Thursday, April 29, 2010

The (Evangelical) Search for Noah's Ark

Two days ago, a group of Turkish and Chinese evangelical Christians declared with 99.9% certainty that timbers and compartments that they had found on Mt. Ararat in Turkey were, after carbon dating placed their age at 4800 years, from Noah's Ark.

Despite that claim, a number of rebuttals have appeared as well over the past few days. Some have said that this was a hoax perpetuated by this very same group of evangelicals.

The search for Noah's ark is nothing new. Much has been made about Mt. Ararat ever since a Soviet satellite detected an image on Mt. Ararat that had the appearance of a massive boat. In 1977, some climbers even reported finding timbers that were quite old. Even Turkish folk legends talk about a mysterious object lurking on that mountain. But what is the evidence?

Though the Book of Genesis does say that Noah's ark rested on Mt. Ararat (8:4), this particular scriptural verse has also some interesting other variants in the apparatus criticus, where Armenia has even been suggested in place of Ararat and that even the singular word "mountain" should be read "mountains" instead.

Even if the accepted reading of the Scripture is kept and the other readings glossed over as incorrect, what do we make of this "discovery." For me, personally, I think it is a hoax and a fabrication. I could spend a lot of time on that, but I won't. However, another thought has occurred to me.

Why is that Evangelicals are so interested in finding the Ark? Will its discovery somehow "prove" God to the rest of the unbelieving world? Will its discovery somehow "prove" that Scripture is absolutely correct and infallible? Perhaps, in their mind, such will ensue.

But, why then do Evangelicals shun relics or call them superstitious? Why do they ridicule pious Catholics and Orthodox who venerate such relics as "proofs" of God's divine love and compassions for us? Are these relics of great saints not as valuable as the ark? Why the difference and, dare I say, hypocrisy on the issue? Is Noah's Ark not a relic? It certainly fits the criterion!

I would really like to have an Evangelical respond to me on this.

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