Noah’s Ark: Beyond Flannelgraph

Note: Noah’s Ark: Beyond Flannelgraph has been moved to its own blog s!ite at Hope to see you there!

A lot of people have serious reservations as to whether the Ark Noah built was big enough to hold all of the animals God sent him to save from the world-wide
Flood. This is largely the fault of an all-too-common image of a cute, little bathtub toyArk over-stuffed with adorable animals, often with a pair of giraffes sticking out of the top. This well-intended Sunday School image stays with us as adults. The Bible gives a much different picture.

Genesis 6:13-22 states that God told Noah that He would send a Flood “to destroy all flesh,wherein is the breath.” He told Noah that he was to “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within andwithout with pitch… The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.” He was to bring his wife, his son’s and their wives and two of every creature, male and female, “after their kind.” He was also to take food for himself and the animals.

In his book, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, John Woodmorappe has offered that only about 16,000 animals would have been needed to fulfill God’s command to bring in two [or seven of the “clean” animals] of every land-dwelling, air-breathing animal, creeping thing and winged creatures. Using a conservative short cubit of 18 inches, Dr. Woodmorappe believes that “less than half of the cumulative area of the Ark’s three decks need to have been occupied by the animals and their enclosures.” [p.16] In today’s measurements, the Ark would be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high which means that it was big enough to contain 522 standard US railroad stock cars! In fact, the Ark has the same proportions as a modern cargo ship. A 1993 Korean study headed by Dr. Seon Won Hong found no fault with the Ark’s dimensions. Such a vessel would have been seaworthy and able to handle waves as high as 100 feet. God’s blueprints were more than adequate!

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Ark (tebah) is used only one other time in the Bible, as the name of the basket that carried baby Moses down the Nile. Some scholars think tebah is more accurately translated “lifeboat.” The Ark was certainly the only lifeboat available to survive the judgment of the Flood. This is a picture of Christ, our lifeboat from the judgment of sin. As there was only one door on the Ark, Christ is the only Way by which men can be saved from the judgment to come! [John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12] Yet Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost, as sufficiently and reliably as the biblical Ark [Heb 7:25].

For some people, the historical Ark and a worldwide Flood are stumbling blocks to accepting the Gospel. They have questions that have never been answered by the church; so their questions have been answered by those who dismiss the Bible as moralizing prescientific myth rather than as God’s revealed Word.

Our new Noah’s Ark: Beyond Flannelgraph website provides reasonable answers those questions. Visit us at


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rando says:

    Why don’t you believe that radiocarbon dating is accurate? What about the fossil record that separates dinosaurs and man by 65 million years?

    1. Sirius says:

      Those are excellent questions. We’ll be posting answers to these questions [and a few more besides!] shortly after the holidays!

      -Sirius Knott

  2. Solomon says:

    Does this branch of feasibility theory allow for [micro]evolution to explain some of the diversity and distribution of life that we see? Were all, some, or only one of the known species of Tyrannosaurs present? Similar questions for other extinct groups of megafauna, such as mammoths, giant ground sloths, etc … Did some species get left off and go extinct in the flood? Were there lemurs on the ark? Long-tailed Planigale? One or more members of the recently discovered insect family “Mantophasmatidae”? Other recently discovered species? Were these groups of animals more uniformly distributed across the planet before the flood? I can see how the pro-science people can think that the Bible was written without a sense of the scale of complexity of life — it does take quite a bit of non-evidence-based effort to reign that perceived complexity in.

    1. Sirius says:


      Many Creationists believe that nearly all of the fossil record was laid down by the Flood, the KT Boundary most likely representing its end. After the Ark came to rest on Ararat, the kinds diversified through rapid speciation [not analogous to microbes-to-man evolution but rather simple natural selection]. Post-Flood years would have been a time of great geological and meteorological instability resulting in a single Ice Age. Mini-catastrophes caused by Post-Flood conditions account for post-KT fossils like megafauna.

      Given this, only 2 of each kind of animal would have been needed aboard the Ark. [i.e. – Not all T-rex species would have been represented aboard the Ark] The Biblical kind is a broader classification than even a genera much less a species. So, yes, many species would have died off.

      Personally, I’m not convinced of the KT Flood terminus theory [it’s one of many theories] simply because I recognize that the Bible notes the presence of husbandry in the pre-Flood world; therefore we ought to find sheep fossils for example from the flood since only 7 [clean animals] of this kind were taken aboard. I think the KT Flood terminus theory is appealing because it’s a nice, neat boundary, but the end of the Flood is likely found somewhere in the midst of Tertiary layers. In any case, only 2 to 7 of each kind or baramin were aboard the Ark, which then later diversified into the complexity we see today, just as all dog breeds can be traced back to wolves via artificial selection. Dogs remain dogs, whether wolves, dingos or wiener dogs.

      The distribution of animals in the pre-Flood world is unknown. We believe that all life existed on one supercontinent which, according to Catastrophic Plate Tectonics theory, split into current land masses during and partly after the Flood. The Bible notes that God brought the animals to Noah and He would have foreknown the Flood, making sure the animals had plenty of time to arrive.

      Your latter comment is simply mockery based on a false notion of the Creationist view. I hope I’ve cleared things up for you. The Bible was certainly written with a sense of the current and past complexity of life – which has no bearing on how many kinds of animals were required to come aboard.

      btw, where is your evidence for common descent?

      -Rev Tony Breeden

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