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 and seamounts are formed by plate tectonics. According to National Geographic, many of earth’s deepest rift valleys are also found dividing mid-ocean ridges. 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 direct 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 resurrected three days later and spat out on the shore. In chapter 2, the Bible describes his death and descent into the depths of the sea:
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
Jonah 2:5-6 KJV
Mountains Of Evidence
So what exactly is this talking about? Firstly, it’s clear that Jonah is under the water. He says the deep has closed and surrounded him (v5).
Secondly, the Bible describes him descending down into the deep 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.
'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.'
Science has confirmed that seamounts and mid-ocean ridges are often found in chains, thousands of miles long on the ocean floors. Could this be what Jonah is referring to?
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 22:16, that is exactly what we find on the sea floor when they are exposed and laid bare.
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 and hills (v1). When he begins his address in verse 2 we notice something very significant. He uses this same phrase the 'foundations of the earth.'
The Bible is clearly saying they are mountains.
But wait. Couldn't this passage just be talking about mountains and hills on land? This just isn't a possibility. After all, the foundations of the earth are not on the earth's surface are they? So why mention them in the context? Well again, if we compare scripture with scripture, we can see why. The foundations of the earth are mountains below sea level (2 Samuel 22:16). So when God says to plead his case to the mountains, he means all of them, both on land and underwater.
So in a nutshell, Micah 6 tells us what they are and 2 Samuel tells us where they are. We've also seen this already in Jonah chapter 2, which refers to the underwater mountains. These are the foundations of the earth.
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 interchangeable. 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.'
RULE OF BIBLE STUDY
The "law of first mention" states that when you see a word first appear in the Bible, that establishes the definition that will be elaborated or expanded upon throughout scripture.
In 2 Samuel 22:16 we're also told the earth's valleys and foundations are exposed and laid bare in the sea. In order for something to be discovered, it has to be concealed in the first place. And given the fact that the context is God blasting the sea open with the breath of his nostrils, there's really no denying what this is referring to.
Interestingly, the first time we see God “blasting by the breath of his nostrils” is in the 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 else could the ancient Bible writers know of their existence without deep sea diving equipment or satellite technology? As we've already seen, the BBC confirms that scientists didn’t discover these underwater mountain systems until the 1950s.
The only other answer that really makes sense is that this was revelation from God. Exactly what we would expect if the Bible is His inspired word.
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?
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Adam James Brennan is a Digital Producer at Premier