Home > creationism, deluge > >Did it rain before the flood?

>Did it rain before the flood?

>I don’t know that a definitive answer to this question is given in the Bible but it remains an interesting question.

Some have postulated men mocked Noah about a coming flood because they had never seen rain. Others have pointed to the rainbow covenant in Genesis 9 as a suggestion that rain was a new phenomenon, else rainbows would have been seen previously. The existence of rain suggests the existence of rainbows.

God spoke to the Flood survivors saying,

This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

But the promise of the rainbow does not mean that rainbows had not been seen previously. The rainbow is the sign of the covenant. As other commentators have noted, bread represents Christ in the Eucharist, yet bread pre-dated this. Jesus gave new meaning to the bread in this context. It is possible that God gave meaning to the rainbow.

Nevertheless there is at least some suggestion that the rainbow was new.

In Genesis 2 it informs us that the ground was watered by a mist or spring.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist [or spring] was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—

Prior to the Fall there was no rain, the hydrologic cycle was much gentler than the system we encounter today. The rain may have started after the creation of man, though I can think of no reason for this begin. A better case could be made for after the Fall given the cosmological consequences of Adam’s sin. Much changed at that time when we see the introduction of death into the world. Are there were mountains pre-Flood though likely of lesser size than the post-Flood ranges that we observe.

And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. (Gen 7)

If the highest mountains were covered by nearly 7 m of water they would not have been as high as they are now. There is plenty of water to cover a uniform earth to a significant depth, just not 8,000 m.

Mountains have an effect on the weather and their presence is one of the causes of rain.

If the world was essentially 1 continent before a peri-Flood break up then the movement of the ocean currents and the consequences of such would have been different in the antediluvian world.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (Gen 1)

If the waters are predominantly in one place—the seas, then the land would likely be in one place. Of course some of the water was over the land in forms of streams, rivers, mists and springs.

There is also the suggestion that even seasons are a post flood phenomenon, they are first mentioned following the Flood. While creating God said,

Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth. (Gen 1)

While this is a reasonable translation and is one followed by most versions, the word translated season is mow`ed, and it could be argued that the translators are reading their post-Flood assumptions into the translation. Mow`ed occurs 223 times in the Bible and is seldom translated season: 13 times in the KJV, once in the NET. The meaning appears to be related to appointment, whether that be time or place. So in Genesis the sense would be appointed times; seasons if they existed, but possibly months or years, or the general sense of maintaining a calendar for whatever reason (eg. festivals). The word usually used for season is the word for time (`eth). That it is not used here suggests an emphasis on appointed times. It seems a reasonable translation is:

Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs for (appointed) times, and for days and for years,…

The first mention of seasons explicitly is immediately following the Flood. After Noah offers a sacrifice God says,

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. (Gen 8)

It is very possible that it rained before the Flood. That rain occurred at the time of the Flood and the mention of the rainbow as a sign certainly does not preclude it. However other passages suggest that the pre-Fall and very possibly the pre-Flood climate did not experience the current hydrologic cycle of rain (and snow). Pre-Flood we have:

  • Ground watered by mist or spring
  • A single continent of land
  • A landscape with hills or small mountains
  • No mention of specific seasons
Categories: creationism, deluge
  1. Ba
    2008 April 28 at 11:15

    Hey Bethyada
    I am enjoying reading your mind (so to speak)
    keep up the work.
    You know I have often thought about Garden of Eden pre-fall. Was there sickness? Well, we know there was not death. What about injury? For instance Adam falling out a tree and breaking a leg.
    What about a cut. Was healing immediately available or a process. If you have seen the TV programme Heroes, they have a character ‘Claire’ who is indestructible, she spontaneously generates. If there was no death, was that the mechanism that God used? I think since he walked the garden, it is more likely that he would have a hand in the healing (if there was injury)
    It is very difficult to imagine a place without the injury and pain we have, because so many of our theories and experiences revolve around the fall and it’s consequences.
    I think that is why Jesus didn’t talk too much about heaven. First it’s not that relevant to earth, and second we probably don’t have the hardware or software to compute it.

  2. TMAC
    2008 April 28 at 15:56

    But if Adam broke his leg after falling out of a tree, wouldn’t that be POST-fall :)

  3. 2008 April 29 at 00:17

    Thanks BA. My wife and I used to discuss this and ask about what may or may not have happened pre-Fall. Did metal objects rust? for example.
    Some have suggested that the 2nd law of themodynamics was not in place (entropy) but that is not a viable option in my opinion.
    I think God sustained Adam and Eve continuously. We can gain some insight from God’s activity to the Israelites in the desert.
    Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years,… Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. (Deut 8)
    God prevented the deterioration in their clothes on a continual basis; presumably somethng similar was happening in the garden.

  4. K White
    2008 July 28 at 19:37

    Rain before the flood was mentioned by our minister this week. He spoke as tho it was his understanding. I hate to say I had never heard that there was no rain before the flood. And your article doesn’t say for certain that there was not. Our minister said the world was surrounded by a mist and when it rained for the flood the mist “shield” collapsed and flooded the earth. And drowned the dinosaurs at the same time. Is this true or someone’s imagination?
    I am a creationist but can’t believe the earth is only 7 to 10 thousand years old. Please help me in this problem. Thank you. K White

  5. 2008 July 29 at 10:22

    K White, I am not certain whether you or your pastor is slightly confused on this one.
    Prior to the Fall Eden was watered via a mist coming up from the ground or dew on the ground. This was likely as a result of high humidity and minor temperature changes overnight. This has nothing to do with the Flood.
    The Flood was caused by rain and waters of the great deep (probably water released from the earth into the atmosphere). Some people claim that there was a canopy of water vapour surrounding the earth that collapsed during the Flood. This theory is related to one interpretation of Genesis. It is not universally agreed upon by creationists. It has nothing to do with the mist in Eden.
    The Flood however did kill the animals and many fossils are as a result of water and mud covering animals including dinosaurs and then the mud setting to stone. I think this is true, we find fossils and we know that they were buried very quickly. This is all consistent with flood conditions causing fossils.
    You need to be more specific with your problem on the age of the earth. Why can you not believe the world is 7000–10000 years old?

  6. K White
    2008 July 29 at 12:00

    Thank you for your reply.
    I wasn’t confused I didn’t know and never considered there was no rain before Noah’s time. Our minister did say there was a canopy surrounding the earth and it collapsed to flood the earth.
    I think the earth is much older than 7 or 10 thousand years. Have you thought of what a dot we are? Some of the stars we see are burned out by the time the light reaches us? How big? How Far? This is all God’s plan and not a accident.
    Thank you again for your reply.
    K White

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