On July 6th my family and I boarded Noah’s Ark just one day before it celebrated the anniversary of it’s opening to the public. Interestingly, it was approximately one year that Noah’s family spent in the Ark before they exited onto dry land after the cataclysmic flood that destroyed all land dependent flesh outside of the Ark.1)Technically it was 370 day with the biblical year being 360. see Jonathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary on Genesis 1-11, Creation Book Publishers (Powder Springs, Georgia: 2015), p. 556 Though one can know of the dimensions of this structure being 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, making it the largest timber-framed structure in the world; one can never prepare for the awe one feels when personally visiting this enormous edifice. Notice the seven story tower on the right side of the Ark as a scale to grasp how large it stands.
I have written elsewhere of the historical and scientific validity regarding the construction of Noah’s Ark;2)see Heath Henning, “Noah’s Ark: A Historical/Scientific Test,” posted Feb. 29, 2016; http://truthwatchers.com/noahs-ark-a-historicalscientific-test/ however, this life-size attraction constructed by Answers In Genesis reveals at a glance how reasonable it is to believe that the land dependent animals could easily fit on board and be cared for by the eight souls that survived God’s judgment of ungodly men in the days of Noah.
The magnitude of the Ark should make any skeptic second guess why they would mock the validity of the Bible’s historical narrative that describes so precisely the dimension of this ship with the ratio nautical engineers still use today. One of the exhibits in the Ark Encounter identified that there are many legends of a world-wide flood that resemble the biblical account [Dr. Duane Gish said there are “more than 270 flood stories and historic records found in many parts of the world.”3)Duane Gish, Dinosaurs By Design, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 1992), p. 74], but the ship described in these legends are not suitable to sustain life through such a catastrophic event. A large television screen displays an entertaining animated clip revealing the details of these legends do not convey reality, the shapes and sizes of the ships in these legends could not sustain life in contrast to the biblical account. A full wall portrait charts a few of these legends with images of these legendary ships. This was one of the favorite displays for my children.
Personally, one of my favorite exhibits was expressing the dangers of the multitude of kiddy books that present Noah’s Ark as a wooden bath tub with the heads of animal poking out the top. When the reality of this horrific event becomes a cutesy cartoon for children to enjoy, the fact that the Holy God judged the world for its exceeding sinfulness is lost. I have advocated for a number of years that Christians need to stop referring to the biblical accounts as “stories” as they are in truth historical events and need to be presented as such. The Bible is not a story book but rather the very words of God as He revealed a very real, accurate and inerrant history of the world being centered in His plan of redemption. When generation after generation grew up with the idea that Noah’s Ark was the thing they saw in their children’s book it is no surprise that the Bible speaks of the last days being filled with scoffers who are willingly ignorant of the cataclysmic deluge and that there will be no fear of God or concern that the world is reserved for another judgment that is coming (2 Peter 3:3-7).
When confronted with the massive collection of such foolish kiddy books in this Ark Encounter display, the thought crosses the mind that it is the good intentions of the many Christians over the many years that developed these books that are responsible for the end time apostasy prophesied in Holy Scriptures.
The greatest thing witnessed at the Ark Encounter was to multitudes of people passing through the three floors of world class exhibits giving glory to the Creator. As these people journey through the Ark, they are frequently encountered with the Gospel message being presented accurately. Though there is not a major emphasis on repentance, the necessity of repentance is addressed and being presented within the confines of a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark ought to be enough of a reminder to all that God’s will is “that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Ark Encounter is clearly and unashamed of being evangelistic in its purpose and intent. From the plaque place next to the door of the Ark reminding of only one way for salvation in Jesus Christ who is the “door” (John 10:7, 9; cf. Genesis 6:16 and Act 4:12); to the theaters with Ray Comforts preaching and the last display of a large comic strip zigzagging through walls following three characters in a comparative religion class with a scoffing professor causing to question the Bible. A clear presentation is given without watering down the issue of sin as one of the students is unwavering in his faith and boldly shares it with his friends.
With much to praise God about how He may use this structure and the exhibits inside, it is also important to offer criticism of the errors and inconsistencies. I am not offering an exhaustive step by step review of every object throughout the three floors of this museum and hopefully I do not leave the impression that the problems outweighed the accuracy and benefits of visiting. However, the inconsistency that I found very odd was that the sons of Noah have wives of different skin tones. Shem had a brown skinned wife named Ar’yel, Ham had a black wife name Kezia and Jepheth had a white wife named Rayneh. I’m not criticizing the names they give to these women without biblical warrant, but rather the issue is that the creationist model has held consistently that these distinctions of skin tone is due to melanin pigments that became dominant (black skinned) or lacking (white skinned) caused by genetic bottleneck which occurred through the inbreeding of family groups after the dispersion of Babel. This has been the position of Answers In Genesis for years and has been published in many of their books and articles. Ken Ham wrote this in One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism4)Ken Ham, Carl Wieland, Don Baton, One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism, Masters Books, (1999) p. 58-59 as well as his article “Are there Really Different Races?” which is still accessible on the Answer In Genesis website and was last featured in their magazine in 2014.5)Ken Ham, “Are There Really Different Races?” November 29, 2007; last featured September 16, 2014; https://answersingenesis.org/racism/are-there-really-different-races/ accessed July 10, 2017 Nor has this position changed as it is presented in the Ark Encounter on the very same floor that focused on the figurines of Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives. This inconsistency was literally right around the corner from each other on the third floor.
My major concern is more to do with the lack of representing the biblical perspective of modesty in clothing on the manikins. Being warned previously by friends to avoid the “Pre-Flood World” because we have many young children, I cannot say what was there, but thankfully it was behind walls and not part of the museum that had to be perused through. It seems to me quite counterintuitive to argue that ancient man was not a primitive beast while all the manikins consistently portrayed togas with the men’s shoulders and chest uncovered and the women had at least one should (often both) uncovered in all their displays. The explanation for this was presented on the third floor which had the “living Quarters” of Noah’s family. A plaque entitled “Noah’s Family: Meet Your Ancestors” stated…
Appearances: We are all descended from Noah’s sons and daughters-in-law, so much of the world’s diversity should be recognized in these six people. Noah’s sons look similar since they are brothers. Therefore, the sons’ wives exhibit many of the distinctions we see down through history.
Shem & Ar’yel: The Middle East is where many of their descendants ended up. As such, Ar’yel’s appearance mirrors the attributes of people from that part of the world.
Ham & Kezia: Many of their descendants eventually settled Africa and Asia. Kezia’s appearance highlights traits of people found in both these regions.
Jepheth & Rayneh: Rayneh possess distinct features that are commonly seen in people from Europe. Many of their descendants eventually settled there.
Utilizing an artistic license, the plaque further states, “we gave each daughter-in-law interests and personalities…” thus even the clothing on these women was designed to represent individual personalities of the women and their personalities would be passed onto their descendants creating the cultural diversity that would become predominant centuries later when their descendants would eventually settled in different locations after the dispersion of Babel. The problem with this is that their descendants were rebellious idolaters, and the pagan cultures that rose from their descendants had no recollection of godliness or modest clothing. In fact, they dressed like the women are portrayed on the Ark. We know from the Bible that this God-fearing family had a high regard for modesty as accounted for when Noah had been drunk, his two sons walked backwards to cover him with a blanket in order to not see him in an immodest situation (Genesis 9:20-28). These two sons were blessed by Noah for their actions, while Ham’s descendants received a curse. A full covering for these women is necessary to depict the accurate picture as God provided a full covering for Adam and Eve after their sin as a prefiguring of the full covering for sins given in Christ’s atonement (Genesis 3:21). Even depictions of Adam and Eve always have a barely covered husband and wife with Adam usually having what may constitute as no more than a long loincloth. These “coats” God made for Adam and Eve are defined as “tunic, principle ordinary garments… of man and woman, worn next the person… Jb. 30:18 mouth of any tunic (i.e. its collar);… tunic with long skirts and sleeves…”6)Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, C.A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, (Claredon Press: Oxford, 1980), p. 509 A tunic with collar and sleeves can hardly represent a dress with bare shoulders or a toga with bare chest on the men. This concept of a full covering would be passed down from Adam and Eve through the godly lineage that continued to offer blood sacrifices to God including Noah and his sons and their wives (Genesis 8:15-20). Why than are these manikins dressed immodestly?
Answers In Genesis is a New Evangelical ministry. This is why they have no problem with looking to the cultural fads to define what is perceived as acceptable style just as they designed the clothes of their manikins based on the pagan cultures their descendants developed into. Not only do they allow pagan cultures to dress their manikins, they also allow modern pagan culture to influence music as they are planning to host a major Rock concert with what they call a “Christian Rock band” as they celebrate their one year anniversary.7)see Heath Henning, “Why Contemporary Christian Music is NOT Christian” posted Feb. 6, 2016; http://truthwatchers.com/why-contemporary-christian-music-is-not-christian/ Christians ought to let the Bible define their dress, music, and every aspect of their lives, not being conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2). This is the major inconsistency evident in Answers In Genesis: they attempt to oppose the secular culture all the while they have accepted it and allowed it to influence them. Even worst, they have propagated and endorsed this secular and pagan culture as acceptable for Christians to indulge in for entertainment.
The question must be raised: when is it time for fundamentalists to separate from these New Evangelical apologetic ministries? Historically speaking, it was the apologists that defined theology. As Gnosticism arose, Irenaeus defended the truth of the Bible in his five books Against Heresies. Irenaeus is attributed as the first to be called “theologian.” As he systematically crushed the heresies of the Gnostics he developed a systematic theology from the Bible. Apologetics remain today more popular than systematic theology texts and it is the modern apologists that are writing the theology in our generation as in every generation preceding. New Evangelicalism rose up with the plan to author apologetics books in their strive to be accepted by academia. How many self-proclaimed fundamentalists are actually infected by New Evangelical theology and have never thought there is a difference? This should be a major concern but I don’t think most people will perceive why.
|↑1||Technically it was 370 day with the biblical year being 360. see Jonathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary on Genesis 1-11, Creation Book Publishers (Powder Springs, Georgia: 2015), p. 556|
|↑2||see Heath Henning, “Noah’s Ark: A Historical/Scientific Test,” posted Feb. 29, 2016; http://truthwatchers.com/noahs-ark-a-historicalscientific-test/|
|↑3||Duane Gish, Dinosaurs By Design, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 1992), p. 74|
|↑4||Ken Ham, Carl Wieland, Don Baton, One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism, Masters Books, (1999) p. 58-59|
|↑5||Ken Ham, “Are There Really Different Races?” November 29, 2007; last featured September 16, 2014; https://answersingenesis.org/racism/are-there-really-different-races/ accessed July 10, 2017|
|↑6||Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, C.A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, (Claredon Press: Oxford, 1980), p. 509|
|↑7||see Heath Henning, “Why Contemporary Christian Music is NOT Christian” posted Feb. 6, 2016; http://truthwatchers.com/why-contemporary-christian-music-is-not-christian/|