This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 6/1/2002

Not Your Average Boat

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Here’s a challenge. Go to a bookstore or library and find some books that contain pictures of Noah's ark. Take a close look at those pictures and see if they really fit the description of the ark that is given in the Bible. For instance, many artists often draw the ark with a whole bunch of windows, but Genesis 6:16 tells us that the ark had only one window. Often we see pictures of the ark having two or three doors, only one or two floors, and being made from two or three types of wood . But the Bible tells us very clearly that there was only one door and three floors (6:16), and that the ark was made only of gopher wood (6:14)!

When God commanded Noah to build an ark so that he, his family, land-dwelling animals, and birds could be saved from the Great Flood, He gave specific instructions about how big to make the ark. Many people argue that the ark was not big enough to hold all the animals. However, these people forget that God was the Creator of the animals, and He knew exactly how big the ark needed to be. God told Noah to make "the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth [width] of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits" (Genesis 6:15). If we are to under­ stand the size of the ark, we first need to know what a cubit is. The word "cubit" comes from a Hebrew word meaning "forearm, “because the Hebrews used their forearm in determining the length of a cubit. Generally, a cubit was the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. According to our own measurements, a cubit would be about 18-20 inches.

Since the ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, it would have measured approximately 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet tall. To get a good idea of just how large the ark really was, imagine waiting at a railroad crossing while ten freight trains, each pulling 52 boxcars, moved slowly by, one after another. Now imagine putting all of those boxcar s into the ark. The space available inside the ark would have held more than 520 modem railroad box­ cars! Noah had approximately enough room to carry not one, but two Boeing 747s (with their wings detached). Fortunately, Noah built the ark exactly as God commanded him, and therefore he had plenty of room for all of the animals and their food.

Copyright © 2010 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio