Category Archives: Deep Time

Did God subject Creation to pointless futility?

Now  that might seem a very odd question? Surely Creation i.e the nautral world – call it what you will, is wonderful and beautiful as these two photos show;

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The first is of Llyn Idwal and the Glyderau behind. I have been visiting there in all weathers and seasons since 1963 and it’s always wonderful. On the right is a typical January scene on the river Wyre near me. Snowdrops never fail to enchant. There is nothing futile here.

Most people would agree that this planet and the rest of the universe is full of wonder and awe, and many would point to Attenborough documentaries. It is clearly beautiful, though at times very harsh, but I can’t see many looking for and finding futility.

Yes, our world is also full of suffering alongside the incredible beauty. There are those, following the poet John Milton, who think the suffering is the result of Adam and Eve’s misdemeanors when the ate the fruit (note that the latin word malus means both apple and sin). suffering and death is God’s punishment for that  and seems rather excessive. It is still widely held by Creationist Christians who won’t accept that the earth is billions of years old and suffering and death have been around as long as life. As all this was known over two hundred years ago it is surprising that some seem to think that the creation is subject to futility. Some even hold it along with an acceptance of evolution.

Let’s now consider a leading Anglican New Testament scholar who accepts evolution and that creation is subject to futility – N. T. Wright. With his vast output he needs little introduction and has probably written one of the best books on the resurrection, where he deftly avoids a simplistic physical resurrection and a non-bodily one. Theologically he is a leading representative of moderate evangelicalism, but some of his Perspectives on Paul are less appreciated by the more conservative and reformed Christians. That is another issue, but I side with Wright on these. But let’s first consider his understanding of Romans 8 in his series Paul for Everyone.

Here is his translation of Romans 8:19-21 New Testament for Everyone (NTE) (which is closer to the Greek than given by Sanday and Headlam in their commentary!)

19 Yes: creation itself is on tiptoe with expectation, eagerly awaiting the moment when God’s children will be revealed. 20 Creation, you see, was subjected to pointless futility, not of its own volition, but because of the one who placed it in this subjection, in the hope 21 that creation itself would be freed from its slavery to decay, to enjoy the freedom that comes when God’s children are glorified.

That is followed by a brief exposition beginning with taking a country walk. I was not happy that he normally walks to take exercise as to me walking is a multi-faceted activity as I enjoy the effort/exercise of climbing 3000ft up a Lakeland fell, as looking at the views, finding unusual flowers like sundews, spotting glacial features and looking for all things new! He had taken an overgrown path and found it led to fantastic view and then likens Rom 8 vs18-25 to a fantastic view of “the whole plan of salvation for all of God’s creation”. He criticises, rightfully, those who see Paul’s theology solely in terms of individual justification and salvation. But after that I depart with haste from his view.

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I was proud of this photo of a struggling rowan high up the Bowland fells. I see beauty and the tenacity of life but no futility. Also God must be a rum lad if he subjected creation to futility!

He then wrote; “The language of creation on tiptoe with expectation is not what they expect. The strange idea of God subjecting creation to futility and slavery, and of creation then being rescued, simply isn’t what people wanted to hear. …. So the path to the viewpoint has been covered over with thorns and thistles.” This made me blink. I am afraid that in the summer months my legs are covered in scratches. Once, in a desert, I walked past a bush and a venomous snake popped out and tried to nip my bare leg! There must be some theology in that. On another occasion I nearly trod on a sleeping Cape Cobra ……

He continues, “the present suffering, … will be far outweighed by ‘the glory that is going to be unveiled for us’. He’s spot on there, but not in his conclusion to the paragraph “then, at last, creation … will know that the time has come for it to be rescued from corruption.”

I want to ask, how is creation corrupted? Except where stupid humans have polluted it.

I am baffled in what way creation, like all the strata from the early Precambrian to the Ice Ages, needs to be rescued from corruption. I cannot see anything corrupt in the Precambrian Numees Tillite or recent Lower Dryas moraines, which I worked on. He continues:

“To understand this, we need to grasp the big biblical story of creation. … God has allowed creation to be subjected to its present round of summer and autumn, growth and decay, birth and death.”

He wrote more fully in Evil and the Justice of God. P116-7

Creation, writes Paul, has been subjected to futility (Romans 8.20). Don’t we know it: the tree reaches its full fruitfulness and then becomes bleak and bare. Summer reaches its height and at once the days begin to shorten. Human lives, full of promise and beauty, laughter and love, are cut short by illness and death. Creation as we know it bears witness to God’s power and glory (Romans 1:19-20) but also to the present state of futility to which it has been enslaved.

I question this interpretation, both of Romans and Genesis, as it makes creation to be rotten to the core. Romans does not say that and it is so contrary to experience – at least my experience. I cannot see futility in the shortening days after the summer solstice. Also the word futility (mataiotes in Greek is ONLY used of the human condition in both the Old and New Testaments, so it is odd to use here for the inorganic creation. I cannot see it in geological studies, which trace out a detailed history of the surface of a planet. I cannot see the Four Seasons as anything but wonderful in their variety and nothing futile.

The beauty of creation in the seasons- a random selection of my photos

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and the futility;

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Where is the futility in a struggling moorland oak in autumn or a British mountain under snow. The mountain is Ingleborough which I had just climbed for the nth time!

(The word translated futility in mataiotes which in the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint is only used for human folly!)

Also I am one of those who cycles, walks and climbs mountains every month of the year and in all weathers. As I write this on St Nicholas’s day my last three months of walking during the autumn must have witnessed that annual subjection to futility. No way! I’ve had three glorious walks in the Lakes, three in the Yorkshire Dales and many more in the Forest of Bowland. Yes, I’ve experienced wind, rain, snow, cold and warmth and gone up to my thighs in a sphagnum bog! Now that was futile!! My feet were frozen.

Stinging nettles, thistles, thorns, midges and horseflies – and in the past, tsetse flies! I have watched autumn unfold and merge into winter, fungi helping the process of decay/recycling/upcycling in weird and wonderful ways, stands of bog asphodel after losing their fantastic yellow flowers and turning bronze before sinking into a peat bog, frozen pools and a little snow. Beauty, awe and wonder, but no futility. I now look forward to climbing in the snow, and then to the pastel greenness of spring with its flowers, on to the height of summer and back to autumn. At Christmas I am looking at the buds in my garden and daffs poking through. Come January I’ll be looking for snowdrops in the road verges. In all of it I echo G M Hopkins;

The world is charged with the glory of God

not to mention some of the  psalms like Psalm 8 and hymns like How great thou art on creator and  creation

Yes, this has been going on for 4 billion years and is the nature of creation which was written in at the beginning. But his representation of “corruption, futility and slavery” shows that he believes that the creation is not as God intended. He writes of “the sharp end of corruption of creation – on an earthquake fault line, for instance, or by an active volcano – you may sense the awe of that futile power.” Power, yes, but not futile. Often it may be tragic as with the recent eruption in New Zealand. Plate Tectonics, and the attendant quakes and volcanoes were there from the beginning. And that beginning predated humans by a few billion years.

Evidence of Plate Motions - Geology (U.S. National Park Service)

One of my great climbs was up Mt St Helens in 2009, which blew its top in 1980. It was totally awesome. Many years before I was scalded in Bumpas Hell just below Lassen Peak in California, while taking a photo of sulphur crystals. I was shirtless at the time when a gust blew steam over me. I squealed!

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A view from the summit of Mt St Helens showing the devastation caused by the 1980 eruption. Is Mt Ranier is the distance next to go? The grey area was green forest.

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I’ve experienced a few minor quakes in Britain and a massive Mag 8.6 as a child which I do not remember, and one about Mag 4.5 in the middle of a hymn during worship in Uganda. The organist missed a few notes and carried on as we did!

If Wright is correct then there should be something marking the introduction of quakes and volcanoes in the geological record, as that should have occurred when Adam and Eve went scrumping.

There are none.

If there were, I could not have found volcanic lavas in strata some 900 million years old in the Namib Desert nor glaciation in 650 million year old strata nearby, nor some big faults caused by tectonic shifts resulting in quakes some 600 million years ago. I could also mention all the other ancient volcanic rocks I’ve seen from the 2.2 billion year Scourie dykes in the Highlands, 450 million year old lavas in Snowdonia and the Lakes giving excellent rock-climbing, not to mention the mere 65 million year old rocks in Skye. In fact, volcanoes and igneous rock have been formed for a good 4 billion years.

In 2005 Wright gave a lecture God, 9/11, the Tsunami, and the New Problem of Evil (Transcript of one of N.T. Wright’s May 18-19, 2005, lectures at the Church Leaders’ Forum, Seattle Pacific University. https://spu.edu/depts/uc/response/summer2k5/features/evil.asp)

In the lecture he wrote;

What then about the tsunami? There is of course no straightforward answer. But there are small clues.

We are not to suppose that the world as it currently is, is the way God intends it to be at the last. Some serious thinkers, including some contemporary physicists, would actually link the convulsions which still happen in the world to evil perpetrated by humans; and it is indeed fair enough to probe for deeper connections than modernist science has imagined between human behaviour and the total environment of our world, including tectonic plates. But I find it somewhat easier to suppose that the project of creation, the good world which God made at the beginning, was supposed to go forward under the wise stewardship of the human race, God’s vice-gerents, God’s image-bearers; and that, when the human race turned to worship creation instead of God, the project could not proceed in the intended manner, but instead bore thorns and thistles, volcanoes and tsunamis, the terrifying wrath of the creation which we humans had treated as if it were divine.

I was simply stunned to read that and have long restrained from discussing it. I am well-aware of induced seismicity from hydropower, mining and fluid injection in wells, but this is another level or two up.

All these quotations could have come straight from a recent publication of Answers in Genesis and I find it difficult not to read it in the sense that the author believes that “thorns and thistles, volcanoes and tsunamis” are the result of human behaviour i.e. a Curse as the result of the Fall. That was dealt with by the assault of geological hammers and biological microscopes, if not by good exegesis. I am, of course, aware of induced seismicity, at times up to Magnitude 6, whether from mining, fracking, geothermal energy, or the unsettlement of strata from hydro-electric dams, but human activity cannot be the cause of tectonic movements before humans appeared on the scene and could not cause the massive earthquake which resulted in the 2004 boxing Day tsunami, or the eruption of Mt St Helens to give two examples.

The next paragraph makes his understanding clear;

“The human race was put in charge of creation (as so often Paul has Genesis 1-3 not far from his mind). When humans rebelled [in Garden of Eden] and worshipped parts of creation instead of God himself (Rom 1 21-23), creation fell into disrepair.”

How did creation fall into disrepair not so many thousands of years ago? How does the disrepair manifest itself? My bicycle takes a battering as I cycle over 4000 miles a year and continually edges towards disrepair necessitating repairs or replacement. Yes, it is continually falling into disrepair – particularly after winter cycling! But the creation? How?

I expect to read something like that on the website of a Young Earth Creationist group. What Wright is claiming is that when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden that affected the whole of the natural order, or creation, or cosmos, or universe and made it change from a good state to one of disrepair and had fallen into corruption, whereas it was uncorrupt before. Seriously, From my fieldwork, I cannot distinguish between the basic make-up of glacial material deposited 600 million years and those from 20,000 years ago, or alpine moraines today. I have studied all three in the field. We need more on how the creation is corrupt whereas previously it was incorrupt.

He concluded his lecture;

The Gospels thus tell the story of Jesus, and particularly of his death, as the story of how cosmic and global evil, in its suprapersonal as well as personal forms, are met by the sovereign, saving love of Israel’s God, YHWH, the creator of the world. They write intentionally to draw the whole Old Testament narrative to its climax, seeing that narrative precisely as the story of God’s strange and dark solution to the problem of evil from Genesis 3 onwards.

Here he first looks to a past event when “evil” was introduced to a pristine planet – including earthquakes – and also conflates natural with moral and spiritual evil. Wright seems to imply that natural events like volcanoes and earthquakes are not as God intended. On could add disease and death, but all these are part of the fabric of the natural world.  Leaving aside the issue of natural and moral evil, this whole discussion brings out the Achilles heel of many theological “reconciliations” of theology and evolution. Most are aware of the reality or brute fact of the vast age of the universe and evolution, but then approach their theology and biblical interpretation implicitly rejecting that reality and thus adopting a theology more amenable to young earth ideas. Most commentators on Romans 8 do this as do many other theologians.

If all these scholars are correct in taking ktisis as meaning the whole of creation , the cosmos, or the universe, then their theology and that of the apostle Paul is totally contrary to the physical realities we have in geology, biology and cosmology.

Is Paul simply wrong or have we got Paul wrong?

As Wright presents his understanding of the Fall in these three places he effectually adopts a Miltonic view of the Fall accepting that it had a serious and deleterious effect on ALL creation and that is how his epic poem Paradise Lost begins

“Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden fruit, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe“.

and

Beast now with beast gan war, and fowl with fowl,

And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving,

Devoured each other. P.Lost X 710-12

We are too easily lulled by Milton, as the the geologist Rev Edward Hitchcock stressed in the 1850s, when he wrote, “we groan under the burden of Milton’s mythology.”.

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/why-the-apple-didnt-kill-adam-and-eve/

Great though Paradise Lost is, it is putting the whole Genesis account as portraying a young earth and the dramatic change to the constitution of this planet caused by “man’s first disobedience.” Some New Testament scholars are saying that – at least implicitly. In other words, all of these are essentially saying Young earth Creationism is right, there was this CURSE and thus the earth is thousands of years old. That is simply untrue as the earth is billions of years old and life nearly as old, and thus death and earthquakes.

Creation is wonderful and not subjected to futility as these photos show;

A Creationist from Merica goes to Scotland and gets Hutton all wrong on geology

Henry ford is alleged to have said “history is bunk”. He was right as much supposed history is utter bunk and here is an example about James Hutton who some wrongly reckon to be the Father of Geology and invented the idea of millions of years!

It is a sort of inverted version of the Conflict Thesis of Science and Christianity, and is an example how misunderstanding the history of science leads to all kinds of distortions

Here an American comes out with a load of bunk on Hutton

https://creationmoments.com/sermons/the-birth-of-deep-time/?mc_cid=9e2c97f9ff&mc_eid=251871d2b4&fbclid=IwAR1ZEJMqm_G48c8UdAXZJQCLyudxug1CdP7Pi9y26aMeAXaaRBdpmXrXVLo

Psalm 78:15
“He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.”

I was on an open-topped tour bus, seeing the sights of downtown Edinburgh—the capital city of Scotland. From this vantage point, our guide stopped frequently, to tell us about John Knox’s grave and house, the Royal Mile, and beautiful Edinburgh Castle. At one stop, there were three things to see. To our left was Britain’s ugliest building—the Scottish Parliament. Straight ahead was Holyrood House—where the Queen lives when she is in Edinburgh. And to the right was a cliff face, called Salisbury Crag. This rocky outcrop consists of a lower level of greywacke, topped by several layers of sedimentary rock.

The guide pointed the crag out to us, and said that in 1787, the crag was studied by James Hutton. In fact, the guide said that in 1787, it was by studying these rocks that James Hutton proved the Bible to be wrong.

Why would this guide think that Hutton had disproved the Bible? Hutton invented the concept of deep time; of millions of years. He supposed the unconformity separating the two rock sections must have been formed by erosion, millions of years ago. In fact, this smooth erosion is evidence consistent with a much shorter age. The lower rock would have been laid down early in the Flood, and turned over while still plastic. Powerful underwater currents would have caused the erosion that we see. Finally, the layers of rock would have been laid down on top. This model is fully consistent with the truthful account in God’s word.

Prayer: Your word stands forever, O Lord. Nothing can take away from Your word. We pray that we might submit completely to Your word, that we might not sin against you. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutton’s_Unconformity. Image: Ann Traynor, Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike 3.0 Unported.

© 2022 Creation Moments.  All rights reserved.

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Now here is a Merican touring England, except of course it is Scotland not England! We have the matey approach saying “I was there like Kilroy so I must be right.”!!

And so Paul Taylor learnt ” In fact, the guide said that in 1787, it was by studying these rocks that James Hutton proved the Bible to be wrong.”

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I sorta have my doubts whether the tour guide actually said that, or anything like it. Anyway Hutton never ever said such thing!!

In fact two years earlier in 1785 He was writing a summary of his geological views, which contained a summary of perceived religious implications. These he sent to the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Dr Robertson for consideration and comment.

Here is part of it and he never thought he had disproved the Bible!!

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So there’s the first mistake. But he goes on to say

Hutton invented the concept of deep time; of millions of years. 

  Poor lad, he was a bit wrong. It all started in the 1680s in the Llanberis Pass in Snowdonia when Edward Lhwyd reckoned from the numbers of boulders lying on the floor, many had been there before 4004BC. A decade earlier than Hutton the Frenchman Buffon was insisting on at least 74,000 years from cooling experiments. Privately he indicated millions of years. Even earlier Fr Needham accepted “millions of years” and was hardly an atheist. 

In fact, most savants in the 18th century thought the earth was ancient, and the discussion was whether it was millions or hundreds of thousands. By 1787 an old earth was quite acceptable to most educated Christians – if they knew much about science.

To claim “millions of years” was the atheistic idea of Hutton is just nonsense. Yes, he was a deist but his science and ideas of geological time were acceptable to all but the most conservative Christian, even though many preferred a little less time time, that is less than a million but never 4004BC!!

There is no unconformity here!!! He got that wrong too!

It is magma intruded into sandstone as Hutton realised

This is very clear when you read this BGS (British Geological Survey) excursion guide to Salisbury Crags

https://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Arthur%27s_Seat,_Salisbury_Crags,_Edinburgh_-_an_excursion

It says;

The justly famous Hutton’s Section of the base of Salisbury Crags Sill is found towards the south-eastern end of the escarpment, and provided Hutton and his followers with telling evidence in favour of magmatic intrusion in the great argument with the Wernerians in the eighteenth century. Beneath the sill lie well-bedded Cementstone Group strata, alternately red and white. The sill transgresses the bedding conspicuously in two places. At the first the sediment against the transgression is crumpled; at the other a wedge of teschenite has been intruded beneath a block of sediment, rotating it upwards from its original position and partly engulfing it in the sill. At the western end of the section, the teschenite immediately above the contact has been chilled to a glassy skin up to a centimetre thick, which has now been devitrified to a greenish material. Above the glass the teschenite is very fine in grain but coarsens markedly upwards. In the rock-face to the south-east of Hutton’s section large rafts of sediment can be seen high in the sill. The rafts are not distorted and lie parallel to the strata below the sill. Still farther to the south-west, syenitic segregation veins up to 5 in thickness cut the sill.

Scale is very important!

Here is a contemporary sketch in which the scales are all wrong as the men would need to be FOURS TIMES the size for a true scale. However it brings out the magma intruding into the shales.

In fact it was in June 1788 that Hutton discovered the unconformity  at Siccar Point some 30 miles south east of Edinburgh.

The photo shows near horizontal Devonian strata (red) (360my lying on nearly vertical grey Silurian Greywackes (420my)

Angular Unconformity at Siccar Point, Scotland. Siccar Point, Scotland (Photo: Wikipedia “Hutton’s Unconformity”)

This is an article but rather mythical on what Hutton was doing as it is wrong to say ;

Siccar Point is world-famous as the most important unconformity described by James Hutton (1726-1797) in support of his world-changing ideas on the origin and age of the Earth.

https://www.geowalks.co.uk/siccar-point/

By the time Hutton went there many had realised that the earth was ancient decades before. Sadly many repeat myths about Hutton.

Well the author Ken Taylot got things so badly wrong that this is the only reaction

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this is a good book to read;

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Creation Moments is one of the many American Creationist sites and is possibly more inaccurate than Answers in Genesis. It goes back 60 years.

The History Of Our Christian Radio Broadcast

FIVE DECADES AGO, A MINISTER NEAR BOISE, IDAHO, NOTICED A TROUBLING TREND…

Founder Pastor Walter Lang found many of the young Christians in his congregation abandoning their Christian roots after spending a year or two in college. “Could this be happening in other churches around the country?” he wondered. It was. Lang decided to do something about it.

Evolutionary theory, with its godless worldview, was poisoning young minds in Lang’s church. These young people were taught evolutionary theory as fact, with no mention of Biblical perspectives and creationism theories. Lang searched the country for a publication devoted to promoting creationism theories. There was none. That’s when he decided to start Bible-Science Association (now Creation Moments, Inc.)

Lang saw a problem and did what he could to solve it. Today, every Christian creationist organization owes a debt of gratitude to Lang’s vision. We know, however, that his work is not complete. Every day, evolutionary theory is taught in public schools, confusing the hearts and minds of young people. It dismantles the faith the godly parents have sought to instill in their children. Instead of “Train up a child in the way he should go.” (Proverbs 22:6), evolution promotes the secular humanist dogma that “God is dead; religion is an opiate.” In the end, evolution seeks to dislodge God from His rightful place as our Creator and Sustainer.

From Walter Lang’s simple vision, Creation Moments now serves Christian youth and adults alike. We are committed to promote, teach and study creationism theories and the truth of divine creation as revealed in the Bible. It is our goal to build up the Church and enlighten the world to the wonder and the truth of God’s marvelous creation. We hope you will join us in this important mission. Together we can reach the hearts and minds of a lost and needy world!

Since 1963, Creation Moments, Inc. (formerly the Bible-Science Association) has been communicating the truth of creation. That ministry continues today through Christian radio broadcasts, seminars, publications and a bookstore outreach. In 1986 the two-minute international Christian radio broadcast “Creation Moments” was born. “Creation Moments” is one of the top five US syndicated radio programs of five minutes or less. “Creation Moments” is carried on five major networks: Bible Broadcast, Moody, LifeTalk Network, Family Radio and Bott Radio.

I first came across this when it was the Bible Science Association in the 1980s, when I trawled every possible American creationist outfit.

It is a good idea to get your facts right and it is not quite right to make stories up to prove the Gospel

Lying about Lyell

For several years “Is Genesis History?” Has been churning out videos and articles from a creationist standpoint, trying to show the earth is only  a few thousand years old and geologists have got it wrong.

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The group are centred around videos striving to show that Young earth Creationism is a viable option and better than the sad, sad story of long age geology and evolution. They have recruited experts, some of whom have Ph Ds in geology  eg Kurt Wise , Marcus Ross, Andrew Snelling and Steve Austin. I’ve met all bar Snelling. It’s odd they have Ph Ds in geology and then say it’s all wrong. Here’s a list of experts with bios;

https://isgenesishistory.com/category/experts/

The videos and short blogs are posted on FB and social media at regular intervals. Here’s one on how to measure geological time, which is replete with inaccuracy, inuendo and falsehood, which completely gets dear Lyell wrong. The geologists I mentioned should know that!!

It is classic science denial from an ideological standpoint which twists the science to convince their clientele, who usually know little science. Thus their beliefs are reinforced and doubters forced out as heretics.

Part of the Explore the Film series.

5.How do you measure Time?

“The Bible would say that the past is the key to the present.” – Andrew Snelling, Geologist at SP Crater & Sedona, Arizona

This youtube video is very critical of radiometric age dating and other things but I’ll focus on the short blog

Learn more about radioisotope dating and flood geology in

https://isgenesishistory.com/5-measure-time/?fbclid=IwAR2d2EFczYUjQbSkLSg6XsyQ55NqY7DbKDHHD3YypoA3VzB3ud0FJghRfYY

The text of this is very short so I reproduce it full.

If the Bible presents a concise timeline of history, where does the idea of millions of years come from?

Geologists like Charles Lyell wanted to replace the history recorded in Genesis with a naturalistic history of their own construction. They started with the idea of long ages, then interpreted the rocks in light of their new paradigm.

Today, geologists rely on measuring radioisotope decay and interpret its results in terms of the conventional paradigm. Yet anomalies in these dating methods question their conclusions. Instead, one can look at geological formations to see evidence of a young earth transformed by a global catastrophe: the flat and enormous extent of sedimentary layers; a lack of deep and widespread erosion between most layers; and evidence that sediment was rapidly deposited by huge amounts of water.

If the Bible presents a concise timeline of history, where does the idea of millions of years come from?

This sounds very plausible but begs so many questions.

Yes the bible does have a time line, but even for conservative scholars it is difficult to be precise on dates before King Saul in about 1000BC. This is not to question whether all those mentioned never lived, but giving dates is very tricky.  At best one can say Abraham lived in about 2000BC and before that the text is too vague to compile a timeline, as did Ussher in 1656.

To ask:

 where does the idea of millions of years come from?

is a loaded question implying that the naughty boys like Lyell simply made it up to deny the Bible. That is simply untrue.

You are given the idea that it was conjured up to discredit the bible.

Geologists like Charles Lyell wanted to replace the history recorded in Genesis with a naturalistic history of their own construction. They started with the idea of long ages, then interpreted the rocks in light of their new paradigm.

These two sentences simply do not acknowledge either what Lyell did or where “long ages” came from.

180px-charles_lyell

It is fair to say that before 1660 most educated Christian s in western Europe thought the earth was thousands of years old. In 1490 Columbus not only thought that the earth had a smaller circumference but also reckoned it to be a few thousand years old and wouldn’t last much longer! The classic date was Ussher’s

Jacobus_ussher

4004BC date of 1656, which didn’t have much longevity, though it was included in some bibles from 1700. Cracks/faults appeared in a few years as geological savants began to study strata and by 1700 many of these (mostly Christian) realised it was older than Ussher thought. These included Rev John Ray, who tentatively added on tens of thousands to 4004BC in the 1680s, thanks to his Welsh friend. Edward Lhuyd, of the flower lloydia serontia.

300px-John_Ray_from_NPG

During the 18th century more and more evidence was found for an old earth as more and more throughout Europe looked at rocks. By 1800 hardly any, who could be called geologists, reckoned the earth to be thousands. De Luc and his ilk went for hundreds of thousands and others including Hutton went for millions. None went for 4004BC. So when Lyell was born in 1798 “long ages” were well and truly proven.

james-hutton-caraciture

Hutton chipping away

Unless Lyell was a geologist while in diapers/nappies, which I doubt, “long ages” had nothing to do with him and was the prevailing, unanimous view, when he started to study geology under Rev William Buckland in about 1820. Buckland reckoned on millions but the Rev William Coneybeare, a friend and sparring partner of Lyell only went for quadrillions!!

Bucklandglacier230px-Cyclomedusa_cropped

Buckland in Wales in 1841 and lecturing at Oxford, possibly to Sam Wilberforce & St John Newman

None for these geologists from 1660 started with “the idea of long ages” but continually found evidence pointing to an older earth.

Lyell and his contemporaries had a “new paradigm” but simply built on those who went before. Here I must add that “Catastrophists” and “Uniformitarians” all accept a very ancient earth, so far as “long ages” were concerned they sang from the same hymn book.

As “Is Genesis History?” has several with degrees in geology, it is amazing that they could support such a serious error of fact. It is difficult not to ascribe a severe moral lapse as this seems to more than amateurs getting confused about the science.

At best this is duplicitous.

Today, geologists rely on measuring radioisotope decay and interpret its results in terms of the conventional paradigm. Yet anomalies in these dating methods question their conclusions.

This is a duplicitous slur on how radiometric age-dating has been used since 1907, when Boltwood first tentatively applied it to rocks. To say that geologists “interpret its results in terms of the conventional paradigm.” is simply untrue. One only has to read the history of the development of radiometric age dating. This can be seen in Cherry Lewis’s biography of Arthur Holmes,

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who wrote successive books on the age of the earth from 1913. Initially he thought the age of the earth was 1.8 billion and by the 1940s found the evidence pointed to 4.6 billion. I could mention Claire Pattison too, who was more precise and whose age for the earth is still accepted 70 years later.

“Paradigm” is used here to cast doubt on radiometric age dating. That is not honest.

Creationists often produce “anomalies” but these have been showm to be misrepresentations of research as over Austin’s claims on Mt St Helens

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and Woodmorappe’s list of a 1000 anomalous ages. Years ago I checked about 200 of his list and every time I found he had misrepresented the source.  Exod 20 vs 16 springs to mind.

Instead, one can look at geological formations to see evidence of a young earth transformed by a global catastrophe: the flat and enormous extent of sedimentary layers; a lack of deep and widespread erosion between most layers; and evidence that sediment was rapidly deposited by huge amounts of water.

I suppose having flung out these false accusations he comes out with the ultimate explanation;

Noah’s Flood

He fails to say many sediments are not laid down by water – e.g desert sands or glacial strata, or that limestone reefs form very slowly.

This presentation is a mixture of bad science and duplicity. One would expect more from Christians, whether or not they have geology degrees.

If you want to read more , try this

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Niels Steno, the Father of Stratigraphy

The titular bishop of Titopolis was the father of geology way back in the 1660s – and not Charles Lyell.

He tried to tie geology into Noah’s Flood as did all in his day and was vague on the age of the earth.

Science meets Faith

On 11 January 1638, Niels Steno was born. He was a Danish anatomist, palaeontologist and geologist. He was ordained a Catholic bishop in 1677 in Italy and moved to the Lutheran part of Germany and died in 1686. Having established the theoretical basis for stratigraphy, he can be called the Father of Stratigraphy.

In his work on geology “De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus“ (The Prodromus of Nicolaus Steno’s Dissertation Concerning a Solid Body Enclosed by Process of Nature Within a Solid, 1669) Steno describes four of the defining principles of the science of stratigraphy. These were:

  • the law of superposition: New layers of sediment are deposited on top of older layers (law of superposition), one can determine relative time sequence by examining the order in which strata appear – “At the time when a given stratum was being formed, there was beneath it another substance which…

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Georges Lemaitre and Pope Pius XII

The pope learns about the Big Bang from Fr le Maitre

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So much for the Big Bang being atheistic

Science meets Faith

On 07 September 1952, Pope Pius XII gave a talk in Rome at the Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in which he did not mention any association between the Big Bang Theory and the initial fiat of creation. A few months earlier in 1951, while addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he had seemed to link the two together. In the time that passed between the two talks, Georges Lemaître had met with Pope Pius XII to discuss the difficulties and limits of associating the Big Bang Theory with the theological notion of creation.”

Read more on our previous blog post and on inters.org: Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, The Pius XII – Lemaître Affair (1951-1952) on Big Bang and Creation

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How do you measure (geological) time? (according to Creationists)

Learn More About the Is Genesis History? Bible Study Set

So asks a recent blog of “Is Genesis History?”

They seem to think that geologists in the early 19th century just made it all up from their fantastical imaginations!!

That is not quite true as I show, but first a family diversion.

When our daughter was about 6 or 7 she took some rocks and put labels on them with enormous numbers – 436740 years , 736400 years etc. All were less than a million. Sadly, many like Mr Snelling do not have as an advanced understanding as she had then!!

I found this short blog absolutely face-palming as it made almost as many serious errors as words! It is amazing, and very concerning, that anyone with more than a 6 year olds understanding could get so much wrong.

Yet “Is Genesis History?” has qualified geologists producing their material and one has to ask why it is so wrong, as well as pointing out where it is wrong. Today we hear much of Unconscious Bias, but this seems worse than Conscious Bias.

https://isgenesishistory.com/5-measure-time/?fbclid=IwAR13z2BSgB3mmkOnq0pWnq9Hk8LpyBGh0Pd6QDrGOIA1sZYXgt6XY-bv-AU

Here it is in full

“The Bible would say that the past is the key to the present.” – Andrew Snelling, Geologist at SP Crater & Sedona, Arizona

If the Bible presents a concise timeline of history, where does the idea of millions of years come from?

Geologists like Charles Lyell wanted to replace the history recorded in Genesis with a naturalistic history of their own construction. They started with the idea of long ages, then interpreted the rocks in light of their new paradigm.

Today, geologists rely on measuring radioisotope decay and interpret its results in terms of the conventional paradigm. Yet anomalies in these dating methods question their conclusions. Instead, one can look at geological formations to see evidence of a young earth transformed by a global catastrophe: the flat and enormous extent of sedimentary layers; a lack of deep and widespread erosion between most layers; and evidence that sediment was rapidly deposited by huge amounts of water.

Learn more about radioisotope dating and flood geology in

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“The Bible would say that the past is the key to the present.” – Andrew Snelling, Geologist at SP Crater & Sedona, Arizona

Simply empty affirmation . Where does the Bible say it? It is meaningless.

Geologists like Charles Lyell wanted to replace the history recorded in Genesis with a naturalistic history of their own construction. They started with the idea of long ages, then interpreted the rocks in light of their new paradigm.

This is simply a gross misrepresentation about how “long ages” came into being. Not one geologist started “with the idea of long ages”. Consider how “long ages” developed;

Up to the mid-17th century almost all scholars from Columbus to Ussher thought that the earth was a few thousand years old, with Ussher giving his famous date of 4004BC.

Jacobus_ussher

This made great sense at the time but was undermined within a few decades.

The journey began in the 1660s, when Nils Steno (later a Catholic bishop who got beatified) was studying fossils and strata in Italy and worked out the Principle of Superposition. He was rather undecided on the age of the strata. But he had made a vital breakthrough.

Twenty years later Edward Lhwyd and Rev John Ray

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spent much time botanising in Snowdonia. Lhwyd was struck by the number of boulders in Nant Peris. As only one had fallen in living memory, he tentatively concluded that the hundreds of boulders must have fallen at intervals of several decades, meaning that Ussher’s age of 4004BC needed to be revised upwards. After all 500×50 =25,000. A wee advance on Ussher! In fact, they were glacial erratics dumped almost together some 20,000 years ago, so Lhwyd was wrong! Even so, it was an interesting idea showing a questioning mind.

Others reckoned the earth must be older too as did Hooke and Hobbes (see my Genesis and Geological time p41)

Genesis 1 & geological time from 1600-1850

Going into the 18th century more and more studied the rocks throughout Europe and almost all concluded that the earth was old. Less geological was Buffon who in his Epoques of 1778 argued from cooling globes the earth had to be at least 74,000 years old, but privately argued for millions. If you want more read Martin Rudwick’s Earth’s Deep History or Gabriel Gohau Les sciences de la terre aux XVII et XXVIII siecles.

Few continued with a young earth after Scheuzer, apart from the English Hutchinsonians, followers of John Hutchinson (1674-1737). One was Alexander Catcott whose Treatise of the Deluge (1768) is the oldest book I own. It’s a mix of biblical theology, speculations about the ark ( which included 2 camelopards and quoting Bishop Willkins “1825 sheep… for the rapacious beasts” ) and some good geomorphological observations.

By the end of the 18th century few scientists/savants did not accept Deep Time and the Irishman Richard Kirwan was one of the handful who didn’t. Even J.A. de Luc, who is often presented as a young earther, believed in an ancient earth, but not as ancient as Hutton’s!

In the last decades of the 18th century Hutton just took the standard view of an ancient earth along with a galaxy of workers all round Europe –Rev J  Michell, Fr. Soulavie, de Saussure (of Mt Blanc fame), De Luc, Werner and others in almost every country, but an Anglocentric approach, which only considers Hutton and Lyell, misses that.

Hutton is NOT the father of Deep Time, but one of many very able scientists, who worked on deep time.

james-hutton-caracitureAngular Unconformity at Siccar Point, Scotland. Siccar Point, Scotland (Photo: Wikipedia “Hutton’s Unconformity”)

James Hutton and Siccar Point

We also need to note that from 1660 Christians, especially clergy, were involved in the discovery of geological time. In 1785 the Rev William Robertson, Moderator of the Scottish Kirk, was totally supportive of Hutton and reckoned that nothing in Hutton’s  work was “in any respect repugnant to the Mosaic account of creation.” And for the last 235 years most Christian ministers, evangelical or not, have agreed with Robertson, from Billy Graham to John Stott, loads of Popes and Archbishops and those in local churches.

By 1800 few geological savants denied “long ages”. The geologist William Smith

200px-william_smith_geologist      William Smith's A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales with part of Scotland (1815)

William Smith and his map of 1815

was persuaded out of a young earth by several local vicars, notably Benjamin Richardson and Joseph Townsend. Townsend, an evangelical, published a major work in 1813, but his prowess was soon overtaken by several other Church of England clergymen, John Henslow, William Conybeare, William Buckland and Adam Sedgwick, who made great contributions to the Geological Column, especially from the Cambrian to Carboniferous. Buckland introduced the concept of an Ice Age to Britain

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Henslow and his exquisite map of Anglesey 1823

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William Buckland checking for ice and hyenas!!

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 Sedgwick wanting to get back to the field

As they were in their prime a young Scot and pupil of Buckland began his geologising, but disagreed with the catastrophic “long ages” ideas, especially of his friend Conybeare and in 1831 published the first volume of his Principles of Geology. By the time Lyell began geology almost all geologists were convinced of the evidences for “long ages”. Here we’ll be told of the Scriptural Geologists expounded by Terry Mortensen. Despite Mortensen’s claims only one, George Young, carried out any field geology  (in Yorkshire) and was criticised for rejecting geological time.

Lyell was very much a johnny-come-lately , and neither he nor anyone else “started with the idea of long ages”. That is blatantly false. By the time Lyell picked up his hammer, geologists had slowly been finding evidence for “long ages”. Lyell continued and found even more evidence!!

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   Lyell looking principled  BucklandArchiveCauseEffect002

Many geologists didn’t like Lyell’s uniformitarianism in 1831 and so De La Beche painted a watercolour of why Buckland’s son could not make a big valley by having a pee.

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 Tow others having a pee with no more success

To claim that “Geologists like Charles Lyell wanted to replace the history recorded in Genesis with a naturalistic history of their own construction.” is also a falsehood and without evidence. It is not true of Lyell, nor any other geologist, except George Young. Lyell was very critical of those like Young who tried to squeeze a “history” of the earth from Genesis. Here he was almost entirely in agreement with all the clerical geologists like Buckland.

This is a blatant misrepresentation which has no basis in history. I would have thought Dr Snelling would have known that it was wrong. Or perhaps not.

Today, geologists rely on measuring radioisotope decay and interpret its results in terms of the conventional paradigm.

It is so much easier, and briefer, to make a statement like this, which is devoid of truth than to refute it. Yes, radiometric age dating is used, but its results are weighed up, with and against the older geology and assessed with care

Yet anomalies in these dating methods question their conclusions.

What anomalies does the writer mean? This statement simply gets readers to be suspicious and thus dismiss all geological dating. It does not seem to be in the spirit of the Ninth Commandment. Over the years I have come across many alleged anomalies and when I have been able to check them I ALWAYS found them to be false accusations.

A classic example is the paper “Radiometric Dating Reappraised” by John Woodmorappe which originally appeared in the Creation Research Society Quarterly (Volume 16, September 1979. It lists some 800 anomalies and some 40 years ago I went through and checked about a hundred. None were anomalies and all were misrepresented. Sadly I didn’t record my findings but here is a short account of some whoppers.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/woodmorappe-geochronology.html

Again the Ninth is pushed to one side!!

And so at the end of a short article replete with dissimulation there is a triumphant conclusion

Instead, one can look at geological formations to see evidence of a young earth transformed by a global catastrophe: the flat and enormous extent of sedimentary layers; a lack of deep and widespread erosion between most layers; and evidence that sediment was rapidly deposited by huge amounts of water.

What can anyone say to that?

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October 23, 4004: The Creation of the World

Happy Birthday Earth according to Archbishop Ussher.

Jacobus_ussher

For his time Ussher was good as he was a fine scholar and according to Martin Rudwick introduced a proper historical understanding.

He published a decade before Steno and others began to understanding the geology and then time, so he seems out of touch.

Fewer followed him on time than we are led to believe

This book chapter of mine puts Ussher in a longer contexthttps://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2021/01/28/genesis-chapter-1-and-geological-time-from-grotius-to-thomas-chalmers-1620-1825/

Enjoy this short article , except for the last comment on scotch farmer!!!

Source: October 23, 4004: The Creation of the World