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Monday, June 03, 2013

Has Noah's Ark been found?

The Bible tells us about Noah's Ark, a giant structure which, according to the Biblical narrative, carried a few of each of many kinds of animals, while the earth was flooded. Every few years, there are claims that the remains of the ark have been located. I have heard such stories for at least a few decades.

Answers in Genesis is an organization that is fully convinced that the earth is only a few thousand years old, that there was a world-wide flood, and that God did, indeed, cause a large variety of creatures to escape this flood on the ark that was built by Noah and his family. The organization would be very pleased if Noah's ark were to be found. Members of that organization have examined a recent claim that the ark has been found, and are not convinced of the validity of such claims.

Here is a technical article published by Answers in Genesis, in November, 2011. The article, by Andrew Snelling, who seems to have considerable expertise in radioactive dating (I have no such expertise). He concludes that wood samples taken, supposedly, from a structure found in Turkey by a team from Hong Kong are not ancient, but modern. The wood tested was living during the 20th century, according to Snelling. Snelling was, he says, given access to the actual wood testing data, and he presents it in the article. I don't claim to understand the technical details in Snelling's discussion, but the conclusion he reaches is plain: "Given the present C-14 evidence, despite the tantalizing wooden remains the Chinese-Turkish team claims to have discovered on Mt. Ararat, such artifacts CANNOT have come from the Ark. So whatever they have found, they are NOT the remains of the Ark." (Emphasis in original.)

Here is a less technical news article, published by Answers in Genesis in May, 2010, about the same supposed discovery, which indicates that the organization doubts the claim, and questions whether the Ark would be expected to ever be found. The reasons given for such doubts include volcanic activity in the region where the ark is believed to have landed, and the likelihood that Noah and his family would have used the wood from the ark for other purposes.

Answers in Genesis takes the position that what the Bible says about the flood, and the ark, is sufficient. If the ark were to actually be discovered, that would be great, but we don't need such a discovery to believe in the Bible. As far as I can determine, the organization hasn't evaluated any claims of finding the ark since the claim made by the group from Hong Kong in 2010, discussed in this post. I am sure that if any important claims of finding the ark had been made since that time, they would have discussed them in short order.

The organization also points out that the Bible is vague about the location where the ark came to rest, saying, in Genesis 8:4, "the mountains of Ararat," rather than on a specific mountain. See here for that verse, in several versions of the Bible, which are unanimous on that point. The Wikipedia article on those mountains says: "The 'Mountains of Ararat' in Genesis clearly refer to a general region, not a specific mountain . . ."

Tomorrow, I expect, God willing, to post about another alleged finding of Noah's Ark.

In a previous post, I have set forth a number of questions about the story of the flood, which I can't answer satisfactorily. 

In the next post, I consider an older claim that the ark has been found.

Thanks for reading.

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