Mainstream geology has long dismissed the idea that the earth was once subjected to a global flood that cataclysmically annihilated all land-dwelling, air-breathing life except for a remnant preserved in the Ark. In 1961, however, Drs. Henry Morris and John Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood, which examined the evidence and concluded that it affirms the accuracy and authority of the biblical account. Since that time, studies have continually confirmed that the geologic record aligns with the Bible’s depiction of an earth-destroying flood.
The Genesis account of the global Flood succinctly describes stage after stage of that unique catastrophe. Genesis 8:3 summarizes the stage in which the floodwaters drained enough to allow Noah’s Ark to rest on a mountainside. But while the waters were moving, they followed a remarkable rhythmic pattern of ocean-water movement—specifically a repetitious action that could be described as “to and fro” (or “back and forth”):
And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. (Genesis 8:3)
In the biblical Hebrew text, this verse reads as follows:
A few of these Hebrew words justify special scrutiny. The recession of the floodwaters is denoted by the verse’s first verb, vayyashûbû, which means “and they returned.” But who or what are “they”? (In other words, what “returned” in Genesis 8:3?) The second word in the sentence provides the answer: hamayim, “the waters.” The next two words, mê(al ha’aretz, translate as “from upon the earth.”