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British scriptural geologists in the first half of the nineteenth century: part 2
Granville Penn (1761–1844)
by Terry Mortenson
At a time when many early geologists were abandoning Genesis and compromising with the new old-earth interpretations of Hutton, Werner, Buckland, Cuvier and others, Granville Penn made a courageous stand in defence of the Scriptures in his book A Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies. Penn insisted that earth history began with six literal days of creation by God, during which the “primitive” (granitic) rocks were created with an appearance of age (on Day 1) and a major geological upheaval occurred which built and shaped the first land (on Day 3). The global year-long Flood was then responsible for devastating the earth, building most of the layers of fossil-bearing rocks, and eroding today’s valleys when retreating. Penn’s work received positive recognition. He insisted that geology as a study of history depended on divine revelation, but should also be built on the sound philosophical basis of Bacon and Newton.
Granville Penn was born in Spring Gardens, a hamlet in the parish of Wooburn, Buckinghamshire,2 on December 9, 1761, the fifth but second surviving and youngest son of Thomas Penn, and the grandson of William Penn, who founded the colony of Pennsylvania in America.3
He matriculated, without taking a degree, from Magdalen College, Oxford, in November 1780, and then became an assistant chief clerk in the War Department, from which he received a £550 pension. He married Isabella, daughter of General Gordon Forbes, on June 24, 1791, and they settled in London for many years. Together they had four sons and five daughters, with one of each dying in infancy.4 All three sons who reached manhood received an MA from Christ Church, Oxford. One became a barrister and another became an Anglican clergyman.5 This family information, in the absence of other information, suggests that Penn himself was an Anglican.
In 1834 when Penn’s brother John died, he took over the family estates of Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, and of Pennsylvania Castle, Portland. When Penn died at Stoke Park on September 28, 1844, he willed to his son and his heirs £3,000 per year for 500 years out of a perpetual annuity of the £4,000 granted to the Penn family by an act of Parliament to compensate for losses sustained in America.6,7
Penn loved the study of languages (being fluent in French, Greek, Latin and possibly Hebrew) and ancient literature. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries,8 wrote several books dealing with biblical criticism and published a number of competent translations of ancient Greek works, including a critical revision of the English version of the New Testament. He also wrote some theological works particularly related to biblical chronology (past and future) and the early history of post-Flood mankind. Many of these works went through more than one edition. His major work on geology was A Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies.9 It was first published in 1822, received a supplement in 1823 in response to Buckland’s theory on Kirkdale Cave, and was revised in light of criticism and greatly enlarged to two volumes for a second edition in 1825.10 The later edition will be the focus of this study.11
Penn made no claim to be a geologist, but he was well read in the geological literature of his day. His book contains many quotes, most of them long and all well documented, from the most recent books by British geological writers such as Buckland, Conybeare, Macculloch, Hutton (Playfair’s version), Kirwan, Jameson, Greenough, Bakewell, Brande and Parkinson, and by French geological writers such as Cuvier, D’Aubuisson, Humboldt, Saussure and Deluc. He read geological articles in such periodicals as Journal de Physique Bibliothèque Universelle, Philosophical Transactions, Annals of Philosophy and Geological Transactions. In addition he carefully read and responded to the reviews of his first edition of Comparative Estimate in such journals as the Eclectic Review, Journal of Science and the British Critic.12
Throughout Comparative Estimate Penn gave little indication of first-hand observation of geological phenomena. Nevertheless, he was not insensitive to the charge from the geologists, to whose theories he was offering critique, that he was not qualified to comment on the subject. In his long appendix on Buckland’s Kirkdale Cave theory he seems to intimate the extent of his own observations of geological phenomena, when he wrote
I am well aware, that it has long been a common resource of many who, after laborious and hazardous enterprises to collect facts in geology, find the conclusions which they have drawn from those facts questioned by others who have not engaged in the same particular enterprises, to exclaim, that the objections are those of “mere cabinet naturalists,” who have not inspected the objects on which they pretend to deliver an opinion. But, this “argumentum ad silentium” has no title to produce it; for, the facts reported, are certainly of no value whatever to science, if they do not enable all reflecting and philsophical minds to reason effectually and conclusively upon them; and, no one can at the same time, both impart his knowledge to others, and keep it all back to himself. And, that the sobriety of “the cabinet” is materially needed to revise and regulate the often hasty and impassioned combinations of actual inspection, is virtually admitted in the concession of Cuvier; “that many who have made excellent collections of observations, though they may have laid the foundations of true geological science, have not therefore been able to raise and complete the edifice.” Besides, it does not follow, because a writer meditates in his cabinet, or, because he has not visited the limestone caves of England and Franconia, that he has not made researches out of it: or, because he abstains from a recital of his travels, that he has not explored the mountainous chains of the Alps, or the Pyrennees, or sought the interior of the earth in various places, as, at Hallein in Salzurg, Bex in Switzerland, Mont St. Pièrre near Maestricht, and elsewhere; which are no negative instructors in preparing the mind for geological investigation.13
Furthermore, Penn argued, it is sound logical induction, more than the quantity of geological observations, that is critical to the erecting of a reliable geological history of the earth.
The Mineral Geology, confidently reposes on its delusive error, that he who sees most, judges best; and it expects, by that rule, to secure the palm in every geological contest. As if judgement, were the necessary product of vision. But, as the two faculties have no such necessary ordination and dependence; he who sees enough, with a more instructed judgement, will better apprehend the fundamental truths of geology, than he who sees more than enough, with a judgement less instructed. It is one thing to accumulate data, and another thing to reason soundly upon them when accumulated: as will be frequently exemplified in the progress of this work … Certainly, he who has read numerically most books [sic], is not necessarily the best critic; and, by the same principle, he who has seen numerically most rocks [sic], is not necessarily the best geologist … Although, then, it is undeniably true, “that those who have contributed most to the advancement of Natural Philosophy, have had, at the same time, a tendency to generalize, and an accurate knowledge of a great many particular facts”; yet, it was not the tendency, but the sound ability, that enabled them to contribute to that advancement.14
In response to Buckland’s assertion in Vindiciae Geologiae that a qualified natural philosopher cannot be content with mastering one branch of science but must have a breadth of knowledge over the whole range of science, Penn added that in the area of historical geology other branches of learning were also essential.
But, it is also no less certainly true; that all the physical sciences combined cannot serve the philosopher to apprehend the historical basis on which alone the complex Science of Geology can securely stand, unless he is further succoured by the concurring auxiliaries of Sacred and Ancient Learning. If he would attain to that apprehension, he can no longer be allowed to “remain satisfied” with the exclusive illumination of the Physical Sciences.15
Some indication that Penn’s work did not reflect complete geological ignorance, or misunderstanding of the geological works he read, may be gained from two reviews of his book. One review was in the form of a book published anonymously in 1828, called Conversations on Geology, which primarily compared Penn’s geological theory of earth history with those of Werner and Hutton and generally considered Penn’s the best, though the author did not agree with Penn on every point.16 The geologically-informed author of Conversations on Geology remarked, possibly on the basis of personal acquaintance, that Penn was an
“excellent geologist,” “who is extensively acquainted with the facts and theories of modern Mineral Geologists,” and who “is a pupil of the celebrated Saussure,” and had been “long among the Alps and Pyrenees.”17
The Magazine of Natural History review of Conversations on Geology also described Penn’s geological theory as a “more rational and plausible system” than the others to which it was compared.18 The Eclectic Review said of the first edition of the Comparative Estimate:
This is by far the most plausible and masterly attempt, which has hitherto been made, to compare the facts of geology with the sacred records of the Creation and the Deluge.19
A two-part review of Penn’s first edition and the subsequent supplement on Kirkdale Cave appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and Arts.20 The reviewer hailed Penn’s “valuable book” with “unfeigned satisfaction.”21 He said that Penn
“invariably supports his assertion by reference to some writer of established authority” and his argument was “remarkable for the closeness of its reasoning” and “for the spirit of upright honesty and manly candour which animates every page.”22
As for Penn’s discussion on the formation of coal, the reviewer felt that Penn handled the subject “with the judicial caution which the obscurity of the subject demands.”23 The reviewer highly recommended the book because
its philosophy is founded on that of Bacon and Newton; its reasoning on the mode of first formations and secondary causes, are in strict harmony with that philosophy, and at least as plausible as any that have been advanced by the Huttonian and Wernerian schools; … and its excellent moral and religious tendency.24
The supplement only strengthened the reviewer’s convictions about the “talents and right-mindedness” of Penn and the “logical precision and force” of his objections against Buckland’s theory that Kirkdale Cave was an antediluvian hyaena’s den, though the reviewer objected to some points in Penn’s argument.25 Finally, he praised Penn for the “gentlemanly tone” and “respectful terms” he used in reference to Buckland.26
James Kennedy, an Irish classical scholar and divine who followed the old-earth views of Buckland, disagreed with Penn on the age of the earth but nevertheless called Penn’s work “ingenious.” He thought Penn’s refutation of Faber’s day-age theory of Genesis 1 to be good and Penn’s discussions of First Cause and the original creation to be “to a certain extent, sound and demonstrable.”27
Geology and geologists
Penn never expressed any opposition to the study of geology or any other science. On the contrary, he affirmed that geology is a “delightful study,” and mineralogy is a “sound and valuable science.”28 Furthermore,
The science of GEOLOGY, the last of those reserved measures of light which have been opened upon us, has this remarkable character above all the preceding physical sciences; that, it not only conducts the intelligence, like them, to the discernment of the God of Nature, but advances it further, to a distinct recognition of that God of Nature in the God of Scripture.29
Throughout his work he showed great respect for the “eminent and distinguished” geologists with whom he disagreed.30 Wherever he could, he frequently expressed appreciation for the research and philosophical inductions they had made. So, for example, Conybeare was a “valuable reverend writer on Geology” and a “learned,” “able” and “instructive mineralogist.”31 Buckland was an “excellent author” of “eloquent and sublime piety” to “whose valuable labours we are wholly indebted.”32 Saussure was considered by Penn to be “one of the most able and most deservedly celebrated mineralogists of our time.”33 Cuvier was “the illustrious comparative anatomist who has devoted so much genius and zeal to the investigation” of fossil animal remains and in this field of study “probably will remain for ever unrivalled.”34 Humboldt was a “Herculean explorer” and “indefatigable scrutinator” of geological phenomena.35 And D’Aubuisson, to whom Penn referred more than anyone else, was a man of “superior genius,” than whom “no one has displayed more ability, acuteness, general circumspection, and integrity.”36
When Penn disagreed with these respected geologists it was over the interpretation of the facts, not the facts themselves, except when so-called “facts” were really disguised theoretical inferences from the facts. He contended that the old-earth geologists erroneously relied on a “seductive principle” that the “facts in geology are self-evident, and need only to be seen to be believed.”37 He believed and attempted to show that the geologists themselves were not aware that many of their “facts” were theory-laden. After quoting Humboldt’s expressed desire to avoid hypothesis in his factual description of the crust of the earth, Penn wrote,
Yet, notwithstanding this emphatic disclaimer of all hypothesis, notwithstanding this determined advocacy of facts, and facts only, the “Geognostical Essay” is governed throughout by a masked theory; of which its eminent author appears to be hardly conscious, but of which the attentive reader will have caught some surmise from the reservation claimed by the author; “of adding what is only probable, (that is, in his own opinion) to what appears completely verified,” and thus, of incorporating theory with the facts of his observation and experience. This theory of probabilities, I shall now proceed to unmask; in order that we may be able to distinguish and ascertain exactly, how far his geognosy of fact is also a geognosy of hypothesis, and thus reveals itself to be only another variety of that Alchymical Geology, which has already been examined and exposed.38
For these reasons, Penn distinguished between the legitimate science of mineralogy, which like botany and zoology explores the present nature of the relevant objects of study, and the “spurious and baseless science” of “Mineral Geology,” a term taken from Cuvier’s Ossemens Fossiles.39 Penn used the term, Mineral Geology, collectively to describe all the old-earth theories which tried to explain, purely by observation of the geological phenomena and reference to secondary physical and chemical causes, “the mode of first formation” of the primitive mineral substances of the earth and “the mode of the changes” those substances had subsequently undergone, that is, the original creation and history of the earth.40 Mineral Geology was a branch of mineralogy which Penn considered to contain many of the notions of the ancient Greek atomic philosophy of chaos. As a view of earth history, Penn’s “Mosaic Geology” was an alternative to “Mineral Geology,” not to the science of mineralogy. We will come back to this distinction shortly, for it is at the heart of Penn’s argument.
The relation between Scripture and geology
The Dictionary of National Biography article on Penn, probably following several of Penn’s critical reviewers, says that Penn made “an unscientific attempt to treat the book of Genesis as a manual of geology.” But this is precisely what Penn disclaimed and his argument seems consistent with his stated intentions.
First, Penn argued that Genesis and geology ought to be connected because it was philosophically permissible, even necessary, to attempt to identify the God of Scripture with the God of Nature, that is, to show that they are one and the same God, as Scripture itself teaches. And since God had communicated certain historical facts about the original creation of the earth and the Flood, it would certainly not be prudent to disconnect them from the geological study of the surface of the earth. Rather, Penn insisted, to trace the connection of Genesis to geology would be “of the first importance, in Man’s relation to God under Divine Revelation,” as it would contribute to our confidence that Scripture is of divine origin, as we are sure Nature is.41 Conybeare and others contended that physical science only had a connection to natural religion, not revealed religion, that is, science could help only to prove the existence and attributes of the Author of Nature from His works.42 Penn countered that the Christian already knew this from abundant and obvious physical evidence, and that the unbeliever had no excuse for not acknowledging this fact, as Paul says in Romans 1:18–20. The real problem, said Penn, was to show that the God of Scripture is the God of Nature.43
Penn objected to the assertion of Conybeare and other geologists that the study of Scripture and of geology should be dissociated because (as the old-earth geologists asserted) the professed object of biblical revelation was to treat only the history of man.44 Penn argued that Exodus 20:11 shows that God intended to impart to man special and particular historical knowledge about the origin of the celestial bodies and the plants and animals of land and sea, before He imparted a history of man’s own origin.
The history of the origin and relations of all and each of these, is therefore as much a professed object of Revelation, as the history of the origin and relations of Man himself.45
Also, if, as Conybeare admitted,46 the dealings of divine providence in regard to man was a professed object of Scriptural revelation, then a knowledge of the divine judgments at the Fall and the Flood would necessarily be encompassed in that object. But, Penn argued, according to the Bible, these judgments had universal physical, as well as spiritual, effects on the earth. Therefore, what the Bible said about the origin, formation and universal changes to the earth was a professed object of divine revelation.47
Penn insisted that the Bible did not include “a system of physical truth,” as Conybeare (and others) claimed that people such as Penn did believe.48 To this false accusation Penn responded, that these old-earth geologists argued
as if no physical FACTS could be imparted to man by revelation without being accompanied, at the same time, with a SYSTEM of physics. No system of physics, is imparted to us; but fundamental physical facts are most certainly imparted to us, in order that we may have a secure and certain basis on which to found the system which, by the due exercise of our intelligence, we may construct, and which could, otherwise, never have acquired any secure and certain basis at all. Our reason is, indeed, to work; but, it is set right in the first instance, that it might not necessarily work wrong. We have, therefore, no physical system, but, we have grounding physical facts. … those simple grounding principles which the Mosaical revelation alone either does or can supply … opening to us … the true foundation on which the historical science of Geology must ultimately rest.49
In defining the Mosaical Geology on the basis of his detailed consideration of what Genesis teaches about the original creation, Penn re-emphasised this distinction.
Although, therefore, we are not to look for physical science technically so called, or for a system of physics, in the history, it is nevertheless manifest, that it behoves us to endeavour to trace the harmony subsisting between the physical facts which are there declared or intimated, and the physical phenomena which are apparent in the globe; from the investigation of which harmony, by the light of sound philosophy, we shall be able to deduce, and establish, a true Mosaical Geology. It would argue a very great obtuseness of intellect, not to be able to discern the difference between physical facts and a system of physics; the former of which, though not the latter, are included in the Mosaical history, and they therefore challenge our first attention, in considering the history of the earth or the foundations of Geology.50
Penn repeatedly stressed that geology was different from other sciences in that it dealt with the past, rather than merely presently observable processes. Therefore, expertise in the study of the latter was no guarantee of accuracy in the reconstruction of the former.
What true comparison can be made, between the measurement of present objects of sense and the recovery of past facts of history? Because we can apply rules of arithmetic or mathematics to present objects, we are not therefore capacitated to recall past events. In the former case, we have the evidence of the truth always with us; in the latter, we must seek it elsewhere, for we can never find it in the subject matter of our study.51
He quoted with approval the opening remarks of the review of Buckland’s Reliquiae Diluvianae in the Quarterly Review:
The science, as it is perhaps improperly called, of geology, (observes a recent learned Journalist) differs from all other sciences in one material respect. It contemplates, not only what is, but what has been. It embraces the history of our globe, as well as its actual composition; it endeavours to trace the succession of events which have preceded its present state; to ascertain, not only the changes which have taken place, but the causes, or, in other words, the physical connexion of those changes; and to determine the order, the time, and the circumstances, under which they were effected. The province of the Geologist resembles therefore in some respects that of the Historian: he must diligently examine ancient documents.52
The Mineral Geologists considered only the geological phenomena as the “documents” of history (from the “book of nature”), which were to be studied and interpreted to reconstruct the past. But Penn argued that these geologists developed faulty theories because they rejected or ignored the written historical documents, that is, Genesis. The “documents” of the Mineral Geologist were really only the “monuments and medals” of the past.
But, what could we make of monuments and medals, if it were not for the auxiliary references of history? The mineral geology has indeed a strong tendency to explore, inquire, and collect these relics of the globe’s antiquity, in rich abundance; but, to decipher them when collected, far exceeds the bounds of its capacity, unless it associates to itself another and a more authoritative geology. It was wisely observed by Mr. Kirwan; that “past geological facts being of an historical nature, all attempts to deduce a complete knowledge of them merely from their still subsisting consequences, to the exclusion of unexceptionable testimonies, must be deemed as absurd, as that of deducing the history of Ancient Rome solely from the medals or other monuments of antiquity it still exhibits, or the scattered ruins of its empire, to the exclusion of a Livy, a Sallust, or a Tacitus” … . It is evident to reason, that certainty concerning a past fact,—such as is, the mode by which all material existences were really first formed, or were really afterwards altered—must be historical certainty: the subject, therefore, is no longer a subject for philosophical or scientific induction, but for historical evidence, it demands a voucher competent to establish its truth. Now, the voucher that could establish the fact respecting the true mode of first formations, must have been a witness of that mode; but, the only witness of the mode of first formations or creations, was the Creator Himself.53
Genesis then gives us the Mosaical Geology, the historical framework for understanding the monuments of the past. Within this framework, or “General Elementary Scheme,” Penn said, geologists have plenty of room to investigate and speculate.
Within the limits of this General Elementary Scheme, all speculation must be confined which would aspire to the quality of sound Geology; yet, vast is the field which it lays open, to exercise the intelligence and research of sober and philosophical mineralogy and chemistry. Upon this legitimate ground, those many valuable writers, who have either incautiously lent their science to uphold and propagate the vicious doctrine of chaotic geogony, or who have too cautiously withheld their science from exposing and refuting it, may geologise with full security; and, transferring their mineralogical superstructures from a quick-sand to a rock, may concur to promote that true advancement of natural philosophy, which Newton held, and demonstrated, to be inseparable from a proportionate advancement of the moral. They may thus, at length, succeed in perfecting a true philosophical geology; which never can exist, unless the principle of Newton form the foundation, and the relation of Moses, the working-plan.54
Now the reason, said Penn, that many past attempts to interpret the fossils and rocks in the light of Scripture had failed, was not because theology had wrongly meddled in a foreign domain of study, but because either the theologians did not know physical science well enough or the physical philosophers had possessed an inadequate knowledge of the details recorded in the sacred history of the Bible, particularly Genesis. But these errors on both sides were fundamental to the question of the origin and subsequent changes of the earth, because “the question at issue is a compound question; it is both physical and historical; for it seeks the historical truth of a physical fact.”55 Obviously, Penn felt that he had an adequate knowledge of both the physical and the biblical facts to attempt to give a rationally compelling answer to this question.
The philosophical foundation of Comparative Estimate
Volume I deals exclusively with the original creation, or “the mode of first formation,” as Penn termed it. Volume II treats the changes to the earth since the first formation, focussing primarily on the Noachian Deluge.
After an 80-page introduction in Volume I, in which Penn clarified the arguments in the book by responding to critics of his first edition, he then endeavoured methodically to show that Mineral Geology was contradictory to the Newtonian and Baconian principles of philosophising. This is the part which, Penn rightly said in his introduction, was ignored by his negative critics, but which was fundamental to his whole argument. So it is important to consider it carefully.
First, he argued that there are only two guides to interpreting the history of the earth reflected in the four geological divisions of the earth’s surface (primary, transition, secondary and tertiary): the Mosaic and Mineral Geologies. These, he said, are mutually exclusive, even contradictory guides, for Mosaical Geology rested on divine testimony about historical facts, whereas Mineral Geology ignored this inspired Scriptural account and constructed its history solely from geological phenomena and chemical and mechanical principles, as then understood. To determine which was true, Penn proposed the application of the test to which Mineral Geology always appealed, namely, the “reformed philosophy of Bacon and Newton.”56
On the basis of quotes from D’Aubuisson, Penn carefully defined Mineral Geology in contradistinction to mineralogy (as noted above) and showed that it claimed to follow the inductive scientific method of Bacon and Newton in explaining how the earth was formed.57 He reasoned that if Mineral Geology did not do well by the standard of Newton and Bacon in explaining the first formation of the earth, we would have justification for distrusting its history of the changes and revolutions that had occurred since that first formation.
Using seven pages of quotes from D’Aubuisson, Jameson, Cuvier, Kirwan and DeLuc he showed what the old-earth geologists (whether Huttonian or Wernerian) believed about the first formation of the earth: a once fluid chaotic mass (whether igneous or aqueous) was gradually formed into the present spherical earth with a crust of primitive crystalline rocks, solely by the laws of matter operating over long ages of time. This, they claimed, was a conclusion resulting from the methodical combination of observation, experimentation, and inductive logic based on proven principles of physics, as advocated by Newton and Bacon. But, quoting from Newton’s Opticks,58,59 Penn contended that this view of first formation was directly opposed to Newton. Newton, he argued, believed that by His great intelligence God initially formed the earth, immediately and perfectly, in a solid ellipsoidal condition suitable to the end for which it was formed (that is, a habitation for life), and not as a chaotic mass which would evolve by the mere laws of nature to the intended end.
Penn illustrated this contradiction between Newton and Mineral Geology by considering the spherical shape of the earth. Relying on both Newton’s writings and Newton’s expounder, Colin MacLaurin (1698–1746),60 he argued that the old-earth geologists had actually misused Newton’s Principia Mathematica to defend their notion of a once liquid globe. He contended that Newton merely supposed the once liquid state of the earth as a philosophical hypothesis in order to demonstrate something mathematically, but that Newton gave no evidence of believing that this supposition actually was geological fact.61
The reason, Penn said, that Mineral Geology was in opposition to Newton was because these geologists did not carry their analysis and induction back as far as Newton had—to the investigation of the first formation (or creation, as Newton called it) of all matter in general in order to ascertain the most general cause. Quoting from Newton’s Opticks, Penn contended that Newton attributed the existence and perfection of such things as the planetary systems and the bodies of animals to the wisdom and skill of an eternal Creator.62,63 In other words, the three kingdoms of minerals, plants and animals were originally formed by the same cause—the immediate or instantaneous acts of the supernatural Creator. In light of this Penn remarked,
Newton’s rules of philosophising require, that we should refer to the same common cause, all existences which share the same common properties; and, the three kingdoms of matter, share equally the same common properties of matter. But, besides sharing the same common properties of matter, they demonstrate a community of system; each existing with relation to the others, and having the reason of its own existence in that relation … The first formations of each of which, must of necessity, that is, in philsophical consistency, be referred to the same operating cause, and to the same mode of operation. If any one of the three was originally formed perfect for its end, so also were they all.64
Penn proceeded to build up to the geological implications of this by considering the first formed, or created, animal matter (particularly focusing on the bones of the first man), and the first plants (focusing on the tree trunk of the first tree). From this discussion he proposed two principles of first formations of plant and animal matter. First,
those first formations of the Creating Agent anticipated by an immediate act, effects which were thenceforward to be produced only by a gradual process, of which He then established the laws.65
In other words, the laws of nature did not begin to operate until after the initial creation; they were not the means of creation.
So if a bone of the first created man persisted and was found mingled with the bones of that man’s descendants, the anatomist could not distinguish the created bone from the generated one, by the study of physical phenomena alone. Similarly, the botanist would be incapable of discriminating between a part of the trunk of the first tree and that of one of its generated offspring. This naturally led to Penn’s second principle of first formations in the case of two of the three kingdoms of terrestrial matter, the plants and animals:
sensible phenomena alone cannot determine the mode of their formation, since the real mode was in direct contradiction to the apparent indications of the phenomena.66
Having established these points in relation to the plant and animal kingdom, Penn next made the connection to the mineral kingdom. As the first tree was not the result of a gradual process of lignification and the first bone was not the consequence of the presently observed process of ossification, so the first primitive rocks of the earth were not the product of precipitation (or fusion) and crystallisation, as the physical phenomena alone would suggest to the observer. This reasoning, said Penn, applied equally to the two varieties of Mineral Geology: neptunian (Wernerian) or vulcanian (Huttonian).
The correspondence and correlation of the three subjects, are pointed out by physical science itself in the passages which have just been quoted; for, natural history there points out the analogy of the wood in the vegetable structure, and mineralogy points out that of primordial rock in the mineral structure, with the bone in the animal structure. Solidity and consistency, therefore, are the common properties of all the three. To produce that solidity and consistency, which were as necessary for the surface which was to sustain, as for the bodies which were to be sustained by it, was equally the end of the formation of each; and, therefore, according to Newton’s second rule, we are bound by reason to assign the same identical cause for the solidity and consistency of each. And it will then necessarily follow; that primitive immediate crystallisation, can furnish no data for computing time, more than primitive immediate ossification, or primitive immediate lignification.67
So all of God’s first creations in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms were made in correspondence with the laws of nature, which He inaugurated immediately after the original creation, in anticipation of the phenomenological effects which would thereafter be produced only by those laws.
But to the anticipated objection of the old-earth geologists that this would implicate God in the wilful deception of human students of His creation, Penn replied,
Those phenomena cannot mislead, deceive, or seduce any one, who faithfully and diligently exercises his moral and intellectual faculties by the rule which God has supplied for their governance; but, only those who neglect to exercise them by that rule. For, those very faculties, while they direct us to infer universal first formation by the immediate act of God, caution us, at the same time, not to be misled by the phenomena which that act must necessarily have occasioned. They warn us, that all first formations of the material works of God, must have received a specific form of their substance, and therefore, must have exhibited to the visual sense specific characters, even at the moment when they were first called from non-existence into being. Whether it were the first formed bird, or the first formed shrub on which that bird rested, or the first formed rock on which that shurb grew, each must have instantly exhibited sensible phenomena; the first, of ossification, the second, of lignification, and the third, of crystallisation. Yet, the phenomena would not have been truly indicative of actual ossification and actual lignification in the two first cases; and therefore, they would not have been truly indicative of actual crystallisation in the last; that is to say, of those subjects having actually passed through any of these gradual processes. There is no possibility of escaping from the demonstrative power of this great principle, which extends itself, equally, to first formations in all the three kingdoms of terrestrial matter.68
Penn insisted that those who rightly used their reasoning faculties would never be in danger of being deceived by primitive phenomena (that is, the initial Creation), because by rational induction, following the example of Newton and Bacon, they would ascribe them to the supernatural plan and action of God.
In the last two chapters of Part I, on the philosophical problems with Mineral Geology, Penn raised his objections to the idea that the omniscient and omnipotent God created an initially imperfect chaos, which with time and only by the laws of nature operating as they do now became ordered and perfectly suited to life, especially man. In other words, he rejected the old-earth geologists’ notion of the progressive evolution of the earth (an idea which he considered an ancient pagan view) and he objected for three reasons.
First, such reasoning could not be applied to the first creations in the other two kingdoms of matter, plant and animal. God would have created perfect bone, perfect wood, so also a perfect rock. Not even the tender condition of nascent plants or animals under the present laws of generation was imperfect, but was a part of the sequence begun at the first perfect creation. At a time when most old-earth geologists firmly rejected the notion of biological evolution, Penn wrote,
If the Mineral Geology could shew it to be probable, that the first man and the first tree subsisted at first an “imperfect substance, which day by day was fashioned when as yet there was none of them,” then indeed it might infer, with some consistency, “the comparatively slow progression of our planet, from a state of chaos to a state of maturity”; but, that it never can shew; and therefore, it can never draw the latter inference from the laws now in operation in generated beings, without renouncing all pretensions to the faculty of grounding or conducting a logical argument.69
Second, it was philosophically faulty, argued Penn, to say that because every effect must have a cause, every sensible physical effect must have a physical secondary cause. Since the primitive granite rocks had never been observed in the process of forming, Mineral Geology was involved in very unsound philosophical reasoning to assume either an aqueous or volcanic cause.70
Third, wrote Penn, Mineral Geology, in contrast to Bacon and Newton, was tending toward atheism or deification of nature in its attempts to attribute the first formation of the earth to secondary physical causes. Though most Mineral Geologists at the time would have assumed an intelligent First Cause for the initial unordered matter, they attributed the present ordered state to time and the laws of nature. But God did not need vast ages to create the world. Therefore Mineral Geology impugned the character of God.
To assume arbitrarily, a priori, that God created the matter of this globe in the most imperfect state to which the gross imagination of man can contrive to reduce it, which it effectually does, by reducing the creative Fiat to the mere production of an amorphous elementary mass; and then to pretend, that His intelligence and wisdom are to be collected from certain hypothetical occult laws, by which that mass worked itself into perfection of figure and arrangement after innumerable ages; would tend to lessen our sense either of the divine wisdom or power, did not the supposition recoil with tremendous reaction upon the supposers, and convict them of the clumsiest irrationality. The supposition, is totally arbitrary; and not only arbitrary, viciously arbitrary; because, it is totally unnecessary, and therefore betrays a vice of choice. For, the laws of matter could not have worked perfection in the mass which the Creator is thus supposed to have formed imperfect, unless by a power imparted by Himself who established the laws. And, if He could thus produce perfection mediately, through their operation, He could produce it immediately, without their operation. Why, then, wantonly and viciously, without a pretence of authority, choose the supposition of their mediation? It is entirely a decision of choice and preference, that is, of the will; for, the reason is no party in it, neither urging, suggesting, encouraging, or in any way aiding or abetting the decision, but, on the contrary, positively denying and condemning it. The vast length of time, which this sinistrous choice is necessarily obliged to call in for its own defence, could only be requisite to the Creator for overcoming difficulties obstructing the perfecting process; it therefore chooses to suppose, that He created obstructions in matter, to resist and retard the perfecting of the work which He designed; whilst at the same time he might have perfected it without any resistance at all, by His own Creative Act … To suppose then, a priori, and without the slightest motive prompted by reason, that His wisdom willed, at the same time, both the formation of a perfect work, and a series of resistances to obstruct and delay that perfect work, argues a gross defect of intelligence somewhere; either in the Creator or in the supposer; and I leave it to this science, to determine the alternative.71
So Penn argued (even as an old-earth critic later did72,73) that the sensible phenomena of the earth, by themselves, with an understanding of the present laws of nature, could never lead us to the right conclusion about the mode of first formation of the earth, any more than they could with relation to the first animals or plants. In all three kingdoms of matter, the original creation was a perfect, immediate and humanly incomprehensible work of God. This conclusion about the initial creation, Penn contended, was philosophically consistent with Newton and was based on the divine revelation about the history of the early earth, which was relevant to the discussion because geology was a historical science.
In the second half of Volume I then, Penn proceeded to expound the mode of first formations of the earth according to the Mosaical Geology, laid out in Genesis. To that argument we now turn.
The second half of Volume I contains Penn’s detailed discussion of the six days of creation in Genesis 1. He began by reaffirming the fundamental principle, consistent with Bacon and Newton, that the mode of the first formations in the three kingdoms of plants, animals and minerals was by intelligent immediate acts of the Creator, which were antecedent to the laws of nature, which He set in operation for the perpetuation of the creation. And he reaffirmed the Genesis record as a reliable divine testimony of those historic events.
He also laid down the two rules of proper interpretation of Genesis:
all of Genesis, including Genesis 1, is strictly historical, with no vestige of allegorical or figurative description, and
this history was adapted to the comprehension of the common man by the use of phenomenological language, so that Moses described “the effects of creation optically, or, as they would have appeared to the eye; and without any assignment of the physical causes.” By describing effects accurately, “according to their sensible appearances,” Moses enabled the reader “to receive a clear and distinct impression of those appearances, and thus to reduce them to their proper causes, and to draw from them such conclusions as they are qualified to yield.”74
Penn took the “Days” of Genesis 1 as literal twenty-four hour periods. Though giving general praise for Faber’s Treatise on the Patriarchal, Levitical and Christian Dispensations (1823), Penn devoted a 24-page endnote to a biblical refutation of Faber’s day-age theory. To show that in the Bible yom, the Hebrew word translated “day,” only meant an ordinary day, Penn carefully examined (apparently all) the Scriptures which Faber used to argue that yom could denote either one rotation of the earth on its axis, or one revolution of the earth around the sun, or 1,000 years, or an indefinite time period, or even the whole Creation Week. Penn concluded that the only reason Faber adopted this impossible interpretation was because of the pressure of old-earth geological theories.
To reject the gap theory, Penn argued, using support from ancient Jewish and Christian commentators, that the Hebrew conjuction used seven times in Genesis 1:1–3 would not allow the insertion of long ages of time between verses 1 and 2. He also examined the key words tohu and bohu in Genesis 1:2 and showed from the Bible and ancient commentaries that these words meant “invisible” and “unfurnished” and therefore conveyed no sense of chaos or of time. Finally, he spent nearly 30 pages exposing the problems he saw with the interpretations of biblical scholars like Horsley, Rosenmüller and Patrick who had tried to accommodate the theories about pre-Adamite creations or chaos.75
On a close examination of other particulars in Genesis 1:1–5, Penn argued that the earth was created instantly in its present spherical shape with a compact granite surface covered with, and yet distinctly separated from, a universal ocean of water, rather than of a muddy liquid. The sun, moon, planets and stars were also created on Day 1. The sun’s heat immediately caused a universal vapour or fog, which blocked the sun, but not its light, from view on earth.76
On Day 2 God created the atmosphere lifting the water vapour above it like a canopy, which yet obscured the sun’s shape. On Day 3 God caused by volcanic force, it seemed reasonable to Penn to assume, the sudden depression of part of the earth’s underwater surface to instantly form the seabed and make dry land appear. This deepening of part of the earth’s crust was a violent disruption, the first revolution of the earth, initiating the new laws and agencies of geological change and causing the surface of the newly formed seabed to be covered with fractured and comminuted materials and soils. This, in Penn’s Mosaical Geology, was the fragmentary, transitional formation (which later became known as the Cambrian-Silurian formations). Thus the newly created earth was radically modified before the first plants were made instantly and perfectly formed in a mature condition later on Day 3.77
On Day 4 the canopy of vapour was dispelled so that the celestial bodies became visible on earth. Penn devoted a number of pages to explaining, on the basis of our knowledge of the solar and lunar movements, that the moon was created on the first day in the position of the new moon so that on the fourth day of creation it would be in the right place in the sky to rule the night as it was ordained. He also argued that it was unphilosophical to assign a different cause to the light of the first three days, than that causing light on the earth from Day 4 onwards: this then was another reason for saying the sun was created on Day 1. Curiously, in his detailed analysis he did not discuss Genesis 1:16 at all, which other Scriptural geologists and most commentators at the time took to mean that God had actually made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day.
The chapters on Day 5 and 6 were brief. Penn emphasised that the various marine, winged and land creatures were made in fully mature form, just as the first formations of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms had been. He also devoted several pages to countering Saussure’s notion of the insignificance of man. In his analysis of Day 7 Penn reasoned that when God’s creative activity ceased, the laws of nature commenced, by which God providentially sustains His creation. He also remarked on the issue of time and calendars, with a rejection of the Julian day count developed in the sixteenth century by Scaligier.78
The Flood and geological changes since creation
Volume II is devoted to a comparison of the views of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies regarding the mode of the changes or revolutions of the earth since the initial creation. Penn argued that since he had established in Volume I the validity of the Mosaical Geology and invalidity of the Mineral Geology with respect to first formations, it was also philsophically sound to compare these two geologies to the rest of the geological features of the earth to determine which theoretical framework best fits the actual observations of the earth. A comparison of Genesis to old-earth geological theory regarding the changes or revolutions on the earth since creation was all the more appropriate, in Penn’s view, since in the previous few years D’Aubuisson, Cuvier, Dolomieu, Saussure, Pallas and DeLuc had all affirmed that geological evidence clearly proved that the last universal aqueous revolution had occurred at about the time set for the Flood by Scripture and pagan traditions.
Penn first began with a biblical argument that the Flood was universal, violently destroying the surface of the whole earth, not just mankind living on it. This was defended by a technical discussion (of the Hebrew compared with ancient translations and commentaries) on the explicit statements to this effect in Genesis 6:13 and 9:11, coupled with 2 Peter 3:6–7 and Job 22:16. Though at the Fall the curse in Genesis 3:17 affected the earth to such a degree that people at the time of Noah’s birth recalled it (Genesis 5:29), the full consequences of that curse were not felt until the Flood.
As the first revolution on Day 3 of Creation Week suddenly produced the first habitation for man, so the second revolution suddenly resulted in a new earth. The main difference was that in the latter case the revolutionary alteration of the earth’s surface transpired over the course of 12 months. To accomplish this destruction and renovation God resumed immediate creation-type operations in the world, that is, the laws of nature that commenced operation on Day 7 were to some extent suspended or altered temporarily during the year of the Flood. As in the first revolution on Day 3, God used global volcanic and earthquake activity (which in the Flood was also abetted by winds and 40 days of rains) to cause the eruption of violent inundations.
So in Penn’s view the Flood was a preternatural event, not a part of the normal course of nature, as many old-earth geologists viewed it, though God used the forces of nature to accomplish His judgment. The ocean transgressed the land by the gradual sinking (over the course of five months) of the pre-Flood continent. During this process, the sea was violently agitated until no land remained to cause the flux and reflux of the waters. Similarly, as the continent progressively subsided, the pre-Flood seabed was raised to become the new land.79
In light of all this, Penn argued, we ought to expect that the geological phenomena would show evidence of two distantly separated periods of global volcanic activity, that is, two and only two revolutions in earth history. Generally, the present continents should indicate that they had been under the ocean for a long time (roughly 1,600 years) and that those waters were removed from the earth at the time assigned by Moses for the Flood. Relying on the descriptions of geological phenomena given by the leading authorities, he sought to demonstrate how the four divisions of the geological record corresponded to the biblical history. The primary geological formations were created instantly on the first day of creation. The transitional formations were primarily the product of the first revolution, which suddenly occurred on Day 3. The lower portion of the secondary formations with their marine plant and animal fossils (including the coal measures80) accumulated during the 1,600 years between creation and the Flood and remained largely in a soft state. The upper secondary with land plant and animal fossils and the tertiary were attributable to the year-long Flood, which also carved the valleys systems.81
Having laid out his general theory about the Flood and earth history, Penn then proceeded to deal with the arguments that the old-earth geologists used to defend their notion of many revolutions before the creation of man.
To account for the order and complexity of the fossil record and the presence of tropical plants and animals buried in northern latitudes, the Mineral Geologists postulated many revolutions and creations separated by long periods of time, a major climatic change in the past, and that fossil animals generally lived and died where they are buried. Penn rejected these ideas and instead attributed the strata containing the fossil remains of land animals to the Flood. He did this on the basis of a lengthy consideration82 of “agents now acting generally on the surface of the globe”:83 the movements of the waters in the present oceans.
Penn reasoned that since the Flood was gradual and successive in covering the land over the course of several months, winds and currents would have produced advances and recessions of the sea. As we see in the present ocean, the retiring currents would retrograde as the next wave advanced against the land. Also on a more global scale there would have been massive and simultaneous fluxes and refluxes of the sea, such as the present equatorial current from Africa to America and the Gulf Stream from America to Europe. These currents during the Flood would have had the ability to carry debris long distances in a few days. Penn cited several recent examples of this kind of oceanic transport, such as plant debris from Mexico ending up on the shore of Norway, and a ship’s mast being conveyed from Jamaica to Scotland. Postulating a different land-sea configuration before the Flood, he figured that whereas today the fluxes and refluxes of the sea predominate in easterly and westerly directions, during the Flood there would have been more of a north-south pattern, bringing tropical creatures to the northern latitudes.
Penn reasoned that during the 40 days of rain at the beginning of the Flood, the soils would have been supersaturated and easily eroded away with much plant and animal debris. Because the sea was agitated, the debris would not have been immediately buried, but rather transported in masses in different directions and for various periods, depending on the durability of the creature and the power of the currents, before eventually being deposited.
He thought that the pre-Flood seabed was a “yielding paste of differing qualities, arenaceous, argillaceous, or calcareous” into which the plants and animals were imbedded, and cited a modern example of the burial power of the sea in the mouth of the Amazon River at high tide. Cuvier objected that the bones did not show evidence of transport, such as being rolled and triturated or generally buried as whole skeletons. Penn responded that the animals would have entered the water whole and floated on the surface, only gradually becoming dismembered before deposition.
In Penn’s view, successive tides would deposit new accumulations of the remains of both marine and land creatures.84 In the later stages of the Flood the violent retiring transient currents would have also cut the valleys of denudation while the sedimentary strata were still relatively soft.85 Induration of the sediments was affected by the gravity of the mass and the rate of desiccation.
After this discussion of ocean currents during the Flood, Penn turned his attention to some other reasons that old-earth geologists believed there had been many revolutions before man. One was the lack of fossil humans in the sedimentary strata. Penn responded to this objection in two ways. First, as would be expected in Mosaical Geology, this was because man, as the most intelligent creature, would have escaped the rising Flood longer than all the other creatures, and secondly, because the pre-Flood land on which man lived was now at the bottom of the oceans. Still, he conceded, some vestiges of pre-Flood man should be found in the fossil record. Though acknowledging that the Guadaloupe fossil was no longer convincing evidence, he argued in an eight-page endnote that the discovery of fossil remains in the Cave of Durfort, in France, reported in 1823 by Marcel de Serres, and the human fossils mixed with extinct creatures in the limestone of Köstritz, Germany, both of which formations appeared to be contemporary with the Kirkdale Cave deposits analysed by Buckland, were strong fossil evidence of pre-Flood man.
Another problem was the extinction of so many creatures. Penn said that the Mineral Geologists were perplexed by this because they failed to combine morals with physics: the most probable physical cause of extinctions was the Flood, whereas the most probable moral cause was the will of the Creator. For some unknown purpose, Penn reasoned, God planned that only some of the pre-Flood animals should continue in the renovated world. Related to this was the Mineral Geologists’ claim that existing species were never found buried with extinct ones, which therefore implied that they had not co-existed but that there had been many revolutions and creations. Penn challenged the universality of the claim that existing and extinct creatures were never mixed. But he also said that the order and complexity of the fossil record would be what he would expect from an agitated sea (during the Flood) gradually encroaching, with flux and reflux, over the various habitats of land and sea creatures.
To Penn’s mind this conception of the Flood would also explain the mixture and alternation of terrestrial and marine fossils. He argued that freshwater and marine formations could not be determined by shells as some old-earth opponents asserted, because the Flood would have easily mixed together freshwater and marine shells, and because both Greenough and Humboldt had raised objections about the possibility of successfully distinguishing freshwater and marine shells.86
At the end of his discussion on the Flood Penn dealt with three tangential matters. One chapter was devoted to a consideration of the single-hump Arabian camel, as a unique proof of the global Flood. Since, unlike the two-hump Bactrian camel, it was found in the world only in the domesticated state,87 there were only two possible explanations. Either man by a confederated effort had domesticated every wild Arabian camel in the world, or some cause had brought some of them under man’s control and destroyed all the rest. The former explanation seemed most unlikely to Penn. He concluded that the Flood fitted perfectly the second explanation.88
Penn believed that after the Flood God supernaturally created new vegetation for the earth, since the seeds of pre-Flood terrestrial vegetation would most likely not have survived the nearly year-long Flood. And since fossil animal remains were so different from existing species and many animals were particularly suited to different continents, he thought it probable that new animals had been created. He reasoned that because “all” does not always have a universal meaning in the Bible, Noah only took some of the pre-Flood species on the Ark. Those animals were to be for man’s post-Flood food and to be a reminder of the Flood to man.89
Before drawing his discussion to a close, Penn remarked on the apparent contradiction of the idea of a global Flood with the description of paradise in Genesis 2:10–14, which mentions two post-Flood rivers—the Hiddekel (Tigris) and Euphrates. Without stating any justifications Penn summarily rejected DeLuc’s way to resolve the problem, which Penn called a “gratuitous invention.” DeLuc reasoned that the rivers of paradise were erased from the earth by the Flood and the names were carried over by post-Flood man to attach to new rivers, just as emigrants to new lands often name new places with names of the homeland.90 Instead Penn gave a detailed textual argument for why we should treat the four verses as a scribal gloss added to Moses’ original text.91 While his argument was not convincing to many readers,92 it was based on sound principles of biblical criticism and, in methodology, did not represent a cavalier approach to Scripture (which he considered to be the sacred Word of God) as was charged by some of his critics. He was simply trying to solve the apparent contradiction in Scripture.
Though not a geologist himself, Penn was not completely incompetent to propose his theory of Mosaical Geology. He apparently made some geological field observations on the continent, and through careful reading he was not ignorant of old-earth geological theories or the geological and palaeontological evidence used to support them. He respectfully challenged the logic of the inferences and theoretical intepretations drawn from the geological observations and legitimately, even if not always convincingly, used facts and arguments of some of his opponents against the reasoning of others. However, he never argued that because there was disagreement between Mineral Geologists this proved they were all wrong.
While the Mineral Geologists were claiming to follow in the philosophical tradition of Bacon and Newton, Penn contended that in the matter of the initial creation and the history of the earth, they were actually contradicting these great philosophers. He argued that it was both Baconian and Newtonian to rely on the divine testimony about the original creation of the earth and the two revolutions since then (Day 3 and the Flood). This, said Penn, was because of the uniquely historical nature of geology compared with other sciences at the time.
In his interpretation of Scripture, he used his skills in biblical and literary criticism to build his case for a literal six-day creation about 6,000 years ago with two and only two subsequent revolutions, on Day 3 of Creation Week and at the Flood. These two revolutions, along with the work of the sea and its creatures over the approximately 1,600 intervening years, were sufficient to account for the geological record accumulated on the original supernaturally created primitive crust of the earth. However, he displayed some inconsistency in arguing for the literal interpretation of Genesis, while at the same time arguing that the sun was created on Day 1, not Day 4, and that only two of some, not all, of the kinds of pre-Flood animals were taken onto the Ark. Also his treatment of Genesis 2:10–14 as a textural gloss was (and no doubt still is) unacceptable to many readers.
Penn was apparently quite secure financially, so that money was not a probable motive for writing on geology. There is no indication that he was significantly interested in politics, economics or ecclesiology. Nor does he appear to have been seeking any personal recognition from geologists. Rather, it was his convictions about the truth and authority of Scripture and his genuine interest in philosophically sound argumentation that compelled him to pick up his pen against the theories of the Mineral Geologists.
With respect to both this article and the previous Part 1 in this series, I would like to thank Dr. Andrew Snelling for his editorial suggestions and his secretary for her work in reformatting my research to meet the requirements of the journal. It was an enormous help at a busy time in my life.
References and notes
Unless otherwise noted this is based on the British Dictionary of National Biography article on Penn. Return to text.
Page, W. (ed.), The Victoria History of the Counties of England, III:105–106, 1925. Return to text.
Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography, III:526, 1865. Return to text.
Gentlemen’s Magazine, II:545–546, 1844. Return to text.
Burke, J., History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, III:491, 1836. Return to text.
Burke, Ref. 5. Return to text.
Quarterly Review XIII:211, April 1815. Return to text.
Foster, J., Alumni Oxonienses, p. 1093, 1887. Return to text.
The Dictionary of National Biography article on Penn and the leading library catalogues attribute to Penn (apparently erroneously) the book, Conversations on Geology, published in 1828 (second edition in 1840). But according to the Magazine of Natural History, Vol. I, p. 280 and pp. 463–466, 1829, which reviewed this anonymous book, it was supposedly written by J. Rennie, a respected scientist and former editor of the Foreign Medical Journal. I was not able to discover any more information about Rennie. Return to text.
Volume I contained 353 pages, plus an 80 page introduction, and Volume II had 426 pages. Return to text.
Hereafter it will be cited as Comparative Estimate. Return to text.
Penn’s responses are scattered throughout the second edition, but most of them are concentrated in the introduction to Volume I. Return to text.
Penn, G., Comparative Estimate II:285–286, 1825. All emphasis in Penn’s quotations is original, unless otherwise noted. In a footnote here he added, “The Edinburgh Reviewer also, in order to walk over an argument which he does not care to encounter, affirms roundly, (but with courteous qualification), ‘that the Comparative Estimate is the production of one, who writes after reading very largely upon geology, and seeing very little of the actual appearances of the earth’. (No. lxxvii, p. 206, note.) Yet, the Reviewer is perfectly ignorant of what the writer has seen of those actual appearances: but, Reviewers, like Pleaders, often allow themselves questionable latitudes of assertion, as make-weights in the arguments which they are striving to establish. See Vol. I, pp. 50, 51.” Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 50–51. At the end he was quoting from Humboldt’s Superposition of Rocks (1823), p. 32. He continued on page 52, “In Newton, intuitive logic was dominant; and mathematics, were only the steps by which his logic ascended to the elevation to which it attained. In the mineral geology, physical impressions are dominant; and its logic, is only an artificial instrument which it seeks to employ for arranging those impressions. How many eminent mathematicians had seen apples fall to the ground, before the intuitive logic of Newton’s mind apprehended the phenomenon! How different that logic was from the logic of the mineral geology, we have seen by the difference of their respective conclusions.” Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I:lvi, footnote. Return to text.
This work received a very positive review in the Magazine of Natural History, Vol. I, pp. 463–466, 1829, and, as noted earlier, was attributed to J. Rennie, a respected scientist. Of this book the reviewer wrote, “It may be objected to these Conversations on Geology, that they contain too many objections, and leave many parts of the subject in utter uncertainty: but we may be permitted to reply to this, that all the systems of geology are precisely in the state in which they are here represented, uncertain and imperfect in their theories and speculations; though these are generally illustrated by interesting and well ascertained facts, and sufficiently plausible arguments. The author of the Conversations, therefore, it would appear to us, has acted judiciously in representing the actual imperfections of geology, rather than concealing them, and in expressing doubts upon points imperfectly ascertained, rather than dogmatising,” p. 466. Another positive review of Conversations on Geology appeared in Athenaeum 47, pp. 737–738, September 17, 1828. Return to text.
[Rennie, J.], Conversations on Geology, pp. 293, 44 and 306, 1828. Return to text.
Magazine of Natural History Vol. I, p. 465, 1829. Return to text.
Eclectic Review, N.S. Vol. XIX, pp. 37–53, 1823. Return to text.
Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and Arts, Vol. XV, pp. 108–127, and Vol. XVI, pp. 309–321, 1823. The reviews are not signed, but probably were done, or at least approved, by William Brande (1788–1866), the editor, by whose name the journal was commonly known. Brande was professor of chemistry at the Royal Institution and close associate of Michael Faraday and Sir Humphry Davy. He also had a keen interest in and knowledge of geology. In 1817 he published his Outlines of Geology, which consisted of his lectures on geology at the Royal Institution in 1816. The book was revised and nearly doubled in length before coming out in a second edition in 1829, in which Brande described Penn’s Comparative Estimate as a “masterly work,” p. 3. Brande’s book was a purely descriptive geology which avoided theoretical speculations. Apart from attributing the diluvial deposits (loose gravels and sands above the consolidated strata) and valleys of denudation to the global Noachian Flood, Brande did not commit himself on the age of the earth. Brande was also a leading fellow of the Royal Society, serving as a secretary from 1816–1826, and an original fellow of the University of London, as well as a member of several foreign scientific societies. According to the Dictionary of National Biography article on Brande, “During forty-six years Brande laboured most industriously in the front ranks of science”. Return to text.
Ref. 20, Vol. XV, p. 108. Return to text.
Ref. 20, Vol. XV, p. 110. Return to text.
Ref. 20, Vol. XV, p. 125. Return to text.
Ref. 20, Vol. XV, p. 127. Return to text.
Ref. 20, Vol. XVI, pp. 310–319. Return to text.
Ref. 20, Vol. XVI, p. 321. Return to text.
Kennedy, J., Lectures on the Philosophy of the Mosaic Record of Creation, Vol. II, pp. 214–215, and Vol. I, p. xv, 1827. These ten lectures were given to Trinity College, University of Dublin (where Kennedy taught), in 1826 and 1827. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. xxvi, 51, 140. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. xiv. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. lvii. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. xx, xxvi, xxix and Vol. II, pp. 22. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 189 and Vol. II, pp. 120, 174, 322. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 262. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 143, 393. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 327, 329. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 14 and Vol. II, p. 181. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 89. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 329–330. Return to text.
D’Aubuisson, following his teacher, Abraham Werner, called it “geognosy.” Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 17. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. xvi–xx. Return to text.
Conybeare, W.D. and Phillips, W., Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales, p. li, 1822. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. xxxi. Return to text.
Conybeare and Phillips, Ref. 42, pp. l-li. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. xxiii. Return to text.
Conybeare and Phillips, Ref. 42. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. xxiv–xxvi. Return to text.
Conybeare and Phillips, Ref. 42. Conybeare did not mention Penn by name but was clearly referring to Scriptural geologists. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. xxvi–xxvii. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 160. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 139–140. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 7. The quote is from Quarterly Review, Vol. XXIX, p. 138, 1823. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 150–152. He quoted from Richard Kirwan, Geological Essays, p. 5, 1799. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, p. 250. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 273–274. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 16. Return to text.
Unfortunately for later students of this debate, Penn never dealt with the Baconian idea of the necessity of not unwisely confounding the two divine books (the book of creation and the book of Scripture), even though the passages from Bacon’s writings, on which Penn concluded that Bacon believed in a literal six-day creation, were just a few pages before the passage about “the two books.” But then I have seen no evidence that Penn’s geological opponents ever dealt with the passages in Bacon that Penn did. Compare points VI. 2, 5, 6, 8 and 16 in Bacon’s The Advancement of Learning, pp. 40–47, 1906. Return to text.
Newton, I., Opticks, pp. 400 and 402, 1931. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 33. Adding emphasis, Penn accurately quoted Newton as saying, “It seems probable to ME, that God in the beginning formed matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable particles, of such sizes and figures, and with such other properties, and in such proportion to space, as most conduced to the end for which he formed them.—All material things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid particles above mentioned, variously associated in the first creation by the counsels of an intelligent agent. For, it became Him who created them to set them in order; and, if HE did so, it is unphilosophical to seek for any other origin of this world, or to pretend that it might rise out of a CHAOS by the mere laws of Nature; though, being once formed, it may continue by those laws for many ages.” In this Newton appears to have changed in his thinking, a fact of which Penn was apparently unaware. In 1680, 24 years before Newton published Opticks, he did entertain the idea that the earth had formed from a chaos by gravitational force. See his letter to Thomas Burnet in H.W. Turnbull, (ed.), The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, Vol. II, p. 332, 1960. Return to text.
MacLaurin, C., Account of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries, 1748. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 40–49. He argued thus, “That he did not suppose that the earth had ever really been fluid, and that it had settled itself by laws of matter into its present figure; is proved, both by the object and hypothetical form of his proposition, and by his express ascription of its ‘figure and properties’, as of those of all first formations, to the intelligent counsels and creative act of God, immediately. His own words, were sufficient to have preserved his proposition from the perversion which it has experienced; for, he states it in different modes, by which his intention is cleared from all ambiguity. He does not only argue, ‘if the earth were fluid’, etc.; but he also argues, ‘if all circular diurnal motion were taken from the planets’, etc.; ‘if all matter were fluid’, etc. That these were only different hypothetical propositions, employed to illustrate the same principle, is thus manifest to every capacity” (I:44). Penn quoted from Newton’s Mathematical Principles, Book III, Prop. 18, Theorem 16. Return to text.
Newton, Ref. 58, pp. 402–403. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 57–59. Adding emphasis, Penn correctly quoted Newton as saying, “Such a wonderful uniformity in the planetary system must be the effect of choice; and so must the uniformity in the bodies of animals; … these, and their instincts, can be the effect of nothing else than the wisdom and skill of a powerful ever-living agent”. In this regard Penn also referred to Newton’s Four Letters to Bentley. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 64–65. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 73. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 74. This was similar to how Philip Gosse, a biologist, would argue later in his Omphalos, 1857, except that Gosse used such reasoning to suggest that, in addition to the first plants and animals, the fossils, with the strata that envelope them, were also supernaturally created by God (rather than being a result of post-creation processes and the Flood, as Penn argued, or a result of long ages of time before Adam, as old-earth geologists argued). This last suggestion of Gosse was fatal to his otherwise compelling argument about the original, created plants and animals. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 83–84. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 95–96. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 107. Return to text.
The origin of granite was at this time by no means certain among the old-earth geologists. The same year of Penn’s second edition, 1825, the leading Scottish geologist, Robert Jameson, was still arguing in print for an aqueous origin of granite. See Hallam, A., Great Geological Controversies, p. 22, 1992. Lyell remarked in his Principles of Geology, Vol. III, p. 11, 1830–1833: “Origin of primary rocks. Nothing strictly analogous to these ancient formations can now be seen in the progress of formation on the habitable surface of the earth, nothing, at least, within the range of human observation.” Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 124–127. Return to text.
About 15 years later, one of Penn’s opponents, the great philosopher of science, William Whewell, came to very similar conclusions: “Geology and astronomy are, of themselves, incapable of giving us any distinct and satisfactory account of the origin of the universe, or of its parts. We need not wonder, then, at any particular instance of this incapacity; as for example, that of which we have been speaking, the impossibility of accounting by any natural means for the production of all the successive tribes of plants and animals which have peopled the world in the various stages of its progress, as geology teaches us … but when we enquire when they came into this our world, geology is silent. The mystery of creation is not within the range of her legitimate territory; she says nothing, but she points upwards.” Whewell, W., History of the Inductive Sciences, Vol. III, pp. 687–688, 1837 (see also Vol. III, pp. 580–587 and 620). Return to text.
In 1840 Whewell added, “Thus we are led by our reasonings to this view, that the present order of things was commenced by an act of creative power entirely different to any agency which has been exerted since. None of the influences which have modified the present races of animals and plants since they were placed in their habitations on the earth’s surface can have had any efficacy in producing them at first.” With regard to the nebular hypothesis for the origin of the solar system, he continued, “Here again, therefore, we are led to regard the present order of the world as pointing towards an origin altogether of a different kind from anything which our material science can grasp.” Whewell, W., Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Vol. II, pp. 134–135, 1840 (see also Vol. II, pp. 137, 145, 157). Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 162–163. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 169–177, 189–205. Penn criticised Patrick and Horsley for admitting an elemental chaos and Rosenmüller for imagining a previous earth, though rejecting the notion of a chaos, and for interpreting the Hebrew conjunction, “waw”, as the adverb, “afterwards,” in Genesis 1:2. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, pp. 182–185. He justified the placing of the sun’s creation with that of light on Day 1, by saying that “familiar effects” refer “to their plain and obvious causes.” However, he did not deal with the fact that Genesis 1:14–18 says that God made the sun on Day 4. So in this case, he was being rather arbitrary in his literal interpretation. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 38–39, 172–173. This revolution was viewed by Penn as an act of divine foreknowledge, for this disrupted bed would become the base of the future lands of the post-Flood world. Return to text.
Hellemans, A. and Bunch, B., Timetables of Science, p. 199, 1988. Scaligier set Day 1 at January 1, 4713 BC. Return to text.
Penn clarified his meaning of “sudden” and “gradual” with these remarks: “Mineral geologists, who acknowledge that the sea once covered our present continents, dispute whether its retreat was sudden or gradual. Sudden, and gradual, are relative terms; that which is sudden by one comparison, may be gradual by another. A retreat of the entire ocean, effected in the space of twelve months, will be a sudden operation, compared with that imperceptible mutation of its bed, proceeding through an unassignable number of ages, which has been engendered in the imagination of some visionary geologists; but, it will be gradual, compared with that immediate and instantaneous operation, by which the universal abyssal waters were originally reduced within the bed of the primitive sea.” Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, p. 36. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 185–199. Coal, he argued, was produced from the deposition of marine vegetation, rather than transported land plants. He suggested that lignites, on the other hand, might be the result of terrestrial vegetation floated and eventually deposited during the Flood. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. I, p. 4 and Vol. II, pp. 69–71, 150, 197, 287, 363. Penn was not completely clear on these divisions. He preferred the terms primitive (or creative), fragmentary, sedimentary and diluvial (or tertiary or upper secondary). Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 81–123. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, p. 86. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, p. 93 and Vol. II, pp. 112–113. Penn was somewhat confusing, for me as well as the Edinburgh reviewer of Buckland’s Reliquiae Diluvianae, on this point about limestone formation of Kirkdale Cave. Penn seemed to argue for successive accumulations of sediments (with organic remains) during the Flood, but in Vol. II, p. 121 he stated, “my readers will have clearly seen, that I alleged the contemporaneous deposition of the bodies, not with the deposition of the rocks, but, with the event which first brought into a course of desiccation and consolidation the fluid calcareous mass; which had been deposited from the time of the first formation of the sea-bed.” Penn devoted a 90-page supplement in Volume II to a refutation of Buckland’s hyaena-den theory of Kirkdale Cave. Penn argued that the animal remains were imbedded in the limestone during the Flood when it was still a pliable paste. While the Edinburgh Review was quite scathing of Penn’s 1823 edition of this Supplement, it nevertheless acknowledged that some of Penn’s remarks on Kirkdale Cave were “not undeserving of attention”. See Edinburgh Review, Review of Buckland’s Reliquiae Diluvianae, Vol. XXXIX, pp. 206–207, October 1823–January 1824. It is noteworthy that in his discussion he made no reference to his fellow Scriptural geologist, George Young, who also rejected Buckland’s theory of Kirkdale Cave. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 159–184. Penn devoted a whole chapter to the formation of valleys, arguing that the present rivers running in them could not possibly have cut the valleys. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, p. 152. In an endnote (Vol. II, pp. 371–393) Penn rejected Cuvier’s interpretation of the Paris Basin as representing numerous revolutions. His reasons included: the difficulty of distinguishing freshwater and marine shells, the fact that gypsum is generally a saltwater formation and Cuvier only considered it freshwater on the basis of a few shells, Cuvier offered no cause for the repeated inundations of the sea and his notion of freshwater inundations seemed impossible, Cuvier offered no explanation for the supposed multiple creations, the insensible transitions (or conformity) between strata that have vastly different fossils, some strata have commingled freshwater and marine shells, and finally, the fact that Cuvier ignored the biblical record. Return to text.
This is still the case according to World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 64, 1987. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 200–209. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 209–229. Though Penn argued for a global Flood (Vol. II, pp. 7–19), he did not cite the use of universal terms in Genesis 6–9 in support of this conclusion. So technically he was not inconsistent in arguing here that not all kinds of antediluvian animals were preserved in the Ark. However, he also did not address the obvious exegetical difficulty this creates. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, p. 231. Return to text.
Penn, Ref. 13, Vol. II, pp. 231–243. Return to text.
Eclectic Review, N.S. Vol. XIX, p. 53, 1823. The otherwise positive review in this publication called it “ingenious and plausible,” but proceeding “wholly upon the dangerous ground of conjecture.” Return to text.
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Torsdag, Januar 06, 2005
Klipp fra www.answersingenesis.org: A powerful testimony: sharing God’s love in the midst of a tragedy
A powerful testimony: sharing God’s love in the midst of a tragedy
by Ken Ham, president, AiG–USA
December 18, 2004
Ken Ham interviews Frank and Sue Zitzman, of Pennsylvania, USA, about the tragic death of their 17-year-old son and the way God is using them to minister to others as a result.
I’m sure when you look at the perplexing circumstances of life, you often have a deep yearning (as do I) to “look behind the scenes” and see things the way God does.
Through what would undoubtedly be described as a devastating human tragedy, the Lord recently allowed a dear family—and the AiG staff—to see some of the “big picture” as God does.
It’s a gripping story of grief … but also of praise. It’s a special webcast that can be found in our AnswersMedia section of the website, which I strongly urge you to listen to. It illustrates how God uses circumstances, and the teaching and resources of AiG, for His greater purposes.
Here are some of the highlights of the webcast:
A Christian couple (Frank and Sue Zitzman of Pennsylvania) has raised their children to believe the authority of God’s Word, and to be able to defend their Christian faith. AiG materials and teaching have played a significant part in this upbringing.
Their youngest son, Troy (17), loved the creation message and used AiG materials to witness to friends and others. He was very much looking forward to the completion of our Creation Museum.
Troy, however, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident this summer.
The man who accidentally collided with Troy told Troy’s grieving family that he wasn’t a Christian because he was an evolutionist.
The Zitzmans began witnessing to this man and his family, even sharing Christian resources, including many AiG materials.
Even though Troy’s eldest brother had been taught the same foundational truths of the Bible as Troy, he had not yet committed his life to the Lord.
As a result of Troy’s death, though, and because of the foundation that had been laid in this family by Troy’s parents and even by Troy himself, Troy’s brother was wonderfully saved, and he even shared his testimony at Troy’s funeral!
Troy’s dad (Frank) now gives out AiG’s witnessing booklet Why is there death and suffering? to as many people as he can—opening up opportunities to share the gospel personally with them.
For example (as Frank shares in the webcast), he recently gave this booklet to a truck driver, only to find out that the trucker had just experienced great tragedy in his life and needed the help the booklet offered.
Friend, you need to hear from Frank and Sue yourself as they share their riveting testimony. You’ve never heard anything like it, I guarantee you. Please, set aside 29 minutes right now (or as a family time at your home) and listen to this very powerful testimony. This is real life—and death!
You’ll be encouraged, challenged and convicted … and perhaps changed forever.
How would you cope with their kind of tragedy? (You may be asked to endure something similar.) Does your family have the right foundational knowledge of God’s Word so that, even though they would certainly grieve at a personal loss, they would nonetheless handle such circumstances biblically?
What a great discussion topic this webcast could be in this world of war and terrorism, as so many people ask, “How can there be a God of love amidst such violence and death?”
It’s humbling to see how God used AiG in the life of the Zitzmans, not only in handling this devastating event, but also in their ongoing ministry to others who may need comforting and need to know Christ!
To know Christ … that’s what it’s all about. Please take the time to listen to this powerful testimony.
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Tirsdag, Januar 04, 2005
Klipp fra www.answersingenesis.org: Time and Newsweek blatantly attack Christian doctrine:
Time and Newsweek blatantly attack Christian doctrine:
Christians use Internet to refute mainstream media misochristism—and be heard!
by Jonathan Sarfati, AiG–Australia
December 27, 2004
For a long time, the mainstream media (MSM) has given Christianity a raw deal. Barely an Easter or Christmas goes by without some trashy ‘documentary’ or article debunking the Resurrection or Nativity accounts in the Bible. This Christmas time, Christians were treated to regurgitations of the tired old liberal canards attacking the virgin birth of Christ by Time1 and Newsweek2—cover stories no less.
Without fail, such articles will present the alleged ‘epitome of scholarship’, but only from a theologically liberal perspective. It’s important to realise that this perspective commits a basic logical fallacy of begging the question: i.e. presenting a premise as a conclusion. In particular, liberalism begins with the assumption that no miracles are possible. Yet the MSM media presents their denial of miracles as the conclusion of their allegedly brilliant scholarship. In reality, given their anti-miraculous bias, it would indeed be a miracle if they did NOT conclude that no miracles occurred! This is blatantly so with the self-appointed Jesus Seminar, which always seems to be cited although they are on the far left fringe even of liberalism.
Readers can skip to refutation of Time and Newsweek attacks on Virginal Conception, but before that, we explain why the MSM is this way, and how the Internet has enabled Christians to present the truth to a wide audience that was previously under the hegemony of the MSM.
Liberalism in the media
It has long been shown that journalists as a whole are far less likely to attend church, and generally occupy a position much further liberal-left on the political spectrum than the general public.3 For example, 97% say women should have the right to decide whether they want to have an abortion, 80% believe there’s nothing wrong with homosexual relations, and 51% see nothing wrong with adultery.4
However, this is not the same as asserting that there is a left-wing conspiracy in the media. Rather, the former CBS journalist Bernard Goldberg argued in his book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News and its sequel Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite that the liberal distortion is not usually conscious. Rather, these views are entrenched into people's thinking in these circles, and they so rarely encounter contrary views among their peers, that they think they are ‘normal’. Thus anything even moderately conservative, including in theological matters, is dismissed as right-wing fascism. So the problem is even harder to fix, because many of the most biased people are blind to their own biases.
Thus there is a parallel with what we have often pointed out with the creation-evolution issue. It is not so much the facts, but the way a person’s worldview causes him to interpret the facts. And the dominant worldview, even among many professing Christians, is materialism or naturalism—matter/nature is all there is.
And once again, we are not asserting a conscious conspiracy or widespread deception. Rather, the worldview is so ingrained that most people don’t even realise that it colors their interpretation. Very few evolutionists realise it, but there are a few isolated admissions, such as by Lewontin, Todd and Ruse. However, while in many cases there is no conscious deception, evolutionists are not blameless. At some time, they made a deliberate choice of materialism, which is a sinful rejection of the evidence for a Creator (Romans 1:18–32).
Another parallel is that it’s very hard for viewpoints opposing the prevailing bias to get a fair hearing, as even the evolutionist historian of science Evelleen Richards recognized.
These parallels should also alert readers to the anti-Christian nature of the MSM’s evolutionary propaganda. Many of them would have us believe that their pro-evolution stance is purely scientific, and has nothing to do with any agenda against the Christian faith. But when the same media outlet pushes both evolution and blatant attacks on the reliability of the Gospels, Christians should not be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Internet allows opposing views to fight back
The development of the Internet has freed up the marketplace of ideas. No longer do the liberals and evolutionists have it all their own way. This disturbs many evolutionists, since they fear that their ideas may not survive fair competition in a level playing field. The atheistic anticreationist Eugenie Scott, leader of the atheist-founded-and-operated anticreationist organization pretentiously called the National Center for Science Education, inadvertently admitted precisely this:
In my opinion, using creation and evolution as topics for critical-thinking exercises in primary and secondary schools is virtually guaranteed to confuse students about evolution and may lead them to reject one of the major themes in science.5
Here are a few examples of creationists overwhelming evolutionists on a level playing field:
In Australia, a Humanist of the Year called Ian Plimer had the MSM at his beck and call, and they would consequently publish all sorts of outrageous lies against biblical creationists. Only rarely would any reasonable creationist response get any airtime, even when an independent committee of enquiry demolished all the claims in his major book. However, with the AiG site now having over a million visits per month, we can reach many more people with answers. So when Plimer wrote a virtually fact-free anti-creationist diatribe in the popular-level journal Australasian Science 22(1):36–37, January/February 2001 (and of course we were denied any response), we could counteract it in More nonsense from Professor Plimer. The editor was most unhappy at the breaking of the humanist monopoly in the marketplace of ideas, and demanded that we remove our response. But we refused, so all he could do was seethe in impotent rage. And Plimer has been incredibly quiet, in a huge contrast to his previous vociferous tirades when he likewise had no fair competition.
Scientific American published an article ‘15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense’ by John Rennie (Editor), Scientific American 287(1):78–85, July 2002. Very soon after, AiG published the point-by-point response 15 ways to refute materialistic bigotry. Evidently the threat that their diatribe would have to face competition bothered SciAm so much that they likewise demanded its removal. In fact, the talk on the skeptics’ own websites was that SciAm had been stung where it hurt the most—in sales—so were reluctant to raise the issue again.
U.S. News and World Report ran a cover story pushing evolution—‘A theory evolves: How evolution really works, and why it matters more than ever’, 29 July 2002. It didn’t take long for AiG to post a refutation, answering the fallacies point-by-point.
Irish Times published a two-part offensive on 9th and 16th November 2000 in their ‘Science Today’ section. AiG again quickly showed how ignorant the writer was on this matter, in this refutation.
PBS showed a hugely funded 7-part series on evolution in 2001. Within a day or so of each episode, we were able to respond. In fact, this hugely increased the number of visits to the site, and became the basis for Refuting Evolution 2.
The BBC produced a TV program allegedly debunking Noah’s Ark in March 2004. We responded quickly with Yes, Noah did build an Ark! It seemed to have some effect, because some of the most egregious blunders were soon expunged from the BBC website’s transcript.
Australia’s ABC showed a three-part series called ‘Testing God’, and the antitheistic tone was set in the first, called ‘Killing the Creator’. We refuted the programs in detail in Atheists Blast Christianity: Yet another misleading anti-Christian assault from Australia’s taxpayer-funded TV station
National Geographic has long been pushing their evolutionary faith. Sometimes their eagerness has left egg on their face, such as when they pushed Archaeoraptor as proof ‘that birds are theropods [a type of carnivorous dinosaur] just as confidently as we say that humans are mammals.’ However, this turned out to be a fake, a sort of Piltdown Bird—see Archaeoraptor—Phony ‘feathered’ fossil. More recently, they published an article ‘Was Darwin Wrong?’ answering ‘No’, presenting an apologetic for their evolutionary religion. So AiG responded with National Geographic is wrong and so was Darwin. At the end, we pointed out that Christian subscribers are helping to fund the proselytizing of an anti-Christian religious view. So we suggested that readers switch from subscribing to NG to Creation magazine. As our keenest readers already subscribe to Creation, this resulted in a number of them switching to TJ instead. Another idea, befitting the Christmas season, would be a gift sub.
This doesn’t mean that all Internet work is equally good; far from it. But it does allow strongly credentialed and cogent dissent to be publicized. This allows people access to a wider amount of information than the thought-guardians of the evolutionary establishment want us to be aware of.
Apart from the creation-evolution issue, there are other examples of where Internet dissent has brought down previously untouchable hegemons. A good example is the überliberal CBS newsreader Dan Rather, who egregiously violated professional journalistic standards of political neutrality by a blatantly partisan report. This time, it wasn’t long before Internet web-logs (‘blogs’) exposed the fact that the documents central to his case were obvious forgeries—text styles not possible on 1970s typewriters but easy with Microsoft Word. However, Rather was so used to being untouchable that he first defended his story, personally attacked the messengers, and bizarrely claimed that the story was still true even if the documents were not (huh? The documents WERE the story!). But now Rather has announced his departure, probably brought upon by the disgrace which was now massively publicized in a way that has only recently been possible (see Mainstream Media Accountability).
The MSM vs. the Virginal Conception
The Time and Newsweek articles epitomised MSM liberalism.
Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek, and he claims to be a ‘believing Episcopalian’. However, one should ask, ‘Believing in what?’ In fact, very little content seems to be required of belief in many sections of Episcopalianism—they even have homosexual priests and now even a bishop, and the arch-heretic John Shelby Spong was a bishop. His attitude was clear:
To many minds conditioned by the Enlightenment, shaped by science and all too aware of the Crusades and corruptions of the church, Christmas is a fairy tale.
David van Biema, who writes for Time, is not quite so blatant about his liberal bias, but the end result is the same.
When it comes to MSM attacks on the Bible, our website should be able to help readers in two main ways:
Providing resources to help readers counteract MSM claims
Refuting specific MSM articles
The two are not independent. If we have enough resources on an issue, then a specific response may not be necessary. And even if it is, the response can point readers to already-existing resources.
With the Time and Newsweek articles, many of the points are already answered in The Virginal Conception of Christ and other articles on our website or linked from it, so that’s #1. For example:
‘Augustus conducted no global census, and no more local one makes sense in Luke’s time frame’ (Newsweek). The word for ‘world’ in Luke 2:1 is oikoumenè, which to a Greek meant the Greek world and to a Roman meant the Roman Empire. And it is a historical fact that Augustus decreed that his whole empire should be taxed. And the Greek of Luke 2:2 indicates that the census was one before Quirinius’, which Luke knew about perfectly well. See census.
‘Fellow Jews early on challenged Matthew’s Gospel assertion that it fulfilled a prophecy in the book of Isaiah that the Messiah would be born to a “virgin”. (Isaiah’s Hebrew actually talks about a “young girl”; Matthew was probably working from a Greek mistranslation).’ (Time) In fact, Matthew was working from the accepted Greek translation of the day, the Septuagint (LXX). The 72 rabbis who, according to legend, prepared the LXX probably knew what they were doing when they translated ‘almah into parthenos, from which we get the word parthenogenesis. Note that they did so about 250 years before christ was born, so they can’t be accused of being influenced by Christianity. Fact is, no Jews complained about the translation ‘parthenos’ until Matthew applied it to Christ. And the LXX translators were perfectly justified, since ‘almah is never used of a non-virgin in the Old Testament. And no one explained why the pregnancy of a ‘young girl’ should be a sign—it happens all the time! See Isaiah 7:1–18 exposition.
‘Despite agreeing on the big ideas, Matthew and Luke diverge in conspicuous ways on details of the event. In Matthew's Nativity, the angelic Annunciation is made to Joseph while Luke's is to Mary.’ (Time) This is an example of the way that many liberals are challenged in basic logic. It’s amazing how many of them think that a difference is a contradiction. It seems not to have crossed the critic’s mind that the angel informed both Joseph and Mary. There would be an error only if Matthew said that the angel informed only Joseph. Misological media moguls really need a course in elementary logic, e.g. the definition of ‘Contradiction’ from the article Logic and Creation.
‘[The star of Bethlehem] is doubtless one of the best-loved elements of the Christmas tale’ (Time). The astronomical debunking is irrelevant because the Greek word for star, astèr, can refer to any heavenly light, and was most likely God’s shekinah glory—see How Did the Wise Men Know? or Is Astrology Valid? [and what was the Star of Bethlehem?]
Suggesting the possibility that the Gospels borrowed from paganism (Time)—see Alleged Pagan Derivation for many reasons this was impossible.
‘Mark and John do not tell about the nativity at all’ (Time). But they (and Paul) use language that strongly suggests awareness of the virginal conception—see Alleged Silence of Mark, John, and Paul.
‘“Radical New Testament critics say it's a hopeless jumble,” Maier notes. “I myself do not think it's impossible to harmonize them”’ (Time). This is about the only time a fairly conservative scholar is cited. But even then they don’t publish his explanation, while most of the article is given to asserting that the Gospels contradict. This is typical—if a conservative voice is cited, it’s only a soundbite (or more of an own-goal, even), which is drowned out by the gaggle of liberals, and in this case feminists as well. See this harmonization.
Thus a specific response is not necessary—indeed it would be impossible to respond to all the anti-Christian garbage around. However, some scholars have provided some excellent responses on other Internet sites. One is by Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Newsweek vs. The New Testament. A very detailed point-by-point rebuttal is by Harvard Ph.D. Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts, The Birth of Jesus: Hype or History?
Christians might be surprised when they first see such blatant anti-Christian attacks in the MSM. But they should not be, given the widespread anti-theistic bias in the journalism profession—and so ingrained that they are unaware that they even have a bias. However, there is rarely anything new in any of their attacks, and Christians can easily be equipped with answers. For example, the AiG website has a Q&A page, and three of the sections are on the reliability of the Bible, the true Triune God revealed therein, especially in Jesus Christ ‘our great God and Savior’ (Titus 2:13). We hope these will help equip Christians with answers when a non-christian friend, neighbour or workmate flashes around the next two-bit anti-Christian diatribe. Meanwhile, may we suggest that Christians might reconsider subsidizing the proselytizing of a counterfeit religious belief in such publications as Time and Newsweek, and use this money instead for a subscription to Creation magazine or TJ?
David van Biema, Behind the First Noel, Time, 13 December 2004, pp. 54–64. Return to text.
Jon Meacham, The Birth of Jesus—Faith and History: How the Story of Christmas Came to Be, Newsweek, 13 December 2004, pp. 54–64. Return to text.
Lichter, S.R., Lichter, L.S. and Rothman, S., 1992. Watching America: What Television Tells Us About Our Lives. Referenced in Ray, D.L. and Guzzo, L., 1993. Environmental Overkill, Regnery Gateway, Washington DC. Return to text.
For the Australian media, see the insightful book Press v Pulpit: Christophobia in the Australian Media by award-winning journalist Cameron Horn. Return to text.
Cited in: Where Darwin Meets the Bible, p. 23—by anti-creationist Larry Witham, Oxford University Press, 2002. See review by Jerry Bergman, TJ 17(3):22–24, 2003. Return to text.
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Onsdag, Desember 22, 2004
Klipp fra www.answersingenesis.org: Shenanigans recently uncovered in Grand Canyon book controversy
Shenanigans recently uncovered in Grand Canyon book controversy
by Mark Looy, AiG–USA
December 14, 2004
For almost a year, AiG has been following the efforts of leading evolutionists to ban the creationist photo-essay book Grand Canyon: A Different View from the bookstores at Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona, USA.1 Some revealing information has recently come to light about the unseemly way the protest was launched (more about that in a moment).
The book’s appearance in a Grand Canyon National Park bookstore incurred the wrath of evolutionary zealots, including a letter from the presidents of seven leading science groups who launched a censorship effort almost a year ago. But their book-banning efforts backfired. Their opposition created such publicity (including a feature piece on The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, National Public Radio and several newspaper reports ranging from Taiwan to Texas), that the publisher is now going to a fourth printing (total: 40,000 in print).
Tom Vail’s striking book (which features essays from four AiG staff and fourteen Ph.D. scientists) presents an alternative scientific and philosophical viewpoint that runs contrary to evolutionary dogma, which claims that the canyon was formed over millions of years by the Colorado River. We should add that the idea that the Canyon was actually carved out quickly and by a lot of water—the long-held creationist view—is now accepted by many evolutionary geologists who have studied the Canyon; however, the story still told at the Canyon is that it was formed over millions of years by erosion, i.e., from the slow carving action of the Colorado River.
Over the months, various newspapers have been quoting Park officials as saying that a final decision about whether the book will remain in Park stores is still to be made. For the moment, Grand Canyon: A Different View is on the shelves at Canyon bookstores, although it is found in the “inspirational” section, not the natural sciences area where it should belong. It just may be that because over 7,000 people wrote to the US National Park Service in Washington, D.C. to voice their opinions about the book, it remains an option for visitors to purchase at Grand Canyon National Park. (And its good sales may also have played a part in this—it is a top-ten seller in the Canyon bookstores.)
The weekly news magazine Time, with a guest commentary last month on its website, has kept the issue simmering. It was also a highly revealing piece, for it helped author Tom Vail uncover some “behind-the-scenes” shenanigans in the initial censorship effort.
It appears that the letter of protest co-signed by the presidents of the seven science groups, demanding that the book be removed, was a collaboration between one or more government officials and these “outside” science groups. While we don’t know who actually originated the letter, we do know that it was initially edited by at least one National Park Service employee (a division chief, no less!).
Interested in touring the Canyon and seeing for yourself how the best interpretation of the evidence points away from the evolutionary story of earth history … and to the Genesis account instead?
Join us next summer, along with controversial author Tom Vail, on one of our Grand Canyon rafting adventures. In fact, why not surprise someone (family member, your pastor, friend) this Christmas with the gift of a special vacation this summer?
Tom Vail’s attorney, Gary McCaleb, senior counsel of the Christian-based civil liberties group The Alliance Defense Fund, shares what he and Tom have discovered, in this email they sent to Time last month (by the way, three weeks later, neither Time nor the writer has responded). We post it here in its entirety:
From: Gary McCaleb
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 9:48 AM
Cc: Greg Scott
Subject: Tom Vail--A Different View
RE: Faith Based Parks (Leon Jaroff, November 17, 2004)
Dear Mr. Jaroff:
I am Tom Vail’s attorney, defending him against the National Park Service’s ill-advised efforts to force a private concessionaire to remove his books from their stores. “Ill-advised” is most apt in this instance for at least two reasons.
First, documents that I obtained via a public records request revealed that the complaint letter purportedly generated by private scientists was a collaborative (and in my view, highly unethical) effort by senior National Park Service employees, who extensively edited the scientists’ “complaint” letter.
Amazingly, it appears that at least one official first helped to write the “complaint,” then volunteered to help the NPS respond to the “complaint” once it was received at their offices. Thus, if Mr. Ruch of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) [Ed. quoted in the Time commentary as opposing the book] is to take umbrage and express indignation, perhaps it should be at government employees apparently using government salaries, equipment, and materials to collude with outside activists to advance a personal agenda.
Second, if geologists are unwilling to take a serious look at Vail’s interpretation of the evidence, perhaps they should look to their own sorry history in handling the “Great Scablands Debate.” It is a delightful chapter of natural science history, in which scientist J. Harlen Bretz [sic] proposed an unorthodox, catastrophic flood to explain how some 3,000 square miles of Washington state developed an unusual topography. He broached the theory in 1923, only to suffer decades of vile reproach from the scientific community. Why? Because as Stephen Jay Gould put it, the scientific community “held firm to the dogma that catastrophic causes must never be invoked so long as any gradualist alternative existed” (The Great Scablands Debate, Natural History, Aug/Sept. 1978).
It took the scientific establishment some 40 years before other research confirmed Bretz’ theory—leaving Bretz with a prestigious professional award, and the scientific community with a too-small dose of humility. Were I a geologist, I’d be inclined to ignore the theology of the matter and make certain that a “bystander” hasn’t seen something that I missed. Instead, these scientists have assumed the awkward (and often utterly wrong) role of would-be book-banners.
Similarly, PEER’s Mr. Ruch is far afield when he charges that the Bush administration “panders” to Christians, based upon the presence of a few small Scripture plaques near the Canyon’s rim. [Ed. Read our web story about this other recent Grand Canyon controversy at Remove God from the Grand Canyon?] Nonsense: the plaques have been present on a private concessionaire’s facility since about 1970. In late 2003 some addlepated officials tore them down, acting upon one vague email from the ACLU. Again, my organization intervened, representing the religious order that originally placed the plaques with permission of the private concessionaire, and the plaques were restored to their rightful place after we explained some basic First Amendment law to the NPS.
I would agree with Mr. Ruch on one point: it’s time to be truthful about these matters—and the truth is that the Constitution does not demand that our civil society be swept clean of religion—any more than it would require that the theistic and religious content of our Declaration of Independence be edited to conform with today’s left-leaning hyper-secular sensitivities.
Gary S. McCaleb
AiG stopped being surprised years ago at the lengths many evolutionists will go to suppress any effort to criticize their evolution belief system (e.g., witness the ways they, along with the so-called American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have often attempted to prevent any criticism of evolution in America’s public school classrooms—see Will the sticker stick?).
While we appreciate the fact that the NPS officials in Washington, D.C. are being careful in their handling of this issue amidst tough lobbying by evolutionists to have the book banned, we believe that the NPS employee(s) involved in editing the letter that was later sent by the science-society presidents to the NPS superintendent should, at the very least, receive a reprimand.
In today’s so-called “culture wars” (sometimes described as the struggle between biblical Christianity and secular humanism), it has become even more imperative that Christians help restore the biblical foundations that are a part of America’s heritage (and those of other Western nations with a similar Christian heritage, such as England). Please pray with AiG to this end.
Our first article—on what eventually turned out to be an international controversy—appeared in early January of this year: Geologists in an uproar. Return to text.
Available online at:
COPYRIGHT © 2004 Answers in Genesis
Mandag, November 29, 2004
Klipp fra www.answersingenesis.org: What about carbon dating?
What about carbon dating?
By Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, Ed. Don Batten
First published in The Revised and Expanded Answers Book
How does the carbon ‘clock’ work? Is it reliable? What does carbon dating really show? What about other radiometric dating methods? Is there evidence that the earth is young?
People who ask about carbon-14 (14C) dating usually want to know about the radiometric1 dating methods that are claimed to give millions and billions of years—carbon dating can only give thousands of years. People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history.
Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering—the reason Jesus came into the world.
Christians, by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously. He said, ‘But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female’ (Mark 10:6). This only makes sense with a time-line beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago. It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.
We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.
How the carbon clock works
Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on earth. Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in ‘lead’ pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes. One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or 14C, or radiocarbon.
Carbon-14 is made when cosmic rays knock neutrons out of atomic nuclei in the upper atmosphere. These displaced neutrons, now moving fast, hit ordinary nitrogen (14N) at lower altitudes, converting it into 14C. Unlike common carbon (12C), 14C is unstable and slowly decays, changing it back to nitrogen and releasing energy. This instability makes it radioactive.
Ordinary carbon (12C) is found in the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, which is taken up by plants, which in turn are eaten by animals. So a bone, or a leaf or a tree, or even a piece of wooden furniture, contains carbon. When the 14C has been formed, like ordinary carbon (12C), it combines with oxygen to give carbon dioxide (14CO2), and so it also gets cycled through the cells of plants and animals.
We can take a sample of air, count how many 12C atoms there are for every 14C atom, and calculate the 14C/12C ratio. Because 14C is so well mixed up with 12C, we expect to find that this ratio is the same if we sample a leaf from a tree, or a part of your body.
In living things, although 14C atoms are constantly changing back to 14N, they are still exchanging carbon with their surroundings, so the mixture remains about the same as in the atmosphere. However, as soon as a plant or animal dies, the 14C atoms which decay are no longer replaced, so the amount of 14C in that once-living thing decreases as time goes on. In other words, the 14C/12C ratio gets smaller. So, we have a ‘clock’ which starts ticking the moment something dies.
Obviously, this works only for things which were once living. It cannot be used to date volcanic rocks, for example.
The rate of decay of 14C is such that half of an amount will convert back to 14N in 5,730 years (plus or minus 40 years). This is the ‘half-life.’ So, in two half-lives, or 11,460 years, only one-quarter will be left. Thus, if the amount of 14C relative to 12C in a sample is one-quarter of that in living organisms at present, then it has a theoretical age of 11,460 years. Anything over about 50,000 years old, should theoretically have no detectable 14C left. That is why radiocarbon dating cannot give millions of years. In fact, if a sample contains 14C, it is good evidence that it is not millions of years old.
However, things are not quite so simple. First, plants discriminate against carbon dioxide containing 14C. That is, they take up less than would be expected and so they test older than they really are. Furthermore, different types of plants discriminate differently. This also has to be corrected for.2
Second, the ratio of 14C/12C in the atmosphere has not been constant—for example, it was higher before the industrial era when the massive burning of fossil fuels released a lot of carbon dioxide that was depleted in 14C. This would make things which died at that time appear older in terms of carbon dating. Then there was a rise in 14CO2 with the advent of atmospheric testing of atomic bombs in the 1950s.3 This would make things carbon-dated from that time appear younger than their true age.
Measurement of 14C in historically dated objects (e.g., seeds in the graves of historically dated tombs) enables the level of 14C in the atmosphere at that time to be estimated, and so partial calibration of the ‘clock’ is possible. Accordingly, carbon dating carefully applied to items from historical times can be useful. However, even with such historical calibration, archaeologists do not regard 14C dates as absolute because of frequent anomalies. They rely more on dating methods that link into historical records.
Outside the range of recorded history, calibration of the 14C clock is not possible.4
Other factors affecting carbon dating
The amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth’s atmosphere affects the amount of 14C produced and therefore dating the system. The amount of cosmic rays reaching the earth varies with the sun’s activity, and with the earth's passage through magnetic clouds as the solar system travels around the Milky Way galaxy.
The strength of the earth’s magnetic field affects the amount of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. A stronger magnetic field deflects more cosmic rays away from the earth. Overall, the energy of the earth’s magnetic field has been decreasing,5 so more 14C is being produced now than in the past. This will make old things look older than they really are.
Also, the Genesis flood would have greatly upset the carbon balance. The flood buried a huge amount of carbon, which became coal, oil, etc., lowering the total 12C in the biosphere (including the atmosphere—plants regrowing after the flood absorb CO2, which is not replaced by the decay of the buried vegetation). Total 14C is also proportionately lowered at this time, but whereas no terrestrial process generates any more 12C, 14C is continually being produced, and at a rate which does not depend on carbon levels (it comes from nitrogen). Therefore, the 14C/12C ratio in plants/animals/the atmosphere before the flood had to be lower than what it is now.
Unless this effect (which is additional to the magnetic field issue just discussed) were corrected for, carbon dating of fossils formed in the flood would give ages much older than the true ages.
Creationist researchers have suggested that dates of 35,000 - 45,000 years should be re-calibrated to the biblical date of the flood.6 Such a re-calibration makes sense of anomalous data from carbon dating—for example, very discordant ‘dates’ for different parts of a frozen musk ox carcass from Alaska and an inordinately slow rate of accumulation of ground sloth dung pellets in the older layers of a cave where the layers were carbon dated.7
Also, volcanoes emit much CO2 depleted in 14C. Since the flood was accompanied by much volcanism, fossils formed in the early post-flood period would give radiocarbon ages older than they really are.
In summary, the carbon-14 method, when corrected for the effects of the flood, can give useful results, but needs to be applied carefully. It does not give dates of millions of years and when corrected properly fits well with the biblical flood.
Other radiometric dating methods
There are various other radiometric dating methods used today to give ages of millions or billions of years for rocks. These techniques, unlike carbon dating, mostly use the relative concentrations of parent and daughter products in radioactive decay chains. For example, potassium-40 decays to argon-40; uranium-238 decays to lead-206 via other elements like radium; uranium-235 decays to lead-207; rubidium-87 decays to strontium-87; etc. These techniques are applied to igneous rocks, and are normally seen as giving the time since solidification.
The isotope concentrations can be measured very accurately, but isotope concentrations are not dates. To derive ages from such measurements, unprovable assumptions have to be made such as:
The starting conditions are known (for example, that there was no daughter isotope present at the start, or that we know how much was there).
Decay rates have always been constant.
Systems were closed or isolated so that no parent or daughter isotopes were lost or added.
There are patterns in the isotope data
There is plenty of evidence that the radioisotope dating systems are not the infallible techniques many think, and that they are not measuring millions of years. However, there are still patterns to be explained. For example, deeper rocks often tend to give older ‘ages.’ Creationists agree that the deeper rocks are generally older, but not by millions of years. Geologist John Woodmorappe, in his devastating critique of radioactive dating,8 points out that there are other large-scale trends in the rocks that have nothing to do with radioactive decay.
When a ‘date’ differs from that expected, researchers readily invent excuses for rejecting the result. The common application of such posterior reasoning shows that radiometric dating has serious problems. Woodmorappe cites hundreds of examples of excuses used to explain ‘bad’ dates.9
For example, researchers applied posterior reasoning to the dating of Australopithecus ramidus fossils.10 Most samples of basalt closest to the fossil-bearing strata give dates of about 23 Ma (Mega annum, million years) by the argon-argon method. The authors decided that was ‘too old,’ according to their beliefs about the place of the fossils in the evolutionary grand scheme of things. So they looked at some basalt further removed from the fossils and selected 17 of 26 samples to get an acceptable maximum age of 4.4 Ma. The other nine samples again gave much older dates but the authors decided they must be contaminated and discarded them. That is how radiometric dating works. It is very much driven by the existing long-age world view that pervades academia today.
A similar story surrounds the dating of the primate skull known as KNM-ER 1470.11 This started with an initial 212 to 230 Ma, which, according to the fossils, was considered way off the mark (humans ‘weren’t around then’). Various other attempts were made to date the volcanic rocks in the area. Over the years an age of 2.9 Ma was settled upon because of the agreement between several different published studies (although the studies involved selection of ‘good’ from ‘bad’ results, just like Australopithecus ramidus, above).
However, preconceived notions about human evolution could not cope with a skull like 1470 being ‘that old.’ A study of pig fossils in Africa readily convinced most anthropologists that the 1470 skull was much younger. After this was widely accepted, further studies of the rocks brought the radiometric age down to about 1.9 Ma—again several studies ‘confirmed’ this date. Such is the dating game.
Are we suggesting that evolutionists are conspiring to massage the data to get what they want? No, not generally. It is simply that all observations must fit the prevailing paradigm. The paradigm, or belief system, of molecules-to-man evolution over eons of time, is so strongly entrenched it is not questioned—it is a ‘fact.’ So every observation must fit this paradigm. Unconsciously, the researchers, who are supposedly ‘objective scientists’ in the eyes of the public, select the observations to fit the basic belief system.
We must remember that the past is not open to the normal processes of experimental science, that is, repeatable experiments in the present. A scientist cannot do experiments on events that happened in the past. Scientists do not measure the age of rocks, they measure isotope concentrations, and these can be measured extremely accurately. However, the ‘age’ is calculated using assumptions about the past that cannot be proven.
We should remember God’s admonition to Job, ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?’ (Job 38:4).
Those involved with unrecorded history gather information in the present and construct stories about the past. The level of proof demanded for such stories seems to be much less than for studies in the empirical sciences, such as physics, chemistry, molecular biology, physiology, etc.
Williams, an expert in the environmental fate of radioactive elements, identified 17 flaws in the isotope dating reported in just three widely respected seminal papers that supposedly established the age of the earth at 4.6 billion years.12 John Woodmorappe has produced an incisive critique of these dating methods.13 He exposes hundreds of myths that have grown up around the techniques. He shows that the few ‘good’ dates left after the ‘bad’ dates are filtered out could easily be explained as fortunate coincidences.
What date would you like?
The forms issued by radioisotope laboratories for submission with samples to be dated commonly ask how old the sample is expected to be. Why? If the techniques were absolutely objective and reliable, such information would not be necessary. Presumably, the laboratories know that anomalous dates are common, so they need some check on whether they have obtained a ‘good’ date.
Testing radiometric dating methods
If the long-age dating techniques were really objective means of finding the ages of rocks, they should work in situations where we know the age. Furthermore, different techniques should consistently agree with one another.
Methods should work reliably on things of known age
There are many examples where the dating methods give ‘dates’ that are wrong for rocks of known age. One example is K-Ar ‘dating’ of five historical andesite lava flows from Mount Nguaruhoe in New Zealand. Although one lava flow occurred in 1949, three in 1954, and one in 1975, the ‘dates’ range from less than 0.27 to 3.5 Ma.14
Again, using hindsight, it is argued that ‘excess’ argon from the magma (molten rock) was retained in the rock when it solidified. The secular scientific literature lists many examples of excess argon causing dates of millions of years in rocks of known historical age.15 This excess appears to have come from the upper mantle, below the earth’s crust. This is consistent with a young world—the argon has had too little time to escape.16 If excess argon can cause exaggerated dates for rocks of known age, then why should we trust the method for rocks of unknown age?
Other techniques, such as the use of isochrons,17 make different assumptions about starting conditions, but there is a growing recognition that such ‘foolproof’ techniques can also give ‘bad’ dates. So data are again selected according to what the researcher already believes about the age of the rock.
Geologist Dr Steve Austin sampled basalt from the base of the Grand Canyon strata and from the lava that spilled over the edge of the canyon. By evolutionary reckoning, the latter should be a billion years younger than the basalt from the bottom. Standard laboratories analyzed the isotopes. The rubidium-strontium isochron technique suggested that the recent lava flow was 270 Ma older than the basalts beneath the Grand Canyon—an impossibility.
Different dating techniques should consistently agree
If the dating methods are an objective and reliable means of determining ages, they should agree. If a chemist were measuring the sugar content of blood, all valid methods for the determination would give the same answer (within the limits of experimental error). However, with radiometric dating, the different techniques often give quite different results.
In the study of the Grand Canyon rocks by Austin, different techniques gave different results.18 Again, all sorts of reasons can be suggested for the ‘bad’ dates, but this is again posterior reasoning. Techniques that give results that can be dismissed just because they don’t agree with what we already believe cannot be considered objective.
In Australia, some wood found in Tertiary basalt was clearly buried in the lava flow that formed the basalt, as can be seen from the charring. The wood was ‘dated’ by radiocarbon (14C) analysis at about 45,000 years old, but the basalt was ‘dated’ by potassium-argon method at 45 million years old!19
Isotope ratios or uraninite crystals from the Koongarra uranium body in the Northern Territory of Australia gave lead-lead isochron ages of 841 Ma, plus or minus 140 Ma.20 This contrasts with an age of 1550-1650 Ma based on other isotope ratios,21 and ages of 275, 61, 0,0, and 0 Ma for thorium/lead (232Th/208Pb) ratios in five uraninite grains. The latter figures are significant because thorium-derived dates should be the more reliable, since thorium is less mobile than the uranium minerals that are the parents of the lead isotopes in lead-lead system.22 The ‘zero’ ages in this case are consistent with the Bible.
More evidence something is wrong—14C in fossils supposedly millions of years old
Carbon dating in many cases seriously embarrasses evolutionists by giving ages that are much younger than those expected from their model of early history. A specimen older than 50,000 years should have too little 14C to measure.
Laboratories that measure 14C would like a source of organic material with zero 14C to use as a blank to check that their lab procedures do not add 14C. Coal is an obvious candidate because the youngest coal is supposed to be millions of years old, and most of it is supposed to be tens or hundreds of millions of years old. Such old coal should be devoid of 14C. It isn't. No source of coal has been found that completely lacks 14C.
Fossil wood found in ‘Upper Permian’ rock that is supposedly 250 Ma old still contained 14C.23 Recently, a sample of wood found in rock classified as ‘middle Triassic,’ supposedly some 230 million years old, gave a 14C date of 33,720 years, plus or minus 430 years.24 The accompanying checks showed that the 14C date was not due to contamination and that the ‘date’ was valid, within the standard (long ages) understanding of this dating system.
It is an unsolved mystery to evolutionists as to why coal has 14C in it,25 or wood supposedly millions of years old still has 14C present, but it makes perfect sense in a creationist world view.
Many physical evidences contradict the ‘billions of years’
Of the methods that have been used to estimate the age of the earth, 90 percent point to an age far less than the billions of years asserted by evolutionists. A few of them follow.
Evidence for a rapid formation of geological strata, as in the biblical flood. Some of the evidences are: lack of erosion between rock layers supposedly separated in age by many millions of years; lack of disturbance of rock strata by biological activity (worms, roots, etc.); lack of soil layers; polystrate fossils (which traverse several rock layers vertically—these could not have stood vertically for eons of time while they slowly got buried); thick layers of ‘rock’ bent without fracturing, indicating that the rock was all soft when bent; and more. For more, see books by geologists Morris26 and Austin.27
Red blood cells and hemoglobin have been found in some (unfossilized!) dinosaur bone. But these could not last more than a few thousand years—certainly not the 65 Ma since the last dinosaurs lived, according to evolutionists.28
The earth’s magnetic field has been decaying so fast that it looks like it is less than 10,000 years old. Rapid reversals during the flood year and fluctuations shortly after would have caused the field energy to drop even faster.29
Radioactive decay releases helium into the atmosphere, but not much is escaping. The total amount in the atmosphere is 1/2000th of that expected if the universe is really billions of years old. This helium originally escaped from rocks. This happens quite fast, yet so much helium is still in some rocks that it has not had time to escape—certainly not billions of years.30
A supernova is an explosion of a massive star—the explosion is so bright that it briefly outshines the rest of the galaxy. The supernova remnants (SNRs) should keep expanding for hundreds of thousands of years, according to physical equations. Yet there are no very old, widely expanded (Stage 3) SNRs, and few moderately old (Stage 1) ones in our galaxy, the Milky Way, or in its satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds. This is just what we would expect for ‘young’ galaxies that have not existed long enough for wide expansion.31
The moon is slowly receding from the earth at about 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) per year, and this rate would have been greater in the past. But even if the moon had started receding from being in contact with the earth, it would have taken only 1.37 billion years to reach its present distance from the earth. This gives a maximum age of the moon, not the actual age. This is far too young for evolutionists who claim the moon is 4.6 billion years old. It is also much younger than the radiometric ‘dates’ assigned to moon rocks.32
Salt is entering the sea much faster than it is escaping. The sea is not nearly salty enough for this to have been happening for billions of years. Even granting generous assumptions to evolutionists, the sea could not be more than 62 Ma years old—far younger than the billions of years believed by the evolutionists. Again, this indicates a maximum age, not the actual age.33
Dr Russell Humphreys gives other processes inconsistent with billions of years in the pamphlet Evidence for a Young World.34
Creationists cannot prove the age of the earth using a particular scientific method, any more than evolutionists can. They realize that all science is tentative because we do not have all the data, especially when dealing with the past. This is true of both creationist and evolutionist scientific arguments—evolutionists have had to abandon many ‘proofs’ for evolution just as creationists have also had to modify their arguments. The atheistic evolutionist W.B. Provine admitted: ‘Most of what I learned of the field [evolutionary biology] in graduate (1964-68) school is either wrong or significantly changed.’ 35
Creationists understand the limitations of dating methods better than evolutionists who claim that they can use processes observed in the present to ‘prove’ that the earth is billions of years old. In reality, all dating methods, including those that point to a young earth, rely on unprovable assumptions.
Creationists ultimately date the earth historically using the chronology of the Bible. This is because they believe that this is an accurate eyewitness account of world history, which bears the evidence within it that it is the Word of God, and therefore totally reliable and error-free.
Then what do the radiometric ‘dates’ mean?
What the do the radiometric dates of millions of years mean, if they are not true ages? To answer this question, it is necessary to scrutinize further the experimental results from the various dating techniques, the interpretations made on the basis of the results and the assumptions underlying those interpretations.
The isochron dating technique was thought to be infallible because it supposedly covered the assumptions about starting conditions and closed systems.
Geologist Dr Andrew Snelling worked on dating the Koongarra uranium deposits in the Northern Territory of Australia, primarily using the uranium-thorium-lead (U-Th-Pb) method. He found that even highly weathered soil samples from the area, which are definitely not closed systems, gave apparently valid ‘isochron’ lines with ‘ages’ of up to 1,445 Ma.
Such ‘false isochrons’ are so common that a whole terminology has grown up to describe them, such as apparent isochron, mantle isochron, pseudoisochron, secondary isochron, inherited isochron, erupted isochron, mixing line and mixing isochron. Zheng wrote:
Some of the basic assumptions of the conventional Rb-Sr [rubidium-strontium] isochron method have to be modified and an observed isochron does not certainly define valid age information for a geological system, even if a goodness of fit of the experimental results is obtained in plotting 87Sr/86Sr. This problem cannot be overlooked, especially in evaluating the numerical time scale. Similar questions can also arise in applying Sm-Nd [samarium-neodymium] and U-Pb [uranium-lead] isochron methods.37
Clearly, there are factors other than age responsible for the straight lines obtained from graphing isotope ratios. Again, the only way to know if an isochron is ‘good’ is by comparing the result with what is already believed.
Another currently popular dating method is the uranium-lead concordia technique. This effectively combines the two uranium-lead decay series into one diagram. Results that lie on the concordia curve have the same age according to the two lead series and are called ‘concordant.’ However, the results from zircons (a type of gemstone), for example, generally lie off the concordia curve—they are discordant. Numerous models, or stories, have been developed to explain such data.38 However, such exercises in story-telling can hardly be considered as objective science that proves an old earth. Again, the stories are evaluated according to their own success in agreeing with the existing long ages belief system.
Andrew Snelling has suggested that fractionation (sorting) of elements in the molten state in the earth’s mantle could be a significant factor in explaining the ratios of isotope concentrations which are interpreted as ages.
As long ago as 1966, Nobel Prize nominee Melvin Cook, professor of metallurgy at the University of Utah, pointed out evidence that lead isotope ratios, for example, may involve alteration by important factors other than radioactive decay.39 Cook noted that, in ores from the Katanga mine, for example, there was an abundance of lead-208, a stable isotope, but no Thorium-232 as a source for lead-208. Thorium has a long half-life (decays very slowly) and is not easily moved out of the rock, so if the lead-208 came from thorium decay, some thorium should still be there. The concentrations of lead-206, lead-207, and lead-208 suggest that the lead-208 came about by neutron capture conversion of lead-206 to lead-207 to lead-208. When the isotope concentrations are adjusted for such conversions, the ages calculated are reduced from some 600 Ma to recent. Other ore bodies seemed to show similar evidence. Cook recognized that the current understanding of nuclear physics did not seem to allow for such a conversion under normal conditions, but he presents evidence that such did happen, and even suggests how it could happen.
Anomalies in deep rock crystals
Physicist Dr Robert Gentry has pointed out that the amount of helium and lead in zircons from deep bores is not consistent with an evolutionary age of 1,500 Ma for the granite rocks in which they are found.40 The amount of lead may be consistent with current rates of decay over millions of years, but it would have diffused out of the crystals in that time.
Furthermore, the amount of helium in zircons from hot rock is also much more consistent with a young earth (helium derives from the decay of radioactive elements).
The lead and helium results suggest that rates of radioactive decay may have been much higher in the recent past. Humphreys has suggested that this may have occurred during creation week and the flood. This would make things look much older than they really are when current rates of decay are applied to dating. Whatever caused such elevated rates of decay may also have been responsible for the lead isotope conversions claimed by Cook (above).
Decaying radioactive particles in solid rock cause spherical zones of damage to the surrounding crystal structure. A speck of radioactive element such as Uranium-238, for example, will leave a sphere of discoloration of characteristically different radius for each element it produces in its decay chain to lead-206.41 Viewed in cross-section with a microscope, these spheres appear as rings called radiohalos. Dr Gentry has researched radiohalos for many years, and published his results in leading scientific journals.42
Some of the intermediate decay products—such as the polonium isotopes—have very short half-lives (they decay quickly). For example, 218Po has a half-life of just 3 minutes. Curiously, rings formed by polonium decay are often found embedded in crystals without the parent uranium halos. Now the polonium has to get into the rock before the rock solidifies, but it cannot derive a from a uranium speck in the solid rock, otherwise there would be a uranium halo. Either the polonium was created (primordial, not derived from uranium), or there have been radical changes in decay rates in the past.
Gentry has addressed all attempts to criticize his work.43 There have been many attempts, because the orphan halos speak of conditions in the past, either at creation or after, perhaps even during the flood, which do not fit with the uniformitarian view of the past, which is the basis of the radiometric dating systems. Whatever process was responsible for the halos could be a key also to understanding radiometric dating.44
There are many lines of evidence that the radiometric dates are not the objective evidence for an old earth that many claim, and that the world is really only thousands of years old. We don't have all the answers, but we do have the sure testimony of the Word of God to the true history of the world.
References and notes
Also known as isotope or radioisotope dating.
Today, a stable carbon isotope, 13C , is measured as an indication of the level of discrimination against 14C.
Radiation from atomic testing, like cosmic rays, causes the conversion of 14N to 14C.
Tree ring dating (dendrochronology) has been used in an attempt to extend the calibration of carbon-14 dating earlier than historical records allow, but this depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood (from long dead trees) using carbon-14 dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards. Then cross-matching of ring patterns is used to calibrate the carbon ‘clock’—a somewhat circular process which does not give an independent calibration of the carbon dating system.
K.L. McDonald and R.H. Gunst, ‘An Analysis of the Earth's Magnetic Field from 1835 to 1965,’ ESSA Technical Report IER 46-IES, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., p. 14, 1965.
B.J. Taylor, ‘Carbon Dioxide in the Antediluvian Atmosphere,’ Creation Research Society Quarterly, 30(4):193-197, 1994.
R.H. Brown, ‘Correlation of C-14 Age with Real Time,’ Creation Research Society Quarterly, 29:45-47, 1992. Musk ox muscle was dated at 24,000 years, but hair was dated at 17,000 years. Corrected dates bring the difference in age approximately within the life span of an ox. With sloth cave dung, standard carbon dates of the lower layers suggested less than 2 pellets per year were produced by the sloths. Correcting the dates increased the number to a more realistic 1.4 per day.
J. Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA, 1999.
G. WoldeGabriel et al., ‘Ecological and Temporal Placement of Early Pliocene Hominids at Aramis, Ethiopia,’ Nature, 371:330-333, 1994.
M. Lubenow, The Pigs Took It All, Creation 17(3):36-38, 1995.
M. Lubenow, Bones of Contention, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, pp. 247-266, 1993.
A.R. Williams, Long-age Isotope Dating Short on Credibility, CEN Technical Journal, 6(1):2-5, 1992.
Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods.
A.A. Snelling, The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-argon ‘Ages’ for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Nguaruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-argon ‘Dating,’ Proc. 4th ICC, pp.503-525, 1998.
Note 14 lists many instances. For example, six cases were reported by D. Krummenacher, Isotopic Composition of Argon in Modern Surface Rocks, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6:47-55, 1969. A large excess was reported in D.E. Fisher, Excess Rare Gases in a Subaerial Basalt in Nigeria, Nature, 232:60-61, 1970.
See note 14, p. 520.
The isochron technique involves collecting a number of rock samples from different parts of the rock unit being dated. The concentration of a parent radioactive isotope, such as rubidium-87, is graphed against the concentration of a daughter isotope, such as strontium-87, for all the samples. A straight line is drawn through these points, representing the ratio of the parent:daughter, from which a date is calculated. If the line is of good fit and the ‘age’ is acceptable, it is a ‘good’ date. The method involves dividing both the parent and daughter concentrations by the concentration of a similar stable isotope—in this case, strontium-86.
S.A. Austin, editor, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, pp. 120-131, 1994.
A.A. Snelling, Radiometric Dating in Conflict, Creation, 20(1):24-27, 1998.
A.A. Snelling, The Failure of U-Th-Pb ‘Dating’ at Koongarra, Australia, CEN Technical Journal, 9(1):71-92, 1995.
R. Maas, Nd-Sr Isotope Constraints on the Age and Origin of Unconformity-type Uranium Deposits in the Alligator Rivers Uranium Field, Northern Territory, Australia, Economic Geology, 84:64-90, 1989.
See note 20.
A.A. Snelling, Stumping Old-age Dogma. Creation, 20(4):48-50, 1998.
A.A. Snelling, Dating Dilemma, Creation, 21(3):39-41, 1999.
D.C. Lowe, Problems Associated with the Use of Coal as a Source of 14C Free Background Material, Radiocarbon, 31:117-120, 1989.
J. Morris, The Young Earth, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 1994.
Austin, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe.
C. Wieland, Sensational Dinosaur Blood Report, Creation, 19(4):42-43, 1997, based on M. Schweitzer and T. Staedter, The Real Jurassic Park, Earth, pp. 55-57, June 1997.
D.R. Humphreys, Reversals of the Earth's Magnetic Field During the Genesis Flood, Proc. First ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 2:113-126, 1986.
J.D. Sarfati, The Earth's Magnetic Field: Evidence That the Earth Is Young, Creation, 20(2):15-19, 1998.
L. Vardiman, The Age of the Earth’s Atmosphere: A Study of the Helium Flux through the Atmosphere, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA, 1990.
J.D. Sarfati, Blowing Old-earth Belief Away: Helium Gives Evidence That the Earth is Young, Creation, 20(3):19-21, 1998.
K. Davies, Distribution of Supernova Remnants in the Galaxy, Proc. Third ICC, R.E. Walsh, editor, pp. 175-184, 1994.
D. DeYoung, The Earth-Moon System, Proc. Second ICC, R.E. Walsh and C.L. Brooks, editors, 2:79-84, 1990. J.D. Sarfati, The Moon: The Light That Rules the Night, Creation, 20(4):36-39, 1998.
S.A. Austin and D.R. Humphreys, The Sea’s Missing Salt: A Dilemma for Evolutionists, Proc. Second ICC, 2:17-33, 1990.
J.D. Sarfati, Salty Seas: Evidence for a Young Earth, Creation, 21(1):16-17, 1999.
Russell Humphreys, Evidence for a Young World, Answers in Genesis, 1999.
A review of Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, National Academy of Science USA, 1998, by Dr Will B. Provine, online at http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin/NAS_guidebook/provine_1.html, February 18, 1999.
See Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, for one such thorough evaluation.
Y.F. Zheng, Influence of the Nature of Initial Rb-Sr System on Isochron Validity, Chemical Geology, 80:1-16, p. 14, 1989.
E. Jager and J.C. Hunziker, editors, Lectures in Isotope Geology, U-Th-Pb Dating of Minerals, by D. Gebauer and M. Grunenfelder, Springer Verlag, New York, pp. 105-131, 1979.
M.A. Cook, Prehistory and Earth Models, Max Parrish, London, 1966.
R.V. Gentry, Creation's Tiny Mystery, Earth Science Associates, Knoxville, TN, 1986.
Only those that undergo alpha decay (releasing a helium nucleus).
Gentry, Creation's Tiny Mystery.
K.P. Wise, letter to the editor and replies by M. Armitage and R.V. Gentry, CEN Technical Journal, 12(3):285-90, 1998.
An international team of creationist scientists is actively pursuing a creationist understanding of radioisotope dating. Known as the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group, it combines the skills of various physicists and geologists to enable a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject. Interesting insights are likely to come from such a group.
Available online at:
COPYRIGHT © 2004 Answers in Genesis
Fredag, November 12, 2004
Klipp fra www.answersingenesis.org: Biblical chronogenealogies
by Jonathan Sarfati, AiG–Australia
A straightforward reading of the biblical genealogies according to the reliable Masoretic text shows that Adam was created about 4,000 BC, and this was on the 6th day of creation. The existing copies of the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch are not as reliable, but at most could only stretch this date out to about 5400 BC. There is no justifiable reason to believe in gaps within the chronogenealogies of Genesis, as the arguments presented for such views are denied by contextual, linguistic and historical analysis.
Which text should be used?
There are three main ancient texts of the Old Testament:
The Masoretic Text used by modern Hebrew Bibles and which is the basis behind most English Old Testaments [OT]. It is named after specialist copiers of the Bible called Masoretes (“transmitters”), who standardized the text and added vowel points to aid pronunciation to the text, which previously had only consonants. The Masoretes did not standardize the vowel points until the 7th or 8th century AD.1
The Septuagint (LXX) was a Greek translation of the OT. The name comes from the Latin septuaginta (70), because according to legend, 72 rabbis (six from each of the twelve tribes) were responsible for the translation in Alexandria in c. 250 BC. In reality, it was composed over decades, beginning in the 3rd century BC. The multiple translators mean that it is uneven in accuracy. The Pentateuch is considered to be reasonably reliable, while other sections are less accurate. The LXX was in widespread use by Jews outside Israel in New Testament [NT] times. This explains why it was commonly (but far from exclusively) cited in the NT—if not, then people like the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11 might have checked the Apostles’ teachings by the OT and said, “That’s not how we find it in our Bible.”2
The Samaritan Pentateuch (SP) is a Hebrew version dating from the 1st century BC. After the Assyrians deported many of the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, they imported colonists to the area centred around Samaria. The Samaritans were mixed descendants of these colonists and Jews. They had their own system of worship centred at Mount Gerizim (John 4:20–21), and based only on the Law of Moses, or Pentateuch, which was slightly different from the one used by the mainstream Jews. The SP differs from the Masoretic Text in about 6000 places. In about 2000 of these cases, it agrees with the LXX against the MT.
As shown in table 1, these three give different ages for the patriarchs at the birth of the next one in line and their deaths, but they all agree within less than 1,400 total years for the chronology from creation to Abraham. Biblical chronology should be based on the Masoretic Text, because the other texts show evidence of editing.3 For example, The Septuagint chronologies are demonstrably inflated, as they contain the (obvious) error that Methuselah lived 17 years after the Flood.
Date of creation
We can define the year of the creation of the world as AM 1 (AM = Anno Mundi = year of the world). Adam died in AM 930, Noah was born in AM 1056, and the Flood occurred 600 years later, which was in AM 1656. Abraham was born when Terah was 130, 352 years after the Flood, in AM 2008. This narrows down the possible range for the date of creation. The only reason for the uncertainty is the dating of Abraham, and that depends on the dates of the sojourn in Egypt and the dates of the Israelite monarchy. Once this is known, the other dates follow mathematically.
The late Dr. Gerhard Hasel, who was professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology at Andrews University, calculated from the Masoretic Text that Abraham was born in about 2170 BC. Thus, the Flood occurred at 2522 BC and creation at 4178 BC.4 Dr. Hasel rightly assumed that there were no gaps in the genealogies, as will be justified below.
Table 1. Chronogenealogies of the Patriarchs according to different textual traditions.
Name Age at begetting next in line Remaining years of life
LXX Masoretic Text Samaritan Pentateuch LXX Masoretic Text Samaritan Pentateuch
Adam 230 130 130 700 800 800
Seth 205 105 105 707 807 807
Enosh 190 90 90 715 815 815
Cainan 170 70 70 740 840 840
Mahalaleel 165 65 65 730 830 830
Jared 162 162 62 800 800 785
Enoch 165 65 65 200 300 300
Methuselah 167 187 67 802 782 653
Lamech 188 182 53 565 595 600
Noah 500 500 500 450 450 450
Total Adam to Flood 2242 1656 1307
Shem 100 100 100 500 500 500
Arphaxad 135 35 135 430 403 303
[Cainan]i  – –  – –
Shelah 130 30 130 330 403 303
Eber 134 34 134 370 430 270
Peleg 130 30 130 209 209 109
Reu 132 32 132 207 207 107
Serug 130 30 130 200 200 100
Nahor 79 29 79 129 119 69
Terahii 70 70 70 135 135 75
Total Flood to Abraham 1070 290 940
The inclusion of an extra Cainan in the Septuagint is discussed in a later section.
Note that Abraham was not Terah’s firstborn. Gen. 12:4 says Abraham was 75 when he left Haran, and this was soon after Terah died at 205 (Gen. 11:32), and the difference (205–75) means Terah was actually 130 years old when Abraham was born, not 70 (Ussher seems to have been the first modern chronologist to have noticed this point). The latter figure refers to Terah’s age when the oldest of the three sons mentioned was born, probably Haran.
Do the genealogies have gaps?
James Barr, then regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, wrote in 1984:
“… probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: … the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story.”5
Barr, consistent with his neo-orthodox views, does not believe Genesis, but he understood what the Hebrew so clearly taught. It was only the perceived need to harmonize with the alleged age of the earth which led him and people like him to think anything different—it was nothing to do with the text itself.
Long-ager Davis Young points out:
“The church fathers also suggested that the world was less than six thousand years old at the time of Christ because of the chronology of the genealogical accounts of Genesis 5 and 11 and other chronological information in Scripture.”6
The Jewish historian Josephus (AD 37/38–c. 100), in his Antiquities of the Jews, also presents a chronology that has no hint of any gaps. This is significant since this indicates that the Jews of his time never saw any. The names and ages in his writings show that Josephus mostly used the LXX.
“This calamity [Flood] began in the 600th year of Noah’s government [age] … Now he [Moses] says that this flood began on the 27th [17th] day of the forementioned month [Nisan]; and this was 2,656 [1,656]7 years from Adam, the first man; and the time is written down in our sacred books, those who then lived having noted down, with great accuracy, both the births and dates of illustrious men.
“For indeed Seth was born when Adam was in his 230th year, who lived 930 years. Seth begat Enos in his 205th year, who, when he had lived 912 years, delivered the government to Cainan his son, whom he had in his 190th year; he lived 905 years. Cainan, when he lived 910 years, had his son Malaleel, who was born in his 170th year. This Malaleel, having lived 895 years, died, leaving his son Jared, whom he begat when he was in his 165th year. He lived 962 years; and then his son Enoch succeeded him, who was born when his father was 162 years old. Now he, when he had lived 365 years, departed, and went to God; whence it is that they have not written down his death. Now Methuselah, the son of Enoch, who was born to him when he was 165 years old, had Lamech for his son when he was 187 years of age, to whom he delivered the government, which he had retained for 969 years. Now Lamech, when he had governed 777 years, appointed Noah his son to be ruler of the people, who was born to Lamech when he was 182 years old, and retained the government for 950 years. These years collected together make up the sum before set down; but let no one enquire into the deaths of these men, for they extended their lives along together with their children and grandchildren, but let him have regard for their births only. … 8
“I will now treat of the Hebrews. The son of Phaleg, whose father was Heber, was Ragau, whose son was Serug, to whom was born Nahor; his son was Terah, who was the father of Abraham, who accordingly was the tenth from Noah, and was born in the 290th year after the Deluge; for Terah begat Abram in his 70th year.9 Nahor begat Haran [sic—Terah?] when he was 120 years old; Nahor was born to Serug in his 132nd year; Ragau had Serug at 130; at the same age also Phaleg had Ragau; Heber begat Phaleg in his 134th year; he himself being begotten by Sala when he was 130 years old whom Arphaxad had for his son at the 135th year of his age, Arphaxad was the son of Shem, and born 12 years after the Deluge.”10,16,17
This comes from “Book 1, containing the interval of 3,831 years: From the creation to the death of Isaac.” Once more, this rules out any gaps or long creation days.
To demonstrate that the quotes of Barr and Josephus are not merely the fallacy of Argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to authority), following is some exegetical evidence for the tightness of the chronology.
Progressive creationist Hugh Ross points to some biblical genealogies that have gaps to claim that the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies are largely incomplete.11 He also claims:
“The words translated into English say this: ‘When X had lived Y years, he became the father of Z.’ Someone reading the same passage in Hebrew would see a second possibility: ‘When X had lived Y years, he became the father of a family line that included or culminated in Z’.”12
However, none of his examples of gaps in genealogies (Matt. 1:8–9 vs. 1 Chr. 3:10–12) mention the age of the father at the birth of the next name in the line, so they are irrelevant to the issue of the Genesis genealogies, which do. Also, Matthew’s genealogy was clearly intended to be incomplete, expressly stated to be three groups of 14 names (Matthew 1:17). This is in turn probably due to the fact that the Hebrew letters for the name David, a key figure in the narrative, add up to 14. In Genesis 5 and 11, there is no such intention. So the Genesis 5 and 11 lists are sometimes correctly called chronogenealogies, because they include both time and personal information. Hasel explained the difference:
“As far as the genealogy in Matthew is concerned, the schematization is apparent and can be supported by comparison with genealogical data in the OT. Can the same be demonstrated for Genesis 5 and 11? Is there a ten-plus-ten scheme in Genesis 5 and 11? A simple counting of patriarchs in Genesis 5 and 11 reveals that there is no schematic ten-ten sequence. In Genesis 5 there is a line of ten patriarchs from Adam to Noah who had three sons, but in Genesis 11:26 the line of patriarchs consists of only nine members from Shem to Terah who “became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran” (Genesis 11:26, New American Standard Bible). If Abraham is to be counted as the tenth patriarch in Genesis 11, then consistency requires that Shem is counted as the eleventh patriarch in Genesis 5, because each genealogy concludes with a patriarch for whom three sons are mentioned. It appears that a comparison of Genesis 5:32 and 11:26 reveals that there are no grounds to count one of the three sons in one instance and not in the other, when in fact the formula is the same. Thus, if one counts in Genesis 5 ten patriarchs, consistency demands the counting of nine patriarchs in Genesis 11, or, vice versa, if one counts eleven in Genesis 5, then one needs to count ten in Genesis 11. The figures 10/9 to 11/10 respectively can hardly qualify as an intentional arrangement or a symmetry. In short, the alleged ‘symmetry of ten generations before the Flood and ten generations after the Flood’ [Refs.] is non-existent in the Hebrew text. Thus the analogy with the three series of fourteen generations in Matthew 1:1–17 is a non sequitur [it does not follow].”13
Ross also points out that the Hebrew word ’ab (father) can mean grandfather or ancestor, while ben (son) can mean grandson or descendant.14 But Ross again errs by unwarranted expansion of an expanded semantic field.14 I.e., the fact that these words can have these meanings in some contexts does not mean they can have these meanings in any context. The Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies say that X also “begat sons and daughters”, implying that Z is likewise a son of X in this specific context.
And even if we grant that Z is a descendant of X, Z is always preceded by the accusative particle אֶח (’et), which is not translated but marks Z as the direct object of the verb “begat” (וַיּוֹלֶד wayyôled). This means that the begetting of Z by X still occurred when X was Y years old, regardless of whether Z was a son or a more distant descendant. The Hebrew grammar provides further support—wayyôled is the hiphil waw-consecutive imperfect form of the Hebrew verb yalad—the hiphil stem communicates the subject participating in action that causes an event, e.g., Seth as the begetter of Enosh. Hasel pointed out:
“The repeated phrase ‘and he fathered PN [personal name]’ (wayyôled ’et-PN) appears fifteen times in the OT—all of them in Genesis 5 and 11. In two additional instances the names of three sons are provided (Genesis 5:32; 11:26). The same verbal form as in this phrase (i.e., wayyôled) is employed another sixteen times in the phrase ‘and he fathered (other) sons and daughters’ (Genesis 5:4,7,10, etc.; 11:11,13,17, etc.). Remaining usages of this verbal form in the Hiphil in the book of Genesis reveal that the expression ‘and he fathered’ (wayyôled) is used in the sense of a direct physical offspring (Genesis 5:3; 6:10). A direct physical offspring is evident in each of the remaining usages of the Hiphil of wayyôled, ‘and he fathered’, in the OT (Judges 11:1; 1 Chronicles 8:9; 14:3; 2 Chronicles 11:21; 13:21; 24:3). The same expression reappears twice in the genealogies in 1 Chronicles where the wording ‘and Abraham fathered Isaac’ (1 Chronicles 1:34; cf. 5:37 [6:11]) rules out that the named son is but a distant descendant of the patriarch instead of a direct physical offspring. Thus the phrase ‘and he fathered PN’ in Genesis 5 and 11 cannot mean Adam ‘begat an ancestor of Seth.’ The view that Seth and any named son in Genesis 5 and 11 is but a distant descendant falters in view of the evidence of the Hebrew language used.”15
Where can the “gaps” be inserted?
Another problem is where the gaps could be plausibly inserted. There are a number of places where a gap is explicitly ruled out:
Seth: Seth is definitely a direct son of Adam and Eve, and seen as a replacement for Abel, killed by Cain (Genesis 4:25).
Enosh: must be a son of Seth, because Seth named him (Gen. 4:25).
Enoch: Jude 14 says Enoch was seventh from Adam, which indicates straightforward father-son relationships from Adam to Enoch.
Noah: Lamech named him, so Lamech must be his father, not just an ancestor (Gen. 5:29).
Shem, Ham and Japheth were definitely ordinary sons of Noah, since they accompanied him on the Ark.
Arphaxad was plainly a son of Shem, because he was born two years after the Flood (Gen. 11:10).
Abram, Haran and Nahor were Terah’s ordinary sons, since they journeyed together from Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31).
Methuselah: Enoch, a pre-Flood prophet (Jude 14), gave his son a name meaning “when he dies it shall be sent”, and the Masoretic chronology without any gaps would place his death in the year of the Flood.
Some commentaries claim that Methuselah means “man of the spear”, but the Hebrew Christian scholar Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum argues:
“[T]he name Methuselah could mean one of two things. Therefore, it will either mean ‘man of the spear’ or ‘when he dies it shall be sent’. The debate is not over the second part of the word which, in Hebrew, is shalach; and shalach means ‘to send’. While the concept of sending is the primary meaning of shalach, it has a secondary meaning of being thrown or cast forth in a context where the sending is with heavy force or speed. On that basis, some would conclude that shalach would mean either ‘missile’ or ‘dart’ or ‘spear’. However, that is a derived meaning because the primary meaning of shalach is ‘to send’, as any lexicon shows.
“Ultimately, how one deals with shalach depends on how you deal with the first part of the word, which has the two Hebrew letters spelling mat. Based upon the root, then the meaning would indeed be ‘man’. Hence, commentaries conclude that it means ‘man of the spear’ or ‘man of the dart’. However, the use of the term ‘spear’ or ‘dart’ is not the meaning of shalach in any lexicon that I know of. It is simply a derived meaning going from sending to throwing to trying to make a specific object. If mat was intended to mean man, if one was to keep it strictly literal, it would not mean ‘man of the spear’ or ‘man of the dart’, but ‘a man sent’.
“The second option for mat is that it comes from the root that means ‘to die’. Furthermore, the letter ‘vav’ between mat and shalach gives it a verbal force. That is why I prefer to take it strictly literally, using the root ‘to die’ and literally it would mean ‘he dies it shall be sent’.
“I prefer that translation of the name, ‘when he dies it shall be sent’, for two reasons. The first reason is that I find it fitting the Hebrew parsing of the name much better. Secondly, it is better in the wider context since, if we follow the chronology of Genesis, the same year he died was the year of the flood. I do not think this was purely coincidental.”18
The number of missing generations would need to be huge
It’s important to note that those who wish to extend the times between creation, the Flood and Abraham to fit their geological interpretations need far more than just a few missing names. Normally, people want to push the Flood right back, and since the Genesis 11 chronologies are the ones that link the Flood to Abraham, these are the ones that must be “expanded”. Ross “dates” the Flood to “between twenty thousand and thirty thousand years ago”.19 But since the Genesis 11 people had sons at age 35 or less, to add even 10,000 years would take over 250 missing generations! One must wonder how a genealogy could miss out all these without any trace. And since many of the names that are mentioned include no trace of any deeds or sayings by them, why would the writer bother to mention these when so many others had been omitted?
Is Cainan a gap?20,21
Ross also points out that Luke 3:36 has the extra name Cainan, which is not mentioned in Genesis 11:12.14 He uses this to claim, in effect, here’s one proven gap, so there’s nothing to prevent unlimited multiplication of gaps.
This extra Cainan appears in most Greek manuscripts of Luke and the LXX of Genesis 11. But the name was probably not in the original autographs, as shown by the following textual evidence:
The extra Cainan in Genesis 11 is found only in manuscripts of the LXX that were written long after Luke’s gospel. The oldest LXX manuscripts do not have this extra Cainan.
The earliest known extant copy of Luke omits the extra Cainan. This is the 102-page (originally 144) papyrus codex of the Bodmer Collection labeled P75 (dated between AD 175 and 22522).
Josephus often used the LXX as his source, but did not mention the second Cainan (see above).
Julius Africanus (c. AD 180–c. 250) was “the first Christian historian known to have produced a universal chronology.” In his chronology, written in c. AD 220, he also followed the LXX ages but once again omitted this mysterious Cainan.
Now that the extra Cainan is shown not to have been in the original manuscripts, it is helpful to try to plausibly reconstruct how the error crept into the copies.
Note that the Greek New Testament was originally written without punctuation or spaces between words. So Luke 3:35–38 would have been originally written as in Figure 1a. In this manuscript, TOYKAINAN (the son of Cainan) could have been on the end of the third line.
But suppose an early copyist of Luke’s gospel was copying the first line, but his eyes glanced at the end of the third line at TOYKAINAN. Then he would have written it on the first line as well (Figure 1b).
In English, keeping the same line formatting, and with italics indicating words added by the translators which were understood in the Greek, the passage makes sense (Figure 1c).
So if a copyist of Luke’s gospel is responsible for the error, why is it in the LXX as well? As shown, it is not in the earlier copies, so must have been added later, by a copyist who wanted to bring it in line with Luke. And further supporting evidence comes from the fact that the ages of “Cainan” at the birth of his son and at his death are identical to the dates of Shelah, the next one in line. This is not surprising—the copyist is confronted with the extra name in Luke, but this provides no ages. So all the copyist can do to maintain the pattern is to repeat the ages of the next patriarch.
The doctrine of biblical inerrancy is not affected in the least by the Cainan difference. As shown, it is not an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the extremely few copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today.
Figure 1. The above graphic shows how the name of Cainan may have been inserted into later versions of Luke 3:36.
A straightforward reading of the biblical genealogies from the reliable Masoretic Text shows that Adam was created about 4000 BC and that the Flood occurred around 2500 BC. Contextual, linguistic and historical analyses of the book of Genesis confirm that the chronogenealogies are a complete record with no gaps. Creationists who wish to push back the date of the Flood and Creation to fit their geological or archaeological theories have no grounds to do this based on the biblical record. They should rather look to their scientific theories to see where the discrepancies lie.
Archer, G.L., Jr, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, p. 40, 1982.
Gleason Archer makes this point (Ref. 1).
For a defence of the Masoretic Text vs. the altered Septuagint (LXX), see Williams, P., Some remarks preliminary to a biblical chronology, TJ 12(1):98–106, 1998.
Hasel, G.F., The meaning of the chronogenealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, Origins 7(2):53–70, 1980; .
Barr, J., Letter to David C.C. Watson, 1984.
Young, D.A., Christianity and the Age of the Earth, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, p. 19, 1982.
Bracketed dates refer to the Masoretic Text.
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 1(3):3–4; in: Whiston, W., tr., The Works of Josephus, p. 28, William P. Nimmo, Edinburgh, n.d.; numbers rendered in numerals; .
But see note ii, Table 1.
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 1(6):5, in Whiston, Ref. 8, p. 32.
Ross, H., The Genesis Question, Navpress, Colorado Springs, 2nd Ed., p. 108–109, 2001.
Ross, Ref. 11, p. 109.
Hasel, Ref. 4.
Carson, D.A., Exegetical Fallacies, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 2nd Ed., p. 60, 1996.
Hasel, Ref. 6.
Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Books I–IV, Harvard Press, Cambridge, p. 73, 1930, Loeb Classical Library No. 242.
Young, R., Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, 1879; 8th Ed., Lutterworth Press, London, p. 210, 1939. Josephus calculated the creation date at 5555 BC, because he used mainly the inflated figures of the LXX (5508 or 5586 BC).
Fruchtenbaum, A.G., personal communication, 7 November 2000.
Ross, Ref. 11, p. 177.
Sarfati, J., Cainan of Luke 3:36, TJ 12(1):39–40, 1998.
Sarfati, J., Cainan: How do you explain the difference between Luke 3:36 and Gen. 11:12?
Geisler, N.L. and Nix, W. E., A General Introduction to the Bible, Moody Press, Chicago, revised and expanded, pp. 390–391, 1986.
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Tirsdag, September 07, 2004
KLIPP FRA answersingenesis.org: Keeping at arm’s length
Keeping at arm’s length
6 September 2004
One would think that in Christian settings (Bible colleges and seminaries, churches, Christian radio/TV stations and other religious media) the affirming message that biblical history can be fully trusted from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 would be warmly embraced. Actually, we have discovered the converse to be true time and time again. This is not at all surprising given the age in which we live, when many Christian leaders have chosen to accept the fallible ideas of scientists regarding the historicity of Genesis. Still, it shocks most Christians when they learn that creation organizations are kept at arm’s length by many pastors and ministries.
AiG is grateful for the many opportunities it has had (worldwide) to speak in Bible colleges and seminaries. There have been some occasions, however, when alumni of such colleges and seminaries have approached their alma mater about hosting a creation speaker on campus, and they quickly discover that it can be like pulling teeth to accomplish this. And if they are successful in getting a creation speaker in Christian schools, they often discover that after the chapel session or class lectures, some of the professors will spend the next few days in class trying to refute what had just been said.
Another indication of how so many in the church today reject the creation message and the straightforward history as presented in the Bible is what often occurs in major, locally influential churches. For example, when many creation advocates—who have become enthused about the creation/gospel message—contact the senior leadership of their churches, they are frequently rebuffed with a comment like: ‘It’s not a relevant ministry, and Genesis is just a side issue. Also, it’s too hard-hitting anyway.’ Or the pastor may hold to a compromise view like progressive creation, theistic evolution, the gap theory and so on, and thus is opposed to hosting a creation group that accepts Genesis as literal history.
And then there is the case of a major Christian news service in the US that has steered clear of an age of earth/Grand Canyon story. It was a controversy that generated headlines worldwide earlier this year: the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times (as well as French and Taiwanese papers, etc.) and TV programs (e.g. The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, 27 February). They were all reporting on an attempted book-ban effort by leading evolutionists who tried to remove the anti-evolution book (featuring four AiG contributors), Grand Canyon: A Different View, from the shelves of National Park Service bookstores. (At last report, the book remains on sale.)
Now, wouldn’t you think that a prominent Christian news service (whose parent organization is very well known) would report on a controversy about Genesis that made headlines worldwide and generated over 7,000 emails and faxes to the US National Park Service?
Actually, the lack of reporting by this news service was not a surprise to Answers in Genesis at all. You see, one of the major themes of Grand Canyon: A Different View is that the earth is young, not millions/billions of years old. The Canyon, according to this controversial book, did not take millions of years to form. It just so happens that the leader of this prominent ministry1 is an ‘old-earth’ creationist (yet anti-evolution when it comes to biological evolution), and based upon his previous comments on the historicity of the book of Genesis, this leader’s influence has determined that his ministry will not use its news service to report on this freedom of speech issue affecting the church in America.
AiG submits that the question of the earth’s age is vital because it involves the accuracy of the Genesis record, and more importantly, the Bible’s atonement message itself. You see, if a person accepts the belief that the earth is millions of years old, then it follows that the Curse must have occurred before Adam appeared. In this scenario, then, there would be the remains of dead things before the Fall of Adam—and diseases like cancer. In this way, the atonement message is undermined.
As a part of its 2004 theme of ‘Operation: Refuting Compromise,’ AiG—as a ‘confrontational’ ministry—is alerting Christians to compromise regarding biblical authority that permeates the church (and many ministries). Because the Bible is so obviously straightforward in its teaching about origins and the age of the earth (and since even the atonement message itself is tied into this question), AiG wants to alert church leaders of the ‘slippery slide’ of compromise if they increasingly accept the ideas of fallible men—a mind-set which can ‘unlock’ the door to reinterpreting other parts of the Bible.
If prominent Christian leaders prefer to keep an arm’s length from creation groups which accept a literal Genesis, then all we can do is to ask God to open the eyes of their leaders to the true nature of the battle (i.e. the authority of the Word of God versus the words of fallible men) and then also hope that their followers will contact the leaders of the ministries they support to express their concerns. Unfortunately, many ministry heads are apparently entrenched about a non-literal Genesis—regardless of the biblical evidence.
Worldwide, AiG is blessed to have many more speaking opportunities, radio interviews, etc. to keep it quite busy. At the same time, some of the ministries that could help further proclaim the vital creation/gospel message are sadly quite cool to it. It is a sad sign of the times to see the church continuing its slide away from accepting the full authority of Scripture, starting with its very first verse.
Although AiG has sometimes chosen to ‘name names’ of some ministries that have compromised on Genesis, we are aware of many AiG supporters who work within this particular ministry who are trying to make a difference as they try to convince their leaders about accepting full biblical inerrancy. So we do not wish to undercut their efforts by making this lack of reporting by its news service a public issue. Return to text.
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Tirsdag, July 27, 2004
KLIPP FRA answersingenesis.org: The future—some issues for ‘long-age’ Christians
The future—some issues for ‘long-age’ Christians
by Russell Grigg
The far-distant future is a subject that is seldom mentioned in creation vs evolution discussions, but actually presents substantial problems for Christians who say that the earth is millions (or billions) of years old.
First, let us see what scientists say about the future.
Scientists are in general agreement that the universe will one day reach ‘heat death’. This is a condition in which all the energy in the universe is evenly distributed and at a temperature of a fraction of a degree above Absolute Zero. The universe would then exist, they say, devoid of life, and virtually forever.1
Robert Matthews, science correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph, puts it this way, ‘A mere thousand billion years from now, all the stars will have used up their fuel and fizzled out. There will still be occasional flashes in the perpetual night: the death throes of stars so large that they have collapsed in on themselves to form black holes. Even these will eventually evaporate in a blast of radiation. For the next 10122 years [that’s 1 followed by 122 zeros—a much higher figure than the number of atoms in the universe, which is 1080.], this Hawking radiation will be the only show in town. By then, even the most massive black holes will evaporate, leaving the universe with nothing to do for an unimaginable 1026 years. … In the beginning, there may have been light, but in the end, it seems, there will be nothing but darkness.’2
The above gloomy prognosis is in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the amount of usable energy is decreasing. So it is true that, energy-wise, the universe is winding down. However, the big difference is that Christians understand from the Bible that God will intervene before the above scenario reaches its predicted bleak conclusion. Indeed, He already has intervened in the incarnation, death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Who are the Christian ‘long-agers’?
Since the 1800s—i.e. from the time Lyell, Cuvier, Darwin and others challenged the traditional view that the universe was only thousands of years old—various Christians have tried to harmonize long-age views with biblical beliefs. Although Christians reject atheistic evolutionism, many (unwittingly?) accept important aspects of evolutionary theory, including the belief that the earth is billions of years old.
The four most common ways in which Christians have incorporated billions-of-years into the Bible are:
Theistic evolution—God started the big bang and guided evolutionary processes to bring man into existence.
Progressive creation—each ‘day’ of Creation Week was not a single rotation of the earth but rather an indefinite period of time (e.g. hundreds of millions of years each).
Gap theory—this inserts a possible time gap of millions (or billions) of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.
Framework Hypothesis—it accepts that the claims of modern biology, geology and astronomy may be true, and says that Genesis 1 was never intended to communicate scientific truth or literal history, but rather is a literary device to teach a theology of the Sabbath.3
The future—according to the Bible
Christian long-agers allow billions-of-years notions about the past4 to dictate what they believe Genesis means. But they are in a bind if they wish to be consistent. This is because they accept the secular view of billions of years in the past, so, logically, they are stuck with secular long-age notions about the future. However, such long-age ideas of the future are just as contrary to what the Bible says as are long-age ideas of the past.
Referring to the future, the Bible says not just that ‘the heavens will disappear with a roar’ and ‘by fire’ (2 Peter 3:10–12), but that God ‘will create new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells’ (2 Peter 3:13; cf. Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1). So how long do progressive creationists, theistic evolutionists and other long-age Christians allow God to create the new heavens and the new earth, if they insist that it took Him billions of years to produce the present heavens and the present earth?
The Bible tells us that all men must face not just the issue of mortality, but also of morality. Adam, unlike the animals, was created with the capacity to choose to obey or to disobey God. Because God has given man this choice, the single most unavoidable fact of man’s future is that we all must appear before the judgment seat of God. ‘It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment’ (Hebrews 9:27).
All men would fail this judgment because ‘all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). However, those who receive God’s forgiveness through repentance and faith in Christ are acquitted (John 5:24), because their sins have been laid on Christ (Isaiah 53:5–6), while Christ’s righteousness has been credited to their account (2 Corinthians 5:21). Their destiny will be to become like Christ (1 John 3:2), to live with Christ and share His glory (Colossians 3:4), and to be sons of God in perfect fellowship with Him forever (Revelation 21:3, 7). This sense of purpose and future is in stark contrast to the purposelessness of the secular/evolutionary view where all of humankind’s efforts and achievements ultimately count for nothing, anyway.
Thus, for Christians, the future is not ‘nothing but darkness’, as Robert Matthews predicts above, but life with God in Heaven, portrayed in the Bible as a city which ‘does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb [i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ] is its lamp’ (Revelation 21:23).
On the other hand, the future destiny of those who reject God’s forgiveness and refuse a right relationship with Him is not extinction in a universe moving towards heat death, but rather a ‘heat death’ of another sort, in what the Bible calls ‘the lake of fire’, which is the place ‘prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matthew 25:41), and the destiny of the unredeemed (Revelation 20:15).
For further reading:
John Verderame, Theistic evolution: Future shock? Creation 20(3):18, 1998.
References and notes
Some scientists have postulated that the universe will undergo a future ‘big crunch’, followed by another alleged big bang, and so on repeatedly. However, each such cycle would use up huge quantities of the available energy entailed, so that each cycle would be longer than the one before, until eventually ‘heat death’ would be reached in this scenario also. Return to text.
Matthews, R., To infinity and beyond, New Scientist 158(2129):27–30, 11 April 1998. Return to text.
The Framework Hypothesis is becoming increasingly popular among many evangelicals. For a refutation, see: Kulikovsky, A.S., A Critique of the Literary Framework View of the Days of Creation, Creation Research Society Quarterly 37(4):237–244, 2001. (Also at: .) Return to text.
So-called ‘progressive creationist’ long-agers may not be biological evolutionists, but they adhere to virtually all tenets of cosmic and geological evolution. Return to text.
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Lørdag, July 17, 2004
KLIPP FRA www.answersingenesis.org: The sure Word of God - Trusting the infallible Word
The sure Word of God
Trusting the infallible Word
by Geoff Thomas
17 July 2004
‘Thy word is truth’ (John 17:17)
Biblical infallibility is a subject of crucial importance for us and the whole church of Christ. There are people who say that evangelical Christians make too much of the Bible. They dismiss the phrase, ‘The Bible says,’ with the comment that anything can be proved from the Bible. They patronise us, speaking in terms of admiration for our orthodoxy and zeal but saying that the greatest weakness of evangelical Christians is to trust in an infallible Bible. They believe that this doctrine is utterly unacceptable in the modern age, that it is scientifically and intellectually impossible for Christians to believe it.
They think it wrong to try to unite around a book or a doctrine. ‘Let us unite,’ they say, ‘around the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Truth.’ We are, of course, very happy to unite around the person of our Lord Jesus Christ and to make him our authority, to say with the apostle, ‘For me to live is the Lord Jesus Christ’. In fact, it is because of him that we find ourselves also uniting around an inerrant Scripture.
Firstly, let us consider the person of our Lord Jesus Christ
Who is this extraordinary person? He is the one who claims that one day he is going to judge the world, and he is going to separate all mankind as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. Men are going to receive their eternal destinies from His lips. Consider something more than this; that the criterion by which men and women are going to be judged is their relationship to Himself. Have they obeyed Him? Have they bowed to Him? Have they been ashamed of him? Their destinies are all going to depend upon that. More than that, he claims preexistence. ‘Before Abraham was I am,’ he says. More: he claims absolute equality with God, ‘I and my Father are one’. John’s gospel begins, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God’ (John 1:1–2), and it ends with Thomas saying, ‘My Lord and my God,’ (John 20:28).
This, then, is the Jesus Christ of the Bible. He is the Maker of heaven and earth. He designed the human brain. He upholds all things by the Word of his power. If the sparrow is going to fall then Jesus Christ must give the word of command. If a meteor will burn up in the earth’s atmosphere, the Lord will decree the occurrence. Nothing can happen without him. I believe all the laws of the universe are his. When our children bring home their textbooks from the new school with the forbidding heavy volumes of mathematics and physics, those books are simply the attempt of men to describe the world Christ made and sustains. One day He will come again in power, majesty and great glory to take apart this universe atom by atom. He will also put it all together again, a whole new universe in which righteousness will dwell.
Everyone must stand before Him. We shall meet Him and receive from His lips the destination where we will spend eternity. When we see Him we meet ultimate and final reality. I believe He is the only God there is. He is the whole form of God and the very Glory of God. In Jesus Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found infinitely and immeasurably. We do confess the infallibility of Jesus Christ, and that means for us He can say nothing wrong. He speaks on marriage, and on divorce. He speaks on creation both primary of all things from nothing, and then secondarily of those creatures he made out of the dust of the earth—the animals and man. He speaks on the human predicament and explains why people kill other people. He knows the heart of man as none other and all its devices. He speaks on death; he knows the eternal world.
The Lord Jesus pronounces inerrantly on every single item that you and I will meet in life. He alone was free from all the prejudices, misconceptions and traditions that cluttered His age. We are creatures of our time. He was not a creature of his time. Some religious people living then thought that it was wrong to eat ears of corn on the Sabbath day. Some believed it was wicked to eat food without first correctly and ceremonially washing their hands. Others thought it was right for a man to divorce his wife for any reason if she offended him. There were also those who thought they might be freed from the responsibilities of caring for aged parents by simply pronouncing the word, ‘Corban,’ meaning ‘my help to you is a gift of God.’ There were those who thought it was acceptable to love their neighbours and then to hate their enemies. Jesus was surrounded with the confusion of people who were children of their time. He was not a child of his time. He was God’s ‘Holy Child Jesus,’ and He corrected His generation on all such issues and many more. He stood against the tide and against his foes, even if it meant that they crucified Him. He could never be bought nor bribed. He could not be won by a smile or intimidated by a frown. He never taught error. This is the Son of God who said, ‘I am the truth,’ and it is around this Christ that men want us to unite. We have no objection at all to be doing that. Then let us go on and ask this question …
Secondly, how did this infallible Christ view the Scriptures?
It would be incredible if He were silent or merely noncommittal on so crucial a matter. We observe that he used the Old Testament Scriptures in all sorts of circumstances. He took them up in temptation when there was a full-frontal attack upon him from the devil. He overcame the devil by quoting from the book of Deuteronomy three times. ‘It is written,’ the Son of God said as the ultimate answer. He quoted the Bible pertinently and reverently throughout his temptations to triumph over Satan. He also used Scripture to answer His enemies. He appeals to the Bible when they are arguing about divorce, or about the right attitude to the Sabbath. He says to his opponents, ‘You err, not knowing the Scriptures’. He encouraged people in their faith through the Bible. There was a man, Cleopas, and his companion, who were distraught walking along the road to Emmaus. The Lord Jesus Christ had been murdered two days earlier and the bottom of their lives had fallen out. Jesus helped them get on with their lives and trust in God completely by opening up the Scripture. He began with Moses and then appealed to all the writing prophets. He showed the two men all the details about himself which were there in the Old Testament, and he judged them to be ‘foolish and slow not to believe the Scriptures.’ Again, he used Scripture to express His own faith. When he preached in Nazareth it was that the Scriptures should be fulfilled. When He was betrayed by Judas it was that the Scriptures should be fulfilled. When they put Him to death, Scripture had said the Messiah would thus die. When they hung Him upon a cross, it was because that very Scripture—‘cursed is he who hangs upon a tree’—should be fulfilled. When He is dying He quotes from Psalm 31 and also Psalm 22. Scripture must be fulfilled. He totally trusted the Word of God. He wholly obeyed the Bible. His faith is Bible faith. He never used any other book extant at his time. He never quoted from the apocryphal books on a single occasion. His appeal was to Scripture continually and alone.
Again, Jesus quotes from every part of Scripture. There are 179 verses of Jesus’ own teaching in which He refers to Scripture, that is, about ten percent of his recorded ministry consists of quotations from the Old Testament. He appeals to virtually all those passages that men grumble about today. He refers to Genesis 2 saying ‘In the beginning God made them male and female.’ He appeals to the murder of Abel, Noah’s Flood, reminds them of Lot leaving Sodom with fire and brimstone falling upon it—he says, ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’ He refers to Moses being spoken to at the burning bush, Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, Jonah in the whale, the men of Nineveh repenting, Namaan being cleansed from his leprosy, Elijah going to the widow of Zarephath, and the Queen of the South coming to Solomon. He quotes five prophets directly. He quotes every part of Isaiah as ‘Isaiah’ saying those words. He quotes from eight Psalms. He is familiar with Old Testament biblical theology and its whole history of redemption. His teaching is full of Scripture.
Again, He teaches a doctrine of Scripture. He calls the Scriptures ‘the commandments of God’. He refers to them as ‘the Word of God’. When He repeats words from a Psalm he says, ‘David himself said in the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 22:41–45). That is a very interesting doctrine of Scripture: there came a time when the spirit of revelation came upon David and then he wrote the 23rd Psalm or other Psalms. Jesus also said that the Bible was going to endure. He compares the Scriptures with the earth we stand on, and he also compares them with the stars of heaven saying simply, ‘It is easier for heaven and earth to pass than that one tittle of the law should fail.’ For the Lord Jesus Christ, Scripture is inviolable. They ‘cannot be broken’ (John 10:35). ‘Verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle shall in any wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.’ He says the Scriptures are true. ‘Thy word is truth’ (John 17:17). he appeals to the way Scripture is phrased: ‘Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scriptures cannot be broken’ (John 10:34–35). Again, ‘But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead but of the living’ (Matt. 22:31–32).
This was the doctrine of Scripture that Jesus taught. He taught the doctrine of the nature of God. He taught the doctrine of redemption. He taught the doctrine of the eternal state. But this is what He taught about the Bible. Now, if the Word of God were full of mistakes should He not have warned us—would He not have told us? He warned his disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees. Was not there one occasion on which He said, ‘If it were not so I would have told you?’ (John 14:2).
So we have seen, firstly, who Jesus Christ is, God incarnate, the infallible Lord who used the Truth, and secondly, that He taught the doctrine of the truth of Scripture. He binds the consciences of all who love and serve him to this same attitude if He is our Lord. If the disciple is not greater than his Master, then we are committed to believe in an infallible Bible. The issue is not an intellectual one it is a moral one. Will we obey our God?
Thirdly, the Lord Jesus Christ gave His Word to the apostles
Paul was very conscious that the Christian message was not an original message thought up by him. He was aware of the secondary nature of his understanding, that his was a derived message, he had ‘received’ it. ‘I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,’ he said. When he is summarising the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1ff. he says, ‘I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand’ (verse 3). And again, ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.’ When he spoke to the Galatians (1:11–12) he said: ‘I certify brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ So Paul and the apostles are conscious that they are simply passing on something, an unoriginal message, that they are mere delivery boys, or heralds declaring a message that they have received from someone far greater than themselves, to whom they must answer for the stewardship of their message.
There is this great New Testament teaching about the Lordship of Christ, his incarnation and redemption. It speaks about the meaning of his sufferings, his resurrection from the grave. Paul says, ‘I am handing it down in my preaching and in my letters’. It did not originate in the apostle. He simply ‘received’ it. But he did not get it from man, not even from the apostles. He got it directly from Jesus himself. Like the prophets who were called into the presence of Jehovah and came from there with a word burning like fire in their bones, so Paul went to Jehovah Jesus and came from him with specific given good news for all men. He had spent those years in the wilderness of Arabia. Just as John the Baptist received his commission and preparation during years of sojourn in the wilderness coming out to awaken the nation, so Paul spent time in the presence of Christ, and the same Lord who had spoken to him on the road to Damascus proceeded to clarify to the apostle eternal truths. It was from the Lord Jesus that Paul got his doctrine of revelation. There is not a hair’s breadth of difference between the apostles’ attitude to the Word of God and their Lord’s evaluation of it. Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:16 are, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’ The apostle Peter tells us ‘Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’ (2 Peter 1:21). That attitude to the Hebrew Scriptures they learned from the example and teaching of their God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
So the authors of the New Testament letters had the very same approach to Scripture as their Lord himself. The apostles quote every part of the Old Testament. The only book from the Old Testament that is not quoted directly in the New Testament is the book of Esther. In the letter to the Hebrews where David or Isaiah are being appealed to, you will find the author to the Hebrews prefacing his quotation with the words, ‘God said’ or ‘the Holy Spirit says’ (note the present tense, as referring to a living reality). Paul in Acts 24:14 confessed that he believed in everything that was written in the law and the prophets. In other words, if it was found in the Bible, Paul believed it. This is how God had taught him to respond to Scripture. Then we also learn that for the apostle Peter the writings of his brother Paul are laid on exactly the same level as the ‘other’ Scriptures, that is, of the Old Testament itself (2 Peter 3:16).
So all Scripture is believed to be God-breathed, that is, the inspiration of God. This is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles. If you then could have inquired asking the Saviour how comprehensive is this inspiration, He would answer you that, ‘not a jot or a tittle of the law shall pass away until all be fulfilled.’ What we mean by inspiration is that God came in the exercise of a very special providence and supervised the writing of the whole of the Scriptures. The Bible is the Word from God. It is not simply that God showed men something and let them write it down as they were pleased. He did not let them feel something numinous and inspirational, and then they composed it in their own words. The inspiration is related directly to the writing.
You might protest, ‘But to err is human. We can’t have human activity without sin or error.’ The issue is a different one. Is not Almighty God able so to superintend, control and overrule the operations of the human mind so as to ensure that men say exactly what God wants them to say, and to write precisely what God wants them to write? Is this an impossibility with God? He can make the universe and raise the dead but he cannot prepare a man in his providence so that the man inscribes what God wants? It is interesting in Revelation 10:4, where John is about to write down some words and God intervenes and says to him, ‘... write them not.’ So God assisted these men as they used their distinctive personalities, the exercise of their faculties, minds, memories and emotions. God freely enabled them to use their experiences and even a number of biographical references. In all their writings God determined that they freely put down and recorded what transpired to be exactly what he wanted them to say. The Lord worked all things after the counsel of his own will. He prevented them, as the foundation of the church for the next two thousand years, from laying a foundation of error. There was no destruction of their personalities. Paul remained different from John and also from Luke. It was not always dictation on God’s part, although there is an immediacy and an intimacy in their relationship to God, like a servant whose eyes are on the face of his master. The great comprehensive idea and the whole of this concept of divine inspiration through men is that every single Scripture is God-breathed. All the parts of the Bible say exactly what God intended them to say. The Scriptures are God’s infallible testimony to himself, and to us about himself to the end that we might be saved.
Fourthly, there are some difficulties
There is a difference between difficulties and errors. In all of science there are difficulties. Consider two or three aspects of biblical interpretation which might cause inerrantists some difficulty.
The Bible is insistent that the universe is God’s creation. It would have no existence without Him. In fact, we are told that God made everything in Christ: ‘By him were all things made;’ ‘Without him was not anything made that was made.’ In Genesis 1 we are introduced to God’s approach to creation. The plan was from the simple to the complex in six great acts—the first day, light; second day, the skies and sea; third day, the earth: fourth day, the sun and moon; fifth day, birds and fishes; sixth day, animals and man; seventh day, God rested. Some of these acts were out of (or in) nothing, and in others of those acts God created out of already existent material. Immediately God intervenes and creates something, then it is not natural; it is a miraculous intervention. The sum of factors that have been so far made are not sufficient to explain the changes. For example, God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and immediately there is light. Not a pinprick, but a universal curtain stretching out from one end of the universe to the other. We might argue that light travels so many millions of miles in a year and the time the light from a distant star reaches us indicates (with other factors) that the universe should be 300 million years old. That does not take into consideration the creative power of God. In fact the intrusion of God meant light was made in a moment. When God had made Adam and then Eve they would probably have looked as if they were in their early 20’s, but they received life in a moment. Adam was made out of the dust of the earth, and Eve out of a rib in Adam’s side. God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and it was because of that inflatus that he became a living being. The making of our first parents is due to a totally supernatural action.
Consider the light cast on this from the mighty works of the Lord Jesus. In his first miracle Christ turns water into wine, and the man who tastes it judged that it was fine old wine. We know, in fact, that it was only minutes old. In the world, rain falls upon the soil of a vineyard. It is absorbed though the roots of the vine and by osmosis taken up to every part of the plant. Flowers are pollinated, fruit appears and ripens as the sun beats down. Finally, the grapes are picked, crushed, purified and aged at the climax of the actual wine-making process. The Lord short-circuited that in a moment’s creative supernaturalism. Again, Christ multiplies the loaves and fishes to a super-abundance. It is bread he makes, not grain, nor flour nor dough. When he multiplies the fish it is not fry he makes but mature fish, a year or two old, and cooked. Who are we dealing with? It is Jehovah Jesus, the God of Genesis 1. That chapter is doxological, of course. But we are turned to praise only because it is true. God created the universe. He made our first parents, and he placed them in a state of probation. They turned against him and sin entered the world and its inevitable companion death. When God made man there was no death. It was a perfect world and sin was death’s trigger. It was that historic fall that plunged Adam and all of us into sin and brought death to mankind. The Lord Jesus and his apostles throughout the New Testament teach this and so must the Christian faith in its mighty confessions for twenty centuries. Creation, fall and redemption are the structures on which the Christian religion is erected.
Old Testament violence
This is another difficulty. For example, the Old Testament teaches very simply ‘an eye for an eye’—just an eye. It forbids revenge that would take a life when one has caused the loss of a man’s eye. ‘A tooth for a tooth,’ not a life for a tooth. The civil punishment must justly fit the crime. That is the basis of universal justice. The passage is not addressing personal relationships but civic justice.
Another problem is caused by the abominable depravity of local cultures. They were so evil that divine judgment fell upon them and they were ‘devoted’ to God. It was an anticipation of the great day of Judgment. There was the Flood, for example, in Noah’s time. This man of God lived for long years in the midst of an irredeemable civilisation. He preached the Word of God into the teeth of their disdain. Finally a unique and unrepeatable judgment fell upon them from heaven above and the earth beneath. There was a cascade and an eruption of waters together so flooding the earth that the world has changed beyond recognition from that one in which lived Noah and his little, ugly Cainite civilisation. Then there started a new beginning to mankind in a new world.
Joshua’s army, similarly, faced a Canaanite culture verminous in its wickedness and power to corrupt. God, as it were, took his black cap and pronounced a sentence of death upon it. His executioner was Joshua and his hosts. When Israel falls into the same sin, the same judgment of death comes upon all of them and their bones are scattered in the wilderness. So the genocide was not motivated by racial hatred. The ‘devoting’ of the people to God was a demonstration of the divine rectitude and justice. They remind us that we are living in a moral universe. Man sows that which he also reaps. They are types or models of judicial activities that are in Scripture not to galvanise the Church today to take up the sword. The weapons of our warfare are exclusively spiritual, and mighty through God. The few racial judgments in the Old Testament rather point forward to the Day of Judgment; they are eschatological in their purpose.
Consider in that light some of the sentiments expressed in such Psalms as 58:6–10, 59:12–13, 69:24–28, and especially Psalm 137:8–9, ‘O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us—he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.’ These are known as the ‘Imprecatory Psalms’. Some critics have judged that these sentiments cannot be reconciled with the New Testament God of love. When I met the South Wales area superintendent of the Baptist Union in 1964 and told him that I believed in biblical infallibility he immediately quoted word perfect the above text from Psalm 137. He barely paid attention to my attempt to explain it. He said, ‘Principal Wheeler Robinson said that he did not believe in an infallible pope nor did he believe in an infallible Bible.’ So the matter had long been closed for him, and he had his authorities for his religion, whatever Jesus Christ might have said about jots and tittles not passing away from the Scriptures, or about the place the Saviour speaks of where the fire is not quenched, where the worm does not die—a place of eternal judgment—nor what John says in Revelation 18:5–8, ‘Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.’ ‘Children’ in Psalm 137 is not a reference to age, but to relationship. The children of Israel are not the babies of Israel, and the children of Babylon are people who lived for Babylon and hated the God of Israel and would throw his followers into the burning fiery furnace at the drop of a hat.
Those prayers in the book of Psalms are expressions of Old Testament believers who are surrounded by such enemies. Those men were like ‘the bulls of Bashan’ pawing the ground in their anger, wanting to gore God’s people to death. The church is set forth, says Christ, like sheep amidst wolves who want to tear them in pieces and devour them. They blaspheme the name of their God and want to wholly exterminate his name, his word and his people from the face of the earth. These Old Testament believers are pronouncing their longing for vindication and judgment in the name of Jehovah the righteous one, and in vivid poetic language. They are crying, ‘Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered’.
So there are difficulties, but that does not mean there are errors in what is expressed.
But there is one other difficulty and that is your own difficulty—and I do not know what particularly it might be. But I seem to observe every Christian having one particular passage in the Bible, and somehow it gets under his skin. The floating axe-head, the conflicting numbers in Chronicles and Kings, the universal Flood, the talking donkey, Christ walking on the water, the smiting of the fig tree, the mini-resurrection when Christ was hanging on the cross—and they really worry about those kinds of verses. It seems that the devil who observes them appropriately gets at them and sows doubts in their minds—‘Can God really have said that?’ Remember the first temptation man met, when Satan came to him and said, ‘Has God said?’. Those were the words spoken to our first parents, and it would seem incredible if that approach of Satan’s casting doubt on the Word of God, which had proved so effective for him then, was no longer used by him today. It would seem to me that God is telling us that we can reckon on it that Satan will do his best to undermine our faith in particular passages of the Word of God, and we are to ‘watch and pray’.
We acknowledge that there are problem verses, though there are not many of them, and they have been around for hundreds of years. Augustine wrote about some of them 16 centuries ago. Christians have been considering them during the millenia and answering objections to them from cynics, despisers of the gospel, right up to the liberal critics of our own day. There is nothing new under the sun. I have found an old book which is always in print, John W. Haley’s Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, to be helpful and sure in its judgments. Buy a good commentary to help you understand the Scriptures and consult it. Talk to another Christian, or to your pastor. That is what he is there for!
There are difficulties, but most difficulties are greatly exaggerated. The word ‘infallible’ seems to raise the hackles unnecessarily. Yet we all have books that are free from error—manuals that come with machines we have bought and that are wholly true. If there is a mistake in them, which is possible, the manufacturer will correct those errors in their next edition. These are human books which are wholly true, and so how much more this Book, which every generation is summoned to take, read, understand, learn, live out, proclaim and charge to the consciences of his children. Believe this Word is the Word of God.
Fifthly, in closing I want to say something about our own coldness to Scripture
That is the greatest difficulty of all, not the Word itself, but us. We read the opening psalm in the book of Psalms and we meet there the blessed man. We are told that, ‘His delight is in the law of the Lord and in that law does he meditate day and night’. Here is a man who really loves the Bible. Now that is a searching test of the Christianity of any man, not only that we have the correct revealed doctrine of Scripture, and read it diligently every day, and sit under the best preaching that we can hear each Sunday, but more than all those things, that we actually come to love it, that we have fallen in love with the Bible. Now, is that our relationship to Scripture? Is it not true that sometimes our preference is for other literature, that the delight has shifted from divine oracles to some devotional book or a biography.
One of the intriguing things is what some people say they do for relaxation. Now when a person relaxes he does something he loves doing. Do you say, ‘I study the Bible because I have to, because it is food for my faith, it is part of my discipline, but to relax I do something else’? Then that whole element of delight has passed away and we have ceased turning to God’s Word for pleasure. When we want delight we go to something else; but we go to God’s Word for duty, discipline and information. Before we know where we are, we have ceased to delight in the law of the Lord.
I think increasingly we make some distinction between our religion and our affections. There are people who would never think of coming to a Christian conference for a holiday, who would never consider the prayer meeting as a night out. We have lost this commitment to the delights of the Word of God, the joy of our devotion. But the blessed man who is described for us at the beginning of the book of Psalms delights in the law of the Lord. His pleasure is religion. There is no dichotomy between his faith and his enjoyment. His chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him. That is his preferred occupation. When he has time you will find him reading the Bible and meditating on it. He is reflecting on the law of God. He loves the Bible! Sometimes when he finishes reading it he will hug it to his chest as his greatest treasure. God’s infallible word can take his breath away. He is intrigued by it day by day, never growing weary of it, but increasingly struck by the evidences of its inspiration, the marvellous accuracy of every word, the complexity of so many of its statements, its stirring concepts, even its remarkable use of prepositions. He is moved by the details of its language and he is quite taken up by Scripture. Here is a man loving the Bible; he is enthused by Scripture. It is a miraculous book that we may yet handle and weigh. It is one of those tangible proofs that God exists, that God is. It is the great evidence for the reality of God. We worship the God who inspired this Book. So the Christian is in love with the Word of God.
So let us hold fast to our confession of the inerrancy of Scripture. Let the infallibility of Christ drive us to that confession as we submit to him as our Lord and God. Then we ourselves will echo his words that Scripture is true—‘Your word is truth’. But never stop there. Not only does every member of every cult believe that, the very devils believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Demons are very orthodox. There are no modernist demons. They confess that it is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. I am saying that we must go on and love and delight in the Word of God. The devils never delight in the Word of God. But all God’s people are summoned to love this Word of God more and more, until they meet him whom they have met in its pages throughout their lives.
Sermons by Geoff Thomas are available on the web at www.aber.ac.uk/~emk/ap/sermons/. Return to top.
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Tirsdag, Juni 29, 2004
www.answersingenesis.org: What about the Ice Age?
What about the Ice Age?
By Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, Ed. Don Batten
First published in The Revised and Expanded Answers Book
How many ice ages were there? Where does an ice age fit into the biblical account? How much of the earth was covered by ice? How long did it last? What about the frozen mammoths? How were people affected?
The Revised and Expanded Answers Book
Why Won't They Listen?
The Lie: Evolution
Refuting Evolution 2
The only clear evidence we have is for one Ice Age. We still see its remnants in such things as glaciers and the U-shaped valleys they carved. This ice age is said by evolutionists to have started about two million years ago and ended about 11,000 years ago. It was punctuated by relatively warm interglacial periods, which lasted about 10% of the time. Most creationists, on the other hand, believe the Ice Age began soon after the Flood and continued for less than a thousand years. Indeed, as we shall see later, the biblical Flood provides a good basis for understanding how the one Ice Age developed. However, evolutionists have great difficulty accounting for any ice age.1 In their understanding there would have been multiple ice ages, every 20–30 million years or so.
Earlier ice ages?
Using their principle that ‘the present is the key to the past’2 evolutionists claim that there is evidence for earlier ice ages. However, supposed similarities between the rocks in those geological systems and the special features produced in the Ice Age are not consistent.3–5
Today, glaciers grind up the rock they travel over, creating deposits of fine and coarse material mixed together. This unsorted material is known as till, or tillite when it becomes bound together to form a rock unit. The grinding action of rocks embedded in the glacier also scores parallel grooves in the bedrock the glacier slides over—these grooves are called striations. When some melting occurs in summer, the glacier releases rock ‘flour’ which is washed into glacial lakes and settles to form fine and coarse alternating layers known as varves. Sometimes a piece of ice will break off the glacier or ice sheet and float into such a glacial lake, dropping embedded boulders as it melts. These ‘dropstones’ fall into the fine sediments (varves) on the lake floor, so that stones are sometimes found in the varves.
Geologists have claimed that these features have been found in ancient rock layers, proving that there had been previous ice ages over geologic time. Many lines of evidence now indicate that the observations have been misinterpreted:3
The ‘tillites’ of lower rock layers are small in area, commonly thick, and probably all of marine origin, whereas those of modern glaciers are relatively large in area, thin and continental.
There are limestones and dolomites frequently associated with these ‘tillites’—carbonates which form today in warm water, not cold.
The largest boulders in the ancient ‘tillites’ are much smaller than the larger boulders being deposited by glacial action today.
Underwater mass flows can produce tillite-like deposits, as well as striated bedrock and striated stones in the ‘tillite.’ Such mass flows would be expected during Noah’s Flood.
Turbidity currents can deposit varve-like laminated sediments very quickly.6 These sediments are more accurately called rhythmites. A varve is defined as a rhythmite deposited in one year. Lambert and Hsu have presented evidence from a Swiss lake that such varve-like rhythmites form rapidly by catastrophic, turbid water underflows.7 At one location, five couplets of these varve-like rhythmites formed during a single year. At Mount St Helens in the USA, an 8 m (25 ft) thick stratified deposit consisting of many thin varve-like laminae was formed in less than one day (12 June 1980).8 Flow tank experiments have shown how laminations can form rapidly when two different grain sizes are carried together in flowing water.9
The so-called ‘dropstones’ could not have been dropped into the ancient ‘varvites’10 because such a method of placement would result in tell-tale disturbance of the laminations, which is rarely observed. The evidence suggests they were placed with the enclosing sediments by turbidity currents or other mass flows—again consistent with what would be expected during a global Flood. In other words the ‘varvites’ did not come from cyclical, annual, glacial lake deposition.
The extent of the ice
The approximate extent of the ice sheets at the peak of the Ice Age.
The effects of the Ice Age are still with us, particularly the giant ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, the alpine glaciers, and the glacial landforms and sediments. Because these effects are seen on the current land surface, it is clear that the Ice Age occurred after the Flood.
During the Ice Age, great ice sheets developed over Greenland and North America (as far south as the northern United States) and in northern Europe from Scandinavia to Germany and England (see diagram).
In the North American Rockies, the European Alps, the South American Andes and other mountain chains, permanent ice caps rested on the summits, and extensive valley glaciers descended down almost to the plains below.
Another ice sheet covered most of Antarctica. Ice caps developed on the mountains of New Zealand, Tasmania, and the highest parts of southeastern mainland Australia. Some glaciers still remain in the high Southern Alps of New Zealand, and in the Andes Mountains, but glacial landforms are all that are left in New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains, and in Tasmania, as a reminder of the action of the ice.
Nearly all textbooks used to claim that the Ice Age involved at least four advances and retreats of the ice, with relatively warm periods (called inter-glacials) in between. Based on the quest to find a cyclical pattern of ice ages, the number of ice ages during the past two million years of geological time has jumped to more than 20. However, the dense clay soils, old river terraces, and other phenomena, interpreted as evidence for multiple ice ages, can be more readily understood as resulting from advance and retreat phases of a single ice age after the Flood.11
The Ice Age and human habitation
It is important to realize that the ice never covered more than a third of the earth’s land surface, even at its greatest extent. At the same time as there was glaciation in the upper latitudes, there was probably a period of higher rainfall in the lower latitudes. Such higher rainfall towards the equator would have assured an abundant water supply even in present-day desert areas such as the Sahara, the Gobi, and Arabia. Indeed, archaeological excavations have yielded abundant evidences of lush vegetation, human occupation and complex irrigation economies in these now desolate regions.
There is also evidence that human societies lived near the edge of the ice sheet in Western Europe throughout the Ice Age—the Neanderthal peoples, for instance. Many anthropologists now recognize that their somewhat brutish appearance was at least partly due to disease (rickets, arthritis) caused by the dark, cold and damp climate of the region at that time. Their resulting lack of exposure to sunlight, which stimulates vitamin D synthesis necessary for normal bone development, and poor diet, would have caused rickets.12
Apart from highly questionable dating methods (see How about carbon dating?), there is no reason why Neanderthals could not have lived at the same time as the advanced civilizations of Egypt, Babylonia, and others that were developing unhindered in the lower latitudes. The Ice Age can be better understood as lasting 700 years or so rather than two million years.
The biblical Flood: the trigger for the Ice Age
To develop an ice age, where ice accumulates on the land, the oceans need to be warm at mid- and high latitude, and the land masses need to be cold, especially in the summer.5,13–15 Warm oceans evaporate lots of water, which then moves over the land. Cold continents result in the water precipitating as snow rather than rain, and also prevent the snow from thawing during summer. The ice thus accumulates quickly.
Slow-and-gradual evolutionary scenarios16 to explain the Ice Age do not work. Long-age theories involve a slow cooling down of the earth, but this will not generate an ice age. If the oceans gradually cooled, along with the land, by the time everything was cold enough so that the snow didn’t melt during summer, evaporation from the oceans would be insufficient to produce enough snow to generate the massive ice sheets.17 A frozen desert would result, not an ice age.
The flood and its aftermath would provide the warm oceans and cold continents to get an ‘Ice Age.’
However, the global Flood described in the Bible provides a simple mechanism for an ice age. We would expect warm oceans at the end of the global Flood, due to the addition of hot subterranean water to the pre-Flood ocean and heat energy released through volcanic activity. Oard and Vardiman point to evidence that the ocean waters were in fact warmer just before the Ice Age, as recorded by the oxygen isotopes in the shells of tiny marine animals called foraminifera.18–20
Large amounts of volcanic dust and aerosols from residual volcanic eruptions at the end of and after the Flood would have reflected solar radiation back into space, causing low temperatures over land, and especially causing the summers to be cold.21 Dust and aerosols slowly settle out of the atmosphere, but continued post-Flood volcanism would have replenished these for hundreds of years following the Flood. In support of this, there is evidence of continued widespread volcanism in the large quantities of volcanic rocks among so-called ‘Pleistocene’ sediments, which probably formed soon after the Flood.
Vardiman19,20 has shown, using standard knowledge of atmospheric circulation, that the warm oceans after the Flood, and the large rates of cooling at the poles, would have driven extreme atmospheric convection. This would have created an enormous polar hurricane-like storm system covering a large portion of the Arctic. This, he suggests, could have functioned for much of the 500-year period up to the glacial maximum (see next section). Such circulation patterns would have delivered to the higher latitudes the vast amounts of snow that would have quickly become ice sheets, spreading firstly over the continents, and then later over the oceans as the water cooled down towards the end of the glacial period.
How long an ice age?
Meteorologist Michael Oard22 has estimated that it would have taken only about 700 years to cool the polar oceans from a uniform temperature of 30°C at the end of the Flood to the temperatures observed today (average 4°C). This 700-year period represents the duration of the Ice Age. The ice would have started accumulating soon after the Flood. By about 500 years after the Flood, the average global ocean temperature would have cooled to about 10°C, and the resulting reduced evaporation would have caused much less cloud cover. This, combined with the clearing of the volcanic dust from the atmosphere, would have allowed more radiation to penetrate to the earth’s surface, progressively melting the ice sheets. Thus the glacial maximum would have been about 500 years after the Flood.
Interestingly, there seem to be certain references to this Ice Age in the ancient book of Job (37:9–10, 38:22–23, 29–30), who perhaps lived in its waning years. (Job lived in the land of Uz, Uz being a descendant of Shem [Gen. 10:23], so that most conservative Bible scholars agree that Job probably lived at some time between the Tower of Babel and Abraham.) God questioned Job from a whirlwind, ‘Out of whose womb came the ice? And the frost of the heavens, who fathered it? The waters are hidden like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.’ (Job 38:29–30).
Such questions presuppose Job knew, either firsthand or by historical/family records, what God was talking about. This is probably a reference to the climatic effects of the Ice Age—effects not now seen in the Middle East.
In recent years the conventional age estimate for the Ice Age has been seemingly reinforced by claims that ice cores drilled from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contain many thousands of annual layers. Layering is certainly visible in the uppermost section of such ice cores, but it only correlates with an annual pattern in the past few thousand years, as it should if it represents annual snow deposits since the end of the Ice Age. Lower down in the ice cores, the so-called annual layers become less distinct and can be understood as being caused by other mechanisms, such as individual storms.
Vardiman18–20 has demonstrated that the ice core data support a long-age model only if they are interpreted that way. The ice-core data readily fit a young-earth model, with the bulk of the ice sheet thickness having been deposited by the hurricane-like circulation in the relatively brief 500-year period following the Flood. In this understanding, the oxygen isotope variations, for example, do not represent annual seasons but individual storms from different directions depositing water evaporated from oceans differing in temperature.23
The riddle of the frozen mammoths
The remains of hundreds of thousands of woolly mammoths are found across northern Europe, Siberia and Alaska. There was a lucrative trade in mammoth ivory for many years. At least a million mammoths must have lived in Siberia and Alaska.24 But how could the frozen wastes of Siberia have ever produced enough food for the mammoths? Woolly rhinoceros, bison, horses and antelopes also lived there in abundance. Even if the animals migrated there in summer, there would not have been enough food for them.
Furthermore, what did animals such as wooly mammoths, rhinoceros, bison and horses drink during the frozen winters? Such animals need large quantities of liquid water.
Evolutionists, with their eons of time and multiple ice ages, believe that Siberia and Alaska are relatively warm at present,25 compared with the time when mammoths lived there. So, how could these large populations of animals have lived in these areas?
It is estimated that about 50,000 carcasses or partial carcasses may still exist.26 The vast majority show signs of substantial decay before they were buried and frozen, though about a half-dozen intact frozen carcasses have been found.
Some of the intact carcasses have been found with their stomach contents largely undigested. Some have claimed that an extraordinary snap-freeze would be needed to preserve such stomach contents. However, undigested stomach contents have been found in the remains of a non-frozen, non-fossilised mastodon in Ohio, USA. Studies of elephant digestion show that the stomach acts as a storage vat for food, with fermentation and digestion occurring in the hindgut (as with horses). Consequently, an elephant's stomach contents remain largely undigested. Mammoths would almost certainly be similar. So a snap-freeze is not necessary to explain this observation.
Most of the mammoth remains show that they were in various states of decay, some with pupae of carcass-consuming flies, others showing signs of scavenging, indicating this was no instantaneous regional freeze.
Some of the plant species identified in the stomach of the famous Beresovka mammoth now grow only in warmer climates. The evidence thus suggests a change in climate in northern Siberia/Alaska. The mammoths lived there because the climate was much warmer, with more precipitation, than today. Mammoth remains have been found as far south as Mexico, showing that they were not adapted just to icy conditions.
Cave paintings of mammoths were obviously done by people living after the Flood.27 Furthermore, since the mammoth remains are frozen in silt on top of sediments laid down in the Flood, they must have been frozen there at some time during the Ice Age, after the Flood. The mammoths must have been buried in the muck, sand and gravel, and frozen fast enough to preserve them up until the present.28
The burial and freezing of these mammoths cannot be accounted for with uniformitarian/evolutionary explanations of a slow-and-gradual onset of the Ice Age over thousands of years, and its slow waning over a similarly long period. However, while the mammoths are a big mystery to evolutionists, the biblical Flood/Ice Age model provides a framework for understanding the mammoths.
Oard proposes that the mammoths were buried and frozen towards the end of the post-Flood Ice Age.28,29 Note that because of the warm Arctic Ocean after the Flood, the ice sheets did not cover the sea, nor the lowlands near the sea, resulting in a relatively temperate climate near the sea. Significantly, mammoth remains are most abundant close to the Arctic Ocean and in the islands off the coast. Mammoth remains are also found south of the maximum southern limits of the ice sheets, indicating that the distribution of the ice sheets determined where the mammoths lived and died. It was at the end of the Ice Age that the sea froze over and the lowlands became permafrost. This coincided with the demise of the mammoths.
As the oceans cooled in the hundreds of years following the Flood, the humidity of the air over the oceans reduced and the climate of the Arctic coast dried out. Droughts developed. The ice sheets melted back exposing the land, allowing massive dust storms of sand and silt to bury the mammoths, suffocating some of them. This explains why the carcasses are found in what's known as yedoma or ‘muck’, which comprises loess, or wind-blown silt. Some were entombed in a standing position. As the climate got colder, the oceans froze over and permafrost developed on the land, resulting in the carcasses buried in the sand and silt being frozen, where they are found today.
Animals coming off the Ark multiplied in the centuries following the Flood. But with the development of the Ice Age and the onset of permanent climate change towards its end, many animals were unable to cope and became extinct. Some, like the woolly mammoths, died in catastrophes and climate change and from loss of habitat associated with these drastic changes. As the ice retreated and the rainfall patterns changed yet again, many of the well-watered regions became arid, and so even more animals died out. The great cataclysm of the Flood, followed by the smaller related catastrophes of glaciation, volcanism, and eventual desiccation (drying out), drastically changed the character of the earth and its inhabitants to what we see today.
References and notes
Anon., Great science mysteries, U.S. News and World Report, 18 August 1997.
The Apostle Peter prophesied that in the latter days scoffers would claim that ‘all things continue as they were from the beginning’ (2 Peter 3:3–7).
Oard, M.J., Ancient Ice Ages or Gigantic Submarine Landslides?, Creation Research Society Books, Chino Valley, Arizona, 1997.
Molén, M., Diamictites: ice-ages or gravity flows?, Proc. Second ICC 2:177–190, 1990.
Oard, M.J., An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, Technical Monograph, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, pp. 135–149, 1990.
A turbidity current is a dense mass of sediment-laden water traveling rapidly and violently down a slope underwater.
Lambert, A. and Hsu, K.J., Non-annual cycles of varve-like sedimentation in Walensee, Switzerland, Sedimentology 26:453–461, 1979.
Austin, S.A., Mount St Helens and catastrophism, Proc. First ICC, Pittsburgh, PA 1:3–9, 1986.
Julien, P.Y., Lan, Y.Q. and Raslan, Y., Experimental mechanics of sand stratification, CEN Technical Journal 12(2):218–221, 1998.
‘Varves’ of rhythmites which have become rock, or lithified.
Oard, Ref. 5, pp. 149–166.
Ivanhoe, F., Was Virchow right about Neanderthal?, Nature 227:577–579, 1970.
Oard, M.J., A rapid post-Flood ice age, Creation Research Society Quarterly 16(1):29–37, 1979.
Oard, M.J., An ice age within the biblical time frame, Proc. First ICC, Pittsburgh, PA 2:157–166, 1986.
Wieland, C., Tackling the big freeze, Creation 19(1):42–43, 1997.
Oard, Ref. 5, pp. 1–22.
The higher the water temperature the more the evaporation, because evaporation requires a lot of heat energy.
Vardiman, L., Ice Cores and the Age of the Earth, Technical Monograph, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, California, 1993.
Vardiman, L., A conceptual transition model of the atmospheric global circulation following the Genesis Flood, Proc. Third ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 569–579, 1994.
Vardiman, L., An analytical young-earth flow model of ice sheet formation during the ‘Ice Age,’ Proc. Third ICC, Pittsburgh, pp. 561–568, 1994.
Oard, Ref. 5, pp. 33–38.
Oard, Ref. 5, pp. 109–119.
The oxygen isotope concentrations of snow vary with the temperature of the ocean from which the water was originally evaporated.
Oard, Ref. 5, p. 88
Evolutionists consider that we are presently in a warm ‘interglacial’ period.
Oard, Ref. 5, p. 129.
Distinctly mammoth-like elephants were recently discovered living in Nepal, suggesting that mammoths have not been extinct for as long as is commonly believed. See Wieland, C., ‘Lost world’ animals—found!, Creation 19(1):10–13, 1997.
Oard, M.J., The extinction of the wooly mammoth: was it a quick freeze? CEN Tech. J. 14(3):24–34, 2000.
This means that there would be some 600 years for the populations of animals, including mammoths, to build up after the Flood. With a conservative population doubling time of 17 years, consistent with living elephant generation times, a pair of mammoths off the Ark could produce a population of over a billion in 500 years.
Baker, V.R., Benito, G. and Rudoy, A.N., Paleohydrology of late Pleistocene superflooding, Altay Mountains, Siberia, Science 259:348–350, 1993.
The alveolar cells, which transfer oxygen in the lungs, are damaged by extreme cold, causing suffocation. Joggers in Canada have died from cold-induced suffocation at air temperatures of -20°C.
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