What Does the Bible Say About the Ocean?

The ocean is a vast and mysterious part of God’s creation. Though not directly referenced as often as other geographical features, the ocean is an important part of the biblical narrative and teaches us much about God’s power and care for His creation. In this comprehensive article, we will explore everything the Bible says about the ocean and what it reveals about our Creator.


The ocean covers over 70% of the planet, yet it is largely unexplored even today. For the ancients, the ocean was a terrifying mystery – filled with dangerous creatures and violent storms that could arise without warning. Yet, the Bible speaks of God’s sovereign control even over this untamed part of His creation.

Though intimidating, the ocean is an object of God’s affection, crafted by Him on the third day of creation (Genesis 1:9-10). The Bible frequently uses images of the ocean and its creatures as symbols of God’s majesty, power, and mystery. Understanding the scriptural significance of the seas helps us grasp the awesomeness of the Lord who rules over them.

Viral Believer is reader-supported. We may earn a small fee from products we recommend at no charge to you. Read Our Affiliate Disclosuree

Here are some key takeaways we’ll explore in more depth throughout this article:

  • God created the seas and oceans on the third day and reigns sovereign over them
  • The ocean symbolizes chaos and danger, yet God can calm its storms
  • God’s control of the oceans demonstrates His unlimited power and authority
  • Creatures of the deep reveal God’s artistic brilliance in design and variety
  • God uses the mysterious depths of the sea to illustrate His inscrutable ways and judgments
  • The tranquility of the ocean pictures the peace God provides when He stills life’s storms
  • Jesus exhibited His deity by calming storms and walking on the sea

By exploring these themes and looking at specific passages, we can gain a biblical perspective on the ocean that displays God’s eternal power and divine nature. The ocean is no match for its Creator.

oql0evyd n8 What Does the Bible Say About the Ocean?

God Created the Seas and Oceans and Reigns Sovereign Over Them

On the third day of creation, God commanded the waters to be gathered into one place so that dry land could emerge:

Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:9-10)

Though covered mostly by oceans, the earth’s dry land masses reflect God’s intentional design to form inhabitable spaces for humanity and other creatures. The seas are part of God’s creative work and under His authority since He first spoke them into existence.

The ocean depths are repeatedly portrayed as the realm that God alone controls. After the flood, God reminds Job that it was He who set the ocean’s boundaries and limitations:

“Or who enclosed the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb;…And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?” (Job 38:8, 10-11)

King David frequently praises God’s lordship over the oceans. He writes that “the sea is His, for it was He who made it” (Psalm 95:5). God’s sovereignty extends over all the earth to the furthest ocean depths:

Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. All things stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. (Psalm 119:90-91)

Because He reigns supreme over the oceans, the Lord can rebuke and calm raging seas as easily as a parent can quiet an upset child. The seas are His creation and always under His command.

The Ocean Symbolizes Chaos and Danger, Yet God Can Calm its Storms

The tumultuous waves and storms of the seas often symbolize chaos, turmoil, and danger in Scripture. The oceans represent what is fearful and unknown to us.

In an intense storm, the disciples feared for their lives out on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was sleeping soundly when they cried out “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” (Matthew 8:25). After Jesus calmed the winds and waves, the disciples were amazed, asking “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27).

Like this storm, the trials and difficulties of our lives can seem overwhelming and make us feel powerless. Yet Jesus has authority even over the terrifying forces of nature. He may allow storms to come for a time, but He can speak peace whenever He chooses.

The book of Psalms uses dramatic ocean imagery to illustrate the traumatic situations when we desperately need the Lord’s deliverance:

Save me, O God, For the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3)

God is our rock and salvation, the only sure thing when life feels out of control. He reaches down to pull us out of the chaotic floodwaters that seek to drag us under:

He reached from on high, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy…He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. (Psalm 18:16-19)

We can call out to the Lord in complete trust that He hears us and will intervene. He has power over anything we face.

God’s Control of the Oceans Demonstrates His Unlimited Power and Authority

The sheer size and depth of the oceans illustrate how far God’s dominion extends. He not only created these vast bodies of water but actively manages all that goes on within them.

The psalmist highlights God’s impressive care for all ocean creatures:

There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great…They all wait for You To give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. (Psalm 104:25-28)

Despite the immensity of the seas, God’s intimate knowledge and attention are seen in how He sustains every single sea creature. The One who governs the oceans notices even the smallest fish.

Isaiah emphasizes God’s unlimited power by contrasting Him with earthly rulers:

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither…To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:22-26)

God oversees the motion of the heavens and the earth. He created every single star known to humanity. Certainly, He can calm winds and waves that are a mere part of His handiwork. None can approach the Almighty in power.

Creatures of the Deep Reveal God’s Artistic Brilliance in Design and Variety

The tremendous biodiversity filling the ocean depths testifies to God’s limitless creativity. The variety of colorful corals, bizarre bioluminescent creatures, and amazing animals small and large all proclaim the Lord’s artistic masterpieces.

The psalmist is awestruck at the vast array of sea creatures designed by God:

There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great. There the ships move along, And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it. (Psalm 104:25-26)

In the creature described as “Leviathan,” we see God’s joy in creating interactive life, not merely functional beings. The image of this great sea dragon delighting in the ocean home God made displays a personal, playful Creator carefully crafting each aspect of His world.

Job gets a striking vision of some of the spectacular sea life God conceptualized in all its diversity:

“Have you entered the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its home?” (Job 38:16-20)

God alone comprehends the full scope of life in the ocean depths – environments still being discovered today. The variety and artistry of what lies far below the surface will continue to astound humanity. Our creative capacity only scratches the surface of the beauty our Maker dreams up.

God Uses the Mysterious Depths of the Sea to Illustrate His Inscrutable Ways and Judgments

There is much about the ocean trenches shrouded in impenetrable darkness that remains beyond human understanding. Because of these mysteries, Scripture often uses the sea depths as a metaphor when God’s ways are incomprehensible to us.

Speaking of God’s judgments against the wicked, the Psalmist declares:

Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known. (Psalm 77:19)

God’s dealings with humanity reflect depths we cannot fully grasp. His ways are as mysterious and challenging to trace as the bottomless pit of the ocean.

Seeking to comprehend the eternality of God, the writer of Ecclesiastes observes:

All the rivers flow into the sea, Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, There they flow again. (Ecclesiastes 1:7)

Our minds cannot grasp the endlessness of God any more than we can find a physical boundary where the ocean ceases to exist. Being timeless and limitless, the Lord operates in ways far outside our finite perceptions.

The ocean is a fitting symbol for God’s ineffable majesty. Its vast expanse and barely explored regions represent the “how unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways” (Romans 11:33). Though we struggle to grasp the deep mysteries of who God is, we can trust His ways are perfect.

The Tranquility of the Ocean Pictures the Peace God Provides When He Stills Life’s Storms

While storms reveal the ocean’s frightening power, its peaceful calm also communicates an important spiritual lesson.

After Jesus miraculously calmed the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, the water became perfectly still (Matthew 8:26). This tranquility enabled the disciples’ shaken faith to find rest once again.

Like the disciples, we go through unsettling storms where we question if God cares or is paying attention. But He always seeks to replace unrest with His peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). Our part is trusting God’s character and crying out for His intervention.

The visual of a calm sea reassures us of God’s desire and ability to quiet the tumults of our soul:

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry…He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

Once the storm passes, we gain an opportunity to walk in renewed faith and gratitude. Our confidence grows as we witness again how the Lord stills life’s tempests.

Jesus Exhibited His Deity by Calming Storms and Walking on the Sea

Two incidents where Jesus suspends the ocean’s natural properties offer striking proofs of His divine nature. These miracles would have been especially compelling to the original audience.

In a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was asleep in the boat while the disciples panicked, sure they would drown. They cry out, “Save us, Lord!” Jesus awakes and “rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm” (Mark 4:37-39). The disciples are shocked at God’s power over nature, asking, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:41). For Israelites familiar with Old Testament examples of God controlling the seas (Psalm 89:9, Psalm 107:29), witnessing Jesus calm the storm would prove His claims to deity.

Even more shocking is when Jesus walks on the water (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52). The disciples see someone coming towards them on the sea and think He is a ghost. But Jesus declares “It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter seeks proof by asking to come out on the water also. He begins to sink in fear but Jesus catches Him. The disciples worship Jesus, saying “You are certainly God’s Son!” Jesus demonstrates His lordship over creation by overriding the sea’s laws. Only God has this authority.

Through His mastery over wind and wave, Jesus establishes His divine identity as the Son of God. He ministered to the disciples’ immediate physical need for safety while offering deeper revelation of who He is.


The ocean is a prominent part of God’s handiwork, full of meaning and theological significance. We learn much about our Creator through the testimony of the seas in Scripture.

God’s sovereignty established at creation secures His limitless power over all the earth. The ocean’s immensity does not intimidate the Lord who manages every detail within it. He is mightier than any storm and understands all the mysterious creatures of the deep.

Chaos yields to peace when Christ stills life’s tempests. His authority extends even over the imposing forces of nature, as revealed in His miracles on the sea. We can confidently cry out in any trial, trusting our Savior who rules the winds and waves.

The depths of the seas mirror the depths of God’s ways and judgments, which surpass human understanding. Yet His character is faithful and true. The tranquil, glassy ocean pictures the calm God brings to our soul’s restless tossing.

What new perspectives on God and insights for your faith journey did you gain from considering what Scripture reveals about the ocean? Recognizing the Lord’s intimate care for all He has created invites awe and gratitude. We can live at peace resting in the hands of the One who “established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever” (Psalm 104:5).

About The Author

Scroll to Top