by Andrew Hanson

 

By Andy Hanson, April 9, 2014

 

I saw the newly released movie Noah at a Friday matinée. I concur with Paul Young’s evaluation: “Overall it is disjointed, incoherent, and awful. For all the expense, even the computer-generated imagery was hit and miss [even before] the jarring introduction of transformer-ish fallen-angel rock creatures…There is barely enough truth in this film to warrant attention.”[1]

 

It seems moviegoers agree. Captain America: The Winter Soldier's ticket sales last weekend were $96.2 million to Noah’s $17 million. Read the entire plot at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_%28film%29.

 

Paul Young’s review is kind! However, my reason for mentioning this movie isn’t to pan the acting, CGI, or script. It demonstrates visually what reasoned arguments with a biblical literalist might not: this story is a myth.

 

Even using modern equipment, building the set was a monumental task (https://screenrant.com/noah-movie-2014-preview/).

 

Of course there are other problems with the Genesis story, involving the numbers of land animals, birds, insects, and their devastating microbial companions that marched into the Ark. And it can be argued that the Bible story itself claims that the Flood did not accomplish its stated objective.[2] But in this blog I want the reader to imagine the Ark as described in the Bible: the required building materials, its engineering, and its ability to weather the conditions described in the Genesis 5-9 story.

 

Building Materials
“Noah's Ark was a great rectangular box of gopherwood, or perhaps some combination of other woods colloquially referred to as gopherwood. Its dimensions are given as 137 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 14 meters high. This is very, very big; it would have been the longest wooden ship ever built. These dimensions rank it as one of history's greatest engineering achievements; but they also mark the start of our sea trials, our test of whether or not it's possible for this ship to have ever sailed, or indeed, been built at all.”[3]

 

“Tens of thousands of massive timber-quality trees would have to have been imported into the middle of what's now Iraq.”

 

Engineering
“Scale up a simple wooden beam large enough, the weight will exceed its strength, and it will break from its own weight alone. Scaled up to the immense size of Noah's Ark, a stout wooden box would be unspeakably fragile… If there were even the gentlest of currents, sufficient pressure would be put on the hull to open its seams… Noah's Ark would bend with eddies like a snake. Even if the water itself was perfectly still, wind would expose the flat-sided Ark's tremendous windage, exerting a shearing force that might well crumple it.”[3]

 

“Most of the largest wooden ships were, like Noah's Ark, unpowered barges. Yet even those built in modern times, such as the 103 meter Pretoria in 1901, required substantial amounts of steel reinforcement; and even then needed steam-powered pumps to fight the constant flex-induced leaking.”

 

“There's no precedent for a wooden ship the size of Noah's Ark being seaworthy, and plenty of naval engineering experience telling us that it wouldn't be expected to work. Even if pumps had been installed and all hands worked round the clock pumping, the Ark certainly would have leaked catastrophically, filled with water, and capsized.”

 

Meteorology

“A real-world problem for those believing this story is meteorology. Genesis 7:19-20 states that all earth was covered by 15 cubits (approximately 25 feet) of water. In order to cover Mt. Everest by 25 feet—over 29,000 feet above sea level—during a span of 40 days, it would have to rain an average of 6 inches per minute for the entire time. The record for rainfall for any one-minute at any one location is 1.5 inches. Also, if all that vapor was in the air before the rain started, the air pressure at sea level would be an astounding 13,000 psi instead of the normal 14.5 psi.”[4]

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[1] Paul Young, author of The Shack.

 

[2] I’ve included two biblical references that indicate that God knew that the flood was a waste of time, and that other humans actually survived the Flood.

 

“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood” (Genesis 8:20, 21).

 

“The most devastating problem facing believers in the "Great Flood" surfaces in Numbers 13:33. Here the Israelites encounter the sons of Anak. The Anakites came from the Nephilim (giants) who, according to Genesis 6:2-4, originated in pre-flood times as a result of the sexual union of male angels (sons of God) and the daughters of men. Therefore the presence in post-flood Canaan of Anakites, the descendants of the Nephilim, would mean that not all who lived on earth, other than Noah and his family, were killed in the flood. This stands as a direct contradiction of Genesis 6:17 where God vows to…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” (The Myth of The Great Flood).[4]

 

[3] Noah's Ark: Sea Trials, https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4279.

[4] The Myth Of The Great Flood, https://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?45224-How-did-Noah-build-the-ark.