13,000 feet in the air, resting on a crescent of Turkey’s Mount Ararat, is possibly one of the most sought-after biblical relics of all time – Noah’s Ark.
Is this it?
Many archaeologists believe that boat-shaped wall is the boat that housed each animal 2 x 2 and sailed the torrential oceans for 40 days and 40 nights.
Genesis 6 – 9 chronicles Noah’s plight in full detail, down the last cubit. And now, so does the South China Morning Post and FOXNews.com:
Led by a team of 15 evangelists and archaeologists from Hong Kong and Turkey, new evidence, including wood specimens dating back 4,800 years, may suggest the existence of the biblical Noah’s ark.
This age-old search from Noah’s Ark is right up there in ecumenical lore with the Shroud of Turin. Is it real? Is it fake? Does it matter if this many people around the globe are not only engrossed in the story, but also catching themselves thinking about God as a result?
Nonetheless, these modern-day Indiana Joneses believe they found the real deal:
Yeung Wing-Cheung, from the Noah’s Ark Ministries International research team that made the discovery, said: “It’s not 100 percent that it is Noah’s Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it.”
As many of you know, I am a proud seminarian. And I not only went to post-graduate school, but I minored in history. Noah’s Ark, unlike many stories in the Bible, is known and learned by the world’s “Big 3″ – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. So, needless to say, this story has my hermeneutic pants going crazy.
“To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake,” reported Dr. Randall Price, president for World of the Bible Ministries, in an e-mail to his ministry’s supporters following last week’s Ark announcement. “While he (Price) has reservations about the nature and procedure of the Chinese-Turkish expedition and the artifacts related to it, he believes that a decision concerning this matter must wait until independent examinations of the site and the structure can be made and published,” Price’s ministry stated this past week.
I love that… “independent examinations.” The discovery isn’t enough unless this dude says so? That’s rich.
People are so quick to jump to validation when it comes to the Bible that they miss the opportunity to celebrate confirmation. The mere fact folk spend their day looking for this ubiquitous boat – and the rest of the world have cause this topic to trend to the top of most search engines – should tell us all something: Folk care about God!
And although now it appears this team of “Ark enthusiasts” may have been led astray by some entrepreneurial (AKA scam artists) Kurdish guides, let’s not discount the story in the hearts of folk who need to believe it.
This discovery (I suppose air quotes should be inferred because of this guy now) provides a little bit of faith to those who may been scorned in a church because, to them, it could show the reality of God outside of one. But to be fair, note the aforementioned scam:
“I think we can’t rule out the possibility that this is a hoax, because a lot of the things that happen in that region of the world, and especially with the Kurdish guides that are involved, are designed to try to extract money from gullible people,” Price said.
Cubits or not. Flood or not. The quest for this prized archaeological legend keeps people traipsing back to Mount Ararat because it is much more than finding a boat and some century-old horse hair. This is about faith, and man’s constant desire to confirm it.
I’m sure there will be more teams of discovery, just as there will be more stories to debunk those teams. However, one thing is certain:
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (Hebrews 11:1-2 MSG)
As long as there are folk who need to believe, there will always be explorations to help promulgate that belief. And no matter how high those journeys take us, the fact that we are climbing is good news to me.