From the time the waters of the Flood commenced, until Noah and his family set foot on dry land, they were in the great ark for a period of one year and ten days (Gen. 7:11; 8:14). The entire earth had been covered with water (Gen. 7:19; cf. 2 Pet. 3:6).
This cataclysm was not a local inundation — a mere Mesopotamian mud-puddle, as it were — in spite of the uncertainty of some Christian writers regarding this matter. (See: Willis, 174.) The Flood of Noah’s day was a global deluge.
As the waters of the Flood receded, Noah sent out birds to test the water-level. First he sent a raven, and then later a dove. The second time he dispatched the dove, it returned with an olive leaf in its beak. Note the precise reading of the text.
“[A]nd the dove came in to him at eventide: and lo, in her mouth an olive-leaf plucked off” (Gen. 8:11).
But how, the critic wants to know, could the dove have plucked a fresh olive leaf from a tree that, a week earlier (Gen. 8:10), had been totally submerged in water?
The answer is simple — the olive tree can flourish under water. One scholar observes:
“It is a remarkable fact, as bearing indirect testimony to this narrative, that the olive has been ascertained to bear leaves under water” (Edersheim, 47).
Several years ago, this writer personally observed a young olive tree, fully leafed and completely immersed, thriving in a northern California mountain stream.
And so, underline “olive-leaf” in Genesis 8:11, and marginally note: The Olive tree can leaf under water — the Bible is accurate!