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Man Builds Life-Size Ark to Help People Trust in God

Noah's ark replica

What would you do if you had a dream that part of your country was flooded? According to CBN News, one Christian Dutch man decided to build a replica of Noah’s ark according to the Bible’s instructions in Genesis 6 in response to a dream he had. The ark has since become a popular tourist attraction. Through it, Johan Huibers hopes to “educate people and strengthen their belief in God.”

How It All Began

Huibers says that in 1992 he had a dream that part of Holland was flooded. The next day, he told his wife he had an idea to build a replica of Noah’s ark. Even though she wasn’t keen on the plan, he persisted and initially built a version of the ark that was one-tenth the size of the biblical one. This first ark was popular with tourists, and CNN reports Huibers would take them on canal trips in it. He eventually decided to sell that version of the ark and build one that was actually the same size as the one in the Bible.

As he worked on the new ark, Huibers says he prayed daily for God’s guidance and that God gave him ideas as he did so. According to CBN, the current ark is 390 feet long and 75 feet high, or put another way, five stories high and the length of one and half football fields. It took Huibers and his team four years to complete construction. Rather than hiring professional shipwrights, he worked with seven amateur carpenters. CBN reports that Huibers raised $5 million to build it, although other news outlets have put this number at $1.6 million.

While Huibers has done his best to follow the Bible’s instructions, not everything about the boat can fit what scripture says—plus he’s added his own touch. Because experts don’t know what “gopher wood,” is, CNN says that Huibers improvised by using the metal hulls of 25 barges and welding them together, then overlaying them with Scandinavian pine. You can see images of the ark here.

Huibers plans to sail his ark to Israel, says CBN. He says that because he has built “God’s ship,” it follows it belongs in “God’s land.” To get it there, he needs to raise another $1.3 million to spend on tugboats because the ark has no motor. Huibers has wanted to get the ark to Israel before now, but was in part prevented by the wildfires that were plaguing the country.

A Sign of the Times

The ark is more than a novelty to Huibers, but rather a sign of the times we are living in. He believes we are in the “end times” because people these days don’t care about God or each other. This is similar to the state of the world when God asked Noah to build his ark. Another parallel Huibers sees between Noah and himself is the criticism they both received because of building their arks.

Unlike Noah, however, Huibers isn’t trying to escape a catastrophe. Rather, he hopes that his ark will remind people that God exists and that, as the result of this reminder, they would believe in God and the Bible. “When you open the Bible, God will be there,” Huibers says, “and give you all the answers.”