Inspirational Readings for Your Daily Walk with God:

Christian Mediation

 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

 

CREATION SPEAKS

6. To Destroy the Earth

WHATEVER the conclusions regarding the origin of species, the attention is always directed to the geological question, as the rocks of the earth are generally regarded as showing abundant evidence for long ages of time in the past. But this common opinion does not harmonize with conditions that one actually finds in the rocks. On the contrary, the clearest revelation given by the rocks of the earth is the fact that the Flood was accompanied by violent wave action, beyond anything known in historic times. A few examples will illustrate the point.

The surest way to learn the nature or cause of any past action is to look for the effects of that action. Today we can tell quite definitely whether a great catastrophe has been caused by earthquake, fire, flood, tornado, tidal wave, or bombing. Each agency leaves its characteristic marks. So, in studying the nature of the rocks of the earth, we may learn much regarding the nature of the forces that produced them.

No person with ordinary powers of observation can study the rocks in their natural location without being forcibly impressed with the idea that present forces at work in the earth are in no way comparable to the forces that must have been at work in the past. The scattered and irregular distribution, the twisting and tilting, the stupendous carving and upheaval of the rock formations seen in any mountain region, point to violent action far surpassing anything that men know today. It is not surprising that the early investigators of the geological formations found in the story of the Flood an explanation for the conditions which they found in the earth.

Any candid consideration of the question of evolution must give attention to the alternative method, that of direct creation, and to the scientific aspect of the Genesis record. Although the theory of uniformity has been generally accepted, the fact remains that in the narrative of Genesis is another explanation which is worthy of careful study. In the present knowledge of scientific truth there are many facts that go to show that the scientific evidence for the Flood is much stronger than has commonly been acknowledged.

In the following paragraphs are given a few of the facts from geology which have led to the conclusion that forces acting in the past have not been operating in the “normal” manner in which we observe them acting today.

The great masses of stratified rocks appear to have been laid under conditions entirely different from those now prevailing in the ocean. Studies on the ocean floor reveal the fact that there is a world-wide distribution of soft ooze made up of the shells of microscopic plants and animals. Nowhere, except possibly in a few scattered localities, is there any large amount of sand, gravel, or clay mud with rich and varied animal life to produce anything having even the slightest resemblance to the great fossil beds found in the rocks.

Nor is there anything resembling the extensive deposits of shale, sandstone, limestone, and the like, which often have no appreciable amount of fossil material.

SUDDEN DEATH

There is nothing on earth today that in any degree approximates the vast array of animal life once existent. We live in a “zoologically impoverished world.” Whole orders of animals have been exterminated suddenly and without any known natural cause. Vast numbers of creatures from lowly shellfish to lordly mammals of the dry land have completely disappeared. The present life of the earth is meager and of comparatively minor significance when placed by the side of that which once populated the earth. Were all that now covers the face of the earth to be buried in sand and mud, there would be produced but a fraction of what we find in the rocks as remains of the past. It might be well to notice a few examples.

In many of the lower sedimentary rocks, the trilobites were the dominant animals. These creatures looked somewhat like sow bugs, but each had a prominent head shield. One authority informs us that they were so abundant that we can now piece together their life history, from the remains, almost as accurately as if we had them in the aquarium for observation. Many different kinds are known-crawling, swimming, etc. They ranged in size from one third of an inch to two feet in length.

Of all this vast array not a single specimen has remained alive. The whole group became exterminated suddenly. Many of them are found rolled tightly, as if they had died of suffocation. Another group, the echinoderms, including starfishes, sea urchins, and sand dollars, once contained a great number of strange forms now unknown. Among these the crinoids, or sea lilies, were the most abundant. They usually possessed stalks from six to eighteen inches in length, although one species had a stalk fifty feet long. Their broken stalks have accumulated into vast limestone many feet thick and extending for hundreds of miles. Here again is evidence of an animal occurring in abundance beyond anything now known, but suddenly buried.

In ancient times mollusks were among the most abundant of land and water life. This is shown by extensive shell beds among the rocks. The ammonites, which were coiled like goat horns, are found so commonly in some parts of Texas and Oklahoma that they are used to decorate the tops of stone walls and to place around flower beds. It is a puzzle, the geologists tell us, why these creatures died out so suddenly. Although once the most abundant of their kind, today they are represented only by the comparatively rare squids and cuttlefishes. Scientists can give no satisfactory explanation for their extermination.

EXTINCTION OF HIGHER ANIMALS

The fishes were once more abundant and varied than now. Of one group, the Scottish geologist Hugh Miller describes their remains in an area 100 miles across, where the rocks are strewed thick with them. They exhibit all evidences of violent death. The fins are contorted, the body curved about so that tail and head nearly touch. The spines stick out as in a fish that had died in convulsions.

Speaking of the red sandstone of Britain, Miller comments on the peculiar fact that they show an amazing abundance of another type of fish which disappeared suddenly and completely from the face of the earth.

The reptiles present one of the most interesting groups of ancient animals, with variety unknown in historic times. The most remarkable are those with mammal like teeth. They were active, running animals that resembled a modern wolf or marten. Others varied in size from that of a rat to that of a hippopotamus. The larger ones had a horny beak like that of a turtle. Certain extraordinary reptiles were as much as eight feet long, with a great frill of bony spikes along the back, each spike sometimes equipped with side spikes like yardarms on a ship’s mast. The dinosaurs themselves had almost as many different forms as all the land mammals together. They differed from one another as radically as a giraffe from a rat or an elephant from a lion.

Some dinosaurs were adapted to the open plains, and ran on two legs with the tail outstretched; others hopped like a kangaroo; others lived in the trees. The carnivorous types were very large, the huge tyrannosaurs standing with heads twenty feet in the air. These were provided with vicious claws on the forearms and huge teeth that were adapted for tearing flesh. 

Some of the vegetarian dinosaurs reached tremendous bulk, as great as thirty or forty tons. The sauropods were long-necked creatures that lived in the water like hippopotamuses and used their long necks to browse on the bottom or to lift the head to the surface for air.

Space forbids further mention of the many variations found among ancient reptiles. The problem of most particular interest is their sudden disappearance. Geologists speak of this phenomenon as “the most dramatic and in many respects the most puzzling event in the history of life on the earth.” There is no way, they declare, to explain how the dinosaurs became extinct.

The same story is repeated with the mammals. In ancient times the earth was populated by vast numbers of mammals that are now largely extinct. Whole series of strange animals roamed the earth, among which were the titanotheres, huge rhinoceroslike creatures. Hyracotheres, like horses; giant pigs; even-toed ungulates resembling modern deer, cattle, and antelopes. Great dogs, wolves, and the sabertoothed tiger; series of camels; and in the water many queer forms, including the zeuglodon, a whale like creature seventy-five feet long. Literally hundreds of extinct types are to be found in the rocks, and one has only to visit a collection in one of our large museums to be filled with astonishment at the remnants of ancient life that he sees there displayed. Like the extermination of the reptiles, that of the mammals is a profound puzzle to the geologist, an unexplained mystery.

Osborn lists the following groups of animals that were suddenly exterminated from North America: camels, llamas, horses, tapirs, mastodons, elephants, giant sloths, and the Glyptotherium, a huge creature like an armadillo. Speaking of this extinction he says:

“It would be natural to assume that extinction was directly brought about by the profound changes of temperature and moisture, accompanied by changes in the fauna and flora consequent upon the great geologic and physiographic changes of glacial times; but this simple explanation is beset with many difficulties and contradictions.” - H. F. Osborn, The Age of Mammals, page 500.

BURIED MAMMOTHS

Sir Henry Howorth in his voluminous work, The Mammoth and the Flood, has given an almost exhaustive discussion of the distribution of the bones of mammoths and other large animals. The following paragraphs will give a brief synopsis of his main points, which are derived from the reports of fifty or more travelers, besides official reports of the Russian government.

The area with which most of his discussion is concerned begins from the Arctic islands north of Russia and reaches eastward across the Bering Strait into Alaska. The great Siberian plain is low and flat, and the mud is frozen most of the year. When the summer sun melts the mud banks along the rivers, the bones of gigantic animals appear, and sometimes whole bodies, not decayed.

One of the New Siberian Islands, a small one of fifty square miles, is composed almost entirely of fossil bones. One traveler counted ten elephant tusks sticking out of the ground in half a mile, and this condition was general. Besides the elephant bones, there were bones of rhinoceroses, horses, bison, oxen, and sheep. The soil of other islands is said to be composed of practically nothing except the partly decayed bones of animals.

The whole coast line of Siberia is said to have elephant remains embedded in the strata. Wherever rivers have cut through the muddy deposits, these same bones appear in enormous quantities for miles back from the shore.

Along the Yenisei River, says one writer, the mammoth bones which fall out of the cliffs are so numerous that on decomposing they form a substance known as bone glue. The natives living along these rivers make a business of collecting the ivory. Since A. D. 900 a regular ivory trade has been carried on with China, Arabia, and Europe. The number of tusks thus brought into the market must have been tremendous, for in one period of twenty years, Howorth says, not less than 20,000 elephant tusks were taken from one locality alone to the European markets.

Along some of the Siberian rivers the sides and bottoms are lined with bones and teeth. Where the Lena empties into the Arctic the bones pile up like driftwood. In some places in that region the ground seems to consist almost entirely of mammoth bones.

The number of animals involved in these great burial grounds is enormous. Some have estimated that more than 5,000,000 mammoths alone met their death in a great cataclysm, to say nothing of the other animals. One explorer reports that there is not in all Russia, from the Don as far as the Chukotsk peninsula, next to Alaska, a river or stream on the banks of which or in the beds of which there have not been found bones of elephants or other large animals.

The suddenness with which some of these animals were overtaken by disaster is indicated by the fact that in the northern part, where the ground is always frozen, the red meat is preserved, and is readily devoured by dogs. Whole bodies are found in perfect condition, with the eyes retaining the glassy stare of sudden death, and identifiable vegetation in the stomachs.

Almost identical conditions prevail in Alaska. Gold-dredging machines excavate the bones of lions, elephants, mastodons, horses, bears, bison, moose, and other animals.

Similar evidences of sudden death are found in other parts of the world, although the warmer climates do not allow such a degree of preservation. Remains of elephants have been found in abundance around the North Sea.

In Tuscany, Italy, a chalk cliff is filled with the bones of elephants, hippotamuses, rhinoceroses, hyenas, and other animals. In Sicily hippopotamus bones have been quarried for making charcoal for the refining of sugar. In one heap of these bones, it was estimated, 2,000 creatures were represented. Similar conditions are described from America, India, New Zealand, and other regions.

The picture of the extermination of the ancient life types is impressive when viewed as a whole. Let us imagine the whole series of fossiliferous rocks piled in a single column, as they are named in popular geology.

The geologist, interpreting his findings on the theory of uniformity, is puzzled to find that Cambrian trilobites should disappear suddenly, that echinoderms which were so abundant in paleozoic “times,” should so nearly disappear from modern waters, that mollusks, so abundant in Paleozoic and Mesozoic waters, should be so comparatively scarce today, that great groups of Paleozoic fishes should disappear suddenly, that Mesozoic reptiles and Cenozoic mammals should come to extinction without any apparent reason.

One who is inclined toward the catastrophic interpretation of geology, and who regards the geologic column as a series of deposits representing, the burial of the ancient life zones of the earth by an overwhelming catastrophe, finds in these sudden exterminations exactly what he might expect. In other words, if the ancient world with its array of life arranged in various zones in the sea and on land were to be overtaken by a great flood of waters, there would be formed a succession of fossil-bearing rocks, each with its peculiar types of life, and with comparatively little mingling of one type with another. The puzzle that the geologists find so confusing becomes clear as a picture when studied in the light of the Scripture statement: "I will destroy them with the earth.” Genesis 6: 13.

ANCIENT FORESTS

What has been said of animal life is equally true of plant life. The great forests of the so-called “coal age” have gone completely. They are represented today by a few small and comparatively insignificant types of vegetation. Coal beds underlie hundreds of thousands of square miles of the United States alone, to say nothing of other countries. These beds are from a few inches to several feet in thickness. When it is remembered that one foot of coal requires at least ten feet of vegetation, some idea may be obtained of the immense mass of material involved. Nowhere on earth, unless it be in the dense tropical jungles, is there enough plant growth to supply this amount of vegetable matter.

If one were suddenly transported to the ancient forests from which the coal beds came, the surroundings would be so different from the world of the present that it would in some cases be hard to believe that one were not on another planet.

One of the first plants to be seen would be the giant club mosses rising straight and slender for 100 feet or more. The crown of branches at the top ends in spore-bearing cones a foot or more long. The seal trees have long leaves that leave their imprint like a seal on the stem when they drop away. The Cordaites attain a height of more than 100 feet, and have grass like leaves. Treelike seed ferns are abundant, and some of them bear seeds as large as hens’ eggs. The giant rush, or horsetail, grows to a height of sixty feet, and resembles in many ways the modern scouring rushes, except for its immense size. On the ground innumerable creeping liverworts and mosses form a green carpet. Such is the fantastic scenery as one views this ancient “swamp forest.”

But not all the forest is of this type, for on the uplands are trees much like present species, such as poplars, walnuts, magnolias, pines, oaks, breadfruit, figs, cinnamon, and scores of temperate zone and semitropical trees.

The most remarkable fact regarding these ancient forests is the evidence for a world-wide uniform climate, as shown by both plant and animal remains. Dinosaurs were abundant in New England, and in Alberta as far north as latitude 58 degrees. Palms and alligators were common as far north as the Dakotas. Cycads, magnolias, and figs grew in Alaska. The ancient world was vastly different in many respects from that with which we are familiar.

FORMATION OF COAL

Geologists have pictured the swamp forests as vast peat bogs that covered much of the earth’s surface for millions of years. The slow accumulation of the leaves and stems of the bog plants is given as explanation for the formation of a coal bed. Certain data support the idea that these forests were, without doubt, growing under conditions of abundant soil moisture and humidity. The structure of the ferns and club mosses would lead to this conclusion. But other facts present serious difficulties to the peat bog theory of the formation of coal. For one, there is no single bog or swamp in existence today that could supply enough peat to make a large coal seam.

The difference between this situation and that which existed in the ancient swamp forests is noticeable as we compare them. Coal beds vary from a fraction of an inch up to 30 or 40 feet, and sometimes these figures are greatly exceeded. It requires from 5 to 15 feet of vegetable matter to make a foot of coal. This means that from 100 to 300 feet of material must have accumulated (on the average) in each coal field. These coal fields cover more than 300,000 square miles in the United States alone. The coal fields of the world contain, according to careful estimates, more than seven million million tons of coal.

It was once thought that the plants forming the coal were swept together from great distances, but few hold that opinion today. The fact that little mineral matter is found mixed with the coal forbids such an explanation. On the other hand, the nature of the material between the coal beds shows evidence of strong currents. Upright trees are found in coal beds, in some cases extending through several layers of coal and their intervening sandstone. One case mentioned by Lyell was that of a trunk with a diameter of more than

5 feet, some 60 feet long, and attending at an angle of about 40 degrees through more than 10 distinct beds. Sometimes trees are standing head downward. All of these facts indicate that the matter was not accumulated in a normal manner.

The coal beds present a remarkable alternation of coal beds and interbedded shales and other rocks. In some mines such alternations occur from 75 to more than 100 times. Huxley estimated the length of the carboniferous period at about 6,000,000 years. “How is it that during all this time, the particular plants growing in these localities remained constantly the same, not only unchanged in general aspect, but practically unchanged even in genera and species? 

Whenever in our modern world a region of spruce or pine forests is completely burned over and destroyed, the next growth is almost certain to be some entirely different kind of vegetation, such as maple or birch. In Denmark, three or four such successive forests have occupied given localities within quite modern times, while in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as Dawson has shown, a complete change of this character has occurred over and over again within a single generation. But strange to say, during all these uncounted millions of years (?) of the ‘Coal period,’ while the country was being ‘desolated again and again, either universally or partially, by the returning waters, and over the large submerged areas kept desolate for many centuries or series of centuries again and again’ (Dana, Manual, page 666), the vegetation continued ever the same, the very same plants being found in the upper beds as in the lower, and practically identical the whole world around, wherever the Carboniferous rocks have been discovered, whether in North America, Europe, Asia, South Africa, or South America. Surely this is a very strange inconsistency which this theory compels us to believe in.” - George McCready Price, The New Geology, pages 461, 462.

VIOLENT WATER ACTION

The nature of the sedimentary rocks indicates violent water action far surpassing anything ever observed in our day. For example, the deeper sediments in the Gulf region show evidence of immense volumes of water sweeping northwestward across a small sea. The higher deposits indicate a reversal of the currents with great waves carrying sand, gravel, and clay southeastward across the deeper sediments. These currents were of such vast extent as to sweep the materials forward for several hundred miles. Finally, on top of all the rest, fine sands and mud occur along the whole Gulf coast from Louisiana nearly to Mexico. These appear to have been deposited by a series of rivers of such volume that their flood plains coalesced into one extensive delta not less than three or four hundred miles across. There simply is no such phenomenon known anywhere in the world today.

The following, from a well-known authority, is suggestive:

“Floods of water were poured down the drainage lines, filled the valley, and spread out over the flat coastal plain. Cobbles up to six or eight inches in diameter were transported a hundred miles or more, were rounded, and left as evidence of the force and size of the floods. A widespread alluvial apron of sand and gravel was spread over the land. In Mexico boulders a foot or more in diameter and transported many miles from their source are common. Some of the quartz pebbles can be traced back to outcrops in the mountains of west Texas and New Mexico. The only hypothesis adequate to explain the widespread sheet of gravel is floods of water. The floods were terrific.” E. H. Sellards, Geology of Texas, volume 1, Page 784.

Conditions similar to these are described over and over again by Sellards, and from practically every depth of deposit. They indicate continued violence of stream and wave action from beginning to end of the geological series. The original mass of material, he informs us, to form only the upper, or “Cenozoic” deposits, was equal to a mountain mass 300 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 5,000 feet high.

Other formations in Texas, as well as throughout the Midwest, speak of the same extensive action far beyond anything known in modern times.

The Uvalde gravels are scattered over the upland surfaces of much of central and southern Texas. They consist of gravel composed almost entirely of rounded flint cobbles with pieces of limestone and quartz and flint pebbles set in a chalky matrix. Most of the cobbles are less than an inch in diameter, but many measure up to 3 or even 6 inches. The material is well assorted and distinctly cross bedded. The thickness of the gravel deposits ranges from a very thin covering to 25 or 30 feet. The average thickness is probably from 15 to 20 feet.

Exhibits in museums illustrate the violence which must have accompanied their deposition. In the Harvard Museum a slab 6 x 10 feet taken from the Agate Spring fossil quarry near Harrison, Nebraska, contains the bones of Diceratheriumi Cooki, a type of rhinoceros, all jumbled together in a mass and filled with soft sandstone. They are so thickly packed and in such a confused mass that they never could have been left in that condition by mere decay of the bodies. No ordinary decay could have left the bones in such a jumble, and no amount of breakage could have pulled the bodies apart so thoroughly. They must have decayed and then have been washed together in masses.

From the La Brea tar pits, Los Angeles, has been taken one of the most remarkable collections of prehistoric animals in the world. Among them are imperial elephants, larger than any now living, mastodons, wolves, saber-toothed tigers, horses, camels, bears, sloths, cats, and many kinds of smaller animals and birds. These bones are not in anything like natural position, but are piled in jumbled masses, and many of them are badly crushed and broken, as if they had been churned together.

In the “High Plains” of the United States the deposits appear to be the remnants of a great fluviatile plain, laid down by overloaded streams after the manner of alluvial fans, and “braided.” These deposits lie in sand and gravel bands having crooked or winding courses with a west-east direction, and extending to depths of as much as 500 feet before the underlying shale or limestone rock is reached. The appearance indicates that great erosive forces carved the general contour of the rocks, after which vast streams of water, overloaded with sediment, built up the alluvial plains above the eroded surface. Normal conditions would not produce this situation. Violent water action is required to spread this sand and gravel so widely and so thickly.

EXTENSIVE SEDIMENTS

Violence beyond anything now known is not the only problem presented by geological studies. In Oklahoma the Arbuckle limestone is a massive dolomite 6,000 or more feet thick. One measurement near Ardmore gave 7,992 feet. This is only one example of the problem presented to the geologists by the massive limestone. Here is a mass of solid lime rock thousands of feet thick and hundreds of square miles in extent. It is not of reef origin, nor can it be explained by any known process now going on in the oceans.

Its origin is a mystery, as is that of the great majority of the lime formations. In the Spring Mountains of southern Nevada 16,000 feet of sediments are reported, the upper 5,000 feet being mostly limestone. In other localities thousands of feet of limestone are found.

Uniformitarian geology fails to account for these. Geologists speak of a time of limestone making on a great scale, when the Niagaran series of rocks was deposited. Certain members of this series stretched southwestward for nearly 1,000 miles, to Wisconsin and thence across Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and western Tennessee. In Manitoba and the region west of Hudson Bay indications are that probably this series extended to the Arctic shores and islands.

The Niagaran series of limestone and several others in the eastern United States are largely made up of corals, and in some places distinct coral reefs may be observed. Next above this great limestone formation comes one of mixed marls, shales, gypsum, and rock salt. This series, the Salina, is remarkable for thick conglomerates of quartz pebbles which extend along the Appalachian line to Tennessee.

Other immense limestone formations extend over great stretches of country. The Onondaga limestone is found from the Hudson River into Michigan, and, like the Niagaran, is largely of coral origin. In other places, as in the Appalachians, great beds of gravel can be traced for a hundred miles or more. These are composed of coarse materials laid down in thick masses where they first emerged from the lands from which they were washed, but becoming thinner and finer as they spread out into the shallow sea in which they were deposited.

Vulcanism on a tremendous scale has taken place in the past. The Columbia lava plateau occupies 50,000 square miles of territory in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada. Here lava flows occur to depths of several thousand feet. The gorge of the Snake River on the border of Oregon and Idaho is cut through more than a mile of solid lava. The Deccan plateau of India covers a comparable area. In the Lake Superior region are 20,000 cubic miles of material that was forced up from below in a molten or semi-molten state. 

The great masses of the Coast Ranges of Western America, the bulk of the Andes, and the scores of several other great mountain areas such as the Sierra Nevadas, the Rockies, and the Alps either originated from magmas or contain much material that has been plastic or molten. Vulcanism seems to have accompanied mountain making everywhere on a large scale. Today it is mild and feeble compared with its ancient manifestations.

Glaciation in ancient times has been much greater and more extensive than at present. In all the high mountains of the world one may find evidences of large-scale glaciation. In Yosemite the ancient Lyell and Merced glaciers were about 2,000 feet in thickness and flowed as far as the foot of EI Capitan, approximately thirty miles from the present ice on the summit of the Sierras and 8,000 feet lower. In the Alps the ice streams extended as much as forty miles beyond their present positions and not less than 4,000 feet lower. Similar conditions existed in mountain regions elsewhere.

As to so-called “continental glaciation,” while some may not regard continental “glaciers” as true glaciers, yet there is abundant proof that great thickness of ice accumulated over parts of North America and Europe, and that in some parts of the ice-covered area there was sufficient movement to leave definite markings in the rocks. This widespread accumulation of ice appears to have followed the period in which the sedimentary rocks were deposited. When viewed in their broader aspects, these facts form a striking corollary with the Flood theory of geology, and demand catastrophic rather than uniformitarian interpretation.

Earth movements on such a scale as to stagger the imagination seem to have been involved in the building of the great mountain systems of the earth. Several facts along this line may be fitted together into a picture that presents a view of a catastrophe so universal in scope and so immense in its action that some of the obvious records from the rocks appear to be too much to believe.

Not only have all mountain regions been greatly deformed, but wherever any sediment is cut through by erosion, there appears beneath it an intensely deformed substructure. Geologists recognize that the mountain belts of the earth have been acted upon by great movements that were world-wide in extent, and affected all continents at the same time. This applies to the submerged areas as well, for disturbed mountain masses disappear beneath the water and reappear sometimes hundreds of miles away.

These deformations consist of folds and faults, and give evidence of terrific forces which today are unknown. Many theories have been advanced to account for them, but none are satisfactory. The one that comes nearest to explaining these earth movements is the theory that they were carried by irregular rotational action of the earth as a whole. In this we find a suggestive idea, one which fits in well with the Flood theory of geology.

CONTINUE