How Did the Animals Get Onto the Ark?

20 Oct

One of the most comical experiences I’ve encountered while studying the events surrounding Noah’s Ark is reading about all the problems, which the critics are so eager to point out concerning the multitude of species the Ark was supposed to have saved. How were they gathered into the Ark, and, considering how labor intensive it would have been for eight people to care for all of them, how did they do it? One thing is quite clear: the critic is all about finding problems. He or she is not about finding solutions! So, if you are listening to the critic, you are taking in only half of the story.

We do have problems here and the text doesn’t seem to help us discover, exactly how it was done. Some have suggested Noah was directed by God to save only domesticated animals, but this doesn’t seem to fit the text’s universal language which implies representatives of all kinds (specie groups) of animals were to come to the Ark for preservation of the animal group.

Others conclude that God drew them unto the Ark a week before the storm, seeking safety in much the same manner that animals seem to sense danger beforehand—like earthquakes etc. I was born in a coal mining town, and I’ve heard of miners who fed the rats in the mines, because having them around predicted safety. If the rats couldn’t be found, it was a precursor of a cave-in. Yet, although this idea is interesting, it seems to require special pleading. After all, why would the animals seek safety specifically in the Ark? Why not somewhere else? Who told the animals that the Ark was a safe place? When we try to mix a little science with a little miracle, we end up with an absurd idea.

Some have suggested the flood was local, because the gathering of so many animals from so far away to the place of the Ark seems too insurmountable. Yet, even this idea has its flaws. Mainly, the context of Genesis 6 & 7 points to a global flood. Moreover the idea of a local flood seems to seek to harmonize the account with the unregenerate mind. In other words, since the critic is averse to believing in miracles, no miracle could have occurred! Yet, even if we concede a flood without a miracle, the mammoth job of gathering all the animals (wild and domestic) onto the Ark would probably have been too much for Noah and his family. There simply wouldn’t be enough time in 100-120 years to build the Ark and gather and care for the many animals to be taken upon the Ark.

At some point in all this we must ask ourselves: why is Genesis 6 & 7 recorded in the first place? Certainly the Bible concludes that the record is there as a warning of judgment against all who will not live in a godly manner. But, really, is this warning directed toward those who don’t know God or toward those who are supposed to know him? In other words, was Jesus’ message first to the gentile or the Jew? Was he concerned over the ungodliness of the gentile (a given) or the ungodliness of the Jew (a paradox)? He was first concerned over and sent to the Jew. They knew God, or should have, and should have taken heed of Jesus’ warning of impending judgment.

With this in mind, for whom is Genesis 6 & 7 recorded—the critic or the believer? It is recorded for the believer, because only he would be expected to take the account seriously. Therefore, I submit that the warning of the coming global flood, the need for and the dimensions of the Ark **and** the gathering of the animals into the Ark were all supernatural developments.

Boarding the Ark (Image from Google Images)

Boarding the Ark
(Image from Google Images)

Consider the message of the text. No one could predict a global flood 100 to 120 years in advance. Modern weather men have trouble predicting rain or sunshine a week in advance. Therefore, like it or not, God is needed here to tell Noah of the coming judgment—whether or not the critic approves. Moreover, Moses could not have understood what the Ark’s dimensions should be in order to preserve representatives of all air breathing animals. Where would this kind of information come from, if we are to believe the text? Other flood accounts offer absurd dimensions for the Ark. GOD is needed here—like it or not—for the story of the Noahic Flood to work.

Therefore, we can expect no scientific phenomena that could point to a plausible reason why all the animals were gathered into the Ark. Nothing sounds reasonable; all natural considerations fail. Like it or not, GOD is needed to make it all work out. Noah and his sons put them into the Ark, but God sent them to Noah at the proper time. No natural way, like trapping and capturing in some other manner seems plausible.

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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Genesis Flood, naturalism


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