Monday, May 21, 2012

Where Did All the Flood Water Go?

Yahoo! Another question answered.

Been listening to a discussion on Jan Markel's Understanding the Times radio, on the subject The Top Ten Creation/Evolution Issues with Eric Barger sitting in for her. He is interviewing creationist Jay Seegert, who has the website the Creation Education Center, where he addresses the usual problems in the creation-evolution debates with his own emphases. On the program they don't get to all the ten most frequently raised issues, only five of them.

The question that got answered in a way that so captivated me was Where did the water go after the Flood? I've never known how to answer that question and hadn't really given it much thought either, but now that I've heard Jay Seegert's answer I think how obvious it is!

The answer:

There is enough water on the earth right now that if the land areas were all flattened and completely evened out the water would cover it to a depth of 1.7 miles.

Creationists always say there were not such high mountains before the Flood as after, and that the high mountains were raised up after the Flood by plate tectonic movement set in motion as part of the whole Flood scenario, but I haven't seen that made the explanation for what happened to the Flood waters until now.

Of course, the land was rearranged after the Flood, the mountains were raised to spectacular new heights and valleys were formed to new depths, especially on the sea floor where deep trenches now lie. THAT's where all the water went.

Here's an experiment I dreamed up myself to demonstrate this: Make a thick clay type paste out of flour and water (or use modeling clay) and pat it down flat in a container to whatever depth you want, so it has a level surface. Cover it with water to a depth of oh a few inches or whatever. Don't let it stand too long or it will dilute the flour paste. Then pour out the water into a container so you have the same amount. Then gouge out deep valleys in the clay and make high mountains of the gouged-out material, keeping the same amount of clay as before. Pour back the water, the same amount of water as before. You'll have dry land and sea.

Same amount of land, same amount of water.


I would do a dance of joy and celebration if my arthritis didn't hurt so much.

Seegert also said that this mountain-and-valley-building event is referred to in Psalm 104 which made me skeptical at first.

The King James doesn't clearly say that:
KJV - Psa 104:8 - They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
"They" refers to the flood waters, but there isn't anything here to suggest the mountains were higher or the valleys deeper than before.

But some of the other translations do say that. One of those few instances where the KJV translation IS inferior to the newer versions.

Some of the other translations say the same as the KJV, but most of them say the mountains rose and the valleys sank:
NKJV - Psa 104:8 - They went up over the mountains; They went down into the valleys, To the place which You founded for them.

NLT - Psa 104:8 - Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed.

NIV - Psa 104:8 - they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.

ESV - Psa 104:8 - The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.

RVR - Psa 104:8 - Subieron los montes, descendieron los valles, Al lugar que tĂș les fundaste.

NASB - Psa 104:8 - The mountains rose; the valleys sank down To the place which You established for them.

RSV - Psa 104:8 - The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which thou didst appoint for them.

ASV - Psa 104:8 - (The mountains rose, the valleys sank down) Unto the place which thou hadst founded for them.

YLT - Psa 104:8 - They go up hills -- they go down valleys, Unto a place Thou hast founded for them.

DBY - Psa 104:8 - The mountains rose, the valleys sank, unto the place which thou hadst founded for them; --

WEB - Psa 104:8 - They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys to the place which thou hast founded for them.

HNV - Psa 104:8 - The mountains rose, The valleys sank down, To the place which you had assigned to them.
[ May 22 update: After getting a typical rejoinder in my Comments section I have to add that despite all the attempts by creationists to come up with an unanswerable defense of the Flood or any other creationist claim there is always going to be an answer back that purports to be scientific. You can't "bullet proof" your Christian children as Barger and Seegert seem to expect, by having any kind of science-based answer to these things. What is your college student going to do after he's learned all these creationist answers and still someone comes back telling him he's ignorant of physics?

As Seegert points out, this area of science is historical science not the kind of science you can replicate in a laboratory, and historical science can never be proved the way laboratory science can be. So someone like my visitor can always come along and claim that the speed at which the tectonic plates would have had to move since the Flood only 4350 years ago would have generated so much heat that the oceans would have boiled and nothing could have lived afterward. He can't prove that, it's all speculation, but it sure SOUNDS scientific. Perhaps others can make calculations to counter him, but meanwhile your Christian college students are again left without a "scientific" answer.

They have to be fortified primarily with the word of God which tells us Noah and his family and many creatures did survive and go on to repopulate the earth, and, so that they won't be taken by surprise, made familiar with the fact that "science" about events in the prehistoric past cannot be definitively known, and that's the best we can do in the face of all the imaginative but unprovable speculations the other side can always generate against us.

Later yet: HOWEVER, this got me pondering what WOULD be the physics involved and I remembered some of my own speculations and other answers I'd heard in the past, and posted them in the Comments section.]


  1. Physics isn't your strong point is it ..... do you have ANY idea how much ENERGY would be needed to create the world's present Mountains in only 4,000 years ?? Never mind where all the Flood water went, WHERE did ALL that energy come from ?? The Energy needed would have BOILED the Oceans away and cooked all life on Earth. get an eductation

  2. Faith said...
    Hi de ho, Cootey.

    An education in what? Sheer speculation about something you can't prove? That's all we ever get from the anti-creationists, and I've heard this one many times already. At least the answer about where the water went can be demonstrated.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Hi again, Cootey,
    You most likely won't come back, AND I suspect you don't know any more physics than I do anyway, you simply swallowed whole what you picked up somewhere.

    BUT here's a thought that's occurred to me before: The greatest energy expenditure in any motion comes at the beginning, am I right? Once movement or momentum is underway, little energy is required to keep up the motion -- especially where there is little resistance or friction. There shouldn't be much resistance in this case as the continental plates ride on magma, AND right after the Flood the earth would still have been damp so that even the rising of the mountains would have had a pretty smooth ride.

    The splitting of the continents along the mid-Atlantic ridge was probably inaugurated by volcanic eruptions, evidence of which is still seen in all the dead volcanoes along the eastern coast of America and western coast of Europe. Once in motion, no further energy needs to have been expended. The continents are still drifting apart at a minuscule rate.

  4. Oh, and what energy WAS expended probably went a long way to drying out the soaked earth. That should have absorbed quite a bit of it.

  5. AND as I understand it, even such generation of heat as would have occurred brought about the ice age. I admit I don't understand the physics of this although it's been a while since I read about it and maybe it's not all that hard to grasp. The point is that the heat itself generated a cooling countereffect.

    See, there's lots more to physics than you imagined.

  6. You sound committed to your belief regardless of what the evidence may show, so I'm not sure if this will do any good, but these types of physics questions are not subject only to pure speculation, but actually can be quantified and calculated.

    I would encourage you to go spend some time at reading on some of these topics. The TalkOrigins archive has contributions from a lot of scientists who have done calculations on these sorts of questions. For example here is a good article about some of the problems with the Biblical account of the Flood:

    Cheers, friend.

  7. Hi there Samuel. I've spent time at talkorigins, and even more time at EvC forums where lots of "scientific calculations" are presented. Keep in mind that we're talking about something that happened in the PAST that you can only guess at. No matter how good your calculating ability might be based on your knowledge of physics, you're always going to be calculating based on what you know about the present and leaving out some variables that just wouldn't occur to you because the past was different from the present.

    And you are quite right, I am not open to anything that purports to contradict the Bible. Evolution and Old Earth minded people are ALWAYS going to find "problems with the Biblical account of the Flood" but if the Bible is God's word and 6000 years for the age of the earth is the most natural reading of it, as I believe it clearly is, then my job is to find out how reality fits it, not the other way around. It should be YOUR job as well, and anybody's job really. God is God, you aren't.


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