October 24, 2020

Mike the Geologist: On the Grand Canyon and the Flood (9)

Grand Canyon National Park 2015 New Years Storm. NPS photo by Michael Quinn

Previous posts in the series:

• • •

The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon?
By Gregg Davidson, Joel Duff, David Elliott, Tim Helble, Carol Hill, Stephen Moshier, Wayne Ranney, Ralph Stearley, Bryan Tapp, Roger Wiens, and Ken Wolgemuth.

Chapter 19- River to Rim: Putting All the Pieces Together is a trip up the South Kaibab Trail; a very popular trail that is easy to access by a free shuttle service from Grand Canyon Village.  The Grand Canyon is the single best spot in the world to observe such a broad span of Earth’s history and the trail is one of the best places in the canyon to see its spectacular geology.  The trail is only 7 miles in length but you climb from the river level at elevation 2,400 feet to top of the rim at elevation 7,200 feet; a climb of 4,800 feet!  We start from the suspension bridge over the Colorado River (mile 0).

Standing at the bridge, you are surrounded by the Vishnu Schist, a rock riddled with pink bands of the Zoroaster Granite.

The schist contains altered minerals that form under high temperatures and pressures found only at great depths of 10 miles or more below the surface.  The rocks are also folded and contorted.  Rapid folding shatters rock, but the schist show little evidence of shattering; indicating it deformed very gradually. The crisscrossing granite contains large crystals which indicate slow rate of cooling.  Samples of the granite have been radiometrically dated to about 1.7 billion years old.  Flood geologists claim all the intrusion and folding took place between creation week and the flood; about 1,650 years.  From lab experiments, we know it takes a tremendous amount of time for large masses of heated and deeply buried rocks to cool.  If you quench molten rock in seawater; which is occurring right now at Mount Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaii, you get fine grained pillow basalts, not large crystalline granites.

The rocks along the next stretch of the South Kaibab Trail are the tilted rocks of the Grand Canyon Supergroup.  However, you can look up or down the river and see the Vishnu Schist terminating directly against the Tapeats Sandstone; the Supergroup layers are entirely absent.  The combined total of the Supergroup thickness is in excess of 12,000 feet.  The rest of the Grand Canyon strata have a combined thickness of 15,000 feet and were supposedly laid down in Noah’s Flood.  So all those sediments of the Supergroup would have to have been laid down, hardened into rock, faulted and tilted, and eroded away between creation week and the Flood in only 1,650 years without a cataclysmic event according to flood geologists.

According to flood geologists, death began after creation week and Genesis 1 states all major categories of modern organisms were present prior to the flood.  Therefore all major categories of life should be present in the fossils of the Supergroup rocks.  But there are only colonial algae and plankton; not a single fish, clam, snail, coral, tooth, or bone; so how did all but single-celled organisms escape preservation- over the entire planet?

Just before the trail emerges from the inner gorge the Great Unconformity is represented by contact between the Shinumo Quartzite and the Tapeats Sandstone.  However the contact here isn’t horizontal, it is nearly vertical.  There are angular blocks of the quartzite incorporated into the Tapeats Sandstone forming a conglomerate at its base.  These observations testify to a time when the Tapeats sea was encroaching onto land and eroding into the cliff face of the Shinumo Quartzite.  Blocks of quartzite periodically fell into the water and lodged in the soft sand.  The angular shape of the quartzite blocks means they were hard when they fell and we can see evidence of disrupted sand beneath some of the fallen blocks.  Eventually, the sea level rose high enough that the sand was deposited over the entire quartzite cliff.  Try and explain a vertical contact by some sort of single flood episode; of course you can’t.

At the top of the Tapeats Sandstone the slope suddenly becomes more gradual.  Coming up the trail, we pass the Tipoff and step onto the Tonto Platform- a broad ledge formed by the more easily eroded Bright Angel Shale, with the harder Muav Limestone forming the next set of cliffs.  This order; from sandstone to shale to limestone is a transition from shallow to deep water that we would expect from a gradually subsiding coastline.  Fossils found in these layers are typical of the Cambrian period found around the world.  Forty seven species of trilobites have been identified in the Tonto Group alone, but NONE of these species are found in any layer above or below the Tonto Group.

Trilobite in Bright Angel Shale

The fact that organisms such as trilobites appear and disappear  from the Grand Canyon fossil record in the same order as they do in strata around the world tells us that each layer represents a distinct time period in Earth’s history.  As ocean dwelling creatures, how did every variety of trilobite, large and small, stubby and elongated, get sorted into the same group of layers in the same sequence around the world, without a single case of mixing with a jawed fish.  And why don’t any trilobite occur elsewhere in the Canyon if all the layers were laid down in a single flood?  And why would lime mud and clay mud be segregated in a raging flood when they are both the same size particles?

At 3 miles into the hike the trail reaches a spot where normally the Muav Limestone and the Redwall Limestone are in contact.  Here, however, we encounter a purplish rock that occupies a channel carved into the top of the Muav Limestone.  The Temple Butte Formation is not found everywhere in the canyon.  It carries a unique assemblage of fossils characteristic of the Devonian period; placoderm fish and various corals.  This tells us that at some time after the Muav was formed and other sediments deposited on it; that erosion occurred that removed the other sediments and scoured channels in the solid rock of the Muav.  Flood geologists try to say the channels were carved into soft sediment and refilled within a few days.  But why would a unique set of organisms (all Devonian), including both bottom dwelling corals and free swimming placoderm fish, settle out exclusively into these channels and nowhere else?

The trail gets steep as we ascend the switchbacks in the Redwall Limestone.  A close look at the Redwall reveals it is made up of crinoids- marine animals that resemble flowers with tentacles and segmented stalks.  Since crinoids exist today we know that an expansive layer of crinoid remains, with virtually no intermixed sand or clay, indicates a vast, shallow, warm sea with submarine colonies of crinoids blanketing the sea floor.  The fanciful explanation of flood geologists that hundreds of feet of crinoid remains were transported across continents with pure upwelling hot calcite fluids (from the “fountains of the deep”) cementing them together with no admixture of silt or clay (no muddy water in a raging flood) is so ridiculous it would be funny if it were not put forth with all zeal as being “what the Bible says”.

Although not exposed on the trail, the Surprise Canyon formation often fills low spots on top of the Redwall.  The bottom layers of the Surprise Canyon often contain broken pieces of the Redwall limestone incorporated in the Surprise Canyon sediments as breccia.  You cannot form the breccia fragments from soft sediment; it has to be solid rock.  The other thing about the Surprise Canyon formation is that it contains all terrestrial fossils including trees.  Why no admixture of marine fossils if it is all being deposited in a raging flood?  YECs don’t like to talk about the Surprise Canyon formation, or if they mention it, leave out the abundant terrestrial fossils.

The trail then climbs up the Supai Group and the Hermit Formation.  The significance of these rocks are that they are alternating sandstone, shale, limestone, and conglomerates.  The myriad alternating layers are consistent with many cycles of rising and falling sea levels, interspersed with periods of deposition and erosion.  Some rock horizons in the Hermit Formation contain terrestrial fossils such as dragonfly wings and ferns.  The fact that terrestrial and marine fossils are not found intermingled within the same layers is clear evidence of distinct intervals of time when the region was sometime above sea level and sometime below it.

As we come up the trail to the Coconino Sandstone a sharp break is noted from the red beds below give way to the white Coconino above. We have already discussed the factors that geologists use to conclude the Coconino is a desert dune sand.  Obviously, flood geologists are going to dispute that as it completely invalidates their model.  To quote the book on page 203:

Does a dash of marine sediment make the whole deposit marine?  Some isolated zones of dolomite (limestone with lots of magnesium- typically a marine deposit), have been found in the Coconino Sandstone.  Flood geologists insist that the presence of dolomite means the whole system is marine.  Given the proximity of the Coconino dunes to an ancient sea, it would not be surprising for some the dune sands near the coastline to become cemented with dolomite.  However, to say the entire Coconino is marine because of a pocket of dolomite is like finding a Swede living in Tokyo and declaring that all Japanese must be of Nordic stock!

We now climb through the alternating limestone, shale, sandstone, and evaporites of the Toroweap and Kaibab Formations.  Again quoting from the book, page 203:

For flood geologists, the uppermost layers of the canyon bring us only through the first half of the flood.  Though the flood is said to have been extraordinarily violent, sediment layers repeatedly formed with little mixing of different types or sizes of particles.  Evaporites mysteriously formed under-water, and entire classes and orders of organisms waited until the second half of the flood to all be buried together.

Arriving at the rim at mile 7, must be a feeling of accomplishment.  Flood geology arguments often have a ring of plausibility to them when they are applied to one layer or one feature in isolation.  But they cannot piece all these individual arguments into one coherent whole with violating the natural processes they themselves say God used.  They have to reach for never-before-seen and mutually exclusive mechanisms.  I’ll give the book the last word, page 205:

All explanations by flood geologists are said to be based on the Bible.  So where in Scripture do we find references to Noah’s flood linked with earthquakes, shifting continents, rising mountains, tsunamis, and mineral-rich ocean vents?  The number of verses is much like the number of bird or dinosaur fossils found in the canyon.  The answer is zero.  Exactly how, then, is flood geology a biblical model?

• • •

NPS photo by Michael Quinn on Flickr. Creative Commons License


  1. senecagriggs says

    You have ever changing science [ think the debate over coffee ] or unchanging Scripture.

    You “pays your money and you takes your choice.”

    I vote Scripture

    • senecagriggs says

      “None” apologists like to make the case they quit going to church because of young earthers – like me.

      SCENARIO: You’ve died from old age, you’re standing before God your Maker and he asks you why you rejected Jesus Christ.

      Your reply: “It was due to people like Seneca.”

      Question: Will God accept that excuse? It was somebody else’s fault? Or will God not except “blame shifting” and hold each of His creatures responsible for the choices they made regarding the Lamb of God, slaughtered for the sins of the World that mankind might be in an eternal relationship with their creator.

      Personally, I don’t think God accepts “blame shifting.” Ezekiel 18

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > “None” apologists like to make the case they quit going to church because of young earthers – like me.

        This may be partly true. I certainly quit the Evangelical world, in part, due to being exhausted by YEC arguments [and I was always cautious to NOT bring it up, but it does overlap with real-world issues, so…].

        However, I honestly do not understand the direction of the rest of your argument. You are at least conflating rejecting Evangelicalism with rejecting Jesus Christ. In any case YEC was a minority issue in the constellation of reasons I departed. Most of the people I know are either Nones or Wayfarers, and I have never – not once – heard anyone say YEC was *the reason* they departed.

        On the other hand YEC is *part* of an intellectual rigidity that may be *the reason* for the exodus. The Church is not, IMNSHO, the place where people should feel squelched [hey, now, keep that conversation between the lines!].

        • I don’t think the distinctions matter. The Truth has spoken. To deny it is to deny truth. It’s what Everyone Knows.

          Shame. Thought we had better discussions than others.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          “You are at least conflating rejecting Evangelicalism with rejecting Jesus Christ.”

          Well, yes. As a non-Evangelical, I have spent the past forty years being annoyed by the Evangelical habit of using the word “Christian” when they mean “Evangelical.” At best, this is sloppy and carelessly rude. At worst it is a straightforward “F— You!” All the signs point toward the second meaning here.

      • Then why did Jesus say: “Mt 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Maybe everyone is responsible for their own choices; but those who cast stumbling blocks reap the consequences of that choice.

    • I reject YEC BECAUSE of Scripture.

      So, there’s that too.

    • Plus, “unchanging Scripture vs. ever-changing science” is nothing more than a slogan, nonsensical when actually considered.

      One might as well say, “unchanging Scripture vs. ever-changing mathematics.” You are not comparing like things. Although I did hear a YEC once say, “If the Bible said 2+2=5, I would go with Scripture, not arithmetic.” No, you wouldn’t, because no one can live that way in the real world.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > “unchanging Scripture vs. ever-changing science” is nothing more than a slogan


        The principles that allow planes to fly, trains to navigate curves, the transmission to move the automobile either forward or backwards, as well as radiation to image tumors/bone appear to be ruthlessly consistent.

        That is all Science. Because you are accustomed to something does not make in not Science. One cannot coherently accept Engineering and reject Science. The variability in science, such that there is, is micro- not macro-.

      • May as well say they reject Creation.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Although I did hear a YEC once say, “If the Bible said 2+2=5, I would go with Scripture, not arithmetic.” No, you wouldn’t, because no one can live that way in the real world.

        COMRADE O’BRIAN, INNER PARTY: How much is Two Plus Two?
        6079 SMITH W, OUTER PARTY: Four.
        COMRADE O’BRIAN, INNER PARTY: And if The Party decrees it is not Four but Five?


    • Do you even have a point, Seneca? I notice you did not engage even one of the arguements made by the book. How about the final quote of the post: “All explanations by flood geologists are said to be based on the Bible. So where in Scripture do we find references to Noah’s flood linked with earthquakes, shifting continents, rising mountains, tsunamis, and mineral-rich ocean vents? The number of verses is much like the number of bird or dinosaur fossils found in the canyon. The answer is zero. Exactly how, then, is flood geology a biblical model?” So answer me; exactly how, then, is flood geology a biblical model? You are not choosing Scripture over science, you are choosing nonsense passed off as pious devotion to one particular INTERPRETATION of Scripture over the obvious truth of nature ( a nature created by He who is Truth).

      • Adam Tauno Williams says


        If there are zero verses concerning the topic – can it be called an “interpretation”?

        Or is it more accurately an “extrapolation”?

        Aside: Why are extrapolations concerning issues such as poverty, architecture, urban design, the elderly, etc… not given heft equal to what YEC arguments receive? People make such extrapolations – and they are dismissed with a wave of a hand.

      • Seneca IMO just likes to stir things up but never truly engages the issues at hand. I feel sorry for him.

    • “ever changing science… unchanging Scripture”

      It’s always bizarre when the willingness to update your views and expand your understanding based on new evidence is considered a weakness. Equally bizarre that the unwillingness to ever change your mind about anything is considered a strength.

      • I have some Christian friends who are so “Biblical” that they can’t see the forest for the trees. YEC is a construct with not a whole lot of Biblical basis other than adding up numbers and saying, “Proof!” To say that absolves anyone from having to look at scientific data and seeing physical reality is nonsense.

    • –> “…unchanging Scripture.”

      That’s the trump card all fundamentalists play to say, “Can’t argue with me.”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        My writing partner once told me the absolutely scariest Christian Reconstructionist site he has ever come across is titled “GOD HATH SAID”.

    • –> “You have ever changing science [ think the debate over coffee ] or unchanging Scripture.”

      The fallacy here is defining it as “ever-changing science.” What it is, ACTUALLY, is ever-changing DISCOVERY! Science strives to unlock the mysteries of physical reality. True, some is theory that ends up being wrong, but some of it, you must admit, becomes TRUTH and very much points to REALITY.

    • I choose science.

    • What you are trusting is an interpretation of Genesis 1 that did not exist until the 1800s and was put together solely to support the (non-Biblical!) writings of Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh-Day Adventists. You know, the people who think it’s wrong to go to church on Sunday instead of Saturday.

    • So, which interpretation of the “unchanging Scriptures” WRT slavery do you hold?

      Are you *sure* that what you are convinced is “unchanging Scripture” isn’t just *one interpretation* of it – and an interpretation that may not derive from the way it was actually used when it was written?

    • You say “ever-changing science” and I’m pretty sure from context that you mean that science is never consistent, that everything could fly out the window at any moment. This is completely untrue. What usually happens is that we find that our current descriptions of phenomena are insufficiently detailed and we have to make them more complex to reflect reality.
      For example: we have known for a long time that the universe is composed of atoms. Initially, we thought that atoms could be reduced to protons, neutrons, and electrons and nothing else. Turns out that protons and neutrons are, in fact, reducible to other particles. Is this new? Sure. Is it a complete refutation of everything that came before? No, everything is still made of atoms; it simply reflects that the picture is more complex than we had at first thought. Similarly, we initially hypothesized that genes were the only important parts of DNA and everything in between them was mere filler to be ignored. It turns out that this “junk” DNA, among other things, may actually have an important role in the structure of chromosomes themselves, which in turn can have an effect on gene regulation and expression. This is generally what happens with scientific innovation–we just have to say that the picture is growing more complex, not that every bit of what we thought is wrong. Please keep that in mind to avoid unwitting slander.

    • You forgot to say, “End of line.”

  2. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > a trip up the South Kaibab Trail; a very popular trail that is easy to access

    I’ve done it; it was an amazing trip. Drove straight through from Grand Rapids, MI to the Canyon [Ugh!] to meet eleven complete strangers. In three days we hiked down the South Kaibab and back up Bright Angel. A trip I will never forget.

    • I SO want to do it. But I’m 64 and have had two knees replaced.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I was in Havasu Canyon a few years ago and met a guy who was ***94***. He said he does the hike every year. That is 8 miles to the camp site and a 18 mile round trip from the camp site through the inner canyon to the Colorado. And you have to do that round trip in a day, fjiording the river three times.

        If you’ve never seen Havasu Canyon – OMG! One of my favorite places in earth. Yo pass through a blistering desert of rock, hear the thunder of the falls, and turn the corner to a brilliant green forest. Like an experience right out of LOTR. You descned the lower falls, ~200ft, partly by chains bolted into the cliff, and the lower canyon is… Beyond words. The colors are magical.

        The Grand Canyon is HUGE, on a scale that cannot be appreciated from the rim. The vastness is overwhelming. Two canyons, such different places.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          The hike is brutal if you aren’t in really good shape. I did it about twenty years ago, on a family trip. The half that went in stayed at the lodge. My recollection was that you needed to make reservations a year in advance, but the prices were less outrageous than you would expect. I don’t know if that is still true. In any case, this has the profound advantage of providing a shower and hot meals and a bed that sure feels comfortable after hiking all day. We spent two nights, with the day in the middle devoted to a day trip partway up North Kaibab, so the muscles didn’t stiffen too much. For the hike back up, the trick is to be on the trail at first light to avoid the worst of the heat. You definitely want to go up South Kaibab, as that has water along the way so you don’t have to carry it all.

          The lodge was staffed was revoltingly fit twenty-somethings. I asked one how they worked it. They did a week on and a week off, jogging in and out each week. Ah, youth!

          I wouldn’t try the hike today, what with me being twenty years older than I was twenty years ago. If I absolutely had to, I would do the lodge routine but also carry ultralight camping gear and use the camp ground halfway up South Kaibab, making the trip in two days. Fortunately, with age comes wisdom. I’m not trying it.

  3. Are you going to answer me, Seneca? This troll-like behavior is why you got banned at Wartburg Watch, not your so-called “standing up for truth”.

    • Mike, Seneca is a troll IMO.

      • I keep hearing folks say Seneca is a troll, but I’ve found some of his comments on these boards more thoughtful than normal troll-ness. (Current post on this article an exception.)

        • He dips into troll territory when he won’t engage, discuss, or assume good will towards whoever he is talking to.

    • seneca griggs says

      Sorry, I’ve been gone Mike. I went to work and then played golf.
      Geology hypothesizes an explanation. The worldwide flood is not repeatable. Obviously, there is no one alive who was present, no one with a first hand view other than Noah – and sons – seen iin the writings of Moses
      [ author of the Pentateuch.]

      I don’t think one can honestly say that Old Testament Scripture DOES NOT speak of a worldwide flood.

      As for “science” you can keep abreast of the skullduggery thru retractionwatch.com which brings to light the ongoing dishonest/lies of so much “scientific research.’ [ BTW, it is NOT a Christian website.]

      I do not doubt I’m in the minority – but Scripture makes the case for a worldwide flood. On that basis I believe it to be true. The truth of Scripture is my a-priori.

      • “I don’t think one can honestly say that Old Testament Scripture DOES NOT speak of a worldwide flood.”

        How hard have you looked at the cases of both sides?

        • It might not be a matter of looking at evidence on both sides. Scriptures say there was a worldwide flood, and the Scriptures are the Word of God, ergo any evidence outside of scriptures is not evidence at all, but demonic lies meant to test our faiths.

          • “Scriptures say there was a worldwide flood…”

            Depends on what the word ‘eretz really means, doesn’t it Mr. Poe? 😉

      • Richard Hershberger says

        “As for “science” you can keep abreast of the skullduggery…”

        And yet here you are, communicating via electronic computer. A miracle! Or do you imagine there is no connection between technology and science?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          God Willed my fist to lash forward, then God Willed the pain and bleeding in your nose.
          No Connection Whatsoever.

      • Scripture makes no such case.

      • What did you shoot?

      • Mike the Geologist says

        “Sorry, I’ve been gone Mike. I went to work and then played golf.” Fine, a statement to the effect “I’ll be gone for a while” would have been a courtesy.
        “I don’t think one can honestly say that Old Testament Scripture DOES NOT speak of a worldwide flood.” An ancient Hebrew would have had no concept of a planet. If the land (eretz- translated as the earth) was flooded from horizon to horizon, then the whole land (earth) was flooded.
        “… but Scripture makes the case for a worldwide flood. On that basis I believe it to be true. The truth of Scripture is my a-priori.” Fair enough, I get that, and even respect it.
        “As for “science” you can keep abreast of the skullduggery thru retractionwatch.com which brings to light the ongoing dishonest/lies of so much “scientific research.’” And this is where you lose my respect. Saying you will make Scripture the priority based on your trust in God is one thing, but trying to have it both ways by saying “real science” would agree with my faith statement is DISHONEST. Either you are going to engage the science honestly, or you are going to set it aside because your trust in God is what is most important to you. If you say that based on Scripture the entire planet was under water but by some miracle it didn’t leave the evidence that would be expected, or you just don’t know why it didn’t leave the evidence- that is being honest and consistent. But to insist the manifest evidence doesn’t mean what it means is self-deception.

        • seneca griggs says

          I’m afraid I probably didn’t quite get your point Mike.

          I am, at times, quite dubious over scientific findings. Retraction watch just confirms that fallible and sinful humans are doing the “scientific research.”
          As I have an agenda [ the absolute truth of holy Scripture ] scientists have their varied agendas.

          Stuart said, “I take science.”

          And that was my initial point; “You pays your money and you makes your choice.”

          • When they retract special relativity and radiometric dating, THEN we can talk about “scientific controversy” over the age of the universe.

          • You offer a false choice. So I’ll choose the better of the two, hold my head high, and see you in the afterlife, lol. We can compare notes then.

          • Ronald Avra says

            Seneca, I believe Mike’s obvious point is that you have to respect the evidence, even if you chose to disagree with it. Facts are troublesome things; they interfere with out lives and put burrs in our nests. One of the few things that I can say with confidence is that I have lived about ninety-eight percent of my life with a burr in my nest.

      • The number of retractions in scientific writing is actually evidence of RELIABILITY. They mean that people are continuously testing and refining results and discarding the bad ones, even when the bad ones have managed to make it to publication, moving toward an ever-clearer understanding of reality. Science is constantly self-correcting; how many human endeavors can say the same? (I’m looking at you, theology.) The fact that you don’t understand this says only that you need to study more science and nothing more.

      • No it doesn’t. In fact, a belief in inerrancy demands one reject a worldwide flood.

        • William H. Martin Jr says

          Sorry doctor a world wide flood has nothing to do with it and one can reject what they want or hold on to what they want. Applied in the way of His love for us which in the end he overcomes as well as our sin because it is finished. A God so huge that can be before the foundation of the world and is I am through past present and future living out here and now with us is probably the most amazing thing except for the incredible love that becomes light and which no darkness can hide. If I speak a prayer then He knows as he He always has and if I don’t it never was. I keep trying to sneak up on Him and think it could be fun to try His sense of humor when we get there. You in?

          I wouldn’t place restrictions on anyone as for eating meat sacrificed to idols because I know it doesn’t have a place in me. If I know the YEC person is like this I will try to keep quiet and talk about love as I know it to be from him. What hardship is that for me. It isn’t a heavy burden and He certainly doesn’t need me to defend him and remove their heads from well you are getting the picture. At first I thought it funny but not so much now. I saw it when Charles became perturb and you said some things to him and I thought how odd with a handle like that. Using in fact as authoritative is exactly what others employ. I so tire of HUG saying that because I know him to have intellect that could actually profit me. Only I never get it and I kind of want it from you as well. Not this process of removing heads. Lord have mercy help us will ya.

          Dr I think and have seen brilliance from you and this is what I hunger for truth be told. Sometimes things are humorous but they do have a time of ending. Is it possible for you to put in your words the story of Noah and how God’s love can be expressed through it. No really I want to know other sides because I have a problem as to not seeing it so much. Other than He promised to never do this sort of thing again and I assume His heart broke. Not a great word assume. Please don’t take me like that as an ass even though one actually had to speak to someone in the OT. I’m trying to listen and I’m a stubborn man.

  4. A religionist and a scientist were both out walking their dogs at the same time, and just as they were passing each other a meteorite hit at their feet. Both arrived at the same time where St. Peter was sitting outside the Pearly Gate.

    “Hmm,” said Peter, “I don’t recall this ever happening before. It says here that both of you spent all of your allotted time on Earth arguing over how old the planet was. Well, your dogs can both go in but you two are going to have to take a course in Remedial Thinking 101 first. It’s fairly crowded so I’ll sign you two up as room mates.”

    • “My people have a law never to speak much of sizes or numbers to you others, not even to sorns. You do not understand, and it makes you do reverence to nothings and pass by what is really great. Rather tell me what Maleldil has done in Thulcandra.” – C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

  5. Except nobody argues about it anymore except for fundies and creationists. DEEP TIME is one of the most profound and conscious expanding conceptual breakthroughs in the history of human beings. Brought to you by people digging in the dirt. Nothings?

    • –> “Except nobody argues about it anymore except for fundies and creationists.”

      And unfortunately that’s the only glimpse of God some people see, which really shows nothing about God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

  6. senecagriggs says

    Genesis 7
    4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”

    • The word translated “earth” here can be read as “world”, “earth”, or “land”, depending on context. So, how much do you trust your translator?

    • See Mike the G’s comment above. Those who wrote this did so from the POV of Ancient Near East cosmology. They had no concept of the “world” or “globe” as we do. Their “world” or “earth” was essentially Mesopotamia, the Middle East. In that context they were incapable of writing about a global event.

      When you add to that the fact that the story of the flood is told with obvious and repeated exaggerations, your point doesn’t hold, no matter how many verses you quote.

      It’s a theological story, based on a well known and destructive natural event. It tells Israel truth about her God, herself, and her world.

    • Do you believe the part about the rebel angels who had sex with human women and created a race of evil giants? If you read the same story in Greek mythology would you believe it?

      The problem is not the Flood it’s how you view these ancient writings. Genesis is more like Greek mythology than it is like Scientific American magazine..

    • senecagriggs says

      “Every living creature I have ever made” appears to be totally comprehensive.”

      Again, you either believe Scripture here or you don’t. This is not a translation issue. No matter the translation of land – earth – world, if every living thing is destroyed it is comprehensive global destruction.

        • senecagriggs says

          And that, in a nutshell, is our dividing line C.M. Evangelicals pretty much take Scriptural words at face value.

          • And yet we don’t see a lot of evangelicals walking around with eyepatches and severed hands (Matt 5:30-31)…

            • Oops, Matt. 5:29-30. Accidentally bumped it forward a verse.

            • William H. Martin Jr says

              I shouldn’t have any hands or eyes Eeyore and Senecagriggs is not unintelligent. Aggravating to me at best but i’m not going there to hell with it.

          • I would heartily disagree and say that evangelicals take as “literal” that which serves their preconceived idea of what Scripture is like and what it’s for. Like it or not, no one takes Scripture at “face value.” Interpretation is always necessary.

            In this case your interpretation depends upon your presupposition that the stories in Gen 1-11 are a straightforward literal form of reporting that is designed to communicate factual accounts of events, etc., that conform to standards of historical and scientific accuracy that were not in play for millennia. I find that an untenable starting point.

            If God inspired Scripture to be written by Ancient Near Eastern people, then he did so by having them write as they thought and as they understood the world and according to the standards by which people communicated “truth” in those cultures.

            If you stop and think about it, it couldn’t be any other way.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            “Evangelicals pretty much take Scriptural words at face value.”

            No, you don’t. Literalism is the rhetorical stance you take, but you don’t actually follow it. Here is my standard example:

            “The Lord is my shepherd”

            Consider this tiny snippet of scripture. If we are to read it literally, the Lord is an actual literal shepherd: a guy who goes out into actual literal pastures and tends actual literal sheep. Furthermore, he is “my” shepherd. What can this possibly mean? It can’t mean that he tends me, because I am not an actual literal sheep. Nor was King David, if we take him to be the speaker in this snippet of text. He did, however, own sheep. Ah, now it makes sense! The Lord was a shepherd in the employ of King David.

            Is this how you understand Psalm 23? If not, why not? Why don’t you accept the plain Word of God at face value?

      • Here is the point I was trying to make earlier. It is fine to take the Scripture as truth. Jesus rose from the dead. I can’t offer any scientific evidence for that and I wouldn’t try. It is a faith claim and a miracle that occurred outside of the natural realm- a supernatural event. If you want to insist the flood is in the same category, that is to say, a supernatural event because the Bible says so then fine, I will respect that. What you cannot say is that the Flood (or the resurrection for that matter) was a natural event that followed the natural laws that God ordained the universe to follow and that we, through science have discerned. That is what the book and the series have been about. Step by step, line upon line, strata by strata, fossil by fossil, the YEC version of the flood is shown to be FALSE, not true, unreasonable and completely ad hoc. It cannot have been a NATURAL event. The version or interpretation you are standing on could ONLY have been supernatural. If you believe that, fine, I disagree, but respect your faith. Please respect my profession and do not accuse it of “skullduggery” because that could not be further from the truth.

        • William H. Martin Jr says

          Mike I am not YEC or am I standing totally with science at least not at this point. YEC is a rabbit trail at best because it is not here and now. I am, said on the 7th day I rested. I believe Him. It was finished then. Christ everything. He experiences the here and now as we do as he does then and does the future. Pretty awesome and can we really profess to understand something like that. I respect your thoughts and intellect and I marvel at how you look at things. I really have no time for such things. I am trying really, really hard just to love like He did when He was here. I am the man that would have drove the iron though His skin and hung him on that wood. I am the man he came for as the prostitute who cleaned his feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. This was a reminder to Him why He had come and clearly was respect as much as gratitude.

          I have cut stone and really big stones at that by hand with sledge and hammer. I am responsible for sin and why He had to come and do what He did. He Understood me at the cross. The Father understood Jesus and us at the cross something He always did but lived through it then and now and in the future. Pretty awesome at least I think so. I did a word study on understood and I got from it it means to stand under and hold up. Read the Psalm Father why have You forsaken me the way they named scriptures. I respect you Mike and I respect Senecagriggs and would not have him take back his staunchness. I’m okay with it.

          I seriously doubt that if we get another 100 years science will be the same as it is today. I’m okay with it because someone else can marvel at the way someone is looking at stuff. Mike aren’t you called for such things? We don’t create as much as we manipulate. Think that would mean man pushing things around. I have wondered that the trajectory of a huge asteroid might cause the events of Noah’s times in his world. I have wondered if something like that might have caused the world as we are currently experiencing it. I just don’t have the time to study such things and really I’m trying so hard just to love the way of Christ. I find that almost impossible for me but I won’t give up hope on the One who said I love you. Me the man with the hammer.

          I thank you for your time Mike really and I know you to be a good man as is Senecagriggs.

          Oh and Charles I am not doing 101 I do not want a room mate as it is to hard to sleep now. I would tell Paul no really loud. Kind of sounds like hell to me. I will not let my good be spoken of as bad as somethings are not as important as the reason He came. Graceful love overflowing with forgiveness like a waterfall and a high tide washing over us. Lord have mercy. He is my good always thank you our Father.

        • William H. Martin Jr says

          I’m sorry Mike you assume that the natural laws that God ordained are something that you yourself know and I would have to say what if those laws was Christ being resurrected just like we are going to be. If this was not so then our faith is in vain and worth nothing. What if it those laws included a man walking on water or multiplying food and or turning water to wine.

          Jesus was fully man and as I would say and maybe Miguel science needs to look at things through the lens of Christ. Now I cannot tell you how to do that. I am to busy trying ahhh you got it. What if our view of the natural laws of God changed to be how Christ himself looked at things. Maybe then the creation that cries out for the sons of man to take their place would be something that actually seems obtainable. How does a day turn into a 1000 years which really was a metaphor for a really long time in those days of the known world. IMHO which has known to have been wrong once but I was wrong about that.

      • So, in modern scientific terms, God destroyed every microbe, bacteria, amoeba and every other creature all the way through the entire phylogenetic tree? And that the survivors Noah saved included representatives from every living animate cell on earth?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “And then a(nother) Miracle Happened…”

        • William H. Martin Jr says

          Aww c’mon Chap you know that not to be true. Why would you throw such bait around. Also you know if God wanted to He could. The story says and God felt bad and promised not to ever do this again and sent a rainbow as a sign of this promise. Crocs and alligators with some turtles and other species seemed to make it. Or at least we think so at this point. The whole of it becomes a rabbit trail at best when we throw such bait around just as the other side does. Has nothing to do with love. Frankly I don’t care anymore I have to move on.

          • William, it’s not “bait” to try and show someone the logical outcome of their own argument.

            • I’m sorry Mike you know there was no microscopes back then and such a statement is totally out of context which makes it bait which is exactly what we want to share about as the other side is doing the same thing. Not love. Where in the whole of the story is God’s love. This is important no?

              • I know there were no microscopes back then, W. That’s my point.

                Seneca is asserting that the Bible says “every creature” would die (or a representative be saved) and that we must understand that in today’s terms of “every creature,” not in the terms that the author would have known.

                • William H. Martin Jr says

                  Chap I really wanted to know where in the story is God’s love and His nature. I’m having a difficult time seeing it and would like other perceptions of it. Maybe a follow up post examining this. This is how I want to go about things witnessing to that and letting that speak for itself. I cannot think of a better way to be of some use to others.

        • When it says “every living thing…”, even if you interpret it as being literally true, that doesn’t imply necessarily that it’s the “whole truth.” Perhaps it meant “every living thing” from *Noah’s point of view*, or that lived in *that land*, etc…

  7. I feel I need to comment, although the discussion has almost run its course and I don’t want to muddle things even more. Last week a Lutheran pastor friend of mine, out of the blue, did a post on FB like, “I don’t care how old the earth is . . . so shut up!” I have no idea what provoked that and he had no follow-up posts to clarify. No one was discussing the age of the earth on Fb. I have often heard the same words from my wife (without the “!”) and others.

    I could easily live in a world where the age of the earth was never discussed or the issue of the flood. The only exception is that I love geology (and am deeply grateful for Mike’s work here, both Mikes). In my love for geology, I have a great curiosity of how? How did those mountains get around me? How did that layer of sedimentary rock get turned into a vertical vein? I could go on and on. I’m not satisfied with the answer “God made it.” I want to know how God made it is the same way I want to know more about God himself.

    But I see the problem, where the age of the earth does matter and I will give some examples. I have taken my kids to church after church over the years as we moved from place to place. These churches was where a young earth was preached (at least in youth group) as the only truth. Any other way to think was seen as evil, or at least “worldly.” I wish I could go back and redo those years (I have four kid working on PhDs right now and these ideas have been greatly challenged). The problem is when they are challenged, by thinking people they start to see the fallacies of their previous views (as Mike has been so clear about in this series). Their thinking goes, “If I have been duped by the age of the earth things, then I may have been duped by the Jesus on the cross thing, or even the God thing.” The same reason I never told my kids that Santa Clause was real to avoid them feeling duped by their authority figures.

    Five years ago I had to leave my previous church, which I’ve shared here before when the head elder said that in his view, if you do not believe in a 6,000-old earth, you don’t believe the Bible. If you don’t believe the Bible, you can’t be a Christian (BTW, his son-in-law is a PhD geologist who was a Christian but left the church and became estranged to his wife’s family over this issue). This was immediately after I was the lone voice expressing that I believed in a 13-billion-year-old universe and a very old earth. The pastor immediately agreed with the elder. How could I serve as an elder in a church that says I could not be a real Christian? I was very comfortable being in chruch with young earth people, until that point.

    Another issue is epistemology but that topic is too complicated to even bring up here.

    So, at best, the topic should be presented as options. There must be candor and integrity in the presentation. For example, “kids (think of youth group here), there is the possibility that the earth is 6,000 years old, but to believe this you must make these assumptions (assumptions about scripture, about science, including how God created an earth with an illusion of being very old). Kids, you may also believe the earth is very old and here are the assumptions that come with hat view.” Then, you list the assumptions. But then you MUST assure the kids that neither view separates them from God’s love, God’s respect and the respect of other Christians. That they must too respect the scientists (secular and Christian) who teach an old universe, and respect those Christians who choose to believe in the young earth. Not that truth itself is relative, but the perception of truth by fallen people is never perfect.

    • Good post, Michael. Yes, it’s the stance “you must believe this or you’re not a Chrstian” that is the dangerous, unhealthy aspect of YECers.

      • William H. Martin Jr says

        I agree with the point you have made Rick and it was probably equally as dangerous to eat meat sacrificed to idols because if you did you weren’t a Christian. So now here is the quandary what do we do and where should we go for a benefit to others. This is where I would like to walk because I see it as a good path.

        Shoot staying on a good path me? Damn!!!!

  8. Well, the Flood was to destroy the offspring of the Watchers, but it apparently didn’t succeed, since the Israelites still had to deal with the Anakim and the Rephaim (who may have been the result of subsequent Genesis 6-like activities). 😉

  9. On the inconsistencies and contradictions in authoritative Scripture:


  10. Sounds like the spirit of Jack T. Chick is being channeled by some of the commenters.