As McDurmon noted, the churches of old were often modeled after Noah’s Ark:
But more importantly, this anti-culture “sinking ship” metaphor is simply nowhere found in Scripture.
Has ever a single non-Scriptural piece of pulpit poetry ruled such a large portion of Christian thought for so long (60+ years)?
Think about it. In Scripture, the image is just the opposite—that of an ark which remains afloat despite the greatest of storms and floods. Peter calls upon the image of Noah’s ark in order to assure his persecuted readers and hearers that Jesus has prevailed over the grave (which the flood symbolized, in part) and by His resurrection has saved us, His baptized (“flooded,” so to speak) believers, as well.
Traditionally, therefore, the “pew” or middle-section of a church building has been called the “nave.” The word is brother to our word “navy.” Both derive from the Latin navis, meaning “ship.” The Church in which baptized believers receive God’s Word and Sacraments is, figuratively, the ship, or ark, in which we are saved.
The same Jesus who overcame death has power over the forces of nature. Thus, while the sea-faring disciples despaired as “there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (Mark 4:37), Jesus had no concern at all.
But the ship was full of water, about to sink! And what was Jesus doing? He was doing something significantly less productive even than “polishing the brass”—he was sleeping. He was fast asleep, as the text says, “on a pillow” (Mark 4:38).
And I read at Answers in Genesis…
According to Scripture, Noah’s ark was a safe haven for representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals and birds that God created. While it is possible that God made miraculous provisions for the daily care of these animals, it is not necessary—or required by Scripture—to appeal to miracles. Exploring natural solutions for day-to-day operations does not discount God’s role: the biblical account hints at plenty of miracles as written, such as God bringing the animals to the ark (Genesis 6:20; 7:9, 15), closing the door of the ark (Genesis 7:16), and causing the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven to open on the same day (Genesis 7:11). It turns out that a study of existing, low-tech animal care methods answers trivial objections to the ark. In fact, many solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems are rather straightforward.1
Was every species on the ark? No! From chapters such as Leviticus 11, it is obvious that the created kind (min in Hebrew, in Genesis 1:11–12, 21, 24–25) was a much broader category than the modern term of classification, species. Current baraminological2 research suggests that the created kind most closely corresponded to the family level in current taxonomy. However, to be conservative in this study, the genus was set as equivalent to the original created kind. As for the clean animals that entered the ark in seven pairs, this added a modest number of additional animals, notably bovids (cow-like mammals) and cervids (deer-like mammals). Under these conservative assumptions, there were no more than 16,000 land animals and birds on the ark.
According to the Bible, the ark had three decks (floors). It is not difficult to show that there was plenty of room for 16,000 animals, assuming they required approximately the same floor space as animals in typical farm enclosures and laboratories today. The vast majority of the creatures (birds, reptiles, and mammals) are small. The largest animals were probably only a few hundred pounds of body weight.
It is still necessary to take account of the floor spaces required by large animals, such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and some dinosaurs. But even these, collectively, do not require a large area. God would likely have sent to Noah young (and therefore small, but not newborn) representatives of these kinds so that they would have a full reproductive potential for life after the Flood to repopulate the earth (Genesis 7:1–3). Even the largest dinosaurs were relatively small when only a few years old.
Without tiering of cages, only 47 percent of the ark floor would have been necessary. What’s more, many could have been housed in groups, which would have further reduced the required space.
What about the provisions for the animals? It can be shown that the food would have filled only 6 to 12 percent of the volume of the ark, and the potable water only an additional 9 percent of the same.3
So, besides the lack of supernatural miracles needed to keep and feed the animals of the Ark, what does all this mean?
It means that there was lots of extra space in the ark. A lot of space.
Space that was unused.
I suggest, space that was meant to be used for more than just a single family of eight.
If you are assuming ~500+ year lifetimes for humans between the Fall and the Flood, and an ordinary reproduction rate, than you are talking of at least hundreds of millions of people alive at the time of the Flood. Possibly a billion.
These are people who knew that there was a garden out there, guarded with a flaming sword, that they could not enter.
They could actually talk to Adam..and Cain… and to those who spoke with God directly.
With Enosh, son of Seth, there were men who called on the name of the Lord. Preachers, if you will. So the people again could know of God.
I happen to believe that they were also very intelligent as well. Smart enough to avoid falling into traps we often do – like poisoning the land, or wiping out animals (instead of tending the land well, and domesticating all sorts of animals.) Intensely evil, but ecologically wise, and very health-conscious. Low-stress, high-pleasure living, for century after century.
And finally, everyone knew of some kook who was building a boat… on a planet without a sea or an ocean. (Rivers, yes. Maybe lakes.)
The very fact that Noah was able to do his work, even in a willfully evil culture, means that there was no atheistic, self-adoring God-State out to crush any suggestion that the Real Thing exists. Everybody knew of the Garden that was guarded by cherubim with flaming swords.
No rationalistic Total State means that everyone was free to enter the ark, if he wanted.
Everyone was free to enter…
…and nobody came.
Every Christian that has saving faith in Christ today stands not because of the power of his intellect, but because of the work of the Holy Spirit.