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Creation  Volume 21Issue 4 Cover

Creation 21(4):16–20
September 1999

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Geology and the young earth

Answering those ‘Bible-believing’ bibliosceptics

by

sedimentary layers

Photo: David Swincer

The hand-written note pinned to some photocopied pages was typical. ‘I wonder if you could help with a geological problem?’ The writer, who identified himself as a Bible-believing Christian, was confused. He had just encountered some tired old geological arguments attacking the straightforward biblical account of earth history—i.e., denying a recent creation and a global Flood on the basis of ‘geological evidences’.

A number of books in the last 25 years have stirred up these so-called ‘geological problems’ and undermined faith in the Bible for many people. Sadly, the ones which cause most confusion and distress are those written by professing ‘Bible-believers’.1,2,3,4

A curriculum writer with a Christian home school association wrote to us that he was ‘pretty well wiped out’ after reading these books.5 He wondered if we ‘might have answers to what these gentlemen say.’ We certainly have! Another person who had read some of them said, ‘I may have been … overlooking information that cast doubts upon the recent creation model.’

Because the ‘recent creation model’ he refers to is simply what the Bible plainly says, he has really been caused to doubt the Bible.

Even if we can’t answer some of the apparent problems now, we can be confident that there is an answer.

The unsuspecting readers of such books, thinking they are getting something from ‘Bible-believing Christians’, expect encouragement and faith-building material. They are generally unprepared for the explosive mixture of heretical theology, poor science and vehement attacks on Bible-believers.

For example, the author Alan Hayward claims to be a ‘Bible-believing Christian’. However, he is a unitarian, which means he denies the tri-unity of God. The deity of Christ is clearly taught in the New Testament (e.g. John 1:1–14, 5:18; Titus 2:13; for more information, see our detailed Q&A pages Is Jesus Christ really God? and Is one God really three persons?), yet Hayward denies this.6 Clearly, ‘Bible-believing’ Hayward chooses to reinterpret those parts of the New Testament with which he disagrees.

He works the same way with the Old Testament. Instead of accepting the clear teaching of Genesis, he reinterprets the passages to fit his billion-year preference for the age of the earth.7

In so doing, of course, he introduces confusion and problems that destabilise readers. We are warned to beware of teachers who vandalise the clear teaching of Scripture to fit with their philosophy (Colossians 2:8).

Photo: Y. Robertson

varves

Superficially, Hayward amasses an impressive battery of arguments as to why the Bible can’t mean what it says. Perhaps the single most important lesson from his book is his strategy itself. Each of his attacks on the Word of God elevates some other ‘authority’, whether derived from geology, astronomy, secular history or theology, above the Bible. This approach is as old as the Garden of Eden.

True knowledge begins with the Bible (Proverbs 1:7, Psalms 119:160; 138:2), and that is where we need to start. God was there when He created the world. He knows everything, does not tell lies, and does not make mistakes. It is from the Bible that we learn that the world is ‘young’ (see also The earth: how old does it look?).

If the Bible taught that the world was millions of years old,8 we would believe that. However, the concept of millions of years of death and suffering contradicts the Word of God, and destroys the foundation of the Gospel of Christ.

Many people find it difficult to accept that scientific investigation should start with the Bible. They think we can answer the question about the age of the earth by coming to the evidence with an ‘open mind’. In fact, no one has an open mind. Evidence does not interpret itself; rather, everyone views the world through a belief framework. Unfortunately, as humans we never have all the information. So, when we start from the evidence, we can never be sure our conclusions are right—like in a classic ‘whodunnit’, just one piece of information can change the whole picture. By contrast, when we start from the Word of God, we can be sure that what it says is true.

Even if we can't answer some of the apparent problems now, we can be confident that there is an answer. We may not find out about the answer on this side of eternity, but that would simply be because we did not have all the information necessary to come to the right conclusion. On the other hand, ongoing research may reveal the answer—and it often has, as we will see.

On first appearance, the evidence that Hayward assembles seems so overwhelming. But the problems he describes are easily answered—indeed many answers were known before he wrote his book. Either he was unaware of the answers, or he deliberately ignored them. Let’s look at some of the ‘science’ he presents so persuasively.

Varves

Courtesy of Steve Austin

Divers examine a broken tree stump embedded upright on the bottom of Spirit Lake below Mt St Helens volcano. This stump was initially part of an immense floating log ‘mat’ and illustrates how the logs sank root end first.

A common argument against the Bible involves varves—rock formations with alternating layers of fine dark, and coarse light sediment. Annual changes are assumed to deposit bands with light layers in summer and dark layers in winter. It is reported that some rock formations contain hundreds of thousands of varves, thereby ‘proving’ the earth is much older than the Bible says.9 But the assumption that each couplet always takes a year to form is wrong. Recent catastrophes show that violent events like the Flood described in Genesis can deposit banded rock formations very quickly. The Mount St Helens eruption in Washington State produced eight metres (25 feet) of finely layered sediment in a single afternoon!10 And a rapidly pumped sand slurry was observed to deposit about a metre (3–4 feet) of fine layers on a beach over an area the size of a football field (cross-section shown on the right: normal silica sand grains are separated by darker layers of denser mineral grains like rutile).11

Photo Don batten

Cross-section of alternating layers formed rapidly from a sand slurry

Layered sediment formed quickly on beach.

When sedimentation was studied in the laboratory, it was discovered that fine bands form automatically as the moving water transports the different sized particles sideways into position.12 Surprisingly, the thickness of each band was found to depend on the relative particle sizes rather than on the flow conditions.13 A layered rock (diatomite) was separated into its particles, and when redeposited in flowing fluid, identical layers formed.14

Much is often made of the Green River varves,9 in Wyoming, USA. But these bands cannot possibly be annual deposits because well-preserved fish and birds are found all through the sediments.

When sedimentation was studied in the laboratory, it was discovered that fine bands form automatically as the moving water transports the different sized particles sideways into position.

It is unthinkable that these dead animals could have rested on the bottom of the lake for decades, being slowly covered by sediment. Their presence indicates catastrophic burial. It is often claimed that the fish and birds remained in prime condition at the bottom of the lake because the water was highly alkaline and this preserved their carcasses.15 Yet highly alkaline water causes organic material to disintegrate, and that is why alkaline powder is used in dishwashers! [Ed. note: some sceptics have claimed that alkali merely ‘cuts grease’, evidently ignorant of the elementary chemistry involved, i.e. base-catalyzed hydrolysis of polymers, which would do the opposite of preserving the fish.] Another problem for the varve explanation is that the number of bands is not consistent across the formation as it should be if they were annual deposits.16

Evaporites

Similar bands in some huge deposits containing calcium carbonate and calcium sulphate in Texas are also used to argue the case for long ages.17 One explanation says the deposits were formed when the sun evaporated seawater—hence the term ‘evaporite deposits’. Naturally, to make such large deposits in this way would take a long time. However, the high chemical purity of the deposits shows they were not exposed to a dry, dusty climate for thousands of years. Rather, it is more likely that they formed rapidly from the interaction between hot and cold seawater during undersea volcanic activity—a hydrothermal deposit.18

Too many fossils?

Another claim of bibliosceptics is that there are ‘too many fossils’.19 If all those animals could be resurrected, it is said, they would cover the entire planet to a depth of at least 0.5 metres (1.5 feet). So they could not have come from a single generation of living creatures buried by the Flood.20

Not surprisingly, the substance disappears when the detail is examined. The number of fossils is calculated from an abnormal situation—the Karroo formation in South Africa. In this formation the fossils comprise a ‘fossil graveyard’—the accumulation of animal remains in a local ‘sedimentary basin’.21 It is certainly improper to apply this abnormally high population density to the whole earth. The calculation also uses incorrect information on today's animal population densities and takes no account of the different conditions that likely applied before the Flood.22

Too much coal?

Another argument used against the Bible time-line is that the pre-Flood world could not have produced enough vegetation to make all the coal.23 But again, this argument is based on wrong assumptions. The pre-Flood land area was almost certainly greater before all the Floodwaters were released onto the surface of the earth. Also, the climate was probably much more productive before the Flood.24 Furthermore, it has been discovered that much coal was derived from forests which floated on water (see also 320k JPG drawing of the floating forest.).25 So, calculations based only on the area of land would be wrong. And finally, the estimates of how much vegetation is needed are based on the wrong idea that coal forms slowly in swamps and that most of the vegetation rots. The Flood would have buried the vegetation quickly, producing a hundred times more coal than from a swamp.22

Fossil forests

Photo Lowell Baker

Upright fossillised trees in Yellowstone. Evidence shows they could not have grown in place.

Upright fossillised trees in Yellowstone. Evidence shows they could not have grown in place.

The petrified forests of Yellowstone National Park have often been used to argue against Bible chronology.26 These were once interpreted as buried and petrified in place - as many as 50 successive times, with a brand new forest growing upon the debris of the previous one. Naturally, such an interpretation would require hundreds of thousands of years to deposit the whole sequence and is inconsistent with the Bible time-scale. But this interpretation is also inconsistent with the fact that the tree trunks and stumps have been broken off at their base and do not have proper root systems. Furthermore, trees from different layers have the same ‘signature’ ring pattern, demonstrating that they all grew at the same time.27

Rather than 50 successive forests, the geological evidence is more consistent with the trees having been uprooted from another place, and carried into position by catastrophic volcanic mudflows—similar to what happened during the Mount St Helens eruption in 1980, where waterlogged trees were also seen to float and sink with the root end pointing downwards.28

Pitch

Science ultimately can’t prove or disprove the Bible.

The origin of pitch is also used to ridicule the account of Noah in the Bible.29 Pitch is a petroleum residue, we are told, and creationists say that petroleum was formed by the Flood. So, where did Noah get the pitch to seal the Ark (Genesis 6:14)? This old argument stems from ignorance of how pitch can be made. The widespread use of petroleum is a 20th century phenomenon. How did they seal wooden ships hundreds of years ago before petroleum was available? In those days, pitch was made from pine tree resin.30 A huge pitch-making industry flourished to service the demand.

Noah’s mud-bath?

Some attempts to discredit the Bible are wildly absurd—like the idea that there is too much sedimentary rock in the world to have been deposited by the one-year Flood. It is claimed that the Ark would have floated on an ocean of ‘earthy soup’ and no fish could have survived.31 This argument takes no account of how water actually carries sediment. The claim naïvely assumes that all the sediment was evenly mixed in all the water throughout the Flood year, as if thoroughly stirred in a ‘garden fishpond’. Sedimentation does not occur like this. Instead, moving water transports sediment into a ‘basin’ and, once deposited, it is isolated from the system.12 The same volume of water can pick up more sediment as it is driven across the continents, for example, by earth movements during the Flood.

More (former) problems, more answers

Some similar geological problems which were once claimed to be ‘unanswerable’ for Bible-believers but for which there are now clear answers include:

Coral

  • Coral reefs need millions of years to grow.32 [Actually, what was thought to be ‘coral reef’ turns out to be thick carbonate platforms, most probably deposited during the Flood.33 The reef is only a very thin layer on top. In other cases, the ‘reef’ did not grow in place from coral but was transported there by water.34]
  • Chalk deposits need millions of years to accumulate.35  [Chalk accumulation is not steady state but highly episodic. Under cataclysmic Flood conditions, explosive blooms of tiny organisms like coccolithophores could produce the chalk beds in a short space of time.36]
  • Granites need millions of years to cool.37 [Not when the cooling effects of circulating water are allowed for.38]
  • Metamorphic rocks need million of years to form.39  [Metamorphic reactions happen quickly when there is plenty of water, just as the Flood would provide.40]
  • Sediment kilometres thick covering metamorphic rocks took millions of years to erode.41 [Only at the erosion rates observed today. There is no problem eroding kilometres of sediment quickly with large volumes of fast-moving water during the Flood.]

Conclusion

The section above shows some of the other arguments along this line that were once claimed to be ‘unanswerable’. If this article had been written some years earlier, we would not have had all those answers. We still don’t have all the answers to some others, but this does not mean that the answers don’t exist, just that no-one has come up with them yet. There may be new arguments in the future alleging to ‘prove’ that the Bible, or one of the previous answers, is wrong. And when these are answered, there might be new ones again. That is the nature of science. All its conclusions are tentative, and new discoveries mean that old ideas must be changed—that is why creationist research is important. But science ultimately can’t prove or disprove the Bible. Faith—but not a blind faith—is needed. It is not the facts that contradict the Bible, but the interpretations applied to them. Since we never will know everything, we must start with the sure Word of God in order to make sense of the world around us.

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Further Reading

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References and notes

  1. Hayward, Alan, Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies, Triangle, London, 1985. Return to text.
  2. Wonderly, D.E., God’s Time-Records in Ancient Sediments, Crystal Press, Michigan, 1977. Return to text.
  3. Morton, G.R., Foundation, Fall and Flood, DMD Publishing, Dallas, 1995. Return to text.
  4. Ross, H.N., The Genesis Question, NavPress, Colorado Springs, 1998 (see review). Return to text.
  5. John Holzmann, Sonlight Curriculum, letter and catalogue on file. Return to text.
  6. This was admitted in a letter to creationist David C.C. Watson—see his review of Hayward’s book in Creation Research Society Quarterly 22(4):198–199, 1986. Return to text.
  7. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 167 ff., ‘reinterprets’ the Bible to mean that God did not create in six days but only gave the orders to create (fiats). It then took billions of years for His orders to be executed. This idea not only contradicts the Bible but is inconsistent with evolutionary geology as well. It achieves nothing but added confusion. Return to text.
  8. The Hebrew writers could easily have described long ages if necessary—see Grigg R., How long were the days of Genesis 1? Creation 19(1):23–25, 1996. Return to text.
  9. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 87–88. Return to text.
  10. Ham, K., I got excited at Mount St Helens! Creation 15(3):14–19, 1993. Return to text.
  11. Batten, D., Sandy stripes: Do many layers mean many years? Creation 19(1):39–40, 1997. Return to text.
  12. Julien, P., Lan, Y., and Berthault, G., Experiments on stratification of heterogeneous sand mixtures, Journal of Creation 8(1):37–50, 1994. Return to text.
  13. Snelling, A.A., Nature finally catches up, Journal of Creation 11(2):125–6, 1997. Return to text.
  14. Berthault, G., Experiments on lamination of sediments, Journal of Creation 3:25–29, 1988. Return to text.
  15. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 215. Return to text.
  16. Garner, P., Green River Blues, Creation 19(3):18–19, 1997. Return to text.
  17. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 89–91. Return to text.
  18. Williams, E., Origin of bedded salt deposits, Creation Research Society Quarterly 26(1):15–16, 1989. Return to text.
  19. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 125–126. Return to text.
  20. Creationists accept that some fossils formed post-Flood, but these are relatively few and do not alter the argument. Return to text.
  21. Froede, C., The Karroo and other fossil graveyards, Creation Research Society Quarterly 32(4), pp. 199–201, 1996. Return to text.
  22. Woodmorappe, J., The antediluvian biosphere and its capability of supplying the entire fossil record, in The First International Conference on Creationism, Robert Walsh (ed.), Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, p. 205–218; The The Karoo vertebrate non-problem: 800 billion fossils or not? CEN Tech. J. 14(2):47–49, 2000. Return to text.
  23. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 126–128. Return to text.
  24. Higher atmospheric CO2 has been repeatedly shown to cause more luxuriant plant growth. Return to text.
  25. Wieland, C., Forests that grew on water, Creation 18(1):20–24, 1996. Also Scheven J., The Carboniferous floating forest—An extinct pre-Flood ecosystem, Journal of Creation 10(1):70–81, 1996, and Schönknecht, G., and Scherer, S., Too much coal for a young earth? Journal of Creation 11(3):278–282, 1997. One of the ‘old-earth’ authors dealt with here actually cited this paper without the question mark, implying that the paper presents a problem for young-earthers, whereas it actually shows a solution! See Ross, Ref. 4, p. 152–153, 220 (notes 17 and 21). Return to text.
  26. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 128–130. Return to text.
  27. Morris, J., The Young Earth. Master Books, Colorado Springs, pp. 112–117, 1994, Return to text.
  28. Sarfati, J., The Yellowstone petrified forests, Creation 21(2):18–21, 1999. Return to text.
  29. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 185; Ross, Ref. 4, pp. 153–4. Return to text.
  30. Walker, T., The pitch for Noah’s Ark, Creation 7(1):20, 1984. See also: ‘Naval stores’, The New Encyclopædia Britannica 8:564–565, 15th Ed., Chicago, 1992. Return to text.
  31. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 122. Return to text.
  32. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 84–87. Return to text.
  33. Oard, M.J. The paradox of Pacific guyots and a possible solution for the thick ‘reefal’ limestone on Eniwetok Island, Journal of Creation 13(1):1–2, 1999. Return to text.
  34. Roth, A.A., Fossil reefs and time, Origins 22(2):86–104, 1995. Return to text.
  35. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 91–92. Return to text.
  36. Snelling, A.A., Can Flood geology explain thick chalk beds? Journal of Creation 8(1):11–15, 1994. Return to text.
  37. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 93. Return to text.
  38. Snelling, A.A.. and Woodmorappe, J., Granites—they didn’t need millions of years of cooling, Creation 21(1):42–44, 1998. Return to text.
  39. Hayward, Ref. 1, p. 91–92. Return to text.
  40. Snelling, A.A., Towards a creationist explanation of regional metamorphism, Journal of Creation 8(1):51–57, 1994. Also: Wise, K., How fast do rocks form? In The First International Conference on Creationism, Robert Walsh (ed.), Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, pp. 197–204, 1986. Return to text.
  41. Hayward, Ref. 1, pp. 91–92. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Victor B., Australia, 3 July 2013

"True knowledge begins with the Bible (Proverbs 1:7, Psalms 119:160; 138:2), and that is where we need to start. God was there when He created the world. He knows everything, does not tell lies, and does not make mistakes. It is from the Bible that we learn that the world is ‘young’ (see also The earth: how old does it look?).

"Since we never will know everything, we must start with the sure Word of God in order to make sense of the world around us."

So true - So practical - Many Thanks

graham P., New Zealand, 3 July 2013

Excellent. Another similar author is Don Stoner, who cunningly refers to geological 'facts' that prove billions of years. He contrasts 'facts' of science with 'theories' of bible interpretation.

Nowhere does he mention or admit that the geological 'facts' are his own hybridised ideas, that contain assumptions, interpretations, data collection errors and world-view convictions...

He also claims to be a bible -believer, wanting to lead the ignorant people to higher wisdom, and presents his book as a Christian work.

Terry P., Australia, 3 July 2013

When Satan tempted Eve in the garden of Eden, he said: ‘Is it true that God has forbidden you to eat from any tree in the garden?’ … ‘Of course you will not die. God knows that as soon as you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods knowing both good and evil.’

        Hey, nothing much has changed since Eve was seduced into swallowing Satan’s lie, has it? Satan is still using the same old line: ‘Do you really believe that God is telling you the truth? Come on, girl, get wise!’

        It is the same old personal test of our faith: ‘Do you really trust the Son of God to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?’ Are you choosing to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, the Cross, and live forever? Or, are you choosing to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (fossils) and die forever?

        As the Son on God said:

‘In truth, in very truth I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you can have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood possesses eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. My flesh is real food; my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells continually in me and I dwell in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me shall live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven; and it is not like the bread which our fathers ate: they are dead, but whoever eats this bread shall live for ever.’

Ian H., Australia, 3 July 2013

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

The Bible is relevant to everything in today's society. If we read it correctly nothing about today should surprise us, indeed we should expect what we see. It is our responsibility to examine what opposes the Gospel (Evilution) to challenge it with truth. Our opponent is a liar, there are truckloads of evidence to refute him. Go to ALL the CMI events you can, read the magazine, books, log into Creation.com daily, watch DVD's and arm yourself and then you will be 'Mr Valiant for Truth' from Pilgrim's Progress - Armed and Dangerous!

Roger T., Australia, 3 July 2013

King Solomon opens his Book of Proverbs talking about wisdom.

"To know wisdom and instruction,

To perceive the words of understanding,

To receive the instruction of wisdom,

Justice, judgment, and equity;

To give prudence to the simple,

To the young man knowledge and discretion—

A wise man will hear and increase learning,

And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

To understand a proverb and an enigma,

The words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Prov. 1:2-7.NKJV.

Such wise counsel! The last sentence says it all - fools despise wisdom and instruction! Meditate on these 6 verses because they contain a wealth of wisdom!

Then Jeremiah reminds us “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.

Who really knows how bad it is?" Jer. 17:9. NLT.

No, we don't have ALL the answers but the answers that we do have are underwritten by our God, who knows all things.

Once we start doubting His Word we immediately get on shaky ground and become like the man who built his house on the sand so that when the devil floods us with doubt we can easily be washed away.

Thanks Tas for another simple faith restoring article for those who have doubts.

Blessings,

Roger.

Peter H., United Kingdom, 3 July 2013

The bible says absolutely nothing about the age of the Earth, so how can the overwhelming evidence for a 4.55 billion year old Earth cause any Christian to doubt scripture ?

The age of the Earth is completely irrelevant either to salvation, or a Christian's understanding of it. The subject has got nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity.

If Tas is so certain his claims indicate a 6,000 year old Earth then why doesn't he present them before a recognised professional science body, such as the Geological Society. I'm sure they would be highly interested since it turns over 200 years of research completely on it's head, and renders all geology textbooks completely and utterly useless.

Tas Walker responds

The Bible does indeed give much age information, and you could calculate the biblical age yourself using a simple hand-held calculator. Check Genesis 5 & 7 from which you can work out the date for Noah's Flood, and Genesis 11 which gives you the age of the earth (given the additional information that Abraham was born about 2000 BC—near enough for you to get a ball-park age).

The age of the earth is absolutely key for the integrity of the Christian faith. I would recommend your reading ‘Billions of years’ makes Christians dumb (and atheists loud).

I would be delighted to present these ideas to the Geological Society, but they have a strong, emotional aversion to even discussing the issue. See article about Geological Society of London and related articles. If you have any connections with members who would be intrested in engaging in discussion on this issue please let me know.

There are a number of peer reviewed journals now that work from a 6,000-year perspective in which these issues are discussed and debated. You can find details on this site, especially in the Reference list for the more technical articles.

eric R., United Kingdom, 3 July 2013

Thanks for that. I have two words as a comment, Deccan Traps. As an earth scientist you will know the facts surrounding them, they being a result of one of the biggest volcanic events on the planet. If we look at their vital statistics they really are eye popping, flood basalt covering almost half of India, it must have made it really difficult for anyone there at the time, with a volume of around half a million cubic kilometres. To put that into context it would have covered the state of texas in a layer of lava around 1km thick. If you compare that to the paltry 3.5 cubic kilometres of rock and ash produced by Mt. St Helens it puts the Deccan Traps into a totally different league. Just think of the time required for such an out pouring of that quantity of molten rock. The funny thing is there are no sources of vulcanism in modern day India. The other funny thing is the magnetic Iron compounds in the basalt froze in time their location when the basalt solidified. For example one sample showed it formed at a latitude of 20º south while its current position is 18.7º N a difference of a couple of thousand kilometres. The event that produced this remarkable feature must also have produced vast amounts of gasses particularly sulphur dioxide, which would have had a devastating effect on the environment on a global scale. If you think back to the area affected by Mt. St Hellen's in 1980 and multiply this by a factor of several thousands based on volume and we can see that its effect must have been truly immense. All this really makes one think about how realistic, given these facts, that the earth is as young as you would like it to be.

Tas Walker responds

What you are describing is evidence for the Flood. The Decan Traps are one of a number of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) on earth. These are the result of large-scale, unusual processes and are the sort of processes that would be expected during the Flood, which was an immense global catastrophe. Another example is the Columbia River basalt flows. Field studies of these point to rapid emplacement.

Russell H., United States, 3 July 2013

Thanks, Tas, for so patiently answering the same tired old arguments from alleged, but not real, Bible-believers. This morning I noticed that Jeremiah 23:36 applies to these false teachers: "... you have perverted the words of the living God." The context shows that God is intensely angry with such people. It's hard for me not to be angry with them also, so your patience in the article is a good example for me.

Eric R., United Kingdom, 4 July 2013

Thanks for your reply Tas. One small niggly point is basalt, as you know, forms very different flavours depending upon how it cools. Subaerial eruptions cool in air, and have a very distinctive appearance and the basalt found in the Deccan traps is of that type, no water cooling was involved. Basalt that cools underwater has a very different appearance that forms very distinctive pillow like shapes with a glassy like finish. No hand lens is required to tell the difference, you just have to look with your eyes. Columnar basalt for example is a dead giveaway for long slow air cooling.

The Deccan Traps is only one of many examples of a flood basalt formed landscape, that are found all over the world, and by no means the largest. There are the Siberian Trapps, The Columbia River Plateau, the Icelandic ones with the impossible names! Its a pretty long list and its inconceivable that they all happened at the same time. Go up to the north west of the USA and look at the staggering slow air cooled columnar basalt that forms part of the gigantic Columbia River Basalt group that extends over much of eastern Washington, northern Oregon and part of Idaho. It is not the case that they all happened underwater mere visual inspection will tell anyone who cares to look. The length of time for such immense quantities of lava to erupt and then erode to form conditions suitable for life is quite considerable, and thats not even taking into account the vast accumulated quantities of toxic gasses all these 'flow' type eruptions would have produced. As I said in my previous comment the earth can not be as young as you would like it to be just based on the nature, quantity and morphology of all basaltic rocks found on our planet.

Tas Walker responds

You are coming at this question with the wrong approach. This is a worldview issue. The question is, "How do we explain this evidence [within this particular worldview]?" That is how uniformitarian geologists work. They don't ever question their worldview. They simply brainstorm about how they are going to interpret a particular piece of evidence. The multitude of unresolved problems with the uniformitarian worldview does not cause them to doubt their worldview.

That is also how biblical geologists work. So you do not say, "The Bible can't be true because of the Decan Traps". We know from many lines of evidence and logic that the Bible is accurate, reliable and true, in spite of what the skeptics say about it. In actual fact, you are taking a huge risk to dismiss what it says. You need to approach this question with, "How do we interpret these basalts within the biblical worldview?"

Did you read the article about the Columbia River Basalts I cited in my previous response to you? It seems not, because that deals with the issue you raise. That article explains that there is abundant evidence that the Columbia River basalts were emplaced when there was a lot of water around. It was the rate of emplacement that had a large bearing on how much the water left its signature on the basalt flows.

Do a Google search for "Decan Traps pillow basalts" and you will find reference to pillows and sediment with the basalt, both of which are evidence of water. Develop good research habits.

The LIP basalts are not a problem for Flood geology. They are easily explained within the biblical worldview. The thing is that you need to have an attitude that looks for solutions, that does critical thinking, that has a mind to research, rather than an attitude that is looking for problems.

Grahame G., Australia, 4 July 2013

Please identify the first picture on this page. I looks like it is from somewhere around here (Kimberley, Australia).

They look like Livistonia palms in the photos and the colouring and layers etc in the rocks look exactly the same as found in numerous places around the East Kimberley, specifically around Kununurra.

The origin of the photo may not be known to you, but please post this comment even if it is not as I am 99% certain that it's from somewhere around here - which may be of interest to other readers.

And I hope Tas can visit one day and tour all the evidence for Noah's flood around this area (some of which can be seen in that photo). ;-)

Tas Walker responds

Yes, Grahame, it is from the Kununurra area.

Dave M., United Kingdom, 5 July 2013

Soon after leaving school, I went to work in a materials testing laboratory at a concrete production factory. One of the jobs I had to do was analyse the quality of sand being delivered for making concrete. One of the tests involved putting sand into a clear cylinder with water and shaking it vigorously. We would then leave it for a couple of days. The sand would naturally settle into clearly defined layers – I think according to particle size. We would then assess the relative thickness of each layer to see if it met our specification. The sight of the layers laid down in fast moving water reminds me how the Flood would have left the layers we see in sedimentary rock but on a much more massive scale. The test is so simple even a child can do it!

Tas Walker responds

Thank you. And it is now known that the fine material can deposit quickly too.

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