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Creation 42(2):16–17, April 2020

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The oceans show us a young earth



Long ages of millions of years is a very widespread belief today. It is seen as the wand by which the problems of turning particles into people can be magically waved away. Of course, though having ‘millions of years’ available is a necessary condition for chemical and biological evolution, it is not sufficient—we have often shown how these can be ruled out for other scientific reasons.

The ‘millions of years’ idea first came from geology—from the rock layers. More precisely, from the interpretation that these layers supposedly formed by the same slow and gradual processes we see happening today, at more or less the same rates. This is the belief system called uniformitarianism. It was not the result of scientific evidence, but was imposed upon the evidence.

This belief system a priori rules out the biblical Flood as a possible explanation. Conversely, the Flood would have performed all that geological work shown in the rocks in a short time, rather than millions of years.

Of course, the waters of that Flood ended up in today’s seas. Just by standing on the shoreline, we can get a sense of the vastness of God’s power in creating this planet and all the water on it, as well as the awesome scope of God’s judgment in the Flood. But we can learn a great deal more from those majestic waves; there are many lines of evidence from the oceans that refute the idea of millions of years and resoundingly affirm biblical history.

Using uniformitarian assumptions—to defeat long ages

The oceans present us with another way of ‘dating’, because we can measure the rates of various processes with respect to the oceans. And using the long-ager’s own belief system of uniformitarianism, we get ‘maximum ages’ that do not square with the secular long-age paradigm. They do not, however, present any problem for the biblical timeline of history. Thus, uniformitarianism is self-refuting with respect to the scientific evidence we have available.

Ocean salt

The salinity of our oceans can give us a ‘clock’ of sorts, because we are able to estimate the amount of salt entering our oceans as well as the amount that leaves. It turns out that much more is entering than leaving, so the oceans are getting saltier over time. So let’s use this as a uniformitarian ‘clock’ by assuming the processes have stayed much the same. Starting with fresh water, how long would it take for the oceans to become as salty as they are?

A study by creation scientists Steve Austin and Russell Humphreys, using the most conservative numbers available, gave an absolute upper limit (not actual age!), of 62 million years.1 While this may seem like a long time, it is actually far too low a number to accommodate the secular age for the ocean of 3.8 billion years.2 And note that the oceans would have started out with some salt in them, plus a stupendous amount of salt and other minerals would have been added during the Flood from erosion and volcanism.

More recent estimations show even more salt entering than Austin and Humphreys accounted for, meaning the estimate should be even lower.3 Simply put, the oceans should be much saltier than they are today if they were anywhere near as old as the secular timeline claims. The only ‘out’ for long-agers is to assume that the rates have dramatically changed—which undermines the whole idea of uniformitarianism!

Accumulating nickel

We can also measure the rate at which nickel enters and leaves Earth’s oceans. If there is too much nickel dissolved in ocean water, it becomes toxic. According to a UK environmental health guideline, concentrations higher than 30 parts per billion are toxic for marine life—yet that concentration would have already been reached in just 1,076,000 years at current rates of input!

However, we also know that mineral ‘nodules’ containing nickel form on the sea floor, so could this explain the low level of nickel for the long-ager? Simply, no—even if all the nickel entering the ocean were being deposited in these nodules, based upon current estimates it would only take 168,000 years to accumulate all the nickel currently found in the nodules. Just as for salt, nickel is also entering our oceans far too quickly for the old-earth timeline of history.4

Where is all the seafloor sediment?

We observe the accumulation of sediment on the ocean floor coming from the erosion of our continents. In some places, like river mouths, our coastlines are gradually growing as the process of erosion dumps sediment from the land into the seas; at the same time, canyons and gorges on land are growing deeper by these same erosional processes. Everything is getting closer to sea level, with the faster changes happening at the highest elevations and steepest areas.

On average, the depth of sediment on the ocean floor is less than 400 metres (about 1,300 feet), with some areas of the ocean floor having no mud at all. We would not expect to find this if the oceans were extremely old. We can also estimate the maximum rate at which subduction (one crustal plate gradually being thrust under another) could be pulling sediment back into the crust. Assuming that this rate has always been the same (again, uniformitarianism against itself), it is far too slow to account for this result; not enough seafloor mud is getting eliminated by this process. In fact, at the present rate, all the sediment would have been accumulated in under 12 million years.5 And once more, the dramatic erosive power of a year-long global Flood means that it would have actually happened much more quickly even than that.

Gigantic submarine canyons

All over the world, we find examples of huge canyons offshore, some greater even than Grand Canyon, which are located in deep water and run perpendicular to the coastline. One such example is Monterey Canyon offshore from Monterey, California. This canyon reaches a maximum wall height of 1,700 metres (5,600 ft)! But even this pales in comparison to the highest submarine walls—found in Capbreton Canyon, which reach 3,000 metres (10,000 ft). What explains the existence of these huge canyons underwater?

Uniformitarian geologists are at a loss, admitting that there are currently no widely accepted theories capable of explaining them. However, looking at these features from the perspective of a young earth and Noah’s Flood makes perfect sense. They were carved by ‘channelized flow’ coming off the continents in the recessive stage of the Flood. That is why they are often found seawards of valleys on the land. The same rapid channelized flow that carved the valley on land also carved the submarine valley offshore.6

A total picture

The oceans do not show the appearance of age we would expect if they were really billions of years old. This is consistent with the Bible; the oceans of today began on Day 1 of Creation Week, some 6,000 years ago, covering the earth.

Today’s oceans contain more than enough water to flood the whole earth. If we were to flatten out all the current unevenness on the land and seafloor, the water present would cover the whole earth nearly 3 km (2 miles) deep! Tectonic movements of the earth’s crustal plates at the onset of the Flood would account for the water flooding the land.

After the Flood, as Psalm 104:8 seems to indicate, “the mountains rose, the valleys sank down”, giving us the very uneven surface of the planet we now inhabit. Even Mount Everest, one of the planet’s tallest peaks, would have been uplifted at the closing stages of the Flood, coming into being at that time as a brand-new feature. (It is measured to be still rising, though much more slowly, today.) So no wonder it has limestone with marine fossils on its summit. All this answers the age-old questions of ‘Where did all that water come from?’ ‘Was there enough to cover the earth?’, and, ‘Where did it all go?’

As we’ve seen, our oceans not only contain many evidences that confirm the Bible’s history, but they still contain the very same waters that inundated the planet long ago—the very same waters that carried Noah’s Ark.7

References and notes

  1. Austin S.A. and Humphreys, D.R., The sea’s missing salt: a dilemma for evolutionists, Proc. Second International Conference on Creationism, Vol. II, pp. 17–33, 1990. Return to text.
  2. Why do we have oceans? oceanservice.noaa.gov, 25 June 2018. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J., Salty seas, Creation 21(1):16–17, 1998; creation.com/salty. Return to text.
  4. Whyte, D., Nickel concentration indicates young oceans, Creation 38(3):54–55, 2016; creation.com/nickel. Figures used are those updated on 8 March 2021. Return to text.
  5. Walker, T., The mud is missing, Creation 32(3):52, 2010; creation.com/missing-mud. Return to text.
  6. Oard, M., Submarine canyons bigger than Grand Canyon: Carved as Noah’s floodwaters receded, Creation 41(3):48–51, 2019. Return to text.
  7. Batten, D., Ed., The Creation Answers Book, Chap. 12: Noah’s Flood—what about all that water? creation.com/cab12. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Rock Solid Answers
by Michael J Oard, John K Reed
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Readers’ comments

Chris W.
Two points - the most obvious of all. Lets assume the land is eroding by 1cm/yr (in the UK much of the southern coast is eroding at 120 cm/ yr, and we have 3700km's of coastline where it exceeds 10cm/yr). @ 1cm/yr, after 10 Million years we'd have lost 100km of land.

Okay the old-agers might say, it is being recreated somewhere else, but where? Lets assume S.America separated from Africa 150Mya (as claimed), and erosion is 2cm/yr, both coasts combined would have lost 3000km of land. If a combined coastal loss worth 3000km equivalent was missing from the S.American and African coastline the matching-up of coastlines after ancient plate tectonic movements / continental drift should be impossible. They wouldn't match. They do match, therefore the time frame is wrong.

If we use the real-world erosion figures from the UK, (ranging from 100cm to 10cm/yr), and suppose we can tolerate a combined 30km of missing coast and still have a reasonable match, the figure as an upper boundary is between 30 000 and 300 000 years. In conclusion, continental drift disproves deep time.
Gerald B.
How old is the Earth?

If to the Lord a day is like a thousand years, the time since Adam's creation, six thousand years, represents six days of mankind's presence on Earth, also the length of God's rest or Sabbath.

Likewise there were six of God's days before He could rest and set Adam the task of naming all the creatures, there being no more to follow - only minor variations to existing species.

So, one must allow another six of God's days to return to the state when the Earth was a void and thus the total to the present: Twelve Thousand Years, explaining why the rocks appear more randomly distributed corresponding to the various cataclysms.
Tas Walker
We would not embrace the idea of 12,000 years. We don't accept that is what the Bible says, or that it solves anything geological. This video: Science, the Bible, and the Age of the Earth (Creation Magazine LIVE! 8-04) is one that deals with this issue.
Jim C.
was it the flood or a meteor that killed off the dinosaurs
Tas Walker
Not a meteor. Many dinosaurs were overwhelmed and buried by the Flood, and we find their fossils buried in Flood sediments. However some survived on Noah's Ark, and there are many examples of people encountering dinosaurs. It seem they went extinct not that long ago, only a few hundred years. Use the search box to find out more.
Marie-Michele R.
Very interesting. But, if it is the same amount of water and the floor of the ocean was higher before the flood, how was it possible to have dry ground before the flood?
Tas Walker
It seems it is to do with the up-and-down movements of earth's crust. Ocean basins lifting up would flood the pre-Flood continents, and ocean basins later moving down would allow water to drain from the continents.
David P.
"The fact is that it is impossible (IMPOSSIBLE) to measure the age of something in the past by making measurements in the present. All such calculations are based on assumptions. " No it isn't, it's called SCIENCE. Provable facts established by thousands of scientists all over the world. Your "evidence" that the earth is 6000 years old is based on Moses and Methuselah being hundreds of years old. Really? And folk tales being passed down and gathered together in The Bible. What happened to all that water? Why didn't all the lions and elephants, apes and land birds die while your young earth was covered in water for a year?
Please don't give your standard response "use our Search facility": it's all pseudo science.
Tas Walker
Hi David, If I link some articles for you here, will you read them? I think you will find them helpful.
1. How dating methods work. Check the real-life example.
2. How they make conflicting dates agree.
3. The fatal flaw with radioactive dating.
Jan P.
A few years ago, an atheist challenged us about the waters that covered the earth completely during Noah's flood. He asked us where all that water has gone to today.
God in His mercy showed us, at exactly that time, an article in a scientific journal which showed that the amount of water bound to the magma (molten lava) under the earth is much more that the water on the surface of the earth.
So his question was answered from a science journal. I wish I could quote it here as well, but unfortunately I lost the reference.
Tas Walker
Good point. We consider the water went into the ocean basins as a result of the ocean basins sinking.
Here is an article that deals with water in the earth's mantle. Here is another.
Tom G.
This goes a long way to answering a question put to me by an evolutionist, who said if the Flood covered the earth to the height of
Mt Everest (he’s assuming it was the same height it is now) the volume of water present would generate so much energy it would boil Noah and the inhabitants of the ark alive!!!
Kevin S.
I guess a counter argument could be that these rates (like sea salt accumulation) could have increased exponentially over time to account for more time, though I guess that runs contrary to the quote in the article "The only ‘out’ for long-agers is to assume that the rates have dramatically changed—which undermines the whole idea of uniformitarianism!"
Tas Walker
Yes, you are correct. The fact is that it is impossible (IMPOSSIBLE) to measure the age of something in the past by making measurements in the present. All such calculations are based on assumptions. All such debates on these issues amount to arguing about what happened in the past. You can get any age you like depending on the assumptions you make. If you don't like the result just change your assumptions. You have expressed that truth well in your comment.
The only way to know the age of something with confidence is by the historical method, based on observations by eyewitnesses that have been documented. That is how we know the age of the earth and the date of the Flood—by the historical records preserved in the Bible.
Josh W.
Great article. Though I have a few questions from rebuttals I've heard Given to answer the above given points. Do these rates of accumulation (salt, nickel, sediment) take into account the increase of erosion and displacement of sediment due to human activity? If there is an increase in erosion due to human activity, then the rates of salt, nickel, and sediment would also increase. Additionally, I’ve heard that the formation of evaporite deposits explains away the need to show where all of the salt in the ocean has gone if it is indeed quite old.
Thank you for your ministry and your article! I look forward to your response.
God bless
Tas Walker
Human activity has resulted in an increase in erosion and some studies have looked at the effects of this. It does not make much difference. In evolutionary terms, the so-called evaporite deposits formed long before the time frame we are talking about with the salt and nickel calculations, and so would not have affected the calculated result. Also, the salt deposits were not formed by the evaporation of seawater—i.e. they are not evaporite deposits. For more information, search creation.com for "evaporite", "salt", "nickel", etc.
Dan M.
I wonder what the ratio would be of land volume, (above sea level) to ocean volume, (below sea level) using sea level as a zero gauge marker. I'll bet there is many more times water volume below sea level as there is land above sea level? Just did some math to put it into perspective. The world has a radius of 3,958.8 miles. Mt Everest is 5.5 miles, (29,032 feet) above sea level and reported to be the highest place on Planet Earth. Mt Everest is ~1/719.78 the distance above sea level in relation to the center of the earth. If you were to visualize this in relation to a 9.5" basketball. That would be a 4.75"/719.78 = ~.0066 or less than 7 thousand's of an inch above the surface of the basketball. Hold a 7 thousand feeler gauge up to a 9.5" basketball and you'll see that is infinitesimal. The atmosphere, (60 miles) would only be ~72 thousand's of an inch above the surface of a basketball. Now think that all the mountains of the earth account for less landmass per square mile above sea level, (much more flat land than mountains) and think about the volume of the oceans, (average depth = ~12,100 feet or 2.29 miles) and viola. Easily enough water to cover the land with moderate tectonic movement, (the flood was catastrophic and the mountains were flat). when you get your mind right and get your thinking around it, (without bias) the flood makes perfect sense of all the landforms we see. We are like grasshoppers and the landmasses seem huge but when you put it into God's perspective, they really are not. "Let God be true and every man a liar", (Rom 3:4). It's not that secularists can't believe it, it's that they don't want to! Those of us who are not born again, hate accountability. God Bless CMI, for standing firm. Sometimes you just have to stand back and see the forest?
Tas Walker
The hypsographic chart is relevant here.
Thomas C.
Here's hoping that folks will realize that any science is for the present. Science can only be demonstrated in the present. Any projection into the past or the future is by faith that no other dynamics will ever take place or has ever taken place. Thus such claims demonstrate a faith based on human perceptions, but without the power to impose the present on all other era's or futures.
Contrast that to the History revealed by one who was there and who is all powerful, omnipresent so nothing escapes His notice nor His power. He is one who can say what is, has been and will be with accuracy and authority.
Dan B.
Articles exposing self-refutation are always top class, well done. And in fact, in a subtle psychological way, it may even be that articles which go no further than leaving upper age limits in the tens of millions of years, are the best approach for many, simply to take the first step of realising that "billions of years" doesn't work. And the fact that these are after all not ages but still only upper limits, piques the curiosity to know just how much younger the oceans really are... and so for some people it'll be like that case where Jesus gave sight to a blind man in two stages.

Another significant aspect of the oceans question is how they come to exist at all. Evolutionists who believe in a hot Hadean stage of Earth history have to claim the water came later, with comets being the obvious and likely the only realistic option. This was dealt a body blow when the Galileo probe (1995-6) found very little water in the atmosphere of Jupiter whereas that massive planet should have drawn in a huge number of comets if that theory were true. Conclusion: there never was a Hadean stage, Earth's crust was always cool enough to support liquid oceans and it had them from the start. This by itself sharply limits the possible age of the oceans and of the entire planet.
Guy W.
I love this article! One can also see that the same patterns of wind and weather have been running throughout the last 6000 years. Simply viewing where the regular storm force winds run repeating. Coasts like the Western side of Chile and Cape Horn which are THRASHED by Westerly gales continually often rising to Force Ten and above. This similar 'bony' appearance can be seen on the Labrador Coast in North East Canada and NorthWest Scotland and the Norwegian Coast and the flatter less rocky and more Estuarine areas on the Eastern coasts.
Richard G.
Congratulations Paul and dear CIM co-labourers in God's Harvest,
Another blow for truth with the evidence to support a simple reading of God's Word, the Bible. Only a few intellectuals will read all your articles, not that intellectuals aren't human. They have potential to reach millions (and a few other unbelieving intellectuals). But I stress as usual that we must spread the simple basic truths of the gospel very widely even if only the essentials of it. Jesus said, "Go into all the world and make disciples of ALL." Plaster the place with the pleasing news of God's good gospel. Tracts in letterboxes will do. Gideon couldn't destroy his father's idol openly in public view but he DID perform God's will! Jesus added advantageous advice, "Look, I am with you always" when we work at doing this that He said to do. For 60 years in Japan we have exposed evil evolution, mostly only briefly, but we have stressed salvation strongly, with reapers' rewards resulting.
Terry D P.
Not often contemplated is the fact that at the start of Day Three of Creation the whole earth was completely covered with water, before dry land appeared and brought forth vegetation of all kinds:
«/ God said, ‘Let the waters under heaven be gathered into one place, so that dry land may appear’; and so it was. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters he called seas; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce fresh growth, let there be on the earth plants bearing seed, fruit-trees bearing fruit each with seed according to its kind.’ So it was; the earth yielded fresh growth, plants bearing seed according to their kind and trees bearing fruit each with seed according to its kind; and God saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning came, a third day. — Gn§1:9-13 /»
And in the NT:
«/ In taking this view they lose sight of the fact that there were heavens and earth long ago, created by God’s word out of water and with water [dry land Day Three]; and by water that first world was destroyed, the water of the deluge [Noah's Flood]. — 2P§3:5-6 /»

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