Certain biblical passages and phrases are difficult to decipher. We tend to gloss over them when we do not understand them, or we focus in on them with a skeptic’s eye, depending on our inclinations. Sometimes those passages are illuminated for us from unusual sources.
Consider the phrase “fountain of the deep” or “fountains of the great deep” (taken from the English Standard Version (ESV)). It appears in the following places:
In Genesis 7:11 – “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.”
In Genesis 8:1-4 – “And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”
- In Proverbs 8:27-30, speaking of wisdom:
The Genesis passages attribute the flood to a combination of “fountains of the great deep” bursting forth and the “windows of the heavens” opening. The phrase, “windows of the heavens”, is fairly common, used to describe rain pouring down, but the phrase, “fountains of the great deep”, is another matter.
Interestingly, when I Googled “waters of the deep”, I found an attempt to answer questions about the phrases that we find in the story of the flood in Genesis 7 and 8. The web page, which you can read for yourself below, contrasts the more common phrases found throughout the Bible that clearly refer to oceans with the mysterious “fountains of the great deep” phrase used in three places, two of them being in the description of the flood story. The author of the web page speculates about water coming up through large fissures in the ground, like volcanic eruptions from the earth’s core, to cause the flood in Noah’s day that is described in those chapters in combination with rain from the sky. (See the answersingenesis.org website maintained by the Creation Museum.)
The conjecture is fascinating in light of a new discovery that was described in the NewSientist article online, Massive ‘Ocean’ Discovered towards Earth’s Core, written by Andy Coghlan and posted online June 12, 2014. The article describes the work of Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The article describes “a reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans” that has been discovered “deep beneath the Earth’s surface” occurring “700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth’s surface and its core.”
Far from discrediting the conjecture found at the website I linked above, this discovery validates it. Certainly, the men who wrote those passages, whether speaking the words of God by divine inspiration or not, could not have known (themselves) the truth of which they spoke. The discovery reported within the last month is new and exciting, but it reveals facts that have existed as long as the earth.
Once again, in spite of popular conception, science the Bible is vindicated by science. As times goes, science verifies with increasing evidence things that religion has told us for centuries. (See Science Finds God, a special feature from Newsweek posted on the washingtonpost.com.) This reminds of the following quotation:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
― Robert Jastrow,