Finding Noah: Witness the Journey

Finding Noah: Witness the Journey

By Bill Crouse

Finding Noah

As expect­ed, the doc­u­men­tary, Find­ing Noah, did not dis­ap­point on the tech­ni­cal side. The pro­duc­ers are to be com­mend­ed. The cin­e­matog­ra­phy, the edit­ing, and the sound, cou­pled with the back­drop of the scenery of the spec­tac­u­lar 17,000 ft. Mt Ararat made the film a plea­sure to behold. One stand­out scene for this view­er was filmed while an intre­pid climber descend­ed into a deep crevasse into one of the glac­i­ers on the moun­tain. I was struck by the depth of the descent and the exceed­ing­ly long ici­cles. In anoth­er scene the crew filmed a very high flow­ing water­fall. Such flow­ing water is very rare on this moun­tain, so it must have been a time of high melting.

The film doc­u­ments sev­er­al expe­di­tions of men who were seek­ing to find the bib­li­cal ship of Noah which pur­port­ed­ly land­ed on this moun­tain. Because of its alti­tude, con­di­tions for explor­ing can be very dan­ger­ous to say the least. A moun­tain of this height cre­ates its own weath­er. Extreme cold, high wind, snow, hail, light­ning, and white­outs are not uncom­mon. The film crew not only doc­u­ments these men endeav­or­ing to car­ry out their mis­sion in these life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions while endur­ing the same. From first­hand expe­ri­ence, it?s amaz­ing there were no causalities.

What did the mak­ers of this film hope to accom­plish? I have to be some­what spec­u­la­tive, but I believe the pro­duc­ers want­ed to raise con­scious­ness about the his­toric­i­ty of the flood and Noah?s Ark. I think they want­ed their audi­ence to be over­whelmed by the evi­dence that the Ark has been seen in ancient his­to­ry on into the 20th cen­tu­ry, and that it makes sense to look for it. I also think they want­ed the view­ers to real­ize that there are good rea­sons why it still has not been found. These rea­sons being: the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, the sever­i­ty of the phys­i­cal con­di­tions, the alti­tude of the moun­tain, and its enormity.

Review of the movie: Find­ing Noah: Wit­ness the Jour­ney Direc­tor and Screen­writer: Brent Baum
Pro­duc­er: Matthew Marsden
Length: 97 minutes
Nar­ra­tor: Gary Sinise

As with most doc­u­men­taries the film pro­ceed­ed with sound­bites from experts in var­i­ous fields and exten­sive inter­ac­tion with the explor­ers them­selves before, after, and as they were climb­ing and car­ry­ing out their tasks. All this was well and good. The high­light of the film as it turned out was the tes­ti­monies of men who saw this oppor­tu­ni­ty as a life-chang­ing expe­ri­ence. To a man they tes­ti­fied of deep spir­i­tu­al expe­ri­ences from the quest, not to men­tion the male-bond­ing among the crew.

So far, we have great scenery, tech­ni­cal excel­lence, and inspi­ra­tional sto­ries, but the rest of this review rais­es some ques­tions that I believe reflect neg­a­tive­ly on the film. Let?s start with the title of the movie: Find­ing Noah. How in the world did they decide on this for a title? How mis­lead­ing; they nei­ther find Noah nor the Ark!

I have sev­er­al beefs with the movie: I think they were neg­li­gent in how they pre­sent­ed the evi­dence of the Ark?s con­tin­ued exis­tence, the alleged eye­wit­ness accounts, and that the Ark land­ed on that moun­tain-Mt. Ararat, and I am crit­i­cal of height­en­ing expec­ta­tions and then hav­ing noth­ing to show for it at the end.

First, the evi­dence: ear­ly on in the film ancient wit­ness­es were quick­ly flashed across the screen Star War style. They were Berossus, Hierony­mous, Jose­phus, Theophi­los, Epipha­nius, Mar­co Polo, Haithon, etc. Is there a prob­lem here? You bet­ter believe it! The major­i­ty of the above, I believe, are refer­ring to a dif­fer­ent moun­tain! Berossus, a his­to­ri­an, and high priest of Bel wrote in the third cen­tu­ry BC. His account of the flood draws heav­i­ly from the pagan Baby­lon­ian account.1 He notes that the Ark land­ed in the coun­try of the Kurds. This could not refer to Mt. Ararat since the Kur­dish peo­ple did not take up res­i­dence there until the tenth and eleventh centuries.2 Jose­phus quotes him and also cites Hierony­mous the Egypt­ian as sup­port­ing his con­tention that the Ark land­ed in the coun­try of the Kurds. Jose­phus, the first cen­tu­ry his­to­ri­an, men­tions the Ark of Noah on four occasions.3 In three of his cita­tions he is almost cer­tain­ly refer­ring to a moun­tain south of Ararat. In a fourth men­tion it could pos­si­bly be Ararat but the Greek is nebulous.4 Theophi­los of Anti­och (ear­ly sec­ond cen­tu­ry) says the Ark land­ed in the Ara­bi­an moun­tains. The Greek word used for ?Ara­bi­an? may be indef­i­nite and could only mean that the Ark land­ed on a desert moun­tain. Epipha­nius (fourth cen­tu­ry) wrote that the Ark land­ed in the coun­try of the Kurds. Again, the Kurds did not live at Ararat until the after the 10 cen­tu­ry. Haithon and Mar­co Polo did indeed refer to present-day Mt. Ararat. Both not­ed the black spot near the sum­mit of the moun­tain which the locals regaled that it was the Ark of Noah. This black spot can still be seen today. How­ev­er, the locals now refer to it as the ?eye of the bird.? It?s a vol­canic rock formation.

Lat­er in the doc­u­men­tary sev­er­al more recent eye­wit­ness accounts are cit­ed. These alleged accounts have been thor­ough­ly dis­count­ed, and it sore­ly ques­tions the integri­ty of the pro­duc­ers of the film. The first was the account of the Russ­ian pilot dur­ing WWI who claimed to see a large sub­merged ves­sel in a frozen lake. Imme­di­ate­ly a large num­ber of Russ­ian sol­diers under­took to climb to the spot to ver­i­fy the sight­ing. After two weeks of hard climb­ing (it actu­al­ly only takes 2 or 3 days) they suc­ceed­ed in locat­ing the ves­sel. After explor­ing the inside, tak­ing pho­tos and mea­sure­ments, the infor­ma­tion was sent to the Czar. But alas, the doc­u­ments were seized by the Bol­she­viks dur­ing the Russ­ian Rev­o­lu­tion. This sto­ry first appeared in a newslet­ter then pub­lished in tract form and lit­er­al­ly read and repeat­ed around the world. How­ev­er, the sto­ry is one hun­dred per­cent fic­ti­tious. The author admit­ted to me by phone and let­ter that it was entire­ly made up and was nev­er inspired by Russ­ian immi­grants who rent­ed one of the apart­ments he owned.

Anoth­er sto­ry in the film was one spun by a young col­lege stu­dent who worked in the Smith­son­ian muse­um who alleged­ly heard about a dis­cov­ery of Noah?s Ark as he wit­nessed them bring­ing in crates of arti­facts. This sto­ry again is total­ly bogus as the teller flunked a lie detec­tor test and a failed a cross-exam­i­na­tion. In the movie it was the Duck­worth story.5

The most con­tro­ver­sial sto­ry was that of Ed Davis, a sol­dier sta­tioned in Iran dur­ing WWII. The most com­plete account of his sto­ry can be found in the book: The Painful Moun­tain, by Don Shockey.6 Many hours were spent review­ing the details of his account and due to numer­ous incon­sis­ten­cies one has to seri­ous­ly doubt its verac­i­ty. I per­son­al­ly had access to a video tape of his first debrief­ing which dif­fers sig­nif­i­cant­ly after arkhunters put words in his mouth.6

A fourth account includ­ed was real­ly dis­cour­ag­ing, and forces one to con­clude that the researchers sim­ply includ­ed mate­r­i­al for its sen­sa­tion­al effect. It has to be obvi­ous that they sim­ply took these sto­ries from one of sev­er­al books and nev­er both­ered to ques­tion the sto­ries by sub­mit­ting them to some stan­dard of cred­i­bil­i­ty. I refer here to the account of the mys­te­ri­ous Mr.X. I hap­pen to know his real name, and spent sev­er­al hours check­ing the truth­ful­ness of his tales. He was in the mil­i­tary dur­ing the Viet Nam War and held a high­ly clas­si­fied posi­tion. Since he had unusu­al­ly keen eye­sight (accord­ing to him) his assign­ment was to inter­pret high alti­tude and satel­lite pho­tos of ene­my posi­tions. Now many years after that, he still claims to have access to clas­si­fied mil­i­tary satel­lite data even though it has been sev­er­al decades after his dis­charge from mil­i­tary ser­vice! He has con­fid­ed to sev­er­al Ark searchers that there is an object on the moun­tain which is unnat­ur­al. Prob­lem is: he has giv­en sev­er­al loca­tions of this object! In my back­ground check on this per­son I found that he also claims that with his access to this clas­si­fied satel­lite data, he can see exact­ly the path the Chil­dren of Israel took out of Egypt!

That the pro­duc­ers of this film includ­ed these accounts seri­ous­ly den­i­grates the integri­ty of their project. Once again we have an Ark film which engen­ders hope for a dis­cov­ery that will once and for all ver­i­fy the Bible sto­ry. This undoubt­ed­ly won?t be the last Ark film. The pro­duc­ers are keen to sense the inter­est out there. It was report­ed that the doc­u­men­tary opened (for one night only) in over 600 the­aters. The DVD is to be released ear­ly in 2016.

I do sin­cere­ly applaud the pro­duc­ers for their hon­esty in the film that the quest was not suc­cess­ful. No Ark was found despite stu­pen­dous efforts. It was not a pos­i­tive con­clu­sion, but some­thing was accom­plished: we now can be fair­ly cer­tain where on Mt. Ararat the Ark did not land.

(There are good ancient his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences and tra­di­tion for anoth­er loca­tion for the Ark?s final berth. For more infor­ma­tion check the author?s web­site at:


1. For a more detailed dis­cus­sion of Bersos­sus see my arti­cle: Five Rea­sons?. p.11ff.

2. Sar­gis Haroutyun­ian, ?Armen­ian Epic Tra­di­tion and Kur­dish Folk­lore,? Iran & the Cau­ca­sus (1997): p.88.

3. p.8ff.

4. The Greek sim­ply says the Ark land­ed on a ?great mountain.?

5. See: Noor­ber­gen, Rene, The Ark File (Lon­don: New Eng­lish Library), 1974. See Chap­ter 7, and note that he uses a pseu­do­nym for Duckworth.

6. Shock­ey, Don. The Painful Moun­tain. (Fres­no, CA: Pio­neer Pub­lish­ing Co.), 1986

7. For our cri­tique of the Ed Davis Sto­ry, see:

Noah’s Flood, The Ark, and Hollywood

Noah’s Flood, The Ark, and Hollywood

By: Bill Crouse

You can­not over­es­ti­mate the seri­ous­ness of the Bib­li­cal Flood as described in Gen­e­sis 6 – 8. Some­thing occurred, some behav­ior of mankind, which caused the Cre­ator-God to destroy all life on the plan­et and start all over again. What exact­ly that sin was is a great mys­tery, but it had some­thing to do with the mix­ing of seeds, and it cer­tain­ly was not unequal­ly yoked mar­riages between the ?sons of god? (Sethites) and the Cainites! Some­thing hap­pened in the angel­ic realm, some­thing so seri­ous that it affect­ed human life as God cre­at­ed it (maybe even ani­mal life). It was so seri­ous it pro­voked the Cre­ator to utter­ly destroy His Cre­ation, one that He was very pleased with at the begin­ning. The fall­en angels who pre­cip­i­tat­ed this sin, accord­ing to Jude, the half-broth­er of Jesus, are being kept in chains until the final judg­ment (Jude 6). It was appar­ent­ly sig­nif­i­cant for Jesus, for after his death on the cross, He descend­ed to their place of con­fine­ment and made a procla­ma­tion of vic­to­ry to these same angel­ic beings (I Pet. 3:19 – 20). Noah and his fam­i­ly were appar­ent­ly not affect­ed by this mix­ing and found ?favor? in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8). Noah is described as a right­eous man, and in the New Tes­ta­ment he is list­ed as a great man of faith. The Apos­tle Peter informs us that Noah was a great preach­er of right­eous­ness (II Pet. 2:4 – 5). What we learn from the bib­li­cal account is that God, after announc­ing His intent to destroy the world, gives mankind a grace peri­od of 120 years. It was dur­ing this time peri­od that Noah was to con­struct an Ark while preach­ing on the side. Amaz­ing­ly, he had nary a con­vert as a result of his preaching!

The Flood that God brought about on the world at that time was so cat­a­stroph­ic that it altered the world?s geol­o­gy for­ev­er, and prob­a­bly caused the land mass to breakup into the con­ti­nents we now know. Today, for the most part, when we dig into the earth?s sed­i­ments we have a clear tes­ti­mo­ny of this cat­a­stroph­ic and trag­ic event. There is a bright side how­ev­er; God made a covenant with Noah nev­er to judge the world in this man­ner again sig­ni­fied by the rain­bow. It is also obvi­ous, though not explic­it­ly stat­ed in Scrip­ture, that the Ark of Noah is a beau­ti­ful type of Christ in that it illus­trates how today we are saved by being in Christ.

The Ark itself not only tes­ti­fies of God?s grace but is also a great tes­ti­mo­ny of the utter reli­a­bil­i­ty of the Scrip­tur­al account of the Flood. How? Ancient Mesopotami­an flood sto­ries have inter­est­ing par­al­lels to the bib­li­cal account indi­cat­ing there was a col­lec­tive mem­o­ry in the mind of ancient men of this trag­ic event. But there is one prob­lem: sev­er­al of these extra-bib­li­cal accounts (Atra­ha­sis, and Gil­gamesh) describe an ark that is either a cube or one that is cir­cu­lar (a cor­a­cle). Nei­ther would be sea­wor­thy in the kind of flood the bible describes. On the oth­er hand, the phys­i­cal dimen­sions of the Ark as described in the bible are the max­i­mum ratios (30 length, 3 height 5 width), you would need to ride out a storm involv­ing great tidal waves and earth upheaval. Tell me how can this be? If the bib­li­cal sto­ry of the Noah had a mytho­log­i­cal ori­gin, how would Moses have known this? It?s not an option to not answer the ques­tion! It can?t be an acci­dent that the writer of Gen­e­sis knew (or was told) how to build a boat that would have the max­i­mum sta­bil­i­ty in vio­lent seas! This was no riv­er flood. If it were just a riv­er flood, why would you need an ark 475 feet long with a capac­i­ty of over 500 rail­road cars? Or, why would you need an ark at all? Why not just have the ani­mals and man migrate to high­er ground? Yes, you need to answer the ques­tion. Now, some, call­ing them­selves Evan­gel­i­cals, are assign­ing the flood sto­ry to some lev­el of myth sta­tus. Oh real­ly! You mean you can pick and choose which is true his­to­ry? Well then, what about the Res­ur­rec­tion? Is that myth, too? That?s pret­ty hard to believe as well!

Now Hol­ly­wood is ful­ly aware of the pop­u­lar­i­ty and inter­est in the sto­ry of Noah?s Ark. Through­out the year for the last sev­er­al decades a pletho­ra of sto­ries about the dis­cov­ery of Noah?s Ark have appeared in the tabloids. It seems it is dis­cov­ered every sum­mer! This is not to men­tion the many doc­u­men­taries on the sub­ject on the cable chan­nels (and some­times the major net­works) all of which must make mon­ey or they would not con­tin­ue to make them. They also know that the first bib­li­cal sto­ry the child of a Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly is exposed to in Sun­day School, is the sto­ry of Noah, the ark and the ani­mals. So, why not take this great dra­mat­ic tale and make it into a movie? I applaud the move. How­ev­er, know­ing the ani­mos­i­ty Hol­ly­wood has toward any­thing Chris­t­ian I would be amiss by not hav­ing my doubts about how they would treat such a film.

Months ago, before the release of the film, Noah, (3/28/2014), I start­ed col­lect­ing reviews by peo­ple (most­ly Chris­t­ian lead­ers) who were shown var­i­ous ver­sions of the movie. Hol­ly­wood want­ed to appear to be open mind­ed about sug­ges­tions for how to treat this bib­li­cal dra­ma. Most of the reviews were mixed in their appraisal. Hol­ly­wood, i.e., Para­mount Stud­ies, sens­ing it would be con­tro­ver­sial, made fre­quent use of focus groups, along with much polling and con­sult­ing with these same influ­en­tial Chris­t­ian lead­ers. After all, much is at stake when you have a $130 mil­lion bud­get movie. This does not include anoth­er $50 – 60 mil­lion spent to pro­mote it!

So, unchar­ac­ter­is­tic of me, I was there to view the movie on open­ing night. I was cer­tain­ly pre­pared after read­ing through a three-inch thick file of reviews. One thing is obvi­ous, this movie sets a record for the num­ber of reviews, and they are still com­ing. I hope you can endure one more.

The movie was about what I expect­ed. The sto­ry line only vague­ly resem­bled the bib­li­cal account: there was a flood, and a fam­i­ly was saved by enter­ing an ark. What Hol­ly­wood loves to do, espe­cial­ly with bib­li­cal sto­ries, is to emp­ty them of bib­li­cal val­ues and replace them with their own mate­ri­al­ist, pagan, and or, new age val­ues. This movie was a prime exam­ple. Aronof­sky long ago saw the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the Noah sto­ry as vehi­cle for his own envi­ron­men­tal and Gaia reli­gion. This movie is not about a cat­a­stroph­ic judg­ment brought about by God because of man?s sin (as described above) but because man is destroy­ing the envi­ron­ment. Noah was cho­sen to build an ark pri­mar­i­ly to save the ani­mals because the Cre­ator saw that he cared and would get the job done. Mankind, accord­ing to Noah in the movie, and accord­ing to the movie?s cre­ator, is a virus that is destroy­ing what was once a pris­tine plan­et. Aronof­sky says his movie por­tends anoth­er flood that is com­ing if we do not stop glob­al warm­ing (New York­er, May 17, 2014, p48).

In the movie, Noah is not a preach­er of right­eous­ness who is untaint­ed by the wicked­ness of the ante­dilu­vian world, but rather a veg­e­tar­i­an and the world?s first envi­ron­men­tal­ist who is desirous of all human life being destroyed includ­ing his own fam­i­ly. He con­sents to build­ing an ark when he receives some sort of a rev­e­la­tion via a dream from ?the Cre­ator.? The main pur­pose of the ark is to deliv­er the ani­mals and not save man (Earth First!). Well, this is what I would have expect­ed from Aronof­sky who was asked about his belief in God and his world­view. This is how he replied: ?The Big Bang hap­pened, and all this star mate­r­i­al turned into stars, and stars turned into plan­ets, and plan­ets turned into life. We?re all just bor­row­ing this mat­ter and ener­gy for a lit­tle bit, while we?re here, until it goes back into every­thing else, and that con­nects us all.? He went on to say: ?The messed up thing is how dis­tract­ed we are and dis­con­nect­ed from that con­nec­tion, and the result of it is what we?re doing to this plan­et and to ourselves…What are we doing to our­selves? It?s a com­plete dis­con­nect. To me, that where the spir­i­tu­al­i­ty is. What­ev­er you want to call that connection?some peo­ple would use that term God. That to me, is what I think is holy.? (From The Chris­t­ian Post).

So, in the movie, many ele­ments of the orig­i­nal bib­li­cal sto­ry are turned on its head. The Nephilim, i.e., the rock mon­sters, turn out to be good in that they help Noah build the Ark and defend it from the Cainites (the meat eaters). In anoth­er major diver­gence, Noah did not want any child-bear­ing women to be on the ark. The wife of Shem was a young girl (Ilya) adopt­ed by Noah?s fam­i­ly as a child, and as a result of pre­vi­ous abuse, she is bar­ren. Methuse­lah, the grand­fa­ther of Noah, heals her, how­ev­er. The lat­ter is depict­ed as a Shaman­is­tic her­mit liv­ing in a cave who seems a quart low on the dip­stick! When Shem?s wife gets preg­nant Noah vows to kill the baby if it hap­pens to be a girl. Lat­er on the ark she gives birth to twin girls. Noah imme­di­ate­ly moves to kill them, but upon look­ing at their faces he finds he can­not do it. He then apol­o­gizes to the cre­ator and tells him he just couldn?t do it. You are left with the impres­sion that he did not car­ry out the Creator?s wish.

Now all art is some­what sub­ver­sive. Your orig­i­nal atten­tion is sup­posed to be attract­ed to the beau­ty and the cre­ativ­i­ty of the work. How­ev­er, the artist, who has a world­view, makes all art bio­graph­i­cal. He wants to, and works hard to get his mes­sage across in a latent rather than a bla­tant man­ner. Aronofsky?s movie is cer­tain­ly no excep­tion; his envi­ron­men­tal reli­gion is not so latent, how­ev­er, but there are oth­er ele­ments that you may only pick up after mul­ti­ple view­ing. The Shaman­ism, as men­tioned above, mag­ic, occultism, and the Jew­ish mys­ti­cism (The Kab­bal­ah) are ever so sub­tle. The snake­skin even seems, dare I say, Luciferian!

Do I believe a movie mak­er artist should have cre­ative license? Of course! We know very lit­tle about Noah?s char­ac­ter and the oth­er char­ac­ters in the bib­li­cal account. What Aronof­sky does how­ev­er, is far more than license. He him­self said: This is the least bib­li­cal film ever made. I?m sor­ry, but I?m not over­ly impressed with Aronofsky?s end prod­uct. For me, the film is not a bib­li­cal epic at all; it fits more into the cat­e­go­ry of a dis­as­ter film with ele­ments of a car­toon (the rock beings) and a hor­ror flick. Hol­ly­wood has come a long way in devel­op­ing its art form. I refer to the qual­i­ty of the act­ing and tech­ni­cal aspects. In this film, you nev­er real­ly latch on to any of the char­ac­ters. Rus­sell Crowe, as Noah, has a good rep­u­ta­tion (Acad­e­my Award) for his art. Here, how­ev­er, he seems uncom­fort­able in his role. I found his dia­log at times hard to dis­cern; his voice seemed raspy and indis­tinct. The reviews I read (sev­er­al dozen), for the most part, raved about the spe­cial effects. I?m not one of them. These com­put­er gen­er­at­ed sce­nar­ios are fake and they looked that way (the ball of snakes, etc.). It would be inter­est­ing to know exact­ly what per­cent­age of the movie was com­put­er generated.

All in all, I can?t give this movie a very high grade. See­ing it once is enough. This isn?t true if a movie is a great work of art, and it is not one you would want your chil­dren to see. Iron­i­cal­ly, it is a preachy movie. No one cat­er­wauls more than Hol­ly­wood when some Chris­t­ian orga­ni­za­tion (Sher­wood Bap­tist Church, Water­mark, etc.) makes a film with a mes­sage. For me this is a mes­sage movie: ?If we take care of plan­et earth, per­haps we will be spared future destruc­tion.? Noah says as much in the movie: ?If we work to save it, maybe He will save us.? (Not exact wording).

From the sev­er­al dozen reviews I’ve read, here are sev­er­al that I thought were quite provoca­tive. Also, note that some of those list­ed below have writ­ten mul­ti­ple reviews. And for more insight into the mind of Dar­ren Aronof­sky, I rec­om­mend the arti­cle ?Heavy Weath­er,? from the March 17, 2014 issue of The New Yorker.

Click the links below to read their reviews.

Matt Walsh
Erick Erick­son
Mark Zoller Seitz
Bri­an Godawa
Bri­an Mattson
Albert Mohler

The Durupinar Site — Ron Wyatt: Are His Claims Bonafide?

His­tor­i­cal Background
In 1959 a pilot in the Turk­ish Air Force on a NATO-map­ping-mis­sion in the moun­tain­ous ter­rain of east­ern Turkey pho­tographed an unusu­al ship-shaped object near Mt. Ararat.?Later when these aer­i­al pho­tographs were viewed stereo­scop­i­cal­ly by Cap­tain Ilhan Durupinar, he noticed that the?object looked even more like a ship.

But what was a ship doing in those rugged mountains?

After exam­in­ing the stereo pho­tos, pho­togram­me­try expert, Dr. Arthur Bran­den­berg­er of Ohio State, declared that the object was entire­ly for­eign to the area, and if the object proved to be a ship some­one had bet­ter explain how it got?there.

Pho­tographs of the strange for­ma­tion appeared in the world press and cre­at­ed a sensation.

To read the entire arti­cle, down­load the pdf here.

Review: The Unsolved Mystery of Noah’s Ark

The Unsolved Mys­tery of Noah’s Ark. By Mary Irwin. Bloom­ing­ton, IN: West­Bow Press, 2012, xv+117pp., $11.95 paper.

Reviewed by Gor­don Franz and Bill Crouse

Mary Irwin, the wife of the late moon-walk­ing astro­naut, Jim Irwin, has writ­ten a book about their adven­tures on Mount Ararat and the search for Noah?s Ark. This book was prompt­ed by a decep­tive Nation­al Geo­graph­ic spe­cial on Noah?s Ark in May 2009.

In the Fore­ward, Bob Cor­nuke, anoth­er Ark hunter, laments that he has been search­ing for Noah?s Ark for 25 years and has nev­er seen the old boat, and then asks: but has any­one ever seen the remains of Noah?s Ark? (page xi). We are pleased to report that over the mil­len­nia, lit­er­al­ly thou­sands, upon thou­sands of peo­ple, includ­ing an Assyr­i­an king, have made pil­grim­ages to Noah?s Ark and seen it, brought back wood from it as sou­venirs or as objects of wor­ship. We were sur­prised that Mary Irwin did not cite our defin­i­tive and com­pelling arti­cle on the true loca­tion for the land­ing of Noah?s Ark on Cudi Dagh in south­east­ern Turkey. It was pub­lished in Bible and Spade (Fall 2006; Vol. 10, no. 4, pages 99 – 113).

Ear­ly in the book Irwin writes about her first trip to the famed moun­tain, known by the Turks as Agri Dagh, with her hus­band in the ear­ly 80?s, an account that will bring back many mem­o­ries to the var­i­ous teams of climbers that had high hopes of find­ing Noah?s Ark. She then begins what is the best part of the book where she debunks sev­er­al of the more noto­ri­ous claims about the where­abouts of the Ark. Here she demon­strates evi­dence of pret­ty good detec­tive work as far as she goes. Those mak­ing the remark­able claims which she expos­es are: Fer­di­nand Navar­ra, George Green, George Hagopi­an, and Ron Wyatt. We com­mend her for her efforts to set the record straight.

In the Part two, she sets about to exam­ine the off-probed sto­ry of the late Ed Davis from Albu­querque, NM. This is the sto­ry of a WWII sol­dier sta­tioned in Hamadan, Iran, who claimed he had a close encounter, both with Noah?s Ark and the Gar­den of Eden. We wish that she had applied her skill evi­denced ear­li­er in the book to this sen­sa­tion­al claim.

We agree with Mary Irwin?s assess­ment in the first half of the book (pages 1 – 49) that there are no cred­i­ble sight­ings of Noah?s Ark on Agri Dagh, the tra­di­tion­al Mount Ararat. How­ev­er, her case in the sec­ond half of the book for Mount Suleiman, north­west of Tehran, based on the Ed Davis tes­ti­mo­ny strains creduli­ty. This idea was first espoused by Robert Cor­nuke, and is weak and uncon­vinc­ing. First of all, the bib­li­cal­ly des­ig­nat­ed moun­tains of Ararat do not extend any­where near this moun­tain in East­ern Iran. It has no tra­di­tion what­so­ev­er, and one must have quite the imag­i­na­tion to even con­sid­er that the claimed rock for­ma­tion was once the mighty ship of Noah (here are the co-ordi­nates: 36 degrees, 24?14.18N; 50 degrees, 58?27.43E). Thor­ough refu­ta­tions of Bob Cornuke?s ideas and arti­cles are up on these sites here and here. Mr. Cor­nuke has nev­er respond­ed to these arti­cles and Mary Irwin appar­ent­ly did not inter­act with the mate­r­i­al in our cri­tiques, so repeat­ed the errors point­ed out in the articles.

In the book, Irwin con­tends that Ed Davis passed sev­er­al lie detec­tor tests (page 53) and one was ?gru­el­ing? (page 54). The facts are not exact­ly as stat­ed. Ed Davis, in one lie detec­tor test of which we are aware, done on May 1,1988 for Bob Cor­nuke and High Flight Foun­da­tion (Jim Irwin?s orga­ni­za­tion), by P. G. P. Poly­graph, was asked six soft­ball ques­tions, and on the final ques­tion was answered by Davis in the neg­a­tive, but showed stress on the poly­graph test. Appar­ent­ly, he had talked with oth­ers, or read books, about the ark. The author should have been aware of the results of this poly­graph test because her hus­band was still in charge of the High Flight Foun­da­tion and the let­ter should have been in her ?Ararat? file. If oth­er tests were admin­is­tered, it sure would strength­en her case if these results would have been doc­u­ment­ed in the book.

Two old maps are pre­sent­ed in the book in an attempt to bol­ster the case for the land­ing site of the ark in Iran (pages 95 and 99). How­ev­er, nei­ther map sup­ports the case for Mount Suleiman being the land­ing site of the ark.

The first map is found on page 95. It is labeled Ancient Map of the Mid­dle East, by Jew­ish His­to­ri­an Petras Plan­tius. This map is prim­i­tive, and in some cas­es high­ly inac­cu­rate. A care­ful exam­i­na­tion of the map will show that the moun­tains labeled Ararat mons are the Gordyan Moun­tains in south­east­ern Turkey and not Iran. Just below the Ararat mons are the cities of Nin­eve, Mosul, and Arbela, all cities in north­ern Mesopotamia (mod­ern day Iraq), and not Iran. The range of moun­tains to the right of Ararat mons, run­ning in a north-south direc­tion, is the Zagros Moun­tains, even though they are mis­la­beled Caspy (?) montes (Caspi­an Moun­tains). One can tell they are the Zagros Moun­tains by the loca­tion of Elam and Susa at the south­ern end of the moun­tain range. These loca­tions are to the south­east of the Zagros Moun­tains. On this map, the Ararat Mons is in Turkey, not Iran. This map would be bet­ter used for the case of Cudi Dagh, as the true land­ing site of Noah?s Ark!

The sec­ond map is found on page 99. It is iden­ti­fied in the book as a Ter­res­tri­al Par­adise, cir­ca 1722 show­ing Noah?s Ark below the Caspi­an Sea on the Sum­mit of Mont Ararat. This map is Pierre Daniel Huet?s con­cep­tion from Calmet?s Dic­tio­n­naire his­torique de la Bible (1722). With this map she is try­ing to demon­strate that the land­ing site for Noah?s Ark is below (or near) the Caspi­an Sea, just as Mount Suleiman, near Tehran, is near the Caspi­an Sea. This is very mis­lead­ing. The map is not to scale and is an ide­al­ized map. For­tu­nate­ly, one can locate where this moun­tain is by a care­ful exam­i­na­tion of the map. Just below the moun­tain is a city named Ecbatana. The ancient city of Ecbatana is buried under­neath the mod­ern Iran­ian city of Hamadan.

Ecbatana is men­tioned once in the Bible in Ezra 6:2 (see the mar­gin of any good study Bible) as the cap­i­tal of the province of Media. It is also pos­si­ble that it was one of the ?cities of the Medes to which Israelite cap­tives were exiled to by the Assyr­i­ans after the fall of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6). Inter­est­ing­ly, the map­mak­er places Mount Ararat in the Land of Media and not in Arme­nia. This should have raised red flags because this is con­trary to our Bib­li­cal com­pass. The ancient Bib­li­cal and his­tor­i­cal sources clear­ly show that Mt. Suleiman, north of Tehran, was deep inside the land of Media and far out­side the land of Ararat / Urar­tu where the Ark landed.

The map­mak­er was try­ing to con­vey that the Ark land­ed on a moun­tain near Ecbatana, but not, on Mount Suleiman some 250 km to the north­east of Hamadan. There are Luris­tan tra­di­tions that Noah?s Ark land­ed in the area of Hamadan. Major Rawl­in­son, a British Army offi­cer, vis­it­ed the area in 1836 and men­tions the tra­di­tion of the land­ing on a very lofty range, (co-ordi­nates: 34 degrees, 02?02.39N; 47 degrees, 37?01.85E) called Sar Kasti on page 100 in his arti­cle in the Jour­nal of the Roy­al Geo­graph­i­cal Soci­ety of Lon­don 9 (1839) 26 – 116. It was to this moun­tain that Cor­nuke made his first solo trip and the first of three claims that the Ark came to rest inside Iran. See: Cor­nuke and Hal­brook, The Lost Moun­tains of Noah: The Dis­cov­ery of the Real Mtns of Ararat, (2001) pages 88 – 95.

We were both a lit­tle amused that she advo­cat­ed the Karo­la Kautz?s the­o­ry that the Mount of Sal­va­tion (Mount Nisir) was the land­ing place of the Baby­lon­ian ark! Kautz is advo­cat­ing the Baby­lon­ian account of Mount Nisir which is what Irwin was upset about when she watched the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic pro­gram on Noah?s Ark (pages 1 and 2)!!!!!

In Chap­ter Ten Irwin bor­rows anoth­er argu­ment from Cor­nuke she believes indi­cates that the ark land­ed in East­ern Iran. Gen­e­sis 11:1 – 2 says: And the whole earth was of one lan­guage, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they jour­neyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shi­nar; and they dwelt there (KJV). The argu­ment goes like this: If you trans­late the Hebrew miqqe­dem mdqm as: from the east, as the KJV does, it would clear­ly seem to indi­cate that the Ark must have land­ed some­where to the east of his­toric Shi­nar (Mesopotamia), in mod­ern-day Iran since it is that coun­try that is direct­ly east of Shi­nar. How­ev­er, if you trans­late the miqqe­dem as east­ward, as the NIV does, then you have the migra­tion com­ing from the west toward Shi­nar. Else­where the miqqe­dem is trans­lat­ed in the east (NEB), that is: men moved in the east, then, the direc­tion­al point is much more indefinite.

Giv­en that this migra­tion occurred sev­er­al hun­dred years after the dis­em­bark­ing from the Ark from the pre­vi­ous con­text of chap­ter 10, it seems best not to push this pas­sage too much. If you believe the Ark land­ed in north­ern Iran, or north­east Turkey, it would have cer­tain­ly been more accu­rate for the writer to say they migrat­ed from the north. Nei­ther the Elburz Moun­tains, nor Mount Ararat is direct­ly east of Shi­nar. The Bib­li­cal moun­tains of Ararat (Urar­tu) are direct­ly north of the plain of Shinar.

The appar­ent con­flict between Gen­e­sis 8:4 and 11:2 is more eas­i­ly resolved with a more indef­i­nite inter­pre­ta­tion in our opin­ion. It should also be point­ed out that that there is least a 100 – 300 year peri­od between the land­ing of the Ark after the Flood (Gen. 8), and the Tow­er of Babel event (Gen. 11). The peo­ples could have eas­i­ly moved from where the Ark land­ed to oth­er loca­tions east or west of Shi­nar [Baby­lo­nia] before the Tow­er of Babel sto­ry took place.

Final­ly we would cau­tion the author about advo­cat­ing the Mount Sulie­man dis­cov­ery based on unpub­lished reports of pet­ri­fied wood with marine fos­sils; etc (pages 105 – 109). Mary Irwin stat­ed: Until some­one comes home from an expe­di­tion, with authen­tic pho­tographs or a large chunk of the ark?s remains ver­i­fied by authen­tic sci­en­tists who have looked at the sam­ples through an elec­tron micro­scope and have car­bon dat­ed the piece, I shall con­tin­ue to be sus­pect of any­more ?eye-wit­ness? accounts ? Cornuke?s team, who orig­i­nal­ly made these claims in 2006 has nev­er pro­duced any of the above for peer review. It?s been more than six years! If the answer is neg­a­tive, that should be pub­lished also, so peo­ple do not go around writ­ing books and giv­ing lec­tures that they found Noah?s Ark on Mount Suleiman, north­west of Tehran!


Page 43. 1st line. Wyatt was not a psychi­atric nurse, but rather a nurse anes­thetist.

Page 43. 2nd to the last line. The tun­nel was in the Gar­den Tomb area, not the Gar­den of Gethsemane

Page 69. 3rd line. Jose­phus is the 2nd half of the 1st cen­tu­ry AD, not the begin­ning of the 4th cen­tu­ry AD.

Page 74. The quote attrib­uted to Ashur-nasi­pal was not made by him and not cit­ed as a quote by Olmstead.

Page 78. The Har­mon­ics foot­note does not appear in the bibliography.

Page 113. The date for the Olm­stead arti­cle is 1918, not 1998. The infor­ma­tion cit­ed is on page 231.

The Search for Noah’s Ark

(2008 Video Tape pro­duced by the BASE Insti­tute of Col­orado Springs, CO. $14.95.)

A review and cri­tique by Gor­don Franz, Bill Crouse, and Rex Geissler
Decem­ber 12, 2008


Adven­tur­er Robert Cor­nuke has pro­duced a new video which claims that rem­nants of Noah?s Ark have been found in the Elburz Moun­tains about 54 miles from Tehran, the cap­i­tal of Iran.

Cor­nuke is founder and CEO of the Bible Archae­ol­o­gy, Search and Explo­ration (BASE) Insti­tute of Col­orado Springs, Col­orado. In 2005 and 2006, Cor­nuke and select vol­un­teers, vis­it­ed Mount Suleiman in the Elburz Moun­tains look­ing for an object they sus­pect­ed might be the remains of Noah?s Ark. Pri­or to his claims about Mount Suleiman he was con­vinced that the Ark had land­ed on Mount Sabal­an in Iran (Cor­nuke and Hal­brook 2001). After his third trip to Iran in 2006 he post­ed arti­cles on his web­site detail­ing the rea­sons why he thought Noah?s Ark might have land­ed on Mount Suleiman, north­west of Tehran in Iran (some have since been tak­en down). Cornuke?s claims have been exam­ined and reviews have been post­ed on the web, and by mul­ti­ple authors. At the end of the reviews Cor­nuke was chal­lenged to pub­lish his find­ings from Mount Suleiman in a sci­en­tif­ic peer-reviewed pub­li­ca­tion but none have been forthcoming.

Cor­nuke, while couch­ing his claims in care­ful lan­guage, main­tains that he has dis­cov­ered the true Mount Sinai, the actu­al anchors from St. Paul?s ship­wreck, the loca­tion of the Ark of the Covenant, and now Noah?s Ark in Iran (2005). Now this mate­r­i­al is avail­able in a high qual­i­ty new video, the sub­ject of this review. Since evi­dence and claims are being made in this video which we believe do not estab­lish the case that Noah?s Ark has been found, or that it could have land­ed in Iran. How­ev­er, due to its excel­lent pro­duc­tion qual­i­ty, we are con­cerned once again that its sen­sa­tion­al claims will mis­lead the Chris­t­ian public.

Gen­e­sis 8:4 and the Moun­tains of Ararat

The video begins by argu­ing that Gen­e­sis 8:4 does not specif­i­cal­ly state that the Ark of Noah land­ed on mod­ern Mount Ararat in East­ern Turkey. That this Scrip­ture only gives us a gen­er­al loca­tion of the Ark?s final berth is one of the few points in the video with which we agree.

Main Premise of the Video

The main premise of the video, as stat­ed on the back cov­er of the video box, is that: ?Based on the tes­ti­mo­ny of the Bible, per­son­al inves­ti­ga­tion, exam­i­na­tion of evi­dence, and oth­er fac­tors, Cor­nuke points to Mount Suleiman in the mod­ern-day coun­try of Iran, as the most prob­a­ble rest­ing place for Noah?s Ark.? This premise, how­ev­er, col­laps­es on Bib­li­cal grounds and oth­er known facts.

Cor­nuke bases his con­clu­sion on five main assumptions:

  • The verac­i­ty of the Ed Davis tes­ti­mo­ny as to the loca­tion of the Ark
  • The region (coun­try) of Ararat (Urar­tu) extend­ed into the cen­tral Elburz moun­tain range in Iran
  • An inter­pre­ta­tion of Gen­e­sis 11:2 would mean that the Ark land­ed in Iran, east of Shi­nar (mod­ern-day, south cen­tral Iraq)
  • Oth­er ancient sources, for exam­ple Jose­phus, might extend the Land of Ararat east­ward into Iran
  • The rock out­crop they found on Suleiman is the Ed Davis object, is pet­ri­fied wood, and by impli­ca­tion, the remains of Noah?s Ark

Let?s look briefly at each of these assumptions.

The Ed Davis Testimony

First, the main rea­son Cor­nuke began his quest to find Noah?s Ark in Iran, is based on the tes­ti­mo­ny of a World War II sol­dier who claims he was shown the Ark in 1943. In fact, we would be so bold as to say that with­out this tes­ti­mo­ny we sin­cere­ly doubt that Cor­nuke would have ever trav­eled to Iran. The sol­dier in ques­tion, the late Ed Davis of New Mex­i­co, claimed that while sta­tioned in Iran with the Army Corps of Engi­neers he was shown the sites of the Gar­den of Eden and Noah?s Ark (Shock­ey 1986). Ark researchers, includ­ing the authors, have spent many hours ana­lyz­ing this tes­ti­mo­ny (Crouse 1988; 1989; 1993).

The sto­ry Davis tells is rid­dled with con­tra­dic­tions and puz­zling prob­lems. For exam­ple, in his ear­li­est tes­ti­mo­ny he indi­cat­ed he was sta­tioned in Hamadan, Iran, (Per­sia at that time) and because of a favor he did for his friends, they took him to the Gar­den of Eden and Noah?s Ark. In the very first record­ing of his tes­ti­mo­ny he not­ed that his native friends were Lurs or Lourds, a pre­dom­i­nant eth­ic group in west­ern Iran (Luris­tan) near the Zagros Moun­tains. How­ev­er, zeal­ous Ark researchers cor­rect­ed him that they were Kurds since they are the major eth­nic group in the vil­lages at the base of Mount Ararat. Hence from then on Davis calls them Kurds.

In sub­se­quent debrief­in­gs, Ed not­ed oth­er details such as the fact that he and his friends went through the town of Qazvin on their way to the moun­tain, and that he could see the lights of Tehran from the Ark?s site. It was these two facts that led for­mer detec­tive Cor­nuke to con­clude that Ed must have been some­where in the Elburz Moun­tains north of Tehran. Cor­nuke and remote-sens­ing (satel­lite data) expert Ed Hol­royd then began look­ing at satel­lite data of the Elburz Moun­tains to find a con­fig­u­ra­tion of canyons that matched Ed?s detailed descrip­tion. They con­clud­ed that just such a for­ma­tion exist­ed on Mount Suleiman. In 2005 Cor­nuke made his way to Mount Suleiman and found a large black rock extru­sion he came to believe was what Davis was shown.

What we find inter­est­ing is that while Cor­nuke believes he has found the Ed Davis object he does not tell his view­ers the whole sto­ry. Davis also declared that the Ark was bro­ken into two pieces and that you could see com­part­ments inside. Because of the hol­low nature of the Ark, he claimed that his friends had shown him arti­facts that fell out of the bro­ken Ark includ­ing lentils, beans, hon­ey, hay, feath­ers, nuts, dried fish, oil lamps, tools, clay vats, pet­ri­fied shep­herd staffs and pet­ri­fied woven twig doors! Davis and his guides viewed this ?Ark? object from the edge of a cliff and were plan­ning to use ropes to get down to it the next day. None of this descrip­tion is shared in the doc­u­men­tary, nor does it square with the object shown in the video. There is no cliff and no ?com­part­ments? and no arti­facts shown at this rock out­crop­ping in the video.

Most Ark researchers, how­ev­er, do believe Ed Davis did have some kind of expe­ri­ence; his friends prob­a­bly did show him some­thing as he not­ed in the fly­leaf of his Bible. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, accord­ing to Lur tra­di­tion (and Ed Davis? friends were Lourds) both the Gar­den of Eden and the final rest­ing place of the Ark are in the region of Luris­tan. Accord­ing to Major Hen­ry Rawl­in­son, the Lur tra­di­tion puts the Ark?s final rest­ing place on a moun­tain called Sar Kashti, a moun­tain in the Zagros moun­tain range of West­ern Iran about a day?s dri­ve from Hamadan (1839: 100).

The Bound­aries of Ararat/Urartu

The sec­ond major prob­lem with the Cor­nuke the­sis is that there is no evi­dence yet dis­cov­ered that indi­cates the region of Urartu/Ararat ever extend­ed as far north and east into Iran as he claims. In fact, in the video, Cornuke?s map doesn?t even cov­er the ancient cap­i­tal of Ararat/Urartu on Lake Van! This is a griev­ous error. What is at stake here is the inerran­cy of Scrip­ture. As far as these authors are aware, no Urart­ian schol­ar would put the King­dom of Urar­tu as far to the east as Cor­nuke claims even at the height of its empire in the 8th and 7th cen­turies B.C. At the most, it extend­ed only a few miles south and east of Lake Urmia. Most schol­ars are in agree­ment that when the author of Gen­e­sis referred to the moun­tain­ous region of Ararat in Gen. 8:4, he was mak­ing ref­er­ence to the region direct­ly north of Mesopotamia, cen­tered around Lake Van (Ziman­sky 1998: 2). The tribes and region­al kings of Ararat (Urar­tu) are first men­tioned in Assyr­i­an lit­er­a­ture in the 13th cen­tu­ry B.C. mean­ing it could eas­i­ly have been in exis­tence and known by Moses (Ziman­sky 1998: 6).

The Urar­tu archae­o­log­i­cal map) is extend­ed with more labels from not­ed Urart­ian archae­ol­o­gist Boris Piotro­vsky, who was Direc­tor of the Her­mitage Muse­um in St. Peters­burg and direct­ed the Urart­ian exca­va­tions at Karmir-Blour, one of the great­est fortress­es of Urar­tu (1969: back cov­er). In order to accu­rate­ly demon­strate how dif­fer­ent is Bob Cornuke?s map of Urar­tu shown in the video), the Piotro­vsky map of Urar­tu had to be com­plete­ly re-drawn (out­lined in blue) in order to add entire areas of land­mass to take into account Cornuke?s view of Urar­tu (out­lined in red and adapt­ed from the loca­tions shown on the video into a new map). Cor­nuke lit­er­al­ly leaves out 36,500 square miles of the accept­ed archae­ol­o­gists? view of Urar­tu. In addi­tion, it should be not­ed that Cor­nuke adds about 28,000 square miles of geo­graph­i­cal area to his map of Urar­tu with no archae­o­log­i­cal sup­port what­so­ev­er, allow­ing his map to include some of the north­ern and cen­tral Elburz Moun­tains close to Mount Suleiman.

The pre­sumed Ed Davis land­ing site on Mount Suleiman, north­west of Tehran, is far out­side the land of Ararat/Urartu (at least 250 miles as the dove flies from Urar­tu to Mount Suleiman), and deep inside the Land of Mada­ia of the Medes! This is a very cru­cial point to Cornuke?s claims. Is Mount Suleiman, north­west of Tehran, in the Bib­li­cal land of Ararat/Urartu or not? The BASE Insti­tutes case stands or falls on this ques­tion. Cor­nuke gives a vague, non-fac­tu­al answer to this ques­tion when he states:

When peo­ple talk about the bound­aries of Urar­tu — which is the Assyr­i­an des­ig­na­tion, Arme­nia, [the] more mod­ern des­ig­na­tion — They can?t be pre­cise. There is not a bound­ary that you can draw a line around. It expand­ed and con­tract­ed up to a thou­sand [1,000] miles based on war, or famine, or some kind of drought, very mer­cu­r­ial in the bound­aries. So we can say it?s just right in that area of Turkey, the area of Iran, the area maybe of Azer­bai­jan. It?s just right in that area of the world; we just can?t be pre­cise where in the area when we are talk­ing about Iran. It?s right where the Bible indi­cates it should be [12 min.:30 sec.-13 min.:08 sec. into the video].

How­ev­er, in the video, a spec­u­la­tive map of Ararat/Urartu graph­ic is shown that includes Mount Sabal­an and comes close to Mount Suleiman. Cor­nuke knows he must have the Land of Ararat/Urartu extend all the way over to the Elburz moun­tain range in order to give his dis­cov­ery any kind of cred­i­bil­i­ty. It is our judg­ment that this graph­ic is very inac­cu­rate and, in our opin­ion, decep­tive. As not­ed ear­li­er, this map does not even include the known his­tor­i­cal cap­i­tal and cul­tur­al cen­ter of Ararat/Urartu at Lake Van, nor does it include the Gordyene Moun­tains south of Van, the large Urartean site of Hakkari, nor any of Turkey or the tra­di­tion­al Hur­ri­an high­lands extend­ing west to Erz­in­can. How­ev­er, it does con­ve­nient­ly extend south to the cen­tral Elburz Moun­tains and the edge of Mount Suleiman where not one piece of evi­dence for Urart­ian pres­ence has ever been found.

Here is a brief sum­ma­ry of the region of Ararat/Urartu by not­ed expert Paul E. Ziman­sky and notice that none of the landmark?s he men­tions are deep with­in Iran. He states:

Urart­ian kings would have ruled all of the agri­cul­tur­al lands around Lake Van and Lake Sevan, and the south­west­ern shore of Lake Uru­miyeh. The upper Aras, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Armavir and Ere­van areas, was firm­ly in their hands, and con­quest took them as far north as Lake Cildir. Along the Murat, evi­dence for roy­al con­trol is sur­pris­ing­ly mea­ger, but suf­fi­cient to put the Euphrates at Izoli with­in the con­quered zone and the Elazig area in the nar­row­er sphere. Cam­paign inscrip­tions are found well to the east of Tabriz, but the near­est evi­dence for firm state con­trol in that direc­tion comes from Bas­tam, thir­ty-eight kilo­me­ters north of Khvoy. Miss­ing from this pic­ture are the large and fer­tile plains of Erzu­rum and Erz­in­can on the Kara­su, the north­west shore of Lake Uru­miyeh, the plain of Marand, and the mid­dle Aras from Jol­fa to the slopes of Mount Ararat. All of these are gen­er­al­ly assumed to be part of Urar­tu in some sense, and it is worth exam­in­ing oth­er forms of evi­dence to see if there might be some grounds for includ­ing them with­in the perime­ter of state con­trol (1985: 10).

Ziman­sky does not include the Elburz Moun­tains in the area of Urar­tu. Thus, it is NOT, as Mr. Cor­nuke claims, right where the Bible indi­cates it should be!

Gen­e­sis 11:1, 2, From the East

There is a third rea­son why we believe that Cor­nuke is wrong. The Gen­e­sis 11:1 and 2 pas­sage is too weak an argu­ment to use as a place ref­er­ence. The pas­sage states: ?And the whole earth was of one lan­guage, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they jour­neyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shi­nar; and they dwelt there? (KJV). The argu­ment goes like this: If you trans­late the Hebrew miqqe­dem mdqm as: from the east, as the KJV does, it would clear­ly seem to indi­cate that the Ark must have land­ed some­where to the east of his­toric Shi­nar (Mesopotamia), in mod­ern-day Iran since it is that coun­try that is direct­ly east of Shi­nar. How­ev­er, if you trans­late the miqqe­dem as east­ward, as the NIV does, then you have the migra­tion com­ing from the west toward Shi­nar. Else­where the miqqe­dem is trans­lat­ed in the east (NEB), that is: men moved in the east, then, the direc­tion­al point is much more indefinite.

Giv­en that this migra­tion occurred sev­er­al hun­dred years after the dis­em­bark­ing from the Ark from the pre­vi­ous con­text of chap­ter 10, it seems best not to push this pas­sage too much. Wen­ham favors in the east when the miqqe­dem is used adver­bial­ly as in 2:8; 12:8; and Isa. 9:12 (1991: 238). In addi­tion, Math­ews believes miqqe­dem marks events of sep­a­ra­tion, so it can also have a metaphor­i­cal sense (1996:1:478). If you do select the more spe­cif­ic, direc­tion­al inter­pre­ta­tion as Cor­nuke does (as in the KJV), and you believe the Ark land­ed in north­ern Iran, or north­east Turkey, it would have cer­tain­ly been more accu­rate for the writer to say they migrat­ed from the north. Nei­ther the Elburz Moun­tains, nor Mount Ararat is direct­ly east of Shi­nar. The Bib­li­cal moun­tains of Ararat (Urar­tu) are direct­ly north of the plain of Shinar.

The appar­ent con­flict between 8:4 and 11:2 is more eas­i­ly resolved with a more indef­i­nite inter­pre­ta­tion in our opin­ion. It should also be point­ed out that that there is least a 100 – 300 year peri­od between the land­ing of the Ark after the Flood (Gen. 8), and the Tow­er of Babel event (Gen. 11). The peo­ples could have eas­i­ly moved from where the Ark land­ed to oth­er loca­tions east or west of Shi­nar [Baby­lo­nia] before the Tow­er of Babel sto­ry took place.

The Ancient Sources

Fourth, one of Cornuke?s experts in the video, Frank Turek, briefly dis­cuss­es the ancient sources. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the edit­ing in the video is bad at this point. Only the last part of a longer state­ment about Jose­phus and Nico­las of Dam­as­cus is giv­en that seems to sug­gest that Ararat/Urartu extend­ed fur­ther east than pre­vi­ous­ly thought.

Let?s exam­ine one pas­sage in Jose­phus. In Antiq­ui­ties of the Jews 20:24, 25 (LCL 10:15), Jose­phus recounts the sto­ry of Monobazus, the king of Adi­a­bene and the hus­band of Queen Hele­na, who want­ed to see his son Izates before he died. The cap­i­tal of Adi­a­bene was Arbela in north­ern Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). When Monobazus saw his son, he gave Izates the dis­trict of Car­ron. The land of Car­ron is described as a place with ?excel­lent soil for the pro­duc­tion of amo­mum in the great­est abun­dance; it also pos­sess­es the remains of the ark in which report has it that Noah was saved from the flood, remains which to this day are shown to those who are curi­ous to see them.? The land of Car­ron must be in the moun­tains just to the north of Mesopotamia. These moun­tains would be in present day south­east­ern Turkey, but they were nev­er con­sid­ered to be part of what is now present day Iran!

Pet­ri­fied Wood?

The fifth line of argu­ment may be the weak­est of all. In the video there are claims that the rock that was brought back from Mount Suleiman was pet­ri­fied wood and that it con­tained ani­mal hairs of var­i­ous kinds, bird fol­li­cles, savan­nah grass, seeds, insects, and oth­er such things. This mate­r­i­al should have been pub­lished first in a sci­en­tif­ic peer-reviewed pub­li­ca­tion, either archae­o­log­i­cal or geo­log­i­cal, so that the schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ty could see the doc­u­ment­ed evi­dence and ana­lyze it. The review­ers seri­ous­ly doubt that this rock out­crop is any­thing but a solid­i­fied vol­canic lava extru­sion. This can look exact­ly like pet­ri­fied wood in the way it frac­tures and can even have cel­lu­lar struc­tures when seen under a micro­scope. The view­er should be very care­ful about tak­ing this evi­dence at face val­ue until fur­ther doc­u­men­ta­tion is avail­able. For a dis­cus­sion of the geol­o­gy of Mount Suleiman, see: Ganss­er and Huber 1962: 583 – 630.


On the sleeve of the video case it states that this video is a Dove Fam­i­ly Approved doc­u­men­tary. It is our opin­ion that this should not have been approved because the video, in our opin­ion, does not accu­rate­ly present the facts as rec­og­nized by experts in the field, i.e., the map with the sup­posed bound­aries of Urar­tu. In addi­tion, it is fac­tu­al­ly inac­cu­rate and based on a ques­tion­able eye-wit­ness. Also, in the cred­its at the end of the video one of the authors of this arti­cle (Bill Crouse) is list­ed as an advi­sor. This was not autho­rized and he in no way wish­es it to be seen as an endorse­ment of the material.

We have also not­ed how care­ful­ly at times state­ments are word­ed in the video. On the cov­er of the video box and the begin­ning of the video, they build up the fact that they are look­ing for Noah?s Ark. By the end of the video, they don?t claim they found Noah?s Ark, but rather the Ed Davis object. One won­ders if this is a very clever change in case some­body chal­lenges the con­tent of the video. Our opin­ion is that they have found neither.

We would cau­tion those who read this: If you are con­sid­er­ing for­ward­ing this review to anoth­er Chris­t­ian who is enthused about this so-called dis­cov­ery, as well as oth­ers from the BASE Insti­tute, we pray that you do it with a sen­si­tive and kind spir­it. It might be good to pref­ace the review with a ques­tion: Have you con­sid­ered, or would you be inter­est­ed in read­ing a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive about these discoveries?

In this review we want it to be per­fect­ly clear that in no way is this review intend­ed as a per­son­al affront, either about Bob Cor­nuke, or any­one who appears in the video. Our sole con­cern, at this point, is to review the infor­ma­tion and make informed com­ments. If it was the motive of the pro­duc­ers to instill con­fi­dence among believ­ers that the Bible is true this in our opin­ion sets a poor prece­dent, and could have the oppo­site result. Even worse, it may be a poor tes­ti­mo­ny to unbelievers.


Corbin, B. J.
1999 The Explor­ers of Ararat: And the Search for Noah?s Ark. 2nd ed. High­land Ranch, CO: Great Com­mis­sion Illus­trat­ed Books.

Cor­nuke, Robert
2005 Ark Fever. The True Sto­ry of One Man?s Search for Noah?s Ark. Wheaton, IL: Tyn­dale House.

Cor­nuke, Robert; and Hal­brook, David
2001 In Search of the Lost Moun­tains of Noah. The Dis­cov­ery of the REAL Moun­tains of Ararat. Nashville, TN: Broad­man and Holman.

Crouse, Bill
1988 Is the Ark in the Aho­ra Gorge? Ararat Report #14 (Jan.-Feb.).

1989 The Ed Davis Tes­ti­mo­ny: An Adden­dum. Ararat Report #20 (Jan.-Feb.).

1993 Mod­ern Eye­wit­ness­es: Are They Reli­able? Ararat Report #32 (May).

Crouse, Bill; and Franz, Gordon
2006 Mount Cudi ? True moun­tain of Noah?s Ark. Bible and Spade 19/4: 99 – 113.

Ganss­er, Augus­to; and Huber, Heinrich
1962 Geo­log­i­cal Obser­va­tions in the Cen­tral Elburz, Iran. Schweiz­erische Min­er­al­o­gis­che und Pet­ro­graphis­che Mit­teilun­gen 42: 583 – 630.

Geissler, Rex; Basaran, Cevat; and Keles, Vedat
2006 Mount Ararat Archae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey. Bible and Spade 21/3: 70 – 96.

1965 Antiq­ui­ties of the Jews. Book 20. Vol. 10. Trans. by L. H. Feld­man. Cam­bridge, MA: Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty. Loeb Clas­si­cal Library 456. Reprint­ed 1981.

Math­ews, Kenneth
1996 Gen­e­sis. Vol. 1. Nashville, TN: Broad­man and Holman.

Piotro­vsky, Boris B.
1969 The Ancient Civ­i­liza­tion of Urar­tu: An Archae­o­log­i­cal Adven­ture. Trans. by James Hog­a­rth, from Russ­ian. New York: Cowles Book.

Rawl­in­son, Major Henry
1839 Notes on a March from Zohab, at the Foot of Zagros, along the Moun­tains to Khuzis­tan (Susiana), and from Thence Through the Province of Luris­tan to Kir­man­shah, in the Year 1836. Jour­nal of the Roy­al Geo­graph­i­cal Soci­ety of Lon­don 9: 26 – 116.

Shock­ey, Don
1986 The Painful Moun­tain. Fres­no, CA: Pioneer.

Wen­ham, Gordon
1991 Word Bib­li­cal Com­men­tary. Gen­e­sis 1 – 15. Vol. 1. Mil­ton Keynes, Eng­land: Word (UK).

Ziman­sky, Paul
1985 Ecol­o­gy and Empire: The Struc­ture of Urart­ian State, Chica­go: Uni­ver­si­ty of Chicago.

1998 Ancient Ararat: A Hand­book of Urart­ian Stud­ies. Del­mar, NY: Car­a­van Books.

About the authors:

Gor­don Franz is Bible teacher, and an archae­ol­o­gist on the staff of the Asso­ciates for Bib­li­cal Research,

Bill Crouse is a researcher and pres­i­dent of Chris­t­ian Infor­ma­tion Ministries
Chris­t­ian Infor­ma­tion Min­istries | Defend­ing His­toric Chris­t­ian Faith in a Post­mod­ern World

Rex Geissler is a com­put­er spe­cial­ist, pub­lish­er, Ark researcher, and the pres­i­dent of Archae­o­log­i­cal Imag­ing Research Con­sor­tium (ArcImag­ing)

The Bible Code Review

The Bible Code. By Michael Dros­nin. New York: Simon & Schus­ter, 1997. The Sig­na­ture of God. By: Grant R. Jef­frey. Ontario, Cana­da: Fron­tier Research Pub­li­ca­tions, 1996. Crack­ing the Bible Code. By: Jef­frey Sati­nover. NewYork: William & Mor­row, 1997.

Reviewed by Bill Crouse
Tea leaves, stars, the entrails of sheep, and crys­tal balls have all been used as medi­ums for divin­ing the?future. One would hard­ly imag­ine that the Bible could be con­strued in such a way, but it has! One would have to pre­sume that such a decep­tion must be beyond Satan’s wildest dreams. Think about it! Mis­di­rect­ing men’s thoughts from the clear word of God to words divined from Scrip­ture – peo­ple study­ing the Bible not for its ordi­nary sur­face mean­ing, but it’s secret and hid­den mes­sages! Might I be so bold to sug­gest that such a pro­ce­dure bor­ders on blas­phe­my. All types of div­ina­tion are strict­ly for­bid­den in Scrip­ture (Deut. 18:10). This new-fan­gled approach to divin­ing mes­sages from “behind,” “around” and “under” the words of Scrip­ture is not new. It goes back at least to the 12th Cen­tu­ry in Ger­many when Hasidic Jews began to attribute mys­ti­cal qual­i­ties to Scrip­ture and to the let­ters of the Hebrew alpha­bet. Today this occult prac­tice is known as Cabal­ism. It arose out of pagan Greek phi­los­o­phy (Pythago­ras) which taught that ulti­mate real­i­ty was com­posed of num­bers. The Cabal­ists believed there were sev­er­al lev­els of mean­ing in the text of Scrip­ture: one that was on the sur­face and obvi­ous, and sev­er­al oth­er lev­els deeply embed­ded in the text?that could only be dis­cov­ered if one knew the secret for­mu­la. One method (gema­tria) of find­ing this hid­den mean­ing was car­ried out by assign­ing numer­i­cal value?to let­ters in the alpha­bet and then adding the sums to find the hid­den mean­ing. For exam­ple, the Hebrew text of Gen­e­sis 1:1 has sev­en words, and the num­ber of let­ters in the verse is 28, a num­ber divis­i­ble by sev­en. When more 7s and mul­ti­ples of 7s were found in the same chap­ter, it was deter­mined the num­ber 7 had mys­ti­cal mean­ing and was there­fore the author’s real message.

Sev­er­al years ago the Israeli math­e­mati­cian, Eliyahu Rips, locat­ed a rare book by a Pol­ish Rab­bi who devised codes for find­ing hid­den mes­sages in Scrip­ture. The Rab­bi’s method involved the labo­ri­ous method of count­ing equidis­tant spaces between the Hebrew let­ters. For exam­ple, start­ing with the first time the let­ter “t” (in Hebrew) occurs in the book of Gen­e­sis, and count­ing ahead 49 let­ters you would arrive at an “o.” Then, by count­ing ahead anoth­er 49 let­ters and find­ing an “r” you would even­tu­al­ly spell the word “Torah.” Rips decid­ed to see what would hap­pen if he har­nessed the pow­er of the com­put­er to work these codes. What he found (in 1986) was so amaz­ing that he got his results pub­lished in a pres­ti­gious jour­nal of math­e­mat­ics and sta­tis­tics. Rips, for exam­ple, found 25 names of trees and plants native to Israel embed­ded in the text of Gen­e­sis 2:7 – 3:3. Among his oth­er dis­cov­er­ies were the names of 32 promi­nent Rab­bis in Israel’s his­to­ry along with places and times of their births and deaths in close prox­im­i­ty in the text. The main point of Rips’ jour­nal arti­cle was that this was a sta­tis­ti­cal anom­aly that was not due to mere chance. His method became known at equidis­tant let­ter sequenc­ing (ELS). His pro­ce­dure was rough­ly as fol­lows: with the text of the Torah (the first five books of the OT) in his?computer, he elim­i­nat­ed all spaces between the words cre­at­ing a long sequence of 304,805 let­ters (con­so­nants only in Hebrew).

He next arranged the text in pages, in effect cre­at­ing cross-word puz­zles. Then he instruct­ed the computer?to find a cer­tain word in Hebrew that appeared with equidis­tant sequenc­ing. Once he found a word or name, he would then look to see if any relat­ed facts might occur in the near­by text. One of Rips’ col­leagues found the word “Auschwitz,” and, lo and behold, in the text he also found the names of oth­er con­cen­tra­tion camps! Enter Michael Dros­nin. He seems to have impeccable?credentials. He was a reporter for The Wash­ing­ton Post, The Wall Street Jour­nal, and wrote a best-sell­ing biog­ra­phy of Howard Hugh­es. His book, The Bible Code was on the best-sell­er list for months. The book cre­at­ed quite a stir in Eng­land and among col­lege stu­dents. Dros­nin’s book is about Rips’ dis­cov­ery. But it is more than that. After acquir­ing a copy of the com­put­er pro­gram, Dros­nin launched his own research. His results and sub­se­quent claims are what made the book a sen­sa­tion. In the book, he claims he found a pre­dic­tion of Yitzak Rabin’s assas­si­na­tion. He fur­ther claims that he warned Rabin pri­or to the event. After the assas­si­na­tion, Dros­nin claimed he found the assas­s­in’s name embed­ded in the text. In the course of the book’s 200 plus pages, Dros­nin makes many oth­er claims about the codes pre­dic­tive qual­i­ty. The impli­ca­tion he presents is that this is super­nat­ur­al, yet he con­tin­u­al­ly denies that he believes in a god. I guess this is sup­posed to make his claims more cred­i­ble to the scientific?community. Dros­nin believes vir­tu­al­ly all knowl­edge, real and hypo­thet­i­cal, is to be found encod­ed in the Bible. He also does his share of hedg­ing his bets. While he def­i­nite­ly pro­motes the predictive?characteristic, he nev­er­the­less, believes that the future is not deter­mined, and what is pre­dict­ed will not of neces­si­ty occur. Once a prophe­cy is known, like Rabin’s assas­si­na­tion, the future can be altered.

Appar­ent­ly, this God he does not believe in, does not know the future infal­li­bly, or either is pow­er­less to pre­vent cer­tain events from hap­pen­ing. This is very akin to the the­o­log­i­cal writ­ing (process the­ol­o­gy) of Rab­bi Harold Kush­n­er in his pop­u­lar book: Why Do Bad Things Hap­pen To Good Peo­ple? Pro­fes­sor Rips, who intro­duced Dros­nin to the codes, has lashed out at Dros­nin and oth­ers who use the codes for pre­dic­tion, but iron­i­cal­ly, many things found by Rips and his col­leagues were also future at the time the first five books of the OT were writ­ten (Auschwitz, for example).

The con­cept of the bible codes is fatal­ly flawed at numer­ous points. I will men­tion sev­er­al, and then refer you to oth­er sources for more detail. First, the way the pages are laid out is arbi­trary. How many let­ters you allow on a page is pure­ly the deci­sion of the com­put­er oper­a­tor. This affects par­tic­u­lar­ly words that are found ver­ti­cal­ly or diag­o­nal­ly (as in cross­word puz­zles). Sec­ond­ly, the
Hebrew text they use is not the same as the orig­i­nal man­u­scripts. There are vari­ants and tex­tu­al prob­lems that will affect the out­come. Third­ly, Dros­nin’s trans­la­tion of Hebrew leaves much to be desired. For exam­ple, in his most pub­li­cized piece of evi­dence, the pre­dic­tion of Rabin’s death, he trans­lates the?passage in Dt. 4:42 (the con­text is the cities of refuge), where Rabin’s name appears via the code, as “assas­sin will assas­si­nate.” The cor­rect trans­la­tion is: “mur­der­er who mur­ders.” Many oth­er exam­ples are cit­ed by crit­ics. Fourth­ly, and per­haps the most damming of all, is the fact that it has been demon­strat­ed by crit­ics, that by using the same method, the same results can be obtained in oth­er works of literature.

Oth­er books that have been tried suc­cess­ful­ly are Moby Dick and War and Peace. Sad­ly enough, sev­er­al evan­gel­i­cal min­is­ters and writ­ers have jumped on this band­wag­on and have pro­claimed in books and on cable tele­vi­sion that the bible codes are proof of divine inspi­ra­tion of Scrip­ture. Such is the book, The Sig­na­ture of God by Grant Jef­frey. Jef­frey thinks it is sig­nif­i­cant that “Yeshua,” the OT name for Jesus,?is found thou­sands of times encod­ed in the OT. What he does not know or admit, is so does the name Bud­dha and Mohammed! There are demon­stra­ble rea­sons why “Yeshua” might be found thou­sands of times. In Hebrew, “Yeshua” is writ­ten with only three con­so­nants and they hap­pen to be three of the most fre­quent­ly used in Hebrew.

In my opin­ion these books are not worth your time or mon­ey. Ini­tial­ly, it was an inter­est­ing phe­nom­e­na that soon dis­si­pat­ed with close scruti­ny. The Bible is not some mys­ti­cal book with encrypt­ed and eso­teric mes­sages that can only be found through some com­pli­cat­ed method. While the Bible is a Holy book, it needs to be read in an ordi­nary way as though our lives depend­ed on it.

If you are trou­bled by the above books, or know some­one who has been snared by them, I recommend:

Decod­ing the Bible by John Wel­don and Clif­ford Wil­son. From my own expe­ri­ence, when Wel­don speaks you sel­dom need look else­where. No one is more thor­ough or knowl­edge­able about cults and the occult.

On the inter­net, check the excel­lent review by Probe staffer, Rich Milne,?at:

For an excel­lent book­let see: Deci­pher­ing the Bible Code by Mark Chalemin. To get a copy, send?$2.00 to the author at:

Fel­low­ship Bible Church North,
1700 Gate­way Blvd.,
Richard­son, TX 75080.

For the real­ly seri­ous, you will find a good Bib­li­cal per­spec­tive on numerol­o­gy in:
Bib­li­cal Numerol­o­gy by John J. Davis, and, Bible Numer­ics by Oswald T. Allis. To find these, you will have to look in the used book mar­ket, or check at the inter-library loan desk.

Chris­t­ian Infor­ma­tion Min­istries is a non-prof­it min­istry and is depen­dent on gifts from God’s peo­ple in order to oper­ate. If you receive a ben­e­fit from our mate­ri­als, would you con­sid­er giv­ing a tax-deductible gift to CIM. We sug­gest $25 a year minimum.
Send to: Chris­t­ian Infor­ma­tion Ministries,
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Richard­son, TX 75080.