45 Questions Christian’s can’t answer

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If Noah did fit all of these species on the ark for forty days and forty nights, how did the penguins make it from Mt. Ararat to the Antarctic? How did the koala bears make it to Australia with no eucalyptus to eat along the way?

I don’t know if you have looked at the 50 Questions Christians can’t Answer by Pucket, but some of his questions, like the one above, set a tone that is anything but sincere. Pucket may not believe in Noah’s ark, but the question asked, (and many of the others in his list of 50), can be sarcastic, belittling, or condescending. His questions often mischaracterize the views of mainstream Christians and instead build a straw-man argument that few Christians hold.

Some of his questions may also frame Scripture in such a way that quickly puts someone on the defensive. His questions can also assume some fact, when in truth he lacks any supporting evidence. I point this out below, especially concerning the penguin.

All this should be kept in mind when reading his objections to the Christian faith. Regardless of how Pucket couched his questions, in responding to them, I believe it is important to address his objections with sincerity.

Imagine for a moment a family was stranded on a very small desert island for year. On the island was single coconut tree. It just so happened that this tree produced enough coconuts every day for this family to survive. Not only would they eat the coconuts, but also drink the milk. Most days it rained, so they were also provided with fresh water. Another amazing fact was that each day for months, a box of provisions would float to shore. The boxes contained other food items, but only certain food items. For example, one box might have had some tri-tip steak, another box had flour, another box coffee, you get the idea.

If we were to to hear this story, there is a host of objections we could come up with considering the number of miracles that took place. Yet, if one was to accept many of the events that aided the family’s survival, questioning the appearance of a crate that held coffee, or tri-tip steak, might seem rather odd when we consider the line up of other miraculous events.

If we are to assume the building of the Ark, managing the entry, and the housing of all the animals, collecting the massive amount of provisions needed for them to survive, (not to mention Noah’s family), the flood itself, and the Ark remaining afloat for approximately 12 months, the question of how Koala bears and penguins migrated to their homelands, (along with thousands of other species), seems rather inconsequential.

Considering the numerous miracles that would have taken place for the story of Noah’s Ark to be true, I find it odd that someone would question the appearance of Koala bears and penguins. Yet, here we are, looking into the possibility of Koala bears and penguins arriving, surviving, and returning to their specific location on the earth.

Speciation is the evolutionary process that gives rise to new biological species. You may hear an example of the stickleback fish as proof of the evolutionary process, but as Ray Comfort pointed out in his Evolution VS God DVD, “It is still a fish.” Nevertheless, it is obvious to any observer of nature that we will find changes in species over time. Starting with a wolf, I doubt the process to a toy poodle was quick.

As Joel Furches points out, “Oddly, this is something upon which almost everyone – Christians and Atheists, Creationists and Evolutionists – agree: the current population of wildlife that we see around the planet is the result of gradual migration and speciation of a smaller population from a particular location; probably in the area of North Africa.” 2

I learned that Koala bears actually drink very little water because they gain most of their moisture from eating the eucalyptus leaves. They spend nearly their entire lives living in eucalyptus trees. Koala’s consume about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of leaves per day. Because they consume so many and almost exclusively eucalyptus leaves, they have an odor similar to cough drops. 3 They have a very slow metabolic rate and consequently retain their food in their digestive system for much longer periods than we do. They sleep between 18 and 22 hours a day. 4

Currently, there are over 700 species of eucalyptus trees. They can be found in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, China, and in parts of India. Some can even tolerate frost. So did the Koala go without eucalyptus on his journey? I have no idea, but if we take into account speciation, Pangea, and land bridges, the possibility does not seem so remote. That is, without the aid of miraculous intervention.

How this could have taken place is up for debate. Even science can’t come to a general conclusion on the migration of species throughout the world. A National Park Service article said, “The most important thing to realize is that even the most current and modern theories we have are entirely speculative and continually evolving. Discontinuity in sparse evidence, combined with weaknesses in dating methods, discrepancies in artifacts and genetics, and our own subjective interpretations provide endless hurdles to overcome.” 5

As far as penguins surviving on the ark and then returning to Antarctica, they spend up to 75% of their lives in water. Also, they ‘are not’ only found in Antarctica as the question suggests. Some species of penguins are actually found far north, near the equator. In fact, (I found this rather ironic as I researched this piece), that one species of penguin is named the Galapagos penguin, and are found where Darwin did his research on the finches. Oddly enough, Darwin never mentioned the penguins.

“False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation or of the world to be controlled by ideas which, by the resistless force of logic, prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion. Under such circumstances, what God desires us to do is to destroy the obstacle at its root.” – J. Gresham Machen

Christianity is a viable world view. Anyone who summarily dismisses it as a foolish religion for the uneducated have not seriously researched the claims, or are greatly influenced by their own prejudices.

If you are giving Christianity a serious look for the first time, please let me know. I will be glad to answer questions you may have. If you are just having doubts, again, feel free to e-mail me with questions that seem difficult and subtract from your faith.

Sources:

1. Living Waters. “Evolution Vs. God Movie.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube. 6 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2014
2. Furches, Joel. “Answering Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer (6-10)” Examiner. Examiner.com, 17 July 2014. Web. 18 August 2014
3. “Koala Phascolarctos cinereus.” National Geographic, nationalgeographic.com, n.d. Web. 17 August 2014
4. “The Koalas Diet & Digestion,” Save The Koala, savetehkoala.com, n.d. Web. 17 August 2014
5. “Other Migration Theories.” National Park Service. nps.gov, n.d.Web. Aug. 29 2014.

 

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45 Questions Christian’s can’t answer by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/category/blog/.

46 Questions Christians can’t answer

Reading Time: 5 minutes

How did Noah fit the millions and millions of species of animals on this planet into his ark? It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realize the physical impossibility of this.

This is a continuation of the 50 supposed questions Christians could not answer. You can find the full list here.

Millions and millions? How did you come up with the number of millions and millions, and exactly what number is millions and millions? Three million? Ten million? One hundred million? This question deals with the number of animals the ark held and the space required so let’s first determine how much space the ark had, which will help us decide how many animals it could hold.

In Genesis 6:15, we can find the dimensions of Noah’s Ark to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. What is a cubit you might ask? A cubit is approximately 1 ½ feet long, but it would depend on the culture. Bodie Hodge wrote an article on the length of a cubit, and found it to be from 17.5 inches to 20.6 inches long. 1 It was actually based on the length of the elbow to the fingertips, so you can imagine you would come up with some variation, but eighteen inches is a very reasonable estimate.

Arkcompaired1With those measurements you could estimate the Ark to have around 400,000 cubic meters. If you have a hard time imagining what that would equate to, it would be about 570 modern railway cars.

 

 

 

Ark1You will find several replica’s of Noah’s ark around the world. One was built in the Netherlands by Johan Huibers. It has 3000 visitors a day and has been open for about 2 years. It has movie theaters and a restaurant along with life sized plastic animal replicas. It took him three years to build it and cost over one million dollars. 2 Also the state of Kentucky is considering a biblical theme park and has plans to also build a life size Noah’s ark within the park, with estimates of opening in 2016.

So how many animals were on the Ark? John Woodmorappe wrote a book about the feasibility on Noah’s Ark. He estimated that only 15% of the animals on the Ark would be larger than a sheep. This percentage does not account for the possibility of ‘infant’ animals.

What does the Bible mean by “kind” of animal? Many think the definition of “kind” is broad. Cat breeding organizations over the world recognize about 70 different breeds of cats belonging to one species. Each breed would not have been necessary to bring on the Ark.

Got Questions wrote, “…even if we presume that “kind” is synonymous with “species,” “there are not very many species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. The leading systematic biologist, Ernst Mayr, gives the number as 17,600. Allowing for two of each species on the ark, plus seven of the few so-called “clean” kinds of animals, plus a reasonable increment for known extinct species, it is obvious that not more than, say, 50,000 animals were on the ark.” 3

The Christian Apologetics Research Ministry, or CARM, looked into the how many animals the Ark could hold. Matt Slick wrote, “Noah had to take two or seven of every kind of animal on the earth. Though it is not really known exactly what is meant by a Biblical kind, it is generally considered to be animals that are fertile within their own groups. Any dog can breed with any dog, therefore, dogs are one kind. It would only be necessary to bring representatives of each kind since the parents could produce offspring that would carry the genetic information for all variations within their kind.” 4

The average railway car can hold about 240 sheep, but the average size of mammals, birds, and reptiles is much smaller so you could double it to 480 mammals in a box car. CARM has estimated the number of animals needed would have been around 145,000. With those numbers, which is a very large estimate, less than 60% of the space on the Ark would have been used to house animals. 5

These kinds of questions bank on a very narrow translation of Genesis and many Christians debate on the interpretation of Genesis passages. Noah would not have had to fit every single species of animal in the Ark. He would only need enough animals that would reproduce and spread across the earth which would expand into the wide variety of animals we now have across the earth.

I personally don’t believe everything the Bible says is true, but I believe everything the Bible teaches is true. For example, Psalm 91:4 says He will cover us with His feathers and we will find refuge under His wings. Does that mean God has feathers and wings? Of course not; it is a metaphor. In Revelation 16:1, the Bible talks about the angels pouring out bowls of judgments on the earth. Are there really giant bowls that will be poured out onto the earth?

For many, the Ark account is a game changer. They believe that it is an absurd tale and Christians are foolish in believing it. Many Christian apologists believe it is possible the flood was localized and not world wide, again something not all Christians agree on.

Yet, there is evidence that not only could the Ark hold enough animals to repopulate the earth, but that the flood actually took place. Doubts about the flood, I believe, are the root of all skeptical questions about Noah’s Ark.

In 2012, Robert Ballard and his team began to research the possibility of a localized, (Mediterranean), or a world-wide flood. Ballard is a world leading underwater archeologist that you may have heard of because of his work on searching, finding, and exploring the Titanic a few years ago. Ballard believes it is possible because of the massive glaciers that were on land. He said, “Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that’s a big ice cube. But then it started to melt. We’re talking about the floods of our living history.” 6

Two Columbia University professors have proposed the salty Black Sea was once a freshwater sea, so Ballard and his team began to research the possibility. They found an underwater shoreline 400′ below the surface, and evidence of a massive catastrophic event dating to about 5000 BC. This was confirmed by the carbon dating of the shells along this underwater ancient shoreline.

Dismissing the Bible, and the accounts held within, due to some seemingly hard to swallow stories show not only a person’s narrow view of what is possible, but an ignorant view on what is feasible. Christians don’t have all the answers; no world view or religion does. But there are some things we can, Know for Sure, and science supported by research demonstrates that the Christian world view is something to be seriously considered.

Sources:

1. Hodge, Bodie. “How long was the original cubit?” Answers in Genesis. Answersingenesis.org, 19 March 2007. Web. 14 August 2014.
2. Stump, Scott. “Life-size Noah’s Ark replica draws tourists in Netherlands” Today News. Today.com, 28 March 2014. Web. 15 August 2014.
3. “How did Noah fit all the animals on the Ark?” Got Questions Ministries, n.d. Web. 10 August 2014.
4. Slick, Matt. “Could Noah’s Ark Hold all the Animals?” Christian Apologetics Research Ministry. CARM.org, n.d. Web. 13 August 2014
5. Ibid.
6. Millman, Jenna. Taylor, Bryan. Effron Lauren. “Evidence Noah’s Biblical Flood Happened Says Robert Ballard” ABC News. abcnews.go.com, 10 December 2012. Web. 15 August 2014.

 

Creative Commons License
46 Questions Christians can’t answer by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

 

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