The Antediluvian Water Cycle and the Rainbow

The antediluvian water cycle was very different from that which prevailed after the Flood. For starters, there was no rain:

"the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but mist came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground." Gen. 2:5-6.

It never rained prior to the Flood; rather, the earth was watered at night by a mist. This is confirmed by Ellen White, when she describes the beginning of the Flood:

“After seven days it began to rain. Up to this time there had been no rain, there had a mist arisen to water the earth, but as the rain began to fall slowly at first, then more came, they began to inquire, what shall this come to? And at last the heavens were opened and the rain poured down in torrents and then everyone began to be swept away.”

The fact that it had never rained was one reason why the antediluvians were so confident that Noah was a wild man preaching nonsense:

“Scoffers pointed to the things of nature—to the unvarying succession of the seasons, to the blue skies that had never poured rain, to the green fields refreshed by the soft dews of night—and they cried out, “Doth he not speak parables?” In contempt they declared the preacher of righteousness to be a wild enthusiast; and they went on, more eager in their pursuit of pleasure, more intent upon their evil ways, than ever before. But their unbelief did not hinder the predicted event.” GC 338.

Another big piece of biblical evidence that the antediluvian water cycle was different is the rainbow. Long millennia before the militant forces of sexual confusion tried to make the rainbow their sign, God had already claimed it for His own purposes. It was a sign and symbol of His promise never again to destroy the Earth with a global deluge:

"And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.' ” Gen. 9:12-16

That God chose the rainbow as his sign that he would never again destroy the world with a global flood strongly indicates that this was the first time the rainbow had been seen. After the Flood, the water cycle had changed, and there were now rain, clouds and water droplets in the sky, creating the conditions to see rainbows. Conditions prevailing before the Flood had never given rise to rainbows.

Also, the text itself seems to indicate that this was the first time the rainbow had been seen. God is saying, “I am showing you this thing you’ve never seen before, and I am making it a sign of a covenant between us. I’m going to bring clouds into the sky above the Earth, and rainbows will appear in those clouds, and that is my sign. So don’t be terrified whenever it starts to rain, because from now on the rain is just to water the Earth, not to kill you.”

But if the same water cycle and atmospheric conditions had prevailed before the flood as after there would have been nothing new or remarkable about the rainbow. It could not have served God’s purpose to be the sign of his promise that man need not fear sudden destruction every time it began to rain.

Many of our fellow creationists not of the Adventist faith deny that the water cycle was different before the Flood, interpreting Genesis 2:5-6 to mean that the earth was watered by a mist only until man was created and began to till the soil. There is a hesitancy to admit how radically different conditions were before the Flood, because we cannot explain those conditions with our current scientific knowledge.

This is an error and shows a lack of faith. Bible-believers should be jumping at the chance to argue that the devastation so often caused by our current water cycle and weather—hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, torrential rain, local floods, etc—was not part of God’s original design for this Earth. These destructive phenomena are associated with the “second-best” water cycle that came into being only after the Flood. We should have the faith to believe that even though we cannot explain exactly how the pre-Flood water cycle worked, it worked better than what we have now (which still works well enough to fill the Earth with food).

The prophets tell us that a rainbow encircles the throne and overarches the head of Christ. Ezek. 1:28; Rev. 4:2-3. “When man by his great wickedness invites divine judgments, the Saviour, interceding with the Father in his behalf, points to the bow in the clouds, to the rainbow around the throne and above His own head, as a token of the mercy of God toward the repentant sinner.” PP. 107.1