August 30th, 2013
Grand Canyon in Biblical Perspective
Grand Canyon is called a monument to a billion years of evolution and millions of years of gradual erosion. However, under careful scrutiny, the evidence seems to tell a different story – a story much more consistent with the Biblical record. No human was present to see the canyon form so here is just a possible scenario based on Biblical text and certain geologic clues. (See diagram to correlate the numbers given below.)
Genesis 1:1-7 says that God created the heaven and the Earth and that the Earth was covered with water. Is it possible that the granites and schists (1) at the bottom of Grand Canyon are the remnants of re-worked original “creation rock”? On Day 3 of creation week, God formed the dry land (vs. 9). With this massive earth movement and resulting water currents, there would be a lot of erosion which could form the “Precambrian” sedimentary layers which are also interspersed with lava flows. (2) These layers would be devoid of fossils (except for some microscopic algae and plant materials) because they were mostly formed before death entered the world at the Fall.
Between the Fall and before God judged the wickedness in the world with the Flood (Gen 6-8), moderate conditions on the earth would produce mostly localized erosion, sedimentation, coral reefs, and fossilization. But things changed dramatically at the time of the Flood. The Bible says it rained for 40 days and nights and the “fountains of the deep” opened (Gen 7:11). Some take this to mean great geysers and water spouts from under the earth; others think it may also refer to volcanic eruptions. In any case, it is clear that this is a very catastrophic event with powerful forces in the earth resulting in changes to the basement rock (1) and tilting (2) of the pre-Flood layers.
The onslaught of Flood waters would sheer-off the tilted layers and basement rocks and leave behind what is known as the “Great Unconformity.”(3) This break in the contiguous rock layers is clearly seen at Grand Canyon and around the world. According to uniformitarian geologists, this break represents vast amounts of erosional time but with the Flood, it would happen very rapidly.
As floodwaters rose, there would be massive erosion, deposition, and fossilization. The horizontal rock layers of Grand Canyon (4) contain crushed and broken fossils of marine invertebrates as evidence of this. Whole ecological zones would be ripped up and buried. Shallow-water marine creatures would be swept up and deposited first, followed by fish, and later by amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Some discrepancies would be due to localized conditions, but this scenario explains the general order found in the fossil record, as well as the fact that marine fossils are found throughout the geologic column.
The Bible tells us the waters rose until they covered the whole earth. We see evidence of this throughout the world: marine fossils on the tops of earth’s highest mountains including Everest; extensive sedimentary layers stretching not only across continents, but even trans-continentally; and characteristics of catastrophic water deposition in sedimentary rocks world-wide. (4-7) Deep currents washing back and forth would result in more deposition, mixing and reworking of sediments, as well as layers of fossils which were hydrodynamically sorted according to specific size, shape, and mass.
Towards the end of the Flood, “The mountains rose; the valleys sank down.” (Ps.104:8, NAS) Powerful earth movements would have resulted in massive sheet erosion leaving extensive plains and plateaus. Later channelized erosion would leave deep canyons and gullies. (8) In addition, huge inland lakes would be left as the continents rose. Later these lakes (and others dammed by glacial ice during the Ice Age) would break through, causing catastrophic erosion (as seen in the Channeled Scablands of the Pacific Northwest as well as in Grand Canyon).
The Bible presents a credible scenario for the formation of Grand Canyon, the rock layers and the fossils they contain. We believe it is more consistent with the evidence than traditional long-age, evolutionary, uniformitarian models. The Canyon truly is an amazing testimony to the Biblical account of earth history.
[Information for this article is from personal study of Grand Canyon and the following resources: Grand Canyon: Testimony to the Biblical Account of Earth History (DVD), and the books: Your Guide to the Grand Canyon: A Different View, and Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe by Dr. Steven A. Austin. For more information continue to check out our website.]
By Dave and Mary Jo Nutting
Originally published in the May/June 2010 Think & Believe newsletter.
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