The Bible and the Geologic Column
Since this article was written, we have written a small book, with lots of pictures to show what happened. The book, The Bible and Geology, is available for sale in our DVD section. "Data and Creation" is available on our website.
Yes we are convinced the data points to a very young creation – definitely less than 10,000 years.
We are equally convinced that neither the Bible nor the geologic record supports the standard creation model which indicates that Noah’s Deluge is responsible for the majority of the geologic column.
Although Noah’s Flood gets a lot of Bible time, it is not the only catastrophe of tremendous proportions mentioned in the Bible. There are two others: the catastrophe related to the Tower of Babel and, several generations later, the division of the earth at the time of Peleg. Neither of these were quiet events. Neither of these were local events. More explanation of all of these events can be found in our Genesis Study.
Thus, the Bible divides early history into four major eras, separated by three catastrophes. Interestingly, so does the geologic column. One of the results of Barry's research, and one which he did not expect and which left him stunned for awhile, is that when the mathematical correction is done, via redshift data, correcting atomic time to orbital time, the three catastrophes in the Bible match exactly with the three major divisions in the geologic record. This has been charted, for easy reference, in "Time, Life and Man."
No matter which model a geologist or other person chooses, the general consensus is that radioactive elements were not on the surface of the earth, or even in the crust, at its beginning – whenever that beginning was. They were deeper, under the crust. And they were decaying. The word ‘decay’ here is not at all like biological decay, but rather a term for the process undergone by these heavy elements as they shoot off particles and rays (radiation) and gradually lose enough mass to become another element. This is the way uranium becomes lead, for instance.
This radioactive decay releases a lot of heat. Thus, no matter how hot or cool the surface of the earth was in its beginning, it was heating up inside from the heat released by radio decay.
In Genesis 2, we read something interesting. We read that before there was man on earth, the entire surface of the supercontinent was watered by springs or steam (choose your translation) seeping up from the surface of the ground. In fact, by the time man was here, Eden was the origin of the headwaters of four rivers. Water does not move upward naturally. It goes down. If it is seeping or spurting upward, it is under pressure, and pressure means heat.
Thus we have even some biblical evidence for something a number of ancient legends also mention: that the massive flood waters which inundated the earth were scalding hot. This is an important point. In Genesis 7:11, we read that ALL the fountains, or springs, of the deep exploded upwards at the same time. This indicates a critical point had been reached under the earth’s surface. For several thousand years the building heat had been driving water out of the minerals and crystal structure of the early earth’s inner parts. These waters would have been collecting in giant subterranean aquifers. They had originally watered the earth, and possibly helped warm it. Then, at the time of Noah, we read that these waters could finally be contained no longer and they burst forth. The Hebrew verb used in Genesis 7:11 indicates a violent action.
There is a good chance that the trigger event for this bursting forth was an asteroid bombardment, as indicated in another article – A Brief Earth History. But whatever triggered this explosion, there are several important points to be noted about it, geologically. First, the waters did not explode everywhere uniformly. They exploded out of weakened areas in the crust, probably mostly along the lines of the later boundaries of the continents. Both the Bible and geology indicate there was one supercontinent at first. In Genesis 1:9, we read that God caused the waters to be gathered into ONE place and the dry ground appeared. That means it was in the ‘other’ place – as one massive continent. This continent would not break up until later. Both the Bible and standard geology agree on this point, although the timing is, of course, greatly different in the two different stories.
But in this one supercontinent there were massive rock sections, called cratons. The waters did not burst through them, but much more around them. So there would have been fracture lines along the weaker areas of the earth’s crust through which these scalding waters would have burst.
We also read that it rained. Most people seem to ignore the fact that the springs burst forth and concentrate on the rain, presuming a vapor canopy which collapsed as being the major source of the waters. There may have been some kind of a vapor canopy over the early earth, but it would have been much higher than the clouds we see today if life on earth was to have survived. The majority of the rain which fell was from the waters which had burst forth, carrying with them massive amounts of pulverized debris from under the crust. They would have burst forth to a height greater than even our volcanoes of today. This would have produced a hot rain full of rocks and mud as well as remains of any vegetation and biological life which were in the vicinity of where the waters burst out. In other words, this was a rain that was like no other before, and there has been none other like it since.
The standard creation model, accepted by the major creation organizations and the many who follow their teachings, says that the majority of the geologic column was created by this event. We strongly disagree. This massive outpouring of rock and mud and water would have left a unique signature in the geologic record, but would not have fossilized anything, let alone fragile creatures such as the jellyfish and small fish which we see in the rocks. This Deluge would have burned, pulverized, and otherwise destroyed everything in its way.
Do we find evidence of this in the rocks on earth? Yes, we do. It is under the fossils. It is a strange enough series of layers that standard geologists are not sure what to do about it. Because of all the rocks and boulders tossed this way and that and then cemented in a limestone-like matrix, they presume that the earth must have once been covered in glaciers, which can move large rocks long distances. So they call this layer the ‘snowball earth’ layer. But the problem they have with this layer is that the matrix the rocks are bound in can only be the result of warm water activity. How thick is this layer of rocks and boulders? In the areas all around the earth where we find it, it can be as much as 300 meters or more thick.
Directly on top of this layer is a much thicker series of sediments which are black – carbon-filled. They are also high in kerogen, which is the decayed remnant of flesh and muscle fiber. This layer is as thick as 2.5 kilometers in areas around the world. We believe this is the evidence of Noah’s Flood and the devastation which destroyed the entire earth of that time. A more detailed description of the layers and the evidence can be found in the Snowball Earth? article.
Further evidence for this can be found in other parts of our solar system. Mars also experienced internal heating from radioactive materials under its crust and also was flooded when its waters burst forth. We see the remains of the water-carved landscape, but little, if any, water is left for us to examine as Mars does not have either the mass or the atmosphere to have held the water vapors. Venus appears to have also undergone a similar process. It is also quite possible that the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is the remains of a planet and its moon which simply did not survive the explosion of heated waters, and burst apart themselves. For more information here, please see A Brief Stellar History.
So what about the fossils? And why are they in the apparent order that they are in the geologic column? The standard model says this is evidence for the evolution of one kind of animal or plant into another as variation occurred. Again, we disagree. First of all, a bit of a note about the biology of this scenario. Evolution rests upon four legs: time, chance, mutations, and natural selection. Neither by themselves nor in concert can they support evolution, and a brief explanation of that is in the Genesis Study section on Evolution. Two excellent books treating this subject are Walter ReMine’s Biotic Message and John Sanford’s Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome.
Back to the Flood. We read in the Bible that Noah took on board only a breeding pair of most animals and birds and either seven individuals or seven pairs of some. This would seem to cause a great genetic disadvantage. It probably did, compared with the genetic variations present before the Flood. Nevertheless, these individuals, chosen by God (and not selected or gathered by Noah, if you check your Bible), contained a great deal of genetic variability within them. Recent research has shown, by the way, how little we understand genetics. We can map genes, but we are still not sure how they all behave and it is becoming more apparent, as well, that heredity has to do with a lot more than our genes. So we have to leave the arguments alone regarding this – we do not have enough knowledge. We do know, however, that the breeding pairs coming off the Ark gave rise to the populations of animals we have today.
So what got fossilized, and when?
Very often people seem to think that after the Flood everything was quiet and still in the new world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The bursting up of the waters had created some vast voids under the surface of the earth, into which sections of the earth collapsed, forming the depths into which the flood waters later receded. Great river valleys would have formed, one of which may well have been along what later became the Atlantic Ocean when the continents divided. After Noah and his family and zoo disembarked, geologic activity was still going on. The world was marshy, steamy, wet, and rather nasty in a lot of areas. The areas which were lower were definitely marshy and warm. And they were also geologically unsettled. Around the edges of the supercontinent and the margins of the river valleys, great landslides and mudslides were still occurring as a rumbling earth came to terms with its new self. And so at the bottom of the major fossiliferous strata we see the Cambrian Explosion – the massive amounts of marine animals buried in the shallow inland and margin waters in the years immediately following the Flood. As wildlife began to proliferate in the marshy areas, we begin to see evidence of them, also, above these Cambrian fossils. The algae, ferns, mosses, and insects which were quite comfortable in these warm, marshy areas were often buried by the continuing slides brought about by a rumbling earth.
It is not uncommon for mockers to challenge with “Where were the humans then? Why don’t we see mammals in these strata?” Humans and mammals and any land-based animals would have preferred land instead of marshes. They would have stayed as far away as possible from the geologically active areas and up on the more stable areas associated with the cratons.
And so the years passed and the people and animals and plants proliferated. But the earth had not quit heating up inside. Rocks were melting from the ongoing nuclear decay occurring deep under the crust. When rocks melt, they increase in volume. Pressure was again building.
If we go into Genesis 11:1-9, we read about the Tower of Babel incident. Incident? No, as it turns out, it was remembered by people all over the world as a major catastrophe. The Bible gives a hint of this several ways. First, verse 5 says “the Lord came down…”. In verse 7 we read the language of the people was confused, and in verse 8, that they were scattered all over the face of the earth. In verse 9 it is repeated that the Lord confused the language of the whole earth. Let’s take a look at these hints one at a time.
The Lord came down. What does that mean? We read a number of times in the Old Testament about the Lord talking with men, and there is no catastrophe associated with the speaking itself. But, ‘the Lord came down’ seems to mean something different. If we look at Psalm 18, written hundreds of years later, we may get a further clue. Here, from the New International Version (used because of its clear English) we get the following from Psalm 18:7-15:
Although it is clear that this is poetic, it is rather violent and the references are to something definitely out of the ordinary. This happens when ‘the Lord came down.’ The ONLY time in the Bible we read that the Lord ‘came down,’ apart from during the Exodus, is at the Tower of Babel time. The first six lines of the above Psalm indicate strong volcanic activity. But the lines regarding the actual ‘coming down’ indicate something very much out of the ordinary – not your average thunder and lightning storm. There is a reference to ‘great bolts of lightning’, and at the same time what must have been giant tsunamis if ‘the valleys of the sea were laid bare’ (this happens when the waters pull back far from the shore just before a tsunami hits). The foundations of the earth were also ‘laid bare’. This is a massive catastrophe which hits earth not only from below (volcanic activity), but from above. What happened above?
There is building evidence that the entire universe we live in is not held together by gravity, but rather is the result of giant plasma filaments. For more information on this, please see the article, “Was This How God Did It?” If this is true, then the early earth and, indeed, all the early planets, had giant plasma ‘tails’ extending out from them away from the sun. As the earth passed through the tail of Venus, or as Mars or Jupiter passed through earth’s tail, giant electric exchanges would have taken place. Ancient legends talk about the thunderbolts of Zeus, which are definitely not simple lightning strikes. Is this what David is referring to in Psalm 18, as a memory of a more ancient time of devastation?
If so, then we have an explanation for the languages being altered in far more than the way teenagers and technocrats are able to do it today. We know that electric shocks change the brain’s activity. We know that language centers are affected. This thundering from heaven David mentions and the great lightning bolts which scattered His enemies would certainly have been enough to alter language centers in the brains of the humans affected. And if they had refused to disperse from the Babel area before this catastrophe, they all would have been affected.
In Australia, the Aborigines have a legend which associates mass migration, confusion of languages and coal deposits as occurring at the same time. Why coal deposits? The giant tsunamis would have washed massive amounts of vegetation into a massive down-faulted series of crustal blocks not only in Australia but the largest of which extends from central Europe across to the eastern United States. Remember, these were not separated yet. So we have yet another bit of evidence for the violence of the Babel catastrophe.
The world was different after this. The marshy areas in large part dried up. The initial effects would have been a lot of wind and the carbon dioxide content from the massive volcanic outbursts was significantly higher. Geologically, we see this immediately after something called the Permian Extinction Event. The fossils we find after this break in the geologic record are primarily palms, pines, and the reptiles, including the giant dinosaurs and some small mammals. We also see fossils of a few birds. These were the life forms which predominated in the lower-lying geologically active areas. Whereas the large dinosaurs, for instance, would have been quite comfortable in many of the areas in the world between the Flood and Babel, after Babel, they would have been confined to the vast river valleys, especially near the coastlines. Why? Because they needed both the warmth from the underground springs and the vast amounts of vegetation these areas provided.
These areas, however, were also the areas where geologic activity was continuing. And so above the Paleozoic fossils of the time between the Flood and Babel, we find the Mesozoic fossils of the time after Babel. These are the fossils of plants and animals which were, in the main, inhabiting these large river valleys. Earthquakes, slides, and vast windstorms sweeping sands over some areas buried those organisms which did so well in this environment: the spore-bearing palms and pines and the water-based reptiles are found in these strata. There are a few small mammals and some other organisms, but this was not a place men would want to live, or where most of the mammals would prefer. Thus, we do not find their fossils in these strata.
Over two hundred years go by. The earth’s surface appears to settle down a bit and we start to find birds in the geologic column – evidence they were nesting and seeking food in areas they had previously avoided.
But the earth was still heating inside. Molten rock, ten percent greater in volume than it was when it was solid, was again beginning to exert pressure on the crust.
In our time there are things that happen that we are sure no one will ever forget. The massive destruction of human life by Nazi Germany in the death camps. Living witnesses, incredible photographs, survivors with tattoos on their wrists and stories that strain credulity of the horrors suffered and only occasionally survived. The world, surely, could never forget. But this is only decades later. World War II veterans are dying and there are people who deny the Holocaust ever happened. We have not only forgotten in less than a hundred years, some have denied it. In Great Britain the news reports state it can no longer be mentioned in history lessons.
There have been a number of incredible happenings through history that those alive at the time were sure men for all time could never forget. But they were forgotten and sometimes denied. There was an event like that in the Bible which was so horrific and lasted for such a long time – probably a hundred to two hundred years, that people KNEW the world would never forget. And so the incident is only referred to in the Bible in one line, in Genesis 10:25: He was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided.
But people have forgotten. And, worse yet, there are those who look at the word ‘eretz’, which is the same word used for ‘earth’ in Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”), and deny it means "that which is firm," or land mass. But the Peleg event was so enormous that Peleg was named, as was his brother Joktan, with names which related to that time. Joktan’s sons’ names reflected that time as well. In Peleg’s time the great continent was divided.
There was a trigger event for which we still have evidence in the world’s surface. There was a massive asteroid bombardment, striking, as the earth turned, in serial fashion from northern Europe, across the Atlantic to the North American continent. A number of large craters remain as silent witnesses to this event. These hits were what was needed to fracture a section of the earth’s crust and start an unzipping of the continent. We call that place where the earth unzipped the Atlantic Ocean now, and underneath, running along its middle, is the Atlantic Rift, with magma still seeping out. This event also caused a further axis tilt to the earth which would result, before the unzipping was even finished in a massive ice age. Interestingly, a ten percent increase in volume of rocks under the crust when they melted results in an eighteen percent increase in circumference. The Atlantic Ocean, close to the equator is about 4700 miles across. The earth had expanded by about 18%.
Is there any memory in the Bible or even in legends about this time? Certainly there is in the Bible. Joktan’s youngest son was named Jobab. Jobab’s great (or great-great) uncle was Uz. When we look at the book of Job in the Bible, we find it opening with “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job…” In the very ancient Alexandrian Septuagint (this is the LXX which was translated – unlike the others of the name ‘Septuagint’ – about 300 years before Christ, from paleo-Hebrew to classical Greek by Hebrew scholars), Job dies at a little less than 250 years old. This puts him at exactly the time indicated by the lifespans of Peleg’s time. There is little doubt that Jobab is Job. And when we look at the book of Job, paying attention to mentions of catastrophic events, we see what was happening during this time the land masses were dividing.
In the book of Job we see references to the effects of asteroid impacts in 9:5-7, volcanism and rifting in 28:9 and 14:18, tsunamis and storms in 12:15 and 27:21, the ice age in 38:29-30. A more complete description can be found here.
In the geologic column this time is referred to as the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) extinction event. The lush river valleys were wiped out by the giant tsunamis and earth movements. The dinosaurs became essentially extinct, although a few may have survived here and there if legends are correct. Storm surges came one upon another in rapid succession as the axis tilt and other geologic events disrupted the weather patterns around the world. These storm surges resulted in the giant ice caps in the northern and southern poles – ice caps which became an ice age extending down over Europe and into the Middle East, as mentioned in Job. It was a time of massive dying out. How could the world ever forget?
But it has. Despite the mute evidence of the Atlantic Rift, the craters, and the book of Job itself, men began to forget. They became astonished, in later centuries, that the Eastern and Western Hemispheres seemed to fit, across the Atlantic, like pieces of a giant puzzle. They were amazed that priests in the ancient American civilizations wore garments similar to priests in the ancient Middle East. Intrigued that some words were similar, that both sides of the Atlantic built pyramids and had intricate mathematical systems, all sorts of fantastic theories have mushroomed from the fertile ground of men’s imaginations.
This time after the division of the continents is called the Cenozoic, or Recent Era. The few fossils we find are in areas where volcanic or geologic activity buried plants and unsuspecting animals and, sometimes, people. We see the plants which could survive the temperature extremes – the deciduous plants with hard coated seeds. We see the mammals survive, with their stable body temperatures.
There is strong evidence accumulated by the government astronomer for South Australia, George Dodwell (working in the first half of the 20th century) that there was a correction in the earth’s axis tilt in 2345 BC (possibly by another series of asteroid hits). This event coincided with the first intermediate period in Egypt and is marked around the world by changes in cultures and governments. This would be just before the birth of Abraham. The ice receded, bringing an end to the ice age and conditions throughout the earth became a bit more moderate and stable.
Today people look at the geologic column and the evolutionists and secular science declare it gives evidence for evolution, pointing out that the marine animals come first and the entire series is topped off by the mammals. The major Christian creation organizations look at the Bible and see Noah’s Flood getting all the press and then declare the entire geologic column is a result of the Flood. They are spending incredible amounts of time and energy trying to find ways in which the fossils might be separated by Flood waters to give the order we see in the geologic column today.
But when we follow the data, both in the Bible and in the geologic record, we find that there are four major eras divided by three catastrophes in both places, as shown here. When evidence supplied by the measured changes in atomic ‘constants’ and the red shift itself are taken into account, the mathematical correction shows that the geologic column matches exactly in time with the events described in the Bible. We shouldn’t be afraid to follow the data. God is Creator. He has not lied in His creation.
For technical material on all this, please see Barry's work in Research Papers
Helen Setterfield, September 10, 2007; some editing in February, 2012