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Ask Dear Old Dad: Did Noah's Ark have all those animals?


Dear DOD,


Remains of Noah's Ark have been discovered on Mount Ararat in Turkey, but these claims have not yet been widely accepted by the scientific community. Over the past few decades, a number of archaeologists and explorers have claimed to have found structures or ruins related to Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, but these claims have often been seriously questioned. Scientists have studied the sites, including geological expeditions and archaeological surveys, but have provided no convincing evidence linking the structures to Noah's Ark. Do you believe that Noah's ark actually contained all animals in the world?


Thank you,

Patricia Fu



 


Dear Patricia,


WOW! You have had an eagle’s eye on biblical archaeology, especially concerning the story of Noah, the Ark, and the Great Flood. 


As a 10-year-old boy I found this fossilized shell at the foot of a cliff in the high desert of New Mexico. This is evidence that this area, now a mile above sea level, was once underwater. It follows that our earth has undergone many and radical changes. And yes, explorers have found evidences in Turkey suggesting something like a “Noah’s Ark.” What they have found does not corroborate the details in the biblical account of the Noah story. 


The story of Noah, along with the seven-day account of creation in Genesis, was written into the scriptures by the Priestly class following the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. During the captivity, the Jewish Priestly class was exposed to the literature and technology of the Babylonians. These Jewish ancestors modified and adapted the Babylonian stories and mythologies to suit their own experience of and encounters with God. Biblical scholars and biblical archaeologists have come to believe that many of the stories and myths in scripture, when examined closely, have history at their root even though the subsequent story may vary far and wide from the actual history.


The biblical dimensions of the Ark are quite large (L440’ × W72’ × H43’).


The Ark as described is inadequate to accommodate mating pairs of known land-based creatures and their food supply for 40 days and nights. However, the dimensions and architecture of the ark mimic those of the Temple in Jerusalem, which served as a safe haven for the traditions of Judaism in the face of the conquering armies of the Hellenistic and Roman empires. The Ark can be seen as symbolic of a safe refuge from the vicissitudes and storms of this world. Much of Christian architecture describes the place for accommodating worshippers as the nave, which is a Latin word for ship. A look at the ceiling of many churches is akin to looking at the bottom of a wooden ship.


Even today, church buildings are seen as safe haven or sanctuary for people in times of trouble.


So no, Patricia, I do not believe that Noah’s Ark actually contained all animals in the world.


Hope that this helps.


Dear Old Dad (DOD)


Do you have a burning question about church, Episcopal/Anglican traditions, theology, and so on? In our weekly feature "Ask Dear Old Dad," after the classic "Dear Abby" format, the Rev. Reese Riley, COS Senior Adjunct Clergy, will tackle your questions with his signature wisdom and charm. And by the way, there are no dumb questions! You may request to be anonymous, or you may have your name published. Your questions will inspire the conversation! Submit your question to Hannah at HannahR@COSepiscopal.org

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