Depictions of giraffes, polar bears, kangaroos, and other animals happily marching up the ramp of a big ship remain firmly fixed in most people’s minds when the name Noah is mentioned. Though appealing in children’s picture books, such images raise questions and even draw ridicule from skeptics.
Where did Noah obtain the technology and resources to build such a huge vessel? How could eight people possibly care for all those animals? If the flood was less than global, why bother to build an ark rather than move Noah’s family and animals to high ground?
Learning about issues and questions surrounding the story of Noah—the ark’s design and construction, its passengers and its cargo, the purpose and extent of the flood—can help answer doubts about the credibility of the flood narrative without resorting to the conclusion that it must be allegorical or borrowed legend.
The March 28 release of the much-anticipated film Noah provides an opportunity to discuss the plausibility of such an event from a scientific and biblical perspective.
What most people have heard or read about Noah and the ark from childhood storybooks onward strikes them as utterly preposterous. Not only does the story seem to contradict multiple disciplines of science, but it also seems to contradict the Christian doctrine of an all-knowing, all-loving God.
With that in mind, we’d encourage believers to prepare for conversations by reading what the Bible actually has to say about Noah, both in Genesis and in other portions of Scripture (such as Hebrews 11 and 2 Peter 2). All Christians, no matter their personal gifting or ministry, are called to know what Scripture says (1 Peter 3:15–16). The better our understanding of the facts surrounding the Noah story, the better prepared we’ll be to discuss Noah the movie (and the other faith-based films in theatres this year) with gentleness, respect, and integrity.
To supplement your readings of Scripture, RTB has dedicated a web page of resources—articles, podcasts, and videos—to help foster positive, respectful dialogue with truth seekers. Check it out at reasons.org/theflood.