The remarkable account of Noah’s Ark is one of the most recognized and cited stories in the Bible. But when we consider this renowned event, it’s easy to gloss over its magnitude and significance.
In today’s language, we might describe the Great Flood of Noah as a “game-changer”. This cataclysmic event completely rocked the world and reshaped the entire landscape of the planet! And amazingly, Noah and his family were sovereignly protected, while the rest of the world population perished.
The captivating story of Noah’s Ark has sparked the imaginations of children for centuries. When you combine the supernatural gathering of animals, a big boat, a Bible hero, and one chosen family destined to survive an epic storm, the atmosphere is ripe for a myriad of unfiltered questions.
Answering probing questions is often the precursor to deeper teachable moments. And as modern-day Christian parents, we have an opportunity to steer our kids beyond the levity of flannelgraphs and bathtub toys. When they begin to grasp the profound truth and implications of this event, we will have ushered them into a spiritual journey that can strengthen their faith and deepen their love for God.
Before diving into Q&A, however, it’s important to help our kids understand two things:
1. The pre-flood world was nothing like it is today
With countless resources from Bible scholars and creation scientists, we’ve been able to put many of the geological pieces together and get a tiny glimpse of what the earth might have looked like before God’s global judgement. But there will always be unanswered questions.
2. God didn’t need the Ark to save Noah and his family
Though God often uses common people and natural things to accomplish His purposes, He doesn’t need them. We serve an almighty God who spoke the universe into existence from nothing, parted the Red Sea, and raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He created “the natural world” by His unlimited, supernatural power, so He isn’t bound by normal physical processes or natural laws. And He certainly doesn’t need man’s natural explanations to validate His supernatural works!
There is no doubt that the supernatural hand of God was at work throughout the Great Flood of Noah, but this was an event where God sovereignly chose to use Noah’s family and practical physical laws to accomplish His will. So while we get to enjoy the blessing of exploring the “feasibility” of Noah’s Ark on a practical level, we should always filter our rational explanations through the lens of God’s awesome power.
Here are answers to three commonly asked questions that might help transition your kids’ perceptions of Noah’s Ark from a frivolous fictional fable to a true and highly impactful story.
How did Noah fit all those animals on the Ark?
According to Genesis 6:14-16, God gave Noah very detailed instructions for building the Ark. God knew exactly how big the Ark needed to be to “bring two of every kind” of animal onboard. And our kids should understand that these divine dimensions don’t portray a “boat”; they describe a massive, three-decked ship – approximately 550 feet long, 92 feet wide, and 55 feet high!
We should also help our children understand that the animals that boarded the Ark were most likely young. (It’s much easier to envision baby dinosaurs and elephants fitting on the Ark.)
And finally, when we remind our kids that only land animals and birds were brought onto the Ark (not sea creatures), they’ll begin to see that there was plenty of room to spare!
How did Noah and his sons build the Ark?
First, it’s important to point out that God gave Noah all the detailed instructions he needed to build the Ark to the exact specifications necessary to weather the long storm.
Secondly, Noah and his sons had decades to build the Ark – most likely between 55 and 75 years according to most Bible scholars.
Most significantly, when God wills something to happen through His people, it’s going to happen! And Scripture makes it clear that Noah was guided and empowered by God to complete this magnificent vessel.
How could it rain so much that the mountains were covered?
Genesis 7:19 says “all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered”. Therefore, since we know God’s word is true, and nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), we can be confident that the water covered ALL the mountains of the world. And not surprisingly, the fossil record also supports this.
The Bible does provide information about where all the water came from. Genesis 7:11 describes waters from the “great deep” and the “windows of Heaven”. There was obviously an exorbitant amount of water that came down from the sky, and up from the ground.
There are volumes of resources that provide solid, biblically-based answers to questions about the Ark (for kids and adults), but we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to move from the practical to the spiritual and point out the amazing similarities between Noah’s Ark and Jesus Christ. Here are just a few:
The Ark had one door; Jesus described Himself as “the door” to salvation (John 10:9).
God invited Noah to come into the ark (Genesis 7:1); Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Physical survival was made available through the Ark; spiritual survival is made available through Christ.
There was limited time to enter the Ark before the door was shut; we have limited time on earth to repent and believe in Jesus Christ before the door to salvation is also shut.
The Great Flood of Noah’s day came unexpectedly; the second coming of Jesus Christ will also be without warning.
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37-40)
May the Lord use your study of Noah’s Ark to deepen your family’s walk with Him!
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