The bible says that soon after God created the Earth, He realized that man had become corrupted with sin. It seems that His creation didn’t turn out exactly the way he had planned. God thought that the best thing to do was to destroy all of life on the planet with a great flood, and then start all over.
Instead of wiping out all of life on Earth, God decided to spare the life of the only righteous man on the planet, as well as his family. God employed this man (Noah) to build a great ark, to protect them from the flood, and to gather 2 and 7 of every kind of animal that existed, to carry on the ark, in order that the world could be re-populated after the flood.
The rest, as they say, is biblical history.
But, it is along this story that Dutch creationist and millionaire building contractor Johan Huibers became obsessed with building a replica of the ark, following his dream 20 years ago in which he saw Holland inundated by a great flood like the one told in the Book of Genesis.
Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine. The Bible says Noah used ‘gopher wood’ when he built the original, but scholars disagree on what that is, so Huibers used ‘creative licence’, both with the material and the design.
The boat was constructed by welding the metal hulls of several old barges together and then using Scandinavian pine for the skin.
In Genesis the ark is described as being 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. (And this is the fashion, which thou shalt make it of: the length of the arke shalbe three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirtie cubits.)
He used the ancient measurement of the cubit – the length of a man’s arm from the elbow to the fingertips – to build the craft according to Biblical proportions.
Using Huiber’s arm, the craft, which is moored in the southern Netherlands town of Dordrecht, is just over 450 feet in length, dwarfing buildings along the waterfront.
The ark that is said to have been started in May 2005 by Huibers, some friends, and his two sons, has an estimated weight of 3,000 tons.
While the ‘Johan’s Ark’, as it is called, may not be able to shelter two of every animal, as the original story says, as a museum and as a tourist attraction, it can hold 1,500 people – not to mention a menagerie of life-size plastic creatures including giraffes, elephants and donkeys, as well as a few live chickens.