Troublesome Topic: PHASE 1.1 THE INITIAL SHOCK OF THE FLOOD EVENT

Genesis 7:11

Translation

In the six hundredth year of the life of NOAH, in the second month, on the seven-and-tenth day of the month, on this day, all the spring-like sources

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of the great abyss

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burst open, and the window lattices

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of the heavens were opened. (See comment below.)

Paraphrase

In the six hundredth year of the life of THE COMFORT OF REST, during the second month and precisely on the seventeenth day of that month, yes, on that very day, all the valves that can open and close located in the dark and foreboding depths, were thrown open, and the restraining forces that control the water coming from the sky no longer restrained that water.  (See comment below.)

SEVERAL TYPES OF INITIAL ACTIVITY

The first few seconds of the flood event saw several types of activity begin: a Hypercane, Lightning, explosions and fires, tornados, hail, volcanic eruptions, meteorites and earthquakes! We do not know if all of these started in the exact same instant, or if they followed each other in quick succession. I tend to think they did strike at the same moment.

WHAT IS A HYPERCANE?

It is a powerful hurricane, the size of a continent, that lasts for weeks or months.

Some Creationists think that the oceans were warmer before the flood than they are today, providing the conditions that create hurricanes. I and many others, assume that it rained often before the flood. But the rain that came during the hyper canes of the flood was unlike anything they had ever experienced. It was fierce rain, driven by high winds. The drops were coming sideways, and they stung when they struck skin. And it did not let up.

Had they ever seen lightning before?

I think the answer is “Yes.”  It seems to me that the process that creates lightning today was also around before the flood. Conditions would have to have been extremely different for it not to have occurred. But I imagine the flood event to involve lots of powerful lightning strikes all over the place. There was an intensity to this lightning storm they had never experienced before, and the strikes just kept coming. 

I envision it to have been similar to the place on earth today that gets the most lightning strikes per year. That is where the Catatumbo river flows into lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela. Many nights per year {the numbers given online vary greatly} it storms for 8 to 10 hours per night and the area experiences 10,000 to 20,000 lightning strikes during each of those storms. At the opening of the flood event, God was showing off His power by giving them a special light show – I don’t think they appreciated it.   

TORNADOES

In some places, the conditions were probably right for the formation of tornadoes. These were likely category 5 tornadoes, or greater. It is possible that they surpassed our modern system for categorizing and describing such things. God was not messing around.

HAIL

Hail would have been likely at the beginning of the flood event, at least in the areas furthest from the equator, although it can hail in the tropics occasionally. Since everything else about this event was done on a large scale, we can imagine that the hail was also upgraded to super-size.

VOLCANOES

There were also many volcanic eruptions. It is very likely that they had never seen a volcano erupt, but now many people were surrounded by them. Because of the torrential rain, they saw the volcanoes as orange glows barely visible through the rain, and they didn’t know what was causing that glow. If they were close to a volcano, they experienced balls of molten lava falling from the sky and setting on fire everything they touched, until the rain put it out. That was followed by a slow but unstoppable river of fire with temperatures between 1300 to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit; it consumed everything in its path.

METEORITES

Many Christians believe there were a large number of meteorites during and shortly after the flood event. Those that struck the ground near people who were still alive would have sounded like bombs going off, and they would have shaken the already trembling ground.

DEEP EARTHQUAKES

From Genesis 7:11 we can be confident that the first second of the flood included the opening of fissures in the ocean crust which produced a series of massive earthquakes happening all around the world. These quakes broke apart the ocean floor to create the tectonic plates we know today. We believe that before this there were no tectonic plates; the ocean floor was all one solid piece. But these quakes broke the ocean floor, created the tectonic plate borders, and allowed for their later movement over and under each other, called subduction.

These first earthquakes are thought to have occurred very deep in the earth, between 250 to 400 miles (400 to 640 Km) below the surface. It is estimated that the energy from these first shocks was transmitted away from their respective foci at between 8,928 miles (14,400 Km) per hour, and 10,044 miles (16,200 Km) per hour! (Clarey p. 133.)

Many of these fissures occurred along the coasts. However, some of them appear to have occurred in the middle of extremely large land masses e.g. where South America was connected to Africa. Thus, although these people were very far from any ocean, they were hit by a huge earthquake as faults opened underneath their continents.

 I don’t think those fissures were clean breaks all along a border of two tectonic plates; I believe the plates were jammed tightly together and were still solidly connected in some places, but there were gaps where hot magma could come through, as underwater volcanoes. This began the warming of the oceans.

The fissures also allowed for super-heated gasses to create bubbles that would rise to the surface and explode out of the water as jets of steam. But few people had the “privilege” of seeing those jets of steam because the hurricane conditions were obscuring their view out to sea.

CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONS

People back then were used to lightning strikes being bold, thick, and powerful due to more oxygen in the air. Therefore, they learned to protect whatever chemical advancements they had come up with, so that lightning would not make them go boom!

But their protective structures had not counted on earthquakes, volcanoes, meteorites, hyper-canes and tornadoes. Thus, at the opening of the flood event, many of their attempts to keep their chemicals safe were stripped away, leaving those things susceptible to lightning strikes, and flying chunks of molten lava.   Boom!

Therefore, it is likely that the greater their level of advancement, the greater the level of explosiveness of the flood event, and the higher the number of people that died right away in it.

LANDISLIDES

With the pounding rain, it would not have taken long before the soil would have become fully saturated making the ground soft and soggy. Add to that the shaking of the ground, and wherever there were hills, landslides continued to claim their unsuspecting victims; and making transportation impossible.

Foundations of buildings that were not damaged by the quakes (those furthest inland, for instance) were slowly washed away by the constantly moving water. The problems created by the saturated soil continued to get worse because the rain did not abet for forty days and nights.

EVIDENCE OF GOD’S HAND TO PROTECT AND PUNISH

Despite all this, I am convinced that God protected whatever structure Noah had used to hold the ark off of the ground. Those remained unaffected by the quakes.

An unknown number of people died in those first 60 seconds of terror. Oh, I almost forgot another source of death on that day – heart attacks! Experiencing all of those things at the same moment may have proved too much for some people’s tickers to handle.

Try to imagine the noise. Huge thunderclaps from lightning that was very close, explosions caused by the lightning and the high level of oxygen in the air, Hyper-cane force winds, huge hail stones striking anything overhead, volcanoes erupting, meteorites crashing into the earth, the low rumble of the ground and buildings crumbling due to earthquakes, and people screaming. It would have been deafening! In fact, if a huge tornado were coming toward someone, he would not have heard its roar until it was upon him. But even if he could have heard it coming, he could not jump in his car and drive away because of all the other things happening too.

The next lesson in this study is PHASE 1.2 WHEN DID PEOPLE FEEL THAT FIRST SET OF EARTHQUAKES? 

Footnotes

1: "spring-like sources":

This word is usually rendered “spring or fountain”, but it comes from another word meaning “eye.” An eye can be opened or closed. That is the idea behind a spring of water; it can open to produce flowing water (like flowing tears), or it can close to prevent any flow of water. A spring is an “eye” of the earth.

This is referring to the fissures that God opened up in the ocean floor. They were not shaped like eyes, but they opened at this point, after remaining closed since the week of creation. These fissures divided the ocean floor into what we call tectonic plates.

2: "great abyss":

This is the Hebrew word for “sea, depth or abyss,” all of which have dark and foreboding overtones.

Notice that the “eye-like and spring-like sources” mentioned in this verse were in the depths of the ocean, not under the ground of the supercontinent. It appears that this statement is talking about something different than what we call ground water. Either there was ground water before the flood, just like today, but it played only a small role in the flood and therefore is not mentioned, or there was no ground water back then and the ground water we have today is a consequence of the flood.

3: "window lattices":

A lattice is designed to restrict what comes in through an opening. In ancient times its purpose was to keep the sun from shining in but allow some air to move in and out. The way the word is used, it appears that their lattices could be closed and reopened. If they were stationary lattices, the closing of them would mean putting something flat and preferably solid over the opening, like some pieces of wood. This would be helpful during the coldest days of the year. If they were more like louvers or shutters, they could be controlled more easily, but left more gaps for air to come in.