Make thee an ark of gopher wood. (Genesis 6:14)
About five years ago, March 2010, God woke me in the middle of the night and gave me a vision to build a scale model of Noah’s Ark. At the time, I was in the middle of working on my M.C.Ed degree in Biblical apologetics from the School of Biblical Apologetics (SOBA) at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and I needed a Master’s project or a thesis in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree. The Noah’s Ark model would fulfill that requirement.
As with Noah, God gave me a “big picture” vision of all the details that would need to go on the model. Part of that vision included donating the completed model to ICR. In the end, I was unable to complete the model in time for graduation, so I fulfilled my requirements by writing a thesis. However, that did not squelch my determination to complete the model and make good on my promise. So the work continued a few hours every night after work and on weekends. My only limitation was my own “wimpyness.” My garage, where I built the Ark, is not climate controlled, so in the summer temperatures were unbearably hot, and in the winter temperatures were numbingly cold. The five-year timeframe was due to those limitations, but in that time, I spent 1379 hours to complete the task.
The importance of my God-given task results from what Peter wrote: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3). Scoffers attack anything “Bible,” but one of their favorite targets is the book of Genesis and what it has to say about Creation, the Fall, and the Global Flood. They say stupid things like, “How could all those animals fit inside the Ark?” Sadly, too many Christians, rather than defend God’s Word, take the side of the scoffers. Therefore, this model serves to encourage Christians to trust God’s Word completely and bolster their faith in defending the Word of God.
God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark” (Genesis 6:14). The Hebrew word translated “rooms” is qên and it literally means “nests.” That indicates that these would not be large pens where the animals could move around a lot. Noah, his family, and all the menagerie endured 371 days onboard the Ark.
That being the case, it is my opinion that God caused the animals to hibernate during that time, so large spaces were not required for the animals. Furthermore, since the average size the animals was about the size of a small cow, a good majority of the animals were small. In order to represent this, made small animal cages for the second deck.
God gave Noah the dimensions of the Ark as follows: “And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be Starboard Side of the Ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits” (Genesis 6:15). Based on an 18-inch cubit, that would make the Ark 450 feet long (the length of one and one half football fields), 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. My model is 1/60 scale making it 7.5 feet (90 inches) long, 15 inches wide, and 9 inches tall. (Those are inside dimensions.)
Noah was also instructed to make a “window” for the Ark. “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above” (Genesis 6:16). The Hebrew word translated “window” is tsôhar and it literally means a “light” or “double light” as in midday or noon. Only in this passage is it translated “window,” so evidently it was some way to allow outside light into the Ark. Toward the end of the voyage we are told, “And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made” (Genesis 8:6, emphasis mine). In this case, the Hebrew word is challôn and this word does mean “window” and is so translated throughout the Old Testament.
This tells me that Noah had some leeway in the construction of the Ark and not every detail was strictly dictated by God. This fact gives me confidence in using my “sanctified imagination” in creating the detail for the model not specified in Scripture. The roof, therefore, features an opening beneath the eave of the main roof extending the length of the Ark on both sides as well as the vent opening above the main roof. These two sets of “windows” would allow for air circulation and ventilation.
Noah’s instructions also included “the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof” (Genesis 6:16). Unlike the blasphemous “Noah” movie, the Ark had only a single door.
Noah was also instructed to carry provisions for his family and for all the animals. “And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them” (Genesis 6:21). All of these things came to mind in building the model as I attempted to represent, to a limited extent, what would have been carried on the Ark.
The Noah’s Ark model visually represents the Gospel message in the Ark as a “type” of Christ. The Bible tells us that the world had become so corrupt “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart … The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:6, 11). Things have not changed in all the years since that time. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In His holiness must judge and punish sin, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Just as God is holy, He is also merciful. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8) and He provided a way of salvation. Noah had 120 years to build the Ark. During that time the Bible tells us that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) pleading for all to repent of their sin and find refuge in the Ark for God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Ark had only one door by which men could enter. Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). God had complete control of the door to Noah’s Ark. When the fountains of the deep burst open and the deluge descended upon the earth, “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). There is still only one way obtain salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The way of salvation in Noah’s day was the wooden Ark with its single door. Today, the way of salvation is through the wooden cross upon which Jesus died; it is the only way. Eight people were saved on the Ark out of the billions that lived on earth at that time. Jesus said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14, emphasis mine). Today those that place their faith and trust on the cross of Jesus Christ will be saved from eternal death. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). My prayer is that you have found your Ark in Jesus Christ.
See the article in the March 2015 issue of Acts & Facts: http://www.icr.org/article/noahs-ark-model.