Thursday, August 07, 2008

Where's the Ark?

Sunday was an awesome beginning at Woodward Park for our new Youth Minister, Andy Frizzell, and his beautiful bride, Ashley. Andy and Ashley come to Fresno from Cookeville, Tennessee where Andy served as the Youth Minister for the Willow Avenue Church of Christ.
On Sunday evening, we had a service of blessing to commission Andy to the Youth Ministry. John Ed Clark, one of our Shepherds, invited Andy and Ashley, along with the entire youth group, to join the Shepherds on the stage as he asked God's blessings upon the youth ministry. It was definitely one of the most moving moments in my time at Woodward Park.
Despite Andy's love for the Tennessee Volunteers and the Atlanta Braves, I have really enjoyed working alongside him this week. His work ethic, his passion, and his skill will undoubtedly combine with God's blessing to take the Woodward Park Youth Group to the next level!
I've been spending our Sunday mornings at Woodward Park wading through the story of the great Flood of Noah’s day. Perhaps no other ancient element of the Biblical record has been searched for more often and earnestly than Noah’s Ark. To this day, it has not discovered.
And I contend it never will be.
Genesis 8.4 says “the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” The mountains of Ararat (The Greek translation of the word is “Armenia”) are a complex range of mountains spanning some 100,000 square miles in modern-day Turkey along the border of Armenia. Ararat is not simply a spot on the map; rather, it is a wide-ranging series of mountain peaks comprising an entire region.
As Hugh Ross notes in his commentary The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1998), there is a strong economic reason as to why Noah’s ark hasn’t been discovered. As the earth was repopulated following the flood, the timber used to construct the ark would’ve been invaluable in the building of cities and homes (166). The ancient city of Nineveh, for example, was located near the Ararat region.
Additionally, many of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia were repeatedly burned as political regimes rose and fell throughout the region. Assuming the ark’s wood was salvaged in the constructing of cities, it is likely that the wood was burned in the captivity of the cities by rival regimes.
To me, it is not surprising that the ark has never been discovered. In fact, think of the propensity of humanity to worship objects as opposed to the God of those objects. When the Shroud of Turin was discovered -- the alleged wrapping for the body of Jesus when He was entombed -- it immediately became an object of humanity’s religious devotion and affection. To me, God in His providence has left many of the foundational relics of the Bible to history so that our faith might rest, not in what is seen, but in what is unseen.
For these reasons and more, I don’t expect Noah’s ark to ever be discovered.