Friday, October 24, 2008

Noah's Ark and Shifting Ice

Empires of the Plain (by Lesley Adkins) chronicles the life of Henry Rawlinson, who served with the East India Company in the 1800s, primarily in the Middle East. There he became fascinated with ancient cuneiform and devoted a significant amount of time to learning it in its various forms. He became one of the leading experts on the "lost languages of Persia and Babylon" (from blurb).The book is interesting though a bit slow at times.

On to the point, Adkins notes that Rawlinson believed in the biblical story of Noah's Ark and was intending to climb Mount Ararat, but never was able to do it (not for lack of ability but for lack of opportunity).

Interestingly, Adkins says this about Noah's Ark:

From the mid-nineteenth century there have been over forty claims of spotting the ark on Mount Ararat, at times seen embedded in ice or submerged in a lake, since when about 140 expeditions have attempted to find the ark. Ancient wood can survive for thousands of years in very dry or in waterlogged conditions, but Mount Ararat is a large and inhospitable dormant volcano, although no known eruptions have occurred in historical times. There is no evidence of marine deposits from a flood, and the volcano has probably erupted within the last 10,000 years, since any Biblical flood. The ice cap, hundreds of feet thick, is thought to be the most likely hiding place for the ark, and yet the movement of the glaciers would pulverize a wooden vessel (p. 39).

The search for Noah's Ark has always been considered somewhat of a holy grail by some creationists, the secret key to evangelism and proving the Bible true. But Adkins is probably right. Any wooden vessel would likely have been destroyed by the millennia of shifting ice, but the record of Scripture stands untarnished. We would do better, it seems to me, to hang our hopes on the power of the available Word rather than the apologetic of a unavailable boat.

I am reminded of the words of Abraham to the Rich Man: "They have Moses and the Prophets; Let them hear them ... If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead [or finds Noah's Ark]" (Luke 16:31).

No comments: