Genesis 8:22—If seedtime and harvest were never to be interrupted, then why were there famines?

Problem: God promised Noah: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest ... shall not cease.” However, there are many famines recorded, even in Bible times, when there has been no harvest (cf. Gen. 26:1; 41:54).

Solution: “Cease” (shabath) means to come to an end, to be eliminated, to desist completely. This passage only promises that the seasons will not cease, not the crops. It refers to “seedtime” and harvesttime, not necessarily to the actual planting and harvesting of a crop. And the seasons have never stopped completely since this promise was made to Noah. Further, this general promise was not intended as a guarantee that there would be no temporary interruptions. It was only a statement about the permanent cycles of the year until the end of time.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.