Atheists have all manner of objections they like to throw at the Bible, all of which have absolutely no basis in fact, or represent fundamental misunderstandings of what the Scripture says. This is particularly true when they attempt to object to reading Genesis as historical narrative. One particular objection related to the Ark is often stated in a sarcastic, demeaning way….rephrase, most atheist arguments are stated that way. However, this particular one both always is stated that way, and is easily refuted with a little bit of thought. This article will address the “long walk” argument.
This argument, which many of our readers have probably heard at some point is that it would have been impossible for a given animal to walk from where they lived to the presumed location of the Ark in the Middle East. One example is an atheist saying that it would have been impossible for the penguins to walk to the Ark from Antartica. Another example would be saying it would be impossible for the kangaroos to hop to the Ark from Australia. Both objections have the same problems: they make huge assumptions about the nature of the pre-flood world.
The first assumption this atheist is making is that the pre-flood world looked exactly like the current world. They are assuming that Antartica and Australia both existed. If, however, there was a pre-flood supercontinent called Pangea which many creation scientists believe, then neither Australia nor Antartica would have existed in their current location. In fact, they would have been much closer to the Middle East. Further, since catastrophic plate tectonics, the idea that the earth’s plates were rapidly thrust apart during the flood, had not occurred prior to the flood, the mountains would have been much lower. This would make it easier to transverse terrain for any animals coming to the Ark.
The second assumption these atheists are making is that the Ark was built in the present-day Middle East. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us where the Ark was built nor is there any indication of where Noah was originally from. All we are told is that Noah built an Ark. Assuming that it was not located close enough to any animals that needed to get there reveals the bias of the questioner.
The third assumption is that the animals that needed to get to the Ark could not get there or would take too long for them to get to the Ark. With Pangea in play as a possibility, this makes it much easier for animals to reach the Ark. Further, we do not know where the animals in question lived in the pre-flood world. Kangaroos and penguins could have lived a few miles down the road from the Ark for all we know. Also, Noah and his family spent decades building the Ark. That is more than enough time for the animals to reach the Ark. This could have been a generational process as well for any animals that lived a long way away and move slowly. They could have made part of the trip in one generation, had offspring, and the offspring could then have continued the journey until they arrived at the Ark.
The common assumption, underlying all the other assumptions, is that that of uniformitarianism. The belief that the present is the key to the past, the uniformitarian view, causes the atheist to think that the pre-flood world must have been just like the current world. Obviously, this is not the case, not that this matters to the atheist. His only goal is to discredit Christianity, regardless of what it does to his own worldview.
The long walk argument that so many internet atheists offer is absolutely without foundation. The animals had more than enough time to walk from wherever they lived in the pre-fall world to the Ark. Further, they were likely to have lived much closer to the Ark than they would in today’s world. The objection simply holds no water. No atheist making this objection has either thought seriously about his objection or actually is interested in the answer, potentially both. However, it is good to be able to provide an answer, even for the less than well-thought-out objections that this world provides.