It is primarily because of this one statement that Christians affirm that everything contained in the Bible is inerrant (without error) and therefore completely true and accurate. It is argued that since "all scripture is given by God" and that every word in the Bible is considered as "scripture" that means God wrote the Bible through inspiration to men. Since God is perfect, all-knowing, and always speaks the truth, then there cannot possibly be any inaccuracies, false statements, contradictions or mistakes anywhere in the Bible. If there were, then that would mean either God is not perfect or He didn't write the Bible as Christians claim.
The Bible is filled with information about history, geography, psychology (human behavior and relationships), philosophy, science, sexuality, marriage, government, and a long list of other issues. If God is the author of the Bible, then everything written in it about these subjects must be completely factual and true. That means the historical parts are an accurate record of what actually happened, the geographical descriptions accurately reflect the actual locations of cities, mountains and other physical landmarks. Likewise, scientific statements should also accurately correspond to proven laws of nature, advice on marriage, human behavior, and interpersonal relationship should be consistent with proven rules of psychology, and instruction on the governing of nations should be in harmony with successful governments throughout history.
Less than a hundred years ago people once believed in the things which the Bible taught simply because the Bible said it was so. However, in today's ever increasing scientific world, it has become fashionable to "prove" that the Bible is indeed correct through the use of concrete, physical evidence which supports the claims made by the Bible. Today, many Christians proudly point to recent discoveries which validate and confirm what they once took on faith. They almost brag about how the Bible can be verified by the things which archeology has uncovered and science has learned. In fact, according to an increasing number of ministers, a person should not believe in the Bible merely on "faith." As one minister put it, "Down through the ages, many have doubted the historical and geographical accuracy of the Bible. Yet modern archeologists have repeatedly unearthed evidence of the people, places, and cultures described in the Scriptures. Time after time, the descriptions in the biblical record have been shown to be more reliable than the speculations of scholars. The modern visitor to the museums and lands of the Bible cannot help but come away impressed with the real geographical and historical backdrop of the biblical text" (from "Ten Reasons to Believe in the Bible" http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/rtb/6rsn/6.6.html)
It is for this very reason that many Christians have trouble accepting the Book of Mormon as also being the word of God along with the Bible. Critics of the Book of Mormon claim that this book is full of errors and therefore could not have been written by a perfect, all-knowing and truthful God. They also point to what they consider to be a lack of archeological evidence which would provide concrete, physical proof to support the historical and geographical accounts given in the Book of Mormon.
When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God on "faith" rather than on evidence, as people once did with the Bible, the critics often reply that "faith" is not the real test of whether something is from God. Instead, they teach that we should "prove all things," as Paul taught (1 Thessalonians 5:21). By using this biblical standard, it is their contention that the Book of Mormon doesn't meet the same test which the Bible so easily passes.
However, when they make such an argument, they are standing on quicksand, because the Bible cannot stand up to the same scrutiny to which they subject the Book of Mormon. For example, just because archeology can prove that the town of Jericho once existed where the Bible says it did, yet there is nothing to confirm that its walls fell for the reason and in the way that the Bible claims. There is no way to verify that a man named Jonah was swallowed by a whale and wasn't the least bit digested after three days in its belly. There is no evidence that Moses parted the Red Sea and led an entire nation safely through its muddy bottom without them getting hopeless stuck while an Egyptian army chased after them. Despite the increasing evidence which archeologists provide us, we are left to accept these and many other events in the Bible strictly on faith.
Perhaps the most unbelievable story which all Christians accept without any question or proof concerns Noah and the Ark. Although there is some geological evidence to support the theory of a world-wide flood at one time in the earth's history, and there are rumors that an ark was supposedly sighted buried in ice high up on Mount Ararat doesn't prove that the story found in the sixth, seventh and eight chapters of Genesis happened the way the Bible says it did. In fact, there is absolutely no way it could have happened because there are far too many inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and misstatements of scientific facts for it to be true. Let's consider what some of them are.
The Bible tells us that God commanded Noah to build an ark that was to be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high (Genesis 6:15). It is generally agreed that a cubit is approximately eighteen inches. Therefore, converting this into our form of measurement, that means the ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. The Bible also tells us that the ark was to have three "stories" (decks or levels) with only one window near the top, measuring 1 cubit in size, and one door on the side (Genesis 6:16). Also, Noah was command to include rooms inside the ark (Genesis 6:14).
When the ark was finally completed, the Lord told Noah to take "two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. (Gen 7:15, emphasis added) and gave him just seven days to get them all into the ark (Gen. 7:2-4). To do that, Noah would have had to have gotten tigers and elephants from India, giraffes and hippopotamus from central Africa, boa constrictors and llamas from Brazil, camels and horses from Arabia, polar bears from Siberia, grisly bears from North America, panda bears from Japan, koala bears and kangaroos from Australia, flamingos from the Caribbean and emperor penguins from Antarctica. In addition to these mammals, the Bible tells us that Noah was commanded to take "of every thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen 7:8). That means he also needed to take such things as spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, beetles, ants, crickets, slugs, bees, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, gnats, moths, and flies, just to name a few creeping things.
More than that, within each family of animals there are different species. For example, there are 80 different species of rabbits, 233 different species of primates (i.e. apes, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, etc), 100 difference species of Prairie Ants alone, 925 different species of bats, over 2,000 different species of rodents, more than 10,000 different species of birds, 34,000 different species of spiders, 1400 species of scorpions, 80,000 species of flies, 130,000 species of moths, and approximately one million different species of named insects, with at least that many more which are unnamed (source: Encarta 96).
That means, Noah would have had to have taken a male and female of every kind of species in order for them to survive after the flood and exist on the earth today. In fact, the Bible specifically tells us that Noah and his family took "every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort." (Gen 7:14, emphasis added). There is no other way to interpret this than to mean that Noah was commanded to take a male and female of every kind of species.
One Christian commentator tried to explain away many of these species by claiming, "there are many instances of mating between genera, so the kind in some cases may be as high [up the classification chart] as the family. For example, horses, zebras, and donkeys are probably from an equine (horse-like) kind, since they can interbreed, although the offspring are largely sterile. Dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals are probably from a common canine (dog-like) kind. All different types of domestic cattle (which are clean animals) are descendant from the aurochs. The aurochs itself may have been descendant from a cattle kind that gave rise to the bison and water buffalo.... so it is likely that they are descendant from the same original kind" (Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study by John Woodmorappe] . Using this method to define the word kind, Mr. Woodmorappe calulates there were no more than seven different pairs of cattle needed on the ark. All totaled, he estimates that there would have been a maximum of 8,000 genera (including those that are now extinct, such as all kinds of dinosaurs) for a total of 16,000 animals on the ark.
However, there is a serious problem with his argument. You can't breed two doves and produce a pigeon or a humming bird, or an eagle. You can't breed two quarter horses and produce a Clydesdale or a donkey or a zebra. You can't breed two deer and produce an antelope or a gazelle or a moose. You can't breed two garter snakes (there are 15 different species in North America alone) and produce a rattlesnake (9 different species in North America alone) or a python (25 different species) or a coral snake (50 different species). You can't breed two bumble bees (20,000 different species) and produce a wasp (75,000 different species).
And what about species? Many species of the same kind of animal are often quite unique and different from all others. For example, there are 75,000 different species of wasps, each with different sizes, coloring and social behavior. According to the American Mosquito Control Association of America, there are 176 different species of mosquitoes in the United States alone with the behavior of each one varying widely from that of the others. The reason why we have such a large problem controlling their growth is precisely because not all species are attracted to people or animals for the same reason. Thus, one trap that may work well for one species of mosquito will have no effect whatsoever on many others. Therefore, just because you breed one species of animal doesn't account for how you ultimately end up with hundreds or thousands of species that behave so differently from one another.
Since most Christians don't accept the theory of evolution, that rules out the possibility of one kind of animal later evolving into hundreds of different kinds or even species after the flood. And even if we accept the premise of one kind or species of animal evolving or mutating through interbreeding into other species of the same genera (as Mr. Woodmorappe claims), there has not been enough elapsed time between the flood and now to account for the large variety of species we find today, not to mention all the species that have become extinct over the last 4,000 years. Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence to support the theory of such a rapid evolution.
This presents us with a number of problems, the first of which is trying to get that many animals into the ark in just one week's time. Not counting the insects and other creeping things, there are over 21,500 species of land animals (See NOTE #1 ). However, since Noah was commanded to take two of every kind of flesh wherein is the breath of life, that means there were at least 43,000 animals who had to occupy space on board the ark, along with two million species of insects and 120,000 species of arachnids (spiders, scorpions, daddy long legs, ticks, chiggers, mites, etc.) That is more than two and a half times the number of animals that Mr. Woodmorppe estimates were on the ark. And even considering if all of them came to the ark on their own as most Christians believe, it would still take more than seven days for only eight people to move that many animals into a three deck ship, get them all into place and secured for their long voyage.
But there is even a more serious problem. Given the number of animals, they would have filled up all available space on the ark with hardly any room left for them to move. The volume of the ark had about 1.5 million cubic feet of space (this includes the space used by the supporting beams, the walls for the rooms, and the deck flooring) to house 43,000 animals, 120,00 arachnids, and two million insects. If we leave the arachnids and insects out of the equation, mathematically, that works out to an average of 35 cubic feet of space for each animal. Although many animals take up much less space than that, (an average household cat occupies approximately one cubic feet of space), yet there are many others who occupy a much greater amount of space (See NOTE #2 ). When averaged out, 43,000 different animals would completely fill the entire ark, especially if we include dinosaurs as Mr. Woodmorappe does in his book.
But that doesn't take into account if these animals gave birth to offspring. Rats and rabbits especially multiply rapidly, as do flies and other insects which reproduce quickly, frequently, and in great abundance. But even the larger animals would have certainly encountered a mating season during a year long voyage and felt the natural urge to breed. Although most animals have a long gestation period, others are rather short. It is illogical and unrealistic to assume that no animals were born during the entire time Noah was on the ark. That means these extra animals would have taken up extra space - space that would have already been at a premium.
But that is only the beginning of the problems. Noah was also commanded take "all food that is eaten… and [it] shall be for food for thee and for them" (Gen. 6:21 emphasis added). Besides needing enough room for the animals, there also needed to be enough space left over to store all kinds of "food that is eaten." The Bible tells us that the rain began on the seventh day of the second month when Noah was six hundred years old (Gen. 7:11), and no one left the ark until the twenty-seventh day of the second month when Noah was six hundred and one years old (Gen. 8:14-19). Regardless of which calendar was used, that still totals more than a year that everyone remained on board the ark. (According to our calendar, that equals 375 days.) To do that, Noah would have needed a fleet of arks just to carry the food necessary to feed 43,000 animals for a whole year.
But the problem is worse than that. Not all animals eat the same food. Some animals eat only live plants, such as grass, leaves, flowers and berries and won't eat dead vegetation. Bees need pollen for energy and to feed their larva, but pollen comes only from live plants. The problem is that there was no way for Noah to keep live plants on board the ark, especially for over a year. Furthermore, tropical birds don't eat the same kind of vegetation as do forest birds. Others animals are specifically designed for eating meat, and their only source of meat comes from eating other animals. For example, hawks, owls, and other predatory birds eat rodents for their meat. If Noah only brought with him one male and female of every species of rodent, by the end of the first month a great many species of rodents would have been exterminated by these birds.
Also, spiders eat flies. If only two of every kind of fly came on board, then a great variety of flies would have likewise become extinct because of the vast number of spiders that were also living on the ark. The same could be said for birds which eat insects. And then there are those birds which exclusively eat live fish. That means Noah would have needed to stock live fish because there was no way for the birds to get out to find their own food.
It could be said that God changed the eating habits of these animals, citing the words of Isaiah who wrote, "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD" (Isa. 65:25). However, the account in Genesis doesn't say that this is what happened to the animals aboard the ark, nor does it even imply that God work any other kind of a miracle. In fact, Genesis 6:21 specifically states that Noah was commanded to stock every kind of food to feed the animals. If we believe that the Bible is the complete, inerrant word of a truthful God, then we are left with no other choice than to conclude that Noah fed the animals according to their natural appetite.
However, even if we do accept the idea that the wolf, lamb and lion did eat straw like the bullock, that still doesn't explain what the spiders, bees, birds, and penguins, ate, nor where Noah had the space to store enough straw to feed 43,000 animals for a whole year.
But there is a worse problem than food. We can go weeks without eating, but we can't go more than a couple of days without water. The Bible tells us that it rained for forty days and forty nights. However, the Bible tells us that "the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." (Gen. 8:4), but it wasn't until "the tenth month on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen." (Gen. 8:5). Noah didn't open the one and only window in the ark until forty days after they had seen the tops of the mountains (Gen. 8:6), and the reason he opened it was to send forth a raven to see if "the waters were dried up from off the earth" (Gen. 8:7). In other words, the ark was completely shut up from the seventh day of the second month until forty days after the first day of the tenth month, which, according to the Jewish calendar, is a total of 269 days. During all that time, there would have been no way to get water inside the ark. Even if we assume that this was not the first time Noah opened the window, it certainly would have been shut tight during the forty days while it was torrentially raining. Since no animal, including man, can live without water for that length of time, they had to have enough water stored on board the ark to provide for the thirst of over 43,000 animals.
Mr. Woodmorappe, on page 184 of his book "Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study" posses the possibility that rain water could have been collected inside the ark through some sort of a piping system. He then estimates that the space needed to store water on the ark would have taken up less than 10 percent of the total volume of the ark. Considering that such a system is not mentioned in the Bible, such an idea is pure speculation at best. When we consider that Mr. Woodmorappe is only accounting for 16,000 animals needing water, by his own calcuations, the water needed to provide drink for 43,000 animals would have taken up more than one quater of the total volume of the ark. When we further consider that the animals took up nearly all of the space on the ark to begin with, and factoring the space needed to store the food, being able to use one fourth of the ship's volume to store enough water is a highly unrealistic scenario. Besides the problem of where they would store that much water, in addition to all the space needed for the food and the animals themselves, there is the problem of weight. Water is extremely heavy. To carry enough water for all living flesh on the ark for forty days, at the least, would have cause the ark to list to one side (See NOTE #3 ). Furthermore, because of their cramped condition, the air would have been hot and stagnant from the heat given off by the great number of warm-blooded animals, and this would have greatly increase their thirst for water more so than if they were out in the fresh air.
But there is another problem Noah would have faced. Where did he get that much water in the first place? To provide drink for all the animals, he might have built the ark near a large body of water, such as a lake, but how would he siphon the water out of the lake and get it into the ark? To fill the ark with enough water to last for just forty days alone would be a major undertaking today for someone with a large electrical pump, but no such devise existed in Noah's time. If Noah collected the rain water, as Mr. Woodmorappe speculates without any evidence to support his theory, such a system would have taken up even more precious space, leaving less room for the animals, food, and stored water.
If we say that Noah only needed enough water to last forty days, because he could have then used the water outside the ship to provide drink for the animals, that still doesn't solve the problem. Even after it had stopped raining, the water upon which the ark was floating would have been mixed with the salty sea water, thereby making it unfit to drink. That means, in reality, Noah would have had to stock the ark with a one year supply of water needed to provide drink for every animal. which would have sunk the ship! But even if the sea water wasn't salty, there was no way for Noah and his family to get out of the ark to get to the water, because there was only one door on the side and one eighteen inch window near the top. But even if they did find a way, it would have been nearly impossible for eight humans to haul enough water out of the ocean and carry it 45 feet down three decks and along the 450 feet length of the ship to quench the thirst of 43,000 animals on a daily basis. At best, it would be a Herculean task that would take them every minute of every day to accomplish, leaving them no time to do anything else, including feeding themselves or the animals nor getting any sleep.
When we calculate the space needed to store the food and the water, the animals would have been packed together so tightly in the remaining space they wouldn't have been able to move, with animals needing to be stacked on top and underneath of one another to fit them all in. That would have left no room for Noah and his family to get around to feed and water them or clean up their waste.
But there's still a worse problem. The ark was covered with pitch, both within and without (Gen 6:14) which made it completely watertight. But if water couldn't get into the Ark, neither could light, except through one window near the top of the ship. That means, as Noah and his family carried water to all of the animals and tended to their needs, they would have been working in total darkness except for the small area near the window at the top of the ship. It could be speculated that they had candles for light (although the candle hadn't been invented by then. See NOTE 4 ). However, even if they did, that means they would have had to have stored enough candles to burn throughout all three decks along the entire 450 foot length and 75 foot width of the ship every minute of every day for over a year. Furthermore, since matches hadn't been invented back then, there would have been no way for them to light the candles in the first place. And even if they did find a way, that meant there would have been hundreds, if not thousands of open flames burning throughout every part of the wooden ark that was filled with dry straw which was crammed full of animals who have a natural fear of fire.
But there was one problem which Noah and the animals faced that was the worst of all. If the ark was watertight and light-tight, that means it was also air-tight. The ark was filled with "flesh wherein is the breath of life." That means, all of these animals, including Noah, needed air to breathe in order to live. With so many animals, they would have used up the oxygen in the ark within a week's time. If Noah used a flame burning method to provide light, that would have used up the oxygen even faster. Even though there was a window to let in air, it was tightly closed for the first forty days. But even afterwards, if it was left open (which contradicts what the Bible tells us), there would have been no way to force air down to the lowest deck at the farthest point of the ship. In fact, according to all known laws of physics, only those animals which were very near the window would have been able to breathe any fresh air at all but only after the rain had stopped, forty days after the ark had been sealed airtight.
Whether we examine this story logically, mathematically, zoologically, problematically, geographically, historically, or logically, it is impossible to prove that it happened as the Bible seems to indicate. Even if you allow for God to have performed a multitude of miracles (which the Bible doesn't say happened) it still doesn't account for all the problems which have just been presented, and there are still other problems which could be cited. Yet despite all of these inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and misstatements of scientific fact, no Christian would conclude that the Bible is not God's word.
And there are many other events contained in the Bible which are just as hard to explain. Although scientific evidence is always a welcome relief, the fact of the matter is that the real reason why anyone believes in the Bible is not based on provable facts but on personal faith. We don't believe in the story of Noah and the ark because we can verify every single aspect of it. In fact, just the opposite is true. We believe it happened despite our inability to explain it. In fact, the only way we can explain it is to believe that God's written account doesn't provide all the necessary details which would answer these questions.
But, in saying that, we are then admitting that the Bible is not complete, and that there are other things which the Lord could reveal to us, if He desired to do so. And that is the very basis upon which a belief in the Book of Mormon rests.
People accept the Book of Mormon for the same reason why people accept the story of Noah and the ark. There is irrefutable scientific analysis to prove that the Book of Mormon could not have been written as a forgery by Joseph Smith or any other person living in the early 1800's. There is more than enough archeological and historical research to show that this book contains authentic Meso-American and Hebrew history. There are far, far fewer inconsistencies found in the Book of Mormon than there are in the Bible, and all of them can be explained away much easier and with greater logic than those found in the Bible. But that is not why we believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
The apostle Paul taught that "the just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17), not by tangible proofs, "that a man is justified by faith" (Romans 3:28), not by scientific facts, that "we [are to] walk by faith, not by sight" or by physical evidence (2 Corinthians 5:7). In fact, Paul taught that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, [which is] the [only] evidence [we receive] of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Furthermore, he taught that "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" (Hebrews 11:6)
The reason why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God is for the very same reason why people believe that the Bible is the word of God. It isn't because of the existence of verifiable, tangible facts and scientific data that causes us to believe in either book. Instead, it is takes faith, especially when all the evidence says otherwise. If this is not so, then there is absolutely no reason why anyone should believe the story of Noah and the ark.
A lion occupies approximately 64 cubic feet of space.
A reindeer occupies approximately 90 cubic feet
A hippopotamus or a Kodiak bear occupies approximately 150 cubic feet.
A giraffe occupies approximately 204 cubic feet.
A moose or a rhinoceros occupies approximately 210 cubic feet
An African elephant occupies approximately 780 cubic feet.
NOTE 3: One gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds. To provide one quart of water for 43,000 animals would take 10,750 gallons which would weigh 45 tons. If each animal was given only one quart of water per day (which is far below normal levels for many animals. For example, elephants drink an average of 50 gallons of water per day) to have enough to last for forty days, they would need at least 430,000 gallons which would weigh 1,791 tons. To carry enough water to provide each animal with just one quart of liquid per day for 375 days would take 4,031,250 gallons and would weigh 16,790 tons. And, of course, to provided more than one quart of water per animal would significantly increase the weight even more.
One gallon of water occupies .1334 cubic feet of space. To stock enough water to provide one quart of water per day for each animal to drink for just forty days would fill a 57,362 cubic foot area. To stock enough water to last 375 days would fill 537,770 cubic feet, which is more than a third of the available space on the ark. If Noah provided more water than one quart per day to each animal, the space needed to stock the water would significantly increase, which would also decrease the amount of area the animals had to live in.
NOTE 4: The first candles made from beeswax were not invented until the 13th century and then only the wealthy could afford them. The Romans were the first to invent a candle that used a wick, but these required the burning of something other than wax. The earliest known use of a candle was by the ancient Egyptians who made them out of rush reeds. However, these resembled a torch more than it did a candle. The Egyptians would soak the reeds in melted animal fat which would provide the fuel needed to produce the flame. However, this method also produced a large quantity of acrid smoke. The flood occurred long before the first Egyptian civilization ever existed and nothing in the Bible indicates that the people of Noah's day used any kind of a lighting devise. There is no evidence that Noah had any means available to him of providing light inside the ark.