Another ‘Noah’s Ark,’ but this one might be OK

Oh no, not another one:

A company in Hialeah, Florida has embarked on a crusade of biblical proportions: they’re building a full-size version of Noah’s Ark from the book of Genesis.

Since we’re stubbornly refusing to heed the science about climate change — making cataclysmic sea-level rises ever-more likely — it might not hurt to have a whole fleet of seaworthy arks ready to go. And, as this map (via) showing what a 5-meter sea level rise would mean for south Florida shows, Hialeah might even be a logical place for this.

But wooden boats based on prehistoric blueprints are probably not the most prudent response to the threat of climate change.

The story of Noah is particularly tempting for a certain kind of illiteralist reader. The book of Genesis doesn’t just tell us that Noah built an ark, it gives us specs for the project:

Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.

If you’re the sort of person who reads the Bible with an utter lack of concern for meaning, substituting a laser-like focus on “proving” its stories are actually factual accounts by ancient journalists, then that passage presents an irresistible temptation. It suggests that you could actually build this thing and thereby, somehow, prove the story is true. (You know, just like how Justin Long’s character proved Galaxy Quest was true by building a replica of the communicator.)

And so we’ve already got Ken Ham building his replica ark in Kentucky (or, at least, soliciting donations for it), and there’s the one Dutch creationist Johan Huibers built in the Netherlands.

I don’t think we need yet another one in Florida.

But this story from Hialeah might actually be a bit more interesting. It seems this supposed replica of Noah’s Ark might not be another Gradgrindish attempt to defend the “literal” truth of that biblical story, but might actually have something to do with what that story means:

The company plans to use their 500-foot boat not as an apocalyptic life raft, but as an animal shelter and tourist attraction.

The company’s website explains that they plan to install webcams so visitors and contributors can watch them building the boat and check in on the animals from time to time.

That website is interesting. It talks about building this ark as “a message that deals with the preservation of the fauna and flora, and a wake-up call about the latest changes taking place in the current world.” But it also employs a good bit of Ken-Ham-like language and suggests that there is a literal ark awaiting discovery on Mt. Ararat.

So is this just another adventure in Ham-brained biblical illiteralism? Or are these folks shrewdly using that subcultural jargon in order to reach an otherwise-hostile evangelical Christian audience with a vivid lesson about the importance of stewardship, biodiversity, and conservation?

Here’s hoping it’s the latter.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Parenthetically, a kind of Noah’s Ark concept was hfrq va gur zbivr gjragl-gjryir, nygubhtu gur cyna arneyl tbg qrenvyrq orpnhfr bs gur nppryrengvat punatrf va gur Rnegu.

    I had to name the movie instead of use the numbers ’cause you can’t ROT13 numbers.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     I had to name the movie instead of use the numbers ’cause you can’t ROT13 numbers.

    I never saw said movie, but that was exactly what I thought of whilst reading this post.

  • flat

    You know I have been on the ark Huibers build: it even had a lift for disabled people.

  • arcseconds

    Interesting use of rot13….  it’s such a big spoiler, the name of the movie itself has to be encyphered, leaving only the fact that it has at least two digits in it, and some kind of Ark concept as clues for it’s identity (possibly a spoiler itself?).

    Who is going to be able to identify the movie from that? Most likely people who have watched the movie (and apparently Ged).

    Of course, this all makes it into a tempting mystery, impelling people to do the rot13, thus getting the spoiler anyway. 

    It’s… it’s an ironic highlighting of the paradoxes of telling while not telling, an esoteric metaphor of our futile existence, and causes us to question the whole notion of rot13.

  • Magic_Cracker

    How many arks would an ark-park park if an ark-park could park arks?

  • AnonymousSam

    I certainly hope they plan on making this an open-air enclosure.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     It’s… it’s an ironic highlighting of the paradoxes of telling while
    not telling, an esoteric metaphor of our futile existence, and causes us
    to question the whole notion of rot13.

    Please to let us know where you’d like your shiny new internet delivered.

  • Tom

    Nitpick time: Justin Long’s character didn’t build the replica communicator used in that scene. It’s an alien-built one Tim Allen got when he first visited the ship, which he drops when he and Justin bump into each other early in the movie. So, bad example.

  • Boidster

    Swoopa…swoopa…swoopa…DING…

  • Boidster

    Also, strange people lying around in Florida building boats is no basis for a response to climate change! Extreme climate response derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

  • The_L1985

     Internets.  Win them.  You.

  • Vermic

    So, serious question: what did people in history actually build and use arks for?  The only one I’ve ever heard of is Noah’s and it probably didn’t exist, and it was built for a pretty unique purpose.  Were arks actually a thing at some point?  Some kind of cargo vessel?  When did we stop building them?

  • pharoute

    Right… what’s a cubit?

  • Magic_Cracker

    An ark isn’t a kind of boat, but rather a container. It comes from the Latin “arca” meaning, “chest, box, coffer” and is derived from the Latin “arcere,” “to keep.”

  • arcseconds

     You’ve presumably also heard of the Ark of the Covenant, yes?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I certainly hope they plan on making this an open-air enclosure.

    The plan says nothing about open port-holes.  Those would be a good way to let fresh air in.  

  • Vermic

    An ark isn’t a kind of boat

    Whoa … that blows my mind a bit.  I’ve always, for decades, assumed an ark was a kind of boat, and that the “Ark” of the Covenant was a figurative reference to Noah’s vessel (since Noah’s existed earlier).  This makes things a lot clearer, thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    They are building an ark in Florida?  Is it supposed to melt Nazis’ faces or something?  

  • P J Evans

     Babylonian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Roman?

  • Leum

    Whoa … that blows my mind a bit.  I’ve always, for decades, assumed
    an ark was a kind of boat, and that the “Ark” of the Covenant was a
    figurative reference to Noah’s vessel (since Noah’s existed earlier). 
    This makes things a lot clearer, thanks.

    According to my OT prof, the Hebrew word used for Noah’s Ark and the word used for the Covenant Ark are totally unrelated.

  • DorothyD

    Am I on Candid Camera?

  • edb

      what’s a cubit?

    The length of a man’s forearm from elbow to fingertip. In other words, an ell.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Do you happen to know what Hebrew words were used and how other than “ark” they can be rendered in English?

  • Leum

     According to Strong’s Noah’s ark is also the word used for the basket Moses was placed in. The word is tebah or (תֵּבָה). The word used for the Ark of the Covenant is is also used for a money chest or possibly a coffin. The word is  ‘arown or (אָרוֹן)

  • Chloe Lewis

    though a cloth ell has been a double cubit for… a while now. 

  • stardreamer42

    Which is why medieval yard-goods shops looked for the smallest clerks they could find.  :-)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    the Hebrew word used for Noah’s Ark and the word used for the Covenant Ark are totally unrelated

    I haven’t gone back to the original sources, but Wikipedia is consistent with this. “Ark of the Covenant” is given as “‎‎אָרוֹן הַבְּרִית” (ʾĀrôn Habbərît), where “Habbərît” means “the covenant” (this is also the term for the ritual circumcision of Jewish males, for the same reason); “Noah’s Ark” is given as “תיבת נח” (Teyvat Noaḥ) where “Noah” means “Noah”.

  • Victor

    (((Here’s hoping it’s the latter.)))
     
    Well Fred, if the project doesn’t work out to every body’s reality spiritual specs then  the “ONE” “Left Behind” can always suggest and/or start a rumor that “IT” is just “Fools Gold” and “I’M” almost sure that sinner vic and his alien gods will listen, if ya get my drift NOW?
     
    Go Figure!
     
     http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18142394&postID=4241252963836619747
     
    Peace

  • P J Evans

     It varies. So do ells. (Fabric widths are actually based on ells. One ell was 18 inches, another was 22.5, and a third was 27.)

  • AnonaMiss

    Nitpick time: Justin Long’s character didn’t build the replica communicator used in that scene. It’s an alien-built one Tim Allen got when he first visited the ship, which he drops when he and Justin bump into each other early in the movie. So, bad example.

    Ah, but he had a fake, non-working one which Tim Allen accidentally picked up instead of his working, alien replica.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    My first thought was whose forearm are they going to use? Someone tall, I hope.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Google translate gives the following alternatives for ‎‎אָרוֹן: cabinet, locker, closet, cupboard.

     Google translate gives the following alternatives for ‎‎תֵּבָה: box, casket, case, chest, crate.

  • Steele

    It could possibly be both. They could be young-earth creationists who are also earnest environmentalists interested in conservation. 

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     I dunno, I liked the first reference better, but my childhood was spent exposed to Bill Cosby not Python, so maybe I’m biased.  But my cousin and I used to do that routine together at all the family gatherings. 

  • arcseconds

     Gawsh… my very first internet!

    This is going straight to the pool room.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Regarding your link, what exactly does the 7% refer to?

  • Mrs Grimble

    I can’t remember where I read it, but apparently there were originally  a number of “Arks of the Covenant”; they were large caskets that the nomadic tribes of the Arabian Peninsula carried their sacred objects in, usually on the back of a camel. 

  • Andrea

    Presumably, his 7% Jesus cells.

    I’m not being flippant – it’s a thing I’ve seen him repeatedly refer to in his comments here.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K2MO2635XWHIRHWIKKUZQDEHVQ ChgoL

     Supposedly one is still being guarded in Ethiopia: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/ark-covenant-200712.html

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Frankly, I don’t see the problem: spoiling that movie saves everyone else from ever having to watch that outdated POS. 

  • PatBannon

    Near as I can tell, Victor believes himself to be composed of 93% “sinner Vic” cells and 7% “Jesus cells”. What this actually means is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • Victor

    (((Near as I can tell, Victor believes himself to be composed of 93% “sinner Vic” cells and 7% “Jesus cells”. What this actually means is left as an exercise for the reader.)))

    Pat, if that’s your real name, you’re pretty close but if YA want to be known has holding a pat hand,  “IT” really is sinner vic with 92% cells cause that so called retardo soul cell of Victor actually holds “ONE” per sense, “I” mean 1% cause he actually believes that the last will be first and the first will be last. Could YA ever imagine such a thing? This soul of his would want U>S so called (usual sinners) to believe that “Transhuminim”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj_-sBNQKcQ  really doesn’t exist butt his GOD (Good Old Dad) does exist and the next thing YA know, he’ll be trying to con vince U>S that The Holy Spirit is for real and that he’ll be picking out our next Papa, I mean Holy Man, no, no, I mean our next pope!?

    STOP “IT” sinner vic! Don’t YA know that my sister just died and she’s being cremated and right NOW, “IT” being woman’s day, “I’M” just not in the mood to argue with non-believers.

    You’ve got “IT” all wrong Victor! We are believe hers butt we just don’t believe in him is all!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX0ws6y7p5g

    Go Figure NOW! :)

    http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2013/03/two-steps-forward-one-step-back/

    Peace

  • DStecks

    In related news, Duane Gish died on Wednesday.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Actually, I kind of liked it, mostly because it’s so OTT with the incredible scenery gorn.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Huh. If I’m not mistaken, that’s when Hugo Chavez died too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532665943 Leoal Nelson

    I think a non-literalist should build an ark. Then they should invite some biblical literalists to try to tetris all the animals in. 

  • cranston

    How’s the serenity?

  • arcseconds

     The only thing I like better than serenity is a two-stroke motor at full throttle!


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