Dear Catholic Exchange:
My daughter's 6th grade catechist told the class that the Noah's Ark story of the Bible is a “myth.” What is the Catholic belief? I watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel that showed part of what they thought was the Ark. The teacher told her it couldn't be true, because he couldn't have built that big of a boat in those days; it would've taken too long.
Thanks for your response.
The Church has no dogmatic views one way or another. Huge floods were common in ancient Mesopotamia, so the Noah story could well have a basis in fact (see, for instance, the colossal flood) in antiquity.
Nor is the problem of a “world-destroying” flood so problematic if humanity was confined to a fairly small geographical area.
Bottom line: We don't know enough to make very many confident proclamations about how much of the Noah story is to be taken as “scientific fact,” particularly since the author of Genesis had no interest in writing science.
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