Thanks for checking out the podcast, if you are a regular listener, welcome once again. I am your host Randy Duncan, and we are making our way through the book of Genesis verse by verse.
We are in chapter 6, and last episode we ended at verse 10. And in that episode, we discussed the 120 years mentioned in verse 3, and a couple of possibilities for what those represent. We also discussed that the wickedness of man now permeated all of society, and now God is about to bring judgment upon the people. But, as the Bible tells us, Noah found favor in God’s eyes, because he was righteous.
And so that brings us now to verse 11, where we will now pick-up…
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
It says that the earth had become corrupt” in God’s sight. The Hebrew word for “corrupt” here means to “spoil, disfigure”, or “decay”.
It also says that the earth was filled with violence. And the Hebrew word for “violence” used denotes “sinful violence” and “extreme violence”. Notice that the picture being painted is not limited to a proverbial “rough part of town”. It is like this everywhere
So verses 11 and 12 are a basic recap of what we discussed last time regarding the evil and the wickedness and the extent to which it existed at that time. Remember, the Bible tells us that “all of the thoughts of man were only evil continually”
13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
And so here we begin to reach the part of the story that many are familiar with, as God gives Noah instructions on how he is to construct the ark. And that will be what I spend the majority of this episode discussing – the ark
14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.
Now, I am going to discuss the ark and its construction for a few minutes. But first, I need to dispel all of the silly notions and images that people conjur up in their mind when they think of the ark.
For example, although it makes for cute baby nursery themes and decorations, and for warm and cozy Sunday school rooms for children’s church, the image of the ark bursting at the seams with the giraffe heads poking out of the windows is just silly and nonsensical. It is not at all what scripture describes. It is a babyish caricature of the reality of the ark. And like I said, that is fine when you are talking about babies and toddlers. The problem is that at some point you have to graduate from that picture and that understanding of the ark, to a more realistic and scriptural understanding of the ark. And unfortunately, many people never move on from the ark they were surrounded with, and exposed to, as a child. Well now is as good a time as ever to do just that. So here we go!
Noah is told to build the ark using gopher wood. Unfortunately, we don’t know for certain what type of wood this was. Our best guess is that it was most likely cypress wood.
This is a reasonable guess for a couple of reasons. First, because cypress has similar consonants as the Hebrew spelling, and second, because the ancients used cypress in their building of boats due to its resistance to rot
Covering the ark inside and out with pitch was a common practice in ancient times, as it was a way to waterproof boats.
The size of the ark is actually very easy to figure out. God tells Noah to build it 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. Now all we need to know is how long a cubit is.
Historically, a cubit represented the length from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger. Now there were various cubits that could have been used, such as the Egyptian Cubit, the Babylonian cubit, etc., and each of these was slightly different. But most people assume an 18-inch cubit
So assuming this cubit would have made the ark 450 ft long, 75 ft wide, and 45 ft high. That is massive! Especially in that period of history!
Think about 450 ft long – that is the length of a football field and half of another!!I IOW, it wouldn’t fit inside a single football stadium in the country
It was 75 feet wide..For a comparison, the White House is only 85 feet wide
And it was 45 feet tall, which is equivalent to a 4-story building. If you ever stay in a typical Holiday Inn Express, they are usually around 4 stories, so that gives you a bit of a comparison to the height of the ark
So bottom line, the ark was massive! In fact, the longest confirmed wooden ship in history was the Wyoming, built in 1909, was 1 foot shorter than the ark. But don’t think of the ark as a ship. Think of it more like a barge. I mean, this wasn’t supposed to be like a year-long Carnival Cruise for Noah and his family, with all of the modern comforts we demand. No. This was a barge, meant to hold a lot of cargo and simply stay afloat until the water had subsided
So how much could the ark hold? Well, considering that the volume of the ark was about 1.5 million cubic feet, that would equal the carrying capacity of over 500 railroad cars, and a train about 5 miles long! So we need to get past our nursery school images of the giraffes and elephants barely squeezing in and having any room!
What about the stability of this massive ship? Well, the ark was constructed on a 1:6 ratio, meaning it was exactly 6 times as long as it was wide. Remember, 50 cubits wide, 300 cubits long. And this 1:6 ratio falls right in line with the engineering of today’s large ocean freighters. Look, many studies have been conducted on the dimensions of the ark, and the conclusions are the same – the ark, with the dimensions described in the Bible, was a very stable vessel
God also instructs Noah to construct the ark with a lower, middle, and upper decks. So there were three levels. Each level would have had over 33,000 sq feet of space, bringing the total to right about 100,000 sq feet in the ark. That would make it the 2nd largest house in America, behind Biltmore!
Even though I can describe the size of the ark, and try to use analogies so that you appreciate the size of the ark, if you want to actually see it for yourself, you can actually do that. The organization, AiG, which stands for Answers in Genesis, has constructed an exact to scale and dimensions replica of the ark. It is located in Willimstown, KY., which is about halfway between Cincinati and Lexington. I have been to see it two different times. And although I don’t agree with much of what Answers in Genesis teaches about many things, what they have done with the ark construction is amazing. You may agree or disagree with some of their interpretations regardign the age of the earth, but there is no denying that the ark experience is first-class. So even if you are not a Young Earth creationists, it is worth the trip to see the ark with your own eyes. Or, if you cannot make the trip, you can just Google “Ark Encounter”, or go directly to arkencounter.com, where you can at least see some pictures of it.
16- Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above,…some translations, such as KJV, say make a “window”, and this seems to be a more accurate translation. Although, we should probably not think of this window as being just a little peephole or something, but more like a transem, probably running the length of the ark. This would have provided for light and ventilation.
17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.”
Now I am going to go into this more in detail in the next episode, but a question for you to ask yourself: What was the extent of the flood? Was it worldwide? Global? Universal? Regional? Local?
If you have never stopped and done a serious study of this question, it is well worth your time to do so. And you may be surprised at what you learn
Now, to wet your appetite regarding this question, consider V17 – …”Everything that is on the earth shall die.”
Now this verse is pointed to by many to prove that the flood was global, meaning it covered the entire earth. However, consider a couple of examples elsewhere in scripture that refer to “all the earth”:
Gen 41: 57- Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.” When we read that, are we to think that people from literally all over the earth came to Egypt? Did people really come from places like Australia and Mexico to buy grain from Egypt? And that there was a famine over the entire earth? Does that mean that there was a famine in China, Greenland, and Japan just like there was in Egypt at this time?
1 Kings 10:24 – And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom. Again, are we supposed to understand this to mean that people from literally over all the earth came to hear Solomon? That they came from N. America? Australia? Iceland? Now certainly they came from many countries and far away. For example, we are told that the queen of Sheba came to hear Solomon, and she was from Africa. But the whole world?
And one more example, from the NT this time, from a story that many are familiar with, especially at Christmas time, Luke 2:1 – In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. Again, are we supposed to interpret the Bible here as trying to communicate that Caesar Augustus is attempting to register everybody in the entire world?
So in those three examples, and there are others, when it says all the earth/all the world, we know it doesn’t literally mean the whole earth or world. What we have to understand is exactly what it does mean. What is being communicated? How is this language being employed? We also need to understand that this type of comprehensive language can be used for more limited situations. But again, this is something we will pick up in the next episode when we go into some details regarding the extent of the flood. I just want you to be considering that when the Bible says that the entire earth was covered with water, it may not mean exactly what you think it means.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. 21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.”
So Noah and his wife, his three sons, and their wives are to be taken onboard the ark. Also, Noah is to bring onboard two of every animal in order to keep them alive once they disembark. Same thing for the birds, and for the rodents. Noah is also responsible to bring along enough food for the humans and the animals.
Notice that Noah doesn’t have to go around the countryside rounding up animals. V20 says that “two of every sort shall come to you”. God will send them to Noah, Noah doesn’t have to go get them.
22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
This may be the most important verse of the chapter, Noah did all that God commanded him”. If only the same could be said of each of us. How many of us do all that God commands us? Do you? I know I don’t, and I haven’t. But I have also learned that when I do, things tend to work out better for me.
If you truly believe in God, and you enjoy fellowship with him, and believe that he can impress upon you his will for your life, then why wouldn’t you do what you feel God is leading you to do?
I can think of several different reasons we come up with, but none that really justify our not trusting in God. He is God after all! He sees the future, we don’t. He exists outside of time. We don’t.
And just like Noah does here, we should also trust God with what is coming, with the unknown, and what God wants to accomplish through each of us.
In the next episode, we will see what happens once the door to the ark gets closed, and, as I mentioned, will discuss the possible extent of the flood.
Between now and then, you think about this. To get onboard the ark, there was only one door. You entered through that door, or you didn’t get in. And if you didn’t enter in, you were in trouble once the judgment and flood waters came. Jesus said in John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…”.
Thomas Aquinas once said “There is but one Church in which men find salvation, just as outside the ark of Noah it was not possible for anyone to be saved.”
Listen, if you have never placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, I encourage you to do so. As the Bible teaches us, in Acts 4:12, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
As always, thank you for joining me, and I hope you will join me again for the next episode as we discuss Noah’s flood. Until then, have a great week, and God bless!