AiG Roadtrip Day 2: The Ark Encounter

We got up bright and early on Thursday to go see the lifesize reproduction of the Ark of Noah. Much like the Creation Museum, you see a few signs to point you in the right direction, but when you get there, the entrance sign almost comes as a surprise. You park the car and head to the ticket booth where a bus will take you to the Ark itself. There was armed security at the Creation Museum, and there is armed security at the bus/ticket location as well, only this one includes a dog to sniff around for additional trouble. The officer noticed the clip of my pocket knife in my front pocket and asked if I had anything else that he should know about. The answer was “no” so he asked me to put the knife in my pocket so the clip wasn’t visible. In retrospect, I should have left it in the car.

As you approach the Ark, you see zip lines and other activities that look very fun. Since we were visiting in the winter, these weren’t available to us, though we did go through the zoo to see what animals were comfortable in 40-degree (f) temperatures. In peak season, the Ark will take a full day, maybe two, to enjoy. Especially if this is a vacation where the kids want to enjoy some physical excitement.

Then you see the Ark. This thing is massive! There are bigger boats today. Much bigger! imagine a cruise ship would be able to handle the requirements, though it would need some major retrofitting. We are talking about shipbuilders that didn’t have the kind of technology you would find in a modern aircraft carrier or a luxury yacht, but we are not talking about primitive cavemen. Humanity may have only been around for 1600ish years, but that doesn’t mean that they were grunting beasts. We had achieved metalworking, musical instruments, and much more! Besides, nowhere does it say that Noah performed all of the building himself. He had three sons and could have hired craftsmen to do some of the work as well. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

As we walked closer to the Ark, it seemed to grow in size. I know that it wasn’t, but the sheer massiveness of it is something to behold. We entered from under the hull, and I was grateful for the support beams that kept it up! When you get inside, there is a disclaimer. The Bible gives certain requirements for the Ark. It must be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits tall. It must have three decks, a roof, and a door. You can refer to Genesis 6 to see the recorded requirements. Did God give any more detail to Noah? The Bible is silent about this. But there are things that must be accounted for, so within the given variables, Answers in Genesis problem-solved for them. So there are things in the displays that may not be entirely accurate to the original, and where these things are found in the Ark they are clearly shared. If only our scientific “experts” in various fields today were that forthcoming about the things they do not know!

Much like the Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter is a structural apologetic. It is not neutral and was never intended to be, just as we are not neutral. We may try to fool ourselves and each other that we simply follow the data, but every data point is looked at through a lens, and that lens is our worldview. The worldview at Answers in Genesis (AiG) is biblical. It rejects any conclusion from outside researchers if their conclusions are in contradiction to the Bible. That may sound nearsighted to many, but it is refreshing to see Christians live and die on the hill of biblical authority.

When you walk in and reach the center of the hull on the lower deck, you are able to look up. The Ark is built with an open middle to allow sunlight into the boat throughout the decks. This is one example of the license the engineers took in their design. It does make sense in a practical way, and it does reveal more of the magnitude of the care that God has for all of His creation, that it would be preserved and allowed as many comforts during a year-long voyage. Even the animals on the ark matter, not only the humans. There is a short video to watch at the bow of the ship of Noah being interviewed by one of the scoffers at the time. It serves to answer some questions and to get your mind to start asking questions of your own.

There is a display that shows possible aspects of the pre-flood world. The Bible says that the entire earth was corrupted with the sin of mankind (Genesis 6:11-14). We are told that sin plunged the world into decay and groaning, and this sin had not been punished to this point. Yes, the wages of sin are death. Yes, the consequences of sin weighed heavily on the people of the time. But God had not stepped in to intervene. The Flood is the first time that God restrained humanity after the expulsion from the garden of Eden, which was actually a blessing to us.

Yes, a blessing. Had humanity been allowed to eat of the Tree of Life in a fallen state, we would have continued a sinful tragectory eternally without death to interrupt us. This world would have eventually become Hell. Not just a hellish place, but a place where sin is compounded without relief. A place where bad becomes worse and there is no end.

As it was, people were living extremely long lives. Many lived into the 900’s, despite the violence and debauchery. I recall a display that affirms that God had given only the plants for food to both the people and to the animals, but with the disobedience that mankind was exhibiting it is quite likely that meat was eaten by the people. My first thought was that this seemed unlikely because what person would be the first to try eating from an animal? How do you even begin something that would have been so unnatural to them? But then you can just look around the world today. Just as the people of that time were going after strange flesh, both for eating and for sexual lust, so we today are a people that go after strange flesh. We celebrate homosexuality and transgenderism as if these demonically inspired lifestyles are to be commended!

The Ark has displays that make it quite clear that there were no innocent lives lost in the Flood. Even the infants who died were not lost out of negligence or any lack of love from God. The same is true later in history when Israel was told to leave nothing alive in the cities of Canaan. There were no innocents to be spared when God gave the command to destroy everything. To disagree with this statement is to believe that God was unloving in either His command or His action. Remember, it is God who closed the door to the Ark. If anyone had repented, the door would have waited for them.

You go through and see practical ways that the eight people on the Ark were able to feed the animals and the way they could provide them with fresh water, not to mention circulate the air. All of this sounds so overwhelming, but the models shown in the Ark make it quite attainable! Using the motion of the waves, or perhaps animal labor, all of this was something that could be handled. There was more than enough room for every type of air-breathing animal as well as the provisions for them on that Ark, and as AiG did their calculations they overestimated the number of animal kinds to make sure that the claims of the Bible could more than handle the questions.

The displays are more than just the pre-flood wickedness of mankind and the evidence of Ark practicality though. The displays include the dangers of teaching children the popular stories of Noah who took on animals so they would survive a random flood. Instead, the flood is an example of the justice of God carried out against His enemies. It is a calamity that this planet is still reeling from. It caused entire continents to break apart and to be reformed into the world we know of today. It created mountains and canyons, volcanoes and earthquakes, tsunamis, and climate upheaval. There is a display that shows the rate that humans might have procreated at that time. It is not outside the bounds of reason to believe that there were more humans at the time of the flood than there are at this time. And only eight survived. And they only survived by going through the door.

The door of the ark is a display all to itself. It is the door that was too large for any person to open or close, only God was able to do that. And when it was closed, everything on the outside was doomed. The door to the Ark serves as a type of Christ.

John 10:7-9
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

All who were found in the Ark lived through the event. All outside the door of the Ark perished. The world was swept away and Noah and those in His care were left behind. The door to the Ark is a prominent location for pictures to be taken and is a powerful reminder that all of the Bible was written about Jesus (John 5:39). You learn in the Ark that there is nobody who is innocent, and that includes you. All have turned aside from the path, there is no one who does good. The door to salvation is open to us! We need only turn from our wicked ways and believe in the gospel of the kingdom! We need to step through the door of faith.

Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The Ark then includes examples of how secularism has accounted for some of the worst atrocities in modern times, as well as examples of the Bible being translated into different languages and those cultures being transformed by the power of the gospel. There is another exhibit that shows the account of airplanes being lost in the early days of World War II in Greenland, only to be found later under 250 feet of ice, consisting of many more layers of ice than scientists insist are even possible.

The information that you encounter at the Creation Museum and also the Ark Encounter is overwhelming, but even so it is the tip of the iceberg. These facilities are designed to meet the visitor where they are at and to confront them with biblical truth. They show that the Bible is far more reasonable than their government school teacher has told them and that the assumptions made by secular scientists are all colored by worldview. They have predetermined results when they look at the data, and these results allow for variables in one direction but not the other.

If you are looking for deep information about scientific principles that are beyond my scope, the information is available through Answers in Genesis, as well as other creation ministries. The displays in Northern Kentucky are there to show enough data that we are without excuse. There is a creator who rightly sets the standard of how to define both good and evil. We have all failed to honor Him and all deserve to be swept away in the wrath that is still to come. But there is a way to flee this wrath. It is to abide in Jesus. There is no other name by which we must be saved. That is the focus of the Ark.

For those considering a visit, there is much to do at this facility in the peak months. A day is sufficient in the winter though. Do stop in at the buffet that is available just outside the boat. Their roast beef is superb and the other foods there are above average for any buffet you’ve visited before. If a buffet isn’t your thing, the barbecue stand was sending out mouth-watering sandwiches and the Mexican food stand had excellent food as well.

There is a lecture hall that is larger than most speaking venues I have been in. I’ll talk about that in another post. There is also a 4-D “ride” that is worth your time. The book store at the Ark is extensive and has a multitude of books, bibles, and homeschool resources, much like the bookstore at the Creation Museum. More items can be found at the souvenir shop in the base of the Ark itself, and all of it was of high quality and sold at prices much lower than one would expect at a venue like this.

Again, this is an outreach, not merely a fundraising facility. By all means, consider a visit to these locations, especially if you have young children! You will be blessed by the ministry, you will have conversations that matter with loved ones afterward, you will appreciate the way the staff there approaches their work with a spirit of servanthood. And if you have visited a theme park or any other traditional vacation venue recently you will find the AiG facilities to be a breath of fresh air.

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