I’ve covered aspects of the flood in a few recent articles. In this article I’m going to cover the opening aspects of the flood, specifically the first forty days of the flood when the water rose. Understanding what happened during these first forty days is key to understanding the rest of the flood and its aftermath. It holds the key to flood geology, and the conditions the earth enjoyed during the preflood era. With that in mind, let us examine the beginning of the flood.
God warned man that the flood was coming around one hundred and twenty years before it came. Noah was instructed to build the ark sometime after, most likely after his three sons became adults which would have been around fifty to seventy-five years before the flood began. In that time period, the New Testament tells us Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He preached repentance to a people who were clearly not willing to hear it as no one came aboard the ark except Noah and his family. This was after God sent two of the various kinds of animals and seven of the clean kinds of animals to the ark.
Once Noah and his family and their animal cargo were aboard the ark, God closed the door of the ark. This happened a full week before the flood began. The flood began after that week had ended with the eruption of the fountains of the deep. The explosion blasted steaming hot geysers of water through the atmosphere and into space. The steam released would have killed anything within miles either by suffocation or steam burning. These explosions also triggered wide scale volcanic activity. As the water rose in the air, gravity would have taken effect and rain would have begun to fall from the geysers, locally at first, then across the globe as water became trapped in the clouds and was carried by winds to new locations. For more information about these processes read my articles on the Fountains of the Deep and No Rain.
As the rain began to fall and the geysers continued to spill water, the rivers, lakes, streams and oceans would have begun to break their banks. Those few people who survived the initial steam wave from the fountains of the deep along with mobile animals would have begun to seek the highest ground they could find to escape the ever rising water. The rising water would have lifted the ark from its supports and served as something similar to the flooding of a dry dock to launch a ship. As the ark drifted over the ever rising tides, the water became covered with the bodies of dead animals and forest sized mats of driftwood. The stench from the countless dead bodies floating on the waves would have been tremendous, and would have been smelt even within the ark itself. It would have served as a poignant reminder to Noah and his family of exactly what God had saved them from.
As water ran off from the higher elevations before they were covered, and as the earth rotated, tides would have formed in the newly formed world wide ocean. There would have been immense up and down swells as the water rose and lapped against what little land was uncovered. These would have tossed the ark much as an oil tanker is tossed in today’s storms. The constant downfall of rain for forty days would have added a weather element as well, with potential electrical storms across vast portions of the earth.
Beneath the waves, water currents were rapidly laying down layers of sediment. This would have begun at the beginning of the flood as water rushed from the fountains of the deep and carried sediments with it, burying such creatures too slow or too foolhardy to run from the onrushing wall of water. However, as the flood progressed and sediments were covered or ran off from land not yet covered, currents beneath the surface of the water would have rapidly laid down sediments in consecutive layers, sorting the sediments by weight and consistency. These layers would have buried creatures both dead and living in them. This accounts for the fossilized fish giving birth. The higher the layer of the sediment, the more likely a land dwelling creatures carcass had sunk to the bottom to be covered as more time had elapsed.
By the end of day forty, there was no dry land left on earth. The entirety of earth’s human population, with eight exceptions, had been wiped out, along with most of its land dwelling creatures. The earth was covered in water which was filled with decaying carcasses. Predatory fish were having a feast on the dead, while floating log mats provided homes for the millions of varieties of insects and potentially even small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Beneath the waves, the earth’s crust still churned, pushing up areas of the crust and dropping others down, while the volcanoes continued to errupt beneath the wave, contributing a massive source of heat to the water, likely causing areas where steam rose from the waves, contributing to the rainfall. Earth”s atmosphere had lost much of its pressure and ozone when the fountains of the deep finally ceased at the end of the fortieth day. When the rain halted too, Noah and his family knew the worst was over. Now they simply had to wait.