Question: "Would the discovery of Noah's Ark be important?"
Answer: There have been numerous claimed discoveries of Noah's Ark in recent years. The discoveries have been in various locations, ranging from Mount Ararat in Turkey, to a mountain range in Iran, to an entirely different location on Mount Ararat (with a visitors' center). It is not the purpose of this article to evaluate whether or not the Noah's Ark discovery claims are legitimate. Rather, the question at hand is, if Noah's Ark was discovered, would that be significant? Would the discovery of Noah's Ark cause people to turn to God in faith?
The discovery of a boat-like structure in the mountains of the Middle East, carbon-dated to approximately the time of the biblical account of Noah's Ark (2500 B.C), with evidence of animal life once having been aboard would surely be a tremendous discovery. For those who believe in God and trust in the Bible as His inspired Word, it would be powerful confirmation that the Bible is true and that early human history occurred precisely as the Bible describes it. A verified discovery of Noah's Ark would likely cause many seekers and open-minded skeptics to at least re-evaluate their beliefs. For the close-minded critic and hardened atheist, however, the discovery of Noah's Ark would not make one bit of a difference.
Romans 1:19-20 declares, "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (ESV). If a person is rejecting the clear evidence of God in the universe, no biblically related discovery would change his/her mind. Similarly, in Luke 16:31, Jesus declares, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead." No discovery, no argument, and no miracle will change the mind of a person who has been blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) and is, with a hard heart and closed mind, rejecting the light of the Gospel.
Conversely, would it matter if Noah's Ark is never discovered? No, it would not matter because the Christian faith is not built on every biblical account being explicitly/conclusively proven. The Christian faith is built on faith. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). With that in mind, though, there are two primary explanations for why Noah's Ark might never be discovered. First, the wood of the Ark would have been very valuable post-Flood. Noah and his family would have needed wood to build their homes. It is possible that Noah and his family, or their descendants, deconstructed the Ark and used its wood for other purposes. Second, even if Noah and his family left the Ark intact, approximately 4500 years have passed (if the biblical account is interpreted strictly literally). A wooden structure exposed to harsh elements for 4500 years would, for the most part, decompose/decay into virtual nothingness.
While the discovery of Noah's Ark would be a tremendous and powerful archaeological find, it will never be something Christians should place their faith in. The discovery of Noah's Ark, or the Ark of the Covenant, or the Garden of Eden, or any other biblical artifact will not prove the Christian faith and will not change the mind of anyone whom God is not drawing (John 6:44). "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
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