Results from the latest search are interesting—but is it really important that we find Noah’s Ark?
25 November 2000
Ark researcher Porcher Taylor and Insight magazine have published newly taken satellite photographs of the mysterious ‘Mount Ararat Anomaly’. 1 After seven years of frustrating effort 2 trying to get US authorities to release their many classified images of this anomaly, Taylor finally resorted to commissioning his own images from a commercial satellite company, with the help of Insight magazine.
Summer 2000 saw high temperatures in Turkey, resulting in enough meltback of the Mt Ararat ice cap to expose the anomaly. At 1m resolution, Taylor’s IKONOS satellite photos are not as sharp as those taken by the CIA’s KH-11 satellite in 1976, 1990, and 1992, however the clarity is good enough to generate excitement among some of the seven experts invited to study the images. Four, including Clifford Paiva, a retired US naval officer who studied the 1973 KH-9 and 1976 KH-11 CIA photos, conclude that the structure at 15,500 feet elevation on the northwest corner of the Western Plateau of Mt Ararat is manmade. Two say the anomaly revealed is natural, a ‘rock or a geological formation’, and one says the images are inconclusive.
The approximate dimensions are 80 to 98 feet wide by 534 feet long, matching the Bible’s record of 50 by 300 cubits ( Genesis 6:15), the biblical cubit being reckoned variously at 17.5, 17.6, 18, 19.8, 20.6 and 24 modern inches. 3
The Ark came to rest ‘ on the mountains of Ararat’ ( Genesis 8:4). Scholars identify the ‘mountains of Ararat’ as the ancient Kingdom of Urartu 4 which encompassed parts of eastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, and southern Armenia. Within this area, Ark searches have also focused on Mt Cudi, Kuh-e-Elvand in Iran, and the discredited Durupinar site. 5 On Ararat itself most searchers focus on the ‘anomaly’ site and the nearby upper reaches of the Ahora Gorge. The military situation in this contested corner of Turkey has rendered ground-based investigation dangerous, 6 and occasionally fatal. 7
But is it really important to find the Ark? If it does exist, it certainly would be a great archaeological find. However, we should remember the words of Abraham in Luke 16:19–31. This passage reveals a rich man who died and went to hell—a place of constant torment, and a beggar called Lazarus who went to be with Abraham. The rich man wanted Lazarus to go back and warn his brothers about ‘the other side’. Abraham said in Luke 16:29, ‘ They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ The rich man replied, ‘No, father Abraham: but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent’. Then Abraham said something that is vital for all to consider concerning the matter of finding the Ark, ‘ If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’
In other words, if people are not prepared to believe God’s Word (remember, ‘ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ Romans 10:17), finding Noah’s Ark shouldn’t be looked on as a priority to convince them.
Perhaps one of the reasons the Lord hasn’t let us find this great boat yet is because people tend to make such items into holy relics that are worshipped anyway. The relic itself then almost takes the place of God in many instances.
It certainly would be exciting to find Noah’s Ark, and maybe God will allow this to happen one day. 8 In the meantime, we need to be faithfully preaching the Word of God beginning with Genesis (the first book in the writings of Moses), so that people will be convicted of their sin and turn to Jesus Christ as Savior. Our saving faith is not built on the finding of Noah’s Ark, but on the inerrant Word of the infallible creator God.
- Maier, T.W., Anomaly or Noah’s Ark? Insight, 20 November 2000, www.insightmag.com/archive/200011218.shtml. Return to text.
- CIA’s Ararat photos to be released, Creation 20(2):8, March–May 1998. Return to text.
- Morris, H.M., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, p. 181, 1976. Return to text.
- Corbin, B.J., The Explorers of Ararat i and the Search for Noah’s Ark, Great Commission Illustrated Books, p. 16, 1999. Return to text.
- Snelling, A., Amazing ‘Ark’ exposé;, Creation 14(4):26–38, September 1992. Return to text.
- Noah’s Ark Searchers Safe After Kidnap, Creation 14(1):5, December 1991. Return to text.
- Ref. 4, p. 188 and various other pages. Return to text.
- This assumes, of course, that the Ark has survived the ravages of time. On a mountain with shifting glacial ice and evidence of past volcanic activity, and considering the urgent need for timber in a post-Flood world, the likelihood of a wooden vessel surviving 4,000 years is slim, unless God has chosen to divinely preserve it for His purposes. The Bible also does not specifically say that it landed on this mountain, but more generally on ‘the mountains of Ararat’.