Where did the water go?
Where did the water go? This question is sometimes asked by those who don’t believe there was a worldwide flood. They think such a flood is impossible because there would be no place for the water to go after the flood was over. But there is a simple answer to this question. The water didn’t go anywhere; the flood ended when parts of the earth’s surface rose up to form the continents and islands that exist today.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
We can understand this better if we look at where the water came from in the first place. The answer to this is found in Genesis 7:11,12.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
There were two sources of water. One was rain, which fell for 40 days and 40 nights. But not all of the water was the result of rain. “The fountains of the great deep burst forth.” The earth broke open so that water that had been trapped underneath came to the surface and covered the earth completely. Whatever force broke open the surface of the earth continued to operate and made parts of the earth rise up above the surface of the water and thus ended the flood it had begun.
Some people answer the question of where the water went by saying that the flood wasn’t really worldwide but only covered part of the flood. This explanation certainly solves the problem of where the water went but it creates two new ones. Genesis 9:8-17 says:
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
God made a covenant with Noah and promised that he would never again destroy the earth with a flood. But there have been many floods since then, many of them covering large areas and killing many people. If this flood wasn’t worldwide then God has often broken the covenant. So we must believe one of two things: either the flood covered the whole world or God can’t be relied on to keep his promises.
But we need to also consider the sign of the covenant; God set a rainbow in the clouds. This speaks of the rainbow as being something new that hadn’t existed before. This means that before the flood atmospheric conditions were very different from what they are today and rainbows never appeared. A change like this couldn’t possible be local but must be worldwide.