Why Do We Believe in a Young Earth? #1 (Dr. Andrew Snelling)
Topic: Midweek Sermons
I'm not sure whatever I was expecting tonight and I hope what I've prepared will suit what's needed, for some of you it might be revision, some of you might have heard some of these things before but I, first of all, want to start with some fundamentals because many people don't understand the basics, otherwise they keep making the same mistakes and you'll see eventually where I'm going tonight in this session.
But the first question: how do we know what we know? How do we know anything for sure? I mean, too many people think that, "Well, the world around us exists but how do we know it exists? I mean, how do we know anything for sure?" It might sound like odd questions but these are very basic issues. Reality exists because God exists because God created. Without God behind all that exists, how would we know anything for sure? How would we have any clarity in what we know? We weren't there in the past to see what happened. When it comes to a question of how old the earth is, no scientists were there at the beginning. The past is unobserved. It's been and gone.
Furthermore, we need to remind ourselves that no matter how much we know, in fact, a person who studies and studies and studies all their life should probably become more humble because the more you find out, the more you find you don't know and that's pretty humbling but it's the truth. And what we know is about a drop in the bucket compared with what God knows and his wisdom and, therefore, we need to come both to God's word and to God's will with humility rather than the arrogance that marks the present culture in which we live.
You see, if we want to know anything for sure, we really need to have someone who has always existed, who knows everything, who is totally reliable, objective and trustworthy for him to tell us. And of course, we know someone like that. God has always existed, he knows everything, he never makes mistakes and he never tells lies and that's why we trust what he says here in his word. He is a reliable eye-witness, has always existed, and he has told us in his word what happened in the past.
You see, the scientists weren't there so how do they know for sure that the world came into existence by a big bang 13.7 billion years ago? How do they know? All they're looking at is evidence or things that exist in the present, making measurements in the present, and extrapolating backwards. So we need to start where we ought to start as Christians. God's word, we're told, is true from the beginning or as some translations say, "The entirety of your word is truth. Forever, our Lord, is your word settled in heaven."
You know, the thing that disturbs me the most today is the arrogance of so many in academia and I'm not just talking about secular academia, I'm talking also about Christian academia, because Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Now, that's a reverent fear. I mean, sometimes you've got to wonder at the pronouncements made by even Christian academics. Do they really understand that one day they're going to have to stand before God and give an account for every word they've uttered? Moreso, if they are teachers, they stand the greater judgment because if they lead any of the least of these little ones of mine astray.
So we unashamedly as Christians start with God's word because he was there, he knows everything, he's always existed, he has told us the truth about what happened in the past. That doesn't mean he's told us everything he wants us to know because this book has lots of information, but it's also questions that it doesn't answer for us. But if you stop to think about it, if God told us everything there was to know, this book would be too big for us to carry around and we would have a lifetime trying to get through it all and never get through it all. So our God has told us what he has regarded as sufficient and he expects us to trust him as the infinite source of wisdom and knowledge.
So we need to ask ourselves when we look at the world around us: do different scientists have different facts to study? No, it's the same world. Every scientist, every person looks at the same rocks, the same trees, the same world, the same stars. In fact, our science is the same. We all use telescopes, we all use microscopes, we could all take rock samples and analyze them, we could all study fossils. We're looking at the same world so why is there a fight? It can't be about the science ultimately. It can't be about the facts. So why is there such a difference of view on how old the earth is? After all, God's word tells us about the past, why don't people just simply accept what God's word says because ultimately we come down to it being a spiritual issue.
You know, even many Christians ask, I get this question quite often, "Just give me the evidence so I can convince unbelievers. Just give me that silver bullet of evidence that I can fire and then I'll lock down all the opposition and everyone will be convinced." But what most people don't realize is the word "evidence" has changed its meaning. People not often think of evidence as something just the observable fact but, no, when you hear pronouncements today about evidence, what they are talking about is interpretation of observations. They've taken a fact, something you can observe, and they've interpreted it and they have called that evidence, and what most people don't realize that interpretations are based on assumptions. You have to make assumptions about how you're going to understand the world that you're looking at.
You see, the rocks don't speak for themselves. They are read or interpreted in the light of theories. Now, I didn't say that, that's actually being said by evolutionist, Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard Professor. And it's true, the rocks don't have little labels on them saying, "Hi, I'm a hundred million years old." You don't dig up a fossil and it's automatically got a date stamped on it. No, you find a fossil, you find a rock, the age is an interpretation. You see, we all study the same rocks and the fossils. If you start with different assumptions, you'll get different interpretations down there. If you start with God's word and what God's word says about the past, then you'll come to a different conclusion or interpretation of what the rocks and the fossils mean, whereas if you start with an assumption that there is no God, he didn't create the world, well, we'll come to what else they do in a moment, but you'll get interpretation being millions of years.
So ultimately too many people think this is a battle about sorting out different evidences and say you have people that write in to "Answers in Genesis" and they want more evidence, they want more of this and they want more of that, that don't realize that no matter how much evidence you give people, in fact, as pastor has already pointed out to us, God has said in Romans 1 that the evidence out there in God's world is enough to convince everyone, even of his eternal power and Godhead. And I like to point out that we live in a universe, not a tri-verse. God is three-in-one. The universe consists of space, matter and time, three separate entities that can be physically measured but together they form an indissoluble reality. You see, even a picture of the reality of the world that we live in reflects God's three-in-one nature so people are without excuse.
So it's not a matter of evidence, it's ultimately their heart attitude towards God and when man is in rebellion against God, he will choose whatever means he can to discount the evidence that's all around him. After all, why does Richard Dawkins fight so hard against the God he doesn't believe in? The truth is that Richard Dawkins deep down does believe that there's a God, he's just rebelling against God and fighting against him.
So, you see, the battle can't be about the facts because we all have the same facts to study. The battle is about how you interpret the facts and what you are going to use as your starting assumptions. As we like to point out to people, you are that use the lens of God's word to look at the world around you, in other words, you take God's word as the authority, and from the light of reading what's in Scripture, you look at God's world and understand God's world out of what you read in God's word. That's what God expects us to do because he's given us the Scriptures for our instruction. But everyone else who's not a Christian, the unbeliever, has a different pair of mental glasses. We often illustrate it like that. There are only two options: either God decides what is truth and he's given us that truth in the word, "Thy word is truth," or man decides truth for himself. After all, that was the basis of the rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve chose to decide whether what Satan said was true or not, right? They could have said, "No, God has said, therefore we'll ignore you." Instead they chose to use their own human reasoning to determine truth for themselves and rebelled against God. They had a choice. They could have chosen to say, "No, God has said, therefore, no, we will not take up the temptation you have put before us."
So, you see, we have that choice and once we put those glasses on, as soon as you decide that man decides truth, then God's word becomes irrelevant to the discussion which leads to another point: too many Christians, including Christian academics particularly, think that one has to be neutral in arguing with unbelievers. You know, let's go out onto their ground. Let's not talk about the Scriptures. Let's try and be neutral, as if there's some position of neutrality. But there's not such thing as neutrality because Jesus said you're either for him or against him; you either sow or you scatter. People either belong to Christ or they belong to Satan; they're in the kingdom of light or in the kingdom of darkness this pastor has been reminded us from 1 John. You see, you either have biblical assumptions called presuppositions, that is, God's word is true; or you take man's word as true.
Now as soon as you say there is neutral ground, what are you going to do? Too many Christians get sucked into debating with unbelievers as if there is going to be some neutral ground. As soon as you step out onto that neutral ground, what are you doing? You're throwing God's word away. In other words, you're throwing away from any consideration the only source of truth that we have. It's like the soldier who says, "Oh, I'll put down my sword and I'll come and fight." No, this is our sword, this is our weapon of truth, and so we need to be unashamedly saying, "No, I start with God's word. God's word says that he created and the details are there and that explains what we see in the world." And that's what we're going to do tonight.
Another thing is that there are many Christian academics today and I'm picking on them because I rub shoulders with so many of them and it grieves me so much to see how often, "Well, the scientists say about radiocarbon, therefore, we've got to somehow reinterpret what it says back there in the early chapters of the Bible." No. God invented radiocarbon so he knows how it fits into his word. And so often these Christian academics and scholars are saying they have to apply their learning, effectively telling us that God didn't get it right the first time and somehow they've got to now tell God what he really meant.
One of the most extraordinary examples of this recently is a professor at Wheaton College who has proposed a new idea for understanding Genesis and effectively he's saying, "The church got it wrong for 2,000 years. Now that I understand the Ancient Near Eastern literature, I can tell you what God really meant." To me that is sheer arrogance. God's word was breathed by him himself and written to be understood by all people throughout all time. It is clear to a ten year old as it should be to a ten year old through any time in history because it was written to be understood by the common people. No, as I said before, the more you find out, the more humble you should become because of recognizing how much God knows that we don't know and how little we know and how much or little we understand.
So this is where we start, as I said before, with God's word. It is true from the beginning. Every word is God-breathed and we come to it in humility and fear and reverence of God and recognize that he's the beginning of knowledge and wisdom because, after all, this book is the history book of the universe.
Where does it start? It starts with Jesus Christ creating all things. Where does it finish? With Jesus Christ recreating all things and establishing his eternal kingdom. What's in the middle? Jesus Christ coming to this earth to redeem a fallen man. So this is his story so the details matter. There is a chronological framework that matters. Jesus came at a particular moment in time because of a particular lineage which comes from a literal man, Adam, who lived and died and people lived and died. That's why those details are important. It's his story. It's the record of the humanity of Jesus Christ and, therefore, we tamper with any aspect of that to our error.
You see, John 1 emphasizes. Where does John begin his epistle? "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was nothing made that was made." And the amazing thing is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus, God's Son, chose to clothe himself in human flesh and dwell among us, but Jesus was always the Creator. Do you know that? Even when he was here on earth in human flesh, he was still the Creator of the universe. He never ceased to be God, yet he was truly man. "For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether there be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him."
So why do I know that Jesus was always the Creator here during his earthly ministry? Well, he always spoke the truth because he is the truth. If Jesus said anything that's recorded in the Gospels that isn't absolutely true, then he's not the truth, therefore, he's not the way and he's not the life. It's an all or nothing situation. Furthermore, Jesus demonstrated by his miracles that he was still the Creator, and he endorsed the early chapters of Genesis as true literal, not figurative history, as we'll see in a moment.
Just to remind you about some of those miracles. He stilled a storm on the Sea of Galilee. What was the disciples' response? Ho-hum? No, they fell flat on their faces and worshiped him. "What manner of man is this that even the wind and the waves obey him?" Why did they obey him? Because he created them.
He walked on water in a storm. He defied gravity because he made gravity. He could defy gravity because he was still the Creator, even though he was in human flesh.
He created wine from water. That was a miracle. He turned a miracle of creation and it didn't take millions of years. He turned H2O into complex organic wine molecules.
He fed 5,000 and 4,000 people by creating more fish and bread. It was a miracle of creation. How do I know how God created? Because Jesus did it in front of eye-witnesses instantly.
He healed a man born blind. A person born blind doesn't have the mental capacity to recognize what they're going to see. This was a double miracle because Jesus not only had to heal his physical eyes, he had to program his brain at the same time so he would understand what he was going to see. Only the Creator of brains and eyes could do that.
And he raised people from the dead. As the Creator of life, he could raise people from the dead. He could also lay down his own life and take it up again as the Creator.
So he never ceased to be the Creator and, therefore, when he spoke, he spoke the truth and he spoke of the days of Noah as a literal historic period in which a real man called Noah lived. He spoke of Noah entering the ark and the flood coming and taking them all away. He referred to the ark as a real boat, Noah as a real man, the flood as a life-destroying global flood. How do I know he was referring to it as a global flood? I'll tell you why: he said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will by no means pass away, but as in the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Will Jesus' second coming be global or just local? You see, even Francis Schaeffer said the most striking yet is the parallel between which Jesus drew between his own future, space, time coming and the flood in the past. Jesus emphasizes that his future second coming is a true historic event and it will be a global event, therefore, if the second coming was global, then the flood must have been a global event.
And how do I know that that's how the disciples understood it? Because Peter tells us exactly the same thing in 2 Peter 3. We read, "For this they willingly forget, that by the word of God the heavens were involved and the earth standing out of the water and the water by which the world that then existed being flooded with water, but the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word are reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." So Peter was under Jesus' teaching and when he referred to the second coming and the flood, in fact, if you think about it, verse 5 refers to the creation. Verse 5, creation was global. The second coming in verse 7 will be global. So if the flood is being contrasted to those two events, surely Peter is telling us the world that then was being overflowed with water, which is what the Greek says, overflowed with water, perished, kataklysmos, from which we get our English word "cataclysm," perished. So the flood was also global. Peter understood exactly what Jesus was teaching and he emphasized it in this particular passage.
But there's more in this passage because Peter tells us how that we have arrived at the position that we have today where people do not accept that the flood was a global event. Peter says this, "Knowing this first," verse 3, "that scoffers will come in the last days, walking after their own lusts and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Ha, you Christians talk about Jesus coming again, every since the creation, things have gone on and on and on and on and on the way they are today.
And he says this, "For this they willfully forget," or some translations say, "they are willingly ignorant," they make a deliberate choice. Okay, Richard Dawkins has made a deliberate choice to deny that there is a God even though he knows there is one. Peter says there will come scoffers who will deliberately reject, deliberately ignore, deliberately, willfully, willingly, reject the testimony of God's word and God's world that God created, that he caused the flood and that, therefore, because they argue that if there was no creation, there was no flood, then what are you Christians talking about Jesus Christ coming again?
So we need to think about these last days' scoffers for a moment. They justify their denial of God and their God-less behavior by believing that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. Now, this was written, by the way, 1,800 years before this prophecy was fulfilled because it surely has been fulfilled. Back in 1795 in Edinburgh, James Hutton, a medical doctor turned geologist, published a book, "Theory of the Earth," and in that book he said the power to explain the past, how we got the geology that exists today, the rocks and the fossils, how did they come into existence? "No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe." In other words, only what we see today can explain what happened in the past. The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now. "I see no vestige of a beginning," that's a denial of creation, "or the prospect of an end," the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Now, his ideas were taken up by a Scottish lawyer, Charles Lyell. In 1833, through that period he wrote his "Principles of Geology" which ran into three volumes eventually, and he outright rejected the Scriptures and deliberately set out to undermine their authority. He advocated only present day processes at present day rates of intensity, and I'm going to explain this in a moment. "I needed to interpret the geologic past." That's where they got this phrase: the present is the key to the past. In other words, only what we see happening today, the way rivers flow slowly, that's the only way it's ever been. There never was a global flood, therefore, we should only explain in terms of the slow grinding down of the rocks that it must take millions and millions of years to erode the countryside and build up layers of rocks. The present is the key to the past.
He went on, he sought to explain the whole rock record that we see exposed on the earth's surface by only slow and gradual processes in order to reduce the flood to a geological non-event. He wanted to expunge that. In fact, he saw himself as the spiritual savior of geology, freeing it from the old dispensation of Moses. Of course, he was referring to the book of Genesis.
By the way, who was one of Lyell's students? Charles Darwin. When he went on "The Voyage of the Beagle" in January, 1834, he wrote and he took with him a copy of the first volume of Lyell's "Principles of Geology" and a few weeks into the voyage, having read that book, he was converted to Lyell's view of long ages of geology. In other words, geological evolution, as he wrote in his journal, "Guided by principles of geology," referring to Lyell's book, "and having under my view the vast changes on this continent," that's how he started to talk about his explorations of South America in terms of long ages of geological processes. When we get to his "Origin of Species," he writes this in 1859, "He who can read Sir Charles Lyell's grand work on 'Principles of Geology' which the future historian will recognize as having produced a revolution in natural science, and yet does not admit how vast periods of time may at once close this volume." You see, Lyell with his millions of years of geological evolution laid the foundation for Darwin's biological evolution because if you stop to think about it, if you don't have the millions of years, there is no time for evolution to occur. That's why the issue of millions of years is the real battleground in this whole dispute over our origins. The whole idea as soon as you say you believe in a young earth, the claws come out.
So let me just unpack this idea for you quickly on all things continue. What does it mean? It's a belief in the uniformity of natural processes. Only natural processes that we see operating today is what's produced the geological record in the past, and that underpins all of modern geology. The way it works is very simple to understand. You see, layers of, say the Mississippi River, erodes and takes mud and sand down to the delta and there's local flooding, sure, and there are drier periods but we can measure, for example, we might do an experiment and actually measure how long it takes to accumulate a foot of sand down at the mouth of the Mississippi River. A layer of sand, okay? It might take 100 years for one foot thick layer to form. So with this idea, if that's the way it's always been through the countless periods of time, how long does it take, therefore, 100 foot thick layer of sand that's turned to stone? Sandstone is just sand that turned to stone. A 100 foot thick layer, if it takes 100 years for one foot, how long did it take for 100 feet? 10,000 years. So suddenly when they start measuring the rock layers, they start adding up the thicknesses and using these time calculations so that they arrived at the idea of millions of years long before radioactivity was discovered. The whole idea of millions of years was in place long before radioactive decay was discovered and used to date rocks, which we'll deal with next week, by the way.
So here's a Harvard professor of biology. He says, "Time is, in fact, the hero of the plot." This is in "Scientific American." "The time which we have to deal with is of the order of 2 billion years." Well, now it's 4 ½. That was back in 1954 he said billion but now it's 4 ½. It's gotten older in that time. "What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One only has to wait. Time itself performs the miracles," because he was talking about the origin of life. Time is the hero of the plot. That's why that's the real battleground.
Okay, so let's talk about the flood because you'll see where I'm going. I believe that this is our most powerful weapon in dealing with this issue of the age of the earth. From what I've said before, we can come to the conclusion that the earth and its rock strata only look old. You see, people look at the world around and say it looks old. No, it doesn't. It's what's in your brain that tells you that it looks old because of the assumptions that you brought to your observations. Remember the pair of glasses you're wearing. When I look at the world through the lens of God's word, it doesn't look old to me. It looks like a sin-cursed world that's been destroyed by the flood. So the age of the earth is only determined by the assumptions used to interpret what we see.
As I said a moment ago, the underlying assumption in all of modern geology is that the present observable geological processes and their rates, slow and gradual over millions of years, are all that is required to explain how the earth's rock layers formed. So, of course, if you start with that assumption, because today's geological processes are exceedingly slow, if you assume the present is the key to the past, then it's obvious, isn't it, that the rock strata would appear to take billions of years? But of course, it's denying. It's built on a denial that there ever was a flood. It's a deliberate rejection of God's word. But here's the important question: is the present the key to the past? You see, one of the things that Satan does, he often turns everything around 180 degrees because the reality is the past is the key to understanding why the world is the way it is today. Because there was Adam and Eve's sin, the curse and the flood is the reason why we have a messed up world today but Satan has turned that around.
So do we see vast fossil beds forming today? I mean, you've driven over fossil beds to get here tonight. We're standing on a huge fossil bed. Limestone all around this area are jam-packed full of fossils. How did they get there? Do we see anywhere on the earth today where these fossil beds are forming? I mean, when was the last time you saw all the dead fish on the bottom of the ocean waiting to be fossilized? The answer is: no, because dead fish don't sink to begin with. Most dead fish float. Put some poison in the Ohio River and see what happens to the dead fish. You'll see diagrams in textbooks of fish supposedly dying, sinking to the bottom where they are slowly covered up by sand and mud. No. They either float or are eaten by scavengers or rot away. They don't go onto the bottom of the ocean waiting to be fossilized. The present is not the key to the past.
So it's because of this recognition that most fossil beds, in fact and rock strata as we're going to show in a moment, do require catastrophic geological processes to form that a catastrophic global flood is a viable alternative. Well, it should be because if we start with God's word, then the evidence in God's world should confirm what we read in God's word, and because we read in God's word that there was a global flood, the evidence in God's world should show us that and it does.
Let's read again what it says in Genesis about the flood. All the fountains of the great deep were broken up. The windows or floodgates of heaven were opened. The rain was on the earth 40 days and 40 nights. I mean, you haven an inch of rain around here in a day and everyone panics. Some parts of the world, they get 10 and 12 inches an hour. Imagine that kind of rain globally for 40 days and 40 nights. Now, that's a flood.
And we're told that the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth. All the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered, and the mountains were covered. All flesh died. All flesh died that moved upon the earth. Every living substance. Every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the earth. Notice all the absolute terms that the Holy Spirit is employing to describe for us this event. By the way, how can a mountain covering flood under the whole heaven not be global? If the water covers the high hills and the mountains in one area, won't it just dissipate under gravity to cover everything?
Here's another way of looking at it. If a catastrophic global flood really occurred, then what evidence would we look for? By the way, billions of dead things buried in rock layers what do we find? Billions of dead things called fossils buried in rock layers all over the earth. You know, when Jesus was asked a difficult question, do you always answer with a direct answer? No, often he asked a question in return. You know, too many Christians are stumped when someone comes up to them and says, "There's no evidence for Noah's flood." Do you know how you answer a question like that? You do what Jesus did. Say, "Wait a minute, if the flood really occurred, what evidence would you look for? Have you ever considered that?" They'd say, "No." Say, "Well, I'm going to tell you now." You see, if you ask yourself the question, remember the description we just had of what the flood, all the high hills under the whole of the heaven were covered, the mountains were covered, we had a global ocean. Wouldn't we expect to find evidence that the ocean waters flooded over the continents? Of course we would. We'd expect to find the animals and plants, creatures and plants were rapidly buried because everything on the surface of the earth was destroyed by that global catastrophic flood. We'd expect because it was a global event with a global ocean, that the ocean currents would carry sand and mud long distances to make layers that went over long distances. We'd expect that the global ocean would carry sediment, mud and sand, long distances. We'd expect that all the layers were in rapid succession with no millions of years between them and everything happened very rapidly.
So let me give you some illustrations of these points because, really, the rocks scream that the flood occurred. So let's break this down quickly and show you some examples which is why we need the illustrations. The ocean waters flooded over the continents. By the way, the evidence is that marine fossils in rock layers that cover the continents. How is it that we're nearly 1,000 feet above sea level here in the Cincinnati area, that underneath us are the fossils of creatures that lived in the ocean? Why aren't the rock layers with marine fossils in them on the ocean floor? You know, we don't find any limestone layers with marine fossils on the ocean floor, they're up on the continent. How did the marine creatures get buried up on the continent? Simple: the ocean waters picked them up and brought them up under the continent and we find these all over the world. Why do you think we have marine fossils on the top of Mount Everest? It's not that Mount Everest was there before the flood and got covered. No, Mount Everest was produced by the flood, but the point is you've got marine fossils all across the continents, even at high elevations today as a result of the flood.
These creatures that are underneath us tonight, corals and clams, they don't live on the land, they live in the ocean so the ocean waters had to bring them up here. By the way, when you see a fossil like in the limestone around here, do you know for sure that this is where they lived? Can you observe that? No. You go to many museums and they have a diorama, a drawing of some environment and then they have the fossils in front of it and they make you think that what you see in the rocks is that diorama. No, all you see in the rocks are dead things. You don't know that they lived there. You don't even know that they died there. The only thing you know for sure is they're buried there because you find them buried there. Do you see how careful you have to be when you talk about these issues?
Rapid burial of creatures and plants. Well, I've just illustrated that. Underneath our feet is a fossil graveyard. Do you know what a graveyard is where a lot of dead things are buried together? All around the Cincinnati area are corals and clams in limestones, layer upon layer, billions and billions of dead things. That's a fossil graveyard and many of these are exquisitely preserved. If it took long periods of time, they would have been destroyed while waiting to be buried and fossilized.
I'll give you some examples. We take people out to the Grand Canyon because it is a showpiece for God's record in his world of the flood. Every one of these layers you see here with arrows, even to the rim of the canyon, all have marine fossils in them. Seven thousand feet above sea level, the south rim, eight thousand at the north rim.
Let's take a look at one of these layers. The Redwall limestone. You know what a limestone is, don't you? It's lime that's turned to stone. Well, there is more than one limestone layer in the Grand Canyon so they have to give them different names. That's why they call this one the Redwall limestone to distinguish it from the Muav limestone which is a different layer. So why do they call it the Redwall limestone, by the way? Well, it forms a red wall. You see, it's quite logical. Here it is down at river level. It's 500-800 feet thick and it's jam-packed full of fossils. It's a graveyard of marine fossils. Crinoids with sea lilies, not plants but actually critters. Bryozoans with lace corals. And many of these are smashed up and broken. Here's corals, all different which-way. All these Crinoids. They used to have this stacked on top of one another that were quite delicate and they've all been smashed up and broken apart. They were absolutely decimated and destroyed catastrophically and buried very rapidly.
Here's an interesting fossil in the Grand Canyon. You've all heard of the coiled nautilus that's still alive today. Well, there used to be alive straight shelled nautiluses or called Nautiloids, and you can see here those different chambers and so when they were born, they were small, okay, and then they kept on adding chambers and they kept on getting bigger and bigger. Down this end was a head like a squid and actually you can see the middle there, there was the remnants of a tube that was actually like a jet engine; they could suck water in and suck water out and move along in the currents.
Now, we find in this fossil bed in the Redwall limestone, actually in a seven foot thick part of the limestone, these Nautiloid fossils. Some are one foot long, some are three feet long, some are six feet long. What does that tell you? One foot ones are young ones, six foot ones are grandparent ones. So when you get a mixture of one foot, three foot, and six foot Nautiloids all buried together, what have you got? You've got a living population of family units that were all buried together. So it wasn't as if the grandparents died and then the young ones kept on growing and then died. No, that would be over millions of years. This was a living population that all got buried at once.
And they are in a seven foot thick bed. Here you can see it from the foot of the ledge just above his head, and this bed can be traced from just downstream from the Glen Canyon there all the way past the suburbs of Las Vegas, and everywhere you go you find with the Nautiloid fossils, Crinoids or sea lilies, corals, Brachiopods which are lamp shells, gastropods which are snails, marine snails and Bryozoans which are those lace corals. And the bed stretches at least 180 miles and covers an area of at least 11,600 square miles. So that adds up to about 24 cubic miles and this has to represent a mass kill of a living population. There must have been billions because the average density is about two or more every ten square feet approximately in rock exposure and so 24 cubic miles of lime, sand and silt was deposited in a debris flow that went along at about 11 miles per hour, you can actually simulate this in a flume tank experiment, and wiped out this living population. Billions were buried catastrophically in a matter of hours.
That's the sort of thing we're talking about: rapid burial to preserve these creatures. By the way, some of the large ones are standing upright. If it was sand grain by sand grain over thousands of years, why would these creatures have stood upright waiting for thousands of years to be buried and fossilized? The whole bed had to be formed in one hit with the whole thing being totally buried all at once.
So that's what we call a fossil graveyard. Other examples, hundreds of thousands of marine creatures buried with amphibians, spiders, scorpions, millipedes, insects and reptiles in one deposit in France. Notice the mixture there: insects with marine creatures. That's land and sea dwelling creatures buried together. What happened during the flood? The ocean waters came up on the continent. You would expect marine creatures to be mixed in with land creatures. That's exactly what you find. Most people get the idea that you don't get these mixtures. Yes, you do. Even where you find the dinosaur fossils you find marine creatures often buried with them. They don't tell you that part of the story.
And out there in Colorado: insects, fresh water mollusks, fish, birds. I mean, how do you fossilize a bird slowly? And several hundred plant species including nuts and blossoms. Here is one of those fish. Here's a wasp. Look at the preservation of the wings. Exquisitely preserved because it was catastrophically and rapidly buried and preserved. Nuts and blossoms. These are blossoms.
Over in Wyoming, we have alligator, fish of many varieties with birds, turtles, mammals, mollusks, crustaceans, many insects and palm leaves all buried together. That mixture, that variety.
Well, I have to give you an Australian example. If we go to the northern coast of Tasmania which is Australia's island state, we have a toothed whale and a marsupial possum buried together in a place called Fossil Bluff. Here's the cliff and here's the mishmash of broken debris and here's the remains of the toothed whale and here's the remains of the marsupial possum. By the way, when is the last time you saw possums and whales living together? How would you bury a whale and a possum together with all those marine creatures?
And no one ever stops to think about the chalk beds. You know the White Cliffs of Dover, we'll come to that in a moment. They are made up of trillions of microscopic marine creatures, little tiny shellfish plus larger creatures. Even dinosaur bones have been found in the chalk beds in the Netherlands.
And what about the coal bits, c-o-a-l, you know the black stuff that you see on the barges going down the Colorado River? That's fossil vegetation, plant material. Trillions and trillions of tons of vegetation was buried during the flood to produce those coal bits. By the way, not only was God judging the world but he was also being merciful. By producing the coal during the flood he was providing us with a resource that we'd need to use in the post-flood world to survive. So even in judgment, God was being merciful. Isn't that a beautiful picture even from something as dirty as coal?
Those chalk beds, here's some of these over 1,000 foot thick on the English Channel coast. Here's what it looks like under the microscope, all these tiny little critters, and they say they accumulate over thousands and thousands and thousands of years by a fraction of an inch by fraction of an inch. Well, how long did it take to bury this creature? This is an Ammonoid, a huge shell 18 inches across. Did he sit around for millions of years waiting to be slowly buried? Hardly.
Look at the exquisite preservation in this fish fossil. Look at the eye socket. As I said before, where do you see dead fish on the bottom of the ocean waiting to be fossilized like that?
Here we have a trilobite, a famous fossil. It's deep in the geologic record. We even see preserved, it's got three sections to its body which is why it's called a trilobite, but in the head you can see the eyes, the compound eyes. We actually have preserved the lens system of the trilobite eye because the lenses were made up of limestone or calcite, the mineral that makes up limestone. And those lens systems are so complex that we would with all our ingenuity have only made similar lens systems in the last 50 years, but these creatures are some of the oldest, supposed oldest critters in the geologic record and yet they are fully formed, fully functioning with these complex eyes. Exquisitely preserved.
What do you think that's a fossil of? Most people tell me that's a fossil flower but it's not, that's a fossil jellyfish. That comes from outback South Australia where hundreds of these were found in the sandstone over 400 square miles. The geologists who found these said that they all must have fallen in less than a day. Why? Because jellyfish washed up on a beach either melt in the sun or get broken up by the wind and the waves.
How long did it take one fish to finish his breakfast before the two of them were buried and fossilized? And that's not unusual in the geologic record to find those. We've got examples of those in the Creation Museum.
And this is a very famous fossil and this is not the only example. Do you see that arrow? The larger creature is an Ichthyosaur, six feet long. It's a marine reptile and that's a mother just having given birth to a baby. I mean, this creature is six foot long, it is well able to sense danger and get away from danger when it comes but, no, mother was buried and fossilized under tons of mud while her baby was being born.
So that's the first two evidences. What about widespread rapidly deposited rock layers? After all, if the ocean waters rose up over the continents to produce the global ocean, the water currents would carry sand and mud right across continents and we should expect to find rock layers that spread right across continents and we do. This is one of the best kept secrets in geology. It's been known for decades, particularly here in North America as I'll show you in a minute. And in these rock layers we find physical features that indicate they were rapidly deposited catastrophically.
Let's go back to the Grand Canyon. We saw the Redwall limestone, now we're going to talk about two sandstones, the Coconino sandstone near the top and the Tapeat sandstone down near the bottom. And here they are in real life. Here is the Coconino sandstone. It's a buff colored unit near the top. We've got the Tapeat sandstone down in the bottom. It's the last of the flat lying layers in the walls of the canyon. And in between, we've got the Redwall limestone.
Now, what most people don't know is that these three units belong to five mega-sequences or super-sequences of rock layers that can be traced right across North America. This was documented as early as 1963. That's 50 years ago. And in the 1980s, the American Association for Petroleum Geologists put together charts showing the rock layers all across North America, how you could trace them across the continent.
Let me show you some examples. Here on this linear column, that vertical column area of the Grand Canyon, you see the different rock layers in different colors. The Tapeat sandstone is yellow down the bottom. The Redwall limestone is blue halfway up in that color scheme.
Now we come to Cincinnati, what do we find? Down at the bottom we've got Tapeat sandstone, up high we've got the Redwall limestone. Exactly the same positions in the record.
So here's the Tapeat sandstone in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Do you see that layering? That's the same layering that you get when sand gets washed up on the East Coast of America during hurricanes. Everyone accepts that these were storm deposited sandstones.
Notice the basement rocks underneath, the crystalline basement foundations of the continent underneath. Well, we can trace the Tapeat sandstone and it's equivalent all across North America. This has been known for 50 years. Only a global flood would carry sediment layers right across the continent. By the way, we can go to Southern Israel and we can see exactly the same thing. In the Timna area near Eilat, you see the Nubian sandstone which is the same as the Tapeat sandstone, underneath you've got the crystalline basement. In fact, that sandstone layer goes right across North Africa and the sand grains have been traced as coming from South Africa. That's not some local flood event to get huge quantities of sand like that spread over continents and between continents.
The Redwall limestone. There it is again. Equivalents are over here in the East. In fact, if you go to Wyoming, for example, you can see the Madison Limestone. If you go to Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley where all the caves are, it's the same limestone. You can see the same limestone in England, you can see the same limestone in the Himalayas. Right across the globe you can trace these same layers. A global reach of sediment layers implies a global flood of water to do it.
And the chalk beds that I referred to earlier of Southern England, they can be traced across to Northern Ireland, across Europe to Egypt and Turkey, even into Israel and Kazakhstan and found in the Midwest of the US from Nebraska to Texas and in Southern and Western Australia. The same fossils in them. The same rock layers above, the same rock layers below. They are exactly the same.
Here are the chalk beds of England made up of these trillions of microscopic fossils. Here's the same chalk beds in Israel. By the way, that's on the edge of the Valley of Elah. What happened in the Valley of Elah? David picked up those stones from the brook to fling at Goliath. Those are the cliffs it was in front of, chalk cliffs. By the way, similar chalk beds and limestones underlie Jerusalem. Jesus died on a cross on a fossil graveyard. He got buried in a fossil graveyard in his tomb. The very judgment that was all around him of the world, he faced the same judgment when he was laid on that cross and in that tomb. The chalk beds of the Mid-US. Different name but it's the same chalk beds.
Let's have a look again at the Coconino sandstone near the top of the Grand Canyon. That's what it looks like in real life, this buff colored unit. It covers at least 100,000 square miles over four US states and more. In fact, we can trace it. Here's a map of the exposure and its thickness. It averages about 315 feet thick so the volume is at least 10,000 cubic miles.
Now notice we have a horizontal layer and we also have the slanty looking cross beds or layering, cross layering in the sandstone. That tells us about how this sandstone was deposited. How do I know? Well, if you go to a desert today, you see sand dunes. If you jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, and I don't recommend it, and if you went to the bottom of the channel, you'd find underwater sand waves. The current is so strong in that channel that it heats up the sand into underwater sand dunes or sand waves, exactly the same thing. So what happens is the water flow or air flow carries the grains from behind the dune, up the top and over, and the back eddy, it plasters it to the front so the front keeps advancing forward in the direction that the water current is flowing as you can see in that top diagram. So you keep on getting this cascading material at the front, and as it's plastered on, you can see the layering, the cross layering that's formed as a result. But because the one behind is burying the one in front, and the one in front is also taking sands from the back, you only end up with these layer upon layer of these cross units, that one dune advanced over the top of the dune behind it.
Now, by the way, can you tell the difference between a wind-laid sand dune and a water sand wave? Yes. That angle at the front which is reflected in the angle of these cross beds in the resulting sandstone, that angle is always between 30 and 34 degrees in a desert dune situation. For an underwater sand wave, it's always 25 degrees or less. You know, the geologists claim, insist, that the Coconino sandstone was formed in a desert and they say therefore you can't have a global flood because how can you have a desert during Noah's flood? The trouble is they haven't bothered to actually measure the angles of those because do you know what? The angle is always less than 25 degrees, so that means it had to be deposited underwater. You see, we can empirically test their ideas based on laboratory and real world analysis.
So putting all of that together, this sandstone would have been deposited as multiple sheets with sand waves up to 80 feet high, moved along by water flowing at 3 to 5 miles per hour. We can do that from sediment flume tank experiments and we can verify those. So at that rate, that whole sandstone bed, 10,000 cubic miles of sand over at least 100,000 square miles, would have been deposited in just a few days. It doesn't require millions of years.
So if it's only a few days to one layer in the Grand Canyon and a week for the next and a few days for the next, what's the sum total of all those layers? Months. How long was Noah's flood? A whole year.
Long distance of sediment transport. After all, the water current moving across the continents would carry the sand and the mud long distances. Do we have evidence of that? Yes. The sediment in these widespread rapidly deposited layers had to be eroded from distant sources. And were these layers deposited one after the other, or was there a lot of erosion of millions of years between the layers because, you see, now the geologists recognize that each of the layers probably didn't take long to form. Where do they put the millions of years? Between the layers where there is no evidence, by the way, as we'll come to in a moment.
So if it was rapid, we would expect to find a global flood. Rapid or no erosion between the layers. In other words, rapid if the water currents were moving more material over to deposit the next layer, or no erosion because it was one after the other so quickly anyway. So what do we see in the real world? Well, the Coconino sandstone you saw a moment ago was that bluff colored, whitish colored sandstone. It had to have come from, the sand grains had to have come from Northwards, up towards Wyoming. It couldn't have come from erosion of the layer underneath. Why? Because the layer underneath is made up of clay and silt, not sand. It's actually, this photo doesn't show it so well, it's actually a reddish brown, whereas the sandstone above is pure white quartz sand. It's very pure. And everywhere we find this sandstone, we find this shale underneath. That means that the sand had to come from a further distance away from everywhere you see the shale underneath.
And higher up in the sequence in the Zion National Park, I'll show you a photo in a minute, we have the Navajo sandstone. The same grains from there everyone now accepts was eroded from the Appalachians. The Navajo sandstone, 2,000 foot thick cliffs in Zion National Park and the sand grains had to become washed all the way across the continent. Do you notice that from Northeast to Southwest? Northeast to Southwest, remember that, we'll come back to that in just a brief moment, in fact, it's the next point.
These cross beds and we get fossil ripple marks, we get water direction indicators fossilized in the rocks, they indicate that the rock layers that formed in the Grand Canyon, the water currents for supposedly 300 million years, were always flowing from Northeast to Southwest across North and South America. In fact, the guy who did this work, the geologist who did this work had something like 250,000 data points in North America alone. He found, he went to South America, he found the same directions. In Australia, the same directions. In Asia, the same direction. In Africa, Europe, everywhere he went he found the fossil water direction indicators indicated that the water was flowing from Northeast to Southwest, Northeast to Southwest, Northeast to Southwest everywhere around the globe.
A global ocean would have a global tide and that's exactly what you see in the record. Long distance of sediment transport. Rapid or no erosion, as I've said, we'd either find evidence of rapid erosion or we'd find evidence of no erosion. This is what we see at the base of the Tapeat sandstone. By the way, we see where the layers underneath were eroded off, we find storm beds where hurricane velocity storms were depositing the sand and at the base, we find boulders right at the boundary of this erosion. In fact, some of these boulders in some places are the size of cars, houses and cars. You have to have fast moving water to carry boulders like that, hurricane velocity driven water flows eroding off everything in its path. By the way, this boundary is the same boundary that I showed you in Southern Israel. The base of the Tapeat sandstone with these boulders sitting on erosion surface. That's what you see in Southern Israel, that's what you see right across North America. You can see it in the Grand Canyon. You can see it in Missouri, and see it in other parts of North America. It's an erosion surface right across the continent which marks the beginning of the flood. In other places, we only find knife-edge featureless boundaries indicating that there was continuous deposition.
Here's the boundary again between the Coconino sandstone and the Hermit shale. You can see the color difference better there. At that boundary, the geologists say there is at least 5 million years missing, according to their time scale. Can you see the evidence of 5 million years there? In 5 millions of years you'd have erosion, you'd have gullies form, you'd have a topography formed on the red/brown rock underneath. What do we see? A nice flat featureless boundary.
And finally, rapid succession of strata, of rock layers. What we actually see is whole rock layer sequences bent without fracturing. Let me explain that. If you get a rock and try to bend it, what happens? It snaps. It's like getting a man-made rock called concrete, because that's what it is, it's a man-made rock, and you try to break it, you need jackhammers or sledgehammers to break it up because it's brittle, it's rock-hard and it snaps. If you try to bend it, it breaks. In what condition can you tool concrete? When it's wet. When the cement hasn't set. That's how you can make concrete pipes because you can pour it into the shape, you can mold it. So if you bend a rock without fracturing, when was it bent? When it was still wet. When the cement hadn't hardened. So when would it be still wet, when the cement hadn't hardened? At what stage would that be? Would that be millions of years after it was laid down? No, it would be very soon after it was laid down. Okay.
Well, here we see two layers in the canyon, the Muav limestone and the Temple Butte limestone. Yes, that's me for scale. The bottom layer is supposed to be 520 million years old. The next layer is supposed to be 380 million years. And the two have been folded at the same time as though they were still soft without fracturing. Wouldn't after 140 million years, because that's what's missing, in that 140 million years, wouldn't the Muav limestone have become rock-hard? How could the two then fold, bend without fracturing if they both weren't still soft as though they were only just being deposited, laid down yesterday?
Here we see at the base of the sequence, this is the Tapeat sandstone. Yes, I'm there for scale again. This is supposed to be 520 million years old. It's the sandstone at the bottom of the canyon and yet it wasn't folded until 450 million years later. Everyone agrees the plateau country was formed much much later than the rock layers. Okay, the trouble is the layers overlying the Tapeat sandstone have also been bent without fracturing. The whole 300 million years worth of rock layers from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the rim of the Grand Canyon have all been folded and bent without fracturing. That means that the whole 300 million years' worth had to be deposited rapidly within a matter of weeks or months so they were still soft enough to then, a few months later when the flood finished, to be bent when the plateau was pushed up. But if you're talking about millions of years, the bottom layers with all that pressure should have been rock-hard when that process took place.
Finally, we have fossils that require multiple layers to bury them. It's like the Nautiloid fossil standing vertically, you know, waiting for it to be slowly fossilized, what about these tree stumps? And this is just one location in Joggins Nova Scotia where we find these tree stumps, some of these long logs, that go through many many layers. Remember, if it was slow and gradual, this is wood that would rot. How could it, therefore, be preserved and fossilized as well as it is?
In this area we find upright fossil trees that penetrate 20 geological horizons scattered through 2 ½ thousand feet of rock layers, therefore, all those rock layers have to have been deposited before the trees rotted, not over millions and millions of years.
Well, let's wrap this up. Does it really matter anyway? And how does this relate to why do we believe in a young earth? Well, it's quite simple. First of all, Jesus said, "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me for he wrote of me, but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" And by the way, four verses before John 3:16 he said this, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" And Jesus told us about earthly things like Noah's flood.
Now, the Bible is quite clear that there was no nephesh or soulish life that died or shed blood prior to the fall. God said everything that he had made, "And behold it was very good." By the way, we quote that verse but what does God define goodness as? Jesus said, "There is none good but one alone, that is God." So when God declares his creation very good, he's measuring it against his own perfect holiness.
God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, and every tree, in which there is fruit for meat." The first food for everyone was vegetarianism. We weren't given permission to eat meat until after the flood. The plants were deliberately given for food. Plants don't have blood. Plants don't die. You put a dead plant on display in your living room but you don't put a dead animal. There is a distinct difference. The Bible refers to the life of the flesh is in the blood. It was the killing of the animal. That's why Cain's sacrifice was not acceptable. It was to be a lamb whose blood was shed, not vegetables, plants. They are different in God's sight. They were created for food, for a purpose.
We are told in Romans 8, "For the creature was made subject to vanity." The reason we have all this death and suffering in the world is because of man's rebellion, bringing corruption, the bondage of corruption, so "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." What does that mean? It means that if there was no death and bloodshed of soulish creatures before the fall, there could have been no fossils formed before the fall. Adam and Eve weren't walking on a fossil graveyard in the Garden of Eden. In fact, in Genesis 3:18 we're specifically told that thorns were a result of God's curse on the ground due to Adam's sin. That's a specific statement of Scripture that thorns resulted from the curse as a result of the fall, so this implies that there were no thorns before the fall and no fossil thorns in the ground prior to the creation of Adam and Eve.
So why is it that the geologists tell us that there are fossilized forms 400 million years before man came into existence? You can't biblically justify that on a specific statement of Scripture. So where is this leading? The implication is this: long ages of geology insist there were countless fossils, including thorns, buried in rock layers that formed over more than 500 millions of years even before man supposed evolved. That's what long ages geology says to us. So basically whose view is correct? That of God the Creator who was there who has told us what he did and it was confirmed by Jesus Christ himself. As we said, Jesus spoke about the flood. He confirmed that there was an event called the flood. Or the fallible scientists who were not there and say it took 500 million years for the fossils to form.
You see, this is why the flood is so important. If the biblical record is literally correct, then most of the fossils formed during the flood year and in 4,300 years ago as recorded in Scripture because of the genealogies and the time frame in Scripture, and therefore in one year we do away with 500+ million years of supposed geological history which means that those millions of years never existed, and therefore the earth is young. So why do we believe in a young earth? The first reason tonight is that because God tells us there was a flood that didn't produce the rock layers in millions of years to make the earth millions of years old. He produced those rock layers in one catastrophic year called the flood. So that wipes out all those millions of years and because we have this evidence both affirmed by Jesus and the Apostle Peter and confirmed in God's world by the billions of dead things buried in rock layers all over the earth, we can confidently say that we believe in a young earth because God's word tells us about the flood and God has shown the evidence in the world around us with the rock layers and the fossils in them.
So we'll stop at that point. You probably thought I was going to start in Genesis 1. Now we go there next week because, in fact, God uses three Genesis 6 through 9, virtually three or four chapters of Genesis on the flood, how many chapters on creation? One and a bit. The flood is pivotal. Jesus affirmed it, Peter taught it, and the evidence in God's world agrees with God's word thus wiping out the millions of years and declaring that the earth is young.
We've got time for a question or two before we close.
Well, I was born and raised in a Christian home and in a Bible-believing church and at that time, the church generally accepting the authority of the Scriptures, tried to grapple with the issue and the people accepted the gap theory. When I was 8 years of age, I came to know the Lord personally. A year later, I became interested in geology. So by the time I was a teenager, I was reading all the geology textbooks on the millions of years and reading the Scriptures and I couldn't see how the two could be fit together. It wasn't until my teenage years that my mother went to the local Christian bookstore and got a copy of "The Genesis Flood" by Whitcomb and Morris. When I read that book, it put the pieces of the puzzle together. It showed me how the rock layers and the fossils did fit with God's word but not by putting the millions of years in a gap between Genesis verse 1 and verse 2 of chapter 1. No, in accepting the record of the flood as explaining all the rock layers and the fossils and that was just a year, you didn't need the millions of years at all. So by the time I got to university, I was absolutely convinced about these issues.
Father, we stand in awe at your majesty when we delve int
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