Order of the Geologic Column and Flood Geology

Geologic Column

by Edward T. Babinski

The story of the geologic column begins with the story of the first map of the geology of England (made during a time of blasting mountainsides and drilling holes through hills when railway lines were being laid down). Certain formations were found to lay above other specific formations. The Relative Order of the formations was found to be the same even in distant locations of Great Britain. In other words such and such a formation was always found above such and such a formation. Or such and such a formation was always found below such and such a formation. Later students of geology added to the numbers of general formations and also discovered distinctions within such formations, but the Relative Order of the formations remained the same, and that is what the geological column that we have today represents, the Relative Order of various known formations. And though that relative order was deduced via visible out-croppings all over the earth (even down to microfossils found in specific formations) it was only fairly recently that geologists have discovered basins that contain representative sediments and fossils common to each major division in the geological column, in the expected relative order. Other parts of the world are known to contain many basins lacking a formation or two or three or four or five. But in such cases that lack representative sediments common to all the major divisions, the Relative Order of the formations Still Remains the same as that based on the earliest observations. In other words erosion is the rule, but the relative order remains as expected for the sediments the remains. Furthermore, when representative samples of all the major epoch are found piled up in thick basins of sediments the relative order fits the geologic column.

Furthermore, this relative order remains true right down to Microfossils and Fossil Fragments. No flood could separate things so perfectly, only eons of time could separate the microfossils and fossil fragments, placing them in a strict relative order found all over the earth (with the exceptions of places of non-flat sediments such as mountain-building regions, but those are the exception, not the rule, especially not the rule of flat basins and ancient flat shorelines).

As for where all the sedimentary rock came from, look at the creation off the Hawaiian islands, which are still being created, the youngest islands being those toward the north I believe (or south, I forget), volcanoes still spewing forth molten lava that hardens into land and even mountains, but those islands are all relatively young compared with the great continent of North America.

On the continents, mountains rose and were worn down, land rose and was worn down, it's called erosion by rain, by microbes and lichen that eat rock, by acids from plant and animal decay, but roots growing in crevices and breaking open rock further, by heat cracking mud and drying out rock, by earthquakes crumbling rock, by wind pushing sand, by streams, by rivers, etc. the process repeating itself again and again over eons of time, which also explains why the average depth of sedimentary rock on land is a mile in thickness.

Interestingly, in the ocean, the average depth of sedimentary rock is much less than that found on land, and the rock at the bottom of the oceans is actually younger than that on the land, dating only back to the Triassic I believe, the youngest rocks in the ocean being those found along the mid-Atlantic ridge which is still spewing forth lava as the continents of American and Africa continue to move away from each other.

The problem for Flood geology is explaining the fact that there is so much more sedimentary rock found on the continents than in the oceans. All you have to do is put a platform inside a jar filled with water and sand, and shake it and see how much of the sane remains on the platform and how much of the sand falls to the bottom of the jar. A Flood would have washed far more sedimentary rock off the land. A Flood would have suspended far more sediments in the oceans, which rose above the land (per the Flood of Noah), and then those sediments would have settled out into the oceans, as well as running off the land along with the retreating waters. In fact there ought to be grand canyons all along the coasts of the continents if Flood geology is true. But there's only one Grand Canyon on the planet, and it's not on the coast!

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Sedimentation - Lamination Experiment

Lake Suigetsu

Lake Suigetsu in Japan even had each layer individually carbon-dated, and each layer as you descended was older than the one above by approximately one year, going back 45 thousand years:

Lake Suigetsu and other important data about lake varves
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD241.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH210.html


Ice Cores

And speaking of “layers,” forget about varved lakes because there are ice cores with layers of ice going back even further than 45 thousand years:

Cetacean Folly, Whales with Hind Limbs

[you have to scroll down the above article to get to the discussion about Ice Cores]


Lamination Experiment

“Cordova: Here are experiments carried out in the lab. This lamination took a matter of minutes:”

Comments On Guy Berthault's Experiment

Guy Berthault's experiment, above, does not invalidate that layers can be laid down more slowly, as slowly as one layer per year as observed in modern day lakes in Europe and Japan were varves are observed being formed.

Greenriver Formation

In geological formations containing millions of layers like the ancient fossil lake deposits of the Green River formation you can find the markings and prints of reptiles, water fowl, and mammals at different sedimentary horizons, showing they walked around the lake's ancient shores, not to mention the fossilized nests of the ancient water fowl found along the shore lines.


Berthault's Failure To Invalidate Modern Geology

For more details about Berthault's failure to overturn modern geology read the articles, further below, several of them by a professional geologist who was a former young-earth creationist Christian who wanted an earth as young as possible, but who became an old-earther instead.

Speaking of former young-earth geologists, I personally know three former young-earth geologists who became old-earth geologists, one even studied with John Morris of ICR, and there is even an association of old-earth Christian geologists linked with the Evangelical Christian American Scientific Affiliation (visit the ASA website). Compare that with the fact that both young-earth groups, ICR and AiG, only list 8 degreed geologists (with either a Ph.D. or an M.S.) on their websites.

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Mt. St. Helens, Flood Geology, Modern Geology, The Age of the Earth

Question: 1. What about Mt. St. Helens? Creationists often use this as proof that layers of sediment can be produced quickly. Thus, to the creationists, the global flood could have created the layers quickly.
Mount St Helens and Flood Geology

ED: Just because some layers form quickly does not mean they all did.

Point One, Modern Geology

The movement of rain-water and lake-water down the slope of Mt. St. Helens to form layers of sediment does not explain how all of the earthʼs geological formations originated. There are plenty of formations that were not “underwater” when they formed, including ancient desert layers of windblown sand, ancient dry mud cracked layers, ancient dried dung found in the geological record, ancient fossilized nests of dinosaurs and burrows of land dwelling creatures, ancient paleosols (had to have been exposed to air), ancient dried mineral layers (like when a salty shallow inland lake dries up, leaving a layer of concentrated salt crystals), as well as trackways left by creatures walking around on land, like amphibian tracks, dinosaur tracks, reptile tracks, bird and mammal tracks, found at different heights throughout the geological record, sometimes such tracks are found at different heights directly above each other in the same geological formation, so we know creatures were walking around on land during all the different geological epochs.

You can shake up a jar of water mixed with soil and allow it to settle into layers because the most dense rock settles first (hard pebbles and sand), then the less dense rock particles settle, and finally the least dense rock particles settle (like fine clay particles that stay suspended longer in water). However, the density of rocks found piled in layers round the world can vary from layers that have the smallest lightest particles on top of the most dense rocks — to the reverse situation. From that alone, geologists guessed that the geologic column was not laid down instantly, nor even in a single year, but that the divisions between certain layers relected unknown but lengthy periods of time. For instance, you can put light chalk particles and light coal particles in a jar and shake it, and they would intermingle to a noticeable degree, BUT in nature the coal seams of Kent do not intermix with the white chalky cliffs of Dover, there is a very real division between the two, implying that the coal was laid down and hardened at one time, and then, later the little microorganisms that lived in the sea and sucked calcium from the water to make their tiny microbial shells, lived and died and formed the chalk seams above the coal seams — With A Time Interval Between The Two Events.

Also… geologists (who were Christians) discovered and proposed “the geological column” in the late 1700s and early 1800s (before Darwinʼs “Origin of Species” was published) based not only on the existence of layers and their unique contents of particular minerals or fossils, but based on the relative orders of those layers, especially when examined in large flat basins of undisturbed strata, implying that the strata were laid down in that relative order without the ground being lifted or bent out of shape or mixing things up immensely. And that same relative order was verified to exist over and over again in strata in Britain and in Europe, in fact, round the world. So especially when large flat undisturbed regions of earth were examined, the relative order of the geological column was vindicated hugely. Today, large flat basins of strata have been drilled round the world, many of which contain representative layers of rocks and fossils from all of the major geological epochs In The Exact Order Predicted Ages Ago by the original discoverers of “the geological column.” When less than the total number of geological epochs is represented, the Relative Order of the layers remains the same, as predicted. Neither does the absence of some representative layers alter the Relative Order of the layers that remain, and that relative order still matches what is predicted by “the geological column.”

Even in cases where the land is “faulted” or “bent” such as near rising volcanic mountains or where continents collide and push the land around them into mountainous shapes, the geological epochs may be turned “upside down” and hence the order of the strata is reversed, but in such cases where strata from numerous epochs are bent and heavily folded they still remain in the assumed relative order, only in reverse. Neither are such cases of “out of order strata” found in large flat undisturbed basins, and that is after countless deep core drillings of regions round the world have been examined.

Note on the “worldʼs biggest example of out of order strata,” The Lewis Mountain Overthrust

Henry Morris in The Genesis Flood claimed rightly that the largest region of “upside down strata” was in the region of the “Lewis Mountain Overthrust,” he wrongly claimed that there was no evidence of genuine “overthrusting.” Yet there was plenty, there were the rising mountains of that region. And in fact, plenty of evidence of faults and thrusts and bent land. And the “upside down strata” in that case were examined by geologists who determined that the lower rocks were “younger and uncooked by extreme pressure and heat” while the rocks on top were “older and cooked by more extreme heat and pressure,” which means that originally they were not in that order, but the older cooked rocks were originally beneath the younger uncooked ones. The Institute for Creation Researchʼs own experts in geology/paleontology (Drs. Austin and Wise) both admitted this and gave up trying to defend Morrisʼ use of the “Lewis Mountain Overthrust” to try and refute the order and existence of “the geologic column.”


Point Two, Is The Flood Story Literally True?

There are Evangelical scholars who opt for a reading of the “Flood” that is less than “worldwide.” See the NIV Application Commentary On Genesis by Watson, available at any major Christian bookstore. Itʼs an excellent commentary, at least for evangelicals, since it incorporates modern knowledge of the ancient Near Eastern world and tries to build a bridge between that knowledge and a truly evangelical understanding of Scripture. Watson teaches at Wheaton, an evangelical Christian institution. I read his commentary two weekends ago, couldnʼt put it down.

When the Bible speaks of the “whole world” it employs an ethnocentric view of the Hebrewʼs (and early Christianʼs) own little portion of the world being equivalent to “the whole world.”

The famine was over all the face of the earth… And all countries came unto Egypt to Joseph to buy corn; because the famine was so sore in all lands.
- Genesis 41:56,57

[The Lord said to the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert] “This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee."
- Deuteronomy 2:25

I have set my king upon the holy hill of Zion. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [as slaves] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.
- Psalm 2:6,8,9,12

[Jesus said] “The Queen of the South [i.e., the Queen of Sheba] came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon."
- Matthew 12:42 (The Queenʼs residence, being probably on the Arabian Gulf, could not have been more than twelve or fourteen hundred miles from Jerusalem. If that is the “uttermost parts of the earth” then it is a small world after all.)

All the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom.
- 2 Chronicles 9:23

A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
- Luke 2:1

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
- Acts 2:5

A great famine all over the world took place in the reign of Claudius.
- Acts 11:28

Paul the apostle wrote:

Their voice [of first-century proclaimers of the Christian Gospel] has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.

The mystery is now manifested and. has been made known to all the nations.

The gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world.

The gospel. which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul was made a minister.
- Romans 10:18; 16:25-26; Colossians 1:5-6,23

But “Their voice” (of Christians proclaiming the Gospel) had only reached a handful of churches in the Roman Empire when you wrote the above verses. The Gospel had not reached, nor been proclaimed in “all the earth,” nor “to the ends of the world,” nor “to all nations,” and certainly not “in all creation under heaven,” not like you said it “has” and “was.” (Even today, Southern Baptists claim that something like three billion people on earth still havenʼt heard “the Gospel,” at least not “the Gospel” that the Southern Baptists preach.)

The early church father, Irenaeus, maintained Paulʼs “big talk” when he wrote: “Now the Church, spread throughout all the world even to the ends of the earth;” “…even though she has been spread over the entire world;” “Anyone who wishes to see the truth can observe the apostleʼs traditions made manifest in every church throughout the whole world.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.10.1, 1.10.2, 3.3.1-2) Not a very big “world,” mind you, leaving out most of Asia and Africa, not to mention the continents of Australia, North America and South America.

If an all-wise God had inspired the Bible He would have been able to give its human authors a few inspired geography lessons, just to show them how big the earth really is. Instead the Bible contains the same exaggerated ethnocentric speech common for its day and age.

Furthermore, if the Bible is speaking in exaggerated ethnocentric fashion when it speaks of “all the earth,” “to the ends of the earth,” “from the uttermost parts of the earth,” “all the inhabited earth,” “in all creation under heaven,” “under all the heavens,” and, “every nation under heaven,” then what about the statement, “everywhere under the heavens” that appears in the tale of the Flood of Noah? (Gen. 7:17, “The water prevailed. and all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.”) Might not the phrase, “everywhere under the heavens,” be another exaggeration to make the Hebrew version of the Flood story (which they stole from the Sumerians/Babylonians) appeal to the ethnocentrism of their own culture? After all, the Hebrews changed the name of the storyʼs main protagonist and changed the mountain upon which the boat eventually rested, just to suit their culture. In fact, the story of “the Flood” was altered by each culture that adopted it as the story moved eastward, including the name of the protagonist and the name of the mountain that he and his cargo landed on.

Having run across so many instances of exaggerated ethnocentric speech in the Bible one wonders what is to become of the central Christian boast, the exaggeration par excellence, namely that Jesus died for the sins of “the world?” Believers from every sacred tradition boast that their beliefs affect “the world,” or must be taken utterly seriously by “the world.” Must they? I find that I cannot take seriously many instances in which Biblical authors exaggerate about the extent of a famine, a census, the distance to a queenʼs residence, the extent to which a message has been spread, the extent of a flood, etc. Furthermore, it appears that “orthodox” Christian doctrines and theology arose via exaggerating the importance of some parts of the New Testament above others (as well as by exaggerating the importance of some interpretations of those sayings above rival interpretations). So each group of Christians believed that the verses they focused on (and their interpretations of those verses) were “centrally” important.

A final exaggeration worth mentioning, this time of “flat earth” proportions:

The devil took him [Jesus] up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
- Matthew 4:8

Shown “all the kingdoms of the world” from an “exceedingly high mountain?” I suppose so, if the mountain was “exceedingly high” and the earth was flat. Two verses in the book of Daniel echo an equally flat presumption, “I saw a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.” (Daniel 4:10-11) Instead of an “exceedingly high” mountain as in Matthew, Daniel pictures a tree “whose height was great.” Funny how such flagrantly flat-earth verses appear in both the Old and New Testaments. “Bible believers” will of course reply that such verses are only “apparently difficult” to explain, and not the “real truth” as they see it. But it is the “apparent difficulties” that remain in the Bible, as it was written, and they will always remain there, regardless of all the ingenuity employed in explaining them away.


Christian Men Of Science And The Age Of The Earth

By the 1850s Christian men of science agreed the earth was extremely old.
See, “Reasons Why ‘Flood Geology’ Was Abandoned in the Mid-1800s by Christian Men of Science”

Such men included:

  • Reverend William Buckland (head of geology at Oxford)

  • Reverend Adam Sedgwick (head of geology at Cambridge)

  • Reverend Edward Hitchcock (who taught natural theology and geology at Amherst College, Massachusetts)

  • John Pye Smith (head of Homerton Divinity College)

  • Hugh Miller (self taught geologist, and editor of the Free Church of Scotlandʼs newspaper) and,

  • Sir John William Dawson (geologist and paleontologist, a Presbyterian brought up by conservative Christian parents, who also became the only person ever to serve as president of three of the most prestigious geological organizations of Britain and America).

All of these giants of the geological sciences rejected the “Genesis Flood” as an explanation of the geologic record — except for possibly the topmost superficial sediments, though Adam Sedgewick and Buckland later abandoned even that hypothesis:
www.talkorigins.org/
Neither were their conclusions based on a subconscious desire to support “evolution,” since none of the above evangelical Christians were evolutionists, none became evolutionists, and the earliest works of each of them were composed before Darwinʼs Origin of Species was published.


Lake Suigetsu

Lake Suigetsu in Japan has had many of its 45 thousand layers individually carbon-dated, and each layer as you descended was older than the one above by approximately one year, going back 45 thousand years:
Lake Suigetsu and other important data about lake varves:

Paleoclimate Records and Young Earth Creationism


And speaking of “layers,” there are ice cores with layers of ice going back even further than 45 thousand years:

Ice Cores

Evidence of an old-earth is also provided by ice cores, i.e., not just the numbers of distinct layers of ice found in the deepest known ice cores but also via analyzing the individual peculiarities of each individual layer of ice in such cores, which was definitely NOT all laid down together at once, nor in a very short period… Speaking of such evidence, has Young Earth creationism finally met the “tiny mystery” that it cannot explain away? As I stated above, there already exist evidence for an earth older than the one pieced together by simply adding the genealogies of the patriarchs of Genesis together. Such evidence includes individually carbon-dated tree rings from overlapping series of trees whose rings reach back over 10,000 years. And thereʼs individually carbon-dated varve layers in a lake in Japan that reach back in time continuously for even greater periods, i.e., for tens of thousands of years. Now thereʼs ice cores that reach back 40,000 years as well, which are perhaps even more difficult to explain away than the evidence already mentioned above. See the information on such cores provided in the letter below, submitted by a Christian who is also a professional glaciologist.

From: Andrew Ruddell
(a Christian and also a professional glacialogist — E.T.B.)
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 4:17 AM
To: question@bibleandscience.com

To Drs. Meyer and Murray,
What a great web site you two have created!

Good to see someone taking both the Bible and science seriously. Along with you guys, I believe that God does not need falsehood to prop up his kingdom. While science operates under his lordship it must operate in the realm of reason to achieve the benefits he intends for humanity. When such “reason” is used as a basis for belief it becomes speculative as we see in “creation science,” then we run into all sorts of problems such as scholasticism, gnosticism, etc. Godʼs Kingdom can only come by faith when and where he wills. It doesnʼt come any quicker by us “bearing false witness.”

My past career was a science teacher then a glaciologist (following a PhD at Univ of Melbourne -working on the New Zealand glacial retreat due to recent warming, then several years working on the Antarctic Ice Sheet) and now doing a BTh/BMin to go into the ministry.

Attached below is an email sent to Answers In Genesis following the dubious claim that the Greenland ice sheet is only about 2,000 years old. I believe an article similar to my comments exists (Seely, P.H., “The GISP2 Ice Core: Ultimate Proof that Noahʼs Flood Was Not Global, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 55(4):252-260, 2003.) The Answers in Genesis people are currently working on a “rebuttal” of the Seely article, which I also look forward to seeing.

Sincerely in Christ,
Andrew

Feel free to use the following material (no need to give acknowledgements). Other material exists elsewhere (Don Lindsayʼs web site, Todd Greene, etc). The Oard article below has some glaring misquotes and I believe that Dr Weiland is out of his depth, but they are brotherʼs in Christ and I believe that we must work positively and objectively with them.

Summary letter to the editor of Answers in Genesis for publication:
Age of Greenland ice core
Dr Wielandʼs articles in Creation 26(1) and 19(3) claim that the 3 km Greenland ice core (GISP2) is younger than that determined by glaciological analysis, and represents only about 2,000 years of accumulation. This conflicts with the established age of at least 40,000 years obtained by the counting of annual layers using visual stratigraphy by Meese et al. (1997) to a depth of 2340 m. This method is independently supported by conductivity and particulate variation, and volcanic fallout. The method used by Dr Wieland is much lower because it appears to have not adequately considered the substantial inland decrease in accumulation rate, its density variation, or the rate of strain thinning in the GISP2 ice core. Is this correct?

Reference - Meese, et al. 1997 J. Geophys. Res. 102(C12):26,41126,423.
Andrew Ruddell
Adelaide, Australia.
And a slightly more detailed version for Dr Carl Wieland given below. I would be interested in his comments.
An age of only 4,000 years for the Greenland Icesheet has been proposed by Wieland (1997, 2004). This is considerably less than the age given by Alley et al (1997) and Meese et al (1997) for the GISP2 ice core. Meese et al. (1997:26,413) state that:

  1. ‘The visual stratigraphy was a consistent parameter throughout most of the core’ (i.e. 77% of core depth).
  2. Using visual stratigraphy 44,583 annual layers can be counted with an estimated error of 5-10%.
  3. The visual stratigraphy is independently supported by ECM and LLS measurements.
  4. The summer stratigraphic horizon ‘was chosen as the definitive annual layer marker’.
  5. Stratigraphy is determined from depth-hoar layers (which are easily distinguished from melt features).
    The dating of the core is supported by volcanic fallout from the Saksunarvatn eruption about 10,300 years ago and another event (‘Z2’) about 52,200 years ago (Zielinski et al 1997). More recent eruptions have been identified as well (Clausen et al 1997, Zielinski et al 1994).
    The study of Meese et al (1997) has been meticulously undertaken and is able to provide a reliable age for the Greenland ice sheet of at least 40,000 years. The age given by Dr Wieland is much lower, because his method does not adequately consider:
  1. The substantial inland decrease in accumulation rate (in water equivalent).
  2. The rate of strain thinning with depth (even for the section with visual annual layers).

    Furthermore, it should be noted that:

  3. The dating does not depend on isotope variations as stated by Wieland (1997). Although these also give ‘a distinct seasonal signal’ in the upper 300m.
  4. Borehole and ice radar measurements indicate that the worldʼs two ice-sheets are kilometers thick rather than ‘hundreds of meters thick’ as stated by Wieland (2004, p 20).

Questions:

  1. I was wondering if you could shed some light on the disparities (1-4) that have been outlined above (I have found similar problems in an article on the same topic written by Oard 2001).
  2. I am also interested to know if your articles are peer-reviewed by scientists appropriate to this topic.
  3. Has a critique of the Greenland ice core dating been submitted to the relevant journals such as ‘J.Glaciology’, ‘Annals of Glaciology’ or J.Geophys.Res.?
    Thank you for your consideration of my submission. My colleagues and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely, Andrew Ruddell

11 Feb. 2004.

References

  • Alley, R.B. et al., Visual-stratigraphic dating of the GISP2 ice core: Basis, reproducibility, and application. Journal of Geophysical Research 102(C12):26,36726,381, 1997.
  • Clausen et al. A comparison of the volcanic records over the past 4000 years from the Greenland Ice Core Project and Dye 3 Greenland ice cores. Journal of Geophysical Research 102(C12):26,70726,723, 1997
  • Meese, D.A., Gow, A.J., Alley, R.B., Zielinski, G.A., Grootes, P.M., Ram, K., Taylor, K.C., Mayewski, P.A. and Bolzan, J.F., The Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 depth-age scale: Methods and results. Journal of Geophysical Research 102 (C12):26,41126,423, 1997.
  • Oard, Michael J. Do Greenland ice cores show over one hundred thousand years of annual layers? Subsequently published in: TJ 15(3):3942, 2001.
  • Wieland, Carl Ice-bound plane flies again. Creation 26(1):20-21, Dec 2003 Feb 2004.
  • Wieland, Carl The Lost Squadron: Deeply buried missing planes challenge ‘slow and gradual’ preconceptions. Creation 19(3):1014, JuneAugust 1997.
  • Zielinski et al. Record of volcanism since 7000 BC from the GISP2 Greenland ice core and implications for the volcano-climate system.
  • Science 264, 948-952, 13 May 1994.
  • Zielinski et al. Volcanic aerosol records and tephrochronology of the Summit, Greenland, ice cores. Journal of Geophysical Research 102(C12):26,62526,640; 1997.

Greenriver Formation

In geological formations containing millions of layers like the ancient fossil lake deposits of the Green River formation you can find the markings and prints of reptiles, water fowl, and mammals at different sedimentary horizons, showing they walked around the lakeʼs ancient shores, not to mention the fossilized nests of the ancient water fowl found along the shore lines.


Guy Berthault Has Formed Some Layers In The Lab In Minutes.

But Guy Berthaultʼs experiments do not invalidate that layers can and have been laid down far more slowly, as slowly as one layer per year as observed in modern day lakes in Europe and Japan where varves are observed being formed.

Berthaultʼs Failure To Invalidate Modern Geology

For more details about Berthaultʼs failure to overturn modern geology read the articles, further below, several of them by a professional geologist who was a former young-earth creationist Christian who wanted an earth as young as possible, but who became an old-earther instead.
Speaking of former young-earth geologists, I personally know three former young-earth geologists who became old-earth geologists, one even studied with John Morris of ICR, and there is even an association of old-earth Christian geologists linked with the Evangelical Christian American Scientific Affiliation (visit the ASA website). Compare that with the fact that both young-earth groups, ICR and AiG, only list 8 degreed geologists (with either a Ph.D. or an M.S.) on their websites. Guy Berthaultʼs views vs. Those of Other Christian Men of Science and Expert Sedimentologists


The evidence for an OLD earth presently includes:

  1. Individually dated tree-rings in two or three separate tree-ring series, stretch back 12,000 years. (Even Young-earthers like Aardsma, formerly with the Institute for Creation Research, have admitted that the evidence from individually dated tree-rings in two totally separate tree-ring series on two different continents, demonstrates the reliability of C-14-dating stretching back 12,000 years in time).

  2. Individually (C-14)dated varves in a lake in Japan, stretch back 40,000+ layers. (Green River varves have not been individually C-14 dated, but that would be an interesting experiment to perform since there are over 2 million layers per ancient fossil lake in that region, and all toll, when you count the layers of all the fossilized lakes in that region, noting the lowest and highest layers in each lake and how the time overlaps in each lake, there are over 6 million layers.)

  3. Deep ice cores feature 100,000 layers of ice — each layer having its own distinctive isotopic signature (and other types of layer-distinctive signatures as well), stretching back over 100,000+ layers. Latest core drilled was two miles deep and contained 700,000 layers of ice.

  4. Evidence of extremely slow sea-floor spreading over a 100,000,000 years. New sea floor is seen forming today from molten rock that emerges from a ridge that runs right down the middle of the Atlantic ocean. On each side of that mid-Atlantic ridge, new molten rock continues to emerge, then it cools and hardens, and the date of cooling (as well as the direction and strength of the earthʼs magnetic field at the time it cooled) is sealed inside the rock in the iron crystals that harden there. Then the next strip of molten rock emerges from the mid-Atlantic ridge, cools, and hardens, as the continents on either side of the Atlantic ocean continue to drift slowly apart from each other. Thus are formed distinctive strips of sea-floor rock that run all the way from the middle of the Atlantic ocean (where the youngest radiometrically strips are) to the shoreline (where the oldest radiometrically dated strips are found). Such strips of rock along both sides of the mid-Atlantic ridge reflect over a hundred million years of sea floor spreading that occurred as the continents of North and South American slowly drifted away from Europe and Africa.

Moreover, the radiometric dates that stretch from the middle of the Atlantic to the shoreline, agree with independent measurements (both land based and satellite based) of the present rate of movement of North and South America away from Europe and Africa. In both cases, the expected time it would take for the continents to move apart at their known present rates of speed are the same.

Even Young Eartherʼs agree that if you try, as they have, to explain the evidence for extremely slow sea-floor spreading simply by speeding up the process and imagining that the continents zipped into their present positions in a mere “year,” that hypothesis would require a MIRACLE to cool the molten rocks down instantly and in distinctive stages — because if the continents “zipped” along, then the rocks and their radioactive isotopes would have run together like soft butter spread on microwaved bread, neither would the sea floor rocks exhibit the crystallization patterns that rocks exhibit that have cooled under conditions of much lower temperatures and pressures, which is what the sea floor rocks presently exhibit. Moreover, after the continents had ceased “zipping” along but slowed to their present extremely slow speeds, what odds would there be of achieving the same MATCH between the known range of radiometric dates of sea-floor rocks from the middle of the Atlantic to the shoreline, AND the present speed of the continentʼs moving apart from one another today? What a coincidence! The strictly scientific odds look far better that the “continental zip” hypothesis is wrong, and the continents took over a hundred million years to separate, and at the same rate they are presently separating.

The evidence of an old-earth is enormous and defies the “odds.” There are thousands of individually dated tree rings — tens of thousands of individually dated lake varves — a hundred thousand distinctive layers of ice — and, sea-floor rocks formed in succession and having hardened over successive periods stretching back over a hundred million years.

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Diatoms and the Global Flood

In an email from Sharon to Edward T. Babinski
Last night on PBS, they did a special on crime scene investigations and how plants and animals help investigators to date victimsʼ time of death, and help to convict murderers.

Forensic scientists use diatoms (they classified them as plants) to pinpoint where a water-related crime takes place (diatoms are unique with every body of water).

You figure a global flood would mix those diatoms up a little? Or did Noah go out and hand collect them by the spoonfuls world-over, or did they miraculously grow weensy little legs, walking billions of miles to get onboard the Ark? And… making that long trek back home, once the ride was over? How many fishbowls did Noah need to keep them separate on the ark?

They might be able to burrow down in the floor of a lake or river? and survive in their home environment, but the Bible says nothing about God commanding them to do that… rather, God says he will wipe everything out. A universal flood seems like some heavy stuff, comes sweeping those rivers and lakes and oceans together — and mixing all the many species(?) of diatoms — funny how they separated themselves again into completely unique organisms for every local river and pond, sort of like the geological/fossil record is organized? Unless they got all mixed up during the flood, and only some diatoms survived (completely unique from any other river or pond in the whole wide world), and natural selection took over and made billions of new little diatom species, so police can do their investigations.

Amphorotia sp. Extinct Diatom

Edward T. Babinski: Thereʼs ditomaceous earth hundreds of feet thick found in different parts of the world where there used to be shallow seas, or off coast waters. Diatoms are tiny single-celled organisms that breed and die near the top of the water and fall very slowly to the bottom where they collect very slowly after lots of time.

Great questions and something worth pursuing, and though I donʼt have the expertise, there was an article that asked a similar question at “No Answers in Genesis.” See the first link below:

  1. Young-Earth Creationist Distortions of the Paleoenvironments of the Clarkia Fossil Beds, Idaho, USA…Commonly, the diatoms found in the Clarkia beds are well-known freshwater species (Batten et al., 1999, p. 171-172; Bradbury et al., 1985, p. 36-39). For example, freshwater species of Melosira are especially abundant in the beds…

  2. Ancient Ice Ages AND Submarine Landslides, but NOT Noahʼs Flood: A Review of M.J. Oardʼs assault on multiple glaciations
    …at the bottom of the formation accumulated very slowly, which further contradicts Oardʼs hopes for rapid accumulation. Diatoms are also present in the Yakataga Formation (Armentrout, 1983, p. 637-638). In a “Flood” scenario, not…

  3. Is Young Earth Creationism a Heresy?
    …Lake Suigetsu in Japan, which deposits dark-colored clay year-round and white layers resulting from the growth of diatoms in the spring. The authors took cores of the soft lake bed sediments and carefully counted the 1 mm-thick…

Glen Morton could probably write a paper on diatoms and he knows the scientific terms and how to use the geologic online databases. Have you seen his excellent articles on geological formations versus a “worldwide Flood?” Hereʼs what he said about diatoms:

Too Many Diatoms

A deposit that is similar to chalk is diatomaceous chert. These siliceous deposits are made of little more than dead diatoms. A diatom is a small single-celled animal that lives in the sea. As diatoms collect on the ocean floor and are buried deeper and deeper, they are compressed and changed from a form known as diatomite, which is used in swimming pool filters, to opal. Upon further burial, with increased temperature and pressure, the opal is changed into chert. The Monterey formation of California is such a deposit. It is the light-colored rock that forms much of the landscape of southern California. The deposit is 1,200 kilometers long, 250 kilometers wide and averages half a kilometer in thickness. This single deposit of dead diatoms is large enough to cover the earth to a depth of nearly 1 foot, or 0.28 meters.

But this is not all. There are over 300 such siliceous deposits around the world. If each one of them is only one-fourth the size of the Monterey, then there are enough dead diatoms to cover the earth uniformly to a depth of 21 meters, or 70 feet! So we now have a preflood world which contains 2,100 terrestrial animals per acre (none of which are human), a tropical rain forest everywhere, 20 meters of dead diatoms over the entire globe and 1 meter of dead coccoliths. Where is everyone going to live? And we are not through.

And…More On Diatoms from Glen

Oil created from Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian rocks have the biomarker for dinoflagellates. But they lack the biomarkers for land plants, diatoms and angiosperms. The biomarker for land plants is vitrain—a component of coal. Only after the Devonian, when land plants become numerous do we find oil source rocks containing land plants. And in the Jurassic we find a new biomarker, which matches the rise of the DIATOMS:

The biological precursors of 24-norcholoestanes remain unclear, but samples from more than 100 basins provide evidence that 24-norcholestanes show an initial increase above background in Jurassic oils, but they increase dramatically in Cretaceous oils, coincident with diatom evolution. The highest ratios are found in oils and rock extracts from Oligocene or younger marine siliceous source rocks in which the sources were deposited at paleolatitudes greater than 30o N” ~ A. G. Holba et al, “24-norcholestanes as Age-sensitive Molecular Fossils,” Geology 26(1998):783-786, p. 783

Glenʼs articles on “Green River” and also, “Real Poop” are priceless.


Kevin Henke and Glen Morton are professional geologists and would know far more about writing such an article than I. But I agree itʼs a neat idea. Still, creationists already know how specific the contents of layers are in the geologic record, and how such contents are NOT mixed up, but distributed in discretely right down to fossils, microfossils and fossil fragments of bones, and even the proportions of radioactive elements in discrete layers show a gradation over time, which would make any normal person accept that the layers were not all laid down in one big annual Flood. Creationists stuggle to reinterpret the evidence in terms of a worldwide Flood. Though some creationists have begun arguing for enormous successive post-Flood catastrophes that cover huge parts of the globe, one after the other, that take place for centuries after the Flood. So, they donʼt limit the number of enormous geological catastrophes and are trying to put together a young-earth jigsaw puzzle of some sort, but neither the global Flood nor the successive enormous catastrophes model truly explains the record, not like the plain history of the ancient earth does. By the way, the late Henry Morris used to point out that the “successive catastrophe model” didnʼt jive with Scripture which said that God calmed the waters right after the one global flood and put up a rainbow promising no more enormous world-wide floods. The successive catastrophe model also make it more difficult to explain how animal and plant species survived and trekked all around the earth and diversified and fit into their niches during so many successive catastrophes.

Sharon: I gather, diatoms fossilize like any other living substance.
I have some questions…
Have sediment samples been taken that reveal “unique diatoms” exclusively localized, no where else in the world, those same ole unique diatoms still living in the same body of water after thousands of years?

Plankton Planet — science news articles online technology …Diatoms exist in both fresh and brackish environments. The oldest diatom fossils are about 140 million years old, leading some scientists to speculate that …

Geology Probing the memory of mud : Nature The oldest known fossil diatom is around 190 million years old3, but there is molecular evidence that suggests that diatoms first appeared 400 million years …

(If the waters actually did what Genesis says, all the diatoms would have been mixed up and swept away to new lands, and no way to separate them ever again, except for a miracle.)

How many bodies of water, and where?

Does the ground sample show any record of outside diatoms “flooded into” the area —which should mark the time of Noahʼs Flood.

Fossil Record of Diatoms
The oldest certain fossil diatoms are Lower Cretaceous in age. Diatoms probably had a much longer history than this; there are reports of Precambrian and …

Worldʼs oldest lake holds worldʼs newest genus Natural History Museum scientists have discovered a new genus of diatom.
Named Amphorotia, the genus contains 14 species, including six new to science.

Basis of the food chain
Diatoms (Bacillariophyta) are a group of single-celled algae that photosynthesise - a process that coverts sunlight into chemical energy used by animals. Diatoms live in marine and fresh water and are extremely important for many animals as they form the basis of the food chain on our planet.
The oldest lake
The new genus was first discovered living in Lake Baikal, Russia, but occurs elsewhere in the world.
Lake Baikal is the worldʼs largest lake and holds nearly 20 per cent of the worldʼs unfrozen surface fresh water. It has many endemic species - organisms not found anywhere else. This has been explained by the fact that at 20 to 30 million years old, itʼs the oldest lake in the world, and plants and animals have had plenty of time to evolve into new species.
Life at the deepest depths
Light micrograph of Amphorotia americana, an extinct species of diatom that lived in the USA and Japan in the Miocene, 15—20 million years ago. Natural History Museum scientists Dr David Williams and Dr Geraldine Reid discovered the new genus while studying diatom diversity in Lake Baikal. ‘This remarkable new find is really only the tip of the iceberg,’ said Williams. ‘The diatom diversity in Lake Baikal, especially in its deeper waters, is almost entirely unknown and unstudied.’ It is estimated that there are over 500 species of diatom found only in Lake Baikal. This number increases with each new biodiversity survey carried out making Lake Baikal home to one of the most diverse diatom communities in the world.
Living fossils
Species in the new genus Amphorotia are both fossil (extinct) as well as living; those found in deep lakes have been called living fossils, relics from the past still thriving in these unique and ancient habitats. Five of the species are found only in Lake Baikal (two being new to science), one found only in Lake Khuvsgul (Hövsgöl), Mongolia, four only in southeast China and three are believed to be extinct, known only from Miocene (15-20 million years ago) fossil specimens.
Unusual distribution
The geographic distribution of the species is somewhat unusual, showing two contrasting patterns, one extending across the cold northern hemisphere, the other south towards the tropical regions of southeast Asia via southern China. Williams and Reid are now researching why this diatom distribution is the way it is.
‘This study highlights the need to understand these unique habitats and track what species are actually on the planet before they disappear forever in these times of dramatic species loss through extinction’ said Reid.

Williams and Reid have produced a major monograph, or book, Diatom Monographs, which provides detailed light and electron microscope images of all 14 species.

And in the Jurassic we find a new biomarker, which matches the rise of the diatoms: “The biological precursors of 24-norcholoestanes remain unclear, but samples from more than 100 basins provide evidence that 24-norcholestanes show an initial increase above background in Jurassic oils, but they increase dramatically in Cretaceous oils, coincident with diatom evolution. The highest ratios are found in oils and rock extracts from Oligocene or younger marine siliceous source rocks in which the sources were deposited at paleolatitudes greater than 30o N” ~ A. G. Holba et al, “24-norcholestanes as Age-sensitive Molecular Fossils,” Geology 26(1998):783-786, p. 783

Climatically driven macroevolutionary patterns in the size of … The oldest unequivocal fossil diatoms are found in the middle Cretaceous (1, 2), but molecular clock estimates indicate they may have originated as early as …

Diatom and Global Flood

Reasons To Believe: Spokane Chapter Newsletter - November 2004
But much more amazingly, how did this global flood manage to sort these trillions of diatoms in the correct layers according to the proportion of carbon-14 …

Evolution - September 1998: Re: diatoms and the global flood
Re: diatoms and the global flood.
Karen G. Jensen (kjensen@calweb.com) Fri, 25 Sep 1998
09:32:47 -0600. Messages sorted by: [ date ][ thread ][ subject …

Evolution - September 1998: diatoms, angiosperms and the global floodThe question for the global flood advocates is: Why do the chemicals found in petroleum not show the presence of preflood diatoms and angiosperms? glenn

Thu, 24 Sep 1998 21:43:01 -0500
Glenn Morton gave some possible scenarios re: diatoms and the flood [see below].

Hereʼs another possiblility:

5. Diatoms lived in upland waters preflood, and were not washed into the sediments until rising water eroded those uplands (so they are not found in Paleozoic deposits). During the high-water phase of the Flood, when diatoms had mixed into the ocean, some species found conditions favorable for massive multiplication, generating the multitudes of diatoms (with their C26 steranes) found in Cretaceous deposits. Then, when the floodwaters receded, leaving giant lakes in many places around the world, some of the lakes provided appropriate nutrients, temperatures, etc. for extremely prodigious diatom multiplication (different species in different areas), until the nutrients etc. were exhausted or the lake was filled, leaving the mid-upper Tertiary diatomite deposits we mine today.
Karen


The global flood model holds that the pre-flood biosphere contained almost all the plants and animals which are alive today. This means that evidence of the plants and animals should be found in the fossil record. Diatoms are microscopic plants that should have lived in the preflood oceans, yet they first appear in very small numbers in the Triassic rocks. According to the flood model, they were in existence in the waters of the flood prior to this time. Diatoms become abundant in the Cretaceous and later rocks. But there is no fossil evidence of their pre-flood or early existence. And what is surprising is that diatoms produce unique chemicals which are modified and then found in oils around the world. These chemicals first appear in oils which come from Cretaceous rocks, which is coincident with the fossil occurrence of abundant diatoms. September Geology published a study of the biological chemicals left by diatoms in petroleum.

“Biomarkers, molecular fossils, are organic compounds in Holocene to Precambrian sedimentary deposits that can be related to specific chemical compounds produced in the biosphere. We demonstrate here that 24-norcholestane biomarkers, i.e, C26 steranes (saturated hydrocarbons having a steroid skeleton), can be useful to constrain the age and paleolatitude of geologic samples. The biological precursors of 24-norchloestanes remain unclear, but samples from more than 100 basins provide evidence that 24-norcholestanes show an initial increase above background in Jurassic oils, but they increase dramatically in Cretaceous oils, coincident with diatom evolution. The highest ratios are found in oils and rock extracts from Oligocene or younger marine siliceous source rocks in which the sources were deposited at paleolatitudes greater than 30[deg] N” ~ A. G. Holba et al, “24-norcholestanes as Age-sensitive Molecular Fossils,” Geology 26(1998):783-786, p. 783

Now, what are the possibilities:

  1. Diatoms lived in the oceans prior to the Cretaceous part of the flood, but they didnʼt die. Given the supposed violence of the flood, this seems unlikely as the waters should have been thoroughly mixed up and the microscopic diatoms should have been found with microscopic conodonts and other small evidences of life in the Paleozoic
  2. Diatoms fled with the dinosaurs and were washed into the sea later. This is Morrisʼ hydrodynamic sorting and ecological zonation hypothesis. Morris suggests that dinos and men were able to flee to the hills and avoid burial in the early part of the flood and escape early burial. It seems difficult to envision diatoms fleeing to the hills.
  3. Diatoms only lived in freshwater before the flood and they didnʼt enter the flood until the waters washed them into the sea. The difficulty with this is that fresh water deposits, without any diatoms are found in the Paleozoic.
  4. Diatoms actually evolved in the Cretaceous rocks as evolution and paleontology says.

The same line of reasoning goes for another chemical found in petroleum, oleananes, which are manufactured only by angiosperms. Angiosperms first appear early in the Cretaceous but donʼt become numerous until the Maastrichtian at the very end of the Cretaceous. And guess what? Oleananes also follow this pattern.

“The results of the oleanane analyses are broadly comparable with those found for fossil angiosperm occurrences. The relative concentrations of oleanane to hopane, excluding the unusual Middle Jurassic and Neocomian occurrences, begin low, near the detectable limit of 3% during the Early Cretaceous and steadily incrase to a plateau during the latest Cretaceous. Then, during the Tertiary there is a major increase.” J. Michael Moldowan et al, “the Molecular Fossil Record of Oleanane and Its Relation to Angiosperms,” Science 265(1994):768-771, p. 769

The question for the global flood advocates is: Why do the chemicals found in petroleum not show the presence of preflood diatoms and angiosperms?
glenn

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Henry Morris's “explanation” of the “Tower of Babel” incident

“The rebellion at Babel was not some impossible undertaking, such as attempting to reach heaven with a man made tower, as one might infer from the King James translation of Genesis 11:4.”
“The words ‘may reach’ are not in the original; the correct sense of the passage apparently connotes the erection of a great temple-tower dedicated to the worship of the ‘host of heaven,’ uniting all mankind in worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Rom.1:25) The most effective way of halting this blasphemy and of enforcing Godʼs command to fill the earth was that of confounding their languages.”
(The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Henry M. Morris, 1984, p.430)
Tower of Babel

Do you or Henry Morris wish to discuss the Bible?
The Tower of Babel section reads:

  1. Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.
  2. As men moved eastward, [1] they found a plain in Shinar [2] and settled there.
  3. They said to each other, “Come, letʼs make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.
  4. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
  5. But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.
  6. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

[Notice what “God” says here after “coming down” to “see the city and the tower.” “God” says, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” What does that mean? What is “God” afraid of here? Reminds me of Genesis, chapter 3: “And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” Notice the words, “He has become like one of us, knowing good and evil,” and, “he must not be allowed to take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.” What is “God” afraid of there as well? These verses resemble other portraits of ancient Near Eastern deities jealousy guarding such things as “eternal life” and their abilities to do things that man finds “impossible.”

As for Morrisʼs explanation that God feared that man would “worship the host of heaven,” this merely provides another example of the pre-scientific cosmologies of the ancients, including the Hebrews. The mere fact that the Hebrews had to be warned, many times, not to worship what lay “above” them, i.e., “the sun, moon, and stars, all the host of heaven.” (Deut. 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kings 17:16; 21:5; 23:5; Jer. 7:18; 19:13; 44:17,19,25) implies that they never suspected that the earth was just as much a “heavenly object” as all the stars they “looked up to.” They never suspected that the earth was an integral part of them, sailing among the other “heavenly bodies.” If they had, then they would never have been tempted to “worship” objects that lay “above” their heads - because the earth lay equally “above” all those other heavenly objects depending on oneʼs perspective. Or as Nietzsche once put it, “So long as thou feelest the stars as an ‘above thee,’ thou lackest the eye of the discerning one.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Sage as Astronomer,” Beyond Good and Evil) So, this provides further evidence of the flat earth views of the ancients.

The Tower of Babel story continues:

  1. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.
  2. So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
  3. That is why it was called Babel [3] -because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Let me point out that the evolution of human language is not something that took place once and for all at “Babel.” Itʼs taking place today, and linguists can trace the continuing evolution of languages, sometimes over millenia. Just compare Old English, Middle English and Modern English. Or compare all the European languages that evolved from the Roman Empireʼs Latin. And lastly, let me point out that humanity has acheived things during the last two centuries that previously were thought to be “impossible,” like measuring the heights of clouds and stars, and coming far closer to “counting” the sand and the stars, things that were unthinkable to the ancient Hebrews. And letʼs not forget space flight (sailing above the clouds where angels with their bird-like wings once flew), computers, AI, vaccines (against Godʼs plagues), cracking the human genome, genetic engineering, etc., all with our languages being “confused!” And lastly, the number of languages spoken today keeps diminishing, itʼs kind of like a reversal of Babel. At last count, thousands of languages have become extinct, with more such extinctions on the horizon. The Bible says nothing about any of this, nothing about a reversal of Babel, nothing about modern scientific discoveries. Nothing about more than half the world, like North and South America and the Far East, or Austral-Asia, or even South Africa for that matter. The Bible is an archaic book of pre-scientific beliefs mixed with some common ethical wisdom (the latter of which hasnʼt changed much).

As for what people worship, apparently a massive flood, and confusing languages, and killing his own people, as well as commanding them to commit genocide on their neighbors, none of that has prevented people from worshipping lots of different things. Though I personally no longer honestly find the “Bible” worth worshipping as inerrant or infallible, nor Henry Morrisʼs interpretations of it. I have written elsewhere of some of his lame attempts for instance for try and prove that the Bible speaks of heliocentricity. My word, what mental hoops he jumps through, what unbelievable explanations he comes up with, as if he canʼt even read the plain words of the Bible itself:

Henry Morrisʼ ingenious attempts at denying the Bibleʼs geocentrism and on the existence of other planets circling distant stars.

The Story Of The Tower Of Babel

[with comments by former fundamentalist, Ed Babinski]
The tale of the tower of Babel is an explanatory myth, an early attempt to account for the diversity of language and the diffusion of humanity after the legendary flood of Noah. Genesis, chapter 11, tells the story: “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, let us build us a city and a tower.” Next thing you know, “God” “comes down” to “see the city and the tower” then complains that “nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do,” or, “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” So God “confuses their tongues.”

Godʼs alleged complaint would have made a lot more sense today than it did back then. Today we have accomplished many things deemed “impossible” by the ancients. We have “measured the heights of the stars,” “searched out the foundations of the earth,” laid claim to the moon, sent space probes beyond Pluto, diminished or halted plagues (via modern plumbing, sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics), avoided deadly lightning strikes (via the invention of the lightning rod), greatly increased the odds of infant survival, etc. In short, we have reduced the destructive potentials of acts of nature that were previously considered “acts of God.” Mankind is also unlocking the secrets of DNA, and probably will unlock secrets of artificial intelligence too. All this despite the language barriers that “God” allegedly set up at Babel. Surely it is absurd to think that the same God who allowed man to develop all of the above marvels once pulled a hissy fit over a bunch of brick-layers? (“And they said one to another, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, let us build us a city and a tower.”)

Furthermore, note “Godʼs” seemingly surprised and/or anxious reaction in Genesis (chapter 11) after he “comes down” and “looks” at what man has built: “Nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do.” So God takes immediate action to “confuse their tongues.” A similar pattern is found in Genesis (chapter 3) “And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden.” Such stories resemble other portraits of ancient Near Eastern deities jealousy guarding such things as their “knowledge,” their secret of “eternal life,” or their divine abilities to accomplish amazing things.

Let me also point out that the evolution of human language is not something that took place once and for all at “Babel.” Linguists and etymologists agree that languages are continually evolving. Just compare Old English, Middle English and Modern English. Or compare the various European languages that evolved from the Latin tongue spoken by people of the Roman Empire.

Moreover, the number of languages spoken keeps diminishing; thousands of languages have become or are becoming extinct. The Bible says nothing about any of this, nothing about a “reversal of Babel,” nor anything about the modern scientific discoveries I mentioned above. But then, the Bible also says nothing about the existence of most of the rest of the world that lay beyond the Roman Empire. It would seem that the Bible is as deficient in its knowledge of geography as it is in its knowledge of linguistics and science.
- E.T.B.


The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lordʼs: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
- Psalm 115:16

Notice that according to this ancient psalmist, man was given the earth, but the heavens are the Lordʼs. Yet no one today fears that men have left footprints and garbage in “the Lordʼs” heavens (on the moon). Nor do they tremble when we launch spacecraft named after pagan gods (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo) into “the Lordʼs” heavens even though Exodus 23:13 forbids mentioning even the “names” of “other gods.” Seems to me that the same Bible believers who picket abortion clinics need to awaken to the even more dire need to picket NASA before something bad happens like it did at, say, “the tower of Babel.” Space exploration must cease. Just to be safe letʼs also turn our telescopes away from the heavens. Itʼs an invasion of Godʼs privacy.
- E.T.B.

The Holy Heavens Of The Hebrews

The ancient Hebrews pictured the Lord and His “holy heavens” lying somewhat nearer to the earth than we imagine today:

He bowed the heavens and came down.
- 2nd Samuel 22:10

The Lord came down [from heaven].
- Genesis 11:5

Elijah was lifted up by a whirlwind to heaven.
- 2 Kings 2:11

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?
- Proverbs 30:4

Angels “ascended and descended” on a “ladder” reaching to “heaven.”
- Gen. 28:12

Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
- John 1:51

The ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Hebrews, pictured angels (seraphim, etc.) with bird-like wings flying through the earthʼs atmosphere to a “heaven” flying directly above the earth rather than through light-years of space lacking an atmosphere and where bird-like appendages would prove useless.

“Manna,” the food supplied to the Hebrews in the wilderness, falls from heaven.
- Exodus 16, Numbers 11 & Deuteronomy 8

Angels who told of Jesusʼ birth “went away from [the shepherds] into heaven.”
- Luke 2:15

A “star [of heaven]…went on before the [wise men], until it came and stood over where the child [Jesus] was”
- Mat. 2:9

Such a “star” would have to be incredibly small to lead the wise men and then stand directly above the house where Jesus was born. Such a tale also helped reinforce belief in the holiness of the heavens, since those heavens were depicted as being able to direct people in a miraculous fashion.

The heavens were opened unto him [Jesus at his baptism], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven…
- Mathew 3:16-17

At “the Ascension,” “[the resurrected Jesus] was lifted up…and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9), whereupon Jesus took his seat “in the heavens…in the true tabernacle [tent], which the Lord pitched.”
- Heb. 8:1,2

And Jesus will return in the sky “seated at the right hand of Power” with the “clouds of heaven.”
- Mat. 26:64

The Lord will descend from heaven…and we shall be caught up…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17

Heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him [Peter], as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth.
- Acts 10:11

…a door standing open in heaven, and the…voice…said, Come up here.
- Revelation 4:1

And there was a great earthquake…and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. And the sky was split apart…and [men] hid themselves in caves…and said to the mountains…hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne.
- Revelation 6:12-16

I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
- Acts 7:56

The “heavenly city,” the “New Jerusalem” “comes down out of heaven” to earth.
- Revelation 3:12, 21:2

God is in heaven, and you are on the earth.
- Ecclesiastes 5:2

The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; But the earth He has given to the sons of men.
- Psalm 115:16

Further corroboration of the ancient view of the near proximity of God and heaven overhead, is not hard to find. The Babylonians built towers, called ziggurats, reaching toward heaven to attract the sky godsʼ attention. (Compare the Bibleʼs tale of the “tower of Babel” — Gen. 11:5) Mountains were like natureʼs ziggurats. Abraham ascended a mountain to sacrifice his son to the Lord. Moses spoke to the Lord after having ascended a mountain. (Ex. 19:20) Jerusalem was built on a holy hill nicknamed “Mt. Zion.” Jesus was transfigured on a mountaintop. And the resurrected Jesus was seen on a “mountain which Jesus had designated” in Galilee (Mat. 28:16), or is said to have ascended into heaven from a mountain near Jerusalem (Acts 1).

Based on the authority of many such Bible verses, the heavenly/spiritual realm was believed to lie “above” the earth and so near that climbing a mountain brought you relatively “nearer” to God. Of course, we know today that climbing a mountain only brings you infinitesimally “nearer” to the nearest star that still lays millions to billions of (conventional) miles away.

Moreover, the Hebrews had to be warned, many times, not to worship what lay “above” them, i.e., “the sun, moon, and stars, all the host of heaven.” (Deut. 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kings 17:16; 21:5; 23:5; Jer. 7:18; 19:13; 44:17,19,25) They never suspected that the earth was just as much a “heavenly object” as all the stars they “looked up to.” They never suspected that the earth was an integral part of them, sailing among the other “heavenly bodies.” If they had, then they would never have been tempted to “worship” objects that lay “above” their heads — because the earth lay equally “above” all those other heavenly objects depending on oneʼs perspective. Or as Nietzsche once put it, “So long as thou feelest the stars as an ‘above thee,’ thou lackest the eye of the discerning one.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Sage as Astronomer,” Beyond Good and Evil)

For thousands of years (until the Protestant Reformation), pagans, Jews and Christians agreed that the stars lay “above” man and “nearer” to God, while Christians added that the earth was a “sink of impurity” with hell lying at the earthʼs center. Such a view was inspired by Biblical passages that spoke of the heavens above the earth as the holy abode of God and angels (Ps. 115:16; Eccles. 5:2; Gen. 11:5,7; 28:12; Isa. 40:22; Heb. 8:1,2; 2 Kings 2:11; 2 Sam. 22:10; Luke 2:15; Mat. 23:22; 26:64; Acts 1:9), with sheol, hades, the land of the dead, hell, lying beneath the earth (Job 11:8; Ps. 71:20; 88:3,6; 1 Sam. 28:8,13,15; Amos 9:2,3; Philip. 2:10; Rev. 5:13).

Today, of course, we know that the sun, planets and stars lying “above the earth” are not “nearer to God” nor “nearer to a heavenly/spiritual realm” than we are on the earthʼs surface. And some people even dare to believe that perhaps God has given man not just the “earth” but also the “heavens” too, to explore.
- E.T.B.


Ancient Hebrew psalmists drew a parallel between the height of the “clouds” and the wondrous height of their Lordʼs “truth”:

For Thy lovingkindness is great to the heavens, And Thy truth to the clouds.
- Psalm. 57:10

Comparing the heights of Godʼs truth to the heights of the clouds no longer impresses modern man. Today we look down upon the clouds from aircraft and measure “heights” in light-years.
- E.T.B.


As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
- Psalm 103:12

The distance “from the east to the west” hardly seems like an impressive analogy to use to illustrate the separation of sins from a sinner, not today. Since we now know we live on a globe where traveling “east” eventually brings you back to where you began, unless of course, the author of this Psalm assumed the flatness of the earth.
- E.T.B.


[Can] the heavens above be measured?
- Jeremiah 31:37

The phrase, “cannot be measured,” refers in Hebrew to any great height, or number of finite things that no one would dream of measuring or counting one by one: “As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David.” (Jer. 33:22) Actually, the “descendants of David” total an incredibly smaller number than the number of known stars in the cosmos, but to the Hebrews both sets of numbers appeared equally “immeasurable.” Compare, Genesis 41:49, “Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.” Such things appeared “immeasurable” to the ancient Hebrews because they could not conceive of ways of measuring them. Two thousand years later we have developed ways of measuring the “height” of clouds, the moon, the sun, and other galaxies. So, today, “measuring the heavens” is somebodyʼs job.
- E.T.B.


When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou are mindful of him?
- Psalm 8:3-4

Does this verse demonstrate that the Psalmist was inspired by God to describe how small man appears when compared with the size of the modern cosmos? Hardly. No “inspiration” was necessary. The “heavens” referred to the clouds, and to the sun, moon and stars that the psalmist believed did not lie far above the clouds, along with the angelic heavenly realm lying not far above the sun, moon and stars. Any similarities between this ancient verse and modern day cosmic angst is merely relative. No doubt the cosmos must have felt intangibly huge to the ancients, regardless of their belief that the earth beneath their feet was the flat firm foundation of creation. In fact it may be that their cosmos felt more intangibly huge to them than our cosmos does to us because we can fly round the world, above the clouds, gaze at photos of outer space, and open a book on astronomy and read the distances to stars and galaxies set down for us in tangible numerical form.

Of course, knowing what he know today about the heights of the heavens, we are not likely to make the same poetic analogies as the ancients, like comparing the Lordʼs “truth” to the “height of the clouds,” which sounds less grand than it did to the ancients. Neither do we believe, along with the ancients (including the ancient Hebrews), that climbing a mountain or a tower brings us literally nearer to God.
- E.T.B.

The Bibleʼs Geocentrism

For most of recorded history people imagined that their feet were planted on firm ground, terra firma. The view presented in the Bible is no exception. The Bible depicts the earth as the firm, immovable, “foundation” of creation:

Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth.
- Hebrews 1:10

The sun, moon, and stars were created after the “foundation of the earth” was laid. (Gen. 1:9-18)

Who hath established all the ends of the earth?
- Proverbs 30:4

He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter, forever and ever.
- Psalm 104:5

The world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
- Psalm 93:1 & 1 Chronicles 16:30

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?…Who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof?
- Job 38:4-6

For the pillars of the earth are the Lordʼs, and he set the world on them.
- 1 Samuel 2:8

It is I who have firmly set its pillars.
- Psalm 75:3

Who stretched out the heavens…and established the world.
- Jeremiah 10:12

The only time the Bible depicts the earth as moving is during an earthquake:

The earth quaked, the foundations of heaven were trembling.
- 2 Samuel 22:8

The earth quakes, the heavens tremble.
- Joel 2:10

I shall make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place.
- Isaiah 13:13

There was a great earthquake…and the stars of the sky fell…as if shaken from a tree.
- Rev. 6:12,13

Though the Fathers of Protestantism (Luther and Calvin) agreed with the Catholic Church of their day that the earth was a sphere, neither Protestant nor Catholic theologians could see a way to avoid the Bibleʼs teaching that the earth does not move. The verses regarding that matter appeared crystal clear to major religious leaders. They also agreed that the Bible teaches that the sun and stars move round the earth.

For instance the Bible says, “He can command the sun not to rise” (Job 9:7), rather than, “He can command the earth to stop moving.” That God would direct His command at the sun rather than the earth, implied an unmistakably geocentric perspective. Likewise, Martin Luther pointed out that when the book of Joshua discussed the miracle of “Joshuaʼs long day,” that day was lengthened because “Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth.” (Joshua 10:12) Speaking of the sunʼs movement, the Bible also states: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hastening to its place it rises there again.” (Eccles. 1:5, NASB)
Verses that spoke of the “rising” and “setting” of the sun might be disregarded as being due to oneʼs earth-bound perspective, but speaking of the sun “hastening to its place” so that it may “rise there again,” is not so easy to explain away. It means the author of Ecclesiastes believed that the sun moved daily around the earth. Compare Psalm 19:4-6, “In [the heavens] He has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices like a strong man to run its course, its rising from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them.”

As for the stars, the Bible teaches that they too move across the sky: “From their courses they fought against Sisera.” (Judges 5:20, NASB) “The One who leads forth their host by number…Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one [star] is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26, NASB) Even whole constellations of stars are “led forth” in their season: “Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?” (Job 38:31-33, NASB)

Compare such descriptions with modern astronomy, which teaches that the sun and stars only appear to move daily and seasonally around the earth. The appearance of movement is due to the earthʼs daily rotation and yearly revolutions round the sun. So, modern astronomy teaches that it is erroneous to speak of the sun “hastening to its place,” or, “running its course;” erroneous to speak of God “commanding” the sun “not to rise;” erroneous for Joshua to “command” the sun to “stand still;” and erroneous to speak of stars being “led forth,” or constellations being “guided” and “led forth” “in their season,” or having “ordinances” that “fix their rule over the earth.” Because it is the earth that “hastens to” spin each day and that “courses” round the sun; it is the earth that God must “command” not to move and which Joshua should have commanded to “stand still,” and, it is the earth that God would have had to “lead forth,” and “guide” in “its season;” and it is the earthʼs “ordinances” not those of the constellations above it, that must be “fixed” in order for the constellations to appear to move as they do across the earthʼs sky.

Some Christians still side with the Bible over modern astronomy, like Dr. Gerardus Bouw, who rejects that the earth goes round the sun. He believes the reverse is true, based first and foremost on what the Bible teaches. In fact, heʼs the president of the “Society of Biblical Astronomy” and he wonders how any Christians who say they believe the Bible “cover to cover” can ignore the Bibleʼs view of the earthʼs immobility and the daily (and seasonal) movement of the sun, stars and constellations, especially when the Bible adds that God is doing the moving (and able to halt the motion) of the sun and stars. Is God a liar? Does the Bible depict God “commanding” and “leading forth” things that donʼt really move? Dr. Bouw believes the Bible means what it says. Besides, when God is depicted as moving the sun and stars (daily and seasonally), or stopping the sun (miraculously), or shaking an immovable earth (creating an earthquake), such actions are demonstrations of Godʼs “might.” They are either that, or “mighty deceptive” language for God to have “inspired.” Like telling people who start their cars and step on the gas that, “God leads forth the trees which speed by on the roadside…Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one is missing!” (cf. Isaiah 40:26). Therefore Bouw remains a geocentrist, just as the Good Book says he should.

Neither does Dr Bouw (who holds a degree in astronomy from Case-Western) have the slightest doubt that the “scientific evidence” supports his stationary-earth view rather than modern astronomy. Though I should think that a perusal of the Bible itself should help him realize how unscientific and na├»ve the Bibleʼs view of the cosmos was. The Bible does not list the number of planets in our solar system, nor does it reveal that the earth is just one more “wandering star.” And according to Genesis 1:16 only “two” great lamps (the Hebrew term translated as “great lights” in Genesis, means literally, “great lamps”) were created, the “Sun” and the “moon” — with no recognition of the fact that the stars are also “great lamps.” Rather, the Bible depicts “stars” as relatively small objects, created after the earth and “set” in the firmament above it, which shall “fall” to earth at its end.

Astronomers, not theologians, discovered that we live on one planet out of many, circling one star out of many, that lies on the periphery of one arm of one spiral-shaped galaxy out of many. Furthermore, a gargantuan ring of matter circles our solar system beyond Pluto, i.e., the Kuiper belt (visually confirmed in the late 1990s), and our Kuiper belt resembles similar rings of matter that have been observed circling nearby stars. So it is assumed that our star looks from a distance pretty much like other nearby stars. Most recently, over 60 large planets have been detected circling nearby stars. And as astronomers continue to develop more powerful telescopes they may eventually focus on smaller planets orbiting nearby stars, planets the size of earth. As far as such astronomical discoveries are concerned, the Bible remains as ignorant as any “flat earth” book possibly could.

(I ought to add that well meaning “creationist” Christians are always attempting to stick their thumbs in the Bible and pluck out modern scientific plums — “proof” texts which they claim demonstrate modern astronomical concepts such as the earthʼs “sphericity” and “daily rotation.” The Bible is a big book to be sure, and one can find many things in it if one looks hard enough. Alas “modern science” is not one of those things. For those interested in such texts and why they do not “prove” the Bibleʼs “inspiration,” I refer them to articles in Cretinism or Evilution, available at this website.)
- E.T.B.

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