In a previous article, I discussed one aspect of how the flood began. That article, on the fountains of the great deep, may be viewed here. This article will be about the other source of water for the flood that the Bible mentions. In Genesis 7:17, the Bible talks of the Windows of Heaven. This article will discuss what the Windows of Heaven were and how they fit into a Creation model.
Before going any further, let us examine the first mention of the windows of heaven in Scripture. “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 broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Genesis 7:11 tells us. There are only two other mentions of these windows of heaven in Scripture. One is the prophet Malachi using the phrase as a metaphor for how large the blessings would be for Israel if they followed God’s principle of tithing. The other describes the end of the flood. That does not give us a great deal of description. However, what we do know is that these windows of heaven provided at least part of the water for the flood. What is not described is exactly what the windows of heaven were.
In the past, many creationists held to the idea that there was a canopy of water over the earth that held in moisture and increased atmospheric pressure. They believed this, in part because of the water above the firmament mentioned in Genesis 1:7 and in part because of the mention of the windows of heaven as related to the flood. Essentially the theory stated that the explosion of the fountains of the deep shattered the canopy, resulting in the windows of heaven opening and water from the canopy falling as a torrential rainstorm. But is this what the Bible means when it refers to the windows of heaven?
There are a lot of problems with the canopy theory, but this article is not going to attempt to discuss those. That will be reserved for a future article. The windows of heaven themselves, apart from the canopy theory, are a bit perplexing. There is very little to indicate what they are, beyond their very brief mention in Scripture. This has led to some speculation as to what they are. In order to discover what they are, we need to examine what data we have.
Since we established in the above paragraph that the canopy theory is not the solution, there must be another answer. Let us look at what we know. We know from Scripture that the fountains of the great deep broke open at the start of the flood. From reading the Scripture closely, it would appear that the fountains of the deep broke open before the windows of heaven opened. This could be a clue as to what the windows of heaven were. When the fountains of the deep burst upwards, billions of gallons of water rushed upwards. What was not violently ejected into space had nowhere to go but down. This is perhaps the best explanation for the opening of the windows of heaven. The water from the fountains of the deep rushed downwards. However, much like the water from a squirt gun, it did not fall as a gushing stream. Instead, as it met air resistance, it split off into ever smaller streams, reaching the ground as rain. This would also explain why the rain only stops in Genesis eight after the fountains of the deep stop producing water. Once the water source dried up, so did the rain.
This may seem a very simplistic explanation for the windows of heaven and it is. However, there is no reason to reject it simply because it is simple. Removing the canopy theory from the equation means that there are few other options for the windows of heaven. And, while God certainly can and does design amazingly complex things such as our universe, often times He makes things delightfully simple as well. The windows of heaven are mentioned as related to one event because the conditions for the torrential downpour they provided existed just once. The windows of heaven would appear to be permanently closed.