Early in the book of Genesis, God becomes revolted by His own work. Deviant and immoral, man was not what He’d had in mind: “And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Enraged by our collective failing of character, God readied the flood waters. He chose a righteous, blameless man and tasked him with repopulating the planet. His instructions were explicit:
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is how thou shalt make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
Noah rolled up his sleeves. Decades later, his ark set sail.
Michael Zovath and Patrick Marsh would prefer to not take quite as long. With a small team of designers and builders, they’re preparing to construct a colossal wooden ark per the directives presented in the Bible and in accordance with what they refer to as the “sound established nautical engineering practices” of Noah’s time. When completed, their 510-foot-long ark—the centerpiece of a biblical theme park to be called Ark Encounter—will take up about one and a half football fields. (There has been something of a global ark-building boom in recent years, but Zovath and Marsh’s structure promises to outstretch even its biggest competitors, including the concrete-and-glass-fiber ark built in Hong Kong in 2009, which is 450 feet long, and a similarly sized vessel constructed by a wealthy businessman in the Netherlands after he dreamed that the country had flooded.)