Question: How could the millions of species fit in the ark, and the climate and environmentally sensitive animals make the migration from distant places like South America or Australia to Mesopotamia to board the ark?
According to “Nature,” there are approximately 8.7 million species of life on the earth (a ‘best guess’ based on new methods of prediction), with roughly 86% of land species and 91% of marine species still undiscovered.[i]
The Bible, however, nowhere claims that all land and marine species were paired up on the ark. The meaning and application of the term “species” has been debated among scientists since Aristotle, but the Bible uses the much broader term “kinds.”
Gen. 1:21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Gen. 1:25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Consequently, there was no need to bring several species of dog on the ark, but only one pair of the Canine “kind.” The same is true of the feline “kind”, the cattle “kind”, the horse “kind”, and so on. In addition, only air-breathing “kinds” were included on the ark, not fish or insects (Gen. 7:22). The ark’s dimensions (750’ X &5’ X 45’) provided more than enough volume to house the earth’s air-breathing “kinds”. Following the Flood the earth would once again be repopulated with an ever-expanding variety of “species” within each “kind”.
As for the migration of creatures from distant regions across inhospitable environments, such as deserts, mountains and oceans, this assumes that the pre-Flood world was much the same environmentally as it is now. As the previous Bible Gems post shows, that assumption is false.
The pre-Flood, single-continent world described in Genesis appears to have enjoyed a very hospitable, tropical garden-like environment. Recent studies of a lush, “greenhouse” type environment suggest that the pre-Flood atmosphere would have been comparatively carbon dioxide rich, causing plant life to be extremely abundant, growing larger and more environmentally efficient than is the case today. This would also have supported large plant-eating dinosaurs, as well as providing the raw material that would become the vast coal and oil deposits created during the global Flood.
Animals, birds and reptiles made their migration across the continent during the considerable time required for constructing the ark. Once the ark was complete the representative “kinds” and the required food staples were brought aboard by Noah and his family (Gen. 6:18-22). In addition to all the paired animals Noah was to set apart, not just two, but seven pairs of “clean” animals. This was to ensure that in the post-Flood world there would be sufficient numbers of reproducing “clean” animals that the re-starting human race could have meat for food without risking the extinction of edible animals.
These are the kind of details that set the Genesis account apart from the world’s myth-laden memories of that catastrophic period of earth’s history.
Ps. 119:89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.