The Biblical Account of The Story of Noah
We have seen some of the spiritual parallels between the account of this worldwide judgement in Noah’s day and the future judgment to happen at Christ’s Second Coming.
We could see pictures of Christ depicted in the day the flood began and in the way the family of Noah entered the Ark through one door. Also we saw the way the door was closed by the hand of God ensuring they remained in the safety of the Ark. In Part 6 we will cover the events of the arrival of the flood by considering the physical description of the flood. This is to give us a better understanding of what God is doing here and how He accomplishes it. So let’s begin by reading part of the text from the point when the flood waters arrive. And move forward from there.
Genesis 7:10-24 (NKJV)
10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.
17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.
Continuing the story of Noah, we’re going to examine the events portrayed here in four steps.
- First, we will review the details of the text so we can be sure we have a clear understanding of what Scripture tells us concerning the flood.
- Secondly, we will consult other Scripture to learn the source for the water God used to destroy the earth.
- Third, we need to understand the effects of the Flood on the earth.
- Fourth, we’ll learn where the water went after the Flood had ended.
As we read the text we see, beginning in verse 11, that the flood began with the fountains of the deep bursting open and the floodgates of the sky being opened. Looking at the Hebrew words for fountains and floodgates, we receive a clear picture
of the event.
- Fountains means a spring of water coming from the ground.
- Floodgates is the word “arrubbah”, which means chimney or window.
Imagine a hole in the clouds and water literally pouring through the hole or opening. So water fills the world from two directions, up from springs and down from the sky. The water from above falls for forty 24-hour periods and it falls across the entire globe for that time. There are no present-day meteorological conditions that could produce such an event. Today, as we know, the rain clouds drop water that was previously collected from the water cycle of the Earth through evaporation elsewhere on the planet such as oceans, seas, and lakes.
If the entire planet were experiencing rain simultaneously, it would quickly come to an end because there would be no new source for the water, since the evaporation of water could not happen while the entire Earth was experiencing rain. So clearly in this context, in Noah’s day, there must of been an unique source for the water coming from the sky above which is different than what we experience in the world today.
Next, we are told in verse 14 that the animals God has brought to Noah are voluntarily
entering the Ark in pairs. From the text there is no indication that Noah led, chased, prodded, dragged or coaxed the animals into the Ark. The text says the animals after their kind entered the Ark on their own at the appointed time. God clearly delivered them and brought them into the Ark. Every animal we have today was represented on the Ark, for the Bible says that every land animal after it’s kind entered the Ark. We should also take note that the animals were selected by “kind.” This word kind is a special Hebrew word that describes an animal type that was designed to diversify later into many subtypes over time. For example, from one animal kind we may have received all canines. By bringing kinds to Noah, God ensure all sub-kinds would be preserved as well without the need for as many animals to enter the Ark. Some of those subkinds exists today while others that left the Ark later went extinct.
Finally, we can also understand that the animals that were left on the earth
perished in the flood and their bodies were buried by the mud and sediment
deposited by the flood waters. Thousands of years later, these skeletal remains were discovered by archeologists, deposited in layers piled atop one another.
Next in verses 17-20, Moses describes the Ark being lifted up by the water and floating on the water. The water kept rising and rising until is prevailed over all the Earth. The water prevailed until even the tops of mountains were covered. In fact the text says they were covered to a depth of 22 feet. Moses tells us the depth of the water so we can be sure that the Ark cleared every mountain as it floated on the water. Based on the Ark’s dimensions, even if half of the ark were submerged, it would still have cleared the mountains.
Archeologists have been puzzled by the way wooly mammoths preserved frozen in ice are often found clustered together on the tops of mountains or hills. The logical answer is they fled from the water to the highest point and then drowned when the water finally engulfed the mountain peaks.
Finally, God confirms that the flood met its intended purpose, thereby every land animal and every person who remained on earth perished under the flood waters. Even birds died when they lost a landing-place and could not remain aloft any longer. To ensure that every creature died and to allow time for the decomposing remains to settle under the mud, the waters remains on the earth a long time. Specifically, the earth remained covered with water for 150 days.
Before moving to the next point as we continue the story of Noah, let’s take a moment to note how the world looks at this point. It is all water. If viewed from space, the earth would be nothing but blue. And remember how the book of Genesis began. The earth was formless and consisted of a formless deep (water). And the Spirit of God floated or fluttered over the surface of that deep. Now we can see what seems God restarting creation in a sense. The world is again covered in water and now the Ark (which is a picture of Christ) floats above the surface of the deep. The imagery is similar to draw a point for us that this is a restart of the world made necessary by the sin of man at the time.
So having examined the text up to this point, let’s see if we can answer the question, where did the water come from? First, we need to remember that all the work of Creation was completed on the Sixth Day. All the elements to create the physical world was done in six days and then God was done. He has never picked up that work again. So therefore, no new water was created for the flood. Whatever water was used in the day of the flood was water that was created back in the six days of creation. God’s work of the creation ended on the seventh day.
Hebrews 4:3-4 (NKJV)
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”;
Secondly, we need to remember that the world has never experienced rain before this moment. So the source of water must be something unique and not like what we experience today, as already noted the normal water cycle of evaporation, clouds and rain isn’t happening yet. Looking to Scripture, we can find the source of this water. First, there is a clue in the creation story itself.
Genesis 1:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament (expanse) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament (expanse), and divided the waters which were under the firmament (expanse) from the waters which were above the firmament (expanse); and it was so.
Clearly, as the world was being created, God placed water above the expanse of the air in the world. We refer to this suspended water as the atmosphere, which is true. But it is also clear that God stored more water above the Earth than we see suspended today. The atmosphere must have been especially rich in moisture or there was a supernatural suspension of large quantities of liquid water stored above for this very moment. Scripture seems to support the latter conclusion. First, we have the fact that the entire world experienced continuous rain for nearly 7 weeks. Secondly, the Psalms alludes to such a storage:
Psalm 148:4-7 (NKJV)
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
Finally, we have Peter’s testimony concerning the waters of creation.
2 Peter 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing (was formed) out of water and in (by) the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
Peter notes that the world was created “out of water.” This is in keeping with Genesis 1. But then Peter adds something interesting, in verse 6 he’s talking about God’s judgment of the Flood. But Peter says that the water used to destroy the world was the water of creation. Peter is teaching that some of the water of creation was set aside in the heavens and reserved for this day of judgment. God knew it was coming and made plans for it by storing water above the heavens and then He released that water on the appointed day. So the source of the flood was water stored in the heavens.
But remember we’ve already seen that there was a second source. The great springs of the earth were opened up. In verse 11 the word for opened is baqa, which means to cleave open or to split open, like splitting a log of wood. This description suggests that God tore open the face of the Earth. And looking at the world after the Flood, we can see the result of that ripping open. The continents were formed by the splitting of the Earth. And buried under the earth were springs of water set loose by the movement of the land masses. So, can you imagine the destruction created by this sudden, violent movement of the continents? Any earthquake we’ve ever seen would be dwarf in comparison. It was likely accompanied by great volcanic eruptions.
We are talking about the remaking of the Earth’s features. That brings us to the third point: the effects of the Flood on the Earth. We’ve already noted the movement of the continents and the deposits of fossilized animals around the world under layers of mud.
Also, the movement of so much water across the Earth – both during its arrival and later when it receded – would have resulted in massive erosion. Especially when the continents drained, the weight of all that water would have cut huge channels and canyons in the surface of the earth. Similar large-scale erosion was witnessed in the days following the Mt. Saint Helens eruption and the melting of snow from the mountain. This explains the formation of places like the Grand Canyon and the creation of river valleys and cliffs.
Next, we mentioned how the atmosphere before the Flood would have been very different due to the huge storage of water above the heavens. Now that all that water has dropped, the atmosphere must be very different, most likely drier and with fewer clouds. Furthermore, the storehouses of water below the ground have been released.
So the mist that rose up to water the ground will no longer be available. Instead, rain will now be a regular feature on the Earth. Additionally, the movement of some continents to farther reaches of the north and south will lead to a wider variety of climates. Some with harsher weather than before. Before all the land was located in the same place and
experienced a consistent and likely similar weather pattern. Now the continents have split, water scattering animals and plants everywhere, and the new land experiencing new climates. This explains why scientists find fossils of tropical plants in the middle of deserts or fossils of fish on the tops of mountains. Or wooly mammoths flash frozen in ice.
Finally, let’s answer the question of where did the water go? At first glance, it’s a tough question because it seems an impossible problem to solve. How do you eliminate enough water to expose the seven continents, leaving a third of the world’s surface exposed? We will find the details to this answer in Chapter 8 of Genesis. But for now we can find the essential answer here. In chapter 8 Moses will tell us that the water recedes over a period of months. And then in Psalm 104, we get a concise description of where it went.
Psalm 104:5-9 (NKJV)
5 You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
8 They went up over the mountains (mountains rose);
They went down into the valleys (valleys sank down),
To the place which You founded (established) for them.
9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.
In verse 5, the psalmist credits God will creating the earth. Then in verses 6-9 he describes the flood upon the earth. First, the psalmist says God covered the earth with the deep (teholm) meaning the waters of the flood. It was like throwing a garment over the Earth. The waters were covering the mountains, as Genesis verse 7 tells us, he says the waters fled at God’s rebuke. They hurried away, which communicates a clear image of the water receding quickly in a violent rush creating those canyons. Now notice the key part: the mountains rose and the valleys sank. This happens as the waters recede. The mountains on the Earth are made to rise upward above the water and simultaneously, the valleys of the Earth are made to sink deeper. If God raises one part of the Earth, He must lower another part, since no new material is being created. The mountains God raised were both the ones on Earth and others in the oceans. Islands are merely tips of underwater mountains and the valleys God deepened are the trenches in the sea.
The deepest valleys on Earth are in the sea, including the deepest of all, the Marianas Trench, it extends 7 miles down. If Mt Everest were placed in the trench, it’s peak would still be a mile and a half under water. As God created these trenches in the basin of the oceans, the water did what water naturally does, it seeks the lowest point. The water ran off the high slopes of the mountains and into the valleys in the oceans.
Today’s post gave us the chance to focus on the “how” of God’s work in the Flood.
We should let this story of Noah and specifically the Flood story draw our minds to the awesome power and wisdom of the God we serve. If God has the power to work these wonders on a worldwide scale, is there anything He can’t do in response to our needs or circumstances? And knowing His wisdom, can we ever doubt that whatever may
happen in our daily lives, it must be according to His wise and masterful plan?
Glory be to God!
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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