Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. Psalm 32:6 NLT
Noah’s ark is one of the most reviled stories in the Bible. So many animals in one little boat?
In the 18th century Europe, when ship building and sea voyages were common, Noah’s ark was estimated to be of sufficient size and proportions to carry a large number of animals and stay afloat. Even earlier “in the 15th century, Alfonso Tostada gave a detailed account of the logistics of the ark, down to arrangements for the disposal of dung and the circulation of fresh air. The 16th-century geometrician Johannes Buteo calculated the ark’s internal dimensions, allowing room for Noah’s grinding mills and smokeless ovens, a model widely adopted by other commentators.” (Wikipedia)
Although controversial, there seems to be sufficient evidence from geological studies, of an ancient global catastrophe which left mass fossil graves. Today, of course it is fashionable to dismiss this story and anything else in the Bible that poses a challenge to Darwin’s theory of evolution, without the type of honest and rigorous evaluation of available facts, which, we might have expected from scientists of an earlier era.
Some have suggested that Noah’s story is based on an earlier Babylonian version. It is indeed fascinating that the Bible is not the only source of a worldwide flood story. About 77 cultures across five continents have recorded a flood of global proportions and many of them talk of humans and animals being rescued by a boat. Here is a flood story from Hawaii:
“The people had turned to evil, so Kane punished their sin with a flood. Nu’u and his company were saved by entering into the Great-Canoe… Nuu was of the thirteenth generation from the first man. The gods commanded Nuu to build an ark and carry on it his wife, three sons, and males and females of all breathing things. Waters came and covered the earth. They subsided to leave the ark on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley… In gratitude for his deliverance, Nuu offered a sacrifice to Kane… left the rainbow as a perpetual sign of his forgiveness.”
Compare this with the biblical account in Genesis 6-9
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God… Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people… So make yourself an ark…
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life… the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights… Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal… and every bird according to its kind… Pairs of all creatures…. male and female of every living thing… Then the Lord shut him in.”
When the floods finally stopped and the ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat, Noah send out a raven and then a dove to test whether the waters had receded. So the lives of Noah and his family were preserved. And around the world, people from diverse languages and cultures remember stories of God’s protection of their ancestors, when He sent the Great Flood. The Bible explains the promise behind the rainbow:
“God said… I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth… Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”
The story of Noah may mean little to the scoffers of this world, intent to erase God from history; but He has left behind enough traces of His works from the beginning of time, to strengthen us who wait upon Him. As He once preserved Noah’s family from the terrible flood, so He will keep us safe in times of trouble. A rainbow in the clouds reminds us that God does not forget His promises.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…” Isaiah 43:2 ESV
Thank You, Father, for Your promise that when the floodwaters rise, they shall not overflow. We are forever safe in Your strong arms. Help us to walk faithfully with you as Noah did. Help us to be bold when we have to stand alone against the tide.