Deluged with Inquiries About the Ark
Since posting a preliminary comment about recent reports that the remains of Noah’s Ark have been found on Mt. Ararat in Turkey,1 Answers in Genesis now has more to say, while still remaining highly cautious in coming to a conclusion about what has supposedly been found. 2 Throughout the week, AiG supporters have peppered us with questions about the validity of the reported discovery, especially as major media outlets (like ABC-TV news in the U.S.) have been covering the story and quoting one of the Ark hunters as saying he is 99 percent sure they have found what is left of the Ark. This growing buzz has prompted us to write more today; in Saturday morning’s News to Note feature on this website, we will have even more to say.
As we continue to be wary of this most recent-of-claims about the Ark’s discovery, Answers in Genesis points out that creationists need to apply the same standard as we attempt to do when examining evolutionists’ “proofs.” For example, we often note that the evidence of so-called “ape-men” is based on fragmentary evidence, and often ends up discarded by evolutionists themselves when they realize that they misinterpreted the scant evidence (as we are now seeing with last year’s much ballyhooed “Ida”). To be consistent, this principle of careful and rigorous interpretation of the evidence needs to be employed by creationists when they examine a claim that a Turkish/Chinese group has found what is declared to be the remains of Noah’s Ark. Without seeing the entirety of the evidence for this claim and noting that what has been provided to the public in the form of a video and photos have not been conclusive (even where the photos were actually taken is in question now), we remain cautious (even more so than earlier this week) as we make our final determination. Frankly, we are somewhat surprised that experts from the leading creationist research groups (such as ICR, AiG, CRS, etc.) were not given the opportunity to carefully examine the evidence directly (rather than simply through photographs and videos) so far obtained before such a confident conclusion was publicized to the world last weekend.
What also makes AiG so cautious about the latest report is that we have heard such claims several times before, even as they were made by people who described themselves as Bible-believing Christians. Some “discoveries” were eventually dismissed as structures of geologic origin and were not of wood. The “crying wolf” syndrome has already kicked in this week, as non-believers are dismissing this Ark claim as yet another bogus one. The creationist movement in general will have its credibility undermined further if this Ark-remnant is shown to be a fraud, and thus the testimony we seek to have in the world will be hindered.
Adding to our skepticism about the find is (as we have stated before) that the volcanic activity on the mountains of Ararat as well as several earthquakes make it doubtful that even parts of a wooden structure could have survived for over 4,300 years. Furthermore, much of the wood would have most likely been scavenged right after the Flood to erect forms of shelter and to build fires, etc. Also, as we look at the photos of this latest proposed Ark, we do not see evidence of the wood being coated with pitch (as Genesis 6:14 indicates). Other items seen in the photos are suspicious-looking as well; we will have more to say about our doubts on Saturday’s posting.
While Answers in Genesis has seen the photos that were released (and a video), without corroboration by the leading creationist organizations and not knowing all the research methods that were employed by the search team, we will withhold final judgment until further study is done. Again, over the decades we have learned to be cautious about such Ark claims. Perhaps the Ark hunters will allow AiG or another creationist research group to have access to their hard evidence, and not just photos and a video to examine.3
Of course, AiG would be ecstatic if the Ark were found, for it would add one more exciting confirmation of the historicity of the book of Genesis. But Christians do not need to find the Ark in order to give them more confidence in the Bible. Bible-believers have no doubt that there once was a huge Ark that served as a salvation ship during a global Flood, which landed on the mountains of Ararat, just as Genesis records. Also, and as we powerfully show in many exhibits inside the Creation Museum, there is overwhelming evidence worldwide that is consistent with the event of the Genesis Flood, such as the massive fossil record we see all around the world that is consistent with a global catastrophic event.
- By the way, the Bible declares that the Ark came to rest in the “mountains of Ararat,” which takes in a very large area. When you read the text of Genesis 8:4, you will notice that the Ark did not necessarily land on a specific mountain called Mt. Ararat.
- Here is some more background to the Ark claim. A Christian group called Media Evangelism announced at a press conference in Hong Kong last weekend that one of its ministries, “Noah’s Ark Ministries International,” had teamed up with a Turkish group and filmed some wooden structures at about the 14,000-foot level of Mt. Ararat.
- At this point, we need to mention that Prof. Randall Price of Liberty University, who works at an institution that has a track record of careful research into the historicity of the Genesis accounts of the Flood and Creation, has made many comments about this latest Ark claim (see http://www.worldofthebible.com/news.htm). At the same time, some of the AiG staff know a few people associated with Media Evangelism, of which Noah’s Ark Ministries International (one of the teams involved in this find) is a part; we do not doubt their motives and evangelistic desire (as seen in their Ark replica in Hong Kong).