How could Noah fit all the animals on the Ark?

An impossible problem?

According to Scripture, Noah’s Ark was a safe haven for representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals and birds that God created. While it is possible that God made miraculous provisions for the daily care of these animals, it is not necessary—or required by Scripture—to appeal to miracles. Exploring natural solutions for day-to-day operations does not discount God’s role: the biblical account hints at plenty of miracles as written, such as God bringing the animals to the Ark (Genesis 6:20; 7:9, 15), closing the door of the Ark (Genesis 7:16), and causing the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven to open on the same day (Genesis 7:11). It turns out that a study of existing, low-tech animal care methods answers trivial objections to the Ark.

In fact, many solutions to seemingly impossible problems are rather straightforward.

Was every species on the Ark?

To answer this question, we must first ask how many animals were actually on the Ark. Critics have fantasized the presence of millions of animals overloading the Ark. In actuality, the Bible makes it clear that the cargo was limited to land-dwelling, air-breathing animals corresponding to modern birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as their extinct counterparts. Was every species on the Ark? No! Under these conservative assumptions, there would have been no more than 7,000 land animals and birds on the Ark, and probably less.

According to the Bible, the Ark had three decks (floors). It is not difficult to show that there was plenty of room for several thousand animals, assuming they required approximately the same floor space as animals in typical farm enclosures and laboratories today. The vast majority of the creatures (birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals) are small.

Floor Space

It is still necessary to take account of the floor spaces required by large animals, such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and some dinosaurs. But even these, collectively, do not require a large area. God would likely have sent to Noah young (and therefore small, but not newborn) representatives of these kinds so that they would have a full reproductive potential for life after the Flood to repopulate the earth (Genesis 7:1–3). Even the largest dinosaurs were relatively small when only a few years old.1

References and Notes

  1. Froman, Craig (EDT). How Many Animals Were on the Ark?: Understanding the Animal Kinds. New Leaf Pr, 2016.[]


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