Do you remember the post I wrote a few months ago about young earth creationism and Noah’s ark? The point I wanted to make was that young earth creationists like Ken Ham view images that depict the ark as a small boat with pastel colored animals sticking their heads out of portholes as part of a conspiracy of sorts to downplay the legitimacy of the Noah’s ark story. After all, if that is people’s public image of Noah’s ark, they’re predisposed to assume that the could never have happened the way it’s written in the Bible, and to see it as a fairy tale. Today I want to draw your attention to a blog post written by Ken Ham that plays on exactly this theme. In it, he responds to objections concerning his new Noah’s ark theme park.
1. Why aren’t you using the tools Noah used?1 Where are we ever told what tools Noah used? There is no mention in the Bible or even any hint as to what specific tools Noah used. So the answer is, we don’t know what the tools were—no one knows!
I noted in my previous post that young earth creationists argue that Noah may actually have had access to more sophisticated technology than we have, in part due to their high intelligence—after all, the reasoning goes, there would have been as yet little time for mutations to build up following the creation of the perfect man, so Noah and his compatriots were likely more intelligent than we are today.
Take a look:
4. Noah wouldn’t have had the adequate tools!3 Besides the fact that we don’t know what tools Noah had, we point out that many people wittingly or unwittingly have an evolutionary view (or evolutionary-influenced view) of history. Many think Noah must have been some primitive person maybe using primitive stone tools. When God made man, man was obviously highly intelligent. Genesis 4:21 tell us that within a few generations people were making musical instruments. By the time of Noah, and with people living for hundreds of years before the Flood, who knows what sort of knowledge was accumulated and the kind of sophisticated technology that was developed? Noah may have had tools and other impressive technology that we would be jealous of! And remember, we don’t know how ancient people built many of the stone structures in South America or even the remarkably constructed Egyptian pyramids. The ancients obviously had a technology we just aren’t aware of, as it seems no record was kept or the records were destroyed. In this area of ancient technologies, we need to think in terms of a Christian worldview based on the history in the Bible.
This same theme is repeated again and again.
5. Noah didn’t use cranes.4 The Bible does not tell us whether Noah did or did not use cranes. From a Christian worldview, ancient people, including those living before the Flood, would have been highly intelligent, and no doubt would have understood about remedial things like leverage. Noah may have had ingeniously designed cranes that would make us stand in awe today!
I remember hearing this at Answers in Genesis conferences in the early 2000s—I was thoroughly convinced that Noah and his compatriots likely developed technology so advanced that we can’t even imagine it today. It makes one wonder—why have we never found evidence of such technology?
6. You shouldn’t have used any metal in the Ark as Noah didn’t use metal.5 But where in the Bible does it say Noah didn’t use metal? In fact, in Genesis 4:22, just a few generations after Adam, we read, “And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron.” So if they were using bronze and iron then, by the time of Noah people may have developed all sorts of sophisticated uses of metals. Noah may have used more metal than we do!
One wonders whether they had steel.
And finally, I noted in my article that there is nothing in the Bible stating that Noah did not hire workers to help build the ark. Here you can see Ken Ham saying the same thing:
8. There’s no way Noah could have built a wooden ship that size,7 especially not by himself. Actually, there are records going back over 2,000 years of ancient wooden ships as big and even bigger than the Ark. It’s just that we are not used to seeing such massive wooden ships today, and, therefore, many people think it couldn’t be done! Also, Noah had his three sons to help him8—and there’s no reason to doubt he would have hired people to help as well. Though many Christians are helping us build the life-size Ark in Williamstown, Kentucky, there are many contractors on site who are not Christians but who happily accepted a contract to use their expertise to work on sections of the project. In the Ark exhibit at the Creation Museum, we also suggest that Noah could have hired people to work on the Ark who may have scoffed while they worked on the project.
A link included in one of the paragraphs above takes us to an article titled Geniuses, Not Brutes! which provides further information on Answers in Genesis’ assertion that Noah and his compatriots were, well, geniuses, not brutes. Here’s an excerpt:
I often try to imagine what many people must have invented by the time of Noah, about 4,400 years ago (about 1,600 years after Creation). Who knows what remarkable things were created by geniuses when Noah was building the great Ark? Those are questions we are dealing with as we design our Ark Encounter outreach (see page 3).
After the global Flood, there would have been a catastrophic loss of technology. And we don’t know what kinds of technological items, tools, and machines were brought on board the Ark by Noah. But after the Flood, and as people increased in numbers on the earth, no doubt technology once again exploded.
AiG’s board chairman, Pastor Don Landis, together with a team of researchers, has carefully collected some intriguing information—from all around the world—that reveals how ancient people, going back thousands of years, were highly skilled and inventive. They have published their findings in a fascinating new book entitled The Genius of Ancient Man, which we are featuring in this newsletter.
Before going on, I want to pause to touch on the book mentioned above—The Genius of Ancient Man. I pulled the book up on Amazon and clicked to see a sampling of pages, and right at the beginning I came upon this:
So I looked up “the controversial Ica Stones” and guess what? They’ve been known to be a hoax since the 1970s. Suffice it to say that I don’t have a lot of confidence in the level of scholarship in this book if they’re going to be that sloppy about a known—and admitted—hoax. That the other stone pictured appears to still be a mystery does not change the fact that one would have to independently verify every such artifact mentioned in this book because of the author’s proven willingness to lie about the artifacts he spotlights.
I do want to note some of the text at the bottom left of this page, though—“All over the world there are similar findings of ancient religions, cities and towers, world travel, advanced astronomy, and civilized government. One can find out-of-place artifacts (OOPAarts) and other anomalies that can only be explained by intelligent ancient man.” I’ll be the first to admit that we have a lot of misconceptions about “cavemen” in our society—our understanding of our ancestors often resembles something out of Meet the Flintsotnes—but the real problem here is what young earth creationists are doing to the timeline of human evolution.
Young earth creationists hold that the earth was created roughly six thousand years ago, and that that was also when the first humans were created. They then point to the pyramids or ziggurats to prove that these first humans were intelligent, not brutish cavemen. But from an evolutionary perspective, it’s important to note that our human ancestors six thousand years ago were already homo sapiens sapiens, and that because evolution takes place on such broad timescales, there would have been virtually no difference in intelligence between them and ourselves. In other words, we know that the Ancient Egyptians and Sumerians were intelligent! Pointing to the pyramids or ziggurats to disprove human evolution makes no sense at all. When we speak of “cavemen” with less intelligence than we have today, we’re talking about our ancestors who lived a far, far longer time ago, not the ancient Sumerians!
Remember, though, that Ken Ham wants to squish this huge breadth and depth of human evolution all together and identify all of these skeletons and groups as either fully humans or fully other species of ape. He argues that Neanderthals, who became extinct 40,000 years ago, were actually descendants of Noah, and that all ancestral and related groups of the genus Homo lived within the last six thousand years. So he’s not simply arguing that the ancient Sumerians were more intelligent than we are, but also that Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and all the rest were far more intelligent than we are.
The real problem, of course, is that the archeological record doesn’t fit with Ken Ham’s assertions—at all. Archaeologists tend to gauge the intelligence of various ancestral groups by their tools, their art, their beads and their pottery. If these groups had been working with metals and using technology even more sophisticated than ours today—whatever exactly that means—I’m fairly certain we would know. Technology like ours today generally requires a certain concentration of human manpower—this is why industrialization and urbanization went hand in hand—but you don’t see that when looking at civilizations before the Sumerians.
Of course, Ken Ham wouldn’t take this lying down. He has created a hypothesis that is extremely difficult to test. He would argue that the groups of hunter/gatherers that we examine were isolated post-flood groups, and that all evidence of the great pre-flood civilizations with their superhuman technology would have been destroyed in the flood. As a result, the evidence we have all comes from post-flood groups starting from scratch and building pyramids and civilization with tools that were but a small echo of what had come before. But if the pre-flood civilization Ken Ham posits had actually existed, you would think we would have found at least a few artifacts scattered in among the rock layers as we conduct archeological digs, dig for coal, and excavate to build the foundations of buildings. Ken Ham would probably argue that we haven’t dug everywhere yet, or that the global flood was so violent that it would have destroyed virtually all evidence of previous civilizations.
And here we come to the fact, of course, that there is no geological evidence of a global flood. And this, quite honestly, is where critics of Ken Ham’s new theme park should be focusing their efforts, not on the tools or technology involved in building the ark—those criticisms Ken Ham and his followers can brush aside with a simple “we don’t know what tools they used” and a reference to the intelligence of pre-flood mankind. There’s also the fact that a wooden boat the size of the ark’s dimensions would very likely not have been seaworthy—which of course Ken Ham disputes—but for me, the biggest problem with the flood story is the lack of geological evidence for a global flood.
I’m sure it’s quite gratifying to poke fun at Ken Ham’s use of modern tools in constructing his ark, but it’s worth remembering that he and his followers are going to find your comments just as humorous and ignorant as you find his use of modern technology in replicating a mythical ancient construction project.