Age,” “Bronze Age,” and “Iron Age” are a part of conventional archaeology and anthropology, which assumes that man is an accidental reasonable animal, not a being created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
Second, even if the phrase “Stone Age” was an apt descriptor of any generation of early man, an article appearing today in The New York Times indicates that even “Stone Age” man wielded tools for shipbuilding, tools found in layers of sediment that allegedly were laid down 100,000 years ago, or even 700,000. These tools are, therefore, an example of “out-of-place artifacts” (OOParts) found in “deep time.” More to the point, they demonstrate that the seafaring capabilities even of “Stone Age man” were far greater than archaeologists have previously supposed.
Third–and most important–Lovett reminds us that the development of technology has never proceeded ever onward and upward. In fact, the technological levels of ancient (Pharaonic) Egypt, ancient Greece (or Hellas, as it is more properly known), imperial Rome, and the Renaissance were about the same. That modern man has forgotten this is due mainly to the Dark Ages, a period in which almost all the technology of imperial Rome was lost. The level of technology that imperial Rome possessed, never ceases to amaze historians who specialize in the period–and the level of technology that the ancient Egyptians possessed was easily the equal of that of ancient Rome, if not superior, if the Pyramids are any indicator.
Lovett shows, on this page and in Noah’s Ark: Thinking Outside the Box, that Noah could easily have built a 515-foot-long vessel using the sort of tools that the ancient Egyptians had available to them. Furthermore, this is a conservative estimate of his technological knowledge. Project Apollo historian Shane Johnson has separately asserted that pre-Flood man, being long-lived (800 to 900 years on average; see Genesis 5) and a few generations removed from Adam, would have been brilliant enough to develop, in the 1656 years between Creation and the Global Flood, a level of technology the height of which modern man cannot imagine. His basis: in a similar amount of time, from the Dark Ages to the 1970s, modern man had achieved telecommunications and the successful launch and return of sample-collecting expeditions to another astronomical body, to wit, the Moon. (And indeed, some OOParts suggest that antediluvian man might have commanded a higher level of technology even than did the ancient Egyptians.)
Thus Noah definitely would have had the technology available to him to build something as massive as the Ark. The next article in this series will describe how he might have built it.
This article is part of the Noah’s Ark series.
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