How Big Was the Ark?

Short Answer: About 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, divided into 3 levels [or decks].

Bible Reference: Genesis 6:14-15

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.”

A lot of people have serious reservations as to whether the Ark Noah built was big enough to hold all of the animals God sent him to save from the world-wide Flood. This is largely the fault of an all-too-common image of a cute, little bathtub toyArk over-stuffed with adorable animals, often with a pair of giraffes sticking out of the top. This well-intended Sunday School image stays with us as adults. The Bible gives a much different picture.

Genesis 6:13-22 states that God told Noah that He would send a Flood “to destroy all flesh,wherein is the breath.” He told Noah that he was to “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within andwithout with pitch… The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.” He was to bring his wife, his son’s and their wives and two of every creature, male and female, “after their kind.” He was also to take food for himself and the animals.

In his book, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, John Woodmorappe has offered that only about 16,000 animals would have been needed to fulfill God’s command to bring in two [or seven of the “clean” animals] of every land-dwelling, air-breathing animal, creeping thing and winged creatures. A cubit is roughly the distance between a man’s fingertips to his elbow. Using a conservative short cubit of 18 inches, [meaning that the Ark could well have been larger!] Dr. Woodmorappe believes that “less than half of the cumulative area of the Ark’s three decks need to have been occupied by the animals and their enclosures.” [p.16] The rest would have been adequate for stores, foodstuffs and the 8 human survivors of the Deluge.

In today’s measurements, the Ark would be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. That’s hard to picture, but a few illustrations should give you an idea of how big the Ark was.

It was taller than a 3 story building.

It had a total deck area the size of 36 lawn tennis courts or 20 basketball courts.

It was as long as a football field goalpost to goalpost and about as wide.

If you stood the Ark up on its end, it would have been as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza. [It was as long as the Great Pyramid’s height!]

It was big enough to contain 522 standard US railroad stock cars!

Proportionally, its length was 10 times its height and 6 times its width. In fact, the Ark has the same proportions as a modern cargo ship. A 1993 Korean study headed by Dr. Seon Won Hong found no fault with the Ark’s dimensions. Such a vessel would have been seaworthy and able to handle waves as high as 100 feet. God’s blueprints were more than adequate!

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Ark (tebah) is used only one other time in the Bible, as the name of the basket that carried baby Moses down the Nile. Some scholars think tebah is more accurately translated “lifeboat.” The Ark was certainly the only lifeboat available to survive the judgment of the Flood. This is a picture of Christ, our lifeboat from the judgment of sin. As there was only one door on the Ark, Christ is the only Way by which men can be saved from the judgment to come! [John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12] Yet Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost, as sufficiently and reliably as the biblical Ark [Heb 7:25].

One of the things we do at some of our presentations is a balloon experiment. It requires helium balloons, ribbon, a measuring tape and calm weather. When kids [and adults!] see that balloon climb 45 feet skyward, they suddenly get a greater grasp of how big the Ark actually was. We then launch balloons at heights that compare the heights of a giraffe, T-rex and other animals. This simple illustration goes a long way to sink the false image of the bathtub Arks that grace our Sunday school walls!

35 Responses to How Big Was the Ark?

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks, this gave me an answer to my question

  2. Pingback: Be Watchful - Happy Real Women | Godly Wisdom for Women in a Chaotic World

  3. Natalie says:

    Excellent – thank you !

  4. Anton says:

    The Egyptian Royal Cubit was 529mm which makes the Ark 158.7m long by 26.45m wide by 15.87m high (520 feet 8 inches long by 86 feet 9.3 inches wide by 52 feet 0.8 inches high in the old British imperial system) which is about 21m longer than the 457.2mm (18″) cubit, which works out at 137.16m long (450 feet long etc.)

    The ancient Hebrew word for cubit was ammah which seems to have been of Egyptian origin but I can’t understand that, as Egypt would surely only have come into existence after the flood, as all life was destroyed over the whole earth. Rainbows are everywhere !

    I just thought I’d add that as the metric system is used by most people in the world and the 100m sprint gives a visual realization of the arks size.

    I wonder which cubit Noah used, since the world before the flood was destroyed ?

  5. Benson says:

    It will not fit 2 of every land dwelling creature. 8.7 million species X 2 = around 17 million. You have to be an idiot if you think 17 million land animals can fit into 450x75x45.

  6. Katrina Martinez says:

    God said 2 of every “kind” of creature. Meaning 2 Canine, 2 feline, 2 birds, to fish etc…. He didn’t say 2 sharks, 2 doves etc… So if you think about it now, there was plenty of room

    • Lee says:

      Oh cool. Yeah. Then how do those species survive to this day if they were all killed in the flood?

      • Tony Breeden says:

        Lee, you’re not listening. The species we see today came from the animal kinds that went aboard the ark. It’s called speciation. It’s in your science textbook ironically.

      • Tony Breeden says:

        Lee, you’re not listening. The species we see today came from the animal kinds that went aboard the ark. It’s called speciation. It’s in your science textbook ironically.

      • Justin says:

        I don’t agree the basic were saved but and this is where religious people and me fight…..they evolved and do not comment fighting that comment your a child and I don’t have time to fight with narrow minded people no I do not believe I’m the product of monkeys but animals do evolive god did all he did but animals do evolve

      • Tony Breeden says:

        You are narrow-minded regarding religion. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t make us wrong.

      • RoflSirOfTheLawl says:

        “Oh cool. Yeah. Then how do those species survive to this day if they were all killed in the flood?”

        Evolution explains how each and every creature, kind, and species all evolved from one original single-celled organism. Which means every dog that lives today came from one “original” kind of dog… On this point, both creation and evolution agree. The difference, however, is the direction of the evolution…
        Creation: DNA is constantly lost through reproduction, causing corruption and weakening the chain.
        Evolution: DNA is constantly lost through reproduction, causing corruption and weakening the chain. But sometimes DNA accidently corrupts in a good way, making the creature stronger.

    • Justin says:

      Not fish….. Really why would a fish need safe harbor in a flood same for all the marine mammals stop talking please

  7. The pyramid of Khufu at Giza is (now) 147 meters or 481 feet high minus its gold plated capstone.

  8. Vickie says:

    The Ark of the covenant that holds the Ten Commandments is another reference to the word ark being mentioned in the bible.Gen.6:20 states every kind of bird, animal,& creature (2 of each) not just 2 birds etc. also it says every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive,fish & sea creatures are not included in this catagory.

  9. Mary M. says:

    I now have a different perspective of the Ark. Interesting!

  10. Robin says:

    Robin says. “That is an awfull lot of Gopher wood !”

  11. Justin says:

    Learn how to spell and use good grammar, second there millions of land animal species so in a way evolution is going to happen god created the basic but the basic evolved so once again organized religion is at a loss of words and wrong yet again

  12. Colton says:

    Thank you very much this is a part That has always made me doubt now I understand thank you for leading me closer to god

  13. ryan says:

    Yeah, you have given us all a good laugh here at St Joe. We were honestly expecting a bullshit response on your part, We were not expecting a deletion, but nevertheless, we were not surprised.
    We wanted to add just one more thing. One of the functions of mythology is to poke fun at the gods. The gods are silly; vicious; petty and small. That is exactly what the flood tale is about. The jew god lost his mind and threw a fit. This not a smart god. Have you never wondered why jewgod deliberately planted those trees in eden, told those 2 bare-assed morons not to eat, and then punished them when they did? Have you never wondered why jewgod repeatedly sent his chosen people, that ignorant, superstitious pack of unwashed barbarians, out to the battlefields to slaughter off whole ethic groups? Get it through your head, dude. The old testament is a joke about jewgod and the jews, written by sophisticated Hellenized jews who wanted to make a break from their “heritage”. That was the original xristianity.
    We trust we have pissed you off. You have to delete this–you have no choice.
    (signed) ryan; kyllie, emily; jon and leslie

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Dear Conspiracy of St Joe,

      Answers to your various objections given here are given on my other site:

      I really don’t have to delete this comment any more than I did the other comment [which I did not delete; I’m simply busy and comments are moderated here because this site is meant for all ages and some trolls are more vile and hateful than others]

      You weren’t much of a challenge. Better luck on your next trolling adventure.


  14. ryan says:

    Excuse me, but immediately after posting our second response, our first appeared. So you didn’t delete after all. So you don’t fear disagreement. Are you sure you’re a xristian?

  15. ryan says:

    tony, if you had anything near the brains you think you have, you would recognize that my arguments are not original. They are centuries old and they are valid objections that any thinking man would make. But you are neither a thinker nor a man. You are a precocious kid and I would guess your age at 14 at the outside. My suggestion would be that you close your bible and go educate yourself for the first time in your life. This is the first time you have encountered an atheist, isn’t it? A christian will tell you what the bible means, but an atheist will tell you what the bible says.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Actually, I was an evolutionist for most of my life. I’m college educated and I rejected evolutionary theory because pure naturalism [upon which the theory] is based is self-refuting. I understand your need to mock; it helps to insulate your credulity. I’ve successfully debated atheists and I’m always amused when they tell me what I should or should not do or believe. What is your basis for right and wrong as an atheist?

  16. ryan says:

    First of all Tony, god’s existence or non-existence is not my first issue. My first issue is that one cannot look out onto the natural world and see the work of a kind or benevolent god. To put it another way, kind and benevolent people do not see any such deity. I don’t give 2 flying fucks into hell if god exists, but only a psychopath would worship him. That is why your kind found it necessary to postulate the “fall of creation”. You had to come up with something to salvage your primitive religion.
    To continue……..I fail to see what in fucking hell you mean when you say that you have “successfully debated atheists” I am an adult; I am off my knees and on my feet; I think for myself; I direct my own course and make my own decisions. I do not grovel before your Bronze Age war god. I do not need to debate this. If a man holds his head up and declares himself free, he does not need to defend himself with an argument. Freedom and individuality need no defense. I have heard every christian I ever met defending their life of servitude and mindless obedience. In theology, it is called “apology”. Look it up.
    About mockery…………your kind practically invented mockery. It is your kind that chortles with glee when you talk about how unbelievers will be chucked into hell by your jew god. See Proverbs 1: 20-33. Your religion is no more than a mockery of reason and human dignity. Read up on the Inquisition.
    And finally, about my basis for right and wrong. These decisions are mine. Every moment, I decide how I shall treat my fellow man. I can treat him as equal, with kindness and respect. If he crosses me, I may seek vengeance. I am not a door mat.
    I hope I have stimulated your mind. Good luck in bible college.

  17. Janis Kast Harrison says:

    Thanks for a great comparison. I, too, was once a sceptic about Christianity. After college, I met a group of Christians and for the first time, heard people pray in unscripted prayers. They knew God. I would encourage doubters to pray and ask God if He’s real.

  18. RoflSirOfTheLawl says:

    I realize all of this is way off topic the OPs topic. But it seams this discussion has gone far from the Ark and to a question about understanding God and how ridiculous religion/Christianity is.
    Your argument usually begins with “It’s impossible for” but you must understand, that holds no ground in an argument with someone who already believes in something outside of “our reality” or dimension. They already believe in “the impossible”. Therefor facts must be presented explaining how this disproves, not how it works. Does that make sense?

    This conversation has spanned quite a timeline now. I do enjoy a good argument, with many facts I’m sent off to research in rebuttal. Though the only facts mentioned here are what the Bible physically says. Nothing from either side has been any form of debate. But, If your goal is to understand the Old testament God and not do your own research… I strongly suggest you look up Rob Skiba- Mythology and the Bible.(this gives you a pretty different perspective of the Old testament God) It’s actually really interesting to see ancient mythology’s timeline put side-by-side with the Bibles. (also, the 1st half is good stuff, the 2nd is mostly his opinions. I don’t mind them, but you might just turn it of half way.)

    But the Bible has a pretty cool story, bro. If you look at it from a point of absolute reality, you must then look at all the other questions. It doesn’t stop at Gods real, I win! and vice versa.
    In my imagination, to understand God you must look at all of existence, not just the world but his world as well. It’s like before we knew of planets and stars, yet some scholars had the imagination to envision how our planet went around the Sun, not the Sun around us.

    In the Bible, Satan’s main story plot is to disprove God, create doubt, kill God and set up himself as God. Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect utopia, never to age, never to want, never to die. There is no mention how long they lasted in the garden, but based on the Bible stating Adam lived 900+ years (The first mention of birth is also after Lucifer’s fall) in my imagination, It was probably a long time before Sin/Death was brought in. Lucifer’s goal was to convince the Humans to sin, creating doubt in Gods “Perfect” world and in human kind. (This apparently worked, as when Lucifer was “cast out” of heaven, 1/3rd of the Angels sided with him.)
    (Bible quote) Isaiah 14:13-14 “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
    I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

    If you think of “reality” being in dimensions and not “our universe” We are inside a snow globe, that’s inside a snow globe… The angels in heave are looking “Down” into earth as God is looking “Down” into heaven. This is the theory based on “Most High” and a humanistic vision of “ascension”

    I have questions… In this reality, what is outside of heaven? It is still a different realm… Does it have some form of wilderness? Why is Heaven called a Kingdom? Why does it have gates? Why are those gates being guarded? Where were the angels “cast out” to? If God sent the angels to earth, can we see them? Are the fallen angels able to travel between the dimensions? If Lucifer knew how to travel from heaven to earth to deceive Eve, is this something he can still do? Can he show the other angels how to as well? Can heaven be over taken by force? (Although Lucifer was cast out, he makes multiple future appearances before God)

    So, what is Hell? Does it exist yet? (No angels or Lucifer have yet been sent there) Hell has been described in many verses, one in particular. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 “They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” This is the only one that sounds like being “cast out”.

    What about heaven? What is it even like? When will we actually go there? It’s mentioned during Christs return that all those who’ve died in Christ shall meet up with him in the sky and reign with him for 1000 years (Until Satan is released from the Bottomless Pit). People tell me THIS is heaven? But it describes the 1000 year reign being On Earth..? So, will all the Biblically accepted earthly pleases be apart of this Heaven/Earthly Utopia? Sounds like a party to me.

    So, have you even viewed this Bible in such a way as to imagine the entire story, not just earth and the Humans role on it? Why parts make you so quick to dismiss it? Why does it bother you from people to believe in something blindly when it causes no grief to anyone? (This does not account for Hate Riots produced in Gods name. That is just blind hate and is not taught in the Bible)
    What are some evolutionary doctrines, telling me things I don’t know about evolutions version of theology. I only state it that way because the Origin of Time, Space and Matter is all imagination, just as what I explained above. We cannot possible “Know” what happened before existence happened. But we humans can think up some pretty cool ways it did and try to test them.
    Perhaps something good may be brought up rather then the typical “Yah huh, not uhh!”

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