The clean and the unclean
Another question that often arises is the question of how many clean and unclean animals would Noah's Ark have to take on board. What the Bible (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14) considers clean (fit for human consumption) and unclean (not fit to eat) animals is fairly easy to identify based on the characteristics of a particular creature. For example, warm-blooded mammals that have split hooves and chews the cud is clean to eat (e.g. Bison, Cattle, Deer, Goats, Sheep, etc.). Those that do not have these characteristics are not considered clean and good for man (e.g. Pigs, Lions, Tigers, Boars, etc.). In regard to unclean birds, God forbids the eating of those that are scavengers. Birds designated as clean and therefore can be eaten include Chickens, Ducks, Pheasant, Quails, Turkeys and others.
Those who are against God say that Noah had to take SEVEN pair of clean animals and SEVEN pair of the birds (Genesis 7:2-3) with him. How many birds were clean and how many were unclean? The answer to that question is found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. When properly understood, Noah took on seven (7) individual animals and birds (not seven pairs) of each kind that were clean. Since these were clean animals and clean birds that would be used for food later, it would be important to have extra breeding stock. There were three pair of clean animals and clean birds plus a seventh. The seventh one was to be offered as a sacrifice at the end of the flood (Genesis 8:20). If an animal were unclean, which the vast majorities were, then only one pair was taken aboard.
Contrary to what many believe and what "documentaries" concerning the ark claim, the ship would have EASILY been big enough to carry all the required animals. Only air breathing, land dwelling animals would have to be placed aboard the ark (Genesis 7:22). In the book The Genesis Flood, John Whitcomb and Henry Morris stated the following animals could have survived outside the ark.
25,000 species of fish
1,700 tunicates found throughout the seas
600 echinoderms including star fish and sea urchins
107,000 mollusks such as mussels, clams and oysters
10,000 coelenterates like corals and jelly fish
4,000 species of sponges
31,000 microscopic protozoan
Other aquatic mammals such as the dolphins, whales, porpoises, and so on could also easily live in water and survive the flood. Many aquatic reptiles would also not need to be "saved" from the deluge. Still other animals that could survive the flood without needing to board the ark include shrimp, crabs, lobsters, insects, worms and others. Only a small percentage of the animals on earth would have to be saved on a ship.
The number of animals needing to be saved
Many writers on the subject of Noah's ark have different estimates for the amount of animals that it would have to carry. The Genesis Flood estimates that approximately 35,000 animals were placed on the ark. In another book written on the subject, Noah's Ark - A Feasibility Study, John Woodmorappe declares that only about 2,000 animals would have to be on it. Being rather conservative, he continues his study with the assumption that 16,000 animals could easily be on the ship. Even still, a conservative number of 40,000 animals, which allows for extra animals to represent those that have gone extinct, could still be easily transported on the ark.
Space needed for the animals
The average size of all animals, in general, is the size of a sheep. One railroad stock car can carry about 240 sheep. This would mean that all 40,000 animals (if we assume our conservative number needing to be saved) could fit in 167 railroad cars. The ark's total capacity was 569 stock cars. These animals would require LESS THAN 30% of the total space available! In other words, all the animals could fit on one of the ship's three decks with PLENTY of room to spare for Noah's family, food, supplies, and baggage. The following calculations, based on an ark volume of 1,518,750 cubic feet (43,006 cubic meters), shows the amount of space needed to accommodate a variety of animal totals.
|40,000 animals x 11.125 ft3 = 445,000 ft3 OR 29% of the Ark's total capacity |
|35,000 animals x 11.125 ft3 = 389,375 ft3 OR 25% of total capacity |
|16,000 animals x 11.125 ft3 = 178,000 ft3 OR (kind = genus taxon) or 11.7% of total capacity |
|2,000 animals x 11.125 ft3 = 22,250 ft3 OR (kind = family taxon) or 1.4% of the total capacity |
One honest, basic question concerning the ark is WHY was it needed in the first place? What caused God, Who is the very definition of love, to take the extreme measure of DROWNING roughly one BILLION people at the same time? The Bible itself gives us the answer.
"And the LORD saw that the WICKEDNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT ON THE EARTH, and EVERY IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY. And the LORD repented that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the LORD said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the crawling thing, and the fowl of the air; for I repent that I have made them.'" (Genesis 6:5-7, Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version (HBFV))
In the roughly 1,500 years from Adam's creation to God proclaiming man had only 120 years to repent (Genesis 6:3), humans steadily grew more corrupt and brutal. The consequences of their selfishness, lust, greed and disobedience - compounded by the fact they lived exceptionally long life spans - led to a preoccupation with evil. God, who saw the cavalcade of suffering and pain man endured - with no end in sight due to his sins - mercifully ended their ongoing self-torture.