What is the justification for taking the Ark of the Covenant literal but Noahs Ark as a methaphor?

The description of the building of Noahs Ark:

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and set the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.

Genesis 6:14-16

The description of the building of the Ark of the Covenant:

*They shall make an ark of acacia wood; two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and you shall make upon it a molding of gold round about. …Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. *

Exodus 25:10-18

The bible seems to be describing both in similar terms. How can someone take one literal while insist that the other is a metaphor? Personally i think both are literal.

Noah’s Ark is not taken metaphorically. The Flood and Noah’s Ark are historical events. The Church rejects those opinions which deny the historicity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. What I think you’re getting at is that Catholics don’t feel compelled to believe in a global flood. The reasons for this are many, and can be found in the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on the Deluge.

I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,

See, here’s the thing - the first 11 chapters in Genesis pretty much describe events that happened long before the time of Abraham. These were prehistoric events whose full details had been lost, but happened in some shape or form. Yet the primary reason for their insertion was to show how God created everything good and how He intended things to be versus how things ended up becoming, starting with the Fall and ending, primarily, with the Ark and the Tower of Babel.

Both are historical events.

The Ark of the Covenant is guarded on an island monastery in Ethiopia.

Noah’s Ark is frozen in the snow on the peak of Mount Ararat in Armenia.

As far as I can tell, these are regarded as hoaxes by archaeologists. We don’t really know what happened to the Ark of Noah or the Ark of the Covenant. None of this, however, means that these aren’t historical.

Benedicat Deus,


Maybe it could be said, if one wanted to take a different view however - that the time of the Ark of the Covenant can be dated with a greater degree of historical accuracy?

Correct. They’re called historico-popular narratives, because these describe real historical events in a popular and somewhat figurative way.

Benedicat Deus,

Yes, and many people in the times when Jesus walked the earth thought his acts were all a hoax too.

Have to consider the source and the times we live in, I wouldnt give too much credit to the modern day secular ‘experts’ who dismiss these things, they have their own agenda they are trying to further.

Most catholics at my parish that I know believe both to be literal.

Noah’s Ark actually happened, it could be on mount Ararat still or may have rotted away.

The Ark of the Covenant was hidden.

While it’s true that secular experts can be blinded by an agenda or at least presuppositions, I don’t think it’s necessary to agree with them that these alleged finds are hoaxes. Even if they are hoaxes, it doesn’t mean they didn’t historically exist. It just means that the alleged finds are false.

So my answer, is yes, these things are historical, but no, these alleged finds do not prove them, since they are likely not the real thing. Also in regards to Noah’s Ark, it’s very probable that he deconstructed the ship as well, so searching for it seems futile, in my opinion.

2 Maccabees 2:4 'The same document also describes how the prophet, warned by an oracle, gave orders for the tent and the ark to go with him, when he set out for the mountain which Moses had climbed to survey God’s heritage.

5 On his arrival, Jeremiah found a cave-dwelling, into which he put the tent, the ark and the altar of incense, afterwards blocking up the entrance.

6 Some of his companions went back later to mark out the path but were unable to find it.

7 When Jeremiah learned this, he reproached them, “The place is to remain unknown”, he said, "until God gathers his people together again and shows them his mercy.

Even though current science is starting to acknowledge that a great flood did happen, some people believe Noah’s Ark to be a myth because science hasn’t proven it. And, because it was a pre-historic event, the story really only exsists in the Bible.

The Arc of the Covenant is generally accepted because there are many independent and third party references to it in the historical record.

People have a hard time believing many things about human pre-history, even though science is starting to point to many prehistoric “myths” to be potentially true.

For me: the flood happened. There is no question, it did. However, I question whether every single human on the planet died or just the ones in Noah’s “world”?

God Bless

I’m surprised to see so many people acknowledging Noahs ark and flood as a real historical event. I expected to be derided on this thread for even suggesting they might be real especially with high-profile people in the catholic church like bishop Robert Barron who steadfastly insist that the flood is a metaphor for a “baptism” of the earth or something like that.

I guess more catholics believe in genesis as literal than you’d think. Maybe people who do keep quiet about it as its not a socially acceptable thing to admit to believing in.

Well, we’re not like the fundamentalists who believe that every word of the account need be taken in its strictly literal meaning. We can admit, for example, that the Florida d was a local flood, that Moses used hyperbole in describing some aspects of it. But we cannot admit as ahistorical those books or parts of Scrripture which have always been regarded as historical unless it can be shown with convincing arguments, not rashly admitted, and in conformity with the Church’s doctrine. None of this applies to Noah’s Ark, since the Church has declared that the first three chapters of Genesis are historical (cf. PBC Decree of June 30, 1909), and a fortioti the rest of the book must be regarded in a similar light. The practically unanimous opinion of both the Synagogue and the Church is that the Pentateuch is historical, and in light of this and the rest we posted above, it is hard to see how one could maintain that the Flood is merely a metaphor.

Benedicat Deus,

**thank you!!! **

I hadn’t known this before :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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