Why was there NO RAIN
before the flood?
Q. I was told that there was no rain on earth prior to Noah's Flood. Is this true?
(Submitted by: J.K.)
A. Genesis 2:5-6 states:
"This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground." (Genesis 2:4-6, NKJV and emphasis throughout)
According to some this condition only lasted until shortly after the creation events mentioned in Genesis 1. So if this is true then this fog/mist began the hydrologic cycle, which eventually led to rain , and this condition was only short-lived. On the other hand there may be other factors to consider, which seem to support the concept of no rain.
Four Factors that support argument
NO rain fell before the Deluge
The Formation of Rainbows
"And God said: 'This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set my RAINBOW in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the RAINBOW shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. " (Genesis 9:12-15)
If it had not rained until after the deluge then rainbows
"in the cloud," would be a new phenomena. They would not have existed if it had not rained since they are created by the refraction of light passing through suspended water (rain drops). Others say that they existed before the flood when it rained, but that here they were associated with the covenant. This would be like bread and wine existing before the Passover of Christ but after the Passover these preexisting emblems took on new meaning.
There are Rivers mentioned in the Scriptures
Whatever hydrologic cycle existed before the earth was flooded would have to produce enough water to feed these rivers (1).
The Eve of the Deluge
Oil on canvas by John Martin
The World was much different before than after
The earth was DESTROYED by the flood:
"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
"And God said to Noah, 'The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will DESTROY them with the earth.'" (Genesis 6:11-13)
Consider the following:
Evidence points to the fact that, before the deluge, the earth had a year consisting of 360 days as opposed to today's year which consists of a fraction more than 365 days. A comparison of the Genesis account, Genesis 7:24, 7:11, and 8:4, shows that five months consisted of 150 days. This would mean that the pre-flood days were slightly longer than the present 24 hour days.
The great mountain chains and deep ocean basins were the result of the flood.
"You covered it with the deep as with a garment, the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
"They went up over the mountains. They went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. (The marginal rendering of the NKJV and various other translations state that "the mountains rose up and the valleys sank down.") You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth. " (Psalm 104:6-9)
In other words the deep oceans and the mountains were formed after the waters covered the earth. The present day oceans contain the former floodwaters and the continental land masse and mountains were pushed upward.
The earth's axis TILTED.
"Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants.
"The earth mourns and fades away. The world languishes and fades away. The haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants . . . Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. . . .
" . . . For the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken. The earth is violently broken. The earth is split open. The earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard and shall totter like a hut. Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again." (Isaiah 24:1, 4-6, 18-20)
The earth before the flood was a lush tropical forest with large amounts of vegetation. Since the days were longer the temperature was warmer. After the waters receded the ice ages began and the earth's ecosystem changed. Before God brought the waters there would have been less wind and atmospheric turbulence. Winds are caused by temperature differences cause by the tilt of the earth's axis, mountain systems, and ice caps. All of these cause unequal regions of hot and cold on the globe which produce the various winds. Therefore the pre-flood earth was warmer, had more vegetation, had smaller oceans, and had smaller or nonexistent mountains.
Few particles existed for water to condense around
Present day rain condenses around what are called condensation nuclei:
"Some atmospheric particles . . . formed by the evaporation of water from droplets of sea spray, are natural and even beneficial atmospheric constituents. Very small particles called condensation nuclei serve as bodies for atmospheric water vapor to condense upon and are essential for the formation of rain drops." (2)
If the earth before the flood had smaller oceans then the production of particles for water drops to condense around would be very small if not non-existent. Less atmospheric turbulence would also have led to few particles put into the air. After the waters receded, the change in weather patterns, the formation of condensation nuclei from oceans, increased volcanic activity and the increased wind systems would have produced rain.
On the other hand, since the earth would have been warmer and laden with uncondensed moisture, there would have been an extremely efficient condensation cycle. Condensed water droplets would have been bigger and more commonplace. The earth's would have cooled very rapidly at night. This drop in temperatures would have caused a very large condensation cycle. The earth would therefore have been watered, not by rain or rain drops, but by a very heavy mist or fog each day (possibly at sunset and sunrise).
1. Many people doubt that these rivers could have been generated by the processes mentioned in the previous scriptures (Genesis 2:5-6). Note that this was one river flowing out of Eden which separated into four rivers. The earth at this time would not have been as mountainous and the river therefore would have been of a slower gradient and would not have required as much water to fill as contemporary present day rivers. Also since the source of these rivers originated in Eden it is likely that they were fed not only by condensed moisture but also from underground aquifers or springs.
2. Manahan, Stanley E. Environmental Chemistry (7th ed). Lewis Publishers/CRC Press. Washington DC. p. 267. 2000.
Written by: Arnold C. Mendez, Sr.