Welcome back to our investigation of the prospect of rain showers on the earth before the Great Flood. When last we looked, the only thing we knew for certain from an examination of the Scriptures is that it hadn’t rained before man, that rain isn’t mentioned again in the Bible until the flood, and that God had provided other means (rivers) to water the Garden of Eden beyond the mist described in Genesis 2.
The next and perhaps most essential argument in favor of a pre-flood rain occurs as a result of the fall of man. Prior to this, it is clear God’s intention was to provide a comfortable life for man in paradise, which began with his placement there as recorded in Genesis 2:15: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” The Lord went on to give him the freedom to eat of every tree of the garden, except one, of course, and provided him with a suitable companion. In fact, the whole of Chapter 2 speaks of a beneficent Creator whose pleasure it was to give a life of peace and prosperity to those He had created—in a utopia made expressly for them.
Contrast this to the Lord’s demeanor toward Adam when the first couple are caught in their disobedience, documented in Genesis 3:17:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground …”
Can there be any doubt about what is taking place here? In His anger, God has signaled an end to man’s paradisiacal lifestyle, a decision He later solidifies when He forever drives Adam and Eve from the garden at the end of Chapter 3.
Now consider this. Man had just been sentenced to a life of hardship. It is, therefore, difficult to picture Adam sweating profusely from his face were he surrounded by a cooling mist or vapor. More likely, after man was expelled from the garden, he worked the land under the sun and counted on the early and latter rains provided by God, as remains the case today. So in this context, the curse is the catalyst for the beginning of rain on the earth. It’s the theory that makes the most sense. And it is supported by centuries of recorded history of man’s adversity battling the land after the fall.
In Genesis 4, we learn that Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain a tiller of the ground, occupations no doubt shared by their descendants. A thousand years later, Lamech referenced the garden curse when he named his son in Genesis 5:29. “And he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.’” In fact, we know that agriculture was the primary occupation and means for survival during Biblical times. It’s hard to imagine either of these pursuits, the raising of livestock or the cultivating of the land, being successful without the complementary life sustaining benefits of sunshine on the one hand, and intermittent periods of rain on the other. Ask any farmer today if he thinks the tilling of the soil isn’t as grueling as it was six thousand years ago.
And then we have Noah himself, who didn’t seem ignorant of rain when God told him about it in Genesis 7:4-5. “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made. And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.”
Yes, but what about the rainbow? Some have sought to rely on the fact that since no rainbows are reported before the flood, there must not have been any rain. They base this on what scientists tell us causes rainbows, raindrops refracting sunlight. But this theory completely discounts the omnipotence of God, Who tells us He set His rainbow in the cloud as a promise not to ever again destroy the earth by flood. So important was this promise, that nine verses of Scripture are dedicated to the subject, with the Lord stressing the significance of the rainbow covenant three times in those nine verses (Genesis 9:9-17). Given this emphasis, it seems reasonable to deduce this was a precedent setting first instance of the rainbow, not rain, on the earth, and that every other instance since then is meant to be a reminder of that covenant.
So what are we to infer? I suspect that at the end of the age, we’ll find Noah sitting in heaven with a big grin on his face like the cat that swallowed the canary as we all gather around waiting for the answer. But until then, I believe the Bible gives us enough information to draw our own conclusion. The Scriptures are clear that at the creation of the earth a mist did indeed cover the land, and that’s all. But later, and certainly after the fall, and for the next 1650-plus years until the flood, rain would have been required to sustain those plants and herbs the Lord had cursed man to cultivate in the sweat of his brow. Elementary, Watson. And that’s just one Christian cop’s view.
What do you think?Continue reading
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.Continue reading