Tonight, I was at a presentation of the alleged discovery of Noah’s Ark. As I sat there and listened, I began to reflect upon the significance, if any, that this could potentially have upon the Christian faith. Then I started to realise and asked myself this question: Does the discovery of Noah’s Ark (and evidence of any Biblical historical event/narrative) have any impact upon the establishment of the truth of Christianity—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, come to die for the sins of all humanity, risen on the third day in victory of the chains of sin and death?
As I sat there listening to the stories of those who travelled up Mount Ararat and discovered the alleged remains of Noah’s Ark in 2007, I ask this question. What impact does the discovery of Noah’s Ark have upon the truth of the Christian message? Honestly, I find that there is little reason to think that this alleged discovery of Noah’s Ark will change the challenge of bringing the truth into this world. There are a few reasons to my conviction.
1. There are numerous ancient legends of “The Flood”.
To be clear, I am not denying my personal conviction of the truth of the Biblical account of Noah, the Ark and the Flood. However, from a secular perspective, the discovery of the Ark does not solely serve the Christian truth. It is well-documented that the majority of Ancient Near Eastern cultures have an account of the Flood with similar parallels to the account of Noah.
As such, the discovery of Noah’s Ark does not necessarily serve the Christian message; rather, it could just as easily establish the historical fact that there was a significant event which flooded the greater region of the Ancient Near Eastern world. The discovery of Noah’s Ark could do just the opposite, it could become a stumbling block to the central core of the Christian message.
2. The Christian message is based on faith, not fact.
While it is entirely possible that the discovery of Noah’s Ark may aid and encourage the faith of the Christian, it would be a far cry to base the Christian faith solely upon the discovery of Noah’s Ark. It would be detrimental to the Christian message and to the faith of many if historical or archaeological discoveries became the basis of faith.
To be clear: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV; Hebrews 11:1) If the establishment of the Christian message becomes things of history and the conviction of things only proven in fact [whether it be scientific, historical, archaeological or any other basis].
The Christian must be wary that they begin to build their foundations upon the spectacular discoveries of Biblical history. The evangelistic preacher must be wary of preaching a message which calls for faith upon the establishment of faith. All in all, the Christian message goes beyond logical argument and debate, but rather must be grounded in the truth of the Gospel—that Jesus, the Son of God, came to die for the sins of all humanity, and rose on the third day in victory over sin and death.
3. The Christian message is a life to be lived.
The discovery of Noah’s Ark gives little motivation to the Christian to change the way they live. The alleged discovery of Noah’s Ark, at most, only serves to confirm the truth of their faith. The life which the Christian is called to is based on the conviction, not on established knowledge, of the sin and God’s righteousness and holiness.
On one hand, the story of Noah’s Ark is a story about God’s righteousness and holiness resulting in His judgment of humanity for the extent of its sinfulness. On the other hand, unless this story is added to the Christian’s conviction of God’s righteousness and holiness, then it has done nothing for the life of the Christian.
4. The Christian message is carried by many a hypocrite.
This point has little to do with Noah’s Ark but the integrity of the Christian message as a whole. Simply, there are too many Christians who claim to have faith, who proclaim the truth of the Gospel, who carry the label of Christianity, and live in hypocrisy. The hypocritical lifestyle of Christians throughout the world in their greed, their lack of love and social concern, their critical judgments and much else is the one of the greatest hindrances to the establishment of the Gospel throughout the world.
The simple discovery and establishment of Noah’s Ark would be far from enough to convince a person who is struck by the hypocrisy of the Christians in their world. It is more likely that such a discovery would be used as “evidence” for the truth of the Christian message; giving greater cause for the non-Christian to be driven further from the truth.
Whether or not the Ark has been found, the greatest aid to the establishment of the Christian message is the conviction and acceptance of the person of Jesus Christ and everything that He has done and stands for. He does not stand for the spectacular events of history, if He did He would have come down from the Cross causing the greater spectacular for all to see.
It is only through the sincere proclamation of the Gospel not merely in word and speech, but in life and love. It is not to say that it is merely a message of love, but it only within the arms of love that the conviction of sin and the brokenness of humanity in which God’s greatest gift of salvation can be appreciated.
Link: Noah’s Ark Ministries International