Lay it to Heart

Animals on the Ark Are not Shown Correctly

Almost every time I see a picture of the animals on, or going to, Noah's ark, the picture is wrong. It took me a long time to catch on although I have read the account in Genesis passage many times. The pictures always show two of every animal. This is incorrect.

There Were Seven Clean Animals and Two Unclean Animals on the Ark

Genesis 7:
1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Noah was to take the clean animals and the birds by sevens. What are clean and clean animals? The clean animals could be eaten such as the cow and deer. The unclean animals would include rabbits (hare), pigs (swine), dogs and more. This is explained in Leviticus chapter 11.

Noah Sacrificed From the Clean Animals

Genesis 8:
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

If Noah had only two cows and he sacrificed one on the altar it might be a problem. The only way for each species to survive at that point would be for each female to be pregnant and repopulate the earth from the offspring. That would be very unlikely. The put it simply, Noah needed extra animals. Offering one of the only two of each of the animal species would result in extinction. Sacrificing one of the seven would leave six or two pair of the clean animals allowing each kind to continue.

The Shape of the Ark Is Also Made Up

In addition to the problem with the animals, the shape of the ark is also shown in pictures even though it cannot be known. What do we really know about the ark? Genesis 6:14-16 says, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it." A cubit was approximately 18" so we know the general size. It had a window. It was covered in pitch inside and out. We do not the exact shape. Was part of the bow, hull or stern curved? Was there a large structural member of the ship rising above the deck as many pictures show? We do not know and we should not say. It is always wrong to add details to God's word. In spite of that preachers start doing it even with infants in church nurseries. This should never happen. We do not have to have pictures to teach and preach. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from God's word, not pictures.

Tell the Truth

What we have been showing kids in Sunday School or Bible Study is wrong. Ephesians 4:15 admonishes us, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" Does it matter? Yes, it does. When children grow up and find that one thing after another that they have been taught is wrong they doubt the rest of the story. It is not just the story about the ark, it is also Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny and more. Don't lie to those you love. Tell them the truth from the beginning.

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