During research for my novel set during the time of Noah’s Ark, I found myself confronted by the age-old dilemma of whether or not it rained on the earth before the flood. It is a question that has no doubt dogged mankind since Moses penned the book of Genesis over three thousand years ago. As a former law enforcement officer and longtime criminal investigator, I decided to approach the question as I would any other case—by using my powers of logic and deductive reasoning. Yes, just like Sherlock Holmes.
Like any good detective, I began my investigation with an examination of the crime scene, which in this case is the current body of documented evidence on the subject. What I found is that arguments against an antediluvian rain basically fall into one of two camps: those who believe their interpretation of Scripture says so, and those who argue against it on purely scientific grounds. Both sides present convincing arguments, especially the scientific lobby, who rely on such geological hypotheses as hydroplate theory, vapor canopy theory, and tectonic plate movement to support their position. Both sides are equally dogmatic in their convictions. Fortunately, the one thing they seem to agree on is that the Bible doesn’t specifically say whether or not it rained before the flood, which we know to be true. And yet, it is precisely this ambiguity that continues to fuel the debate.
With all due respect to supporters of both sides; however, in my view the answer lies in a simple, common sense reading of the Scriptures.
Our first clue lies in Genesis 2:5-6, which says, “…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.” Many no-rain proponents point to these verses to support their belief that it did not rain before the flood. But, in fact, based on a strict interpretation of the Scripture, the only thing these verses suggest is that it did not rain on the earth before man. Instead, during this brief period before man was formed, the Lord provided a mist to hydrate the land, a natural and obvious progression of the processes taking place during the creation of the earth that began with His instruction to the waters in Genesis 1:1-7.
Others point to the fact that rain is not mentioned again until the flood, relying on an omission—never a strong defense—as indication there wasn’t any. Well, guess what? Sun isn’t mentioned either; in fact, the word doesn’t appear in the Bible until the time of Abram in Genesis 15:12. Still, I’m pretty sure it was up there in the sky somewhere (Genesis 1:16 mentions the “two great lights” God made to rule the day and night).
But what about after God created man? Verses 7-8 of Genesis 2 chronicle how God formed man out of the dust of the ground, planted a garden at the east end of Eden, and there placed the man He had formed. Genesis 2:10 says, “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.” Herein lies the first hurdle for those who contend the mist described in verse 6 above supports the theory there was no rain before the flood. If a mist was intended as the sole means for watering the earth, why was it necessary for God to provide a river to irrigate the garden? Or for that matter, the other four rivers He made to flow through and around the area of Mesopotamia at the time (Genesis 2:10-14)? It also seems to me running around naked in a garden surrounded by a full-time mist would have been an awfully uncomfortable environment for God to have provided for His finest handiwork.
So what do you think so far? Have you heard enough to convince you one way or the other? Join me next week as we again don overcoat, Calabash pipe, and magnifying glass in search of more clues to the truth about the existence or absence of pre-flood showers in part two of The Case for Rain Before the Flood.