That Unending Search For Noah’s Ark
By James Donahue
Over the years, when the Turks allowed it, there have been expeditions of explorers
climbing Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey because some aerial or satellite surveillance photograph caught an image of what appeared
to be a ship partly exposed from the ice.
The purpose of these climbs . . . and there have been many . . . has been to prove
an ancient Biblical myth that a man named Noah and his family built a wooden ship that carried them and a horde of world animals
through a destructive world-wide flood that lasted 40 days and 40 nights.
There have many claims that remnants of the ark were found, but then lost again
in the ever shifting ice and snow atop the mountain where the Genesis account claims the ark came to rest.
The last such expedition we know of occurred in 2004 when a 30-member U.S. and
Turkish team poked around on the mountain on a $900,000 expedition, led by Roman Catholic entrepreneur Daniel McGivern. McGivern
wanted to investigate another suspicious dark patch caught by a satellite photograph.
He says a close examination of that picture revealed to him what looked like three
beams and a crossbeam, suggesting the remains of a wooden ship. He believes global warming is causing a lot of the ice and
snow on the mountain to melt away, and that the remains of the ark may finally be exposed.
The expedition received quite a bit of coverage, especially in places like Christianity
Today. And small wonder. A sweeping paradigm shift in world philosophies coupled with exposure of church sex scandals has
caused a major drop in church membership.
Obviously the Christian world badly needs a miracle, like proving the existence
of an ark on Mount Arafat, to bring a halt to this looming landslide that threatens its own future.
McGivern expressed it all in a press conference at Washington before launching
his expedition. He said the discovery of the ark would be “the single greatest event since the resurrection of Jesus
Christ.” He said such a discovery would “solidify the faith of many Christians” and hopefully draw new converts.
Indeed, that is what a dying church desperately needs just now.
Unfortunately, all this team will prove if it finds the remains of a ship on the
mountain is that a world flood happened, and that a number of humans may have used it in an attempt to escape.
Chances are, however, that if they used a wooden man-made ship, they didn’t
survive. If such a massive flood occurred, whatever caused it probably also brought extreme upheavals, plate movements, volcanism
and other disasters that made it difficult for all life to survive for a very long time. It would have been thousands of years,
not a mere 40 days and 40 nights before that ark hit landfall.
There are some severe scientific and biological problems with the flood story.
Any biologist or geneticist can tell you that it takes more than the genes of
a single family of both man and beast to carry the genetic diversity necessary to continue the species once such a vessel
landed on dry ground. Thus Noah, his wife, and their three sons and the son’s wives, were not enough to keep the human
race going. It took a few hundred thousand humans to do that.
The Christians will argue that God can work miracles and that he manipulated the
seeds of these few humans. Maybe so if he really is the powerful spirit figure in the sky that Christians say he is. We believe
this god is much larger than this . . . that the energy that is the universe is not only the creation of God, it is a living
part of God. That means we all are part of the creator, and it exists within us as well. If the human race was driven to extinction
by a great flood at some distant time in the past, humans obviously evolved again from the life forms that crawled back out
of the oceans.
It would have taken hundreds, if not thousands of years for the Earth to settle down again after a calamity of that magnitude. There was
no way for a small family and all those animals to exist for that long on a 600-foot-long floating wooden craft.
If the remains of a ship are ever found on top of Mount Ararat, it will be because
somebody put it there. And that someone was not Noah.