The ark was a simple box shape

I have tried my best to navigate the endless pages arguing local flood/regional flood/global flood, all based on the supposed shape of the ark’s prow, length of keel, blah blah blah. The Hebrew word translated “ark” designates a simple box-shaped container. The Ark of the Covenant is a familiar example. Why bother with all the compound curves necessitated by a prow designed to cut through water under powered navigation? The ark was simply and efficiently designed by God himself to be a floating warehouse. It was not designed to navigate, just to float. And whenever the specifications recorded in the Bible have been tested on box-shaped models, it has proved time and again to have been a supremely effective design, perfectly suited to its stated purpose. All the nonsensical talk about keel length and Phoenician vs. Egyptian and rivergoing vs. oceangoing ship designs, whether by defenders or detractors of the Genesis account, is embarrassingly obtuse and stunningly ignorant of the source history being analyzed, namely the Bible.

It was also made from cardboard and could fly, being powered by imagination.


Could you please provide some evidence?

Where in the Bible are we told it was a box shape with no curves? The word for “ark” does not tell us this. That same word is used for the basket of bullrushes which was used to protect Moses in the river. That basket was definitely not a box.

What do you mean exactly? Do you mean on the BioLogos site or in general? I don’t really think the shape of the ark has much of anything to do with discussing a global, regional, local flood.

Here is a nice little paper that a few grad students wrote evaluating if the box could float:

Whether or not a boat can even float is quite different from if it is seaworthy, or seaworthy enough to withstand violent waves for an extended period of time. Here’s a nice summary of why Noah’s boat absolutely would not have been able to be seaworthy: Noah's Ark: Sea Trials

In other news, the word used for ‘ark’ also is the same word used for the ‘basket’ that baby Moses was put into the river in. The word used for ‘pitch’ or ‘tar’ is also frequently translated as ‘ransom’ elsewhere in the Old Testament. These little factoids would not have escaped the original hearers, so you are partially on to something by investigating the Hebrew words. In other words, Noah was going to build a box/basket that would be protected with the material of ransoms. In other words, I’m starting to think what the boat was made out of and even its size are not the main point and this is just looking at one verse (Genesis 6:14).

As a bonus: here are a few recent threads that have nothing to do with a floating box that point out some of the large problems that such a global flood would have:

A link to Strong’s Concordance is not evidence.

That is not evidence either. The study is flawed for these reasons.

Noah’s Ark was intended to float like a barge, and it did not have to be seaworthy. Its forward motion would have been nearly zero (i.e. it would have been stationary)
Source: Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway (

The study mentions 8 factors involving the movement of the ark. It omits forward motion
Two other young earth creationists, Baumgardner and Barnette, have worked out a model of how water will flow on an earth filled with water. The ocean currents peak at 194 miles per hour (87 meters per second), centered over the continents in gyres. Thus, the ark would not have been stationary, but would have been forced away from the continent by these currents, and sent into the open ocean. This invalidates the safety investigation done by these creationists

You know it’s gonna be a good article when…

a) All it’s about is the relative safety of the hull form of the ark vs. other hull forms

  • In other words, it has nothing to do with surviving actual conditions for a period of time but rather a relative measure vs. other hull forms

b) The article claims the facts of the ark are enough to ‘warrant the attention of naval architects’

  • Hmm, how many navy ships are built like the ark. Even floating barges? How about exactly… zero!
  • Again, as Noah's Ark: Sea Trials, points out, the 103 meter Pretoria in 1901 required steel reinforcement and steam powered pumps to fight the constant flex-induced leaking - others a bit smaller (like the Wyoming that was 100 meters sunk in 1924) and the 99 meter Santiago (sunk in 1918) also show exactly why the naval architects disregard such mythical dimensions of a boat

c) So how did they figure out what the hull was like? Two main ways…

  • The ‘reasonable (common sense) assumptions of naval engineers’ - I am quoting the AiG article you linked. Mind you they have all of modern technology and physics/engineering in their brain before they start assuming common sense things
  • The highlight of the article for me: They figured out the hull’s form based upon the explorers who claim to have found the remains of the ark

d) This article is a goldmine really. I love that ‘no special mention about the draft is found in the Bible’ - gee I wonder why the details of the height of submergence of the actual ark aren’t included in the Bible? Anyways, the whole beginning of their calculations are based assumption after assumption

  • The assumption in this part is that the draft of the ship is 15 cubits - this is because the ark is 30 cubits high and the waters went 15 cubits over the highest mountain
  • If that’s not arbitrary and bad enough, then they calculate the center of gravity assuming that the animals were evenly distributed by weight on the 3 decks or possibly the animals were distributed 2:2:1 from the bottom deck upwards. Riiight, that was what Noah was also doing as the animals came marching, weighing them and calculating how to properly distribute the center of gravity of the boat
  • Yeah, I can’t even go on at this point

In conclusion, despite my criticisms, reading the article is pretty awesome and makes me love Koreans all the more. I’ve been in several Korean churches, had Korean roommates, and this reminds me of all of them in the most heart warming way.

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Thank you for this note, and I would add that the “ark/basket” that saved Noah also saved Moses, and this particular Hebrew word appears only in the flood narrative and in Exodus 2. The “ark” of the covenant is a different Hebrew word entirely.



I think everyone concedes (or should) that
A) assuming the miraculous power of God;
B) explaining defects in the construction of Noah’s ark has zero value.

The real problem with the Flood story is the idea that God would destroy thousands or millions of innocent animals (whether regional or global)… when he could have limited the wanton destruction by invoking the Destroyer (as in Exodus).

The actual reason the Flood is featured in the Bible is to co-opt a popular pagan story and give it a Yahweh “spin”! The same is true about the inclusion of the Tower of Babylon.

Before I add anything further, let me just make a quick check – @btrd, are you genuinely interested in dialogue on this topic? Or have you already determined that you have an answer that most readers here don’t understand?

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