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Is Genesis History?


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Mount St. Helens


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Del-Tackett
Del Tackett
Rob-Carter
Dr Robert Carter

Announcing a new documentary, hosted by Del Tackett, creator of “The Truth Project”, and featuring CMI’s own Dr Robert Carter. A fascinating look at the biblical, historical, and scientific evidence for Creation and the Flood.

We are happy to recommend this quality film, featuring top notch footage and over a dozen scientists/scholars.

Now available as a DVD (click on the link to the top right resource →).

Here we present our official review of the film.

Is Genesis History?

Review of new documentary
(length: 1 hr 43 min)

by

Did man evolve from pond scum by naturalistic processes, or did God create over a few days a few thousand years ago, as Genesis teaches? This documentary analyses the evidence by interviewing experts on location. The following review provides a few of the highlights. After the spectacular footage and important scientific and exegetical information, the documentary closes with a very effective explanation about why Genesis matters for the Christian faith.

The movie opens and we are immediately taken to a landscape that looks like any remote wilderness area, with streams, meadows, and mountain lakes. The presenter, Dr Del Tackett, says it is just like the area in which he was raised. Then he asks us to consider a canyon with a stream in it, and points out that until a few decades ago, people would think that the stream carved the canyon over long periods of time.

en.wikipedia.org mount-St-Helens
Mt St Helens

This is an excellent setup for the first major point the producers make, for he is standing not on the lands he once roamed but an area created by a catastrophic event only a few decades ago. On 18 May 1980, Mt St Helens erupted. This eruption produced the layers he was standing on, up to 600 feet deep. A few years later, more volcanic activity caused a mud flow that cut the canyon through solid rock in just a couple of days.

The eruption and its aftermath shows the fallacy of the slow-and-gradual dogma that governs evolutionary geology. This in turn illustrates a bigger picture: our view of the past depends on assumptions we make about it, and that makes the world of difference in how we understand the present. We always interpret the evidence via a paradigm, based on our assumptions.

The Grand Canyon

An important aspect of Genesis is the global Flood. Genesis spends three whole chapters on it, using universal language showing that it couldn’t have been local. The Apostle Peter says “scoffers … deliberately overlook” the fact of a globe-destroying watery cataclysm in our past (2 Peter 3:3–7). So it follows that there must be strong evidence for it.

en.wikipedia.org Grand-Canyon
Grand Canyon

A great place to find evidence for the Flood is the Grand Canyon. Ph.D. geologist Steve Austin explains that the Grand Canyon is like an enormous layer cake that has been cut away so we can see it. The massive layers are so vast that they extend into distant states. The layers contain marine fossils, conclusively proving that they were deposited under water. The evolutionary story is that they were deposited over many millions of years. But two things are wrong with that story: first, the layers show that they were deposited quickly, second, the great majority of contact lines between the layers are flat, so there is no time for erosion between the different layers.

But how was the canyon formed? Was it the Colorado river eroding over millions of years? That doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons. As Dr Austin says, “time is not a magic wand that solves all the geologic problems in the world.” A better way is to think of catastrophes, and the first illustration of Mt St Helens should give us a clue on a much smaller scale. The Grand Canyon was caused by a lot of water over a short time.

Dr Austin explains his preference for a dam burst of huge lakes left over from the Flood, with the huge onrush of water carving out the canyon in a matter of weeks. Indeed, the Channelled Scablands in the state of Washington (western USA) are now regarded as caused by Glacial Lake Missoula suddenly breaching an ice dam and pouring out with great violence. This theory was rejected out of hand for decades because it was catastrophic. There is some debate among biblical creationists about the origin of Grand Canyon, however. Other geologists, working consistently within the Genesis Flood catastrophic framework, argue that Grand Canyon was carved by the channelized flow as the Flood itself ran off the continents. Yet, this multitude of opinions is good for science. CMI has often argued that the existence of multiple working hypotheses is a fruitful generator of scientific discoveries.

Either way, a key point to remember for understanding world history is: in science, we can trade intensity for time, and visa versa. Conversely, the error of evolutionary geology is decreeing that only present-day processes may be used to explain the past. In other words, they avoid the possibility that intense processes of short duration can better explain the evidence. Later on in the video, Ph.D. geologist Andrew Snelling explains:

What we see in the present is really only minuscule by comparison with what was seen in the past. … We can’t use present-day rates of these processes to understand how quickly and how majestically in terms of scale the geological record accumulated. …

In fact, the Bible would say that the past is the key to the present. If you want to understand why the way the world is today, you’ve got to understand what happened in the past.

Then he applies it to radiometric dating. His own work with the RATE group shows that the assumptions behind it can’t be right, and it’s likely that the rate of decay was accelerated in the past. Then he discusses the huge Coconino Sandstone that spans the Grand Canyon and several states like a giant pancake. Its flatness and size show it must have been formed very quickly. Also, crossbeds in the sandstone have the right slope (angle of repose) for sand dunes formed under water, not in air.

What is Genesis teaching?

The documentary conclusively shows that evidence is always interpreted according to a paradigm, and that the global Flood paradigm makes good sense of geology. It then turns to the text of Genesis in depth, beginning with Hebrew scholar Steven Boyd, with a Ph.D. from Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion.

He insists that the author intended to explain the real history of the universe. The Hebrew text is crystal clear: The Genesis account of Creation and the Flood is historical narrative, not poetry. So we should understand its words in their normal sense. E.g. when the text says ‘day’, Hebrew yôm, in this context it means an ordinary-length day. Dr Boyd points out:

The only way you’d want it to mean a longer period of time is if you impose an alien concept to the text, and say, I think that these are ages, therefore yôm has to mean age. What you have to do is start with the text. If you start with the text, yôm means day.

He further points out that Genesis is totally incompatible with the evolutionary story in many areas, including the creation and Fall of man, and subsequent history at Babel. The genealogies, started by the phrase ‘elleh tôlədôt (“these are the generations of”), form the historical structure for Genesis. Similarly, the same phrase at the end of Ruth establishes King David as the descendant of Judah’s son Perez (Ruth 4:12, 18–22).

In general, this film shows that Christianity is soundly based on real history, not a blind leap of faith. Indeed our Creator became man, in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. And Jesus affirmed that Noah’s Flood was real history (Luke 17:26–27).

The Fossils

Ph.D. palaeontologists Kurt Wise and Marcus Ross explain how the Bible provides a different history of the world, in particular, the fossils. The fossils are found in distinct rock layers, and to bury the creatures, the rock layers must have been deposited quickly—not millions of years, but minutes, or even seconds. We see graveyards on top of graveyard, and marine creatures such as mosasaurs on top of continents, so there must have been a huge water cataclysm to bury them there.

The Cambrian Explosion is a problem for evolution, because major groups of animals, including vertebrates, appear suddenly without any evidence of evolution. But this and the rest of the fossil record make perfect sense with a Flood burying successive ecosystems.

en.wikipedia.org Dinosaur-tracks

Also, Dr Ross discusses an interesting issue with animal trackways, which evolutionists ‘date’ millions of years before the animals that made them:

“This is a pattern we see in several different groups, where their footprints are first, and their body parts are later. For the trilobites, for the amphibians, for the dinosaurs—the first time I find evidence of them in the fossil record, it’s from trackways, not from hard parts. From an old-earth perspective, that’s really weird, and hard to grapple with, because you have millions of years of trackway production, then ultimately the animal that made it. But that obviously doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Because if there’s trackways, there’s animals, and those animals have bones and teeth and shells to them, why aren’t they fossilized? Instead the pattern is telling us something different: there’s no time between when somebody leaves a track and when somebody’s buried.”

Also, he points out that animal tracks don’t last long. So they must have been buried and cemented in place quickly, and the fossil record shows “death in a moment” (also explained later by Dr Art Chadwick). The fossil record is not showing life’s development, but life trying to survive an event that eventually destroyed it.

The fossil record also shows carnivorous creatures. So by the time of the Flood, the curse had already affected the diet of animals away from their originally created vegetarian diets (Genesis 1:30). So natural history museums don’t show the animals as they were created, but as it existed in the Flood, a world full of violence (Hebrew hamas, Genesis 6:11).

Dinosaur soft tissue

Ph.D. microbiologist Kevin Anderson explained the discovery of a 4-foot-long brow horn of a Triceratops. After dissolving the hard material of the bone with the complexing agent EDTA, what was left was tissue that still had cells, and probably proteins such as collagen. The tissue was clearly squishy and stretchy. Under high magnification, they could see very fine details of the cells.

This is a huge problem for millions of years, since cells and proteins break down much faster than that—especially with the freeze-thaw cycle in Hell Creek, Montana, where the bone was found. This one discovery, let alone the many other “soft tissue” dinosaur finds, calls into question the whole long-age dating paradigm, and thus evolution itself. See also Triceratops soft tissue: More dinosaur soft tissue found and carbon dated.

Evolution, design, and variation

CMI’s marine biologist and geneticist Dr Robert Carter explains how well designed creatures are—so much that human designers are trying to copy them (biomimetics). Then he explains that people equivocate about the meaning of evolution: does it really mean “change over time”? Biblical creationists believe in change over time, but would not be called “evolutionists”. So evolution is really about bacteria changing into biologists over millions of years, via random mutations and natural selection. But random copying mistakes, even with natural selection, will not produce complex integrated creatures that we see:

”Life is so complex that small changes can’t explain it, just like you can’t take a computer operating system and look at it, and say, ‘Oh yeah, this was built up one digit at a time over any length of time.’ No, it took an intelligent person to sit down and put it together. … The number of changes [required for evolution], and the types of changes [we see in nature] are not something that you can do one change at a time.’’

Indeed, the genetic program of life is better compared to a four dimensional computer program, far surpassing anything made by man. See also The four dimensional human genome defies naturalistic explanations.

Instead of evolution from one kind of creature to another, the evidence points to a Designer using common patterns to make a huge variety of creatures, as Dr Carter adroitly explains using a starfish, sea urchin, and sea cucumber as examples.

Todd Wood (Ph.D. in biochemistry who specialized in computational biology, protein evolution, and comparative genomics) explains further the great variety within created kinds. For example, lions, tigers, and even house cats are descended from an original single cat (felid) kind that was on the Ark. We agree with him that this involves a very deliberate and very elaborate design of this original cat kind. He added:

It’s not just design like ‘God, you know, designed and created a lion.’ God created something that could make a lion. So it’s more like a multi-tooler or a Swiss Army Knife, where you’ve got all these pieces that you can just pop out whenever you need them.

Other examples are the dog/wolf (canid), bear (ursid), horse/donkey/zebra (equid), sheep/goat (caprid), sparrow/finch (passerine), duck/swan/goose (anatid) kinds, all with enormous built-in genetic diversity. Instead of the “tree of life” that evolutionists since Darwin have talked about, we instead see a creationist orchard with lots of different family trees. The Genesis paradigm explains both the similarities and differences of the living world, and increases our confidence that we can trust Scripture.

Natural selection eliminates information rather than adding it, e.g. eliminating finches with thin beaks when the only food is hard seeds.

One further example of a “species”-rich group is that of the human created kind, which clearly includes the Neandertal, but also clearly does not include the australopithecines—for which there is a clear discontinuity with humans—or any other kinds of animal. Dr Wood says:

The image of God entails this idea of being God’s representatives here on this earth. Part of that then is having dominion and having authority, [a] spiritual quality that we have that we don’t share with animals like that.

Astronomy

We see some of the amazing designs in astronomy, courtesy of Ph.D. astronomer Danny Faulkner. This includes the possibility of total solar eclipses. This is possible only because the sun is both 400 times bigger than the moon and 400 times further away. The earth (including the presence of water) and the universe are both obviously finely tuned for life.

Evidence for young ages include spiral galaxies and the rings of Saturn. The big bang even has many secular dissenters pointing out the fudge factors required, such as faster-than-light inflation, dark matter, and dark energy.

Dr Faulkner’s explanation of distant starlight is different from those of creationists in CMI (and ICR for that matter), but this is another example of the healthy presence of multiple working hypotheses.

Human history

Ph.D. Archaeologist Doug Petrovich explains how human history after the Flood began in the Ancient Near East. The Tower of Babel linguistic division is a key event that happened in “the days of Peleg” (Genesis 10:25), and Petrovich says Eridu is a plausible site for the tower (yet another area of healthy and continuing debate among biblical creationists). The division of languages was to force the rebellious people to fill the earth, as God commanded. Dr Petrovich explains:

en.wikipedia.org ziggurat
The Bible describes an event that’s not just the confusion of languages, but it’s the dispersing of people far from that city. Because we see language, or the written expression of language, just pop out of nowhere. And then, different languages being represented through cuneiform script and through hieroglyphic script or other means. So, you do not have a universal plan that’s followed among all of the languages. You see great diversity in the forms of grammar from language to language, even in ancient languages.

Why does Genesis matter?

The last, but by no means least, interviewee, Dr George Grant, a pastor, concludes this documentary. He explains that the historical teaching of Genesis was foundational for the Apostles’ teachings about Gospel itself, and for sin, marriage, and so much more:

I think that when you rid the book of Genesis of its historical moorings, you have suddenly decapitated the whole structure of the Bible. When you somehow make those chapters a different category altogether, and non-historical, what are you doing to all of the rest of the Bible? The Bible that assumes that it’s true; the Bible that treats it as historically true; the Bible that refers back to all the characters that are there? Does that then negate the whole of the Bible? Yes!

And that’s exactly what the strategy was of the higher critics in the 18th and 19th centuries. They knew that if you could somehow attack the first three, or the first 11, chapters of Genesis, you’ve done away with the whole thing.

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