The Noah's Ark Replica is the culmination of 40 years of research and 18 months of craftsmanship by master craftsman Dale Muska and his associates.
The Ark replica represents the tangible display of the “gopher technique” used to build the original Noah’s Ark. Today, this technique is called structured interlamination, in which components are laminated together with a hydrocarbon resin. Gopher, as mentioned in scripture, was not a species of wood, but was an engineering technique.
There is evidence that ships approaching the size of the Ark have in fact existed in ancient times. The ancient Greeks built a ship named Syracusia (or Alexandris) that carried around 4,000 tons of cargo. The pre-modern Chinese also built giant wooden ships. The 15th-century sea-going junks of the ambassador Cheng Ho approached the size of the Ark (John Woodmorappe, “Noah’s Ark Feasibility Study,” Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, p. 50).
In 1904 and 1906 a ten-year-old Armenian boy named George Hagopian was taken up Mt. Ararat by his uncle during warmer-then-usual summers. He climbed upon the Ark after being lifted up to the rear step extension. Many years later in America he described the barge-like shape, the planks of the deck, the window opening system across the top, and the absence of nails in the construction.
In 1943 American Army Intelligence engineer Ed Davis was taken to the Ark site by Abas Abas, whose family functioned as “custodians” of the sacred vessel. In the home he was shown a metal hammer, some cage grates, and a baffled jar from the site.
“Make thee and ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.” Genesis 6: 14–16)
“Gopher wood” is not a species, or variety, of wood – but an “engineering technique.” In Hebrew the term means “to house in” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance # 1613). We call this “structural interlamination.” This means that all the components were joined and laminated together in narrow strips. As an eyewitness, Ed Davis confirmed in an interview with this researcher that the structure he saw on Mt. Ararat was, indeed, laminated together. As our team flew the mountain in 1990 this researcher personally saw a huge laminated beam of wood at the traditional Ark site.
“Rooms” were mandated as a vital component of the basic structure, described as functioning with the gopher wood and the pitch. This essentially means that the rooms were jointed and interlaminated with the hull - and the entire structure of the vessel.
“Pitch” was not the “tar” we know today. Today’s tars are a result of the Flood aftermath. Pitch was a “natural resin glue” from biological (plant, tree) sources. Applying it as a compressed laminate in thin layers of wood would give the same effect as “grafting.”
The dimensions of the ark are significant, with its 6-to-1 ratio. In 1993 a secular scientific shipbuilding study was made by Dr. Seon Hong at the world-class ship research center KRISO, based in Daejeon, South Korea. The biblical design was found to be superior; the Ark’s careful balance is lost if the proportions are modified, rendering the vessel unstable, prone to fracture, or dangerously uncomfortable (Ken Ham, editor, “The New Answers Book 3,” Master Books, p. 21).
A “cubit” is not defined in Scripture, but it has been recognized historically as the distance from the elbow to the finger tips. The long Hebrew cubit is generally given at 20.5 inches (52 centimeters). This would make the Ark 500 feet long, 86 feet wide, and 52 feet high.
The “window” “upward and above,” described as a “noon light,” is of major importance, affecting interior illumination, ventilation, and atmospheric sanitation.
“Lower, second, and third stories” are specified, with the lower story dominant. This would indicate that the lower story was a vital component of the laminated structure of the vessel.
However, natural solutions for the day-to-day operations relating to the Ark are rather straightforward. Critics have fantasized the presence of millions of crowded animals overloading the ship. The Bible makes it clear that the cargo was limited to land-breathing vertebrate animals and insects – corresponding to modern birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects, as well as their extinct counterparts.
Were there two of every species on the Ark? The Biblical word “kind” is much broader than the modern classification “species.” The genus is justified as being equivalent to the Biblical kind. Assuming they required approximately the same floor space as animals in typical farm enclosures and laboratories today, there were no more than 16,000 land animals and birds on the Ark. (John Woodmorappe, “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study,” Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research). Recent studies by AIG have narrowed the “kind” even further, and indicate the total number to be no more than a few thousand.
Floor space required by large animals such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and some dinosaurs is taken into account, since they would be young – and therefore small. This gives them full reproductive potential after the Flood. Even the largest dinosaurs were relatively small when only a few years old. Without tiering of cages, only 47 percent of the floor space would have been necessary (John Woodmorappe, “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study,” Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, pp. 17-21).
What about provisions for the animals? It can be shown that the food would have filled only 6 to 12 percent of the volume of the Ark, and the potable water only an additional 9 percent of the same (John Woodmorappe, “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study,” Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, pp. 95098).
Food provisions would consist of compressed hay, dried plant material, seeds and grains, etc. Carnivorous animals could have eaten dried meat, reconstituted dried meat, or slaughtered animals. Giant tortoises would have been ideal in this regard. They were large and needed little food to be maintained themselves. Hydroponics Greens as sprouts and mushrooms could have cultivated in the darker recesses of the Ark. There are also exotic sources of meat, such as fish that wrap themselves in dry cocoons. Placement of the food supplies would dictate where the animals would naturally gravitate in ladging stalls for their journey. (John Woodmorappe, “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study,” Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research)
The window system running along the top of the Ark comes into play. The convective movement of air, driven by temperature differences between the warm-blooded animals and the cooler interior surfaces, would have been significant enough to drive the flow of air. Wind blowing into the window system would have enhanced the ventilation further (John Woodmorappe, “The New Answers Book 3,” Master Books, p. 53).
The high levels interior illumination experienced in modern classrooms and factories are unnecessary. Many lab animals are kept at low levels of illumination – on the order of 18-37 footcandles, and a considerable number of animals can be kept in total darkness. For this reason, the minimal level of illumination within the Ark was probably dictated by human needs. Thus, an illumination of twenty footcandles is sufficient for public areas with dark surroundings. Areas of rough-seeing tasks require only five footcandles, and the same number is adequate for open corridors and store rooms. Print can be read easily at an illumination down to 1 footcandle. (Woodmorappe, p. 42
Artificial lighting could have eliminated possible hazards from fire. Fireflies have been collected in the Far East since antiquity. In fairly recent times, Chinese and Japanese who could not afford to buy fuel or candles would gather fireflies in a bag to make a lantern from which to read. During World War II the Japanese raised luminous bacteria for purposes of illumination during air-raid blackouts. (Woodmorappe, p. 44)
There are many references to “luminous gems” in ancient literature, along with apocryphal accounts of luminous pearls being used in the Ark. These descriptions may refer to some fluorspars which light upon being scratched, or else to phosphors. (Woodmorappe, p. 44)
Perhaps over a period of time, Noah gathered the animals into a “menagerie” in anticipation of the Flood; and then God miraculously commandeered selected animals, directing them to leave their menagerie enclosures and go to the Ark after Noah. These selections of animals, first by Noah and then by God, could have served as an important series of “filters” for the ultimate selection of the best individual animals for the Ark – and subsequent earth history (John Woodmorappe, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, p. 59).
3102 FM 205
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