Studies on Noah and Noah’s Ark

The story of Noah and Noah’s ark has fascinated Jews and Christians for centuries. The great story of the flood has produced movies and created legends that have fascinated multitudes.


Noah was the son of Lamech, “When Lamech had lived one hundred eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; he named him Noah” (Genesis 5:28-29). The etymology of the name is disputed but the general consensus is that it means “rest.” The name Noah reflects Lamech’s desire for rest and relief from the agonizing labor of cultivating the soil. Lamech explains the reason he named his son Noah: “”May he bring us relief from our work and the painful labor of farming this ground that the LORD has cursed” (Genesis 5:29 NLT).

Noah was born at a difficult time in the history of the human race. When Noah was born, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). The reason for human violence was the evil that existed in the hearts of human beings: “The LORD saw how evil humans had become on the earth. All day long their deepest thoughts were nothing but evil” (Genesis 6:5).

In order to deal with human violence and the violation of the natural order caused by the sons of God (Genesis 6:2), God announced to Noah that he would send a flood that would destroy all the known world of his day. God gave humans one hundred twenty years reprieve while Noah would build an ark to save him, his family, and the animals God would bring to Noah. During this time, “God waited patiently, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water” (1 Peter 3:20).

After the flood, when Noah and his family came out of the ark, Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices to Yahweh. Yahweh made a covenant with Noah. He also blessed Noah and told him to be “fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).

Noah’s Ark

The ark that Noah built to save his family and the animals God sent to him, has been an item of speculation, wonder, folklore, and legend. According to the dimensions given in the book of Genesis, Noah’s ark was not in the form of a ship; rather, it was in the form of a great box. The ark survived the great flood. One year later, after the rain had ceased and the waters on the ground had dried up, the ark came to rest on one of the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4).

Many people over the years have claimed that Noah’s ark survived and that it is located on one of the mountains of Ararat. Some people have claimed to have seen the ark, others have claimed to have been inside the ark, and others have claimed to possess pieces of the ark.

Josephus, quoting Berossus, a Babylonian historian and a priest of Marduk who lived in the third century BCE, said that remains of the ark were still in Ararat. Josephus writes, “Berossus the Chaldean; for when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: — ‘It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs’” (Josephus, 1:3, 6).

Lloyd Bailey, writing about the survival of Noah’s ark says, “None of this alleged evidence for the survival of Noah’s vessel has withstood rigid scrutiny. The eyewitnesses fundamentally contradict each other and some accounts have been shown to be fabrications. The photographs are either now missing or have been denounced as fake. The beams, based upon the best scientific evidence, are to be dated to the 7th century C.E. There is no reason, then, to believe that remnants of Noah’s ark are to be found” (Bailey 1992:4:1131).

Over the years I have written several posts on Noah and Noah’s ark. Most of my posts on Noah’s ark address the claims made by several people that they have found Noah’s ark. I make these posts available in order to clarify what the Bible teaches about Noah and Noah’s ark.

Studies on Noah and Noah’s Ark


God’s Covenant with Noah

Noah: The Movie

“Noah”: The Movie and the Book of Genesis

Has Noah’s Vineyard Been Discovered?

If Noah Built the Ark Today

Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark Has Been Discovered – Again

The Shape of Noah’s Ark

“I Have Seen Noah’s Ark”

Inside Noah’s Ark

Inside Noah’s Ark: A Hoax

The Tragedy of the So-Called “Discovery of Noah’s Ark”

Noah’s Ark and Satellite Archaeology

The Ark of Noah Will Be Found: In Kentucky

Surviving in Noah’s Ark

Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary


Lloyd R. Bailey, “Noah and the Ark: Noah’s Ark.” The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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