"And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood" — Genesis 6:13-14
I began reading my Bible all the way through from year to year as a 9-year-old boy. My soul thrilled to read the adventures of the great heroes of God, my heart ached at the sin that caused so much harm, but above all my confidence soared in belief with every word it said as I compared it to the world around me.
Genesis 3 spoke of the fall of man and the world being plunged into sin; I looked around and I saw that sin-filled world.
Genesis 11 told of mankind being divided into nations and languages; I looked at the globe and saw nation after nation, representing language after language.
And then in Genesis 6 I also read of a worldwide flood; and having already learned that many fossils of sea creatures are found high on the tops of mountains and even far out in remote deserts, there was an easy correlation in my mind. Sea creatures do not walk to the top of mountains or out into deserts; therefore those mountains used to be covered in water, just like the Bible said.
As I grew up, though, I came to know a different type of person from the churchgoers I grew up with. I first encountered them in college, these skeptics who disbelieved everything that seemed so obvious to me. And at the top of their list, the thing they held in the most derision, was the historicity of the worldwide flood and Noah's ark.
Their attacks usually ran along these lines. "How could you believe something so ridiculous, that tiny boat holding those millions of huge animals?"
I knew they were wrong, but I also knew that words would not suffice for people who had that flawed of a visual picture in their mind. And that brings me to the most recent excursion we took with 24 sweet folks from our church.
The Ark Encounter is the brainchild of Ken Ham. It sits in lovely Williamstown, Kentucky. It is a life-size reproduction of the ark using the dimensions given in the book of Genesis. It is massive; definitely not the tiny greeting-card caricature with animals hanging over the sides. It is said to attract around a million visitors a year, and the day we went it was so packed that I have no trouble believing that figure.
Whether one is a believer or a skeptic, this would be a trip worth taking. The Ark Encounter is the largest freestanding timber structure in the world and is utterly breathtaking. Just getting to view the outer shell and the interior framing alone would be worth the trip.
It goes much further than that, though. The displays do a remarkable job showing the plausibility of housing and tending to the several thousand animal kinds that would need to be on the ark in order to properly repopulate and speciate the Earth. It has displays on the different nationalities that could easily have arisen afterward from the three sons of Noah and their wives, utilizing a Punnett square to show the genetic variability. It has amazingly lifelike creatures in pens on the ark, shows how much food and water would have been necessary for them and gives excellent displays of the effects of a worldwide flood, effects easily seen even in our day.
There is a petting zoo, zip lines and a huge buffet with delicious food at a reasonable price. Every staff member we met was friendly and clearly enjoyed being there. The Gospel was presented time and again. The gift store has great books and lovely items at reasonable prices.
We will go back; we will most definitely go back.
Will it convince everyone to believe? Certainly not. Even Jesus could not convince everyone to believe in him though he healed the blinded eyes, fed the multitudes, cleansed the lepers and raised the dead. But whether it convinces you or not, it is still worth the drive.
A life-size reproduction of Noah's ark? How could it not be?
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist and author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.