Christian author and apologist Ken Ham is expressing skepticism about a headline-grabbing claim that the site of Noah’s Ark has been found in Turkey, near the border of Iran.
The U.S. Sun newspaper sparked the debate about the site last week with a story recounting how researchers had used 3D scans to study a formation on Mount Tendürek in Turkey that has the boat-shaped dimensions of Noah’s Ark.
Researchers first suggested in 1959 that the site could be Noah’s Ark. The 3D scans, though, are new.
The research was conducted by the organization Noah’s Ark Scans, which says the new data “increases the likelihood” that the formation “is a man-made structure that appears to match the Biblical description of Noah’s Ark.” The scans, according to a press release, “showed parallel lines and angular shapes” beneath the surface that “appeared to resemble rooms, possibly underneath a deck-like platform.”
“This is not what you would expect to see if this site is just a solid block of rock or an accumulation of random debris from a mudflow,” researcher Andrew Jones told the newspaper.
But Ham, the founder and president of the ministry Answers in Genesis, said he isn’t convinced.
“This isn’t a new find. … It was first postulated as an Ark site back in 1959 and has been disputed (and refuted) ever since, including by Christians and creationists who believe God’s Word and would certainly love to find the ark (although we don’t have to),” Ham wrote on his blog. “... [H]as Noah’s Ark been found? We would say no.”
Ham referenced research by Answers in Genesis geologist Andrew Snelling, who doubts the boat itself survived after the flood because Noah and his family would have disassembled it for timber. Due to the flood, Snelling wrote, there would have been “no mature trees available for Noah and his family to build shelters after they got off the Ark.”
Further, Snelling wrote, the site in Turkey is “in a valley and not on a mountain as described by the Genesis account.”
“It is unclear exactly the identity and location of the “mountains of Ararat” [Genesis 8:4; notice the plural word ‘mountains’], but even this site sits on volcanic lava flows (under the mud flows), which like Mount Ararat itself is a post-Flood volcano that even recently erupted,” Snelling wrote. “The Ark landed on a mountain on Day 150 of the Flood, so if it landed on a volcano that was still erupting and erupted again later during the Flood, the survival of Noah and his cargo would be at risk.
“... We don’t need to find the Ark to accept it as a historical reality,” Snelling added. “We already have the infallible testimony of the ever-present, all-knowing Creator in His Word. And even if the Ark were found, scoffers would still reject the evidence, dismissing it as a replica built by worshippers to a myth they believed in.”
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Inna Giliarova
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.