Friday, June 03, 2011

How Did Noah's Ark Rest Upon Mountains That Were Not Visible? - Genesis 8:4-5 Bible Commentary

In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible. (Genesis 8:4-5)
After reading Genesis 8:4-5, some might ask: How did Noah's Ark rest upon mountains in the seventh month when the mountains were not visible until the tenth month? Doesn't this passage contradict itself?

In order to show that this passage is not contradictory, and in order to show how the ark rested upon mountains that were not visible, an illustration will be useful.

Imagine, for a moment, a river (a very muddy one that you cannot see far down into). Although this river is very wide (100 feet), it is only 5 feet deep. Now imagine yourself peacefully paddling down this river in a small canoe. The day is beautiful, the grass is green, the trees are gently blowing in the wind... but something is bothering you. For some reason, you are unwilling to believe that the river is only 5 feet deep. After all, you cannot even see the bottom of the it! How could it be only 5 feet deep?

And so, you decide to test the claim that the river is only 5 feet deep. After bringing the canoe to a complete stop, you you stick your oar straight down into the water. Sure enough, your oar hits the bottom. The river really is just as shallow as you were told.

Now, create a new scene in your mind. You are still in the same exact river (with the same width and depth), but you are no longer in a canoe. Instead, you are in Noah's ark (which you somehow managed to bring into the future in perfect condition). The ark, due to its enormous size, cannot float in a river only 5 feet deep. And so, you are stuck in the middle of an imaginary river (you could imagine a way to escape the imaginary river, but that would be a waste of time).

Like before, you do not believe the claim that the river is only 5 feet deep. And this time, the putting-your-oar-in-the-water method is not going to work (for some reason you forgot to bring a 50 foot oar with you). You could jump out the ark's window in order to just see for yourself how deep the water is, but you would probably die from the fall.

Thinking fast, you come up with a safer alternative. Using some logic, you wisely conclude this: Since the ark is at rest, the bottom of the ark must be touching the bottom of the river. From there, you determine this: Since you cannot see the bottom 5 feet of the ark, the water (just as you were told) really is only 5 feet deep.

Regardless of the stupidity of this illustration, it is an example of a situation in which a boat is at rest in water, but yet what the boat is resting upon is not visible. In a similar way, the real Noah's Ark must have rested upon the mountains of Ararat when they were not yet visible (although it seems likely that more than 5 feet of the ark were below the water when the ark first came to a rest).

Related Posts:
How God Stopped The Flood (Part 1) - Genesis 8:1-3
How Big Was Noah's Ark? - Genesis 6:15-16
Evidence for a Global Flood: Water Above The Mountains - Genesis 7:19-20
Summary of Genesis 7

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