“A powerful secret lies beneath a foreboding, white mountain of ice in a desolate region in Turkey. Its discovery will shake the foundations of power in the world. Archaeologist Adam Livingstone is poised to unlock an ancient door back in time. But is he ready to risk his life in the process? As long-buried evidence comes to light, evil forces take notice and conspire to silence Adam – and everyone who works with him.”

Now that’s the making of a great novel. No really, it is the making of a great novel. It’s taken from the inside cover of a book by Michael Phillips called “A Rift in Time.” It is a riveting story that begins with the search and discovery of none other than Noah’s Ark. Despite the fictitious lead-in, the search for Noah’s Ark is for many people just that compelling.

Like the characters caught up in an Indiana Jones movie, there always appears to be a band of explorers ready to conquer Mt. Ararat – eager to add the discovery of Noah’s Ark to their name in history.

Case in point – another real expedition is once again under way. As reported last week, a joint U.S.-Turkish team of 10 explorers is planning a trip up Turkey’s tallest mountain. Their hope is to prove a mammoth structure that was partly exposed by a heat wave last summer is indeed Noah’s Ark.

It has been more than four decades since Turkish air force pilots first photographed a boat-shaped formation in the steep slopes of Mount Ararat. Since that time, there have been countless expeditions to find the Ark with most explorers concentrating their search on Mount Ararat. This is where the biblical account of the Great Flood says it came to rest.

Despite this concentration in effort, there has been only enough evidence to fuel the intrigue – never enough to lay the mystery to rest.

The shroud of mystery and fascination that surrounds the Ark holds great interest for archeologists, Bible scholars as well as lay Scripture enthusiasts. Its discovery could end or possibly re-ignite more than one long-held debate. Consider its impact on the young versus the old-earth theories; the truth of a global flood; a single ice age; extinction of the dinosaurs; or even more basically the simple veracity of Scripture. Even secularists would find Noah’s Ark an intriguing scientific discovery.

The dimensions of the structure spotted on Mt. Ararat are reportedly consistent with those given in Scripture. The Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. That is approximately 1.5 times as long as a football field three stories high. The volume capacity of the Ark would be a significant 1.5 million cubic feet.

According to Scripture, the Ark came to rest on the mountain with Noah’s family after the great deluge and 53 weeks at sea with a cargo of male and female pairs of every kind of animal.

Just for kicks have you ever wondered, even for a minute, how two of every kind of animal could fit onto the Ark?

Researchers have shown that the dimensions of the Ark, given above, produce an equivalent volume of 522 standard railroad stock cars, each of which can hold 240 sheep, for a total of 125,280 sheep. Add to that, only 11 percent of all land animals are larger than a sheep.

That brings us to the next question: “What is a ‘kind’?”

Biblical scholars believe that if members of the same genus have the ability to produce offspring, then the genus represents the original “kind.” Conservative estimates suggest there were only about 8,000 animal genera, and that includes some which are now extinct. So multiplying each genus by two, there were over 16,000 animals on board the Ark.

Based on these statistics, experts calculate that less than half the space of the Ark would be occupied by the animals. This would even allow the animals to have room to move around with sufficient space for eight people and all the provisions required for 53 weeks at sea.

So will this expedition be successful? We’ll have to wait until July-August to find out. One thing is sure. Discovery of Noah’s Ark would cement another major piece of the Old Testament and the Genesis account as historical fact. And that just might be enough to make some skeptics rethink their position on Biblical truth. Just a thought …

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