The Pitch for Noah’s Ark

Huibers Ark

Pitch is a black glue-like substance

by Dr. Tas Walker

Many geologists claim that Noah could not possibly have built the ark in the manner described in Genesis. They argue that pitch could not have been used to cover the ark and make it waterproof. Pitch, they claim, is derived from oil or coal, and if coal did not form until during the time of Noah’s Flood, he could not possibly have covered the ark with pitch.

For those who are not geologists, pitch is a black glue-like substance left behind when coal tar is heated or distilled. It belongs to the same family of substances as asphalt or bitumen. Today, it is largely produced by heating coal. Most modern geologists know of no other source for it. But coal tar and petroleum are not the only source for pitch. Anyone who takes the time to consult a reasonable dictionary of geology will find that pitch can be extracted by distilling or heating wood. In fact, prior to the rise of the petroleum and coal industries, this was exactly how pitch was made.

For at least one thousand years, the pitch-making industry in Europe flourished. It was the pitch from this industry which assisted in the construction of those great wooden sailing ships which figured so prominently in European history. Pitch making was a skilled trade, and many European surnames bear testimony to that fact today. In Polish, the word for pitch or tar is ‘smola’. Any Polish telephone directory displays names such as Smola, Smolander, Smolen, Smolenski and Smolarz. These surnames simply mean ‘the man who makes pitch’…

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image credit: Replica ark built by Dutchman Johan Huibers. Ceinturion, wikimedia commons