This gentleman is named Johan Huibers. He is a Dutch Christian who believes in a literal Creation, and as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible, he has done an amazing thing: he has built a life-sized model of Noah's Ark, based on the dimensions given in the book of Genesis. (Thanks to my friend Sophocles from Las Vegas for sending me this info via email--after you read this, why not check out his blog "a...sinner," which always has a great deal of interesting reading.)
The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was thrown open Saturday for the first crowd of curious Pilgrims and townsfolk to behold the wonder.
The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house.
Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.
A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine -Biblical Scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.
Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with occasional help from his son Roy. Construction began in May 2005. [Fr. James' note: Talk about a labor of love! Amazing!]
On the uncovered top deck - not quite ready in time for the opening - will come a petting zoo,with baby lambs and chickens, and goats, and one camel.
Visitors on the first day were stunned.
"It's past comprehension, " said Mary Louise Starosciak,who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacationwhen they saw The ark looming over the local landscape.
"I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big."
There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theaterwhere kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and his ark.
Huibers said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.
I sincerely hope it does too. How cool is that? If I ever find myself in the Netherlands, I'm going!