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LUCAS - Did it ever rain before the flood of Noah?
JOEL - There has been a long-standing debate among bible scholars as to whether there was rain before the flood of Noah. Evidence that supports the lack of rain starts out with a description of the canopy of water that God placed in the atmosphere as He was creating the earth:
"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so."
"For the Lord God had not caused it to rain, and there was no man to till the ground .
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."(Gen 2:5-6)
People assume that because rain is not mentioned in the Bible before the flood(Gen. 7:4,12), it was this mist as well as the fountains of the deep (Gen 8:2), that the earth was watered by before the rains came at the time of Noah.
Then there is the rainbow, which is also never mentioned until after the flood. God promised that the rainbow represents a special covenant or promise of protection from another worldwide flood. If the rainbow was a new sign that God caused to appear, there must not have been any rain or rainbows before the flood, otherwise the placing of the raiinbow in the sky would not be a new thing (Gen. 9:8-17)
If it had never rained it would also make noah's building of an ark on dry land seem even more foolish to his critics. (Moses 8:18)
Scholars also point to the Hebrews 11:7 verse which says:
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;"
Suggesting that this verse is refering to rain as being the thing not yet seen.
On the other hand there is evidence that suggests that rain was a common occurrence before the flood.
Noah seemed to understand what rain was when God mentioned it to him:
"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him." (Genesis 7:4-5)
Why would God tell him that it would rain and expect him to understand what it meant if Noah did not know what rain was?
When the flood began:
"the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." (Gen 7:11)
The expression "windows of heaven were opened" suggests the extraordinary nature of the rainfall attending the flood. It is not a term that would be applied to ordinary rainfall. The fact that this expression was used to describe the downpour suggests that ordinary rainfall was already a known thing.
And "the thing not yet seen" mentioned in Hebrews 11:7 could be refering to the flood itself rather than just rain.
In Genesis we read that "a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads." (Gen 2: 10-14)
How could only a mist in the atmosphere be sufficient enough to produce enough water to feed the 4 rivers flowing out of the Garden of Eden?
Hugh Nibley refers to the laws of physics in regards to his argument for the pre-flood existance of the the rainbow:
"Why do Christians insist on calling it the first rainbow, just because it is the first mentioned? Who says that water drops did not refract light until that day?" (Before Adam, Hugh W. Nibley)
If the rainbow did exist before the flood, with Noah it could have taken on a new significance as the token of the covenant; (JST Gen. 9: 17-25)
the same as bread and water, which existed before Christ's atonement, now take on new meaning with the Sacrament ordinance.
And finally, it appears that Enoch, who lived long before Noah, seemed to know what rain was before the flood:
"And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?" (Moses 7:28)
So the debate will continue probably with no agreed upon final conclusion. What's more important now is what will happen when the rainbow ceases to appear in the sky; a sign that the second coming is near (See Rainbow).