Every Species in the Ark?

Genesis 6:15—”How could every species fit on Noah’s ark when there are millions of species?”

The critic should be reminded that the Qur’ān also teaches that every species was on board:

“take thou on board pairs of every species, male and female, and thy family- except those of whom the Word has already gone forth: and address Me not in favor of the wrong-doers: for they shall be drowned (in the Flood).” (Al-Mu’minun 23:27)

While it is true that there are millions of species, the vast majority dwell in the oceans and would not need to be in the ark. Furthermore, only 290 main species of land animals are larger than sheep; most are much smaller insects. In one Biblical scholar’s words:

The dimensions of the ark were ideally designed for both stability and capacity. It has been shown hydrodynamically that the ark would have been practically impossible to capsize and would have been reasonably comfortable, even during violent waves and winds. Assuming the ancient cubit to have been only 17.5 inches (the smallest suggested by an authority), the ark could have carried as many as 125,000 sheep-sized animals. Since there are not more than about 25,000 species of land animals known (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians), either living or extinct, and since the average size of such animals is certainly much less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that all the animals could easily have been stored in less than half the capacity of Noah’s ark, each pair in appropriate “rooms” (literally “nests”).

..The animals were all young animals since they would have to spend the year in the ark without reproducing and then emerge to repopulate the earth after the Flood. The animals entering the ark possessed genes for the remarkable physiologic abilities of migration and hibernation. These were not needed in the equable climates of the primeval world, but would be vital for survival in the post-Flood world. After being installed in their respective “rooms” in the ark, and after a good meal, most of them probably spent most of the Flood year in a state of hibernation.1

Furthermore, if the flood were only localized (see Genesis 7 discussion below), the ark may have only contained animals limited to the Mesopotamian basin at that time.

  1. Morris, The Defenders Study Bible [World Publishing; Grand Rapids, MI 1995], p.21,23

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