Have they discovered Noah's ark?
The discovery of hidden artifacts and lost treasures is always at least somewhat intriguing. It is also true that many news stories and claims regarding these supposed findings tend to be overly sensational and not necessarily in line with the actual facts.
It’s much the same with the numerous claims of having discovered Noah’s ark. It’s also somewhat parallel with prophetic claims made by certain religious groups (usually cults) regarding the return of Christ. Okay, they were wrong before (a few times), but now they are certain! Okay, they were wrong once more, but this time, they really, really know and you can bank on it! And round and round they go.
There have been many claims over the past few decades regarding the discovery of Noah’s ark. Some make the news; others don’t. So, do we have the ark or pieces of it in a museum somewhere? No. Why not? Because in each of the cases, the claims turned out to be false. Are all “ark searchers” hoaxers and charlatans? No. I know some personally and have a great deal of respect for them. I was actually invited to go on one of the expeditions to search for the ark after some interesting information was discovered that led some people to think they may truly know where it is. I did not feel led by God to go, so I turned down the invitation. Nothing ever came of this effort, and I am thankful to God for the direction to pass on that opportunity.
The various expeditions that have occurred range from 100% sincere efforts, to outright fraud and deception, and everything in between. I don’t want to take up space expounding on any individual effort (you can look them up on the internet), but rather, I wish to make a much larger point, as I often do.
What’s the “bigger picture?” The bigger picture involves asking the question, “Was there really an ark at all?” As far as we know, there’s no physical evidence of the ark’s existence, so what reason do we have to believe it ever did? Let me give you just one, and it’s good enough for me! The Bible says there was an ark! Some readers are responding to that by saying, “Preach it! You tell them!” Others are thinking, “That’s so naïve and out of touch with reality. Just blind faith!”
Here’s my response. The Bible clearly states, in a literal, historical context, there was an actual global, catastrophic flood, and there really was an ark. It is conveyed as actual history, not an allegorical story or fable. Our attitude should not be to believe biblical narratives only once we have actual evidence. This attitude doesn’t mean we just trust everything blindly. There’s enough in the Bible that can and has been tested and been shown to be true, that when it comes to things that can’t possibly be tested or have not yet been verified externally, we have every reason to believe them confidently. In this case, there’s so much physical and cultural evidence for a global flood; it’s very easy to trust the biblical account as found in Genesis 6-9. There’s even genetic evidence for the relatively recent repopulation of the Earth, both human and animal, from a small population! We certainly don’t have a blind faith. However, we need to be very careful not to “pick and choose” what we’ll believe and what we won’t based on our own experience or feelings, which are subjective and prone to change.
I used to own a series of videos detailing many of the very interesting accounts in the Old Testament, such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace, parting of the Red Sea, and the Burning Bush. In each instance, the goal of the series was to explain how these events may have occurred through natural phenomenon. For example, regarding the three men in the fiery furnace, the series pointed out that in some furnaces there can be “pockets” of cooler areas, so maybe these men were preserved in just such a spot. I think that’s preposterous for many reasons, but what bothered me most about the entire series is that it was produced by Christians supposedly trying to make sense of these events. How about this explanation… the events were supernatural miracles! I am not going to say that now I am much more comfortable in believing these accounts because there are plausible explanations of how they may have happened. They happened because God told us they did. I’m also not saying that God never used any natural phenomena within the context of His miracles. Still, the whole idea is that God does things that normally are impossible or so unbelievably unlikely that it causes us to recognize His intervention.
So, has the ark been discovered? I don’t know. All I can say is to this date, I have not seen any credible evidence of its existence. It may still be in the mountains of Ararat covered in ice. It may have been completely destroyed by the forces of nature over the past 4,000+ years. It may have been largely disassembled by Noah’s descendants to make houses. Or maybe pizza parlors and ice cream shops (that’s what I would have done). We just don’t know. Even if we find something that looks like the remains of a large ship, how would we know it was the ark? We really wouldn’t, even if all the details fit the biblical narrative. It reminds me of a quote from an atheist I heard years ago. “Even if you drag Noah’s ark down Main Street, I still won’t believe!” That pretty much sums it up!
While it is extremely comforting knowing there is so much real, tangible evidence for the Christian faith, we can be confident of everything in the Bible, from cover-to-cover, whether we personally find evidence for any particular claim or not. We should not have the attitude of, “I’ll believe it when I see it!” Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”