The original question was:
I have always wondered where did all the water for Noah’s Flood come from? And even more importantly where did it go?
Answer by John Mackay
To answer this one we really do need to look at the ‘real history’ of water! Genesis records that when God created the world (Genesis 1:1-5) the Holy Spirit hovered over the ‘surface of the waters’. Since dry land is not mentioned until the third day, it is obvious that the picture here is of a world created covered by water, and therefore cool, and therefore also an absolute refutation of any big bang, hot molten blob theory. But it also means the world was created with enough water to flood the whole earth at any time since that’s how earth got started. Which makes Noah’s flood the second time the world was covered with water, not the first.
On the third day of creation, Genesis 1:9ff , we read -that God gathered the water into one place and he raised up the dry land and called it earth. The fact that the water is described as being in’ one place’, tells us that there was water surrounded by land, so most of the ‘first’ world was dry land. You can read more on this in our answer to the questions on Pangea and Gondwana.
For the purposes of this question it means that on the third day of creation, at the same time as the dry land was raised up, the water that was on the outside, went inside, while the inside came outside. It shouldn’t surprise us that we later read of ‘the fountains of the deep’ at the start of Noahs flood, when in Genesis chapter 7, we are reminded that the rain and flood waters came from two sources.
First there was the forty days and forty nights of rain, as the heavens above cracked open and literally fell down. Secondly there was the fountains of the deep where the water ‘below’ were stored. This also meant that there would have been massive tectonic shifting, because as the water that had previously been under the ground, began coming out, we saw the reverse of day three of creation because the inside than came outside and the outside land sank inside. That’s why you didn’t need to take the water to the top of any high mountain, you simple bought the water out from inside, as the mountains sank down, to meet the water coming up.
Now the data we have in Genesis 9 and in the commentaries by Hebrew writer of Psalm 104 concerning day 3 and the flood, tells us at the end of the flood the water ran off the surface of the earth, but this time the Psalmist reports, it would in future be confined to a place, where it would never again cover the whole earth. That’s the world we live in today.
Now to the questions : “Is there enough water on the earth’s surface to flood the whole earth and is there enough water in the clouds to rain for forty days and forty nights?”
The answer to the second is definitely no. But the answer to the first is a big yes. Many years ago when I was first getting involved in this debate, I came across the Time Life book on The Oceans which was rather emphatic that you could tip Mount Everest upside down and stuff it in the Marianas trench which is deeper than Mount Everest is tall, and you would still have enough water left to cover the earth to a depth of 3 miles (5Km) .
In other words, what has changed with the breaking open of the fountains of the deep and the later relifting of the land surface and thence to the present are the following: 1; before Noah’s flood the earth was roughly 75 % land and 25% water. 2; After Noah’s flood we now live on a planet which is roughly 75 % water and 25% land. There is still enough water to cover the earth’s surface. It is simply a question of the arranging where the continents and mountain tops are.
So back to our first question: “where did the water for Noah’s flood go to?” Its in several places. Most of it is in the ocean basins. Quite a bit is tied up in Artesian basins underground, and even deeper under the earth’s crust. A minor amount is tied up in ice.
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