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Discovery Magazine 10/1/2007

What Happened to all that Water?

If water once covered all of the land on Earth, including the highest mountains, as the Bible says (read Genesis 7:19-20), where did it all go? Just what happened to all that water?

First, the Bible is more specific about Who caused the waters to subside, than where exactly all of the waters went. Genesis 8:1,3 says, “God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided…. And the waters receded continually from the earth.” Years later, Isaiah recorded how God compared a promise He made to Israel with His promise “that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth” (Isaiah 54:9). Although the Bible does not tell us exactly where the waters went, for the Christian who believes that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, such information should be adequate—God did something with the Flood waters.

Second, it may be that the mountains were not as high in Noah’s day as they are now. If so, the amount of water needed to cover the tallest mountains would be less than some might think. Psalm 104:6-8 indicates that, at some time in the past, God established new heights and depths for the Earth’s mountains and valleys. The psalmist praised God, saying,

“You covered it [the Earth] with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them” (NASB).

Just as God miraculously altered the Earth and made land to appear out of the water during the creation week (Genesis 1:9-13), and just as He miraculously sent flood waters upon the Earth, it appears that God miraculously caused the waters to subside.

Where did all of the waters of the Flood go? The most logical answer in light of the Scriptures appears to be that God made room for the waters by adjusting the Earth’s landscape. Much of the water from the Flood probably has retreated into the deep ocean trenches—valleys that, in places, are over seven miles deep.

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