SCHAGEN, Netherlands -- A Dutchman is building a replica of Noah's Ark that matches the dimensions of the vessel found in the Bible, an idea that started nearly 20 years ago.
Drive about an hour south of Amsterdam and you can see the ark. The big idea began with a dream in 1992.
"In the nighttime, I dreamed that a part of Holland was flooded. So the next day when I woke up, I said to my wife, 'I'm going to build the ark of Noah,'" Johan Huibers told CBN News.
A Bigger Dream
Despite objections from his wife and others, Huibers first built one replica, one-tenth the size of Noah's original ark.
More than 600,000 visitors came to see that one, but Huibers had a bigger dream.
Huibers built the ark the same dimensions as Noah did -- 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high.
The replica is huge. Some say the ark was the largest wooden structure ever to roam the seas.
To make a comparison, it is the length of one and a half football fields and the size of a five-story building.
"But exactly how do you build an ark?" CBN News asked Huibers.
"I didn't make plans you know. I had no drawings. I had nothing. I had the will to build the boat," he replied.
"I asked God everyday, 'Give me the ideas -- how to do it.' And God gave me day by day, so it was very easy," he said.
The ark also carries replicas of the animals that according to the Bible were carried by the original ark.
"We ordered them from the Philippines, put them into a container and put them in the ark of Noah," Huibers said.
"A real size elephant, you can see how big it is. Unbelievable! It must have been incredible in the ark of Noah," he added.
But is the story about Noah real? Huibers explained that there are more than 200 stories of a massive flood in ancient history.
"It's the same story. There was somebody who took all the animals inside a boat and he survived," Huibers said.
In addition, some people say the Chinese symbol for boat is a vessel plus eight people -- the same number of people on Noah's ark.
Why an Ark?
But why did this modern-day Noah want to build the ark in the first place?
"To tell the people about the ark -- who is God? That people start to read the Bible again," he explained.
"The Bible is just put away somewhere in the house. Nobody cares about it, but I will open their mind that they will start to read again in the Bible," Huibers said.
"When you read the Bible, God will be there and give you all the answers," he added.
Huibers' ark in Holland is not the only life-size replica of Noah's ark in the world today. In Hong Kong, Christian developers, along with the Hong Kong government, built a life-size replica in a modern-day theme park.
But unlike Huibers ark, it's doesn't float.
The Days of Noah
Huibers believes the ark is a sign of the days we're living in, just like in the days of Noah.
"They are terrible, like the same situation as in the time of Noah. Nobody cares about God. Nobody cares about each other. They kill each other for nothing. Unbelievable," he told CBN News.
Huibers said there are more signs of the times.
"There are floods all over the world, earthquakes, and you can read it every day in the newspapers. Volcanoes. I think we are very nearby the end of the days," Huibers said.
Just like Noah, people have criticized Huibers.
"It was a very hard time. Everybody asking, why? It's not necessary and you don't have permission to build the ark of Noah," he said.
However, Huibers and his team persevered. They expect to finish the ark by November of 2011 and hope to take it to the 2012 London Olympics.
And what's his message to the world?
"It's very important for me. When God asked somebody to do something, he has to do it and obey," Huibers said. "And don't say I can't do it. Just do it. That's my message."