In the Bible, this is the story of how God drowned every person on earth with a great flood, sparing only a man named Noah and his family of seven. Fundamentalists believe that the story is literally true, and there have been many claims to have found the ark on which Noah and his family sailed.
The story of Noah's ark is told in Genesis 6:11-8:22. God sees that the world has become full of evil, and decides to kill everyone on Earth, with the exception of Noah, his three sons, and their respective wives.
God explains to Noah that he is going to flood the earth, and tells him to build a vessel, an ark. God gives instructions on how to build the ark, what its dimensions should be, and so forth. He also tells Noah to bring representative samples of all living creatures: either one pair of each animal (Genesis 6:19-20) or seven of each clean animal (or seven pairs) and two of each unclean animal (Genesis 7:2-3).
After the animals have been loaded onto the ark, god sends rain and opens up the "fountains of the great deep" for forty days and forty nights, until the earth is covered with water and every living being has died, except for those on the ark. The floodwaters start subsiding, and a year later the ark rests on "the mountains of Ararat".
Noah releases a raven through the window of the ark, but it can't find any dry land, and keeps flying around until the water subsides. Noah sends out a dove, but it returns, not having found any dry land. A week later, Noah releases the dove again, and this time it returns with an olive leaf in its beak, indicating that the water level is getting low. A week later, he releases the dove again, but it fails to return, and Noah looks out to see that the world has dried out.
- There are millions of known animal species in the world; it would take an impossibly large ship to hold representatives of all species, not to mention food for at least a year.
- Assuming that Noah did not take two of each species, but two of each "kind", that still requires an awfully rapid evolution explosion to account for the biological diversity today. If all creatures on earth were destroyed some five thousand years ago in the Great Flood, it would require incredibly fast evolution to cause, for instance, the dog "kind" to produce both dire wolves and chihuahuas. If we take a very conservative estimate of 1 million species that decended from creatures on Noah's ark, and asume that 16,000 "kinds" of animal were on the ark, each "kind" would have had to evolve into over 62 species in the 4000 years since Noah's flood.
- The flood story does not explain the present geographic distribution of species, e.g., how did marsupials wind up in Australia, and only in Australia?
- The story of Noah is not the first Middle Eastern deluge story. The story told by Utnapishtim in "The Epic of Gilgamesh", in which the God Enlil and other deities drown the world to rid it of evil, is referred to as far back as 2000 B.C.E. Its most complete version comes from tablets dated between 669 and 633 B.C.E. The modern book of Genesis was not compiled for another 200 years.
- The Deluge would have meant the resetting of DNA lines for nearly every living thing on earth. All DNA lines should curiously and rapidly narrow to small breeding populations located in the Middle East. Ignoring every other creature on earth, we can say with some confidence, that human DNA lines appear to originate in Africa. Most lines do not appear to have stopped in the middle east 4000 to 5000 years ago.
- The Deluge, according to available timelines, occurred between 2348 B.C.E. and 2150 B.C.E. It should have represented a clear historical breaking point for every civilization around the world. No such break point exists. The river of history appears to have continued flowing uninterrupted through the Great Flood.
- Once the animals got off the ark, they would have nothing to eat. All the plants would have died in the flood, so the herbivores would have nothing to eat. The carnivores would wipe them out anyway, and then they would die too.
- Creationists often claim that there were only babies of each species and only seeds of each plant on the ark, but then this would require a time for them to grow. For every ten units of mass on one level of the food chain, only one unit of mass can be created on the next level. That means for a lion, which wieghs over 400 pounds, to become fully grown, he needs to eat 4,000 pounds of meat, and that animal would have to eat 40,000 pounds of plant to get that much weight. It is therefore absurd to think that Noah could have taken babies on the ark.
- About.com Religious Timelines
- The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Timeline
- Word Sight's Bible Time-line
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art historical timeline
- Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago historical timeline
- Infoplease.com Ancient history timeline
Gilgamesh and Utnapishtim
DNA and Mapping Human Migration