Aside from the buzz about the new film, Noah, a Dutchman has launched a replica of Biblical ship.
A full-scale replica of Noah's Ark has opened its doors to the public under stormy skies in the Netherlands. The ship, which has permission to receive up to 3,000 visitors a day, contains models of various animals and birds, two cinemas for special events and a restaurant.
While my husband and I agreed that the Bible is better than any novel with wonderful content of joy, love, intrigue, misery, murder, doubt and belief, my husband scoffed about the dimensions of the Ark the other day. He said it wasn't possible for a boat to take the tremendous weight of pairs of every animal on Earth. The other contentious issue is how animals could travel across oceans to reach the Ark.
Noah was provided with exact measurements for the boat which should be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.
Using the dimensions and suitable approximations as described in the Bible, University of Leicester physics students tested the instructions and were surprised with their results.
They went by The Genesis Flood, a book by Dr Morris and Dr Whitbomb, which suggested Noah would have needed to save approximately 35,000 species to repopulate Earth.
CHALLENGES THE STUDENTS FACED
- The dimensions for the ark were provided in cubits in the Bible, an archaic measure based on the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger.
- Noah was commanded to make the boat out of ‘gopher wood’ and in order to calculate the weight of the empty ark they needed to know the density of the material the boat was constructed out of, but there is no modern-day equivalent of gopher wood.
- English translations of the Bible refer to cypress wood instead, so this was the material that the students used.
- In order to calculate the overall downward force of the ark, the students needed to know the mass of the animals on board; previous research has suggested that the average mass of an animal is approximately equal to that of one sheep, 23.47kg, which was the figure used.
- 'Our conclusions were that the ark would support the weight of 2.15 million sheep without sinking and that should be enough to support all of the species that were around at the time.'
Now we know the Ark could have been built and taken the animal's weight, what next? Load all the animals on board to see if they fit? But wait ... the dodo no longer exists. And, suppose they fought with each other? Would supplies last for the vast assembly of animals? Noah would have needed to sort out many more problems than building the boat.