I noticed posts on several Christian sites today regarding a group that claims they have discovered Noah’s Ark in Iran. For example, World Magazine Blog had a post that said:
A group of Christian archaeologists have discovered what they believe could be the remains of Noah’s Ark. Climbing 13,000 feet up a mountain in Iran’s Elburz range, a team from the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute came across something that appeared to be made of wood and of a similar size and scale to what is described in the Bible. “We got up to this object, nestled in the side of a hill,” said Robert Cornuke of the BASE Institute. “We found something that has my heart skipping a beat.”
Here are my initial thoughts on this:
First, something positive. If it still exists, Noah’s Ark could be anywhere in the Mountains of Ararat—a large region that includes parts of Turkey, Armenia, Iran, and Iraq. Most of the searches for Noah’s Ark have focused on Mount Ararat itself.
Overall, however, I’m extremely skeptical of this claim.
First, look at the make up of the “research” team:
“Led by explorer, adventurer, and featured Worldview Weekend speaker Dr. Bob Cornuke, a fourteen man crew returned this week from Iran bearing stunning evidence that theirs is the long-anticipated even coveted discovery of the remains of Noah’s Ark. Bob’s team consisted of a Who’s Who of business, law, and ministry leaders including Barry Rand (former CEO of Avis), the author and Christian apologist Josh McDowell, Frank Turek (co-author with Norm Geisler of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist), Boone Powell (former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems), and Arch Bonnema (president of Joshua Financial).” (Quote from www.arkfever.com)
The research team (a “Who’s who of business, law, and ministry leaders”) included:
- A former police officer (“Dr.” Bob Cornuke. According to Wikipedia, “He apparently has no formal training in archaeology or any accredited higher education degrees.”
- The former CEO of Avis
- The former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems
- The president of Joshua Financial
- Josh McDowell (whom I respect, but I don’t think he’s qualified)
Where is the geologist? Where is the archeologist? Where is a scientist of any kind? Do any of the team members have the slightest idea what they are doing? Are they qualified to make the field observations regarding the rocks they claim are the remains of the Ark, or the relationship of these rocks to the surrounding rocks? Can these guys tell the difference between a natural formation and a man-made artifact? I doubt it.
They said “it looks like petrified wood.” Well, was it petrified wood, or wasn’t it? A geologist or archeologist would have been able to tell on the spot. They did bring some samples back with them, and a geologist commented that “the object appears to be a basalt dike” (Basalt is an igneous rock; one formed by the cooling of molten material). I strongly suspect that this is all it is.
The article at www.arkfever.com has some very unconvincing photographs.
The Bible is the Word of God. We don’t need this kind of pseudo-apologetics to support it. Unfortunately, many Christians have already looked at this report as evidence for the truthfulness of Scriptures. One risk of this, as I have said before, is that we set up our children and others in our churches for a fall when we provide them with this sort of “apologetics.” If they finally see that this “research” is faulty, they could throw out their faith in Christ as well.
Grace and Peace