Illustration of Noah's ark with animals leaving the ark, dove carrying olive branch and rainbow appearing overhead, Book of Genesis. Copyright: Peter Dennis
Noah's Ark (Hebrew : תיבת נח , Teyvat Noaḥ in Classical Hebrew ) is a vessel appearing in the Book of Genesis (chapters 6–9) and the Quran (surahs Hud and Al-Mu’minoon ). These narratives describe the construction of a large, seagoing ark by the Patriarch Noah at God 's command to save himself, his family, and the world's animals from the worldwide deluge of the Great Flood .
In the narrative of the ark, God sees the wickedness of man and is grieved by his creation, resolving to send a great flood to cleanse the Earth. However, God chose a man named Noah and "counted it righteous to him" to live and also to preserve his creation mankind through Noah's family. God then proceeds to give Noah detailed instructions how to build a seaworthy ark. When Noah and the animals are safe on board, God sends the Flood, which rises until all the mountains are covered and all life on Earth is destroyed. At the height of the flood, the ark rests on mountaintops, before the waters recede and dry land reappears. Noah, his family, and the animals leave the ark to repopulate the Earth. God places a symbolic rainbow in the sky and makes a covenant with Noah and all living things, by which he vows to never again send a flood to destroy the Earth.
The ark narrative has been extensively studied by adherents of Judaism , Christianity and Islam , as well as other Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic faiths. Such studies have ranged from hypothetical solutions to practical problems (such as the issues of waste disposal and lighting the ark's interior), to theological and metaphoric interpretations (with the ark being seen as the spiritual precursor of the Church in offering salvation to mankind). Although the account of the ark was traditionally accepted as historical, by the 19th century the growing impact of scientific investigation and biblical interpretation had led many people to abandon a literal view in favour of a more metaphoric understanding. Though there have been many alleged sightings of Noah's Ark over the years, no concrete physical evidence of the ark has been found. Biblical literalists continue to explore the mountains of Ararat in present-day Turkey , where the Bible says the ark came to rest, in search of archaeological remnants of the vessel.
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