The geology transformation tool
A new way of looking at your world
Perhaps you have seen a report in the media about a rock outcrop 800 million years old and wondered how that fits with the history of the Bible. We confront the same puzzle when we read about a fossil dinosaur that lived in Jurassic times. Or we may visit a tourist site with a sign that speaks about a volcano forming 25 million years ago.
If you would like to make sense of your world from a biblical perspective, the simple diagram in figure 1 is what you are looking for. It allows you to work out a first, ballpark understanding of where each situation you encounter relates to the true history of the universe, that is, to the history presented in the Bible.
Explanation of the diagram
The left side of figure 1 presents the geologic column into which all the different rocks found on the earth are classified. On that column most of the geological terms you will encounter are set out, together with the way they relate to each other. The oldest rocks are at the bottom and the youngest at the top.
In the middle of the diagram stands a vertical column of numbers that give the ‘uniformitarian ages’ (in millions of years) assigned to each part of the geologic column. At the top, the numbers start at 0.012 million years (i.e. 12,000 years) and increase to 4,600 million years at the bottom. (This is the uniformitarian date for the formation of the earth.) Of course, based on the true history of the Bible, we know these million-year numbers are not correct, although the general sequence can be helpful to us. I have included them because these are the numbers you will encounter, e.g. at the tourist sites and in news reports.
Note that the time lengths on the diagram are not to scale. At the top, the size of the Holocene, which represents just 0.012 million years (12,000 years), is similar to the size of the other periods, such as the Jurassic, which represents nearly 60 million years. These are similar in size to the Archaean which represents 1,500 million years. This diagram is a fairly standard representation of the geologic column, but the uneven scaling gives a misleading impression of the times involved in the different geological periods.
The right side of the diagram has three vertical arrows, which show how these rocks relate to biblical history. The first arrow (green) indicates which rocks formed in the first 150 days of Noah’s Flood as the floodwaters were rising. The second arrow (blue) indicates which rocks formed in the last 220 days of Noah’s Flood as the waters were falling and the continents were rising. The third arrow (yellow) indicates which rocks formed in the 4,500 years since the Flood ended.
You will notice at the top of the diagram that the biblical arrows overlap, and that at the bottom the green arrow is shown dotted. This is to indicate that there is uncertainty in these areas. This is discussed in “Areas of Uncertainty”.
Easy to use
This figure is easy to use. All that is required is to locate on figure 1 the date in millions of years for your example. Then you simply check where it sits on the arrows of biblical history. Let’s look at the examples mentioned above.
For the rock outcrop 800 million years old we see on figure 1 that it fits between the numbers 541 and 2500. To the left, on the column this corresponds to the “Proterozoic” as well as the “Precambrian”. To the right, on the biblical interpretation, this corresponds to the period when the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising, and quite early in this period. Given that the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising for 150 days this would correspond to the first month or two of the Flood, which occurred some 4,500 years ago.
For the fossil dinosaur that lived in the “Jurassic”, we see that this fits between 145 and 201 million years ago. It is part of the groupings called the “Mesozoic” and the “Phanerozoic”. On the biblical interpretation to the right we can see that this also corresponds to the period when the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising, but later than the rock described in the previous example. Its position on the arrow indicates that this would have been as the waters were approaching their peak, perhaps a month before that, which would be about four months after the Flood began, 4,500 years ago.
For the volcano 25 million years ago, we see that it corresponds to the “Oligocene”, which is part of the “Paleogene”, the “Tertiary”, the “Cenozoic”, and the “Phanerozoic”. On the biblical interpretation to the right we can see that this corresponds to the 220-day (approx. 7-month) period when the waters of Noah’s Flood were falling. This was as the continents were being uplifted, causing the floodwaters to flow off the land into the expanding oceans. This would have been a few months into that period after the waters peaked, which would put this some 8 months or more after Noah’s Flood began, 4,500 years ago.
Figure 1 provides a chart to transform evolutionary ages into the true history of the world as recorded in the Bible. It is easy to use. However, appreciate that the estimate it provides is a preliminary one. There are some areas of uncertainty and these are discussed in the box below “Areas of Uncertainty”.
Once you have an idea of where a feature fits into biblical history you will be able to start thinking about the processes involved in forming that feature. Most of the rocks you will encounter were formed during Noah’s Flood. Looking at things from this perspective will change how you look at the world, and how you see your place in it.
Areas of Uncertainty
The diagram of figure 1 provides a tool to transform evolutionary ages into biblical history. I describe this as “preliminary” and “a first, ballpark understanding” because there are areas of uncertainty we need to be aware of. This is indicated at the top of the diagram where the biblical arrows overlap, and at the bottom where the green “Floodwaters Rising” arrow is shown dotted.
The geologic column
The main reason for the uncertainty is that there is not a one-to-one relationship between the rocks on the geological column and biblical history. That is because uniformitarian geologists place the rocks into the geological column using criteria that assume Noah’s Flood never happened. However, the rocks must be understood using criteria based on biblical history, which includes the Creation and Flood events.
When we do examine the geology using biblical criteria, it is discovered that the geological column provides a general Flood order.1 However, there are many exceptions and the relationship is highly non-linear. As illustrated in figure 1, most rocks (the Precambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic) formed as the floodwaters were rising on the earth. These are generally of very large scale, both in thickness and geographical extent. The second part of the Flood, when the waters were receding as the continents uplifted, mainly involved huge erosion on the continents. The receding floodwaters deposited the eroded material at the continental margins. Local deposits did occur on the continents but very late in that period, after most of the water had gone.
Unfortunately, uniformitarian geologists do not consider the effect of Noah’s Flood receding from the continents. Consequently, the way they assign the rocks does not transform neatly into biblical history. This is especially significant for rocks they have assigned to the Cenozoic. When we check these using biblical criteria, we find the situation confusing. Some formed as the waters were rising, others as the waters were falling, and still others post-Flood.
The Creation event
Another area of uncertainty involves the bottom part of figure 1 in the “Precambrian”, where the green “Floodwaters Rising” arrow is shown dotted. Some creation geologists would classify these rocks, labelled as “Archean” and early “Proterozoic”, as forming during Creation Week. However, there are many geologic features in these rocks that do not seem consistent with that view. These include enormous piles of volcanic deposits kilometres thick covering vast areas, and gigantic asteroid impacts. The sulphur fumes, acidic fluids, lava flows, magma emplacements, dust clouds, and ash deposits associated with all this catastrophic activity would have contaminated the land, sea, and atmosphere. To me, this does not match the original “very good” Edenic creation described in the Bible (Genesis 1:31), which is why I interpret these areas of the geologic column as early Flood.
Differences in timing
Another reason for differences between the uniformitarian column and the biblical Flood timing is that the Flood processes did not affect all parts of a continent the same way at the same time. For example, after the floodwaters covered the whole of the earth and began to recede, different parts of the landscape would have emerged above the water at different times. The central areas of higher elevation would have emerged first and the coastal areas of low elevation last. Consequently, the evidence for the start of “Floodwaters Receding” would have appeared at different times at different parts of the continent.
References and notes
- Oard, M.J., The geological column is a general Flood order with many exceptions, J. Creation 24(2):78–82, 2010. Return to text.