And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:1-4)
Other than Noah’s Ark, the face of the earth was just as it had been on the first day of creation. Waters covered everything on earth. This is because God’s holy judgment amounted to a reversal of His work in Creation. In creation He separated the waters above and the waters below and the dry land. But the flood reversed all of that.
In the judgment to come, we will see variations of the same phenomena, God will reverse His earlier works of Creation.
Revelation 16 is an amazing example of this. Whereas once the LORD said ,”Let there be light”… in the days to come, there shall be partial and then complete darkness will cover the earth.The Ocean which He commanded to become filled with life, shall become a polluted sea of blood. The Sun, nourisher and giver of life and light, will become man’s enemy on that day. The day of the LORD’s vengeance will be a day of “de creation”.
But after 150 days we are told that God ‘remembered Noah’, and what remained of His living, breathing creation. The LORD did so in the sense that He began to act directly on their behalf. He marked that it was time for the flood waters to recede, and for Noah and his family to repopulate the earth.
The Lord closed the underground fountains, as well as the “windows of heaven” from further rain, and sent a drying wind (Ruach) to blow over the face of the earth. This verse is reminiscent of Genesis 1. for in the creation narrative we are told “The Spirit (Ruach) of God brooded over the waters. The time had come for the (re)creation of a “new heavens and earth”.
As to how the waters receded, other than the evaporative effects of the wind, we can only speculate. The massive underground storehouses of water which erupted at the time of the flood, would have collapsed in places no doubt, no longer being filled with water, or perhaps they would have been refilled. Psalm 104 gives an intriguing hint at one possibility, a complete topographical change,
Thou coveredst it (The earth)with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.(Psalm 104:6-10)
The quote, “ They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys …” could better be rendered “The mountians go up and the valleys go down“. The flood effected an entirely new geography, moving water being the most powerful physical force on the earth, able to move and deposit massive amounts of sediment, and capable of eroding rock.
Everywhere we look on this earth we see the evidence of the cataclysm. The existence of fossils, the drainage erosion in places such as the Grand Canyon, the obviously congruent layers of sediment, some of it horizontally laid, but in other striking cases, obviously laid in layers and pushed up or down , wrinkled like blankets in a bed.
I quote Dr Henry Morris’s commentary “The Genesis Record”,
“…a worldwide flood must have had worldwide geologic effects.Especially must this have been true in such a Flood as described in the Bible, caused by global eruptions, and downpours continuing for 150 days.Such a flood would have destroyed every earlier physiographic feature on or near the earth’s surface, redepositing the eroded materials all over the earth in stratified sedimentary rocks of the earth’s crust….
…Not only do such sedimentary rocks abound all over the world, but they give much evidence of having been formed by rapid and continous depositional processes. Each individual stratum is a distinct sedimentary unit and, in most formations, can be shown by hydraulic analysis to have been formed within a few minutes time…”(Morris,the Genesis Record,Baker)
The Apostle Peter tells us that the only way to not know that there was a t one time a Cataclysm, would be to become “Willfully ignorant”, out of fear or rebellious refusal to face the implications of a previous worldwide Divine judgment.
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.( I Peter 3:1-11)