Noah’s Ark is one of the few stories most people recognize. The beloved child’s tale of an overstuffed bathtub toy filled with all sorts of lovable creatures has been a favorite of many. But how does this story compare with the historical account recorded for us in the Bible?
The Lord saw how wicked people on earth had become; every thought was only evil all the time. So, God was going to judge the earth with a worldwide flood (Genesis 6:5–7).
In Genesis 6:8–10, we see that Noah found favor with God for he alone was righteous among the people of his day. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And God said to him, “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you” (Genesis 6:18).
God said to Noah, “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.” And Noah did exactly as God commanded him, as we see in Genesis 6:13–22.
God also told Noah, “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive” (Genesis 6:19–20).
Genesis 7:7–16 shows Noah and his family entering the ark because of the coming flood. Every land animal after its kind went with them, two by two, male and female, just as God had commanded, and the Lord shut the door.
Then the flood began. According to Genesis 7:17–24, the fountains of the deep broke open and the windows of heaven were opened. Rain poured for forty days and forty nights. The waters rose until every high hill on the earth was covered. Everything that lived on land perished in the raging floodwaters.
The waters flooded the earth for one hundred and fifty days. And God remembered Noah and the animals on the ark. Genesis 8:1–5 explains that the waters receded and the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
After sending out a raven, Noah sent out a dove to see if there was dry ground, which we read the account of in Genesis 8:6–12. But it came back having found nowhere to perch. After seven days, Noah sent it back out, and it came back with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth, and Noah knew the ground was drying. “Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore” (Genesis 8:12).
Then God told Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So, Noah and his family came out with all the animals (Genesis 8:13–19).
Then Noah built an altar and offered burnt offerings to the Lord on it. And God said, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth.” And God blessed Noah and his family saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 8:20–9:1).
So as you can see, while many of the fairly tale arks were drawn with good intentions to be cute and fun for kids, they ignore the fact that the biblical account of the flood is about a righteous and holy God judging an exceedingly evil world—yet showing mercy to animals and to mankind through Noah’s family. You can learn more about the dangers of fairy tale arks on the second deck of our life-size Noah’s Ark and in our blog, “The Fairy Tale Ark Exhibit: Teaching Our Children the Truth.”
Start planning your trip to the Ark Encounter today and learn more about the biblical account of Noah’s ark! Share your favorite photos with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #arkencounter, and you might see your picture featured in a future blog.