Yeung Wing-Cheung, from the Noah's Ark Ministries International, a Chinese evangelical ministry, claims he is 99.9% certain his team has found Noah's Ark on Mt. Ararat. According to the ministry, the ark is 13,000 feet up the 18,000 ft mountain. Is this yet another Noah's Ark discovery to promote some television special or book?
Genesis, the first book of the Bible says that God called Noah to build an ark to escape God's flood judgment of humanity.1 According to the narrative, the ark finally rested on the "mountains of Ararat."2 According to Noah's Ark Ministries International, wood, roughly the size of the biblical ark, encased in ice and volcanic rocks have been found on Mt. Ararat. Accordingly, wood recovered from the site has been radiocarbon dated to 4,800 years ago, which fits with a non-genealogical gap interpretation of Genesis. Pictures from the ministry's website show several "rooms" of wood compartments and beams, encased in ice and rock. According to the ministry, no wood shelters have ever been found above 11,000 ft, due to the extreme year-round cold.
Skeptics point out that nearly 5,000 year old wood would not be in as good a condition of that shown in the pictures. However, being below freezing for nearly all of the year would tend to prevent decay due to microbes and fungi, and infestation due to insects. Other skeptics say that they see circular saw blade marks on some of the beams. Others say that they see cobwebs in some of the pictures. Because of picture quality, it is somewhat difficult to determine is these claims are true. A National Geographic article claimed that the most likely explanation for the wood is a shrine constructed by Christians to commemorate Noah's Ark. However, it wasn't clear how those early Christians managed to carry all that wood up through the snow, and why they placed it at such a high elevation. It is also unclear where they would have found 2,800 year old wood with which to construct the shrine.
A more serious challenge to the authenticity of the "ark" comes from Christian archeologist Randall Price.3 Price signed onto the project in early 2008. During that spring and summer, he attempted to join the expedition to the Mt. Ararat site, but was always thwarted by the Kurdish guide, Paraşüt. The attempts by Paraşüt to control access to the site made Dr. Price suspicious. Subsequently, Price was informed by locals in Dogubabyazit that they had personal knowledge of a hoax by Paraşüt. According to those sources, Paraşüt and his workers transported wood from Ezurum to the cave over a period of one and a half years. However, these locals are also to lead Dr. Price on his own expedition to Mt. Ararat summer, 2010, and so might have a stake in a missing, rather than a found, ark.
Could such a large amount of wood be transported 13,000 feet up Mt. Ararat? According to Dr. Price, Kurdish workers have transported a 1,000 pound generator up to 13,000 feet and a 400 pound generator to 17,000 feet. This demonstrates that it is technically possible to transport a large amount of wood up Mt. Ararat. However, when one looks at the photos and videos on the Noah's Ark Ministries International website, the wood seems to be frozen in place with some of it also covered with rocks and ice, something that would require a huge amount of work and at least some thawing and refreezing to accomplish. In addition, it seems unlikely that a Kurdish guide could come up with 4,800 year old wood to plant on the mountain. However, it wasn't clear who collected the wood for radiocarbon testing, and if it could be confirmed to have originated from the Mt. Ararat site (i.e., did Paraşüt give the sample to the Chinese or did they collect it themselves?).
Yes, "Noah's Ark" has been found again. Only this time, it seems to be really made of wood, rather than some geological formation. The main question is how the wood got to 13,000 feet up Mt. Ararat. As a believer in the local flood interpretation of Genesis, I don't believe that Noah's ark came to rest 13,000 feet up any mountain. Most likely, it landed in some foothill area and was disassembled for housing and/or firewood. So, confirming that the wood belonged to a 4,800 year old boat at the 13,000 foot elevation of Mt. Ararat would require a major paradigm shift for me. However, I would be more than willing to make such a paradigm shift should the discovery turn out to be authentic. Archeologist Dr. Randall Price seems convinced that the "ark" is an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a Kurdish guide, to extract money from gullible Christians. Time will tell, when scientists are allowed to travel to the site and examine the evidence. I am not going to hold my breath on this one.
- A Critique of the Claim of Noah’s Ark Ministries International of the Discovery of a Wooden Structure on Mount Ararat by Randall Price and Don Patton
- Noah's Ark Ministries International website
- Is the Biblical Flood Account a Modified Copy of the Epic of Gilgamesh? (PDF version )
- The Genesis Flood: Why the Bible Says It Must be Local
- Genesis 6-9: The Flood
- Who Was Noah?
- Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch." (Genesis 6:13-14)
- In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4)
- Noah's Ark Search News from World of the Bible Ministries, by Dr. Randall Price.
We are what we think.
- 10/25/2016 07:07 AM
3 Books to Deepen Your Delight in Jesus
I have a new book coming out in early 2017 titled God among Sages: Why Jesus Is Not Just Another Religious Leader (Baker Books). In this new volume, I compare Jesus with Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, and Muhammad. In preparation for writing my new book, I read close to 100 books about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and about…
- 10/18/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Basil
Not many people are known as so-and-so â€śthe Great.â€ť But St. Basil the Great was one of the finest thinkers, writers, and preachers in Christian church history. What did this man believe, and what did he ultimately contribute to historic Christianity? Hereâ€™s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Basil the Greatâ€”and why he still matters today.…
- 10/11/2016 07:00 AM
Should We Read Print Books or E-books?
Is it better to read paper books or electronic books? E-books have their benefits: They are convenient, especially when traveling, and they are often significantly less expensive than physical books. They are also becoming more like physical books as developers continue to improve the technology. Also, I think all reading is good, so I donâ€™t oppose the reading of…
- 10/04/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Tertullian
Though he died almost 18 centuries ago, Tertullian is often quoted today in theological and apologetics circles. But what did this man believe and what did he ultimately contribute to historic Christianity? Hereâ€™s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Tertullianâ€”and why he still matters today. Who Was Tertullian? Tertullian (c. 160â€“220) was a North African church father…
- 09/27/2016 10:00 AM
Reflections on Social Media: Is Digital Networking a Good Phenomenon? Part 2
It seems a safe assumption that all new technologiesâ€”from cell phones to social mediaâ€”present its users with both positive and negative possibilities. The challenge resides in learningÂ how to manage the technology so one maximizes the positives and minimizes the negatives. How can we do thisÂ for the emerging and enormously popular phenomenon known as social media? In this second article (see…
- 09/20/2016 07:00 AM
Reflections on Social Media: Is Digital Networking a Good Phenomenon? Part 1
In July 2016, the Facebook Messenger app marked the amazing milestone of having 1Â billion daily active users.1Â And Twitter now claims 313 million monthly active users.2Â There are also numerous other social networking sites that are extremely popular,Â including YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, etc.3 Since social media doesnâ€™t look like it’s going away anytime soon, I have decided to write a couple…
- 09/13/2016 01:31 PM
Lessons About Evil: Reflections on the Movie Anthropoid
Reinhard Heydrich (1904â€“1942) was a Nazi leader who impressed Adolf Hitler with his unbridled brutality. Historians consider Heydrich to be the central mastermind of the greatest state-sponsored crime in historyâ€”the Holocaust. As an evil genius, he planned the systematic extermination of 6Â million Jews and 5Â million other non-Jewish victims totaling a staggering 11Â million people. Heydrichâ€™s ruthless cruelty earned him such ominous…
- 09/06/2016 07:00 AM
A Review of Patterns of Evidence
In his film Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus, documentary filmmaker Timothy Mahoney recreates his search for the historical truth behind the Jewsâ€™ exodus from Egypt. I previewed this film at a theatrical release in February 2015. The documentary is now widely available for rent and purchase, and Iâ€™ve noticed that itâ€™s been getting some promotion within the Christian apologetics community…
audio/mpeg (1.7 MBytes)
- 08/30/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Irenaeus
Irenaeus was one of the first Christians to defend the faith against Gnosticism, but what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christianity? Hereâ€™s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Irenaeusâ€”and why he still matters today. Who Was Irenaeus? Irenaeus (c. 130â€“202) was a Greek thinker who was born in Asia Minor to…
- 08/23/2016 07:00 AM
The Image of God Gives All Human Life Value
Lethal acts of terrorism, controversial police shootings, and attacks upon law enforcement officers have left many unsettled in America. These horrific public killings cause many to wonder whose lives really matter in life. So do all human lives have value? And, if so, on what basis do they carry worth? Without debating the controversial social and political issues involved, I…
Last Modified January 3, 2011