Geological field trips
A fun way of changing your world
Published: 3 April 2018 (GMT+10)
Have you ever watched a nature documentary where, for example, the presenter is pointing at a rock and saying, “This rock formed 300 million years ago”? Perhaps you have visited a tourist destination and the guide says, “800 million years ago, this was very different from what you see now.”
Have you ever wondered, “Where do they get these numbers? How do they know what things were like in the past? How does this fit into the Bible?” To many people this is a mystery.
Most folk do not realize how the stories that tourist guides and nature documentaries tell are framed by geology. That is why CMI’s creationist geological excursions can be so powerful for clearing up this mystery. Geological field trips help people view our planet from a whole new perspective.
Excursions are fun
I’ve been guiding geological excursions for over 20 years. Folk enjoy a day in the outdoors filled with fun, friendship, and adventure. Occasionally, someone will tell me, years later, that the tour forever changed the way they looked at the world.
CMI-Australia’s geological excursions are family occasions, and participants range in age and experience: primary-age children, teenagers, college students, scientists, parents, and grandparents. We usually travel by coach to selected sites, and show how geologists describe what is there. Then, I demonstrate how the same evidence can be explained using the Bible’s history. Especially significant is the global Flood that deluged the world in Noah’s day.
At the beginning of the day I explain about excursion safety. Then I outline the places we will visit and how they relate to each other. Everyone receives a printed handout with geological maps, details about the rocks, ideas about how different kinds of rocks form, and a summary of how to connect biblical history to geology.
As we travel between stops, I use the coach PA system to explain what we will see at the next stop, and review the relevant pages of the notes. We discuss some basic geological information, such as how to identify different rocks and read a geological map. We also do some puzzles to illustrate how geologists work out which rocks formed when. It’s a lot of fun, and people soon understand the basic ideas.
Before my first excursion, I wondered how I could keep people interested for a whole day. However, there is no problem because there is so much to explore. I give each young person a small freezer bag with a list of rock samples to collect. They enjoy this greatly, and do not take long to fill their bags. Also, we give everyone a list of geological features to identify at each site. As they find each feature they check it off their list, and then help others to find it too.
Leads to bigger questions
On each excursion we naturally talk about geology: different types of rocks, features in the rocks, how the rocks formed, and evidence for catastrophe. This soon leads to big-picture topics such as Noah’s Flood, where the floodwater has gone, the age of the earth, and radioactive dating. Then we talk about dinosaurs, the Ice Age, changes in sea level, migration of animals, regrowth of vegetation after the Flood, and a host of other issues. Often by the end of the trip we’ll be relaxing in a pleasant location, discussing these issues.
Geologists routinely spend time trekking through the undergrowth, climbing down steep cliffs, and hammering rocks in dusty quarries. By way of contrast, the sites on our geological trips are easy to get to, pleasant, and attractive. They include headlands at the ocean, and lookouts with spectacular views. Lookouts allow us to examine the landscape, which gives us insight into the effects of the recessive stage of the Flood, when the floodwaters covering the continent flowed back into the ocean. Landscapes display dramatic and compelling evidence for this part of Noah’s Flood.
Always there are memorable interactions and discussions with people. Once, a young lady told me at the beginning of the trip that she did not agree with the young-earth position. “No problem,” I replied. “We’ll look at the evidence together, and I’ll explain it from both perspectives.” Through the day she was interested in everything, and we had some good conversations. Late in the afternoon as we were admiring a spectacular landscape and exploring different ideas for how it formed, it was as if the lights went on for her. “Oh, so it all depends on the starting assumptions. Long-age geologists assume present-day processes and that means it takes lots of time. Creationist geologists assume Noah’s Flood occurred and that means it happened quickly.”
“Yes,” I said. “That’s it in a nutshell.”
People from all walks of life have been enthusiastic about CMI’s biblical geological field trips, including teachers, young people, home schoolers, and geologists. Some folk have driven for hours to take part in a tour. Others enjoy them so much that they keep turning up whenever one is organized.
We have received much positive feedback: “I never look at the world the same after that tour.” “It has given me lots to think about.” “I have confidence to explain what I see around me.” “It has opened my eyes to really see what was in front of me.”
CMI’s biblical geological excursions are a great way of connecting the Bible with the real world. When people visit geological sites and understand what they are looking at, they understand the limitations of the real physical evidence—what is actually observed. When we show how evolutionists use this evidence to invent their long-age stories, events that have not been observed, people realize just how much our culture has been taken over by assumptions. Then, when we show how we can use the same evidence to develop a scenario that fits with the Bible, it gives folk a whole new perspective on the world. That is the power of CMI’s biblical geological field trips.