Gopher Wood

Genesis 6:14 records God telling Noah to build an ark.

14 “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood;

If you were raised in a religious family, you undoubtedly grew up learning about Noah and the ark, and the flood God sent to destroy the people of the world.  One of the things we don’t learn about, however, is the logistical nightmare Noah would have undoubtedly encountered while building his boat.

At the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky there is a new exhibit displaying a to-scale replica of Noah’s ark.  Based on the dimensions from Genesis, the ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high.  It has three decks and contains over 120,000 square feet of space.

One question you’ll have once you’ve seen this massive project is how much wood Noah needed to build it.  The replica in Kentucky required 3.3 million board feet of timber.  Imagine cutting down that many trees!  It would have taken decades just to acquire all of the lumber for this massive boat.

What we don’t generally think about is that Noah would have had to cut down the trees and plane them into boards by himself.  He couldn’t just run up to the local Home Depot and order the wood he needed.  Now add to this the fact that Noah couldn’t just cut down any kind of trees. It had to be gopher trees (and we have no clue what gopher trees were).  Were gopher trees abundant?  I hope so.  But even if gopher trees were abundant, eventually they would become more difficult to find as Noah went through them to continue building.  It would have been very easy to compromise and use another type of tree that was more readily available.

But this is how faith acts when God commands.  Faith obeys.  Faith does exactly what God says to do.  It obeys even when it’s not easy or convenient.