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Answering The Atheist
August 3, 2003 / Volume 3, Issue 31

How long was the ark afloat? Genesis 8:4 says the ark rested “ the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” However, Genesis 8:5 says that the tops of the mountains were not seen until “...the tenth month, on the first day of the month...” Is there a contradiction?

I can remember as a young child, riding on a ferry which crosses from downtown Kingston to Wolfe Island. On one of the ferries which made this trip, I recall there being windows in the passenger area right at water level. Even as a young child, I realized there was a portion of the ferry that had to be under the surface of the water.

Now, if a boat could only get snagged on things which were above the surface of the water, then indeed, there is a contradiction in Genesis 8:4-5. However, it is quite possible (and I am confident happens reasonably often) that a boat will hit something which is hidden under the surface of the water. How much of the ark was below the surface of the water? We’re not told. But what we do know is that the ark got snagged on the tops of the Ararat mountains two months and thirteen days before the tops of the mountains were visible.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible