At a time when people used to believe the ocean floor was a flat plain, the Bible said there were underwater mountains and valleys.
Today, satellites have found thousands of these ocean-bottom mountains. Underwater mountain systems like mid-ocean ridges are formed by plate tectonics. According to National Geographic, many of earth’s deepest rift valleys are also found dividing them. But Wikipedia and the BBC both confirm that they weren’t properly discovered until the 1950’s.
So where in the Bible does it describe this phenomenon, thousands of years before science?
The first passage is found in the book of Jonah. Written between 793 and 758 B.C, it records the prophet Jonah being pursued by God after disobeying his command to preach to the people of Ninevah (an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia).
Jonah is then famously swallowed up by a big fish before being spat out on the shore three days later. In chapter 2, the Bible describes his descent into the depths of the sea:
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down
Mountains Of Evidence
Firstly, it is clear that Jonah is under the water. He says the deep has enclosed him (v5).
Secondly, the Bible describes him descending down into the water where the roots, or bottoms of the mountains are (v6). These are 'mountains' plural in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. This isn’t talking about the bottom of an offshore island arc, volcano, or a surfaced seamount.
Science has confirmed that underwater mountains are often found in chains, thousands of miles long on the ocean floors. Could this be what Jonah is referring to?
'You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.'
What about the valleys?
Not only does the Bible refer to these underwater mountain systems, it also describes the deep valleys which divide them.
'The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.'
2 Samuel 22:16
Google the word 'valley' and it will say it means, 'a low area of land between hills or mountains.' Where there are mountains there are valleys and according to 2 Samuel that is exactly what we find on the seafloor.
But what does it mean when it says the 'foundations of the earth?' Here’s where it gets truly remarkable. Let's allow the Bible to define its own terms by comparing scripture with scripture:
“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel."
In the context, The Lord tells Micah to plead his case before the mountains or hills (v1). When he begins his address in verse 2 he uses this same phrase, 'the foundations of the earth.'
We know from 2 Samuel 22:16 that the foundations of the earth are below sea level. So when God says to plead his case to the mountains in Micah 6, he means all of them, both on land and underwater.
It seems conclusive, therefore, that the foundations of the earth are the underwater mountains referred to in Jonah chapter 2.
There truly are “mountains” of evidence supporting the truth of the Bible!
Just to point out, the words hills and mountains in the Bible are used interchangeably. Both words refer to 'mountains' (high or low) as we would understand in our modern vernacular. For example, here's the first mention of the word hills in the Bible. (The context is the global flood of Noah):
'And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.'
But here is the most exciting part! In 2 Samuel 22 we're also told the earth's valleys and foundations are exposed by God blasting the sea with the breath of his nostrils. Interestingly, the first time we see something like this is in the famous parting of the red sea:
‘By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood up like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.’
Could the Israelite's have seen these underwater mountains when crossing the red sea?
How did the ancient Bible writers know of their existence without deep sea diving equipment or satellite technology?
As we've seen, the BBC confirms that scientists didn’t discover these underwater mountain systems until the 1950s.
The only answer that really makes sense is that this was a revelation from God; exactly what we would expect if the Bible is His inspired word.
Adam James Brennan is a Digital Producer at Premier
We’ve just uncovered one revelation. Why not investigate and uncover the ultimate revelation of The Bible itself? With sixty-six books written by 40 authors over a period of 1500 years it truly is a treasure chest of discovery. Inside you will find ancient prophecies, scientific facts and most important of all, God’s revelation to man. Why not start with John's gospel?