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The Fountains of the Great Deep and the Windows of the Heavens (Genesis 7:11-12; 17-20)

July 19, 2021 | by: Gregg Hunter | 0 comments

Posted in: Genesis 6

Please read Genesis 7:11-12, and then read Genesis 7:17-20.


If you’re anything like me, then the first thing that caught your interest when reading this passage was the terms “fountains of the great deep” and “windows of the heavens.” I’d like to spend some time talking about them and what they mean, but before we do that, we need to address a crucial criticism of this passage.

Many people presume that the world has always been under the same conditions that it is now, and they have claimed that the flood described in Genesis 7 must have been a local flood because a worldwide rain for 40 days and nights is simply not possible in our current atmospheric conditions. I would call this a foolish argument, but the Bible says worse about people who propose such nonsense. Peter says that scoffers will say “ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation,” but “they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished” (2 Peter 3:4-6).

There is countless evidence that the account in Genesis 7 is describing a universal flood, but scoffers deliberately overlook the facts. Some of the evidences for the Flood include:

  1. Evidence of Tradition: The Christian Church and the Jewish population has historically maintained that Genesis describes a universal flood. These scholars could be wrong, but the burden of proof is on whomever is making the claim against tradition.
  2. Cultural Evidence: There are literally hundreds of different accounts of a global flood in nearly every culture that we have discovered. These have remarkable parallels to the Genesis account, such as raining for many days, and the hero is saved in a giant boat with all the animals. Is it more realistic to assume that every culture has had a local flood in which someone was only saved by an ark with all the animals, or that one universal flood occurred, and every culture has some memory of it?
  3. Geological Evidence: Most geological evidence is open to interpretation, but in recent years, Christian scholars such as those at Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research have compiled evidence that strongly supports Genesis 7’s account of a global flood. One such example is the fact that many of the earth’s mountain ranges give evidence of having once been under the sea.
  4. Textual Evidence: Stephen Schrader argues that “water, which seeks its own level, could not continue to rise for 150 days in a local Mesopotamian valley flood.” And John Davis points out: “If the flood were local, why would an ark be necessary at all? God could have directed Noah, his family, and the animals, to a safe place before the flood came. The argument that the ark was merely a test of Noah’s faith seems to beg the question.” Couldn’t God have tested Noah’s faith by calling him, like Abram, to leave his home and travel to a far away land that would be safe from the flood?


The flood was universal. But how was it caused? “The fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened” (7:11).

The fountains of the great deep probably refers to vast stores of subterranean and suboceanic waters. God caused the Earth’s crust to shift and these waters to burst forth. The shifting of the earth’s crust would have produced numerous volcanic explosions that would have launched magma, dust, water, gas and air all into the atmosphere. These explosions would have opened up the windows of the heavens, and the celestial waters would join with the terrestrial waters to flood the earth.

While there is not enough water in the atmosphere today to flood the earth for forty days and forty nights, during the time of Adam through Noah, there was likely a great canopy that circled the earth. This is the “expanse” that God made on the second day, and it remained in place until His great judgment in Genesis chapter 7. It would have provided more than enough water to flood the earth, and, once the flood waters receded, they are now contained in our oceans, glaciers, rivers, and water cycle of precipitation.

As Peter reminds us, when God created the earth, He simply spoke all of creation into existence. Here, we see that He worked through nature to utterly destroy that same creation. God is worthy to be feared, and He is worthy of awe. He completely wiped out all of creation—except for Noah and his family. As we will see tomorrow, God shut Noah in the ark.