Understanding the Great Flood


Last year the movie Noah was released in public theaters.  Of course, it was about the Biblical account of the great flood destroying all of mankind and land animals except for those who God had picked to be placed into an ark (a large boat) which God specifically designed and Noah built.

Often, when a movie is based on an account described in the Bible, the naysayers become vocal. The movie Noah was no exception.  Locally, I read an editorial newspaper article entitled Old Math Problem.

The author explained the real question was … how many inches of rain per hour would have to fall in forty days and forty nights to generate enough water to cover Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth.

The author made a few credible assumptions on volume and using a reasonable mathematical equation, he calculated it would require fourteen trillion inches of rain an hour to cover the earth’s surface to a height equal to Mount Everest in the limited time allowed.

His words of unbelief could not hide the smirk I suspect was on his face when, at the end of his editorial, he asked … how could it rain that much, where did it all come from, and where did all that water go in the five months Noah was in the ark before seeing land.

Although I feel sad for unbelievers, ignorance of what the Bible really says often inflames me. It certainly did this time.

The editorial writer was likely using a kindergartener’s understanding of the Bible or, more probably, never read it himself and consequently, made an incorrect assumption. So, let’s read what it says in Genesis 7:11.

In the year 600 of Noah’s life, in the seventeenth day of the second month, that same day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up and burst forth, and the windows and flood gates were opened.

Understand, the Bible is describing the occurrence of a cataclysmic event.  Then, AFTER THAT, the Bible tells us in Genesis 7:12:

And it rained upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

The flood had already occurred and whatever had triggered it likely generated the falling of rain for forty days and forty nights; the amount inconsequential.

So, what was the cataclysmic event that caused the flood? Here science provides a possible answer.  You may own or have seen a miniature globe of the planet earth.  If so, you will remember it is always shown tilted (about 24 degrees off perpendicular).  That tilt is what causes the seasons.

When God created the earth, He created it with no tilt. In executing judgment upon the perverse and wicked people alive at that time, He chose to tilt the earth.

I have used a routine experiment when teaching Sunday school classes to demonstrate the resulting phenomenon.

  1. Fix an object to the bottom of a bowl so it is stationary.
  2. Fill the bowl with water just below the top of the object.
  3. Place a slip of paper on the water away from the object as a reference point.
  4. A student then tips the bowl to one side quickly.

The result demonstrates what would happen when the earth tilts. The object slips into the water, but the reference piece of paper barely moves.  The lesson is the fixed object represents a land mass.  When God tilted the earth, the land was plunged into the water because the water was not fixed to the earth and, like my reference strip showed, the water did not instantly move with the land masses.

So, the “great deep” described in the Bible is the oceans. But is there enough water in them to cover Mount Everest?  Easy answer; the deepest known point in the earth’s oceans is called the “Mariana Trench”.  It is over 36,000 feet deep.  If one could put Mount Everest in the trench, it would be totally covered by more than one mile of water.

The conclusion is clear and the “Old Math Problem” is meaningless. There is no need to worry about how it could rain 14 trillion inches an hour or where it came from, because the flood was not caused by rain.  Rather, earth’s land mass was forced into the oceans when God tilted the earth.  And of course, after the tilt settled, the water gradually flowed back to its original position among the existing land structures.  Therefore, there is no concern for where all the flood water went.

It is amazing how Bible stories are always proven true.


2 comments on “Understanding the Great Flood

  1. Karen

    Thank you for enlightening me. Your explanation answered questions that I’ve always thought of as a mystery to be accepted by faith. Is it true that it had never rained on earth before the flood?

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