Monday, April 2, 2012

Noah’s Ark Part II Animal Survival Aboard the Ark

It is windy and cold here today; a great day to stay indoors and write. During the deluge, the wind and waves must have made living on the ark quite challenging.

So how did those wild animals survive for a year on board a vessel? And how did only eight people care for all those animals?

Even with just two of each of the wild beast kinds (not species – see last week’s blog) and seven of the livestock kinds, it would be an intimidating undertaking to care for such a great number of critters. Especially being penned up for months in a barge that rolled and pitched. Not to mention all the noise from the deluge storm, being in close proximity to other animals (Genesis 7:21-22), and coming into visual contact with other animals they had not seen before. I know of horses that spook from the first site of a sheep or cow. How would these wild animals cope with all the new strangeness?

Let’s start at the beginning of this unique time in history. How did the animals get to the ark in the first place? Scripture tells us Noah and his sons did not go out and gather them, but were to care for them "And of every living thing of all flesh, . . . two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive" (Genesis 6:19-20). So the question becomes how did the animals know to come to the ark?

Animals have been known to migrate where neither they nor their parents have ever been. “Scientists rightly wonder how these skills originated. They seem to operate by a variety of mechanisms, from sun and star locations, to the magnetic field, to ocean currents, to magnetic imprinting. Understanding the operation of these abilities is mysterious enough, but where did they come from in the first place?”

Fundamentally all land animals, and quite possibly many oceanic creatures, have the ability to sense imminent danger and will travel away from it. For example a few days before the May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, many individuals of resident elk herds migrated to the safety of the mountain's southern flank. More recently, shortly before the Asian tsunami of December 2004, unusual animal behavior and migration of animals to safe areas was observed and reported. “Might it not be appropriate to propose that, as the Flood was nearing, He [God] instilled in a chosen pair of each ‘kind’ a sense of impending doom and a desire to migrate to Noah and his Ark for preservation? All other representatives of their kind perished in the Flood, and all living representatives descended from the chosen pairs, inheriting the premonition and migration instincts.”  In a supernatural act, the Creator made a way to preserve His creation.
Now that we have an idea of how the critters got to the ark, how did they live onboard? We are all familiar with bears that hibernate in the winter. Other animals as well can hibernate for survival during periods of undue stress. Animals can enter into a state of estivation or torpor (a time of mild dormancy). The desert tortoise goes into estivation to survive the extreme heat of summer and hummingbirds go into a torpor every night so they survive the many hours of darkness without feeding. It is a mechanism which allows the animal to conserve energy. Many animals when faced with danger they cannot overcome or flee enter into such a state. When this survival technique takes over, an animal will require little food, water and exercise. And they will excrete very little as well. “In such a state, aggressive tendencies are ignored. The presence of a common, overwhelming predicament eliminates former predator/prey relationships.”
“Scripture actually hints at such a situation. Noah was told to build an Ark equipped with "rooms" for the animals. (Genesis 6:14). But the Hebrew word used is everywhere else rendered "nests," as in (Deuteronomy 32:11) where it applies to birds, but it's also applied to a place of rest and safety for humans too (Job 29:18). Is this an indication that the animals were to merely snuggle up and wait until the danger was over?”
It is a fascinating thought…only God knows and He did not give us the details. “But wouldn't it be just like Noah's gracious God to make the job easier for him?”
The hypothesis of hibernation selected for by God in the individuals that came onboard the ark fits all the facts. I believe it should be given due consideration since science has no better explanation as to how animals have the ability (to begin with) to hibernate. “Might we not suppose that the loving Creator endowed animals onboard the Ark with this survival mechanism? There was probably no need for such an ability before the Flood. All animals today are descended from those on the Ark and all have inherited it.”
Again, by taking questions to scripture we can find logical answers. The more I study scripture, the more I can see how evolution is put together with the band-aids of assumptions, artists renditions, and man made ideas that when analyzed, hold no credence or make sense (like the entire universe packed into an exploding dot).
Yes, but Willow, even in a state of hibernation, how could eight people possible feed water and remove the wastes of all the animals? That will be next week’s question!
Until then, take care and God Bless,
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