NOAH AND THE DINOSAURS
by Kirk Ort
In an effort to meld scientific fact with Christianity (and explain the presence of those pesky fossils) the Answers in Genesis Ministry points proudly to the Creation Museum of Petersburg, Kentucky. This spanking new $27 million dollar complex teaches through life-size dioramas, animatronics, and video presentations, that the earth is barely 6000 years old and that dinosaurs were present in the Garden of Eden. Shifty-eyed geologists, with their radiocarbon trickery have tried to convince a gullible world that millions of years separate man and dinosaurs, but the Creation Museum is here to set the record straight.
Naysayers and nitpickers have challenged the irrefutable evidence of the book of Genesis by asking (in taunting, sing-songy voices) “So where are the dinosaurs now?” Impatient as children, they answer their own query by assuming the big lizards drowned because Noah didn’t see fit to invite them onto his ark. The ark wasn’t big enough, they scoff, to house all those scaly gargantuans. They cite as evidence, pictures in children’s books that show a wooden boat teeming with critters, giraffes sprouting from its portholes, monkeys hanging over the bow.
But Biblical scholars have laid this canard to rest, proving through careful analysis and geometric logic that Noah’s wondrous ark was fully capable of storing and transporting one to seven pairs of every specie of animal known to man.
So if there were no logistical problems, and Noah was able to save the giant reptiles along with the cuter, cuddlier creatures, why have we no dinosaurs today? Experts fix the time of the Great Flood around 4300 B. C. and it’s safe to assume that the doomed dinosaurs became extinct shortly after that date. But couldn’t one brontosaurus have lived long enough to have its existence documented? The image of a T. Rex carved on a tablet of stone would answer so many remaining questions. No such likeness has ever been found, but bear in mind those sneaky, atheistic archeologists always get the first look.
Did Noah defy God’s decree and leave the dinosaurs to tread water? Not likely. Noah was a righteous man, so much so that the Almighty chose him and his family to re-populate the earth and mop up the puddles.
But without a doubt something happened to gum up the works. Some eleventh hour snafu perhaps, something unforeseen and totally unpredictable. Perhaps it happened like this –
“Ow! Damn it to hell!”
“Hammer your thumb again, Pop?”
“Watch it, Ham,” Noah warned. “One smart word out of you and I’ll nail your ears to the deck and let the elephants shit in your face.”
“Sorry, Pop. I’ll get some ice for your thumb.”
“Naw, don’t bother. I’m finished.” Noah climbed down from the roof of the cabin. “That’s the last shingle, thank God.”
Father and son took a slow walk around the great wooden ship, inspecting their handiwork. “It’s a great boat, Pop.”
“It’s an ark, dammit.” Noah was touchy on this point.
“I’m just bustin’ your chops,” Ham laughed. “She’s a real beauty, Pop. You must be proud.”
“I’m too far behind schedule to be proud,” Noah grumbled. “Damn gopher wood. Who builds anything with gopher wood nowadays?”
“Hard as a rock, that stuff,” Noah said. “And heavier than your Aunt Minnie.”
“I guess He wanted the best.”
“Then He should have hired a younger carpenter. I’m six hundred years old, for heavens sake. I should be in a condo down on the beach.”
“Aw, you’re a tough old bird, Pop.”
“Eh, I do what I can,” said Noah. “But if it weren’t for you three boys, this floating zoo would still be on the drawing board. By the way, where are your brothers?”
“Shem and Japheth are giving the girls a hand with their chores.”
“What? You mean to tell me those three wives of yours can’t feed and water a few animals?”
“There are over thirty thousand animals down there,” said Ham, pointing at the acres of pens and stalls that held the creatures downwind of the shipyard. “And you know how my Sheila’s scared of the snakes and lizards.”
“More likely they’re afraid of her,” Noah muttered.
“What’s that, Pop?”
“Never mind.” He nodded toward the horizon. “I don’t like the look of those clouds, son. It’s time to get this show on the road.”
Noah and Ham found the rest of the family gathered near the reptile enclosure. “Okay everybody, listen up,” Noah said. “I know you’ve all had a long day but we’re gonna have to pull an all-nighter to get the animals loaded on the ark.”
Just then a garter snake slithered between Sheila’s dirty, bare feet. She jumped back and screamed, “Get away from me you slimy beast!”
“It’s just a little snake, Sheila,” said her father-in-law.
“It’s just a little snake, Sheila,” she repeated in a mocking tone. “They’re filthy and disgusting and I hate them! They’re the devil’s creatures!”
“Let’s not get carried away now, hon,” said Ham.
“That’s easy for you to say. God gave you guys a pass.” She wagged a finger at Noah and each of his three sons. “Every month I get cramps that would cripple a water buffalo thanks to Eve and her damned snake! I hate snakes!”
“And those things,” Sheila said, jerking a thumb at the triceratops munching alfalfa behind her, “are absolutely gross. I’m not getting on any boat with …”
“It’s an ark,” Noah interrupted.
“Whatever. If those overgrown bags of lizard shit are going, I’m staying.”
“I decide who goes and who stays,” said Noah.
“Well, I’m not going anywhere with the likes of him!” Sheila kicked dirt in the dinosaur’s direction.
“You’ll go where the Lord thy God commands you go!”
“In a pig’s eye!”
“Then stay and be damned!” Noah thundered. “There’s a leaky canoe out back. Best of luck, girlie.”
Sheila stormed away in a cloud of dust and curses. Ham tugged at his father’s sleeve, his voice filled with anguish. “You can’t be serious, Pop. I can’t leave my wife behind.”
“She made the decision, not me.”
“She’s just a little hot under the collar. She’ll get over …”
“She’s disrespectful, Ham. She talks to me like I’m some kind of a putz.”
“She didn’t mean anything by it, Pop. I’ll get her to apologize.”
“Too late for that, boy. Let’s start loading the cows.”
“No!” Noah’s youngest son fell to his knees, tears streaming down his tanned cheeks. “We can’t leave her to drown, Pop … I love her.”
Noah sighed and looked to his wife, Nammah. “What do you think?”
“I think,” she said softly, “it’s starting to rain.”
“Shit! All right everyone, this is it. Head ‘em up and move ‘em out!”
The rain fell lightly but steadily as they loaded first the cattle, then the sheep and swine. Noah and his family splashed through puddles and slogged through mire, shouting and cursing and coaxing the animals on board the vessel. By the time the rhinos were locked in their stalls and the last of the birds safely caged on the ark, the sky erupted in thunder and great flashes of lightening and the storm became a deluge.
“Hurry!” Noah shouted waving his shepherd’s hook. “Where’s the cat? Did somebody remember to bring the cat?”
Sheila appeared carrying Noah’s favorite tomcat and its mate. “Put them on board, girl,” he said with a forgiving smile. “Then go fetch the antelope.”
They struggled through the night as the waters rose and Noah’s land became a lake. The sun came up behind a thick wall of black clouds and still the work was not done. The otters and seals were happy and playful (though difficult to catch) but the other animals were frightened and disoriented. A deafening cacophony of bellows, yelps, and screeches filled the liquid air, but somehow the loading proceeded.
By mid-morning, the water was waist-deep and the great gopher wood craft was beginning to pull at its mooring ropes.
“That’s it, Pop,” Ham yelled from across the gangway. “It’s time to go.”
“Not yet,” Noah shouted back. “We’re missing someone. Where are the Lord’s dinosaurs?”
Shem answered. “We gotta leave ‘em.”
“Leave them? Why?” Noah searched his sons’ anxious faces, settling on Japheth who was clever in such matters. “Japheth, is there no room left?”
“There’s room, Pop,” he said. “There isn’t time.”
“Then we must hurry!”
Shem seized the collar of Noah’s robe before he could move. “It’s no use, Pop. I just came from the corral. Somebody left the big gates open. The dinosaurs have all escaped.”
“What!” Noah turned on Ham. “I’m gonna kill her!”
The three boys hustled their father up the gangway and pulled it closed behind them. For hours, Noah remained on deck letting the driving rain dilute his bitter tears until the ark broke free of her moorings and drifted silently away.
The rain continued unabated day and night while dull thuds sounded against the outer hull. The women started at each clunking sound, wide-eyed and fearful of what, or who, had bumped into the ark.
On the morning of the fourth day, while Noah was making his usual rounds, he paused before the empty stall he’d built for a young gorgosaurus. He took down the name plate he’d hung above the stall and forlornly rubbed his fingers over the hand-carved letters. Then he cast it into the corner and called for his sons.
When they were assembled he said, “Tear down some of these partitions. We can use the extra space. I’m going to get something to eat.”
Sheila was sitting in the tiny galley, drumming her fingernails on the breakfast table.
“Stop that,” said Noah. “You know it drives me crazy.”
“Well, I’m bored,” she whined. “There’s nothing to do here.”
“Shut your pie-hole, Sheila!” Noah brought his fist crashing down on the table with a bang. “One more word out of you and I’ll send you home to your family! In fact, I think I saw your mother float by just a few minutes ago. How about it, Sheila? Want to go visit your folks?”
“You’re always picking on me!” She burst into tears and fled the room.
It rained and rained and then it rained still more—forty days by Japheth’s count. Finally, on the forty-first day, the clouds dispersed and the sun showed its all-but-forgotten face. Noah threw open the water-tight doors and portholes and rejoiced in the fresh air and bright light.
The ark bobbed serenely on an endless ocean. The earth was still and lifeless but for the passengers on the ark and the occasional piece of floating debris. The days were uneventful but busy. Forty days worth of manure had to be hauled to the deck in buckets and dumped over the railing.
Noah spent many hours staring out over the water, searching for signs of life. The weeks stretched into months. At the end of the sixth month, which he calculated by counting Sheila’s menstrual complaints, Noah spied land. It was little more than a sharp rock jutting above the water line, but Noah reckoned it to be the jagged peak of a mountain.
He was proved right when, day by day, more pinnacles showed themselves and Noah knew the flood waters were receding at last. Before Sheila completed her next cycle, the ark came to rest on a barren mountain top in a strange land.
Ham and Shem and Japheth wanted to plant their feet on solid ground and explore their surroundings, but their father wouldn’t allow it.
“Think what kind of mess you’ll find,” he said. “Death and decay everywhere. You could get a nasty infection. And the smell—Feh!”
And so they waited, praying for a sign that they had been delivered.
At the end of the eleventh month, with food supplies running desperately low, Noah released a dove. The bird returned to the ark, some hours later, with a sprig from an olive tree in its beak. Their prayers had been answered.
The following morning, the caged animals were released to make their way in the world. Driving what remained of the cattle and sheep ahead of them, Noah and his family set out on foot to find a suitable home. The Lord God appeared to Noah as he relieved his bladder behind a large rock.
“It’s good to see you, Noah,” said God.
“It’s good to see you too, Lord.”
“Shake it off Noah. I need to talk to you.”
“Yes, sir. Ahh …There. All finished.”
“Good. Now where the hell are my dinosaurs?”
“Well, um … It’s kind of a long story.”
The Almighty leaned against the rock. “I’ve got all day.”
“Well, Lord, it’s like this. I was really pressed for time, you see?” Noah began counting on his fingers the problems he’d had to contend with. “First of all, I never built an ark before. Nobody has. So I was kind of flying blind. And last summer my brother-in-law borrowed some of my tools and never brought them back, and then there was that crappy gopher wood …”
God silenced him with a wave of his hand. “You failed me, Noah.”
“I did the best I could.” Noah took a deep breath. “With all due respect, Lord, you gave me a very difficult assignment.”
“It was a test, you schmuck!” God’s voice boomed and echoed off the boulder. “It was supposed to be difficult! I suppose you’d rather I asked you to build a rowboat and ferry a couple monkeys across the river? What kind of test would that have been?”
“But I never had a chance,” said Noah. “Wading through manure from dawn till dusk. Every time my back was turned the damn chimps would steal my hammer, and then Sheila …”
“Sheila! I might have known. That one’s a real trouble maker.”
“Amen to that.”
God gave Noah a playful poke in the ribs. “Is she still bitching about her periods?”
“Hah!” God threw back his head and laughed until tears ran from his eyes. Then he slapped Noah on the back and said, “Well, no real harm done, I suppose. I can always make more dinosaurs if I want.”
“Thanks, Lord. I knew you’d understand.”
“Actually Noah, you did much better than I thought you would.”
“Sure. I never expected you to find enough gopher wood to build that boat.”
“The shipping charges almost bankrupted me,” said Noah. “And it’s an ark.”
“Yeah, right,” said God. “Anyway, I’m glad to see you all back safe and sound.”
“Even Sheila.” The Lord put a fatherly arm around Noah’s shoulders. “Don’t be too hard on her, my friend. She’ll straighten out after she’s had thirty or forty kids.”
Noah whistled. “That many?”
“Hopefully more. I’m counting on you to re-populate the world, Noah.”
“You mean my sons.”
“I mean you and your sons. Think you’re up to it?”
“Absolutely Lord. I won’t let you down this time.”
“See that you don’t.”
The Lord God began to waver and dissolve before Noah’s eyes. He raised a hand in farewell and said solemnly, “I command you to go forth and multiply.”
“Have a nice day.”
Bio: Kirk Ort is the author of two historical novels—the first was self-published and the second occupies an honored place in a desk drawer. The author lives in the midwest with his long suffering wife.