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Don Stewart :: Does the Bible Teach That It Did Not Rain until the Genesis Flood?

Don Stewart
Does the Bible teach that the earth did not receive rain until the Flood in Noah's day? Is it possible that the people had never seen it rain before the earth was destroyed in the Flood? Two passages seem to teach this.

Then God said, Let there be a expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Thus God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so (Genesis 1:6,7)

For the Lord God had not caused it to rain, and there was no man to till the ground (Genesis 2:5).

Some say these verses teach that it did not rain until the time of the Flood. The earth was watered by a mist until the Flood waters came down. The water source for the Flood, it is argued, are the waters above spoken of in Genesis 1:6,7. They had been stored up since day two of creation. God did not open these floodgates until He destroyed the world in the days of Noah (Genesis 7:11). Until that time the people had never seen it rain.

Donald B. DeYoung presents the case of no rain before the Flood.

The rain falling on the roof of the ark may have been the very first rainstorm on earth. Several lines of biblical evidence of this exist:

1.No mention is made of rain on the earth until the Flood (Gen. 7:4,12). The original earth and the Garden of Eden were watered by streams, rivers, and mist instead of by rain (Genesis 2:5,6,10). These sources may have been replenished from groundwater. Humidity and mist are still effective today in watering plants. Part of Adam's responsibility in the garden may have been to provide irrigation for the vegetation (Gen. 2:15).

2.The vapor canopy that may have existed prior to the Flood would have greatly affected climate. It could have ruled out rain showers. With a uniform temperature over the entire earth, there would not have been significant high and low pressure regions that produce storms today. From the moment the canopy collapsed, rain would then become an everyday experience.

3.The rainbow represents a special covenant or promise of protection from another worldwide flood. The rainbow's appearance to Noah may have been its first occurrence in the sky (Gen. 9:8-17). Typical raindrops of sufficient size to cause a rainbow require atmosphere instability. Prior to the Flood, weather conditions were probably very stable.

If the earth did not experience rain before the Flood, then Noah's ark-building must have appeared especially foolish to his critics. Likewise, the faith of Noah described in Hebrews 11:7 was especially strong. Noah was warned about things not seen, which is perhaps a further indication that rain was not part of humanity's early experience. Even with this accumulated evidence, a final authoritative answer to this question of pre-Flood rain is not known (Donald B. DeYoung, Weather and The Bible, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1992, pp. 112,113).

There Was Rain

Others believe that it did rain before the Flood. The Hebrew word translated mist in the King James Version is better rendered as stream as in the NIV. The picture therefore is not so much of an earth shrouded in clouds, as it is of an earth that had plenty of water from rivers to water the vegetation.

Before Fall, Not Necessarily Before The Flood

Thus the text seems to teach that there was no rain before the Fall, because there was sufficient water from the streams to irrigate the land. However, this does not mean that there was no rain after the Fall. After sin entered the world things radically changed.

Summary

As we examine the evidence it seems that the Bible says that there was no rain in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. The text does not say what happened after the Fall. Although a case can be made for no rain until the time of the Flood, we should not necessarily assume this happened. The evidence does not allow us to make any definite conclusions.


CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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