Some Questions On Noah's Flood Answered

Sam Shamoun

Some Muslim critics attempt to debunk the universality of the Flood by suggesting that the ark's measurements could not possibly contain all the land animals of the earth. Dr. Henry Morris responds:

6:15 three hundred cubits. The dimensions of the ark were ideally designed for both stability and capacity. It has been shown hydrodynamically that the ark would have been practically impossible to capsize and would have been reasonably comfortable, even during violent waves and winds. Assuming the ancient cubit to have been only 17.5 inches (the smallest suggested by an authority), the ark could have carried as many as 125,000 sheep-sized animals. Since there are not more than about 25,000 species of land animals known (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians), either living or extinct, and since the average size of such animals is certainly much less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that all the animals could easily have been stored in less than half the capacity of Noah's ark, each pair in appropriate "rooms" (literally "nests"). (Morris, The Defenders Study Bible - King James Version [World Publishing; Grand Rapids, MI 1995], p. 21)


7:15 two of all flesh. Two of every kind of land animal entered the ark, including those animals (for example, dinosaurs) that have become extinct in the millennia following the Flood. The animals were all young animals since they would have to spend the year in the ark without reproducing and then emerge to repopulate the earth after the Flood. The animals entering the ark possessed genes for the remarkable physiologic abilities of migration and hibernation. These were not needed in the equable climates of the primeval world, but would be vital for survival in the post-Flood world. After being installed in their respective "rooms" in the ark, and after a good meal, most of them probably spent most of the Flood year in a state of hibernation. (Ibid., p. 23)

Dr. Gleason L. Archer, in commenting on the differences between the Pagan flood stories with that of Genesis, notes:

"Some comparative religionists have suggested that the Babylonian myth was earlier than the Hebrew, and that the compilers of Genesis 7 and 8 borrowed from it. But this is rendered most unlikely in view of the significant contrasts between the two. Thus, the ark built by Utnapishtim was completely cubic, equipped with six decks for all the animals to be quartered in. A more impractical and unseaworthy craft could hardly be imagined. But Noah's ark was three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, thirty cubits deep - an ideal set of measurements for an ocean liner. If the cubit measured twenty-four inches in that earlier period (as it may well have done in an age when men were bigger than they were after the Flood - cf. Gen. 6:4), then the ark of Noah would have been six hundred feet long, by one hundred feet wide, and sixty feet deep. If it was fairly boxlike in shape (as would be probable in view of its special purpose), it would have had the capacity of 3.6 million cubic feet. This is the capacity of about two thousand cattle cars, each of which can carry 18 to 20 cattle, 60 to 80 hogs, or 80 to 100 sheep.

"At the present time, there are only 290 main species of land animals larger in size than sheep. There are 757 more species ranging in size from sheep to rats, and there are 1,358 species smaller than rats. Two individuals of each of these species would fit very comfortably into two thousand cattle cars, with plenty of room for fodder. But it is more than doubtful whether the same could be said of Utnapishtim's unwieldy craft, subject to frequent capsizing in heavy seas, in view of its cubic shape. Moreover, the stark contrast between the quarrelsome and greedy gods of the Babylonian pantheon and the majestic holiness of Yahweh, the absolute Sovereign over the universe, furnishes the strongest basis for classifying the Gilgamesh account as a garbled polytheistic derivative from the same original episode as that contained in Genesis 7-8. The Hebrew account is couched in terms of sober history and accurate recording that reflect a source derived from the persons who were actually involved in this adventure. The Gilgamesh Epic is far more mythical and vague." (Archer, An Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties [Zondervan Publishing House, 1982 ISBN: 0310435706], p. 84)

Furthermore, the Quran itself along with the early Muslim commentators all taught that Noah's flood was a universal event. (See this related article.)

Hence, there are no convincing arguments against the Holy Bible.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page