SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE
The testimony of the Flood has been preserved not only in the rocks and fossils but also in the history and traditions of the entire human race. Practically every ancient nation and tribe in the world has its own flood story, many of them amazingly similar to the biblical account—even in such details as the sending of the dove and the raven to search for land and the offering of sacrifices when the waters subsided. The similarities are not such as to permit the idea, however, that the Genesis account had somehow penetrated to all these scattered regions. Most of the stories have been grossly distorted and exaggerated, with many impossible fancies appended to them. At the same time, it is obvious that they all must have stemmed originally from the same primeval source. That source could only have been the historical event of the Flood and Noah’s Ark, with the true and complete record now preserved only in the Bible.
The very peoples and population of the world provide a convincing testimony to their origin from a common stock at about the time and place indicated in the biblical records. Despite the misleading speculations of the paleoanthropologists, real archaeological evidence almost invariably points to the origin of true civilization (as evidenced by agriculture, animal domestication, pottery, metallurgy, urbanization, and writing) as having occurred somewhere in the Middle East near the eastern shores of the Mediterranean several thousand years ago. The ancient sites in Egypt, Iraq, Crete, Syria, and Turkey all focus on the same general area and time as the true cradle of civilization.
It is bound to be providential that the geographical center of all the land areas of the earth turns out to be near Mount Ararat, the point from which all nations and land animals originally migrated.
Furthermore, the present human population of the world supports the Genesis record. The world population in 1800 has been estimated at about 850,000,000, whereas in 1650 it was only about 400,000,000. In 1986 it was somewhat over 4,000,000,000. The population thus seems to be doubling itself about every one hundred years, and there is no objective reason to assume this rate was significantly lower in the past. The present rate seems to be more rapid than this, in fact.
Now if the original population was two (say Noah and his wife), one can easily calculate that the population would only have to double itself thirty-one times to produce the present world population. Assuming the Ussher chronology to be correct, Noah and his wife had their family about 4,500 years ago. This gives an averaging doubling interval of 145 years, which is quite reasonable and conservative.
However, if the original pair lived, say, five hundred thousand years ago, which is much less than the usual anthropological estimate, the average doubling time is over sixteen thousand years, which is absurd. The world’s present population, as well as their dispersal from Ararat (and later Babel), can easily be explained in terms of the biblical framework. The same applies to animal populations and their geographical distribution. During the Ice Age following the Flood, extensive land bridges existed across the Bering Straits and down the Malaysian archipelago into New Guinea and possibly to Australia. People and animals could have migrated on foot to practically all parts of the world. Men also knew how to construct ships, as is evidenced by the Ark itself, and there is increasing evidence of ancient navigation to all regions of the globe, even to Antarctica.
Some people have ridiculed the story of Noah’s ark, alleging it would have been impossible for him to keep two of every kind of animal on the ark for a year, but this objection is easily answered. The ark’s dimensions are given as 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits. Assuming each cubit to be 18 inches (the most likely value, according to archaeologists), each of the ark’s three decks (averaging 15 feet in height) would have contained about 34,000 square feet of floor space, and the total carrying capacity of the ark was about 1,500,000 cubic feet, the equivalent of 569 standard railroad stock cars.
The smaller animals were, no doubt, placed in tiers of cages on top of each other, with the few large animals, (e.g., elephants, dinosaurs) in separate stalls. There are (according to leading taxonomist Ernst Mayr) less than 20,000 species of land animals (mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians) living today, with a much smaller number of extinct species known from the fossils. At the most, therefore, the ark would only have to carry, say, 80,000 animals. If the average animal was the size of a sheep (most animals are much smaller than this), and knowing that a railroad stock car can carry 240 sheep, it is clear that the ark could have held as many as 140,000 animals. The biblical “kind” is very likely much broader than the species in most cases, so there would have been no problem at all, in accommodating all the world’s land animals in the ark.
They were, no doubt, all young animals (they had to live a year in the ark, then repopulate the earth) and therefore relatively small and docile. Furthermore, it is likely that many or most of the animals spent most of the Flood year in a state of relative dormancy, thus requiring a minimum of care. It is also noteworthy that Noah did not have to go out and bring them to the ark. The record says that God caused them to migrate to the ark as the time for the Flood drew near.
by HENRY M. MORRIS
Revised and Updated MOODY PRESS