There are many Christians who do not take the record of the Flood in Genesis seriously. They consign the account to a moral lesson without regarding the narrative as actual fact.
Furthermore, most people do not fully understand the reason for the Flood because they haven't done their homework on the "days of Noah" that Jesus highlighted prophetically (Matt 24:37). Careful study will reveal that Satan had succeeded in creating a "gene pool" problem in his stratagems to thwart the plan of God. But this discussion exceeds the space available in this brief review.
Did It Really Happen?
There is no question that tangible evidence indicates there was once a flood over the entire earth. Many competent books have chronicled the numerous fossils of sea animals found at extremely high altitudes all over the world, as well as fossils of land animals in arid areas below sea level.
The evidences of a global, hydraulic catastrophe are ample in the many sources readily available. Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb's book, The Genesis Record, has become a classic. There are many serious scientists that suspect that a water vapor canopy enveloped the pre-Flood earth, as this is hinted at in Scripture. There also are technical - and Scriptural - indications that favor a hydroplate theory that certainly justifies diligent inquiry by the serious student. There are even informed conjectures that the Planet Mars may also have had a role, but these topics also exceed the space available here.
Was The Ark Big Enough?
Many people are skeptical about a literal ark having saved all the animals, etc. They are doubtful that it could have been big enough. (They don't really know how big it was, or how many animals were involved, but still they remain skeptical.)
The ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits abeam, and 30 cubits high. The cubit was a measure intended to represent the distance between the elbow and the tip of the fingers, and is approximated by most scholars at about 18 inches. (Various cubits have been discovered ranging from 17 to 25 inches.)
Assuming an 18-inch cubit, the ark would contain 1.5 million cubic feet, and would displace approximately 24,000 tons. This space approximates over 500 railroad cars and could contain 125,000 sheep or their equivalent. Since it has been estimated that there were about 18,000 species, and most of those would be smaller than a sheep, the space doesn't seem to be a real problem.
(Some scholars suggest that a 25-inch cubit might have been involved, which would almost triple that capacity.)
Where Did It Rest?
There is a "Mount Ararat" in eastern Turkey, right near the Armenian border and this is regarded by many as the Biblical site. There are numerous stories of sightings, but these expeditions have proven problematical at best.
However, there are some textual problems to be considered. When Noah's descendants ultimately came to establish Babel (later Babylon) they came "from the east":
"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there." -Genesis 11:1,2
From the Biblical text, it would seem that one should look for the ark east of Babylon - somewhere in Iran, not in Turkey which is slightly west of north of Babylon.
It has yet to be actually found. I personally suspect that God still has a purpose for the ark. Perhaps that's why Noah was instructed to "pitch it within and without." You don't need to cover the craft with pitch on both sides of the hull except to preserve it. I suspect that it will be found in God's timing to provide a testimony, once again, to an unbelieving world of a coming judgment.
When Did the New Beginning Start?
"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." - Genesis 8:4
Why did the Holy Spirit want us to know that the Flood ended on the 17th day of the 7th month? (If you are a normal, well-adjusted reader, when you come across a verse like this, you simply go on reading. However, if you have listened to my Bible studies, you are no longer a "normal, well-adjusted" reader! You remember that one of my premises is that every detail is here for our learning (Rom. 15:4) and that God always rewards the diligent!)
This one takes a little digging. We know that the seven feasts of Moses are not only commemorative, they are also prophetic (Col. 1:17). Passover is, of course, prophetic of our Passover, Jesus Christ; who, as the Lamb of God, was offered on the 14th of Nisan. The morning after the Sabbath after Passover is the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:11,15). and that particular Sunday morning some women were discovering the empty tomb: His resurrection was, indeed, the ultimate "first fruits." Three days in the tomb would indicate that He rose on the 17th of Nisan.
When we examine the institution of Passover, God also instructed Moses to make that month, Nisan, the "beginning of months," (Exodus 12:2). Therefore, the Jews observe two calendars: the original (Genesis) one which begins at Rosh Hoshana, the 1st of Tishri, in the fall; and the religious one that begins on the 1st of Nisan, in the spring.
So when you examine the "new beginning" of the world under Noah, it was on the very "anniversary-in-advance" of our "new beginning" in Jesus Christ! The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed. One book. One Message. It's all about Him.
This is another of the many inexhaustible evidences of an integrated, deliberate design that highlights that these 66 books we call the Bible, although penned by over 40 guys over almost 2000 years, are a single message - a message that features, on every page, the mission, the achievement, and the astonishing blessings of, by, and through our Lord Jesus Christ!
[This article by Chuck Missler was first published in the February 2004 issue of the K-House Personal Update NewsJournal.]