Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Was Noah's Ark Round??

By Analea Styles 

You may have seen the recent news about a newly translated artifact that supposedly sheds light on the biblical story of Noah’s Ark.

According to headlines, “the original Noah’s Ark…was round”[1]. This Fox News article goes on to promote the assumption that the biblical account of Noah’s ark is a more recent, rewritten, and unreliable version of older historical accounts.

Mesopotamia, tablet, Noah's Ark, coracle, new research
The tablet on display at the British Museum
Irving Finkel, the man who translated the “4,000 year-old” tablet, states, “I am sure the story of the flood and a boat to rescue life is a Babylonian invention”[2]. There are many secular historians who would agree with him – that the biblical account of the worldwide flood was written after the Jews went into exile in Babylon. Historians claim that the Jewish people heard the tale of the global flood while they were living there and later added it to their own Scriptures.

However, as we wrote in The Genius of Ancient Man, “since God revealed the text of the Scriptures, then it does not matter when He delivered the text to the men who scribed it”[3]. People have been accusing the Bible of being “late” and inaccurate for hundreds of years. But because the Bible is the inspired word of our infallible, infinite God, we know it to be trustworthy – in fact, it is the ultimate authority!

Noah, Ark Noah's Ark, Answers in Genesis
A depiction of the Ark by Answers in Genesis
In reality, it does not matter WHEN the account was written, but rather WHO wrote it. Paul’s second letter to Timothy tells us that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and 2 Peter 1:20-21 claims that no prophecy was an act of human will but rather men were moved by the Holy Spirit to write what they recorded in the Bible. It is no ordinary book! God, who was there at the creation of the universe and has been present throughout all of history, is the ultimate authority! His version of history must be accepted as authoritative and true because He was in fact there and He cannot lie or change!

Yet our culture persistently rejects the truth of God’s Word. Throughout the Fox News article, the author continues to undermine the overall authority of the Bible:

  • “A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia -- modern-day Iraq -- reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah.”
  • “It was really a heart-stopping moment -- the discovery that the boat was to be a round boat”
  • “People are going to envision the boat however people envision boats where they are”
  • “[Finkel] believes the tale was likely passed on to the Jews during their exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. And he doesn't think the tablet provides evidence the ark described in the Bible existed. He said it's more likely that a devastating real flood made its way into folk memory, and has remained there ever since.”[4]
Noah's Ark Coracle, ancient tablet, mesopotamia, flood
The tablet describes a round boat, called a coracle
Our main concern here is not that another ancient flood myth has been found. There are already hundreds of these and none of them undermines the Biblical account. Rather we believe they lend confirmation to its authenticity (see page 75-76 in The Genius of Ancient Man.) What is so concerning is the blatant disregard for the Bible’s authority and the flippant way that our culture disregards God’s Word.

If the history of the Bible is not taken seriously, how then will our world see the spiritual truths it contains which lead to salvation!? If the ancient flood of judgment is glossed over or rejected, how will mankind see the real danger of the judgment that is to come!? 

We must take a stand on the authority of God’s Word. We cannot aid unbelievers in this disregard or reinterpretation of the Biblical account. Do not allow yourself to be swept into uncertainty by the claims of “science” or “experts”. God created science! He is the ultimate expert.

We encourage you to read Answers in Genesis’ response to this recent “discovery” for more.

[1] “Ancient tablet reveals new details about Noah’s Ark Prototype”. January 24, 2014. Fox News. Accessed January 26, 2014.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Landis, Don. The Genius of Ancient Man. Green Forest: Master Books, 2012. Page 16.
[4] Ibid.


  1. This isn't the first time they've tried this. I remember when the favorite idea was to think it was an Egyptian reed boat (quite unseaworthy). Anything seems better to them than having to face a Creator God capable of judging our wickedness.

    I'm concerned by your wording on the timing of the Bible's original writing. I'm sure you don't mean it to sound this way, but I'm hearing- it doesn't matter if the Books of Moses weren't recorded until the time of the Babylonian Exile as long as God guided the scribes claiming it was written long before.
    Would you mind clarifying what JHBC's position on the timing of the first writers, please? Thanks, and God bless!

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your comments!

      Our apologies for the unclear wording. To clarify, we believe that Moses was the writer of the Pentateuch and wrote the account of the flood far before the Babylonian exile. However many secularists still accuse Moses for being a "late" writer when compared to other historical accounts. So our point is that, even if Moses wrote "later" than other ancient writers, Moses' account was inspired by God (it is the very Word of God!), the true author, and therefore the biblical account has absolute authority.