Part 1 of an in-depth analysis of the key words used to describe the Genesis Flood. That cataclysm left its mark everywhere. Here is what happened. This is science vs. evolution—a Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia, brought to you by Creation Science Facts.
CONTENTS: The Genesis Flood: 1
The Water Explosion: The greatest cataclysm in history
1: Flood: A violent worldwide event
2: Broken Up: Massive amounts of water burst out of the ground
3: Fountains of the Great Deep: Water in violent commotion
4: Rain: A massive outpouring of rain
This material is excerpted from the book, THE
EFFECTS OF THE FLOOD.
An asterisk ( * ) by a name indicates that person is not known to be a creationist. Of over 4,000 quotations in the books this Encyclopedia is based on, only 164 statements are by creationists. You will have a better understanding of the following statements by scientists if you will also read the web page, Effects of the Flood.
The greatest cataclysm in history.
The most powerful event ever to occur in the history of our created planet took place during the worldwide Flood, described in the book of Genesis, chapters 6 to 9. Surely, in this present chapter on effects of the Flood, we ought to give attention to that Genesis description.
According to Biblical records, only a few thousand years have elapsed since the Genesis Flood. That event is variously placed at 4,200 to 6,500 years ago; the present writer dates it at 2,348 B.C., or about 4,350 year ago. On that basis, the Flood occurred only forty centuries in the past. Figuring the average lifetime at 50 years, that would be only 80 consecutive lifetimes ago! Assuming that the oldest tribal members would relay the story of the Flood to their grandchildren, that would be a span of only 75 years. It is difficult for the fact to penetrate our minds that the Flood occurred such a short time ago!
The book of Genesis was written in Hebrew; and the story of the Flood, as given in chapters 6 through 9, is not too lengthy. You can read it through in a fairly short time. But in that account, there are eight special words. As we consider the implications of these eight words, we shall obtain a far better understanding of the immensity, power, and impact of that "flood of waters."
A violent worldwide event.
The first of these words means "flood" in the English. Mabul occurs only eleven times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Each one refers to the Genesis Flood and all but one are in Genesis. You may want to read each one: Genesis 6:17; 7:6; 7:7; 7:10; 7:17; 9:11; 9:28; 10:1; 10:32; and Psalm 29:10.
The Flood was of such magnitude, with such powerful effects, that events before and after it were carefully distinguished (Gen 10:1; 10:32). It was so powerful that only God could produce it: "I, even I, do bring a flood of waters" (Gen 6:17). The waters continually increased for forty days during it (Gen 7:7). The promise was given that it would never happen again (Gen 9:11); therefore it could not have been a localized flood, for there have been large numbers of them in the intervening years.
The last passage in which mabul occurs is Psalm 29:10: "The Lord sitteth upon the Flood [mabul]; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever." Read this entire 11-verse psalm. It is speaking of the immense strength of the Lord and the assurance we can draw from that strength, that He will care of His people. The climactic evidence of His strength is His mastery of the Flood,—that event which was the greatest exhibition of God's strength since the Creation.
Mabul comes from the Hebrew verb, yabul, which means "to flow copiously and with some violence." Other floods mentioned in the Old Testament are translated by a different word, setep, which is describing localized floods (Ps 32:6; Nahum 1:8; Dan 9:26; 11:22; Job 38:25).
The Genesis Flood was so distinct from all others that nothing equals it in immensity or sheer violence. For this reason, only one Hebrew word was ever used to name it.
Massive amounts of water burst out of the ground.
When the Flood began, something was "broken up."
"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep [tehom] broken up [baqa] and the windows of heaven were opened."
What had happened?
Inside the earth were multiplied thousands of interconnected channels and springs of waters. These provided a vast watering system for the entire earth. As the first rains of the Flood began falling,—this vast system was "broken up," or baqa. These channels and underground pools were torn open and ripped apart violently! Baqa means a "violent cleavage." We have not here a gurgling forth of an artesian spring, but rather the most violent bursting forth of hundreds of thousands of subterranean water sources! One example of this would be Eccl 10:9, in which a man cleaves a block of wood with an axe: a powerful, quick thrust followed by a bursting apart. The presence of baqa also helps to graphically explain two other historical events: As the Israelites approached the Red Sea, the waters burst aside to make room for their passage ("divides" Ex 14:16). As Korah and his associates stood defiantly, the ground beneath their feet exploded sideways, and they and their possessions fell into the chasm which had opened.
Proverbs 3:19 speaks of Creation; Proverbs 3:20 of the Flood, "when the depths are broken up."
Isaiah 35:6 and Psalm 78:15 mention the mighty miracle which occurred when Moses hit the face of a rock monolith with a stick—and a powerful cleavage ripped apart, out of which pure water poured.
The Hebrew word, baqa, is used to describe the breaking up of the immense fountains of the great deep (tehom). Pictured here is a gigantic cleavage of the crust of the earth, with oceans of water exploding outward from those fissures in continual commotion.
Water in violent commotion.
Psalm 78:15, mentioned above, includes both the words, baqa and tehom,—just as we find in Genesis: "In the sixth hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep [tehom] broken up [baqa] and the windows of heaven were opened" (Gen 7:11). One would expect to find, in Hebrew, "fountains of waters" (mayim), but instead we are presented with "fountains of the great deep" (tehom). "Tehom" specifically means "water in violent commotion, making a great noise."
An understanding of these Hebrew words is enabling us to obtain a better understanding of what the Flood was like!
In Psalm 23:2, we are told about the "still waters," the mayim. But in Genesis 7:11, we are told about the tehom, not the mayim. Those of you who have lived near the ocean, as the present writer has, can understand something of the violence of large, rapidly moving waters. An entire earlier section of this chapter describes the destruction that storm waves can produce. Psalm 42:7 uses tehom to describe the turbid violence of those waves. Exodus 15 speaks of the intense destructive capacity of turbulent waters restrained by the hand of God (15:8), and afterward when they covered the enemies of God's people (15:5).
So, in tehom, we have a description of massive quantities of water in violent, turbid commotion!
A massive outpouring of rain.
And then it rained. And did it rain! Yet we have already learned that massive amounts of water came from the ground—even as the rains from above were barely beginning! The sheer massive violence of that upthrust water hurled immense boulders into the air. As mentioned earlier, this was the most awesome event—between Creation and the Second Advent of Christ—which ever occurred in our world!
The rains came! And when they came, they only added to the fury of the cataclysm. "And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Genesis 7:12).
What kind of rain was this? There are two different Hebrew words for "rain." The first of these is matar rain. In Exodus 9:18 it is used of a very heavy rain; in Deuteronomy 28:12, of a light rain; and, in Genesis 7:4, of the Genesis Flood rain.
But the primary word for "rain" in the Genesis Flood is gesem, not matar. A gesem rain is the most violent rain of all! "And the rain [gesem] was upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Genesis 7:12).
At the end of the three-and-a-half year drought of 1 Kings 17, Elijah prayed for rain, and a gesem rain came (18:45). So powerful was it that Ahab's chariot bogged down, and Elijah, on foot, ran past him. In Ezekiel 13:11 and 13, a similar torrent violently destroyed mortared walls. This passage in Ezekiel also helps describe what a gesem rain can be like: In both verses 11 and 13, we are told that such an immense downpour is accompanied by violent winds and great hailstones.
The rainfall during the Flood was no gentle shower. Instead it was a gesem, the most powerful of all rains, accompanied by a windstorm of immense ferocity. It was the most terrible rain describable in the Hebrew language.
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