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Science and Scripture; Geology and Genesis
In addition to topics from various disciplines of science, this study also deals with various subjects of the Bible including literal history, Premillennial Eschatology, the doctrines of Salvation and eternal security of the believer, the origins of angels and devils, the structure of the Temple, the divisions of the body, soul, and spirit, the structure of the three (3) heavens and the biblical systems of “sevens” (and other numbers). We also focus on the role of geology and the history of the lost rivers of the Garden of Eden and the future role of geology in prophecy. Consequently, this chapter is an overview of all the important topics covered in this book. It is our sincere hope that you will find this presentation both interesting and enlightening in your personal study of the Holy Bible.
For reference and amplification purposes, we have provided several off-site links within the narratives to information published elsewhere on the Internet. These links will open in a new browser window for your convenience. Although we may reference certain materials on an external site, that is not necessarily an endorsement of all the contents of that particular site. It is our sincere hope that you will find this presentation both interesting and enlightening in your personal study of the Holy Bible. If you have arrived at this particular page directly, you may want to review the material on the Introduction and Index Pages before proceeding.
The Necessary Dividing Lines Between Science and Faith and the Vanity of the Ongoing Creation vs. Evolution Debate
The physical world we live in is governed by specific "laws of nature" that are understood from experimentation and observation. Those laws and principles were established by the Lord God Himself, and He said they were very good (Gen 1:31). Understanding how these laws govern the order and workings of the physical universe is the pursuit of good science.
Readers should keep firmly in mind, however, that the Lord God, who established the observed physical laws of nature, is not Himself in subjection to those laws. The Bible is replete with instances where the Lord God has supernaturally intervened against the laws of physics and nature. Examples are the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), the turning back of the shadow of the sundial (2 Kings 20:9), the stopping of the earth's rotation for about 24 hours (Joshua 10:12-14), the virgin birth of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the miracles performed by Him when He was on the Earth. With God, nothing is impossible. The creative work of the seven days of Genesis is the first example of such Divine intervention in the Bible.
On the other hand, God sometimes uses the established natural laws and physical things of this world to accomplish His Divine purposes. Noah's flood is just one example:
"And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
(Gen 6:13 KJV)
Understanding these natural laws and principles can tell us how Noah's flood happened, what changes were precipitated in the order of all things on the Earth afterwards, and why direct physical evidence for the flood has not been found. The geophysics of Noah's flood will be discussed shortly as a part of this overall study.
The Creationism vs. Evolution Debate
Let us clearly state up front that the ongoing controversy of "Creation vs. Evolution" will never be resolved to the satisfaction of the secular scientific community. It cannot be resolved in a secular context regardless of the well-intended efforts of many on either side of the debate, or in between, because the current focus of the argument is emotionally and factually misdirected.
Armed with only the observations of current and historical geologic processes and other empirical data, and assuming natural history has been a continuum across billions of years, the present secular paradigms of geological and evolutionary theory are about the best belief system that the educated carnal mind of man could be expected to conceive and accept from the available physical evidence. Without the input of Biblical Authority, current theories are incomplete and many questions and mysteries remain unresolved, especially in relation to the origins of mankind.
Secular scientists are confident to point out scientific inaccuracies of the Bible because they have been led to view the Bible through the distorted lenses of traditional Biblical interpretation. What these scientists have successfully contradicted is traditionally-held Biblical interpretation; specifically, that all things were created out of nothing only about six thousand years ago, as espoused by Young Earth Creationists. However, when you get down to the solid core of what the Bible actually and truly says, Scripture compared to Scripture, there is no scientific evidence in existence today to refute what it actually says: All life, indeed an entire ancient world order, had already perished from the face of the Earth long before the seven days of Genesis. The rightly-divided Scriptures reveal that the seven days of Genesis are a REGENERATION of the heavens and earth, and that life on this planet has not been an actual continuum. Both the Bible and scientific data are most certainly in agreement on one very key point: This planet Earth is very, very old, and if God authored both the Word and Earth's geologic record, no real contradiction in fact can possibly exist. The fault MUST be interpretive on both sides.
Noah's flood and Divine creative intervention by a Holy God are not factored into the world's accepted origins model, because God can't be observed or quantified in a physical system or seen under a microscope, although the results of His work can be observed and quantified. For these reasons there is an unbridgeable gap between secular Empirical Science and the Christian faith in respect to both Creation and Noah's flood. Empirical Science is the pursuit of quantifiable facts and repeatable observations and is limited to the physical sphere of reality. From this purely physical perspective, the geological evidence appears to indicate that this planet and the life on it are the result of natural processes over time, and that the existence of all life forms and extinction must be credited to a natural process of random mutations and selection by nature itself. In such a paradigm of interpretation, the researcher's faith is in a theory or synthesis of theories which seems to best fit the observations.
The Christian, on the other hand, must also deal with spiritual things, which are just as real as physical things, but can only be seen through the agency of faith by the illumination of the Word of God. An honest born-again Christian (who is also a scientist) cannot be fully objective in an empirical perspective in dealing with the question of origins. The acceptance of God's Words on matters of original sin and supernatural agency hold us accountable to a higher interpretive system, a system which has no place of welcome in the institutional physical sciences of the world. No amount of compromise will be acceptable to either the Naturalist or Creationist extremes of each respective school. That being said, please do not misunderstand. A lot of good knowledge emerges from the practice of good science and the scientific method, and there are a lot of good Christians who are scientists. But when it comes to matters of origins and the things of God, natural science (without God) is as much out of its depth in providing the full truth as the Young Earth Creationist who ignores solid scientific data.
"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein.
Behind the scenes, however, the real driving issue between Naturalists and Creationists is not the existence of God. The real issue is whether all things were created by the Hebrew God of the Holy Bible and according to a designed purpose and specific time scale. The authority of the Bible and the moral issue of personal accountability to God are the hidden root of all contention in that debate.
Leaving behind the vanity and politics of the Creation/Evolution debate, those who have a well-grounded faith in the Scriptures and a good knowledge of the geological evidence (not theories) are in the better position to attain to a more perfect understanding of how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. It is only when we accept God and His Words as the final authority in ALL matters that we are able to perceive the complete picture and resolve the "6,000 years problem" at the heart of the controversy. It is our goal through these web pages to provide you some of those answers.
The Bible will ALWAYS have an answer, although we may not immediately see it. For example, it was not until a few centuries ago that the Geological sciences had progressed to the point where the previously-accepted 6,000 year age of the Earth, which was dogma in both the institutions of Church and science, began to be questioned by what was observed in the geological record. Some theologians of the day who were honest enough to realize the truth of those emerging observations and were steadfast, faithful, and committed to defending the Scriptures, were inspired to observe the possibility of a time "Gap" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 in the Creation narrative. That "Gap" had always been there - ever since the day Moses penned the book - but not many eyes were open to seeing or understanding it until the times were right. It was already there when the Scottish theologian, Thomas Chalmers, first noticed and began to preach it in the early 19th century. Up until then, the real age of the Earth was not a burning issue. But when the proper time came, the Word of God once again proved itself timely and relevant to the level of scientific understanding of the day.
This is "Progressive Revelation" and it continues even in our present age. Here is another example of Progressive Revelation in the book of Revelation:
"And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves."
(Revelation 11:9 KJV)
The question is how could people all over the world, in different nations and places, all "see" these dead bodies on a street in Jerusalem at the same time? Certainly from the time John wrote it in about 90 AD, up to about the middle of the 20th century, nobody could understand how that would be possible. But today, with global satellite Television and Internet Web Cams, anyone today can understand how it is possible. The point is this: It was a truth that was not revealed to mankind until it was TIME, even though that literal truth had always been there. The same holds true for the Genesis narrative. When it was time for man to learn about geology and Earth's natural history, and the full truth about origins, the qualifying verses and explanations were already there in the Genesis narratives and elsewhere in the Bible. It was TIME for those truths to unseal. It is now time for the Fundamental Christian Church to accept this paradigm shift.
This line of thinking is completely lost, of course, on the Young Earth "Creation Scientists" of today who preach that the original creation of ALL things occurred only 6,000 years ago. They also use Noah's flood as the catchall solution to explaining the Earth's sedimentary rocks. They claim that all the Earth's hydrocarbons (coal and oil) were made by Noah's flood. Some claim that most of the Earth's mountains were uplifted during Noah's flood. Some even claim that the Ice Age was precipitated by Noah's flood. Because their theology demands that all of the Earth's natural history be jammed into a narrow 6,000-year period, they are required to have the dinosaurs roaming the earth before the flood, side by side with mankind, and a few even have dinosaurs listed as part of the animals on Noah's Ark. The "Science" (see 1 Timothy 6:20) for support of this belief system is based mainly on appeals to anomalies, "what if" arguments, "water canopies" which defy the laws of physics, and a peculiar collection of urban legends. It is neither good science nor good Biblical interpretation.
I don't dispute that Noah's flood was real, because the Bible tells us that Noah's flood was real; shortly we will propose a flood model that addresses the real-world Scriptural and scientific requirements. The major point which must first be clearly understood is that both the Earth's geology and the Scriptures tell us that Noah's flood could NOT have been responsible for the earth's extensive sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous petrology. Freshman level knowledge of the Law of Superposition and field observations of Angular Unconformities in folded mountain sediments say otherwise. But more importantly, the Bible itself witnesses against these false claims. This is discussed more in depth in our section on Fossils and Sedimentary Rock.
The notions of alleged major tectonic and/or volcanic activity at work during Noah's flood are conclusively shown to be false by the low levels of SO4 ions (acid) in the ice layers of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which can be correlated to the time of the flood. That same Ice Sheet contains a wealth of Paleoclimate data which show that all of earth's geologic history cannot be compacted into a 6,000-year time frame, especially when its layer history can be dated and traced back over a period in excess of 100,000 years and cross verified with assorted proxy dating methods. The bottom line is this: We should not lightly dismiss the claims of Young Earth Creationists - we should violently discard them. Noah's flood is not a credible scapegoat to evade the tough technical and Scriptural issues.
The full truth about Creation and Noah's flood for a faithful Bible Believer must fit all the observations and verses, not just some of them. The full truth is only revealed by a prayerful examination of the EXACT wording of the Scriptures, through the Spirit of Truth, and faith in those words combined with some common sense and reasoning (Isaiah 1:18). It also takes courage and trust in the Lord's Words and His wisdom, not yours, to see how it all fits together, and standing against the majority position in such matters when necessary. You cannot disregard the full truth revealed by Genesis 1:2 and remain in denial, hiding your head in the sands of traditional interpretation.
Remember, in order to effectively witness to the lost, we must be able to demonstrate to the unsaved scientist or intellectual that one does not have to give up his/her brain to believe in Jesus and the Bible; to tell them that God published so that they would not perish. (Let the reader understand the play on the metaphor.) If you can deal with the facts on their turf and show them you know what you are talking about, then you have a better chance to convince them of their need for Jesus. An honest interpretation of the Scriptures and unprejudiced consideration of the geologic data will enable the Bible Believer to effectively witness.
Before getting down to the Scriptural and Scientific support for the "Gap Theory" and a focus on the key truths revealed in verse Genesis 1:2, we need to falsify some of the "Creation Science" of the "Young Earth" Creationists by clearly showing what Noah's flood was (and was NOT) responsible for in respect to the Earth's geologic record.
From: The Christian Geology Ministry
Continued in next post: