Okay, I confess I’m having a little fun with the title of this piece.
Of course, Jesus was the greatest carpenter in the Bible, but any guesses as to who comes in second?
That’s right: Noah.
If we think about it, building a craft the size of an ark is truly amazing. The Bible gives us the dimensions for this astounding craft in Genesis 6:15:
“This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits.” ( ESV)
Now, there’s some debate as to the exact size of “cubit,” but that would most likely result in a craft 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high.
That’s an enormous structure to make entirely of wood!
If we do the math, the ark would require about 3.1 million board feet of lumber. It’s likely the ark, when completed, weighed over half a million pounds!
With three stories inside, it would have over 100,000 square feet of floor space—that’s equivalent to the square footage of 50 average American homes. While trees in Noah’s time were probably much larger, the ark today would require cutting down about 700 trees. From a storage-capacity standpoint, the ark could hold the equivalent of 450 semi-trailer loads, which is enough space for 112,500 sheep.
The Bible says Noah was 480 years old when God told him to build the ark and the rain came when Noah was 600 years old. While some naturally assume this means it took Noah 120 years to build the ark, the Bible doesn’t actually say that.
In more recent times, a man in Holland named Johan Huibers actually built a half-size ark in 2007. It cost about $1.2 million and took him two years to build. Of course, Huibers simply bought the boards and lumber to make the ark.
Then, in 2016, Answers in Genesis opened a theme park called Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. They had employed a thousand Amish craftsmen working over a period of 18 months to build a life-size ark as described in the Bible.
But there weren’t a thousand Noahs all working together. And, we know for certain he could not have walked into the local lumber yard and bought
3.1 million board feet of lumber. He would have had to cut down the trees and turn them into lumber using iron and bronze tools. Then he would have had to shape them, fit them, and join them –all without using a single power tool.
And then Noah had to coat the entire ark, inside and out, with pitch –that’s a sticky, tar-like goo made by boiling the sap of trees. And that wasn’t a speedy process either.
Truly, the ark has to be the most amazing wood-working project ever completed. It saved the human race from destruction and we all owe our earthly lives to Noah’s faith, trust, and obedience to God.
As astounding as Noah’s ark was, the greatest wooden structure in the Bible were the two simple two wooden beams joined together to form the cross. It was the faith, trust, and obedience of Jesus that made eternal life possible for us all.
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. (ESV)