“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. “
A common criticism leveled at those of us who accept the biblical account of the worldwide Flood is this: How could all those animals have been accommodated on the Ark? There are millions of species of animals. Where would they all have been put if there had to be two of every species?
Such critics deliberately overlook a number of important points.
Not every type of creature was needed. Only land animals and flying animals were taken. Aquatic animals would survive without being on the Ark.
Only animals with lungs were taken. These were those, described in Genesis 7:15 as having the “breath of life”.
The Bible does not refer to species. It refers to kind. An animal kind is a much broader classification than species, which is a relatively modern concept. For example, lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, and domestic cats are all in the Felidae family. The Ark would have held two Felidae, and all the others would have developed from these after the Flood.
Today there are 510 such candidate kinds of land and flying animals. If we suppose this is 33% of the pre-Flood total (as we are confident that it is for mammals), then there were likely to have been 1,700 pre-Flood kinds, requiring 3,400 animals. However, seven pairs of clean animals – birds, in particular – were required. In the “worst case” scenario, the upper limit of Ark inhabitants can be stretched to no more than 7,000, the average size of which would be about that of a sheep.
Thank You, Lord, that the Ark is a symbol of Your mercy. In the midst of Your wrath against that first world, You exercised mercy and saved Noah and his family by grace. Today, You still save people by grace, through faith. Amen.
Ref: Jeanson, N.T. (2016), Which Animals Were On the Ark with Noah?, < https://answersingenesis.org/creation-science/baraminology/which-animals-were-on-the-ark-with-noah/ >, accessed 4/30/2018. Image: Felidae, LittleJerry, license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.