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THE CREDIBILITY OF NOAH’S ARK

(SERMON #43 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, April 26, 2008

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: 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. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Genesis 6:11-22).


This passage begins with the reasons for the coming Flood. The earth was corrupt (Hebrew - "ruined") and filled with violence. Old Testament scholar Dr. Merrill F. Unger said,

The earth’s wickedness is contrasted with Noah’s godliness. Six times the word “earth” appears in this section, indicating that the Flood was to be worldwide and not local. Three times the verb “to corrupt” occurs, emphasizing the complete degeneracy of mankind. Twice the word “violence” (hāmās, “lawlessness”) is found, showing the result of the universal moral putrification (Merrill F. Unger, Ph.D., Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, Moody Press, 1981, volume I, p. 38).

The Lord Jesus Christ said,

“But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

Therefore we should not be surprised at a repetition of these appalling conditions today.

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).

Dr. M. R. DeHaan said,

It was an age of violence, murder and unprovoked slayings and atrocious crimes. Do we need to comment here? Has there ever been an age in history which records more brutal, unprovoked atrocities than today? It is a sadistic age (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963, p. 48).

In his book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, pp. 232-233), Dr. Richard Weikart said, “To deny the influence of Darwin on Hitler would…be foolish, however, especially since almost all scholars of Nazism acknowledge it…without Darwinism…neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the world’s greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy” (Richard Weikart, Ph.D., is an associate professor of modern European history at California State University, Stanislaus). Dr. Weikart said, “[Darwinism] also helps explain why so many educated Germans would cooperate with the Nazis and participate in the Holocaust, including medical personnel. When he embraced eugenics, involuntary euthanasia for the handicapped, and racial extermination, Hitler was drawing on [Darwinian] ideas that were circulating widely among the educated elites” (ibid., p. 232).

Dr. C. L. Cagan pointed out “that Darwinian humanism…during the twentieth century, was directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people, through the impact this philosophical system had on Fascism, Communism, and the abortion movement” (C. L. Cagan, Ph.D., From Darwin to Design, Whitaker House Publishers, 2006, p. 14). Dr. Henry M. Morris gave an even more detailed description of the effects of Darwinism when he said,

Untold damage has been wrought, especially during the past century, by this dismal doctrine that man is merely an evolved animal. Racism, economic imperialism, communism, Nazism, sexual promiscuity and perversion, aggressive militarism, infanticide, genocide and all sorts of evils have been vigorously promoted by one group or another on the grounds that, since they were based on evolution, they were “scientific” and, therefore, bound to prove beneficial in the long run (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Baker Book House, 1984, p. 403).

Nearly fifty million American children have died from abortion at the hands of the Darwinists. Another sixty million died as a direct or indirect result of this theory, through various wars and movements arising from the social implications of Darwinian evolution. The violence caused by militant Islamic extremists is very small when compared to the effects of Darwinian evolution.

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).

As Dr. DeHaan said,

It was an age of violence, murder and unprovoked slayings and atrocious crimes. Do we need to comment here? Has there ever been an age in history which records more brutal, unprovoked atrocities than today? It is a sadistic age (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., ibid.).

Dr. Don Boys said,

I remind you that Hitler began his murder marathons in 1939 by killing the mentally retarded. He then solved the problem of overcrowded prisons by killing the inmates and then moved on to the old people’s homes. After killing over 400,000 helpless people, Hitler started on the Jews…John R. Rice [said] the record shows that only three letters from German [pastors] were written questioning [this]. The churches didn’t protest then, for the same reason that many American churches don’t protest abortion now; it’s not fashionable (Don Boys, Ed.D., Liberalism: A Rope of Sand, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1979, p. 18).

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:11-13).

“But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

But God provided a way for Noah and his family to be saved. Please stand and read Genesis 6:14 aloud.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch”
      (Genesis 6:14).

You may be seated.

The Hebrew word translated “ark” is “tebah.” It simply means “box.” It is used in only two places in the Old Testament – to describe Noah’s Ark, and to describe the “box” that Jochebed made to carry her baby Moses down the river to safety (Exodus 2:3, 5). The Ark Noah built was not a boat. It was a huge box made of “gopher wood.” Dr. McGee said, “Gopher wood is an almost indestructible wood very much like our redwood here in California” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981, volume I, p. 39). Dr. McGee said,

The impression that most people have of the ark is the impression they were given by the little Sunday School pictures which made it look like a houseboat. It was, to me, a very ridiculous sort of a travesty. It was a caricature of the ark instead of a picture of it like it actually was (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., ibid.).

The wood of the Ark was covered with a thick bituminous pitch to make it waterproof. I think Dr. M. R. DeHaan’s description is accurate:

Do you know what color was used to paint the outside of the ark? It was pitch black. There is no mention of any decorations or symbols or even a name on this strange ship. It was just a big black box, without tapered prow or rounded stern. It was not built to sail but merely to float, so it had no sail, oars, or other means of physical propulsion. From the description, we gather that both ends were square and it had only one door in the side, while no window could be seen anywhere from the ground. To see the window one must rise over 45 feet above the ground, and there on the roof of the ark was a…window…The ark was built on dry ground, many miles from the sea. It must have presented a strange sight to the onlookers. Here was a huge box…pitch black from stem to stern…We can easily imagine with what scorn the people of Noah’s day beheld his labors. How ridiculous, they thought, building a black box that looked like a coffin, and predicting a flood of waters when it had as yet never rained upon the earth. Certainly it had no appeal to the natural man. All they had was the word of the Lord, and if they rejected that, they were lost; if they believed it in spite of outward appearances, they could enter in and be saved. All of this was true of the Lord Jesus. Of Him, Isaiah says, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not,” Isaiah 53:3 (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., ibid., pp. 172-173).

Then God gave the size and shape of the Ark,

“And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: 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” (Genesis 6:15-16).

The length was 300 cubits. The breadth was 50 cubits. The height was 30 cubits. Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

To be very conservative, assume the cubit to have been only 17.5 inches, the shortest of all cubits, so far as is known. In that case, the Ark would have been 438 feet long, 72.9 feet wide and 43.8 feet high. It can be shown hydrodynamically that a gigantic box of such dimensions would be exceedingly stable, almost impossible to capsize. Even in a sea of gigantic waves, the Ark could be tilted through any angle up to just short of 90o and would immediately thereafter right itself again. Furthermore, it would tend to align itself parallel with the direction of major wave advance and thus be subject to minimal pitching most of the time.
      With the dimensions as calculated, the total volumetric capacity of the Ark was approximately 1,400,000 cubic feet, which is equal to the volumetric capacity of 522 standard livestock cars such as used on modern American railroads. Since it is known that about 240 sheep can be transported in one stock car, a total of over 125,000 sheep could have been carried in the Ark (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Flood, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, p. 181).
      Since, as we have already seen, the Ark could have carried as many as one hundred and twenty-five thousand sheep, and since the average size of land animals is surely less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that no more than 60 percent of its capacity would have to be used for animals. Actually, it would have been less than this, since the Biblical “kind” is probably considerably broader than that of the arbitrary “species” category of modern biology…Thus, the specified size of the Ark seems ideally appropriate for the animals it had to carry (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., ibid., p. 185).

Dr. Morris went on to say that there was no serious problem in assembling the animals because the earth was uniformly warm. Also, the animals were not separated from each other, as they are now, since the geography of the world was more or less uniform. There were therefore no great distances they had to travel. God told Noah that the animals “shall come unto thee” (Genesis 6:20). Sensing the coming storm, those that would be preserved instinctively migrated toward the Ark. Hibernation, like migration, was probably a latent genetic ability in some individual animals since the time of Creation. Those animals entered the Ark, and in response to the lowered temperature of the Flood, settled down into semi-sleep, needing far less food, until the Flood was over.

This may seem like science fiction to a “modern” mind, steeped in the ideas of uniformitarian geology and Darwinian evolution. But many of the concepts of present day geology and evolution are equally far-fetched.

Modern science cannot explain the origin of a single cell, much less the origin of the universe. In Ben Stein’s great documentary film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (soon to be released on DVD), the atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins said that life may have been started on earth by beings from outer space. Why, we ask, is this more plausible than God creating life? Why is such a fantastic bit of science fiction more reasonable than God being able to cause the migration of certain animals to the Ark, and preserving them through the Flood?

The God who created the universe could certainly have caused a few thousand animals to migrate to the Ark! The God who created the first astoundingly complex living cell could certainly have caused these animals, in a semi-hibernating state, to have survived in the Ark through the Flood! Thus, the question should be asked: could God do these things? Many scientists, in all fields, are now saying it is possible that the account of the Ark and the Flood given in the Bible is true. The voice of these believing scientists has been silenced for a long time in academic circles. Now, at long last, they are finally being heard in some quarters. It’s about time! We have lived under the domination of uniformitarian geology and Darwinian evolution for too long. These musty old Victorian theories from the nineteenth century are now being challenged by a growing number of Bible-believing academics, like men in our own church such as Dr. Kreighton L. Chan, a graduate in medicine from UCLA, and Dr. C. L. Cagan, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from UCLA. May their number increase.  May they prevail.  May the name of God be glorified among the heathen.  Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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