Probably not. Genesis 2:5-6 has led many to believe that it did not rain anytime before the flood. Genesis 2:5-6 says: Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted,for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
Please note that these verses state only that shortly after the earth was created , it had not rained. The question we must address is, how long did this condition last?
The mist that rose from the earth may shed some light on this question. Some have interpreted this mist as the beginning of the rain-evaporation cycle. If so, the period of no rain was brief, and we must conclude that it rained before the flood. A second possibility is that the earth acted as a humid terrarium, in which water vapor (which some might consider a mist) evaporated and condensed without rainfall. If so, the preflood rivers would have been mere trickles. However, tiny streams seem inconsistent with the four rivers described in Genesis 2:10-14—two of which (the Tigris and Euphrates) were evidently the basis for naming the mighty postflood rivers that today bear the same names. A third possibility is that the mist, lakes, and rivers were supplied by water forced up through porous regions of the earth's crust from the high-pressure subterranean water described on. A humid atmosphere would supply heavy dew each day during the cool morning hours. Vegetation would thus receive a steady supply of water, especially vegetation with large surface areas.
Rainbows form when raindrops refract sunlight. Therefore, the rainbow described in Genesis 9:12-17 may help us understand if it rained before the flood. Those verses tell of God's promise never again to flood the entire earth—a promise marked by a "bow in the cloud." This suggests that rainbows were first seen after the flood, and there was no prior rain. Other interpretations, however, are possible. Perhaps rainbows were visible before the flood, but after the flood God simply associated His promise with rainbows. This would be similar to the promise that a married couple associates with their wedding ring. Rings existed before the wedding, but the ring on a person's finger carries a special significance afterwards.
However, the rainbow's symbolic effect would have been more unforgettable and reassuring to the frightened survivors of the flood if they were seeing it for the first time. Some have argued that rainbows would have formed before the flood every time water splashed and sunlight passed through the droplets. This argument fails to recall that God's promise concerned rainbows "in the cloud," not a relatively few drops of water several feet above the ground. Nevertheless, we must look deeper to see if it ever rained before the flood.
A prerequisite for rain was largely absent before the flood. Under normal conditions, water vapor condenses into droplets only if the vapor molecules collect on a surface. A common example is the dew that collects on grass early in the morning. Fog, raindrops, and snowflakes always begin to grow on microscopic particles carried in the air. These particles, called condensation nuclei , are typically less than .0001 millimeter in diameter—one thousandth of the diameter of a human hair. Today, each thimbleful of air we breathe usually contains more than 100 such particles. Without them, the molecules of water vapor in the air (which are much, much smaller) would zip past each other and rarely collide and stick together. Many billions of billions of water molecules are needed to form one water droplet. In other words, if fewer condensation nuclei existed before the flood, there might not have been rain.
As mentioned on pages and , there is good reason to believe that volcanoes began because of the flood. Volcanoes emit large quantities of sulfur into the atmosphere. Various compounds of sulfur are then formed which act as condensation nuclei. Submarine volcanoes also add sulfur to the oceans where phytoplankton, a microscopic type of algae, take in sulfur and excrete it in a compound called dimethylsulfide (DMS). DMS escapes into the air and quickly oxidizes to form condensation nuclei. Thus, most condensation nuclei needed for rain are compounds of sulfur and can be traced back to volcanoes. Consequently, if volcanoes began during the flood, it is quite likely that rain did also.
If sulfur compounds (and hence most condensation nuclei) began entering the atmosphere after the flood, how did rain form at the very beginning of the flood? The drops of water falling at the beginning of the flood were not formed by condensing water. Instead, they formed by fragmenting and atomizing the upward-jetting subterranean waters. Falling rain would have swept away all dust particles and condensation nuclei in the atmosphere. If rain initiated on these nuclei, the rain would have soon stopped.
Any explanation of the flood must explain how violent rain fell so rapidly at the beginning of the flood, why rain continued for 40 days and 40 nights with few condensation nuclei, and why the rain ceased after 40 days even though the flood waters continued to rise until the 150th day when all the preflood mountains were covered. The hydroplate theory appears to answer all these questions. It also explains why volcanoes and the production of most condensation nuclei began as a result of the flood.
Notice one thing more. Without
condensation nuclei, there would be no clouds. Can you imagine how brilliant
the starlit sky must have been before the flood?
References and Notes
Based on the Masoretic text. The Septuagint text has Noah in the Ark exactly one year. Many other manuscripts of Genesis give slightly different durations. "Burst open" is a loose translation ofwhich means a violent cleavage. Isaiah 34:15 uses it to describe the hatching or breaking forth from inside an egg, i.e., the breaking of a thin shell or crust. Numbers 16:31 uses it to describe the splitting open of the earth. See also Psalms 78:15. Geshem is the most violent rain. In Ezekiel 13:11-13, this geshem rain destroyed mortared walls.
"Greatly" is an understatement. "Greatly, greatly" would be a more accurate (although rougher) translation, since the double superlative construction is used in the Hebrew. This construction is used in only one other place in the Old Testament—in Genesis 17:2 where God makes a covenant with Abraham.
Noah and the Ark certainly experienced high winds during the preceding five months. Consequently, the wind that began on the 150th day must have been unusual and extreme.
Noah released a bird (a raven) from the Ark 114 days after "the wind" began. He probably did this to learn how far the waters had receded. Noah would not have done this if "the wind" were still blowing, since it would have blown the raven from the Ark and the raven would have had difficulty returning. Therefore, the wind was also temporary.