The Bible says that Noah and his family took 120 years to build the ark. The question is, how long did it really take?
Walt Brown, author of In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, has done extensive research on this question. He uses biblical chronology and archaeological evidence to arrive at an estimate of about 70 years.
How Long Did It Take To Build?
The Bible doesn’t say how long it took to build the ark, but we can make some educated guesses based on what we know about other boat construction projects in ancient times. Some scholars have estimated that it would have taken Noah and his sons approximately 100 years to build the ark (Genesis 6:3). Other experts believe that this estimate is too high and that it would have taken much less time. There are several reasons for this conclusion:
The Hebrew word for “gopher wood” (Genesis 6:14) may be referring to cypress rather than oak. Cypress grows much faster than oak trees do, so if Noah used cypress instead of oak, he could have completed the project more quickly.
Noah had help from his sons and their wives (Genesis 6:18).
Noah was instructed by God to bring two of every kind of creature on board with him (Genesis 6:19). This task would have been easier if there were fewer animals on board. For example, if only one pair of elephants had been brought along there wouldn’t have been any need for separate stalls or pens like those used in zoos today!
So how long did it take? Well, let’s look at what we know from Scripture before we guess:
- It took Noah 120 years to build the ark (Genesis 5:32).
- Noah was 600 when he began building the ark (Genesis 7:6).
- The flood started 40 days after Noah entered the ark (Genesis 7:11).
The Timing of the Mayan Apocalypse
The Mayan Apocalypse isn’t coming for another 1,500 years.
The ancient Mayans were brilliant astronomers, but they were also astrologers who looked to the stars for guidance. Their most famous prophecy is that of the end of the world on December 21st, 2012. The Mayan Apocalypse has been a source of fascination and fear since the 1980s — but it’s not going to happen.
The Mayan calendar has been studied by archaeologists and astronomy experts for decades, and there’s no evidence that any of them believed their calendar would end on December 21st 2012. In fact, they thought that the end of time would come at an earlier date: August 11th 3114 BC.
There are several theories about why this date was chosen as the “end” of time by some modern-day theorists:
- It’s easy to remember as an anniversary date (9/11) when planes crashed into buildings in New York City;
- It’s just after our winter solstice (the shortest day of the year); It’s midway between our summer solstice (the longest day) and spring equinox (when day and night are equal); or it’s the halfway point between Earth’s rotation around its axis (one day)
- Many people believe that the world will end at that time. Others believe that some sort of transformation will occur. The exact nature of this transformation is unclear, but it is generally acknowledged to be a positive thing. I personally agree with this assessment, but I also feel that we should be prepared for whatever might happen.
- The Mayans were a highly advanced civilization. They developed sophisticated mathematics and astronomy which allowed them to predict planetary alignments and other astronomical phenomena with great accuracy.
- The first question is how long did it take for Noah and his family to gather all of the animals? The Bible says that they brought two of every kind of living creature onto the ark (Genesis 6:19-7:16). That’s a lot of animals! According to Wikipedia there are 8 million species on earth so this would mean that they had to collect 16 million individual animals (assuming each species only had one male and female — which isn’t true).
- It seems unlikely that Noah would have been able to find 16 million individual animals by himself in such a short period of time, so let’s assume that there were at least 3 males and 3 females for each species (which is probably close enough). That means they would have needed 48 million animals total — if they could get them all together in time.
- According to Genesis 5:32-6:8, Noah was born when his father Lamech was 182 years old. Fourteen years later, Lamech’s son Methuselah was born. After another 105 years, Methuselah died at age 969—at which point God told Noah (whose name means “rest” or “comfort”) to build an ark because there would be a flood that would destroy all life on earth except for those inside the ark (Genesis 6:13).
- The next day, after Noah was 600 years old, God sent rain for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4). This added up to some 4340 days or 1260 weeks or 51940 days from when Noah was commissioned by God until he actually began building the ark.