A Google search of “Noah’s Ark Bible Story” yields around 4 million results. A search using the words “Noah’s Ark Kid’s Room Décor” yields more than twice that many results (8.7 million!).
The point is, the story of Noah is well known in our culture (and well-commercialized). But we bet there are some things about this intriguing story documented in the Bible that you haven’t heard before.
Here are seven little-known facts about Noah’s Ark:
1. Noah is a 10th generation descendant of Adam.
While Cain and Able are probably Adam and Eve’s most famous (or infamous) kids, it’s no surprise that the couple instructed by God to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) went on to have more children. One of these—and the only other child of Adam and Eve mentioned in the Bible by name—was Seth. In a passage of Scripture often referred to as the “Generations of Adam,” Noah is listed among the tenth generation to be born from Adam and Eve, descendants of Seth.
2. Life for Noah got pretty interesting after his 500th birthday.
Shortly after turning 500, Noah became a father. While he was raising his family, God told him to build the ark. Shortly after turning 600 Noah, along with his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law, entered the Ark as God literally opened the floodgates.
By the way, before the flood, people appear to have lived a very long time—many hundreds of years. In fact, Noah’s grandfather Methuselah, who died in the same year as the flood, is the oldest man mentioned in the Bible at 969 years old!
Granted, Noah’s life in his 600’s was pretty interesting, too, since that’s when he and his family spent about a year on the Ark then disembarked to a fresh new world. But we still think that raising three boys while single-handedly building a boat a third the size of the Titanic made for a memorable century in the life of Noah.
And speaking of the Titanic…
3. Noah’s Ark was a third of the size of the Titanic.
The Bible records the measurements of the ark in cubits. At 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, the volume of the ark is estimated at about 1.5 million cubic feet, which is about a third of the volume of the Titanic. (By the way, bet you didn’t know that a cubit is not an exact measurement, but instead is the distance from a man’s elbow to the tip of his middle finger, typically between 18 and 21 inches).
Some people argue that there’s no way Noah’s Ark could have held two of every kind of animal, but the numbers suggest otherwise. According to ark measurements, the big boat had about as much space as 250 railroad stock cars, which some folks have calculated can hold between 20,000 and 40,000 animals roughly the size of sheep.
4. Arphaxad was the first post-flood baby.
At least he’s the first post-flood baby mentioned in the Bible. According to Genesis 11:10, Arphaxad, the son of Noah’s son Shem, was born two years after the flood.
5. Nearly 300 cultures agree there was a catastrophic flood.
According to scientist Dr. Duane Gish, there are more than 270 stories about a catastrophic flood from cultures around the world. Most of these stories bear similarities to the biblical story of Noah and the ark.
Eight humans survived the flood and provided eye-witness accounts to future generations. So how did there come to be so many similar versions of the biblical account of the flood? It makes sense when you consider that in addition to the passage of time, language was confounded during the building of the Tower of Babel a couple hundred years after the Great Flood. These two factors undoubtedly contributed to the development of variants of the story.
6. The Bible tells us where Noah’s Ark landed. Sort of.
According the Genesis 8:4, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, a mountain range in Turkey. Many expeditions have searched for the ark on Mount Ararat itself, while other expeditions have focused on nearby mountains in Iran.
References to sightings of an ark in that region of the world go way back. In fact, his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, Marco Polo wrote: “In the heart of the Armenian mountain range, the mountain’s peak is shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah’s Ark is said to have rested, whence it is called the Mountain of Noah’s Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises.”
Bob Cornuke, president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute, cites Scriptures that support idea of the Ark settling in the nearby Elborz Mountains, which stretch from the borders of Armenia to Afghanistan. In fact, during an expedition there in 2007 Cornuke and his team discovered an unusual rock formation in the side of a hill, 14000 above sea level, that has the appearance of fossilized wooden beams. The formation is about 400 feet long, which fits the size of the Ark as described in the Bible. In addition, Cornuke’s team discovered sea life around the object—including thousands of clams—which suggests that the object was once in the ocean.
7. People who have searched for Noah’s Ark include historians, an astronaut, and a former SWAT team member.
Expeditions to find Noah’s Ark have been underway since times of antiquity and have included people from many professions and walks of life.
For example, did you know that former American astronaut, James Irwin—the eighth man to walk on the moon—led two expeditions to find the ark in the 1980s? During the 1982 expedition, Irwin was badly injured by falling rocks and was carried to safety on a donkey.
Cornuke, mentioned above, is a former SWAT team member and police investigator.
People who claim to have seen the Ark firsthand include an army sergeant based in Iran during WWII, and Armenian Georgie Hagopian who claims to have visited the Ark as a child on two occasions with his uncle.
Whether the mysteries of Noah’s Ark are fully revealed to us this side of heaven, the story will undoubtedly continue to capture our imaginations and attention as the search for remnants of the historic ship continue.
So what do you think? Did you learn anything new? Had you heard that an American astronaut was among those who have searched for Noah’s Ark? What are your thoughts about the Ark being able to hold two of every kind of animal? What do you think about the fact that thousands of ancient clams have been discovered around a boat-shaped formation in the mountains of Iran? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.