We all know that one person who goes a little above and beyond the call. Whenever the parents on the block build their kids a tree-house, this person builds a multi-level cathedral with underground parking for their Big Wheels. Because, you know, valet service seemed too ostentatious. If you have a clown at your kids’ party, they have Cirque du Soleil. To be polite, they are wildly insecure losers who are begging for attention they don’t really deserve.
Then there are the folks who, unable to enjoy the world God’s given them, demand the end times fall now. They point to this or that random omen as the true portent of doom. The fact that they’ve never been right, or even close, doesn’t slow them at all. Of course, when people are robbing banks to get free health care, you might see their overall point.
But what happens when a person described in the first paragraph is also the person described in the second?
Well, that’s when things get interesting. Greg Wilson, of NBC Chicago, tells the tale of a Dutch man who built – or rebuilt, depending on your beliefs – Noah’s Ark.
A doomsday dream of massive flooding prompted a Dutch man to build a modern day Noah’s Ark that is 100 yards long and four stories tall.
Johan Huibers, head of a construction company in Dordrecht, Holland, said he started work on the mega-ship three years ago. Now nearly complete, the ark has gone from an Armageddon escape vehicle to a major tourist attraction.
“I dreamed that a part of Holland was flooded,” Huibers explained in a “Today” show segment. “The next day, I get the idea to build an ark.”
The ark, which Huibers insists is seaworthy, sits in a shipyard. It is identical in size to the one the Bible says Noah built, 300 cubits in length, 30 cubits high, and 50 cubits wide.
Huibers has outfitted the ship with life-size replicas of animals, including one elephant that cost $11,000 alone. He hopes the ark will become a museum of sorts, inspiring people to read the Bible. He also plans to float it down the River Thames in advance of the 2012 Olympics.
Some may note that in the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore predicted the Netherlands would be flooded if the ice on Greenland melted. And while such a dream inspired the project, Huibers doesn’t believe his ship would really provide much sanctuary in such a cataclysmic event.
“No I don’t think so,” he told NBC News.
No, it wouldn’t. According to the Talmud, the Bible and the Qur’an, Noah’s Ark was 300 cubits long. That’s approximately 450 feet. Or 130 yards, if you’re so disposed. If you included the end zones and safety buffers, it would fit on a football field.
Now, ignoring the fact that if you only had two of each animal that inbreeding would cause them to be extinct or horribly mutated within a generation or two, there still isn’t enough room to make this work. Not for every animal on earth. Of course, one way around that conundrum is to limit the number of animals actually taken. Thus we get the Talmud’s caveat that God only required Noah to bring seven pairs of the birds and the clean animals, and one pair of the unclean animals.
Well, then the first question becomes, “Where did all the other animals come from?”
Try not to think about it too much. It’ll hurt your head.
On the plus side, although inspired by an apocalyptic dream, Mr. Huibers’ ark isn’t really designed to save the last remnants of life, just to be a travelling museum and maybe make him a few bucks. After all, no matter how bad the economy is, people will always pay to see a boat filled with stuffed animals.
Nothing wrong with that.
But I can’t help but think that most people, when confronted by a one time dream like that, would have just bought an antacid.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!