by Chris Barrett
It seems to me as the evidence for an old earth piles up and the debate heats up, there is an increasing absence of common sense and honesty from some participants. There is a massive and growing amount of evidence for an old earth, old life and an evolutionary process. In spite of this Young Earth Creationists (YEC) continue to defend their position. It seems to me anyone who has studied these data with an open mind should seriously question a 6000 year-old-earth, a special creation, and a global flood.
I am a Christian, but to me this evidence is beyond dispute. I find it frustrating and embarrassing when fellow Christians invoke fanciful, bizarre or outrageous explanations of geology, fossils and other data to defend their position.
For example, one YEC explanation for the Ice Age suggests that at some point in the flood, water erupted at supersonic speeds from a massive split around the planet. Starting below ground level it was able to rise above the atmosphere, freeze, and come down as hail, creating an instant Ice Age! Really?
I invite YEC to be confronted by their own authority – the Bible.
In Genesis the Bible describes a sequence of events immediately after Noah and through to Abraham. From it we get a quite detailed description of the land in the region of Israel, Sinai, and Egypt. We can compare this description with those very places today. When we do this we discover there is basically no difference geologically between the land that Noah and Abraham walked on, to that of today. Israel, the Sinai Peninsula and Egypt today are essentially unchanged. There may be more desert and less water, as time has passed, but the mountains, the rivers, the oceans and the shores are the same. What does this mean?
The unchanged landscapes of Israel, the Sinai Peninsula, and the deserts of Egypt define beyond dispute where in the geologic column of Noah's flood supposedly took place. This is at the very top. There are land forms and geologic features, on and under the surface of the land, which by their very nature must predate the Noah period.
Above the current ocean levels, in the deserts, and on the Sinai Peninsula, there are large sections of fossilized corals, and fossilized coral reefs. These were all there for Noah, Abraham, and Moses to kick their toes on. Corals do not grow in the desert, and yet they are there today, and it has been dry, at least since Noah built his ark.
How do we explain this? The size corals, which are still evident in these places, could never have grown during a 12 month flood, even in idealized conditions.
The only possible explanation is they must exist from an ocean prior to Noah's time. These corals overlay vast depths of the geologic column. There are up to 8 kilometers of depositional material, oil, and the recent discovery by Israel of the massive Leviathan Gas reserve, as proof in point. All these are deeper than corals in the deserts where Abraham walked.
Then there are the two massive salt domes in the Rift Valley, under the Dead Sea. The Mt Sodom and Lisan Diapirs, with some 500 cubic kilometers of salt being forced up from the depths. The Mt Sodom Diapir stretches from kilometers below surface and rises some 200 plus meters above the Dead Sea level. The Lisan Diapir's top remains over 100 meters below surface, stretching up from a depth of 7 kilometers.
These domes are gigantic, multi kilometer long, bubble like shapes rising ever so slowly to the surface, cutting through the thousands of meters of deposited material overlaying them.
YEC Flood proponents believe the Rift Valley opened up in the last several months of the flood, not at the beginning.
Surely there is no known, nor rationally imaginable scenario, whereby one can explain the emplacement of 500 km3 of highly soluble salt, in a freshly opened rift, underneath 7000 meters of depositional sedimentary material during the last few months of the flood after the waters had receded!
I have not yet even mentioned the significant chalk beds in Israel. If there was a scenario to explain these salt domes it also must explain the formation of the chalk beds within the same time frame. This is even more difficult!
I suggest unless we are willing to invent absurdities to defend God and Noah's story, it is much simpler, and more respectful of people's intelligence, to accept that the Rift Valley, and the salt domes predate Noah, and there has not been a significant flood event to disturb them since the salt was deposited.
There are many other fossil corals, reefs, salt domes and occurrences of the geologic column around the world, all dictating against a global flood. This is different in that there can be no argument as to their position in the column relative to the flood story. The Bible describes the land. Whatever Noah's flood was, it had nothing to do with the placement of the geologic column which lies underneath these features. The Biblical description and unchanged nature of the land proves this.
What about the creation week and a 6000 year old earth? Frankly, it is impossible to fit into even a casual observation of the geologic data. The thousands of meters of geologic column below Abraham's feet, the eons of time it suggests have passed, and the development of life form complexity from bottom to top, are the lynch pin which collapses the entire young earth and special creation story.
We Christians need to accept this and put our efforts into understanding God and a Gospel in relation to an old earth and old life framework. That is not easy, but perhaps only then can real dialogue take place.