A Daily Genesis

Genesis 6:15-16a

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 6:15a . .This is how you shall make it:[/B]

What if Noah had some ideas of his own? Would that have been alright? No; when God says "you shall" and/or "you shall not" then that's the law.

Some object that since paper and writing were not yet invented in Noah's day, then God couldn't possible have provided him with plans for the ark. But any pictograph, even one on a clay tablet or a rock face, qualifies as a drawing. That objection infers that God was illiterate until Man learned to read. (chuckle) I guess it just never occurs to them that holy men like Noah were far more advanced than your average cave-dwelling hominid.

Other skeptics object that a wooden vessel the size of Noah's ark couldn't be built because the timbers required for its structural strength would have been so massive that Noah would never have managed to construct it. But ancient craftsmen were far more ingenious than most people living today realize.

For example, nobody yet has really figured out how the Egyptians built the pyramids nor how the people of Easter Island cut, carved , and moved all those big stone heads around. And the Egyptians aren't the only ones to mystify us. There are ancient stone structures around the world that seem impossible to be erected by human hands prior to the age of heavy industrial machinery; but nevertheless, there they are.

And not to forget that Noah's God was in the project. Since that's the case, it's not unreasonable to assume God also provided Noah the tools necessary to complete the task He assigned; and very, very possibly chipped in to help out with the construction too.

When people fail to factor in God, they invariably end up mystified. To this day scientists are baffled about the origin of the cosmos, with all of its life, matter, and energy, because they refuse to factor God into their thinking.

There's another possibility; though I wouldn't stick my neck out to defend it. Gen 1:26 and Gen 3:22 suggest that God didn't do all the work of creation by Himself; but possibly supervised a crew of angels during the cosmos' construction. That same celestial construction crew may have assisted Noah with the ark's construction-- but of course I'm only speculating.

So; how did Noah cut the logs that went into constructing the ark? Well; according to the Bible, Cain's people were proficient with metals. If nothing else; it's probably pretty certain that Noah had at least a metal hammer and an axe; maybe several metal hammers and axes; and quite possibly saws too.

"And Zillah she too bore Tubal-cain, who sharpened all tools that cut copper and iron" (Gen 4:2 courtesy of Chabad.org)

How did Noah join the logs and other wooden pieces that went into constructing the ark? Well; you know, a good cabinet maker can assemble a very nice armoire without using nuts and bolts by the strategic use of dowels and clever joinery like grooves, rabbets, dovetails, mortises, and tenons.

Others object that a wooden vessel the size of the ark would never hold up on the open sea without steel reinforcement; especially when the super storm of Gen 8:1 began blowing to mop up the water. But again; those objectors typically fail to factor in God's involvement in the Flood. You really think He left the only surviving humans and the only surviving beasts on the whole planet to the mercy of the elements? No; with God's oversight, even a house of cards would have survived the Flood had He wished it to.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 6:15b . . the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.[/B]

There was a cubit among the Babylonians, and one in Egypt too. But there seems to have existed double standards in both countries. Because of that, there exists no undisputed example of the cubit that remains to the present time; so the length of the cubit has been variously estimated.

One of the ancient cubits was the length of a man's forearm, from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, as is implied from the derivation of the word in Hebrew and from the Latin cubitum. It seems to be referred to also in Deut 3:11 as "after the cubit of a man." But that's too vague, and unsuitable for a scientific standard because not all men's arms are exactly alike.

The Babylonians employed two different cubits: the so-called royal cubit and the common cubit. From the remains of buildings in Assyria and Babylonia, the royal cubit is made out to be about 20.6 inches. A cubit of similar length was used in Egypt. This was probably the cubit mentioned by Ezk 40:5 and possibly that of Solomon's temple as "cubits after the first measure" (2 Chr 3:3)

The commercial cubit was shorter, and has been variously estimated at between 16 and 18 inches or more, but the evidence of the Siloam inscription and of the tombs in Palestine seems to indicate 17.6 inches as the average length. This was the cubit of six palms, while the longer one was of seven (Ezk 40:5). The cubit mentioned in Judges 3:16 is from a different word, the Hebrew gomedh, and was probably shorter.

The cubit of Noah's day remains a total mystery. We have no way of knowing exactly how long it was. Maybe Noah and his boys passed on their antediluvian knowledge of weights and measures to the post-flood world and it stayed pretty close to the original standards over the years; but it's impossible to know for sure.

If we use an 18-inch cubit as a close approximation, then the ark would have been in the neighborhood of 450' long x 75' wide x 45' high. The ark's beam was 30 feet wider than its height, so should have proved very stable, and difficult to capsize even in rough seas-- especially since it had a flat bottom, which was good too for the purpose intended.

Nothing fancy. Since the ark didn't have to navigate; then it didn't require a means of propulsion nor was there any practical use for a bow, or a stern, or a wheel house, a rudder, sails, engine room, anchor, windlasses, or masts-- not even a handrail around the main deck. Since the ark didn't have to cut through the water like a schooner, there it didn't need tapered undersides. All the ark really had to do was float. It was really nothing in the world but a barge: and a very crude barge at that. Really little more than a very large watertight crate.

Compared to modern ships, 450 feet is not all that big. Oil tankers are around 1,500, and the Nimitz aircraft carrier is about 1,092 feet. The distance from home plate to the center field fence in major league baseball, averages 400 feet or better. So the ark would just about fit into Yankee stadium. The main playing area of a football field is 300 feet. Add 26 more for the end zones, and the total is 326; which is still 124 feet short of the ark's length but at least gives some idea of its scale.
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[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 6:16a . . Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and terminate it within a cubit of the top.[/B]

The ark was probably capped with a steeply sloped roof so the immense volumes of water falling from the sky during the rain stage of the Flood wouldn't impinge it perpendicularly; but rather strike a glancing blow; and the eves were likely quite considerable so water running off the roof wouldn't find its way to the window. Whether or not the window was shuttered isn't stated, but was very likely a practical consideration. The first forty days of the Flood were extremely inclement.

The dimensions of the window aren't stated. It could have been as wide as six feet and extended the full length and width of the ark-- all the way around it; who really knows. The only requirement was that it be adequate for light; but undoubtedly served for ventilation too. With all that respiration going on in there, Noah's air supply would become foul in very short order.

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