Science and origins
Religion and origins
In Six Days
Why 50 Scientists Choose
to Believe in Creation
Elaine Kennedy, geology
Dr. Kennedy is a research scientist at the Geoscience Research Institute in the United States. She holds a B.S. in geology from Phillips University, a B.S. in teaching sciences from Phillips University, an M.S. in geology from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Southern California. Dr. Kennedy’s current research involves a study of an unusual occurrence of dinosaur eggshell fragments in a storm surge deposit in Patagonia, Argentina.
As a geologist, I do not find much evidence for the existence of a fiat creation. I just have not found any geologic data that convinces me that God spoke and “it was.” [CMI Ed. Note: Of course, it's not possible to prove that any one-time event happened in the past. See Q&A Science and Faith and facts. In addition, since the Scriptures are true, then there was also a catastrophic global Flood which would have obliterated most geologic features prior to it. And there are many examples of geologic data that do support a global Flood; see Q&A Geology.] So it probably seems strange to some that I believe God created this world in six literal days. After all, scientists base their conclusions on cold, hard facts; they trust their five senses to be the primary source of absolute truth. Unfortunately, the truth about earth history is not so easily discerned. Processes that deposited most of the rock layers cannot be duplicated in the laboratory because the events were too large and complex to be modelled. Geologists use modern analogues to explain a large number of ancient deposits, but many unique deposits cannot be explained by the processes occurring today. These enigmatic units raise many questions related to earth history, and multiple hypotheses have been proposed to resolve the issues, including some that are consistent with the biblical account of our world.
As a Christian, I find abundant evidence for the existence of a Creator [CMI Ed. Note: see Q&A Design Features and Information Theory] and the greatest evidence is found in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is my experience and it is from this platform of faith that I look at the geologic data. From this vantage point, I see evidence that is consistent with the worldwide Flood as it is described in Genesis. The reality of this event resolves for me many areas of conflict between the interpretations of the geologic community and the biblical account of creation. The key to this resolution is the differentiation between data and the current geological interpretations. [CMI Ed. Note: see Missing? or misinterpreted?]
It took me several years to learn how to differentiate between data and interpretation. This is such an elementary idea that one would think identifying data would be easy; however, so much of the information we receive is merely the researchers’ interpretations without data or alternative views, and even scientists often use interpretations and conclusions to bolster arguments rather than going back to the data for support for ideas. For example, dates cited for the ages of various rocks and fossils are not data. Dates are not directly measured but consist of calculations based on assumptions describing very complex systems. The actual data used by the chronologists is the distribution of the radioactive isotopes in crystals or rocks. [CMI Ed. Note: see Q&A Radiometric dating.] Factors that control these distributions are very complex and poorly understood. Those of us who believe in a short chronology and a six-day creation do not have an adequate explanation for radiometric dates; however, we do know that much research needs to be done and we know multiple interpretations of the distributions concerning the processes involved are possible. [CMI Ed. Note: Since this book has been written, a group of creation scientists has been researching adequate explanations for radiometric dates and uncovering the assumptions behind the various methods. See RATE group reveals exciting breakthroughs!]. Despite this possibility, dates are often used to refute biblical chronologies as though no questions or arguments oppose these conclusions.
When interpreting scientific data, I use the same techniques and approaches as my colleagues, but my assumptions come from my biblical paradigm. I often recognize conflicts; indeed, the geologic literature reminds me daily that conflict exists, and many aspects of the geologic record are difficult to explain to the satisfaction of my colleagues or myself. This does not mean that they are correct and I am wrong, but rather that much research needs to be done. This attitude seems an impossible bias to some, but I find my faith leaves me open to alternatives, while I continually question the interpretations in my work because of my science.
Most of the data in the geologic record can be interpreted to support either a long (millions of years) or a short (a few thousand years) history for life on earth. [CMI Ed. Note: See Q&A Geology.] Some data is better explained from the long-age perspective and other data fits better in a short period [CMI Ed. Note: see The earth: how old does it look?] . Once I realized that the data alone does not mandate either belief system, I found spiritual resolution between the conflicting interpretations of science and the ideas presented in Scripture. I believe that our Creator revealed to us in the Bible an honest and accurate account of our origins and weekly I rejoice in the memorial of that six-day event. [CMI Ed. Note: See Eisegesis: A Genesis virus.] Spiritual peace concerning these issues is important for all Christians working in science, but it is not one that comes easily.
Although I have been a Christian since I was seven years of age, it was not until I was in the midst of my geologic education that I decided to include my geologic assumptions within a biblical worldview. In effect, I realized that I consider God’s revelation more valid than human reason, because I experience His recreative power in my life daily.