The story of Noah's Ark is one of the most famous stories from the Old Testament of the Bible. It is an almost unbelievable tale of a massive flood covering the Earth and a boat built by a man named Noah in which he would sail with two of every living animal on board. When the Biblical flood waters subsided, the ark came to rest upon a mountain top."... and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat."
-- Genesis 8:4
One problem that has always faced Bible literalists is the lack of an existing ark. The mountains of Ararat mentioned in the Genesis account are often thought to be Mount Ararat in present-day Turkey; doubters of the Biblical account believe the nonexistence of an ark at the site points to the fabrication of the beloved story.
Yet one group of Chinese explorers has claimed to have found not only petrified wood but what they believe to be an actual ark -- the same one mentioned in the Biblical account -- on the slopes of Mount Ararat. According to the Christian Science Monitor
(CSM), "Noah's Ark Ministries International (NAMI) held a press conference April 25 in Hong Kong to present their findings and say they were '99.9 percent sure' that a wooden structure found at a 12,000-ft. elevation and dated as 4,800 years old was Noah’s Ark."
Over the last over five years, NAMI
has studied and excavated the site, located at an elevation of over 4,000m. The group has found petrified wood samples and a buried wooden structure in the side of Mount Ararat. As one team member told the CSM, it couldn't be anything else:The only record of a wooden structure on Mount Ararat is Noah’s Ark," Clara Wei, the team coordinator, also said today by telephone from Beijing. "So up to now I believe this is the most probable explanation. We don’t have another explanation.
Not so fast, retorts former team member Dr. Randall Price, who recently told the CSM
he has "difficulties with a number of issues related to the evidence at hand." These issues, which Dr. Price wouldn't discuss in interview but were contained in a leaked email obtained by the CMS, include his suspicion that locals planted the wood beams.
Whether the actual vessel has been discovered will likely never be fully answered. Some will claim this find a victory for the Bible; others will see it as another hoax, another attempt to supplement an old story with impossibly preserved physical evidence. How do you see it?Do you think it's possible that Noah's Ark could be found? Do you think it would be preserved? Does it need to still be in existence for the story to be true?