Is it true that it never rained before Noah? Is there any authoritative references on this subject?
“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air.”
The point where it states that the Lord had not caused it to rain was prior to the natural creation of Adam. Once the earth and Adam were created naturally, natural laws would take effect. President Packer, quoting from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, stated in his October 1993 conference address: “Natural and spiritual laws which govern life were instituted from before the foundation of the world.They are eternal…”
To put forth the hypothesis that it did not rain prior to the time of Noah from this scripture does not make sense. From the time of Adam to when Noah was born was 1056 years. Noah lived for 950 years and died 350 years after the flood. This means that from Adam to the end of the flood was some 1656 years. The water cycle, including rain, would have been in effect during this period of time, otherwise everything would have dried up and died.
Enoch, who was Noah’s Great Grandfather, speaks of rain in Moses 7:28 “And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?” He would have been familiar with the process of raining as he compares it to the heavens shedding tears.
The rainbow was a token or remembrance of the Lord’s everlasting covenant with Enoch that his city of Zion will return, Noah that the earth will not be covered with water, and with all of us that the Lord will once again return to the earth to live. In the Bible Dictionary we read the following: “The rainbow no doubt existed before the flood, but with Noah the rainbow took on a new significance as the token of the covenant. JST Gen. 9:17-25 enlarges the terms of the covenant to include not only that the earth will never again be covered with a flood of water, but also that the Zion of Enoch will return and the Lord will come again to dwell on the earth.”