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Did It Rain Before Noah’s Flood?

Did it ever rain before the Flood?

The story of the great flood is one of the most studied events on the Bible Timeline. Some people are skeptical that rain took place on Earth before Noah’s flood, others are just as strongly convinced that there was rain even before the rain that caused the great flood. The Bible does not specifically tell us whether or not it rained before the Flood.

Both groups use the same verses of scripture as proof of their positions. The main ones are “the fountains of the great deep” and the “windows of heaven” along with the significance of the rainbow in Genesis 9:11-17. Others use History, Science and even rules of Literature to defend their convictions. Here are some of the most frequent, and a few controversial or lesser-known arguments for and against rain prior to Noah’s flood.

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Argument: No It Did Not Rain Before the Flood

The Rainbow: as a new sign of a covenant from God to man after the Flood (Genesis 9:11-17), suggests that rain was experienced for the first time just before the flood and rainbows only after the flood. [i]
Today’s Science: John Baumgardner, [ii] proposed the catastrophic plate tectonics model where during the onset of the flood, the ocean floor rapidly lifted up to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). Due to an increase in temperature as horizontal movement of the tectonic plates accelerated resulting in massive flooding. This phenomenon depicts the breaking up of the “fountains of the great deep” described in Genesis 7:11.
Water Canopy and Windows of Heaven: Dillow [iii] described water canopy, made of vapor or ice in the atmosphere surrounding the earth. Inundation of the canopy as the source of all the water required to explain a global flood may also refer to the “windows of heaven being opened” in Genesis 7:11.
Water Canopy and the Greenhouse Effect: Dillow and Vardiman [iv] cited that vapor canopy caused a greenhouse effect before the flood that explains the growth of lush vegetation on the land all around the globe. Even with just the aid of mist, validated by the discovered coal seams in Antarctica containing vegetation.
No Need for Rain: Genesis 2:6 could reflect the annual flooding of the Nile River every spring and covered the tillable land of Egypt. Water was channeled from the Nile to the crop fields through irrigation to resolve the lack of rainfall needed for plant growth. [v]
Today’s Science: a prerequisite for rain – condensation nuclei (typically less than .0001 millimeter in diameter) was largely absent before the flood. Water vapor molecules in the air have lesser chance to collide and fuse together. Without them, no rain can be produced. [vi]
Fountains of Great Deep: The “fountains of great deep” could also be seen as a series of volcanic eruptions with prodigious amounts of water (about 70% or more) bursting up through the ground supported by many volcanic rocks interspersed between the fossil layers in the rock record—layers that were obviously deposited during Noah’s Flood. [vii]

On the other hand, here are some viewpoints that rain occurred before the flood:

Argument: Yes It Rained Often Before Noah’s Flood

Todays Science: A river ran out of the Garden of Eden and parted into four headstreams – Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates (Gen. 2:10). The water from these rivers would pour into the sea. However, the sea would not overflow (Eccl. 1:7). With a hydrologic cycle, water from the sea evaporates then returns to Earth as rain thus, the sea never overflows. [viii]
The Rainbow: The Pulpit Commentary suggested that the phrase “I do set” in Genesis 9:11-17 grammatically connotes, “I have given, or have placed”, an implication that the occurrence of rainbow had already frequently appeared yet God took it as “new” sign. [ix]
Windows of Heaven: Refers to Rain Raqia (Hebrew word “expanse”) occurs 18 times in 15 verses of the Old Testament. In Genesis 1:8 raqia can be translated as “heaven” or “sky.” The “floodgates of the sky” might refer to a water canopy if “expanse” is never used in the later part of the Old Testament. But it can be seen from Malachi 3:10 and 2 Kings 7:2 which happened after the flood that this term indicates rain in general. [x]
Water Canopy Too Dense: Dr. Russell Humphreys [xi] reasoned that “in the expanse of the heaven” must have consisted of interstellar space therefore the waters above the expanse of Genesis 1:7 would be beyond the stars at the edge of the universe. Any kind of substantial water canopy above the earth would prevent the light from the sun, moon, and stars from being seen.
Water Canopy and the Greenhouse Effect: Earth’s atmospheric pressure doubles even with just 40 feet equivalence of liquid water canopy. A global water layer of only 40 feet deep that is 6.22 x 1021 grams of water would release 3.35 x 1024 calories of heat, increasing Earth’s temperature to 810°F.[xii] Definitely, animals and plants, including Noah and his family, do not survive long at this extreme pressure and temperature.
Other: Gen 2:4-25 is a highly structured topical account with a twofold focus on vegetation and humanity. Therefore, it is suggested that the coherent reading of Gen 1:1-2:3 (reading that coheres internally as well as externally with Gen 2:4-25) is topical rather than chronological [xiii].
Plants and the Need for Rain: Genesis serves as a preface to the history of Israel. The land of Canaan was a land cared for by God with rain from heaven. To keep the pledge to be loyal only to God would result in rain, vegetation, and life. But the Canaanites were tempted to turn to Baal, “the rider on the clouds,” in the procuring rain that resulted in no rain, no production, and death. God of Israel, our God created everything by His powerful words (Psalms 33:6), including the very first rain sent in the beginning, and has ever since sustained all things in His greatness (Hebrews 1:3). [xiv]


i. Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood, p. 241

ii. S.A. Austin, J.R. Baumgardner, D.R. Humphreys, A.A. Snelling, L. Vardiman, and K.P. Wise, “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History,” Proc. Third ICC, 1994, pp. 609-621.

iii. J.C. Dillow, The Waters Above, 1981

iv. L. Vardiman, “The Sky Has Fallen”, Proc. First ICC, 1986, 1:113-119

v. House Church Network Association, Did it Rain Before Noah’s Day?, 2005

vi. Sound Doctrine, Did It Rain before the Flood? 2000

vii. Noah’s Flood – What about all that water? pdf

viii. Weldon E. Warnock, Did It Rain Before the Flood? 1989

ix. Pulpit Commentary, (Vol. 1, p. 143)

x, xii Rich Deem, The Water Vapor Canopy Theory: Why the Bible (And Science) Says It is False, 2007

xi. D.R. Humphreys, “A Biblical Basis for Creationist Cosmology,” (Proc. Third ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 1994, pp. 255-266).

xiv. Dr. Mark D. Futato, Because it Had Rained: A Study of Genesis 2:5-7 With Implications for Genesis 2:4-25 and Genesis 1:1-2:3. PDF

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8 thoughts on “Did It Rain Before Noah’s Flood?

  1. The mist watered the ground, the river the garden. Ah! It did not rain befor the flood.

    1. Wh is there a confusion of tithing with the existence or rain before te flood talking about rain and tithing is like I Ig apples ad oranges 2 entirely different sbjects?

  2. Genesis 2:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
    Genesis 2:6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. (KJV)
    The Bible tells us specifically that it did not rain before the flood.

    1. It does say that it had not rained before Adam was in the garden.

  3. Gen.4: 2 ..but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Could he make canals for tilling the ground? Might not be. Hence there might be rains.
    Secondly, Noah is of 10th generation in the creation. Could there be canopy till the flood? Gen. Ch 6 says there was sufficiently huge population on the earth before the flood. Could they live with out rain. During the period of king Ahab, when there was no rain just for three and half years people suffered miserably.

  4. A volcanic winter is an ice age caused by super volcanic stratospheric aerosols surrounding earth + reflecting away the sun….once the aerosols clear enough, sun floods across an ice age,,,creating at first drizzle then lakes and always visible mist …..rain only occurs in a small arc too hot and rain evaporates b4 falling..too cold only ice + snow..but since there were mist and lakes it could not have been too hot…must have been too cold……a melting ice age would melt into rivers + all that precipitation wouldve been going up from all over a planet + once it got to the exact temperature where rain occurs……it all came down as more precipitation kept going up until finally it stabilized leaving a flooded world …Noah lived at the ending of a volcanic winter : )….ty Judith Woolworth Donahue

  5. The Bible does mention rain long before Noah’s time. Moses 7:28, Enoch, ancestor to Noah, says that God wept “…as rain upon the mountains.” How could Enoch know about rain hundreds of years before Noah if it hadn’t rained?

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