How could they put all 10 billion species of animal on a wooden boat? Great question, let’s answer it.
Before we answer that, may we offer you a FREE booklet with a LOT of answers to questions that are raised about Noah’s Ark. You may sign up to download it here!
Few things are used more to mock and discredit the Biblical account of the flood that, “How’d they fit all the animals on a boat?” Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, Penn Jillette to name a few along with a host of other skeptics use this line quite a bit. So, “What About . . .” it? God said in His Word:
“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee…(Genesis 6:19).”
The content of this verse is central to answering the critics of the literal interpretation of the Flood account as represented in Genesis.
The skeptics will say that it would have been impossible to build a sea-worthy marine vessel made of wood large enough to accommodate 2 of every species of land animal.
In the 2007 Volume 13, Number 2 issue of Skeptic magazine, writer Stephen T. Asma was assigned a critique of the Creation Museum in an article he entitled “Solomon’s House.”
“The popular college textbook Biology sums up the numbers by saying that, ‘To date, scientists have described and formally named about 1.5 million species of organisms. We can only estimate how many more currently exist. Some biologists believe that the number is about 10 million, but others estimate it to be between 30 million and 80 million.’ Even if we take the most conservative numbers of species, when we add the staggering numbers of now extinct species (like dinosaurs), we have an insane number of animals to fit into a boat less than two football fields long.”
The problem is that the critics are assuming that the only way to preserve all of the species of record is that each one would have to be represented on the ark. This is neither biologically necessary nor hermeneutically genuine. The Genesis rendering of God’s instruction to Noah required “two of every sort” [which is a parallel reference to the “kind” (min – Hebrew pronounced “mean”) in the following verse (20) as well as in the details of the Creation week].
In Genesis 1 God created plants, trees, and air, sea, and land creatures in varieties distinguished by “kind” and having the capacity to perpetuate that “kind.” Because of our modern taxonomic cataloguing, many have equated the most referenced classification of “species” with the biblical “kinds.” It is remarkable that none of the other classifications of organisms modeled by the Father of Modern Taxonomy, Carolus Linneaus (a biblical creationist who lived in the 1700’s), are given consideration among skeptics as a potential parallel to “kinds.” The reason is because when you allow the “kinds” of Genesis to become synonymous with broader categories such as “genus” or “family,” the biblical model becomes dangerously close to being scientifically credible.
The truth is God, in His sovereign foreknowledge, created each “kind” with the genetic capacity for variation sufficient to insure survival in a multiplicity of environments post-Flood. The many species that we see today are testimony to this created genetic diversity.
In the 1600 years from Creation to the Flood, much variety within “kinds” would be expected as herds and prides and flocks spread out and became isolated. Each “kind” would be represented by many feature variations that would be sufficient to reclassify them today as their own “species.” However, Noah did not have to account for all the variation within “kinds.” He was specifically ordered to account for each “kind” on the ark.
Both Dr. Todd Wood , Director of the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College, and creationist researcher and author John Woodmorappe (Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study) are convinced that the biblical classification of “kinds” would require as few as 2,000 animals on the ark [though they are both willing to concede to modeling a higher number (Woodmorappe – 16,000) for the sake of addressing the “crowded ark” argument].
How was Noah able to “bring” the mandated creature representatives on board the ark?
God told Noah that they would come to him (Genesis 6:20)!
God’s instruction continues with description of a phenomenon that would serve to affirm the divine origin of Noah’s task. Up until now Noah had operated purely by faith in God’s word. His actions were likely met only with ridicule, resistance and even wavering introspection as day after day he and his sons (and perhaps hired workers) labored in the construction of the ark. I wonder if just about the time Noah’s faith began to falter, he realized the growing gathering of paired animals now contently pasturing together in the clearings left by his logging operations. I’m sure his mind went back to the promise that “two of every sort shall come unto thee.” Imagine what that did for his practical resolve and his preaching fervor.
Henry Morris suggests a biblical perspective and a very interesting possibility relating to this mass relocation and assemblage of land animals in his book The Genesis Record.
“…animals were not ecologically isolated in different latitudes or altitudes as at present, but were more or less uniformly distributed around the world (remember, before the flood the dry land of the earth was a single land mass). No great distances were involved, then, when the time came for representatives of each kind to migrate to the Ark…This was probably the first animal migration in history, as such migrations had never been necessary before, with pleasant climate and abundant food available everywhere.
Within each animal kind, however, had been placed genes which were programmed to impart such migratory instincts to their possessors. In the antediluvian populations, these had no selective value and so were not dominant. Certain individuals still possessed them; however…The animals on the Ark, therefore, were all individuals possessing such genes. Their descendants have inherited them and utilized the powers imparted by them as necessary in the postdiluvian world.”
Scientists are still puzzled by the mechanism that triggers the migratory instinct. It could very well be a product of genetic design engaged by God at the time of this first migration and applied as an important survival ritual of many animals today.
We pray that you see there are answers to questions such as these. Admittedly, we don’t know everything. But, God has given us more than enough information to make an informed decision. We are without excuse.
By the way, we also deal with this topic in our short video, deBUNKED – All Those Animals Couldn’t Fit On The Ark! If you would like a FREE digital download of this highly popular video just go here. Place the item in your store and when you check out use the code, “getdebunked” before checking out. You will then be able to download this as a gift from rforh. Stay Bold!
Marc is a long time friend of Carl Kerby and an amazing writer. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Operations for PENNECO where he oversees all functional areas associated with natural gas drilling, development, and production. Marc has over twenty five years experience in geology, well drilling and completions, site and pipeline construction, measurement, and compression operations. Marc also brings a wealth of experience to leadership of their field staff of over thirty field personnel and technicians. In addition he also provides oversight of all field operations and assists in the evaluation of our joint venture prospects and development of our exploration strategies. He is a graduate of Hyles-Anderson College, and has been with PENNECO since 1985.