The story of the flood and Noah’s Ark is found in the book of Genesis, chapters 6–9. As a child I always loved that story, but for some reason I had never heard the ending until I went to seminary. It’s sad!
About five years ago my wife and I went to Turkey and spent a couple of weeks in the northern and eastern sections before we drove into Istanbul. Eastern Turkey could almost be called primitive; not much seems to have changed there in centuries. Hotels and restaurants were hard to find. There weren’t many tourists. But there was so much Old and New Testament history. One beautiful day, as we were driving, we came upon the famous Mount Ararat, not far from the borders of Armenia, Syria, and Iran. Its snow-capped peak is almost seventeen thousand feet high, and interestingly enough it is surrounded by barbed wire and soldiers. It seems that many folks want to climb the mountain in search of the ark. Unfortunately, there is no proof that there ever was an ark or a global flood. Noah’s ark is simply folklore, but the story contains a huge truth.
We all know the first part of the story, when Yahweh, who saw the earth as corrupt, suggested to Noah that he gather his God-fearing family, build a big boat, find two of every living creature, and put them on the boat before the flood began. My head aches when I think of the logistics of finding two of everything, selecting their specific food—enough for at least six months—storing it on the boat close to each pair, and making certain that the pigs didn’t live next to the pythons who might eat them, and so on. I digress. The story tells us that it rained for 40 days and nights. At the end of some 150 days the waters had abated and the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat (Gen. 8:4). Then all the animals were released. What a sight that must have been! Most importantly, all the corrupt people on earth had drowned. The only humans left were the good Noah and his lovely family. Fantastic!
But wait! There is more to the story. Noah then decided to plant a vineyard. He made wine and “drank some of the wine and became drunk and he lay uncovered in his tent” (Gen. 9:20). His family witnessed his nakedness. Now the punchline: The good Noah, after all his work building the ark, collecting all those animals, and drowning all those corrupt people, was now corrupt himself. Civilization was right back where it started before the flood. The moral: Corruption is here to stay. Because of our humanity and free will, we just can’t get rid of it. The story of the ark is simply a mechanism to share this great truth: As long as we have humans, we have corruption.
So where did I find the ark? On the Internet. I didn’t go to Williamstown, Kentucky, home of the Ark Encounter amusement park, which was built by public monies and investors who probably never read the rest of the story. The ark at the park was built according to biblical specifications and is the only ark there ever was. I suspect the owner of the park, Ken Ham, who invested millions, the other investors, and the State of Kentucky don’t realize that Noah’s Ark is a fairy tale with a big truth in it, not a historical reality. But, so far, they are making a lot of money. Please do me a favor; don’t ever show this blog to Ken. He will not like it.
Do you think there was ever a flood that covered the all the earth and that some guy named Noah built an ark?
Photo Credit: Hans Splinter, via Flickr.com