It’s by John D. Morris, Ph.D., noted Ark hunter. He and ICR are described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us and ICR’s scripture links omitted:
By any estimation, the building of Noah’s Ark was a monumental task. Assuming an 18″ cubit, the Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Could Noah and his sons have accomplished it? By making reasonable assumptions, we can perhaps determine whether the task was too great.
A few modern replicas have been built or are in the planning stage. You know about Ken Ham’s multi-million dollar project, which hasn’t yet been started. See also Hey, Ken Ham: A Dutchman Builds Noah’s Ark. But now we’ll consider whether Noah and his boys could have built the original. ICR continues:
First, the prophecy of coming judgment was given 120 years in advance of the Flood. Let’s assume that Noah had the full 120 years warning.
They zip through that 120-year warning rather casually so we won’t spend any time on it, but it’s pretty funny. Let’s read on:
Next, consider that in the immediate post-Flood time, man probably had remarkable intelligence, because early civilizations built monumental structures like the pyramids. Tantalizing clues suggest humans explored and even mapped the entire globe back then [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!], indicating they may have had shipbuilding skills from even earlier years. Perhaps Noah was a shipbuilder by trade.
They not only had 120 years to do the job, they also had amazing skills! ICR continues:
Consider the workforce. Noah’s three sons began to be born 100 years before the Flood and were able to help. There may have been other helpers, for Noah’s father, Lamech, and grandfather, Methuselah, were alive during almost the entire project. It may also have been that Noah hired construction workers, but again we have no knowledge of these details.
With an old-folks home of drooling codgers like that, the work would have been easy! Here’s more:
Let’s assume the worst-case scenario, that only Noah and his three sons were available to build the ship. In Scripture, we are only told the gross dimensions and that the vessel was to have three decks and an 18-inch “window” on top. Thus, the overall volume of the Ark was:
450′ x 75′ x 45′ = 1.52 x 106 ft.3 total volume
We haven’t checked the math. Then they assume that most of the Ark was open space and only 20% of all that volume was actual lumber, so they come up with a figure for the amount of lumber actually required. That figure is .304 x 106 ft.3 You can click over there for the details. Moving along:
Remember, the Ark didn’t have to win any beauty contests or speed races, it just had to be strong and float. It probably more resembled a rough barn in workmanship. … It hardly matters if the family was initially experienced in construction technique, for within a year or so they would have been true professionals.
Then ICR gives us an estimate for how much work those old guys could actually get done:
An experienced crew of four could have installed, we assume, an average of 15 cubic feet of wood per day. If anything, this estimate seems low, but this is the worst case!
15 ft. x 6 days x 52 wks. = 4,680 ft.3/year lumber installed
A few geezers could assemble almost 5,000 cubic feet of lumber a year? We have no idea. They’re not talking about linear feet, but cubic feet. That’s a lot of lumber. Maybe a building contractor is among our readers to realistically evaluate ICR’s estimate.
Then, using their earlier estimate for the total amount of lumber actually required for the Ark, they end up computing that Noah and his family could have done the job in a mere 65 years. Here’s ICR’s final paragraph:
Sixty-five years under this worst-case scenario! A big job, yes, but Noah was a faithful man and accomplished the task. As we see, the Bible makes sense, and simple calculations can enhance our faith in God’s Word.
By our rough calculations, 65 years of assembling about 5,000 cubic feet of lumber per year is roughly 325,000 cubic feet of assembled lumber. ICR’s figure is 304,000 cubic feet, so we’ll go with theirs. ICR doesn’t consider to ask, but we will: How many trees had to be cut down to provide the Ark’s lumber?
That depends on the height and diameter of the tree trunks, and the skill of the people running the saw mill. We Googled around and learned that a cord of wood is 128 cubic feet (not necessarily cut into neat boards), and a big tree can yield that much, but it would probably take two average trees to produce a cord. So if our information is accurate, Noah would have needed at least 3,000 big trees, or maybe 6,000 or 7,000 average trees. He needed to chop down an entire forest, and then mill the wood. But hey — no problem! He probably assigned those tasks to the women.
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