Noah’s Ark and the Flood: Answering Children’s Questions

One of the things I love about homeschooling is being able to teach my children history and science from a Biblical worldview. Learning about Noah’s ark and the world-wide Flood is no exception.

Find answers to your children's questions about Noah's ark and the flood. How did Noah fit all those animals on the ark? And does it really matter?

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The question seems inevitable. “Mom, how did all the animals fit on the ark?” With pictures and toys depicting Noah’s ark as a small boat with animals crammed into every corner, it’s no wonder kids have a hard time merging the biblical account of Noah’s flood with the cute images they see displayed around them.

It is tempting to respond with a shrug of the shoulders and a half-hearted promise to answer the question at a later time. However, answering the curious questions of a child is a significant piece to building their trust in the sufficiency of Scripture and their future ability to defend their faith.

Point Them To Scripture

The first step in answering a child’s questions about the flood is directing them to God’s Word and reminding them that the Bible is infallible (without error).

When they read the flood account in Genesis chapters six through eight, they should be reassured that everything written there is exactly as it happened.

Answer Their Questions About Noah’s Ark

Next, begin to address their questions one by one. If you aren’t sure about the answer yourself then let your child know that you will do some research and get back to them. Better yet, do the research together! A great place to start is the Answers in Genesis website.

I’ve taken some of the questions my kids have asked and answered them below to help you get started.

Mom, how did all the animals fit on the ark?

The ark was not a small boat like the ones you see in many of your bible story books. In Genesis 6:14-16, God gave Noah instructions for how to build the ark. Based on these measurements we can conclude that the ark was probably a long, rectangular, three story ship similar in size to today’s large cargo ships. There would have been plenty of room for Noah and his family, the animals and all the food.

Want to see a replica of the ark? Check out the Ark Encounter!

The Building of the Ark Encounter

Doesn’t the Bible say that God sent two of every kind of animal onto the ark? Isn’t that still too many animals to fit on even a large ship?

God had Noah take two of each kind of land animal and bird (seven of some) but he didn’t take any of the animals that swam in the waters so that makes the number smaller.

Plus, God sent two of every kind onto the ark. The word “kind” refers to animal families like the dog family or the cat family. Noah probably only took two dogs onto the ark even though there are lots of different types of dogs today. You can learn more about what “kinds” means in this video or this article. There would have been plenty of room for two of every kind of animal on Noah’s ark.

How Many Animals Were on the Ark?

What about the large animals like elephants, giraffes or even dinosaurs? Wouldn’t they take up too much space?

The Bible says, in Genesis 7:3b, that God wanted Noah to take the animals on the ark so that they could reproduce, or have babies, after the flood. God would not have sent large, old animals onto the ark because they wouldn’t have as many years left to have babies.

It is more likely that Noah took young, small animals onto the ark so that they could grow up and have offspring after the flood was over. Think about how much smaller a young elephant is compared to its mother. Taking smaller, younger animals of each kind would have made it even easier to fit all the animals in the ark during the flood.

If the ark was so big, how did Noah build it all by himself without machines like we have today?

First, we must remember that God was the one who gave Noah instructions for building the ark. God would have given Noah the ability and the information needed to construct the large ship. Noah also had around 100 years to build the ark. A lot can get accomplished in 100 years! In addition, Noah had his three sons to help him and he might have hired others to assist him with the building project as well.

Where did all the water come from and how could it cover over the tall mountains?

If we go to God’s Word, we see that God tells us where the waters came from. Genesis 7:11b says that “the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” That means that underground springs burst open and rain fell from the sky.

The Bible says, in Genesis 7:19 that water covered all the mountains. We know that God’s Word is always true. Remember that the flood caused many geographical features (and even the climate) of the earth to change. We can assume that before the flood the mountains were probably not as high and the oceans were not as deep as they are today. There would have been plenty of water to cover even the tallest mountain at the time of the flood.

A Special Door

Mom, does it really matter if I believe what it says about the flood in Genesis?

Yes, it does! If we cannot trust God’s Word in Genesis then how can we trust what it says in the New Testament about who Jesus is and what He did on our behalf? All of Scripture is infallible, from Genesis to Revelation including the account of the flood.

The flood also reminds us that God must punish sin and that another day of punishment is coming. This time God won’t use an ark to save us though. He already sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins if only we believe and put our faith in Him. Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?

Resources for Kids and Adults

There are many excellent resources available for children and adults who want to dig further into the truth of Noah’s flood. Below is a list of resources to get you started.

Resources For Kids

Noah’s Ark, Noah’s Flood by John Morris

The True Story of Noah’s Ark by Tom Dooley

Video: What was Noah’s flood like? (Parents, watch first to make sure it is suitable for your child.)

Resources For Adults

Answers in Genesis

The Flood

Noah’s Ark

Genesis in Space and Time

Answers Bookstore

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