As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
Amid a flood of skepticism, a 155-meter-long copy of Noah’s Ark was opened in Williamstown, Kentucky (USA). The weighty construction involved $100 million, and six years of work.
The real size replica of the famous Biblical life boat was officially opened on July 5, 2016. The structure is as tall as a seven story building. Its length is the size of one and a half football fields.
“The Bible indicates the original Ark was 300 cubits. Using the Hebrew royal cubit, that calculates in modern-day terms to 510 feet long,” said Mark Looey, co-founder of Answers in Genesis, the Creationist Christian ministry behind the project.
A real flood of cynical commentaries and public protests has accompanied he ark building since 2010, when the first plans were announced. The project enemies claim that the museum will be “detrimental to science education” and shouldn’t have won state tax incentives.
“I believe this is going to be one of the greatest Christian outreaches of this era in history,” said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis. He added that according to business experts, the small 4000-people Williamstown will see at least two million tourists during the first year after the site opens.
For a small settlement like that such a perspective has the potential of a real economic boom. This will probably place the local Ark Encounter thematic park in direct competition with the expensive attraction of neighboring Cincinnati. Within the first decade of operation the tourist flow is expected to bring as much as 4 billion dollars into local businesses.
The organizers of the ribbon cutting event announced that as many as 43 thousand families and individuals from all US states and more than 40 countries contributed with gifts and donations towards the project. About a hundred Amish carpenters devoted a lot of effort and skill in order to produce incredible details in the construction.
The attraction will not have living animals exposed. Instead, the ark is full of animal models in real dimensions, including dinosaurs and unicorns. The artifacts were planned and made based on plans by Creation Museum experts.
The construction is also not intended to be able to swim on water. In times of atheism and evolutionist theory enforcement as “fact”, the Ark Encounter project intends to present a real life feeling of Noah’s boat. In Genesis 7, the Biblical story describes:
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.
On the day of the official ribbon cutting, Jenean Hampton, Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, said, “Welcome to the great commonwealth of Kentucky. We are so blessed that this great attraction was built here, in Kentucky. We hope to see millions visit Ark Encounter. I think God is here today, and even if it rains, that is perfectly okay!”
The tour of the facility takes six to eight hours, is the warning of the organizers. The price tag of a day ticket varies between $28 (for a child) and $40 (for an adult).