A biblical view of North American geology?

A biblical view of North American geology? June 24, 2018


The freeway in the Virgin River Gorge
Coming from St. George today, we drove through the Virgin River Gorge, partially shown here in a relatively colorless Wikimedia Commons photograph. I’m not sure how Noah’s Flood formed it. Perhaps, before the water was very deep, the dragging keel of the Ark cut through the rock?


For many years from the time I was a child, I drove pretty frequently through Las Vegas.  I do it comparatively rarely these days.  But it’s fun and instructive when I do.  Lately, I’ve been paying attention to the billboards along I-15 as one approaches the city from the north..


On the basis of my study of those billboards, I conclude that the economy of Las Vegas must be principally based upon injury and accident lawyers, with an admixture of gentlemen’s clubs and adult bookstores.  Perhaps there are a lot of exotic dancers getting hurt?  For all I know, it may be a fairly dangerous line of work.


Over much of today’s drive, I was listening to a recording of the 2007 book The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul, co-authored by the Canadian cognitive neuroscientist Mario Beauregard with the Toronto-based journalist Denyse O’Leary.  When I needed a break from that, I flipped around the radio dial just a bit.  On one Christian radio station, I heard an advertisement for a biblical tour of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, led by Pastor Somebody Or Other, during which participants will be able to learn about how the spectacular scenery of the park was created by the tectonic forces associated with Noah’s Flood.  Fascinating.  Life is just too darned short!


Which makes me think of the geologist-apostle James E. Talmage (d. 1933):


According to the conception of geologists the earth passed through ages of preparation, to us unmeasured and immeasurable, during which countless generations of plants and animals existed in great variety and profusion and gave in part the very substance of their bodies to help form certain strata which are still existent as such. …

Geologists say that these very simple forms of plant and animal bodies were succeeded by others more complicated; and in the indestructible record of the rocks they read the story of advancing life from the simple to the more complex, from the single-celled protozoan to the highest animals, from the marine algae to the advanced types of flowering plant — to the apple-tree, the rose, and the oak.

What a fascinating story is inscribed upon the stony pages of the earth’s crust! … This record of Adam and his posterity is the only scriptural account we have of the appearance of man upon this earth. But we have also a vast and ever-increasing volume of knowledge concerning man, his early habits and customs, his industries and works of art, his tools and implements, about which such scriptures as we have thus far received are entirely silent. Let us not try to wrest the scriptures in an attempt to explain away what we cannot explain.

The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science or man-science. Holy Scripture will endure, while the conceptions of men change with new discoveries. We do not show reverence for the scriptures when we misapply them through faulty interpretation.

[From Dr. James E. Talmage, “The Earth and Man,” an address delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on 9 August 1931 and eventually published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]


I can’t remember ever having been a young-Earth creationist.  But several hostile strangers have assured me online that I am, so it must be so.  And, truly, the roughly 4.5 billion-year existence that I ascribe to the Earth is pretty young compared to the nearly 14 billion years since the Big Bang.


Posted from Newport Beach, California



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