The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.
The Definition and Meaning of the Noah's Ark as a Catholic Christian Symbol
Catholic Christian symbolism in art provides a clear graphic illustration which represents people or items of religious significance. What is the definition and the meaning of the Noah's Ark? The Ark was a boat built by Noah to save his family and animals from the Great Flood, or Deluge. Noah's ark symbolised God's judgment on sin and His promise of salvation and provision for His people.
Reference to the Noah's Ark in the Bible
The Easton Bible Dictionary provides the following definition, meaning and emblem for the Noah's Ark in the Bible.
Noah's ark, a building of gopher-wood, and covered with pitch, 300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high (Gen. 6:14-16); an oblong floating house of three stories, with a door in the side and a window in the roof.
It was 100 years in building (Gen. 5:32; 7:6).
It was intended to preserve certain persons and animals from the deluge which God was about to bring over the earth.
It contained eight persons (Gen. 7:13; 2 Pet. 2:5), and of all "clean" animals seven pairs, and of "unclean" one pair, and of birds seven pairs of each sort (Gen. 7:2, 3). It was in the form of an oblong square, with flat bottom and sloping roof. Traditions of the Deluge, by which the race of man was swept from the earth, and of the ark of Noah have been found existing among all nations.