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Where did the Water Go?
by Brad Harrub, Ph.D. and Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

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 (and those sympathetic to them) propose several questions in the Flood account. 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 Mount Everest reaches a height of over 29,000 feet, then, according to the skeptic, the Bible (Genesis 7:20) would indicate that the waters of the Flood would have reached even higher—approximately 22 feet higher than the peak of Mount Everest. If such is the case, where did all of the water go?

Flood Receding by Lewis Lavoie

First, the Bible is more specific about Who caused the waters to subside, than where the waters went after the Flood. Genesis 8:1,3 states that “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). The psalmist perhaps provided a clue to the mystery of where the floodwaters went when he wrote:

You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever, You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth (Psalm 104:5-9).

Because the Earth was completely covered with water that stood above “all the high mountains,” obviously that water had to “go” somewhere after the Flood. God therefore “restructured” the Earth, pushing down the ocean basins, and raising up the mountains. Just as God miraculously altered the Earth’s topography during the Creation week (Genesis 1:9-13), and just as He miraculously sent floodwaters upon the Earth, it appears that He miraculously caused the waters to subside. By making the mountains taller, and simultaneously creating deeper valleys, God would have changed the topography in such a way as to accommodate additional water. In addition, we know today that a vast amount of water is held both above and below us. Underneath the Earth’s crust is a water table that provides fresh drinking water to billions of people. Plus, scientists believe our atmosphere holds well over 40 trillion gallons of water at any given time. Every single day of the year, approximately 4 trillion gallons fall to the Earth in the form of rain.

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 an idea based upon quite invalid assumptions. The truth is, we do not know the exact height of the mountains that existed in Noah’s day; nor do we know the depth of the ocean valleys. We therefore cannot know with certainty how much water was on the Earth before, during, or after the Noahic Flood. In all likelihood, the antediluvian world was not like the Earth of today (cf. 2 Peter 3:6). It seems probable (and reasonable) to suggest, for example, that the mountains of Noah’s day were much smaller than peaks like, say, Mount Everest, Mount McKinley, or others that are so well known to us in our day and age. If that were the case, then the floodwaters did not have to rise to levels of 29,000+ feet to cover everything on the Earth—which means that the skeptic’s assertion is, in point of fact, much ado about nothing. The biblical text has nothing to fear from a terse examination. Truth never does.


Butler, Bill (2002), “Creationism—Willful Ignorance,” [On-line], URL:

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