Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ark in the Wrong Place

In the last post, I claimed that it was highly improbable that remains of Noah's ark had been found. The only reason I gave was that such a find would be unexpected based simply on the fact that it would be from a much earlier period than any other of the many biblical artifacts so far discovered. I suggested that it was the sensation that such a find would represent--not its likelihood--that causes people to search for it and make claims of having discovered it.

I should perhaps have added that I find it highly unlikely that the sturdy wood used to build it would have been left unused throughout the intervening millenia. If we take the Bible's account as true (which I do), we will know that God promised Noah that He would never again use a flood to wipe out humanity. There was, therefore, no need to keep a large boat lying around, and I expect that the timbers were reused for more practical purposes almost immediately by the survivors of the flood. Moreover, since the ark came to rest in the mountains, it is also unlikely that sands would have buried it, which is the case for most buildlings, stellae, and other artifacts from Bible times that are being discovered by modern archaeologists. But this is a relatively minor point, and not one of my main reasons for discounting the recent claims of a discovery of the ark.

So here's my next main reason...
The place of the alleged discovery of the ark--Mt. Ararat--is not where the Bible claims that Noah's ark came to rest.
I realize that many people have come somehow to believe that Noah's ark ran aground on Mt. Ararat. It did not, at least according to Scripture. What the Bible actually says (in Gen. 8:4) is that
the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. (italics mine)
The mountains of Ararat are a rather vast range that occupies a large portion of present-day Turkey and Armenia. This large range includes Mt. Ararat itself, but the biblical account--rather than specifying "on Mt. Ararat," which the Hebrew of the time was certainly capable of doing--only asserts that the boat came to rest somewhere in a much larger geographical area.

Now, I don't know how so many people who would claim to be serious students of the Bible can be so superficial in their reading of it as to miss this plain fact. Perhaps part of it is that well-meaning Sunday school teachers "dumb down" such Bible stories for easy consumption by the children they are charged with teaching. Then, perhaps, we tend to remember the stories as taught us rather than ever reading them aright for ourselves. At any rate, I strongly believe that we--like the apostle Paul--should at some point "give up childish ways" and take Scripture seriously enough to read it truly.

Here's the point for this post, though. For whatever reason or reasons, a misconception about where Noah's ark landed has become very popular. When, then, I hear that the ark has been found not where it should be but rather where popular misconception would place it, I have every reason to suspect that something fishy is going on.

But the problem is worse than this, as I'll hope to share in the next post or two. Thanks for reading!


Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel Reber said...

Can't wait for the next post! Hurry hurry! :)

Rick Gerhardt said...

Hi Rachel:

How (and where) are you?

I'll do my best to hurry, and will try to get the next installment out this evening. Thanks for reading!