The Bible has been dragged into discussions about recent studies to determine the number of species on earth. Skeptics like to say the Ark was not large enough to accommodate so many animals.
About 1.2 million species have already been catalogued, and a new estimate puts the total number of living species at 8.7 million.1 How could Noah handle all these creatures? The simple answer is that the Bible says he took on board representatives from the various animal “kinds.” Within each kind, God placed enormous genetic potential, with all the diversity necessary to repopulate the earth.
If the biblical “kinds” is roughly equivalent to the family classification, the Ark required as few as 2,000 individual animals. Noah did not have to take on board many types of animals, such as sea creatures, because God ordered Noah to bring only air-breathing land animals. That appears to exclude amphibians, and even insects.
Addressing questions like this is one of the reasons that the parent ministry of Answers magazine, Answers in Genesis, is designing a 510-foot-long Ark, the centerpiece of an Ark Encounter attraction that is planned to open in 2014.2
When construction begins, Amish craftsmen will likely converge on a site in Northern Kentucky to put up the Ark’s frame. With an expected first-year attendance of 1.6 million, the Ark Encounter’s themed attractions will proclaim the historicity of Noah’s Flood and the Ark—along with other historical accounts from the Old Testament. And it will clearly present the gospel, which is based upon that history.