a non Catholic Christian friend says Noah’s flood was the first time it rained on the earth. He claims it is the first time rain is mentioned in the bible. I disagreed saying; just because it wasn’t mentioned doesn’t infer that it didn’t exist. What is Catholic teaching on this?
The Catholic Church does not necessarily consider the creation account and the story of Noah be historical accounts in the modern sense of the term. Its not that they are not based on real history, but they are not eye witness accounts with a primary focus of retelling literal facts.
You are correct that just because something is not recorded does not mean it did not happen. The Gospels don’t recount that Jesus and the disciples ate every day, yet it is a logical assumption that they did.
But on a textual analysis, I don’t see how your friend’s interpretation can hold up:
For seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and so I will wipe out from the face of the earth every being that I have made. Noah complied, just as the LORD had commanded.
- Genesis 7:4
If God said that He was about to do something that neither Noah nor any other human being had ever witnessed, it would seem logical that Noah would have been perplexed by God’s declaration that He was going to send rain. Yet Noah asks no questions about what the word/expression means. Noah appears to perfectly understand what God is saying.
Secondly, the author of Genesis doesn’t make any attempt to declare this was the first rain. There is also no explanation as to why the rain continues after the flood. If the author’s intention is to portray the flood as the first rain, then why is there no explanation for the continuation of rain after the flood? It seems odd that the earth did not need rain until the flood, yet rain continues after the flood for no apparent reason.