Where Did All of the Flood Waters Go?
According to evolutionist Bill Butler, “The greatest geologic fiction that the Creationists adhere to is Noah’s Flood” (2002). The idea that water ever covered the entire Earth, including the highest hills and mountains (Genesis 7:19-20), supposedly is unthinkable (and impossible). Evolutionists propose several questions when expressing their unbelief in the Noahic Flood. One such question was raised by Butler in his article, “Creationism = Willful Ignorance.” He asked: “If the earth’s surface were covered by an additional 29,000+ feet of water, how do you get rid of it?” If Mt. Everest reaches a height of over 29,000 feet, then the Bible allegedly indicates that the Flood waters reached even higher—approximately 23 feet higher than the peak of Mt. Everest (Genesis 7:20). If such is the case, where did all of the water go?
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, the prophet Isaiah recorded how Jehovah 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 these passages do not tell us exactly where the waters went, for the Christian who believes that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, such revelation should be adequate—God did something with the Flood waters.
Second, the skeptic’s assertion (that there presently is not enough water on the Earth for there ever to have been the kind of flood described in Genesis 6-8) is based upon invalid assumptions. The truth is, we are unaware how high the mountains were in Noah’s day, nor do we know the depth of the ocean valleys. Thus, one cannot know how much water was on the Earth during the Noahic Flood. 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. While directing his comments to Jehovah, the psalmist proclaimed:
You covered it [the Earth—EL] 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” (NASU, emp. added).
Just as God miraculously altered the Earth’s topography 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. In all likelihood, the antediluvian world was vastly different from the Earth of today (cf. 2 Peter 3:6). It seems probable (and reasonable to believe) that the mountains of Noah’s day were much smaller than, say, such peaks as Mt. Everest or Mt. McKinley that are so well known to us. Thus, the Flood did not have to rise to levels of 29,000+ feet to cover everything on the Earth. We know, according to the Scriptures, that the waters rose above the mountaintops; however, we simply cannot know the heights reached by the antediluvian mountains. (Interestingly, marine fossils have been found near the top of Mt. Everest.)
Where did all of the Flood waters 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 topography. Much of the water from the Flood likely has retreated into the deeper ocean trenches—valleys that, in places, are over seven miles deep.
Butler, Bill (2002), “Creationism = Willful Ignorance,” [On-line], URL: http://www.durangobill.com/Creationism.html.