Regarding The Readers’ Forum letter by H.J. Howe (“Geology and the Bible,” July EXPLORER): Geoscientists should equally be aware of certain highlights in the Bible.
My submission is that the bible does not have any errors or contradictions. Rather it is the interpretation made by the reader, depending on the reader’s belief and mind set. In my estimation, the Bible is the bedrock of truth.
The account of the creation of the earth (Genesis 1: 1-31) maps out the sequence for the Earth’s and man’s creation. During the third day of creation (Genesis 1: 16-18), the greater light (sun) was created to rule the day, while the lesser light (moon) was created to rule the night. Assumption can be made that the celestial clock was used in reference to Earth’s creation from day one. God created man in His own image – male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27). In human genome we have chromosome pairs.
We also talk today of “seed time” and harvest. The seeds are planted (Genesis 1:11), and thereafter the plants will come. The farmer today must plant seeds to reap a bountiful harvest once all nurturing conditions are fulfilled. The sun being created on the third day after the seeds are planted fulfills an important condition. God the creator is sovereign. In Isaiah 55: 8-9, God’s way are not man’s way. His ways are equally right (Hosea 14:9).
In my estimation, Nicolas Steno is the “father of stratigraphy.” He was a Bible believing creationist. His principles of stratigraphy are still being used in exploration today. He equally did not find any contradictions in the Bible.
When the heavens and the earth were created, the earth was covered by water. The Earth’s land mass appeared later. In the geologic record, the separation of Gondwana and Laurasia in the Triassic is informative.
Plate tectonics is used today to explain the sea floor spreading at oceanic ridges. Examples are the mid-Atlantic ridge and the ridges in the Pacific Ocean. The plates formed collide, and the older plate is subducted under the younger ones. Mountain chains, volcanoes, island arcs and earthquakes are formed by this process.
An earthquake in Matthew 28:2 rolled away the big stone and an angel sat on the stone. This rolling away of the stone revealed the empty tomb. This is the bedrock of Christianity – Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection promised salvation to all mankind once one believes. Therefore earthquakes are sometimes beneficial.
The biggest bible account of global deluge is the Noah’s flooding (Genesis 7:17). In the geologic record, we have the Austin Chalk (Upper Cretaceous), the white cliffs of Dover, Chalk group (Late Cretaceous), the counterpart on the Normandy coast, the Niobrara chalk (Late Cretaceous), outcrops in the old country in West Africa containing “Efun,” probably Cretaceous in age. Other Cretaceous outcrops in Australia, Gingin chalk, China’s Yixian formation, Asia, South America and in Europe have abundant marine fossils and dinosaurs fossils. These all point to mass extinctions all in the Cretaceous.
In conclusion, the recent water aquifer discovered in Namibia and Angola, considered dry areas, point to large amounts of water sources in areas hitherto devoid of water. Therefore large aquifers of water, exist in the earth’s crust still undiscovered. The bible does not have contradictions, rather it is an account of the earth’s creation and that of human beings, plants, mammals, birds, insects and all of creation. The evolution process is a progression from the original.
Victor F. Agbe-Davies
Mr. Howe states “there is no comparability between the Earth being created in seven days and the age of the earth being more than 4.6 billion years.” This statement really has at least two certain unknowns:
The premise that the present is the key to the past may be false, since to determine past processes one would have to assume that the rate of change has remained constant throughout the past, the original conditions are known and the process has not been altered by outside sources.
I personally feel these age-dating procedures will be modified and improved upon some day soon, just as some of our other pre-existing positions have been disproved, changed or modified. Approximately 60 years ago most earth scientists were certain that data correlated with a model that showed continents to be stable. Then came the notion of continental drift. Those scientists were accused of indulging in a pseudo science, yet today few dispute continental drift and plate tectonics.
We also had a time frame and a vision that denied the emergence of new land forms, such as those that appeared nearly overnight from beneath the sea. Other major changes occurred to this Earth in a very short period of time (days), such as the effect of Mount St. Helens, where hundreds of feet of sediments were deposited in a very short period, as well as the results and effects of some of our latest tsunamis.
Scientists expected that when landing the spacecraft on the moon it would sink into the dust. However, it was initially found that the moon’s dust was only about 12 inches deep – and later measurements discovered there were only infinitesimal amounts of dust, and that leads scientists to believe the moon is less than 10,000 years old.
It has been evidenced that the sun is proof for a young earth in that it is shrinking at a current rate of five feet per hour. At this rate the sun would have been twice its present radius one million years ago, and the sun would have torched the earth only 20 million years ago.
Another example of the earth’s young age is the magnetic field, since its overall strength has declined about 7 percent since 1829. That means just 20,000 years ago the field would have been too strong to support life on this earth – therefore, it is estimated that the earth is younger than 10,000 years.
Initially it was thought that stalactites were indicators of the “old earth” theory, and that has been found to be erroneous since it has been documented that some stalactites form quickly – several cubic inches a year.
A few of the other evidences for a young earth include: less erosion of the continents and less sediments in the oceans; less salt in sea water; carbon 14 found in coal and diamonds; scarcity of human fossils and soft tissue and blood cells found in dinosaur fossils.
On the other hand, the Holy Bible is a biblical and spiritual history – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). If a day was the same length as it is today, then on the third day “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit trees yielding fruit ...” (Genesis 1:11); and then the next day (fourth day), “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night ...” (Genesis 1:14), and “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also” (Genesis 1:16).
Based on this premise, I believe Mr. Howe would agree the trees and grass would have survived a day without light. Also keep in mind all trees and grass could have been completely destroyed by the first flood prior to the creation (Genesis 1:2) and prior to the creation of Adam and Eve. Additionally, fossils do not occur from a single to a complex form from the oldest to youngest (bottom to top).
Regarding Mr. Howe’s questions as to how many saints came out of their graves (Matthew 27: 52-53): They were all believers, followers of Christ, and there were not that many believers during that period of time ...
The answer to Mr. Howe’s question as to where the water that covered the earth at Noah’s time (Genesis 7:17-24) came from: It came from the hydraulic cycle, from ground water and from the vapor belt that is referred to in Genesis 1:7, “And God made the firmament (atmosphere), and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.” In other words, half of the water was in a vapor that encircled the earth, and that belt does not exist today.
Also, in response to Mr. Howe’s questioning as to how deep were the flood waters, it did not necessarily have to be 29,000 feet high as he suggested, if during that time period major geological, catastrophic events perhaps occurred. The Bible says the water depth was “fifteen cubits (more than 20 feet) upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered” (Genesis 7:20).
Mr. Howe stated that “the biggest conflict in geology and the Bible is evolution, and he states “believers reject natural selection of the survival of the fittest as cruel, wasteful and requiring millions of years to work.” Also, Howe says believers “fail to see that the real world life is cruel, wasteful and disorderly.” If one reads the Bible it is apparent that cruelty was evident and began right after Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:6-7) ... God put man on earth to manage it (Genesis 2:15), but being of a sinful nature man has been wasteful and disorderly throughout biblical times. In the Bible there are numerous examples of this. And in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.”
In my opinion Bible believers do not have a problem with scientists correlating rock strata with fossils and believing in micro-evolution; another issue for Mr. Howe is how and when the earth and man were created and that the Bible does not agree with the earth sciences. Earth science is an evolving science; yet the Bible is thousands of years old, has accurately predicted events that later occurred, has never been disproved and is predicting events that will occur that seemed impossible to believe just a few years ago, yet today with our technology we can understand how that could happen.
We can get so wrapped up in Darwinism and age dating that perhaps we are not open to other possibilities such as the Bible, imagination and of free inquiry.
Paul S. Horvath
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
A letter in the July EXPLORER by member H.J. Howe, commenting on contrasts and comparisons between the Bible and science, has once again sparked several comments – more than the EXPLORER has room to publish in its printed version. Two of the longer member comments – both of which appeared in abridged versions in the September EXPLORER – are shown here in their entirety.