Noah's famous biblical Ark is making for a hot commodity nowadays, thanks in no small measure to actor Russell Crowe and Bill Nye the “Science Guy.” Crowe, of course, is the star of an upcoming, controversial Hollywood rendering of the Genesis account of the epic flood and the large boat God commissioned Noah to build to save his family.
As for Nye, the former kids' show host served as a savior of sorts for famed creationist Ken Ham's plan to build a huge, 510-foot replica of Noah's Ark on the grounds of his Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The Associated Press reported that in 2010 Ham's group, Answers in Genesis, unveiled a plan for a $150-million theme park at the site of the museum, including an exhibit called the Ark Encounter that was to feature a larger-than-life replica of the biblical boat. “But private donations to the project did not keep pace with the construction timeline, forcing its backers to delay the ark's construction,” reported AP.
The project appeared to be in danger until Bill Nye arrived on the scene, appearing February 4 at a highly publicized debate with Ham, during which he defended the theory of evolution while Ham argued for the account of creation as written in Genesis. While the live audience at the debate numbered a mere 800, reported The New American, an estimated three to seven million individuals from around the world viewed the debate online.
It was that level of popular interest in the debate that fueled renewed and overwhelming support for the Ark Encounter project, breathing life into a local municipal bond offering that raised enough funding to begin construction on the $73-million project. “Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016,” reported the AP.
“We praise our Creator God for His blessings and for the incredible support we just witnessed from our generous supporters around the country,” Ham said in response to the outpouring of financial support that came in following the debate.
Nye had a different take on the windfall, saying that he was “heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky” when he learned that his appearance had helped move the project forward. The secular science spokesman predicted that “voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that [the Ark Encounter] is not in their best interest.”
That may not be the case, however, as Patrick Marsh, who is responsible for the overall design of the massive theme park, told CBN News that the boat structure will be nothing short of impressive. Marsh, who also serves as art director for the Jaws and King Kong attractions at Florida's Universal Studios, told CBN that “you're going to be looking at a skyscraper. But it's going to be a very, very long skyscraper — about one and a half times the size of a football field.”
Project manager Mike Zovath told CBN that the boat will be rated “to hold over 10,000 people at one time,” adding that he believes the exhibit will help to convince skeptical visitors of the plausibility of the Genesis account of a great flood. “It's not something that's just a wild, crazy fairy tale,” he said. “We can show you how it's built and show you that Noah and his family have built the thing.”