Bernard E. Northrup Th.D.
First presented at the Seattle Creation Conference, 1985
(Revised, expanded, but still in rough draft, 1/97)
This paper examines the science of historical taphonomy, a seriously neglected tool or research which can be of great value to the creationist field researcher. As a creationist study it should involve the careful examination of the physical evidence around a fossil to determine the cause of its death, the nature of the interval between death and the fossilization of the remaining record of a life-form and the environment which produced its fossilization. This type of research in the marine, lacustrine and wind sedimentary deposits and in the many great volcanic ash fall structures of the earth will not only negate the false postulates of the evolutionist and the compromising creation scientist but will correct the errant conclusions of Biblical creationists as well. Indeed, careful observation of these details which have been preserved of earth's catastrophic events which have been recorded in the Bible will made it possible for many creationists to reject determinedly and dogmatically held but wholly inadequate and unworking harmonization models. This is every bit as important as the displaying of the errors of the macro- chronological, evolutionist interpreter of the physical record of the earth. After all, when the creationist argues from an inaccurate scientific base, he can not but leave himself and the Bible which he seeks to defend exposed to the sneer and mockery of those who recognize that he has not done his research well.
You may ask: "What on earth is a theologian doing studying in the field of taphonomy"? Indeed, it is more likely that you may be asking yourself another more question about a term that has had little use in creationist circles. "What on earth is 'taphonomy'?" This word, like many English words is composed of two Greek words. The first is taphos or "death" and the second is nomos which means "law" or "principle." Some of researchers who pursue this obscure discipline which investigates what happens after the death of an organism and call themselves "taphonomists," admit that there are no laws for the science of taphonomy. (Ref. 1) They acknowledge that there's nothing that they can really nail down yet since it is a brand new science. Ephremov probably was the first scientist actually to use the term in about l940. He defined taphonomy as the way organisms became fossils. He indicated that this field of research concerns all aspects of the passage of organisms from the biosphere to the lithosphere. (2)
THE VALUE TO CREATIONISTS OF STUDYING TAPHONOMY
Now as an avid creationist who is fascinated by the relationship between Biblical revelation and natural revelation and the correlation of the latter informational source about earth's History with the authoritative statement of God's Word, this subject very quickly captures my attention. It is a subject which can only be valuable to one who is keenly interested in the relationship between the fossils found in the record of the rocks and the events which brought about their passage from being a living creature in the biosphere at some time in Biblical history to their present state in the historical geological record. At the moment I am not at all concerned by the distortions induced into that physical record of the past by the presuppositions of the evolutionist. I consider the trace of a life-form in earth's historical layers and long to ask the creature who possessed that life-form just what circumstances brought about its death. What were the unusual circumstances which happily (for the researcher) brought to pass the fossil trace which I am now examining? What can the fossil and the matrix in which I now find it tell me about the catastrophic events of Biblical history which I firmly believe are retold precisely (even if usually misunderstood) in the record of the rocks?
I am fascinated by the open door which the study of taphonomy provides for me to step back through its doorway into some of the obscure but all important events which shaped and modified earth's early centuries and the life-forms which were placed on it by the Creator. I am fascinated because I find that through this obscure door and its largely ignored avenue, I have yet another very informative way to walk with some of earth's creatures from the day of their creation or birth through the events leading to their fossilization.
When we research fossils in earth's geological deposits, I firmly believe that we are looking at life forms whose fossil traces uniquely have been preserved through the process of death, burial, and fossilization. As important to me as the question: "How were they preserved?" is the question: "Why were they preserved?" That is, "What was the purpose of their preservation and what is the message which they can bring to us?" Even though this aspect of taphonomy is not recognized by most geological field researchers, I will informally answer the last question with my own postulate. These life-forms preserve for the observant researcher a testimony which their Creator has left on the earth for His servants to read and to understood. Fossils must be included in the great twofold testimony concerning the glory of God which introduces Psalm 19. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament [i.e. the expanse of the atmosphere and all that lives or has lived in it] displays His handiwork" (v. 1). Now that indicates that the fossils have a very important message for the earthling who studies them. These life-form traces are of course found in the study of physical geology but their very Biblical message consistently is distorted by current historical geological studies. The testimony of the fossils is twisted into a garbled message which seeks to deny the very Being Who created them! These creations from His hand display His glory and His handiwork! They must be included in the Psalmist's great call for all created beings to praise their Creator. "Praise the Eternal Lord from the earth, you great sea monsters and all the depths; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind fulfilling His Word; mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl; kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the death; both young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Eternal Lord for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven" (Psa. 148:7-13).
It should not be expected that those who reject the Eternal will read their testimony with understanding. Neither can it be expected that those who actually are His children but who have elevated natural revelation (which the misread after the manner of their mentors) to understand. The fossils bring a lithified testimony concerning their Creator and concerning His activities in earth's history. Their silent but valuable voice and testimony must be included as a vital part of the great twofold testimony concerning the glory of God which is described in the introduction of Psalm 19. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament [the expanse of the atmosphere and all that lives or has lived in it] displays His handiwork."
Now it should be obvious that, as far as I am concerned, this indicates that the fossils have a very important message for the earthling who finds them. But because these sources of testimony are found in the study of physical geology and therefore interpreted by naturalists in historical geology, their very Biblical message is desperately distorted as it is misinterpreted in current historical geology. The testimony which the fossils should be presenting has been twisted into a garbled message which seeks to deny the glorious Being who created them. They should display His glory! These creatures which have died, have passed successfully from the biosphere into the lithosphere, and remain to give testimony today must be included in the Psalmist's great call for all created beings to praise their Creator. With the heavens and all things on earth they contribute to this great, universal paean of praise. "Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and . . . beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl. . . " (Psa. 148:5-10).
THE MEANS BY WHICH FOSSILS WERE PRESERVED
But there is another very important testimony to be provided by the science of Taphonomy when properly understood. This involves the study of the first question, "How were these fossils preserved?" Can a simplistic answer with a single catastrophic solution be fitted to every fossil on the face of the earth? I think not. The creationist can err as badly here as the uniformitarian by answering this question affirmatively without a judicial examination of the physical evidence. Only be a careful interrogation of the testimony of the fossils will these questions be answered correctly. But such a course of research also will answer some very vexing questions concerning physical evidences which scarcely fit into popular, overly simplistic harmonization models which attempt to explain the deposit and formation of practically all fossils by a single catastrophe. One of these models which was preeminently popular in the past has said: "Relegate fossils to the primitive creation [an assumed event in Genesis 1:1 in which it is supposed that a complete spectrum of life-forms were created] and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains." (3)
I personally was hindered for many years in my own research of the relationship of Genesis and geology by this approach. But it is an approach which ignores the taphonomic evidence which shouts that it is impossible to account for the majority of earth's fossils by a single universal flood. And I well, much like the naturalists who continue to distort the message of the physical evidence, deserved Pasteur's biting comment concerning presumptive conclusions, even though his statement was not directed at me. "The greatest derangement of the human mind is to believe because one wishes it to be so." (4)
Since then and only by diligent and strenuous research, both in God's Word in the original languages and in the physical evidence, I have come to recognize that creationists apparently deliberately overlook significant evidence. I have come to recognize that the physical evidence perfectly harmonizes with the Biblical evidence and that unitedly they demand that we recognize two universal floods in earth's history with only the second one, the Noahic flood, being judgmental. The Archaeozoic evidence and many corollary factors utterly confounded the original approach to research that I had been taking. I finally realized that, in spite of strenuous efforts on the part of naturalists to prove otherwise, the Archaeozoic section of earth's sedimentary deposits contain no taphonomic evidence whatsoever. There were no life-forms on earth, either when those layers were deposited or in the massive catastrophism which distorted them to their present tortured forms. And this agrees perfectly with that which the Bible records in Genesis 1:2-8, Job 38:4-11 and in Psalm 105:5-9. There were no physical life-forms (exempting the spirit beings which already had been created according to Psalm 104:4-9) on earth when that first great cataclysm covered the earth to prepare it for the later activities of the creation week.
THE MESSAGE PRESERVED IN AND BY THE FOSSILS
What can the fossils tell us about the death which these creatures died? Obviously one cannot press a switch and hear the tape recorded message left as the last words of the creature as it made the transition between the biosphere as a living creature to take its permanent place in the lithosphere as a fossil. Nevertheless, there are many things which one may learn from a fossil if one has the patience to give the trace of a life form the examination which it deserves. For example, when a creation researcher studies one of the lakes near Fort Worth, he will discover a layer of pelecypods at least 50 feet thick. He must ask himself this question; "What was the event that collected these clam shells and jammed them together in this massive deposit." The answer lies plainly exposed in the lime matrix which bonds this mass of shells together. But to understand that particular rock matrix, you must be sensitive to all of the underlying layers and the few overlying rock layers which may have survived above them in the near or more distant vicinity. Undoubtedly violent, marine wave action was involved in their deposit. Is this evidence of the Noahic flood? Or possibly, was it an another catastrophic event which has followed that great Biblical catastrophe? Only an extended and very careful examination of the geological context can ever give the researcher an accurate answer, but he must be very careful that his interpretative presuppositions do not govern his conclusions.
On the other hand, a hiker (myself) farther south on the north shore of new Lake Whitney discovers a surface just exposed by flood waters. There the three or foot diameter snail shell whorls of a giant ammonite lay converted to soft limestone near the prairie surface. That lake's first flood stage (in 1955 as I remember) had just uncovered a long buried mass of limestone for the first time in centuries. Obviously this was a marine deposit for the ammonites lived in the sea. When did this great creature die? How did it die? What is its story? Properly understood, that creature of centuries ago and the taphonomic environment in which I found it had a testimony which I should have been able to understand if I did not have unfounded presuppositions standing in the way.
Or perhaps you as a hiker someday will be utterly amazed when you explore the desert waste south east of El Centro about 10 miles north of the Mexican border. There you will stumble onto a deposit of literally millions of very large oyster shells. In places they lie so thickly that one scarcely can see the ground. In a layer above them you will find more millions of small brachiopods looking remarkably like tiny Shell Oil signs. Occasionally you may find fossilized barnacles that no longer wave their tiny tentacles along the edge of the splashing sea. It is obvious that this is a death assemblage. All of these shellfish were dead and their shell halves had separated before the violent turbulence which deposited them here, now miles from the ocean's present location.
DO ALL FOSSILS POINT TO BURIAL BY THE NOAHIC FLOOD?
Is this an indisputable proof that the Noahic flood really happened? That is the immediate conclusion normally reached by those of us who firmly believes that the great historical, Biblical cataclysm described in Genesis really happened. But dare we to presume that this particular fossil died and was buried in that way? Or is there an outside possibility that a closer look at the stone matrix encasing the fossil will suggest that we consider a different Biblical catastrophe? After all, all is not lost if our more careful examination of the fossil requires us to be more precise in an effort to be more accurate in our Biblical explanation of the taphonomic interval which brought about the death, burial and fossilization of these myriads of specimens of shell life.
Just such a mental challenge faced me some years ago near the headwaters of the Feather River in California. I was examining the volcanic ash matrix which surrounded perfectly preserved prints of leaves. Volcanic ash? It was obvious that the ash had been airborne when it had encased and fossilized these leaves. Nearby I found a thick layer of welded tuff, a deposit of ash that had been almost white hot and almost like melted glass particles when it had fallen into place to weld itself together into a solid layer. That didn't sound much like this was a part of the deposit of the Noahic flood! Later I found the same set of circumstances in the Lake Florissant fossil deposits in the mountains near Pikes Peak in Colorado. Since then I have been able to uncover many such fossils which were deposited in non-marine environments.
Should I close my eyes to such phenomena, fearing lest I discover that my faith in the Scriptures was really invalid and that the unbelieving scientist really was justified in scoffing at the great "catch all" explanation of geological deposits normally offered by Christians, the Biblical catastrophe which we call the Noahic flood? Not all. Indeed, the avenue of thought and research that followed helped me to see how carelessly we as believers had treated the Biblical evidence concerning earth's very catastrophic history. I began to recognize far more clearly that the Biblical record requires us to recognize not just one but at least five major geological catastrophic events. In no other way could we as creationists ever find the harmony which one might expect to find between the testimony of the fossils in the record of earth's history found in the rocks and between the testimony contained in that very precise and accurate Revelation of the Creator which we call the Bible.
LEARNING TO LISTEN TO THE TESTIMONY OF A FOSSIL
This sort of thing long has fascinated me. When I find a fossil, I immediately am faced with a question. I want to share that question with the apparently mute trace of the life-form that I have found. How did this happen? What is the complete story which could be told by this fossil and the life or death assemblage which surrounds it in its burial ground? That question is the driving force of the science of taphonomy. While the science remains in the hands of the unbeliever, it inevitably suffers abuse and misuse which garbles the testimony of the created life-forms which it studies. Nevertheless, I consider the study of taphonomy to be one of the key neglected tools in creation studies. It will take us into the manner of death which creatures died before fossilization. Since taphonomy focuses on the interval that includes the death, burial and ultimate preservation of that life-form in fossilization, it can give us valuable information concerning the kind of a life a creature lived before death as we study the matrix in which the fossil is found. It certainly will give us some insight into the event that buried. It will give startling insight into the rather unique environmental circumstances which allowed the preservation of the creature's shell, skeleton or print of its soft parts as the case may be. It will force one to give consideration to the very distinctly catastrophic death scene which allowed an event seen taking place only in the rarest circumstances today, the fossilization of a life form, whether it be a creature or a plant.
Finally, the study will force the serious creation researcher to consider the very distinctly catastrophic death scene which allowed such an event to take place. It should point to the fact that we as creationists must take a good hard look at the physical evidence surrounding a fossil before we misuse it to support our pet harmonization model with a monocatastrophic pronouncement about its death in the flood as so often is done. (5) It should clamor for us to stop generalizing in our statements about the events of the past and to allow the life-forms of the past and the taphonomic evidence surrounding the traces of their life-forms to tells us just where they fit into Biblical history. To bring about such a change in creationist thinking is a tall order, to say the least! I think that we creationists have been overly simplistic of our treatment of that particular stage of the death process which has allowed the preservation of fossils. I hope that the material that I will be trying to develop in this study will point to the fact that we as creationists must take a good hard look at the physical evidence lest we misuse it to support our pet harmonization model. It should clamor for us to stop generalizing in our statements about the events of the past and to allow the life-forms from the past to tell us just where they fit into Biblical history. To bring about such a change in creationist thinking is a tall order to say the least!
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN RECENT AND HISTORICAL TAPHONOMY
I notice though that most scientists who study in the field of taphonomy are really concerned about a limited branch of the science which they call "recent taphonomy." Recent taphonomy is the study of the remains of modern animals soon after death. The scientist is, of course, thinking of fossilization as a uniformitarian process. That means that he considers that which he can observe taking place in the present to be the key to one's understanding of the past. Thus they focus largely on the deterioration of a modern skeleton, looking at the process which brings about dissolution of the life-form as it returns to dust or, in rare cases, fossilization. They somehow are hopeful that by observing the process, they somehow will come to understand some slow, magical, uniformitarian process whereby a life-form leaves the biosphere in which it has lived to enter the stone coffin of the lithosphere, leaving something identifiable as a fossil. Through this approach, the recent taphonomist tries to work backward to understand the process of fossilization as it is found in the geological record.
On the other hand, there are those who concentrate particularly on the historical use of taphonomy. They are interested in studying fossil death and the fossil environments better to understand the progression of the fossil communities that are found in the record of the rocks. Now that is another subject that should be very, very interesting to us as creationists. The sampling of paleo-ecological communities is a very significant part of the study. What kind of creatures lived together at this point in history? Or at least, and perhaps more accurately from the creationist's point of view, what kind of creatures were buried together in this particular period of earth's history? Were there specific types of creatures which were dominant in the Paleozoic deposits? Indeed one will find that this is so. But does that indicate that the nearly exclusively dominant marine life-forms which are found in the earlier layers of the Paleozoic were evolving in the ocean in that period of history? Or does it rather indicate that a Biblical catastrophe of violent proportions had arisen, which commenced in the great sea basin as described in Genesis 7:11 and that this is the cause of the remarkably selective burial and fossilization of multitudes of less mobile marine creatures which are found in that section of geological history? It should be obvious that the historical study of taphonomy and its sampling of paleo-ecological communities should prove very enlightening when it is coupled with a careful historical study of the Genesis Record.
A thoughtful examination of the parallels between the taphonomic evidence indicating the stages of the Noahic flood and the successive layers of the Paleozoic deposits with remarkable quantities of taphonomic evidence indicating death by flood waters will demonstrate that this evidence and the evidence in the Genesis record of the Noahic flood are remarkably parallel. (6) In the successive deposits of the Paleozoic series one can trace the initiation of the flood in the ocean bottoms with the opening of the fountains of the deep and the steady encroachment of the great single continent of that time. In this second stage of the death scene, he can recognize the dominant presence of land plants and shoreline creatures. Then he can begin to recognize the ultimate and complete immersion of the continent during a period of the quieting of the waters. Finally in the upper Paleozoic series of formations he can observe the initial stages of marine oscillation on the newly exposed land surfaces under the great wind which was sent to dry the continental surface. These stages of the Noahic flood are the cause for the remarkably selective burial and fossilization of multitudes of marine creatures, plants and dominant shoreline creatures which are found in the differing sections of geological history which is identified as Paleozoic. It should be obvious that the historical study of taphonomy and its sampling of paleo- ecological communities should prove very enlightening, when it is coupled with a careful historical and linguistic study of the real Genesis record. Only then can a truly valuable, working model of harmonization be recognized which will be able to align the physical evidences with the several great, universal, Biblical catastrophes which produced that geological record.
THE REAL TESTIMONY OF HISTORICAL TAPHONOMY
Taphonomy is rather like the work of the doctor who studies an x-ray. He examines the layers of silver in the negative and tries to grasp what is inside the life form that he is studying. Doctors also use this in forensic medicine in an autopsy to try to understand what happened in an unexplained death. Why did this life-form die? What was the cause of death? Was it natural or unnatural? The taphonomist wants to know if the life-form was dead or alive when it was buried. Among the many hundreds of stone digging tools of Ascheulian culture which once were buried in a great ash layer, which I have examined near but south of Lake Naivasha in the Kenyan sector of the African rift. (7)
Similarly, as I examined the great dinosaur beds of the Red Deer River area of Alberta, I was fascinated to find a large layer of clam shells in the formation which also contained so many dinosaur skeletons. I found that most of the evidence indicated that these creatures had been dead when the shells were gathered and piled in a great layer several feet deep. The shells already were open before they had been buried. This obviously was a death assemblage and not a life assemblage. In the same locality I discovered a fragment of a large rib bone of a dinosaur. On close examination I discovered the fang marks of another creature which had been gnawing on that bone while it still was fresh and covered with meat. Indeed, the teeth of this creature had left very clear impressions where they actually had bitten through the rib while it still was in a near-living state. Thus there were several indications that this fossil rib was part of a scattered death scene which had taken place well before the abrupt burial and consequent fossilization. I found that, contrary to the normal creationist explanation of the death which the dinosaurs died, the skeletons of Dinosaur Provincial Park lay in slurry of volcanic ash and water-borne sands. But I found indications that it was the ash fall which had produced the deaths of many if not all of these giant marine/shoreline creatures and that this had taken place before their burial in the violent slurry of mud. Careful observation of such materials helps the creationist to avoid inane generalizations concerning important but forgotten sections of earth's very Biblical history.
Another misguided area of research which one will find in taphonomic studies is called "community evolution." This approach naturally is the outgrowth of one's scientific presuppositions. When the evolutionist is trying to establish patterns in the field of community evolution, he is studying a field that is tremendously challenging to him. One of the taphonomists put it this way, "Among the most challenging efforts of taphonomic research of the last 25 years or so has been attempts to study the evolution of complex ecological systems usually called studies of community evolution." That in itself quickly turns the creationist off, doesn't it? After all, we are not interested in community evolution for this obviously is another tool of the uniformitarian.
But still there is some evidence here that has value to the creationist in spite of its abuse and misuse by the evolutionist. We should ask ourselves this question. "What does the evidence really say if, as we would assume, this evidence actually points to something else than community evolution of life forms?" I think that this is the case and personally would refer to this by the title "community revision." I believe that there are four major geological catastrophes recorded in Genesis which selectively modified and revised the communities of life-forms that survived these catastrophes and that now are found in the following segment of the record of the rocks. For example, it is very clear that the unique collection of fossil life-forms which bear common name of "trilobites" were not able to survive the cataclysm which laid down the vast layers of the Paleozoic deposits. We who are creationists have a grave responsibility not to ignore but to examine the silent testimony of these life-forms which perished and left the life setting which followed impoverished forever of their presence. They have much to tell us about the event which brought about their demise. Furthermore, we must read carefully the evidence in the matrix of stone which bears them in order to determine whether there was a quiet setting of life, death, and fossilization in the taphonomic interval as often imagined by the evolutionist. In reality the evidence of a catastrophic disruption of an ecozone will be found required by the matrix around the fossil. This is what I call "the testimony of a fossil."
GUIDELINES FOR UNDERSTANDING TAPHONOMY'S MESSAGE
When we as creationists find evidence of catastrophe, and there are many places where we certainly will find that, then we must give careful examination to the nature of the catastrophe. Only in this way can we determine which of the Biblical catastrophes was involved in the death of the fossil. Right there is a major area of failing on our part as creationists. Inevitably we assume too much. For the last 35 to 40 years the major Biblical, geological catastrophe has been distorted completely out of proportion in the light of the Biblical and the geological evidence. As a result, we fail to realize that there are two very Biblical, geological catastrophes that preceded the Noahic flood. The first of these catastrophes leaves a unique set of geological deposits that are totally without any fossil content. It is the outpouring of the waters which provided earth's great ocean which is described as being present on the earth in Genesis 1:2-9. I conclude that the so-called Archaeozoic section of the Pre-Cambrian deposits is the debris left by these waters which burst forth out of the womb of the earth when the Lord enshrouded earth with a thick swaddling band of darkness (Job 38:8-9).
The second of these geological catastrophes very plainly entombs its own unique fossil record. This evidence testifies to a unique period of major diastrophism consisting of the abrupt uplift of a single continent out of that sea. It clearly entombs the record of vast marine and continental erosion which resulted from that abrupt uplift. It also entombs evidence that in the months and years following that uplift in Genesis 1:9, there were random, rather immobile sea creatures and plant forms buried in the vast littoral, marine deposits which formed around that uplifted continent. In have concluded that the Proterozoic section of the Pre-Cambrian deposits entomb these first life-forms that were buried after creation and that these deposits are the vast runoff deposits of materials stripped from the continent which uplifted in the first part of the second solar day of Genesis one.
The third great geological catastrophe which I recognize in Genesis is the great, universal cataclysm which we call "the Noahic flood." I find overwhelming evidence that the Paleozoic deposits of geology record its inception and expansion in the ocean bottom, the overwhelming flooding of all of the land mass as the windows of heaven were opened (Gen. 7:11) and the initial stages of the retreat of the Noahic flood and the re-exposure of the land mass (Gen. 8:1-3).
I further recognize two Biblical catastrophes that succeed the Noahic flood which must be acknowledged by creationists on the basis of Biblical and geological evidence. Yet it is a rare creationist who handles either the physical or the geological evidence with care. The first of these two post-Noahic flood catastrophes is the division of the continents. It powerfully leaves its evidences in the post-flood wind and tidal wave deposits (Gen. 8:1, 3). It is an event which, according to several pieces of evidence in the Bible, must be dated as beginning five generations after the Noahic flood and approximately three generations after the division of the languages at Babel (Gen. 10:5, 20 and 11:1-9). In the geological record this event begins near the middle of the enormous Mesozoic wind and tidal wave deposits. The final rifting of the great single continent of Genesis 1:9 leaves massive signs of rifting and mountain range uplifts. This was produced as the continents moved apart and finally settled in their present locations even as the Cenozoic geological deposits began unfolding in sequence from this movement and the vast climate changes which this precipitated. Indeed, the final geological catastrophe, the Biblical "ice age," is the direct result of the intense heat produced by the friction of this movement and by the obscuring of the atmosphere by the vast volcanic explosions which resulted throughout the later Mesozoic and Cenozoic times. There is a remarkable amount of information concerning this climate change recorded in the book of Job which I consider to be a description of Palestinian events during that so called "ice age." I give you my conclusion before I begin! But I personally believe that, until we recognize the five Biblical catastrophes in Genesis--geological catastrophes, every one of them, we will never understand the taphonomic record.
APPLYING THE PRINCIPLES OF HISTORICAL TAPHONOMY.
The catastrophist field researcher must wrestle with an important question when he examines a layer of sediments like those found in the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada. He must ask himself: "Does the fossil assemblage here represent a community that existed together in life or is this a collection of fossils that was brought together during or after death?" "Is this a representative sampling that has been brought to pass by a catastrophe?" I think it is possible that the truth lies midway between the two. I think that there in that particular area, the fossils of that park and the surrounding area really were living together, but they were uniquely assembled by a catastrophe. However, I don't believe that the evidence there indicates that it was the Noahic flood that did killed and buried these fossils. There is tremendous violence involved in the burial of the dinosaurs in that particular area and down into Montana and on north toward Edmonton. It was violence which greatly disturbed the soil in which they are now found. I believe that the environment of burial was a vast liquid slurry of ash and beach sand that moved with great rapidity in a horizontal direction from the west. There is much along the east front of the Northern Rockies to indicate that violent horizontal earth movement produced this fierce tidal wave. I do not believe it is the Noahic flood that caused it. Instead, I have found very solid evidence indicating that the mountains of Glacier National Park and on farther to the north are the result of a violent hinge fault which raised shallow sea bottom out of the sea so abruptly that it slid into the shallow sea basin to the east in which the dinosaurs were living.
However, I do not feel that the ensuing tidal wave which so clearly is recorded in the sediments to the east actually caused the death of the dinosaurs. There is strong evidence that they had been suffocated by enormous volcanic blasts from the southwest, west and northwest where continental movement produced by the post-flood division of the continents was erecting giant, exploding volcanoes. These were showering eastern Alberta and Montana with ash debris that quickly built up many feet deep. It is obvious from an examination of the giant fossils that lie all along the eastern front of the Northern Rockies that these creatures were already dead and often partially to totally dismembered. One of our party found (outside of the park) a segment of five articulated vertebra from a Corytheosaurus which I collected. It was but one of many, many partially disarticulated skeletons which we observed in the Red Deer Basin and in areas farther south. The presence of oyster shells and clam shells supports the thesis that this was a shoreline environment at the time of the initiation of the volcanic ash falls.
The presence of numerous dinosaur egg nests which in the vicinity of Choteau, Montana also indicate that this area was the ecozone in which these creatures were carrying on the normal processes of life before their abrupt destruction and burial in a violent watery matrix filled with volcanic ash.
On the other hand, when the creationist has the opportunity to examine the great marine fossil beds at Lompoc in mid-Southern California, 8 he will find an assemblage of fossils that is absolutely unique. The major structure of the deposit consists marine diatom shells that are hundreds of feet deep. Some years ago I wrote a paper for the Creation Research Society Quarterly on this deposit. In the past, geologists played heavily on the millions of years that it would have taken for the slow rain of these minute shells to have built up this deep in the ocean depths. But is that actually the testimony of this deposit? The fascinating thing about it is that you find all kinds of evidence that you are looking at a heterogeneous assemblage of fossils which incorporates both deep sea materials and littoral or shoreline marine deposits. Here there are the billions of diatom skeletons that indeed have filtered down through the abyssal depths of the ocean as they have died. These are microscopic silica shells. That they have been deposited in the pelagic depths of the ocean is indicated by the fact that one often finds the ear bone of the whale embedded in the diatom matrix very frequently. Now the ear bone of the whale is the hardest part of the whale skeleton. The acids of the sea can dissolve all the rest of the whale's body and all of its great skeleton but it will still leave undissolved that great ear bone. There are several ear bones which have been found scattered throughout that deposit. Indeed, I found one of these evidences from the deep sea basin myself.
Then must we agree with the historical geologist that this is a deep ocean deposit? No, that is only a partial truth. This material from the depths of the ocean is not the only environment evidenced within this great deposit which now lies above the shoreline. There also is in that great deposit millions and millions of fishes from the shallow environment, a shoreline environment. Creatures like perch and mackerel, and there are skeletons of seals and other creatures like that, and birds. They have actually found whole birds. I find it very difficult to imagine a bird with its feathers on getting down into a deep sea environment. It just doesn't happen, and all these fishes. Many of them have all their scales in place. In many cases the scales are littered in the diatom immediately around the skeleton. Most of them have their heads thrown back as if they were gasping for air. Something catastrophic happened here that brought together a deep sea environment and the shoreline environment and ultimately brought these two up on shore for the diatom bed there lies above sea level along the coast.
This evidence should give cause for concern on our part. Does this evidence fit currently popular harmonization models? Does the Genesis evidence here support one of these models or does it say, "Hey, you better take a second look; you are being over simplistic when you say this was caused by the Noahic flood." I don't think it was. I think this is post flood and that the slow collection of these diatoms in a deep sea basin took place over several centuries (not millennia). Then the tsunami which transported the great marine fog of diatom skeleton filled waters into littoral and shoreline waters and even onto the shoreline. These great waves powerfully drove the deep sea diatom deposit toward the moving shoreline and with it transported the very hard ear bones of whales which had died and had the rest of their skeletons dissolved in the acids of the deep ocean waters. The giant waves generated by continental plate movement drove these materials through the ecozone of whales and trapped some of them for their skeletons have been found well above sea level in the great diatom deposit. It also trapped and suffocated seals, many different varieties of fishes. Even shoreline birds were trapped and entombed in the diatom slurry by the powerful waves. Perhaps it was some time later that the abrupt uplift of the deep sea slurry of diatom shells from the deep sea basin took place when the continents shoved westward well after Genesis l0.
Well, I'm getting ahead of myself, but, I always look for ways to explain the physical evidence in the light of the Biblical evidence. Many of my friends are rather afraid to approach it that way. I, as a theologian, like to remember the old expression that I learned in seminary. "Theology is the queen of the sciences," and I still believe that is true. We must interpret what we find in science in the light of the Bible. We cannot tie one arm behind our backs and fight the battle that we face with unbelief. And the one arm that we tie back when we fail to use Biblical Revelation to explain the physical, geological record is our best and only arm! The Biblical material is that which helps us to understand the taphonomic evidence.
BENEFITS FOR THE CREATIONIST STUDYING TAPHONOMY
When we study taphonomy we will find material that helps to evaluate the physical evidence which we must harmonize with the Biblical record of creation. I do not harmonize the Bible with geology. I harmonize geology with the Bible. We have to study the physical evidence and find out where it really fits. It also does something else. It returns to the fossils their testimony concerning their real place in Biblical history. It is common to look upon the fossils as a subject to be forgotten among creationists. There are no transition fossils. That sort of thing will be the main subject when we talk about fossils. I believe that every grain of sand on this planet has a testimony concerning the Creator and concerning the event series that followed creation. I believe that every life form, given its opportunity to speak its peace, has something to say about that event series. If we understand it correctly, we will understand where it fit in to Biblical history so I think that is a very important result of our getting more interested in the physical evidence surrounding fossils. Let me restate my definition, Taphonomy is the study of the principles of death, burial, fossilization. How organisms became fossils and it covers all aspects of the passage of organisms from the biosphere in which they lived in to the lithosphere where they are entombed as fossils.
A third result of the creationist studying taphonomy will be in providing guidelines for a meaningful harmonization model. It is very easy to make harmonization models that don't work. Let's use one that most of us will agree on. The Gap Theory at one time was a very useful escape for me when I first began studying geology. My geology professor was a Christian, but he carried his Bible in one pocket and his geology book in the other and never the twain met. He had no understanding of the relationship of the two and never tried to explain it. That plagued me; that intrigued me because I knew what Psalm l9:1 had to say, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament, (that is the atmosphere and all that is in it) shows his handiwork." I looked for that. When I would drive the freeways, I'm afraid I wasn't the best driver because I was always looking at the road cuts and trying to understand what I was seeing. Luckily usually someone else was doing the flying when I was staring out the window trying to see what was flying underneath me. It provides guidelines in understanding the geological material and establishing a working harmonization model. I think one of the grave errors that we have made in our study of geology has been to discard the physical geological column. The abuse of that by the evolutionist in setting it in a macro-chronological system that is getting the millions and billions of years of explanation has caused us to turn away from the fact that the strata really are there. The relationship of those strata also is normally in a certain order. You can be looking at the great Redwall formation down in the Grand Canyon and see specific characteristics of it that will crop up again when you are up around Sheep Creek Canyon in the Uinta Mountains or you will run into them up in Wyoming, the same exact type of formation will show up as you come over down into Thermopolis, out of the mountains. You will see it over and over again, scattered all over and there has to be a relationship. You can identify this almost instantly by its relationship to other formations that precede or succeed them in deposit. I think we are foolish to lay aside this information and just simply "discard the baby with the bath."
CORRECTING INADEQUATE HARMONIZATION MODELS
The study of taphonomy will also help us to guard against inadequate harmonization models. I started to say a while ago, if we were to take the Gap Theory and evaluate the suggestions of the Gap theorists concerning the universal flood and its burial of a previous civilization and a previous life form series. That is very difficult to actually work out. If you start looking with care at the geological column, you find grave difficulty in harmonizing, for instance, the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic materials with the universal flood. One of the big problems will be that you will find all kinds of life forms even from the Paleozoic that still exist and that seems rather meaningless if a universal Noahic flood in Genesis l:2 destroyed all life. We need to look at things like that, and if we find our model doesn't work and really doesn't harmonize, then we ought to set it aside and go back to the drawing board. The fact that there are all kinds of signs of wind deposits throughout the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic also ought to give us pause about the Gap Theory. You should have universal immersion throughout those last two periods of geological history if the Gap Theory is correct. Yet the Mesozoic has wind dunes up to 6,000 feet in some areas of western United States. Admittedly, a lot of that sand was dumped in water but the final layers of sand in a massive layer like that found at Zion National Park are definitely built up above sea level. How do you fit that into a universal flood that continues throughout all of geological history and yet I am talking about the Jurassic in the middle of the Mesozoic. It doesn't work. This is but one of the many areas of creationist carelessness in the handling of the Biblical and the very real physical facts which stand in the way of real success in the battle with unbelieving naturalists.
Perhaps you may have gotten just a little uncomfortable in realizing that you have exactly the same problem when you try to harmonize all geology with the Noahic flood. I go farther than most creationists at this point. I admit that there really was a universal flood in Genesis l:2-l:9. That's what the Bible says and I expect to find in these deposits of that universal flood absolutely no fossils and that's what I do find in those early layers of geology. We need to accept that first catastrophe. There were two universal floods--not just one. According to the Bible there were two. And, it was not until after the first one had receded that the continents leaped out of the sea in the third day of creation at the Creator's command. It is only then that life forms begin to be created except for the angels who are not involved in the fossilization process. If you carry this to an extreme, you must admit that in the Mesozoic there are all kinds of evidences of volcanoes, of mountains being erected above sea level, of tidal waves going and returning upon the land mass, tremendous rain fall deposits and erosions in the Cenozoic finally culminating in the Pleistocene Ice Epoch. And you must admit that the volcanism in that period was producing volcanic material that fell through the atmosphere and landed on the land without ever going through the water.
It is impossible to examine the physical evidence and continue saying that the Cenozoic materials are the result of the universal flood deposit. I am pleading for a careful look at the evidence by creationists. Let's get back to it. Tomorrow I will go back through the geological column and look at each section of it, giving some comments on the taphonomy found in those layers. Then I want to evaluate our approach to the geological column in the light of the physical evidence. I have done this time and again, and I have counted over a hundred precise points of contact between the geological column and the Biblical record, recognizing the five catastrophes of Genesis. When the researcher has eliminated geological time and evolution as a factor in his study of the geological column, he can begin to appreciate that there is harmony between the two sources of information. I believe that requires the honest researcher to say that these two are the same story. The record of the rocks and the record of the Creator given through Moses.
THE THUMB ON THE GEOLOGICAL RECORD
I conclude that the problem of geological time arises from the fact that the geologist, because of his presuppositions, is putting his thumb on the record of the rocks. When I was a boy well over half a century ago, my two brothers and I used to love to go out to Grandma Stall's on Dogwood Hill west of where we lived in the Ozarks. She had a wind-up phonograph, a very wonderful machine to us boys. We didn't have anything like that at our home. Of course, we didn't even have any electricity. Anyway I never dreamed of electric phonographs in those days. We loved to play a record called "The Preacher and the Bear." I don't suppose any of you have ever heard that wonderful old record. Our fun with it though was to put our thumb on the record, especially when the preacher was trying to get away from the bear. After all, he'd gone hunting on Sunday. We would put our thumb on the record until it was playing slower and slower. Of course we were trying to keep the preacher from getting up the tree away from the bear.
It is a sad but true fact that he geologist has done that, but in reality he ends up being the one who actually is trying to get away from the bear. Indeed, in his attempt to deny the existence of the Creator, he has climbed a little tree that is nowhere nearly as tall as the bear. In the technology of more recent recording skills, he has taken the tape of the record of geology that was recorded at l5 inches a second and he is playing it at about one and seven-eighths inches a second. The result is he can not even recognize what the testimony of the record of the rocks really is saying to him. He only hears the message that he wants to hear, and as a result, the geologist totally loses the testimony of that material concerning the Creator of the heavens and the earth. What I am saying is that we need to start playing the record of the rocks at Biblical speed and see what it really says. I have been doing that for over a quarter of a century and have been fascinated to see what the geological record actually says when it is played in "real time." Suddenly geology begins to provide a completely harmonious, corollary testimony to the Biblical material. Its witness no longer appears to be contradictory to the Bible at all. The problem is that the record of the rocks has been misinterpreted in a macrochronological way because of certain atheistic presuppositions which close the door to knowledge. It simply is refusal to consider all of the evidence, including the Creator's own Word, which allows the naturalist blissfully to conclude that two old Greek gods, time and chance, created all things in a dreadfully slow format.
THE CREATIONIST'S APPROACH TO THE NATURAL SCIENCES
The creationist never needs to be afraid of the physical record. The facts of geology never will contradict the facts of the Biblical record. The work of God cannot and does not contradict the Word of God. One comes from His hand. The other comes from His Word. Now the study of the physical materials and of understanding the factors involved in the death of the fossils these contain may contradict the creationist's interpretation of the Biblical record if he doesn't happen to have a valid, working harmonizational model. And by the way, the multitude of different harmonizing models that are available are a testimony in themselves of the fact that most researchers are starting off on their wrong foot when they try to interpret Genesis l. This also should give fair warning to believers that it is possible to follow the pronouncements of their forerunners and come up with the wrong interpretation of what the great creation passages actually reveal. When that happens, the creationist utterly misunderstands that which the Creator has revealed about earth's earliest events. The creationist who has approached the subject of creation from an erroneous presupposition inevitably will reach a conclusion that was never intended by the Revelator, the Spirit of God. What we need to work toward in Biblical science, by means of Biblical, linguistic science, working from the original language sources, is the arriving at a conclusion that is in harmony with the intent of the Revelator.
Exactly the same is true in the field of geology and paleontology. We need to arrive at the proper understanding of its testimony. Otherwise we have made errors of interpretation remarkably similar to those who turn to macrochronology in an attempt to explain the physical evidence. We must avoid the error patterns of uniformitarians and refuse to allow our presumptions to distort the message preserved in the record of God's Word and in the record of the rocks. Otherwise we never really will fully understand either record or allow them meaningfully to speak for themselves. It is very easy to approach the evidence with presuppositions that filter out crucial pieces of evidence. For instance, when a creationist discusses the Lompoc deposit of the whale bones, it is easy to omit crucial factors found in the taphonomic evidence. I have never seen a geologic discussion of the fact that deep sea fossils like the ear bones of whales which are united here with littoral or fossils from coastal waters like herring and seals. This vast assemblage of diatom skeletons, swept up from a deep sea basin by rapid plate migration, contains the ear bones of whales. Now these are the hardest parts of a whale's skeleton and, unlike the rest of the skeleton, are able to resist dissolution by the acids of the deep sea. Yet these fossils are mixed with multitudes of coastal fishes, several seals or sea lion and even marine bird skeletons.
More and more the naturalistic scientists are becoming concerned about catastrophism in geology. Some years ago I had an argument with Davis Young,, whose father, Dr. E. J. Young, was a Presbyterian Old Testament Scholar. He was only limited in that field by his faulty eschatological position. Davis Young is a old earth "creationist"-geologist. Years ago he took me to task in his book, "Christianity and the Age of the Earth," misrepresenting my position pretty badly which I had presented in my CRSQ papers on the diatom deposit at Lompoc, California (9) and on the Franciscan Formation. (10) I took him to task in turn in an open letter and pointed out that when I wrote that article my presentation of uniformitarianism was exactly the way that it was presented by the natural scientist. I had written these articles in l969 and 1970. He was arguing somewhere about 1980 that scientists were beginning to accept limited catastrophism in geology. What a wonderful step in the right direction! But how like the first step of the infant who still must hold onto the hand of someone for security!
FORMATIONS HAVING NO TAPHONOMIC EVIDENCE IN THEM
Let's go to the Precambrian deposits and examine them more closely and draw some conclusions from the Precambrian taphonomic evidence that are difficult to escape. This isn't a particularly eloquent period of geological history. It is far back in the dim and hazy period of earth's history for the geologist. Nevertheless it is a period of earth's history which is vital to the understanding of earth's creation days. I'm speaking, of course, as a creationist. Fossils are universally absent in the early Precambrian Archaeozoic deposits. Therefore, I conclude that the earlier Precambrian materials which are identified as the Archaeozoic deposits by uniformitarians cannot possibly represent the beginning of the Noahic, cataclysmic, life-destroying universal flood. These deposits are derived from an earlier source.
What I am saying is that the Archaeozoic materials, unless the fossils were totally transformed by the uplift of the great single continent that follows, have no fossils in them whatsoever and thus they cannot be the deposit either of the flood of the Gap Theory or the flood of Noah's day. It just doesn't fit either one to have the tremendous water deposits that are found there and have no life forms in them. And I do not believe that these materials had any life-forms in them.
I began a series of visits to the high foothills of the Himalayas in the early part of 1987. I utilized every opportunity to study the geological evidences there. I was forced to the conclusion that metamorphism had played a major part in the fact that I couldn't find macrofossils there. But the event which erected the great Himalayan Mountains came much later in Biblical history when there were multitudes of life-forms, unlike the formations found in Archaeozoic deposits. I personally believe, after having examined a portion the leading edge of the Asian plate in the front range of the Himalayas that India did indeed collide with Asia as part of the movement of continental division in Genesis 10. We were living above 7,000 feet on a ridge that absolutely was broken, shattered and crumbled. There were huge blocks of limestone, dolomite, shale, schist, sandstone that had been metamorphosed into quartzite. These blocks which were often many city blocks long were tipped in an inconceivable number of directions without regard to the position of the contiguous blocks. Shattered fragments filled the crevices between the blocks. I saw evidence that I interpreted to indicate that hot waters had been coming up between shattered dolomite fragments and recementing these into cave-like formations in the crevices. Nowhere could I find any fossils in this front range area where I was able to explore.
I attribute my inability to find fossils to two causes. First of all, my work of checking new Bible translations in Mussoorie prevented a broad examination of the area. Secondly, I felt that the indications of metamorphism which resulted from the fierce compressive forces of the India plate as it drove under the greater plate in the area of southwestern China had erased the fossil evidence in this area of contact. There may be a third possibility. It may be that I actually was exploring in Proterozoic structures where fossils are scarce to begin with, and now metamorphism has erased any traces of macrofossils. Gobin Singh, one of the Indian men with whom I often spoke, told me that in higher elevations there still were enormous fish fossils which had survived the catastrophic diastrophism which had built this great mountain range. As a result, I must admit the outside possibility that fossils are absent from the Archaeozoic materials but protest that the presence of fossils would contradict my understanding of the Biblical event series.
THE BIBLICAL EVENT WHICH DISTORTED THE GREAT MARINE LAYERS OF THE ARCHAEOZOIC DEPOSITS
As I said above, there does not appear to be any genuine taphonomic evidence of which I am aware in the Archaeozoic. There have been pseudo-fossils pointed out many, many times, but no one has convincingly proven that they actually are Archaeozoic fossils. The same formations preserved massive signs of diastrophism. Something has happened that has wrinkled and crumbled these materials of the Archaeozoic wherever you look at them in the world. They lie like taffy, twisted and changed in their form. The scientists aren't really sure whether it was an overturning, dystrophic movement which vertically erected and tortured the layers of the Archaeozoic materials in the Grand Canyon. It is far more likely that the enormous heat and pressure of the abrupt movement of the single continent up out of the sea has completely refoliated the crystal material in this great layer which then lay very near to the western edge of the single continent of Genesis 1:9.
In either case there is sign of massive elevation. Isn't it interesting that a Biblical researcher can find a cause for that kind of diastrophism in Genesis? When the student of Genesis moves into a consideration of the third day of creation, the universal flood waters of Genesis 1:2-8 suddenly retreat at the command of God. He said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear".
I believe that Psalm l04:6-7 describes this same event. That is the outpouring of the universal, pre-Adamic flood which covered the earth from Genesis 1:2-8. The previous verses of the Psalm describe God's work of stretching out the heavens as a curtain and of His laying of the foundations of the earth Then the passage says: "You covered it (the earth) with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains." I believe that this is the initial outpouring of the Pre- Adamic flood that is being described here. The retreat of it at God's thundering command follows. The Hebrew text and the NASB translation which, in this case, very accurately follows the Hebrew, clearly speak of massive diastrophism which causes land to appear up out of the sea as ocean basins correspondingly are deepened. Then the Psalm discusses God's work of populating the newly exposed land mass with vegetation as God prepares for the creation of the birds, the animals, the fishes that would live upon the land mass. I think Ps. l04 is another of the fantastic pieces of evidence which we have largely neglected. Too often it has been misrepresented as discussing the retreat of the Noahic flood. I am sure that that is a misunderstanding of the text.
I have pointed out two Biblical catastrophes which would have affected the entire earth already. The first is the initial upwelling out of the womb of the earth (Job 38:8-11) of the universal sea which covered it even before God began the rotation of the earth before the sun (which was created in Genesis 1:1 with the earth) to produce the first solar day. The second universal catastrophe is the dramatic uplift of the continent out of the sea in the beginning of the third solar day of creation. This is a geological upheaval the likes of which I do not believe have ever been seen since. In half a solar day this uplift took place. I am not sure how long that was. I don't think you can say it had to be a 24 hour period because the regulation of the sun, moon and stars seems to have taken place in the fourth day. But at any rate, however long a solar day was on the third solar day, within that day while earth was rotating before the stellar heavens which had been created in verse one, God suddenly elevated a great continent out of the sea. That is required by His command, "And let the waters be gathered unto one place" (v. 9). I do firmly believe that the first three days of the week were solar days, because God speaks of evening and morning for each of these days. Clearly the earth was rotating on its axis before the sun. I believe the sun was created on the first day but that's another tangent.
I believe we have here two geological catastrophes that are of utmost importance in harmonizing these early layers. We still haven't gotten into any taphonomy in this section of Biblical history so let's go on. I say then that these initial marine deposits of the Archaeozoic without fossils must be the deposition of that pre-Adamic universal flood that covered the earth until the third day. It is earth's first geological catastrophe. The uplift of the great single continent so briefly implied Genesis 1:9 in the third solar day of creation is the second catastrophe.
Apart from a depositional interval which lies between the upper Precambrian and the overlying sedimentary layers, the Proterozoic section of Precambrian deposits is immediately followed by the Proterozoic deposits. In the Grand Canyon where you may have hiked, the Proterozoic series of formations do not survive everywhere in the Grand Canyon. This series of deposits are strongly tilted and have been sheered off by hydraulic erosion in many places. By the way, don't expect to find the geological column complete anywhere. The catastrophe which deposited the great layers of the Paleozoic series violently removed these formations in many places. I think we have to acknowledge that the sea and the catastrophes that were involved in geological, Biblical history did not lay down the same kind of deposits all over the earth at the same time like the layers of an onion. Thus we would expect to find some formations in one area that will not show up in another area.
An important reason for the particular way that the geological structures are built in the Grand Canyon is that the area now called the Coconino/Kaibab Plateau actually was very near the edge of the sea when the great single continent heaved up out of the sea in the beginning of the third solar day. The Proterozoic deposits are continentally derived materials which have been deposited in the littoral zone near the edge of that continent. The continentally derived materials were eroded from the uplifted surface as the waters raced off of the uplifted single great plate of the continent. And since fossil pollens have been found in the Hakatai Shale in the upper part of the Proterozoic structures, that strongly indicates that it was deposited sometime after mature plant life had been created upon that continental plate. I don't get terribly worried about that because it seems to fit in. The Proterozoic lies on top of this great layer of Archaeozoic material which is called "the Vishnu Schist" at the Grand Canyon. The top of the Archaeozoic Vishnu Schist has been violently eroded away before the deposition of the Proterozoic materials upon it. I find it impossible to account for the Proterozoic materials as a deposit of the Noahic flood. It has been inclined to about 30 degrees as I remember and then has been sheered off by hydraulic erosion in many places. That which I consider to be the Noahic flood materials, the Paleozoic "Era" series, is deposited on top of that.
All creationists should be aware of Burdick's find of fossil pollen in the upper Proterozoic, Hakati Shale. I have looked at slides of this and find it impossible to escape the fact that these grains are fossil pollen. In as much as he has sliced them out of solid rock I find it very difficult to explain how they got there unless they were actually embedded in that formation when it was deposited.
How could pollen grains have gotten into that formation which was deposited long before trees are even supposed by the naturalist to have evolved? Hah! Remember that after the uplift of the continent on the third day, not all the activities of the third day are over. The second stage of the activity on the third day is the creation of plant life. Right? The Bible only mentions land plant life as having been created on the third day but I believe that it is inescapable that marine plant life also was created in the third day. Surely it was present in the sea when the teeming multitudes of marine creatures were created in the sea. Now for the great single continent to be lifted out of the sea in part of a solar day is an event that deserves notice.
In our minds we need to lift the continent out of the sea abruptly in the amazing way that the Creator actually did it on the third solar day of the creation week. What would happen to the water? It would go racing off into the surrounding single endless sea basin. The description of the command for that event to take place is like this in Genesis. "Let the waters be gathered onto one place. . ." (Gen. 1:9). How many pieces of Sunday School literature have you seen which pictured events of the creation week with the seven continents already in place? That is a piece of creation logic which laps over into uniformitarian thinking. I don't believe that was the way it was. I think it was a single continent as Genesis 1:9 testifies in the above quote. It is very nice that researchers in the field of geology agree with us on that fact and are forced by the physical evidence to acknowledge that originally there only was one great continent, Pangea. Why do we neglect these things? It's there. Perhaps the fact that I taught my Hebrew students first year Hebrew from Genesis 1-8 accounts for the fact that I came to recognize that truth from the original Hebrew text.
Now, these waters racing off the land mass probably drained for several centuries. Ps. l04:10-18 describes the waters running through the valleys and the springs that welled out of the great springs that immediately began draining the positive land mass. Can you begin to imagine the drainage process that would have happened with the land mass suddenly lifted out of the sea like that? And the Bible in the above passage bears testimony that this drainage of the continent did follow the removal of the first universal flood from the land mass.
Plant life was placed on the newly erected land mass in that first day. I don't know how God did that but it says He did. It is possible that we should not assume, thinking in a uniformitarian format again, that the solar day was 24 hours long just because it is so today. Neither should we speak with unjustified assurance that the year's length as established in Genesis 1:14-19 was precisely of the same length as it is today. There is considerable evidence available which suggests that it actually was not. Thus I must assume that there were mature trees created in Proterozoic and the finding of fossil pollens there certainly does not disturb me. I think we ought to go back and research Burdick's work more carefully. One of the problems of creation studies is well stated by Froede. (10) He says: "Many creationists have theorized that the Flood caused most geologic features seen in the geological record. However, little fieldwork has been performed to validate these theories." Yet he himself utterly fails to evaluate his chart, "General Framework for a Creationist Timescale" in the light of the physical evidence by presenting the utterly unfounded and unprovable that the ice age immediately followed the Noahic flood. (11) In the same issue of CRSQ and hand in hand with this common creationist error about the ice age, he makes another error (12) when attempting to answer a criticism of Mr. Yake. Both are discussing a second impossible creationist error, the idea that the division of the continents was a part of the conclusion of the Noahic flood. As I have mentioned, based on Septuagint chronology of Genesis 11 that is at least partially confirmed in accuracy by Luke 3, the division of the continents was probably separated from the time that Noah left the ark by nearly five and one half centuries! In any case, the five generations which lie between Shem and his fifth generation offspring, Peleg make such an idea that the division of the continents is part of the Noahic flood is preposterous. (13, 14, 15)
By the way, other uniformitarians have found signs of pollen-like bodies in the vast limestone layers well below the Hakatai shale of this great Proterozoic series. We creationists need to pursue that research too. I believe then that the Protozoic deposits found here, found up in Glacier National Park, are the tremendous sea basin deposits of the runoff of the waters when the continents were suddenly lifted out of the sea after the second geological catastrophe. This may have taken place over many, many years, long after the creation of Adam. Down in the Grand Canyon as one finally prepares to leave the Proterozoic materials as he hikes up through the Dox formation, he can recognize beautiful examples of ripple marks. It always intrigues me to look at those fossil ripples and wonder: "Do you suppose those ripples were made a few days before or after Adam's creation? It is very possible that there is not a large margin of error here. You will see the same thing as you are hiking through the Proterozoic deposits in Glacier National Park. There are many fossil ripple marks in the overthrust Proterozoic layers there and is a considerable amount of fossil plant material. On a climb up the glacial canyon to the Salamander Glacier one will hike right over the top of enormous cabbage heads of fossils, clusters of small marine colony plants like algae. There are beautiful clusters of these there. Personally I don't think they grew overnight unless they were created in mature groups. To me that is not impossible since we have both Biblical and geological evidence that mature trees were placed on the earth in the third solar day. They are there and they play an important part in the testimony of what it was like during the deposition of the Proterozoic materials.
THE TAPHONOMY OF THE THIRD BIBLICAL CATASTROPHE
As you move on, hiking upward through the Grand Canyon's great layers, he will find something strange showing up. The top of the Proterozoic nowhere are connected with the overlying Paleozoic deposits. It is obvious that there is a deposition interval of some kind here between these great formation series. How did that happen? And, for that matter, how do you explain a deposition break like that in a universal flood harmonization model? I don't think it can be made to work. I think you must account for it by saying that a deposition break actually took place. If you are following my model and you have recognized that the Proterozoic deposits are the result of the uplift of the great single continent in the third day of creation, would you not have a geological break between the uplift and drainage of that great plate until the days when the Noahic flood began? This is a period of about l500 years if you are following the Masoretic text, the Hebrew text, and the English translation. It is a period of over 2000 years if you are following the Septuagint translation which was made sometime around 250 B.C. In either case, you have a deposition interval, do you not? It began after the great uplift of the third solar day is over and after the waters have quieted down from the extended process of draining the uplifted continent.
Therefore, I do not find it at all surprising to find a deposition break here. It fits perfectly into my harmonization model. But I must reiterate that a single universal Noahic flood could not possibly have deposited in a single deposition series both these Precambrian materials and the Paleozoic materials that follow. There is a crucial depositional break between them. Furthermore, the limited fossil life-forms of the Proterozoic materials which washed off the continent after the elevation on the third day certainly doesn't fit into a an explanation by means of the normal flood geologist's universal Noahic flood explanation. There not only are signs of fossils but occasional shellfish with evidence of marine plant life. But when you compare fossil content of the upper layers of the Proterozoic with the remarkable plethora of fossils which are found immediately at the bottom of the Cambrian, the lowest Paleozoic "epoch," it is like the difference between night and day. The researcher suddenly leaps into a whole new fossil community that it is remarkably broad in scope. There are crushed elements of vertebrates there that are not very often acknowledged, all kinds of shell life, many different kinds of phyla appearing instantaneously in the geological column. It is unavoidable that the researcher has moved into a the debris left by a totally different catastrophe here, the universal Noahic flood.
Let's go on to the implications of the Paleozoic taphonomic studies and some things that we must not avoid. This is a great marine series. It is fascinating to read in European geologists' statements and I am paraphrasing like "we search in vain in the Paleozoic materials of Europe for continental deposits." I am not surprised at that. Europe was submerged during the Paleozoic; the Noahic flood submerged it. This great marine series as I have just pointed out lies on a depositional break; an interval that lies between the uplift and the beginning of the Noahic flood. Adam and his descendants down through Noah lie in this depositional break.
I believe that Adam was created on the great single continent in the time when the Proterozoic materials were being deposited offshore by the continuing drainage of the land mass by the smaller streams and rivers which developed on it (Psa. 104:10-18). Of course we haven't found any of Adam's tracks or any of his tools in those deposits. But then he probably was not living very close to the sea shore where the Proterozoic deposits were being made just offshore.
THE TWO SOURCES OF THE NOAHIC FLOOD
To move on, the very bottom layer, the Cambrian and the Ordovician, as they are called, these are marine series. They begin in the ocean bottoms. The sudden eruption of life forms in the sea, of course, becomes the point of the evolutionist. He says, "Here life began to evolve in the sea." I think the truth of the matter is this: The Noahic flood began in the bottoms of the sea. What does Genesis 7:11 say about the Noahic flood? I've heard many arguments against the Noahic flood which simply argued against a great rain. "It is impossible for there to have been enough rain to cover the entire earth with a universal flood. How could you cover Mt. Everest with enough rainfall? There is not more than an inch or inch and a half of rainfall in the atmosphere if you average it out and drop it all at once on the crust of the earth." Perhaps this is true although I've never calculated it. I met a meteorologist from a university in Boston when I was in San Paulo, Brazil lecturing. He came to my creation lectures. I asked him how much rain would fall on an average all over the earth if all of the moisture in the atmosphere fell at the same time. Without hesitation he said: "About half an inch." About six months later he wrote me and corrected his estimate to one inch.
Well, the truth is that Genesis doesn't say that the second great universal flood, the Noahic flood, came from or even started with atmospheric rainfall. In fact, it doesn't even point to atmospheric rainfall as the cause of waters coming down from the heavens. Rather Genesis says the first stage of the Noahic flood was God's opening of the fountains of the great deep.(Gen. 7:11). Why don't we pay attention to what the Word of God reveals about it? It says: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were
1. all the fountains of the great deep broken up,
2. and the windows of heaven were opened."
THE FIRST UNIVERSAL FLOOD AND NOAH'S FLOOD
The source of the first universal flood in Genesis 1:2 and the establishment of sea level in Genesis 1:9 clearly is referred to in Job 38:8- 11. "Or Who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth, as if it issued out of the womb, when I made the cloud its [the earth's] garment, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, and broke up for it [the waters which universally covered the earth] and set bars and doors [sea level] and said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther: and here shall your proud waves be stayed?"
The event also is described precisely in Psalm 104:6-9. After the Creator laid down the foundations of the earth (Psa. 104:5), "You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they [the universal flood waters of the pre-Adamic flood] fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hurried away. The mountains went up; the valleys went down to the place which You had established for them. You set a boundary that they might not pass over, that they might not turn again to cover the earth."
Note that the New American Standard Bible also correctly renders the subject/object relationship found in verse 8 as I have translated it here. Apparently the statement was too catastrophic for the King James translators and it has been followed and the syntax of the verse has been misrepresented in every other translation of the Hebrew that I have ever examined. Verses five and six describe the waters of the pre-Adamic flood welling forth out of the womb of the earth after the creation of the earth. The creationist who does not accept this fact has no explanation for the origin of earth's seas. Earth is created in Genesis 1:1. It is universally covered with waters from verse 2 through verse 8 until the command of the Creator establishes sea level in verse 9.
I believe that a parallel event series happened when the Noahic flood began. Tremendous springs were opened up in the bottoms of the sea. I suppose it could have come out of the earth like those beautiful springs in Florida, flowing quietly and crystal clear, but I insist that it did not. This water had a great job to do for the Creator. The waters of the sea were going to cover the entire earth and wipe out mankind and, according to the chronology of the flood, the universal stage came very quickly. By the way, one must ignore the ignorance of those who object that earth's waters could not possibly have covered Mt. Everest. The great Himalayan chain of mountains in which it is found are the result of the rapid collision of the Indian plate with the southern edge of the great plate which included on that edge that which has become the northern edge of India, the lands of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, China and other nations. This took place centuries after the Noahic flood and even a long two generations after the Tower of Babel. It is totally anachronous to argue that the Noahic flood could not have covered Mt. Everest! Besides, that argument totally ignores the enormous amount of water which now lies in our seas. If the crust of the earth were a smooth ball, the waters of the sea would cover the crust nearly a mile and a half deep! Solomon in his wisdom personifies the wisdom of the Lord and meditates about the creation and about God's placing of the first universal sea in Proverbs 8:22. "The LORD possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before the earth came into being. When there were no depths [of the ocean] I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth while as yet He had not done His work upon the earth [the verb is used scores of times of work upon an existing object] . . . when He established the clouds above; when He strengthened the fountains of the deep; when He gave to the sea its decree that the waters should not pass His command, when He appointed the foundations of the earth, then I [God's wisdom] was by Him."
The Noahic flood waters were unlike the pre-Adamic flood waters which only had a crustal origin. This same source of waters were joined by the down pouring waters of the canopy in the Noahic flood. These waters of the canopy had been separated from ". . . the waters which were down underneath the stretched out space [which we call our atmosphere] and had been elevated ". . . up over the top of the stretched out space . . ." in the third day of creation (Gen. 1:8). (Note that there are three Hebrew prepositions for emphasis where I have underlined the words with which I have attempted to capture that emphasis). There appears to have been sufficient water, probably in vapor form above the atmosphere, to have transformed earth's climate into a hot house environment when compared with earth's atmosphere after the Noahic flood.
EVIDENCES OF NOAH'S FLOOD IN EARLY PALEOZOIC TIME
I believe that the outpouring of these great springs in the bottom of the sea brought out enormous quantities of sediments, gushing and roaring out into the ocean bottoms. Would you not expect to find that the less mobile ocean bottom life forms would have found it difficult to survive in context like that? That is exactly what is found in the Cambrian deposits. You find shell life, trilobites and things like that, in some cases completely exterminated by the powerful, gushing, roaring waters that came out of these well springs of the deep as the Noahic flood began. I believe the Cambrian materials, and the Ordovician deposits to a lesser degree, point to the inception of the Noahic flood in the depths of the ocean. These are all of marine origin. There is a great variety of bottom life forms found in these formations. It is obvious that they were fossilized by the ocean bottom debris of nearly 2,000 years when it was stirred up by a violent marine environment generated by the opening of the fountains of the great deep.
I have said for years that the Cambrian layers of earth's sedimentary deposits can only mark the beginning of the Noahic flood. These materials speak eloquently about the utter violence of the fountains of the great deep that initiated the Noahic flood in Genesis 7:11.
When you examine the Paleozoic deposits found in the Silurian, Devonian and Mississippian series, these, wherever they are found, still display massive quantities of the ocean bottom sediments which were stirred up by the violence of the Noahic flood in its inception and rise to universality. Depositional environments were not the same all over the world but where found, these Silurian, Devonian series of deposits engulfed less mobile fishes at first. The researcher finds that the heavy-headed armored type of fish which appear to have been slow moving are very common in these deposits. Many of them were apparently were exterminated by the flood's deposits at that time. The researcher begins to find representatives of all kinds of marine vertebrates. Of course, we haven't come up with any man fossils there or any of the so-called complex vertebrates but there are lots of vertebrates in this deposit.
The researcher who is identifying life-forms found in these successive strata soon finds that extensive land floras begin to appear. The geologists interpreting this conclude that here we have evidence here that life forms of the sea now were beginning to evolve out of the sea to live on the land mass. I think that in reality all they are seeing is physical record of the encroachment of the land mass by the violence of the Noahic catastrophe. As it overwhelmed the land it naturally begins to include the kind of land plants and creatures which were the most plentiful in the canopied world before the Noahic flood. By the way, one of the fascinating things the creation researcher can discover in his studies of the Paleozoic deposits is a new understanding of the unique environment in which pre-Flood creatures and plant life-forms lived. I believe that the Paleozoic largely entombs the violence of one year, but at the same time, it brings together life forms that had lived in the l500 to 2,000 years before (depending upon whether the Masoretic text or the Septuagint text correctly preserves the chronological record). Therefore, the one who is researching the content of the Paleozoic "epochs" actually is getting a sampling of the paleo environment from the time when Adam's descendants lived on the earth before the Noahic flood.
An interesting factor quickly appears in the Paleozoic physical record. Fossils tend to be universally distributed in these deposits. How does that happen? The only logical explanation is that before Noah's flood there was a universal climate. How could the entire earth have had a universal climate? We have no such thing today. By any stretch of the imagination, no study of current taphonomy can present evidence explaining the unique phenomenon of universal fossil life in the past.
The same fossils can be found on Antarctica, in Spitzburgen, Norway and in Africa during Paleozoic times. Why? Because there was a universal climate in the centuries before the Noahic flood and the evidence of it is preserved in the deposits left by that flood.
I believe Genesis explicitly tells you how it came to pass. The second day of creation describes God's elevation of a great quantity of water up over the atmosphere. In our King James Version we usually over read and misunderstand what is being said. As I mentioned above, the KJV translation of Genesis l:7-9 says, "Let there be a firmament" (the Hebrew word RACHIA here refers to something that is stretched out. It is used later in the Pentateuch when the censers of the men of Korah were hammered into "stretched-out metal plates" which were then attached to the brazen altar. Genesis 1:7 says: "Let there be something stretched out in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters." I'm glad that God in His revelation of these events through Moses didn't stop there in His description of how that command was fulfilled. He explains it. "And God proceeded to produce that stretched out space and He caused a division between the waters which were down underneath the stretched out space from the waters which were up over the top of the stretched out space, and it came to be."
There are actually three prepositions here translated under and three prepositions translated above. In hillbilly English I translate it as "the waters which were down underneath the expanse of the atmosphere." I'm trying to give you the very emphatic impact of these three prepositions which universally have been ignored by translators of the past. They distinguish the universal sea below ". . .from the waters that were up over the top of the atmosphere" Here again there are three prepositions. The discussion of this most unusual phenomenon closes in this way. "And it came to be so. God called the stretched out space heavens." If you read a little farther in verse 20 you will discover that there in the stretched out space between the land and sea and the canopy above is where the birds did their flying. ". . .and fowl that may fly above in the open stretched out space of the heavens." Obviously the verse is not talking about stellar space . It is speaking about our atmosphere where the birds fly. What I am saying then is that Genesis tells us is that there were waters elevated up over the top of the firmament. In what condition, I know not. It may have been liquid. It may have been warm enough up there. I have heard that it is warm enough in some places in the stratosphere to maintain liquid water. On the other hand the canopy probably was in the form of ice crystals. I know not but there was water there and that water provided the second major source of the Noahic flood. It came pouring down as rain and that that rain was sufficient to do the job of covering the whole earth in the Noahic flood.
The creation researcher examining what appears to be shallow water Devonian deposits in New York state will notice something quite interesting. In the Devonian formations the indications are that the waters which deposited them were quieting down when compared to much earlier Paleozoic formations. Thin oscillation layers are found everywhere. That is true just about anywhere you go. In deeper sea deposits, the Devonian doesn't seem to show those ripple marks. Here there are much more extensive beds of limestones. I conclude that by the time that the Mississippian formations were deposited the Noahic flood its powerful waters appear to have thoroughly stabilized. Now these waters, which have been loaded with marine sediments, are quiet enough that they are dropping their vast load of lime sediments.
I find it necessary to use these words like Mississippian and Pennsylvanian and formation names in order to make reference to specific areas and sequences of deposition. To the uniformitarian all of these are freighted with evolutionary meaning. Of course I am not accepting the extrapolations of macrochronology by the uniformitarians which accompany these names and the formations which they represent. The uniformitarian geologist normally gives a different name to the same formations when they occur in a different region or state. Whether intentionally or not, this serves to obscure the fact that it was universal catastrophism which deposited the wide distribution of these formations. Of course that makes it more difficult for the creationist who is studying the causes of sedimentary stratification to correlate materials widely separated by distance but which are directly related to each other in their depositional environment.
The major Mississippian formation in the Grand Canyon is the great Redwall Limestone. I am fairly sure that I have identified the same formation as far away as the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. It is approximately 500 feet thick in the Grand Canyon and displays remarkably few bedding planes. To me that indicates that an extended period many days of stabilization and quieting of the sea has taken place. The two sources of its waters no longer are violently contributing waters from within earth's crust and from the canopy. And that is exactly what Genesis 8:2 describes. "The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from the heavens was restrained." It appears that this act of the Lord triggered the rather abrupt deposit of the massive quantities of lime which still were being carried in the universal flood waters. It is difficult to imagine the colossal amounts of lime that would have been carried in the waters of the Noahic flood after its violently turbulent action had pulverizing multitudes of life forms. The 500 feet of marine limestone in the Redwall Limestone of the Grand Canyon contain few traces of bedding planes. Obviously it is a single, very rapid deposit. It contains all kinds of deep sea shell life like little butterfly brachiopods.
They are lie, now welded together in a calcium bond, in one great deposit which forms nearly vertical cliffs. Geologists have found out that a sudden change in temperature or something else like that can trigger almost instantaneously the deposit of things suspended, supported in the water, concentrated in the water. I believe that is exactly what happened here in the Redwall Limestone.
These limestone materials, along with materials above the Redwall Limestone, had become thoroughly indurated in the 700 or more years after the Noahic flood when their abrupt and violent erosion by great ponded lakes of ice age waters took place. These had been breached by continued uplift and simply by over flooding of their containment basins by the vast supply of Biblical ice age precipitation and melt waters. If these canyon walls were not indurated at the time of the erosion of the Grand Canyon the waters which raced through fossil Lake Powell and the Kapirowitz Basin, breaching the Coconino/Kaibab uplift resulting from post-Noahic flood continental division would not have left these great cliffs. The entire Paleozoic section of the Grand Canyon would have had very broad, low profile slopes and would have looked much more like the soft, unindurated Bright Angel Shale.
These ice age waters which raced across and carried away the loose, windblown Mesozoic sands quickly found the multitudes of crisscross faults which had relieved stresses which continental separation had produced in the uplift of the Coconino/Kaibab ridge. The faults clearly show that the flood deposits already had become solid rock before continental plate movement produced the uplift and fracturing of the ridge. Except for the cover of Mesozoic sands, most of the Paleozoic formations already had become welded together by their own chemistry by the time that the movement of the continent produced that ridge uplift. The proof of that is in the clean, hard sided faults which crisscross their way from one side to the other of the great uplift. The gorge of the Grand Canyon staggers its way across that great uplift as it follows these crisscross fault zones.
The enormous drainage of ice age waters which came from several great basins like the Green River Basin in Wyoming, quickly stripped the great layer of windblown sands off of the surface of this uplift as they raced westward into the arm of the sea that then extended far up the present Arizona/California border. These sands were transported into the Barstow Desert and the Yuma Desert where they were deposited under that great estuary of the sea. Indeed, it is possible that all of what now is California to the west had not yet fully risen out of the sea as a result of the monumental pressures produced along the western edge of the migrating continental plate. Harmonizing the post-Noahic flood rise of the Sierras and the Coast Range of California with Biblical events is one of the fascinating areas which we as creationists have for further study. (16)
Not all of the windblown, continental Mesozoic sands were removed from the area by these racing, late Cenozoic waters. They still overlie the Kaibab Formation, the uppermost layer of the Noahic flood in that region, to the east of the Kaibab/Coconino uplift through which the Grand Canyon is eroded. But the creationist must ask this question: "From where did these windblown sands come? And are they really windblown or are they water deposited? Where does this fit into the Biblical origins of the physical, geological column?" The answer lies in Genesis 8:1 and 3. After the 150 days of the universal stage of the Noahic flood God send a wind to dry up the newly exposed crust of the earth. That wind was accompanied by the repeated exposure of new shorelines which were in major oscillation. Evidences of that wind first appear in the Supai Assemblage accompanying major evidences of shoreline oscillation.
This is how it is described in the account of the retreat of the Noahic flood as I insist that the text should be translated. "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. Then God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters began to subside. . . . And the waters began to return from off of the earth, going and returning repeatedly. And after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters continued to subside." This translation attempts to stress the progressive element of the Hebrew imperfect verbs. In some contexts here they clearly deserve an inceptive rendering. They describe a continuing action which has just begun. The verb and infinitive absolute verbal forms which I have translated ". . . began to return from off of the earth, going and returning continuing repeatedly" attempt to recognize the impact of the placing of two infinitives absolute after the main verb. The Biblical writer used this arrangement to stress the repetition and duration of the action in the scene described. J. Wash Watts was an astute student of Hebrew syntax. His work largely is ignored today because it exposed the fallacious conclusions which still are built into the study of Hebrew syntax today without recognition that it still follows the explanations of Hebrew syntax established to fall within the interpretative guidelines of the errant eschatological pronouncements of amillennial Hebraists centuries ago. Watts says of this kind of a construction: As an adverb, the infinitive absolute sometimes comes into common use with any verb, but generally it is reserved for use with perfects and imperfects from its own root. In the latter sense it may emphasize the . . . continuance. . . of the verbal action it modifies. When emphasizing intensity or certainty, it regularly precedes its verb. When emphasizing continuance . . . it follows its verb. Sometimes it is accompanied by halokh , "going on," or by a similar form, to magnify continuance yet more. . . . (3) Adverbs signifying continuance . . . . Gen. 8:7--- And it [the raven] proceeded to go forth, continually going to and fro. (17)
When the researcher begins to examine the Pennsylvanian materials, he will be looking at massive evidences of sea level oscillations. Others have understood the implications of the oscillation patterns in the upper Supai assemblage, in the Hermit Shale and in the Coconino Sandstone. McKee's professional paper on the Supai formation in the Grand Canyon has fascinating material that indicates very considerable adjustment of sea level. Whereas the Supai Assemblage has many scores of oscillation patterns, the Hermit shale is a siltstone deposited under water. And the Coconino Sandstone, as I have insisted for years, has massive wind dune patterns with slopes up to 45 degrees. These are disturbed and often badly eroded by repeated intrusions of waves from a nearby marine source. It is obvious that the wind was blowing strongly. I think that it is highly likely that it was the jet stream brought down to dry up the surface of the single continent as the Noahic waters continued to retreat. This points directly to Genesis 8:1 as the source of this post-Noahic flood wind. And the multitudes of shoreline oscillation patterns, ignored by creationists who have their feet set in the presumptive cement of flood geology, plainly speak of the oscillations of the retreating Noahic flood's shoreline. Of course, he isn't talking about the universal Noahic flood, but I recognize that that's what he has to be talking about. His chronology, of course, would extend far back into history. By the way, that book doesn't mention chronology hardly at all.
The movement of the crust indicated by the deposits here suggest very strongly four different stages of advance and retreat and in our trail studies in the Grand Canyon, we have seen strong evidence that the land mass is temporarily exposed time and again in the Supai formations. We've looked at mud cracks, for example, which are never formed on the bottom of the ocean. They are formed as soggy, wet, sediment-filled layers are exposed to the sun. You've seen it time and again when mud puddles dry up. There are also tracks in that; I had not seen them but McKee discusses them and shows some photographs. (18) In this formation there are raindrop prints (scarcely made under water! but covered and preserved by blowing dust before shoreline oscillation immersed them. There also is quite a bit of land plant life debris preserved as fossils also. There are many such evidences which testify that the water not only had stabilized but the newly exposed shoreline was oscillating as the Noahic flood was beginning to retreat.
The next superimposed series is classed as Pennsylvanian. There is no coal here in this formational series in the Grand Canyon but the name apparently is derived from its plenitude on the east coast of our continent. That is the area of the great Pennsylvanian coal beds. A factor ignored by most creationists is the evidence that the great single continent began an initial breaking apart in upper Paleozoic times which ceased throughout the first half of Mesozoic time. That time when the initial stages of the breakup of the continent includes the time in which the Pennsylvanian and Permian deposits were being laid down. I believe that this movement was initiated by the Creator as the means of removing the waters from the continent so that the occupants of Noah's ark could escape their confinement of deliverance. And I conclude that this movement generated major tsunami action which drove ashore on the repeatedly exposed surfaces of the land mass the debris of the pre-Noahic flood world. This had been floating and had become rafted on the flood waters until it was grounded by the tsunami which were going and returning on both the east coast of the United States and in the area of the British Isles.
I first presented this idea at a creation conference at Lucerne, California in 1968. Since then I spent six years in the Wyoming Valley area of Pennsylvania where great quantities of anthracite has been mined. As a result I was able to show Dr. Steve Austin, who had attended my lectures in 1968, through the strip mining areas around Scranton while he was preparing his doctoral thesis on my theory of the coal deposition in that area. I had concluded that the reason why the coal of Pennsylvania and other coastal states graded westward into lignite was that six or seven generations after beginning of the retreat of the Noahic flood there had been a major collision of Europe and the United States in the middle of Mesozoic times when the great single continent abruptly was separated into the present continental plate configuration. The heat generated by that impact not only crushed up the Endless Mountains sector of the Appalachian chain of mountains but heated the coal in the east to transform it into anthracite with the effect lessening on to the west. I associate with this collision the intrusion of the great granite domes and laccolyths of Georgia.
Apart from this understanding of the coal beds of the east and their deposition when driven ashore by the tidal waves described in Genesis 8:3 by the waves going and returning, I find it very difficult to explain those Pennsylvanian materials. I have long insisted that the waves of the retreating Noahic flood, generated by minor plate movement, first laid down the flood's rafts of vegetation debris. Then, returning from off of the low profile land mass, these same waters covered the vegetation mats with sediments mixed with less consolidated vegetation. This produced the "bony" layers which lie between the coal layers in the Wyoming Valley area.
Now the conclusion of this third catastrophe, the Noahic flood, involves first of all great amounts of atmospheric wind. This was used by God to dry up the crust of the earth as mentioned in Genesis 8:l. Secondly tidal wave is explicitly described in Genesis 8:3 and the Hebrew text describes it much more catastrophically than our English translations do. Genesis 8:3 could even be translated: "The waters were going and returning, going and returning, continually, continually." The description in Hebrew is very dramatic. Geology sees a super continent here in the Paleozoic. They also see, fascinatingly enough, indications that it began to brake up into four continents in the middle of the Paleozoic but that something caused them to recombine so that it stabilized as a partially separated single continent in early Mesozoic times. Then it broke apart to form the seven continents. When you try to harmonize the physical evidence of this crustal activity at the close of Paleozoic times with any of the common creationist harmonization models, you will face an impossible task. If you attempt to identify all of the evidence of historical geology with the Pre-Adamic flood by means of the Gap Theory you will have to ignore major elements of physical evidence.
But the same thing is true if you try to squeeze all of the evidence found in the very real, physical, geological column into the Noahic flood to allow the Noahic flood to have produced most of historical geology's physical evidence. It simply does not work. For example, one can not account for the obvious evidences of oscillation in the Supai Assemblage or in the Coconino Sandstone. Creationists long have been attempting to explain the remarkable tracks of creatures similar to lizards, turtles and short base alligators which are found in great plenitude in the Coconino as formed under the water. This errant position is maintained in order to follow the presumptive errors of flood geology which could not allow a wind deposit at that point in the supposed "eon" straddling universal flood! Yet these tracks include simple toe nail scratches in conjunction with the delicate track of a lizard, so well preserved that they only could have been formed on the wet surface of sands where the water recently has retreated. And the preservation of the track was made possible only because it was covered by a good layer of dry sand which was being blown by the jet stream winds coming in from other temporarily exposed shoreline areas to the west.
The geologists have often traced catastrophe in life forms by means of the number of fossil families buried in a single period of history. Starting at the bottom of the Paleozoic there is a tremendous peak when you graph the number of fossil families that have been buried. There was another little peak of earth's families being exterminated at the end of the Paleozoic deposit series. Then suddenly there was a tremendous climb in the number of fossil families that earth lost during Mesozoic and Cenozoic times. I think this latter climax points to the two great catastrophes that followed the Noahic flood. I have discussed the so called geological eras and have shown that they have material which is remarkably parallel to the five great universal catastrophes which I have pointed out in Biblical history. We've discussed these two that preceded the flood, the Noahic flood. We will discuss two more: the division of the continents and the ice age that it triggered and I believe there you find the causes for those tremendous events.
My own model looks like this. The driving ashore of the land plants that have been rafted up in the close of the Noahic flood, I believe, is the major source of the coal beds. I, by God's grace, spent 6 years in Pennsylvania in the hard coal area. There the researcher who knows what to look for can easily see clear indications of water transgressions shoreline. They bring in the debris, ground that not far above the shoreline, travel on past the debris farther up on the land mass and then return and cover the debris that it had stranded. I first presented this idea in l968 that these coal deposits were Noahic flood rafts of pre-Flood debris that was driven ashore as its waters initially began to retreat (Genesis 8:3). The idea grew out of my studies of Genesis 8:3. This verse contains far stronger emphasis upon oscillation than modern translations reproduce. "Then the waters continued to return from off the land, going and returning continually, continually." The syntax of the verse places two infinitives absolute after the main verb which they modify, thus dramatically emphasizing the repetition and duration of the action of the main verb, "the waters continued to return." I suggested at that time that the oscillation was tsunami generated, that is, caused by movements of the crust of the earth.
I taught that these oscillations were caused by the initial and limited stages of the breakup of the single continent which some geologists have recognized in the late Paleozoic deposits pointed to the means that the Creator used in removing the Noahic flood waters from the land mass which had been universally flooded. This involved the opening of sufficient new ocean basins for receiving the retreating waters swiftly to allow the re-exposure of the land mass as described in Genesis 8. I concluded that the violently oscillating waters dropped the plant debris along temporary shorelines. The tsunami waves that passed over the vegetation mats which had grounded along the shoreline continued to transgress the shallow profile of the land mass and then return, depositing the soils that now are found interbedded with the coal today.
The geological evidence indicates that this crustal movement which initially began the separation of part of the blocks which ultimately became the separate continents after Genesis 10:25, halted when the Creator had accomplished His purpose for that time. But full separation of the continental plates was not accomplished at that time. Again the coal beds of Pennsylvania provide testimony of another major Biblical catastrophe. The coal beds which are found stretching across the State of Pennsylvania grade from anthracite, very hard coal, on the east to lignite in the far western part of the state and in contiguous areas. To me this bore witness to the fact that, before the event which hardened coal in the east, the Creator chose to allow time to pass between the third and the fourth great Biblical/geological catastrophes. Genesis 10 clearly indicates to the careful researcher that two full generations and the beginning of the third generation passed in which the sons of Noah multiplied greatly and fell into the sin which produced the tower of Babel and its linguistic judgment (Gen. 11:1-9). This in turn produced the scattering of mankind upon the great single continent of that time. The land mass already had been partially ruptured at the close of Pennsylvanian time to produce the retreat of the Noahic flood.
Then, after three more generations in which man scattered, God further implemented the linguistic judgment of man which had taken place at Babel by isolating mankind on the separating continental blocks. This calculation recognizing that there are five generations between Shem's departure from the ark and the birth of Peleg, "utterly divided by water," includes consideration of a man whose name somehow has fallen from the Hebrew text. The information is however preserved in the Septuagint. Genesis 11:12-13 says: "And Arphaxad lived 135 years and he fathered Cainan. And Arphaxad continued to live four hundred thirty years after he had fathered Cainan and he fathered sons and daughters and he finally died. And Cainan lived 130 years and he fathered Sala. Then Cainan lived 130 years after he fathered Sala and fathered sons and daughters and he finally died.
The New Testament confirms the accuracy of the existence of Cainan by the fact that Luke specifically includes this man in the human ancestry of Christ which he traces back to Adam. Luke 3:23-37 contains this genealogy. The Cainan who is involved here is set in his proper place in the genealogy in verses 34-35, indicating that Christ was ". . . the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah . . . ."
Creationists should also consider the possibility that Luke's confirmation of the accuracy of this information concerning the existence of Cainan which is found in the Septuagint may also suggest that the Septuagint chronology at this point has not suffered a textual corruption which abbreviates the Hebrew chronology at this point. If that indeed is the case, a point which we never can resolve for certain, then we should recognize that a much more extended time lies between Shem's departure from the ark after the retreat of the Noahic flood and the birth of ". . . Peleg, in whose days the earth was divided by water" (Gen. 10:25).
If the Septuagint actually does record the correct chronology, then it reveals that there were 2 years between the "cataclysm" and Shem's fathering of Arphaxad (Gen. 11:10). Then there are 135 years between Arphaxad's birth and his fathering of Cainan (Gen. 11:12). We would have to recognize the 130 years between Cainan's birth and his fathering of Sala (Gen. 11:13) as well as 130 years between Sala's birth and his fathering of Eber (Gen. 11:14). Finally we would have to consider a full 134 years between Eber's birth and his fathering of Peleg (Gen. 11:16), in whose days the earth was divided by water. After all, this is the man whose naming at birth commemorates the day the Creator chose for initiating the division of the land mass of the great single continent of Genesis 1:9 by water. This chronology then indicates that there were actually 531 years between the great cataclysm, which Noah and his family escaped in the safety of the ark, and the birth of Peleg, "utterly divided by water," ". . . in whose days the earth was divided by water" (Gen. 10:25).
The Lord gave me the opportunity of studying the physical evidence of the Pennsylvanian period of Biblical history and the deposits which gave the period that name for six years while I set up and taught at the Graduate School of Theology in Clark Summit, PA. As I have said, I firmly believe that these Pennsylvanian formations were driven ashore by the retreating Noahic flood waters. I am absolutely convinced that this is exactly how this coal was formed. This conclusion was confirmed by field studies with Steve Austin of these anthracite deposits at that time and by his continuing studies in his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania.
As the researcher who is examining the Pennsylvanian coal beds and is moving toward the west in Pennsylvania in his studies he will find that the coal gradually gets softer as one moves away from the great Wyoming Valley anthracite coal beds. It finally grades down into lignite in the west of the state. This is a powerful testimony to the fact that creationists must recognize the fourth great Biblical/geological catastrophe, an event which fiercely compressed and heated the formations immediately to the west of the present shoreline of Pennsylvania and indeed, the entire east coast. It is inescapable that the powerful, shuddering movement which finally broke the great single continental block apart involved a violent collision of the European plate with the North American plate after they had become partially separated. The pressures of this collision produced the folding of the Appalachians and the arcuate structures of the Endless Mountains in which the anthracite is found in Eastern Pennsylvania.
The gradual gradation of the hardness of the coal as it grades downward into lignite in western Pennsylvania witnesses to the intensity of these pressures near our east coast at the point of temporary impact before the plates rebounded apart to move to their present positions. It also indicates that the compression damage produced by the initial stage of separation here, plate collision, lessens as one moves away from the area which suffered the most diastrophism.
The fact that Mesozoic formations, which in places have survived the catastrophic movement, overlie these coal formations in many areas, dramatically speaks of the passage of some time between the deposition of the vegetation mats by the Noahic flood and the event which transformed this debris into coal. In the great, red oxide stained Triassic beds of Connecticut the researcher can readily observe great, superimposed dinosaur track beds which were made along the oscillating shoreline during the early part of the long period when the Noahic flood was still retreating. It is impossible to identify these fossil tracks in the geological environment in which they lie as indicators of their frantic activity at the inception of the Noahic flood.
Any open minded creation researcher of the field evidence in the physical, geological column must acknowledge that the final, near universal stages of the Noahic cataclysm are found in the upper Paleozoic deposits. This is inescapable if one honestly examines and correlates the physical evidence which is readily available but so seldom researched by creationists. The Permian series of formations, the upper layers following the universal marine evidences in the Paleozoic deposit series, record great signs of sea level instability just as do the Triassic formations above them. From upper Mississippian times the deposits indicate that the waters were going and returning. This phenomenon continues well into the earlier part of Mesozoic times. In the marine beds, such as at the top of the Grand Canyon, marine fossils are buried in lime-filled muds. The fossils are everywhere. Great worm trails intertwine with each other like stone snakes on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Fossil corals, fossil sponges, shell life, and all kinds of things like that are present on the south rim with extensive signs of sea level instability.
That formation series, including the Kaibab limestone and the Toroweap mix of lime and sand lie on another great formation that is filled with shoreline sands. The Coconino Sandstone, contains that which, in spite of vociferous creationist denials, can only be wind-blown, oscillating shoreline deposits. Giant wind dunes, swept by the wind that God sent to dry up the earth during the initial stages of the retreat of the Noahic flood (Gen. 8:1) in places sweep up to angles of as much as 45 degrees on the windward side of the dunes. It is impossible for water to produce underwater ripples so gigantic and with surfaces which sweep up to half of vertical. In the ocean strong water currents are able to produce underwater dunes with slopes as steep as 22 degrees on the side facing the current before slumping destroys or degrades them. On the other hand the wind continually produces dunes with slopes that steep. I have examined many of them in the modern barkans along the coast of northern Peru. Here in the Coconino formation the physical evidence clearly indicates great wind dunes which were deposited by powerful winds along a constantly oscillating shoreline.
While creationists have struggled to maintain a universal flood at this point in their monocatastrophic approach to historical geology, concluding that the multitudes of shoreline animal tracks somehow were made and preserved under water, I insist that careful examination of this taphonomic evidence will prove them wrong. It is impossible for the delicate tracing of a lizard's dragging toenail to be so perfectly preserved in an underwater contact of the creature with a marine dune. Such delicate fossil traces as the lizard tracks on the north rim trail, as the turtle like trail up a wet, sandy slope, leaving a mound of wet sand pushed up behind the track where the weight of its body had pushed the wet sand back down the slope--- such fossil tracks had to be preserved by the deposition of windblown sands over the tracks before the next shoreline wave produced another damp slope for further track beds. Besides, there are rain drop prints in formations below the track beds of these marine and shoreline creatures which had survived the 150 days of the universal stage, five months, and now were struggling ashore in an agitated shoreline environment.
I conclude that this oscillation was generated by the Creator's opening of new ocean basins to receive the waters of the retreating Noahic flood. That crustal movement in turn generated great waves combined with tidal intrusions which constantly invaded and often lopped off the tops of those wind dunes. These drier windblown surfaces were saturated by waves which swept up them from the retreating sea in the area which now is the Coconino/Kaibab uplift. The wind which left its mark so strongly in the Coconino formation continued to blow even after an extended marine intrusion deposited the upper layers of the Paleozoic deposits in the Kaibab formation. This formation now is the capstone of the canyon. At one time it was completely covered by windblown sands.
This will be recognized when one examines the base for the Mesozoic formations which still overlie the Kaibab east of the Grand Canyon. When one moves on toward the Echo Cliffs after examining the Triassic dinosaur track beds near Tuba City, he will find that the snaking jet stream returned after the Kaibab formation was deposited under water. Echo Cliffs to the East and Vermilion Cliffs to the Northeast of the Grand Canyon clearly testify to the power of that wind and to the load of sands which it carried and dumped on the Coconino/Kebab uplift and on to the East. The Lake Powell area upstream from the drainage which leads into the Grand Canyon is filled with the tan to buff sands which that wind continued to deposit for months and perhaps years.
The Coconino/Kaibab uplift has great north/south faults on the East and West of it. Many other faults shattered the hardened flood and pre-Flood strata of the Grand Canyon during this great uplift. To me it is inescapable that the uplifted ridge had not less than 2,000 feet of Mesozoic, wind blown sands on it at the time of that uplift. A great place to see these sands is at Zion National Park. There hundreds of feet of these sands were dropped into water. And the wind which brought these sands from the coast of that time farther West continued to blow after uplift (or deposition of these sands) brought the area above sea level. As one exits from the park, climbing up through these indurated sands to the East, he finally passes Domino Butte. This structure is filled with the slabs which were deposited under the atmosphere after the area was above sea level.
This Coconino/Kaibab uplift is the great ridge through which the drainage of the mighty Biblical ice age waters carved the Grand Canyon. This fifth Biblical/geological catastrophe, well described in the book of Job, took place not less than seven centuries after the departure of Noah and his family from the ark. Its first accomplishment was the stripping away of the still loose Mesozoic sands which then overlay the ridge. And as it continued to rip and tear down into Paleozoic structures, that catastrophic erosion of this great canyon exposed to the discerning creation researcher the evidence that multitudes of reptiles (which had been quite able to ride out the Noahic flood waters) now began trekking ashore on the wave wetted sands of these oscillating shorelines to deposit their eggs after the manner of reptiles. So far the first of these egg beds has not yet been discovered. What a find for a creationist group researching the Coconino slabs down Hermit Trail! As a result, there are all kinds of marine creature track beds that go up the wet, sloping, wind dunes as reptiles started going ashore to lay their eggs and carry on their life cycles. I predict that further research of the taphonomic evidence on these shoreline surfaces of the Coconino Sandstones will produce at least one reptile egg nest to confirm what I have been saying. These fascinating track beds and their implications form one of the fragments of natural revelation in the Grand Canyon that most people miss or misunderstand. The Coconino Sandstone contains four hundred feet of wind dunes marked by oscillating shoreline marine intrusions which are repeated over and over again. It is an environment which only can be identified with Genesis 8:l and 3. Just above the Coconino the researcher will find that the Toroweap contains a mixture of these sands with marine deposits which give unmistakable evidence that that the violently disturbed crust of the earth along the edge of the partially dividing single continent sank beneath the sea again for some time. To me the materials deposited in the Toroweap indicate clearly that the crust was very unstable in this area as the sea basins were deepening.
Already I have pointed out the evidence that the great single continent, as a result of temporary plate movement, was tending to break up into four subcontinents. It was this movement which generated the oscillations of the sea shore in the Coconino and allowed the intrusion and re-establishment of a marine environment in the Toroweap and in the upper layer of the Grand Canyon, the Kaibab limestone. It is impossible for the creation theorist to account for the removal of the Noahic flood waters from the crust of the earth merely by the wind of Genesis 8:1 alone. The wind is not able elevate enough the Noahic flood waters into the atmosphere to cause the sea to retreat and to dry up the crust of the earth by itself. Furthermore, such an interpretative approach ignores the physical evidence of shoreline oscillations which actually begin in the Supai Assemblage far below the Coconino. It ignores the evidence of the oscillations found in the Coconino itself. And, perhaps even more important, it ignores the physical evidence that the sea returned in the area of the Grand Canyon to rework the upper Coconino deposits and mingle them with marine deposits. It ignores the fact that a stable but shallow marine environment was reestablished during the deposition of the fossil filled Kaibab Limestone before its retreat in this area to allow the exposure of the shoreline environment of the Triassic materials which underlie great wind deposits in the Echo and Vermilion Cliffs. The shoreline environment that is exposed in the Triassic beds in the eastern Kapairowits Basin, like the corresponding beds in Connecticut, have extensive dinosaur track beds. Here also in these early Mesozoic deposits the retreating Noahic flood waters expose a shallow profile land surface where dinosaurs were leaving the Noahic flood waters to deposit their eggs. Here also I would like to see creationists search for egg beds like those later beds that are found east of the Northern Rockies in Montana.
The only possible explanation for the massive taphonomic and physical, structural evidence in the upper Paleozoic and the early Mesozoic materials is that, for the initiation of the removal of the Noahic flood waters, God partially broke apart the great single continent and created new sea basins into which the universal waters retreated. We must recognize that the evidence of oscillating shorelines in these formations points to exactly that kind of a geological deposit environment. We as creationists have chosen to remain blind to the testimony of the natural revelation of these formations because of erroneous but dominating presuppositions held concerning the relation of the Noahic flood to most geological strata.
I see continuing evidences that the wind God had sent to dry up the newly exposing surfaces of the earth, that had deposited the Coconino Sandstone before it was re-covered by the sea, probably deposited as much as 2,000 feet of Mesozoic sands over the Kaibab surface which now is the rim of the Grand Canyon. Just east of the Grand Canyon and the Kapirowits Basin (which once temporarily held the Biblical ice age waters that carved the Grand Canyon) lies great, wind blown deposits of sand. While these sands were almost entirely stripped off of the Coconino plateau above the Grand Canyon, in the Echo Cliffs and in the Vermilion Cliffs these sands and shoreline muds are preserved, superimposed above the Kaibab limestone. I have mentioned that there are track beds left by reptiles that walked ashore not far from Tuba City. Evidently the fierce wind, probably the jet stream brought down to the surface to dry the earth, had switched its course for a time. But it returned and built massive wind deposits long before the drainage of great, trapped basins of ice age melt waters roared through the east end of the Uinta Mountains and through Green mountain.
These great wind deposits precede the formation of the enormous lake basin which temporarily contained these melt waters behind the great dam of the uplifted Echo Cliffs and the Vermilion Cliffs. These waters and others were coming off of the Wind River Range, off of the Uinta Range, off of the eastern slopes of the newly risen Colorado Rockies and elsewhere. A low level flight over Lake Powell will display the giant beaches left hundreds of feet above the present man-made lake surface in the same area. The rupture of the great Echo and Vermilion Cliff dam by the powerful supply of Biblical ice age melt waters centuries after the Noahic Flood then filled the Kapirowitz Basin. I believe that the Coconino/Kaibab uplift had not fully been elevated to its present 7,000 to 8,000 ft. height and that these waters swept across the Mesozoic sand surface of the great ridge, stripping them away. The enormous cavitational forces of this mighty moving stream now found the shattered fault zones in the fully indurated flood materials. They ripped through these faults with incalculable force, probably ripping up blocks of indurated stone as large as a football field and rapidly degrading them.
Years ago I read the snide remark of a geologist who in effect said: "Quantitative measurements (of the Colorado River erosion) conclusively prove that the Grand Canyon could not possibly have been cut in 6,000 years." What he actually said amounted to this: "By symbols and letters man has preserved an imperfect account of his activities over a period of some 6,000 years. However, it is fairly obvious from mere inspection that the Grand Canyon of the Colorado could not have been eroded by the river in that space of time. Such quantitative measurements as have been made on river erosion bear out this conclusion and require the conclusion that the canyon was carved by the river over hundreds of thousands of years." (19)
I often have said at creation conferences that if only von Engeln had been present to see how the erosion of the Grand Canyon really happened, he probably would have been willing to leave the horribly catastrophic scene and go home for a belated lunch well within a month after the breach of the great dam. That dam was the continuance of Echo Cliffs and Vermilion Cliffs and the major erosion of the Grand Canyon. By that time the titanic forces of cavitation from the massive head of ice age flood waters would have ripped up shattered blocks the size of baseball fields from the main zigzag fault zones and would have bashed and ground them to sands. I am sure that von Engeln no longer would have been a uniformitarian! I speculate that these sands are deposited in the Barstow and Yuma Deserts in the arm of the sea which extended well above the present site of Needles, California. By that time the waters pouring over the newly developed rims would have wrenched the fault shattered blocks from the great side canyons, leaving their near vertical walls and the great fossil waterfalls which head these amazingly juvenile side canyons.
Remember that, in our studies of the Grand Canyon, we are far from the area where Noah disembarked. We are in a marine and a shoreline environment in this western part of the United States. Areas west of the Grand Canyon were undersea much longer than that area. We as creationists need to focus on a lot of evidences of the slow retreat of the Noahic flood and of the massive event series which followed the third Biblical/geological catastrophe and rethink the valid (but subordinate) contribution of natural revelation in order to understand what really happened in earth's earlier events. I think that once we do that, it will be driven to a far clearer understanding of Biblical catastrophism and the structure of historical geology as nothing more than the evidence of the five great catastrophes which have left the earth in the condition in which we study it at the close of the very Biblical, Cenozoic disturbances of continuing continental division and the consequent ice "age." We will gain a valuable corollary testimony to help us understand the Biblical record, to give us an idea how catastrophic some of these periods of Biblical history really were, and it will also correct some of the errors found in current interpretations of science.
LESSONS FROM THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF FOSSILS
In our previous study we pursued the subject of Taphonomy through the first two major sections of geological history. I have sought to demonstrate that the Archaeozoic and the Proterozoic records of earth's physical history can be harmonized with the Biblical record, once the interpreter has set aside two basic evolutionary presuppositions: biological evolution and geological time. The latter presupposition is the major means used by naturalist students of giving inconceivable time in which the creator, chance, could produce evolution. I find a remarkable parallel between the geological materials and the Biblical record. In my studies these two sessions, I am concentrating on taphonomy. You want to know what that is? It's two Greek words, "taphos" and "namos." It is the principles or laws relating to death--that seems a strange subject to take up in a conference that concentrates on life. Well, it relates very closely.
Taphonomy has to do with organisms and how they became fossils, so it takes a look at the life forms of the past and tries better to understand what happened; to understand as the Russian scientist, Ephromov, put it back in l940 all aspects of the passage of organisms from the biosphere, the life zone in which they lived, to the lithosphere, that is their place in the fossil record among the rocks. I pointed out that normally modern taphonomists are camping on recent taphonomy which looks at the body of a recently-alive creature and watches it as it degrades and decomposes and either disappears or they hope becomes a fossil.
My emphasis will be to point to the fact that normal processes do not normally produce fossils. Before I begin though, I should say that I have seen fossils being produced before my eyes in the Havasupai side canyon of the central section the Grand Canyon. At the several falls below the Indian town of Supai one can watch the lime-rich waters of the creek pouring over Moony Falls and others. Filled with lime, these waters somehow transform chemically when the air of the waterfall is mixed with the waters. The lime in the water instantly seeks to attach itself to something. Any little twig or moss in the water rapidly will become encased with lime. Mosses even on the lip of the spillway of the falls rapidly become a dying organism surrounded with travertine. You actually can recognize that the process slowly going on before your eyes. The evidence indicating what the end result will be is everywhere where the spillway of the fall has diverted over the years. On the fossil waterfall spillways around the rims of these falls you can see where the water once has cascaded over the area and there are all kinds of moss that has turned to stone in this particular type of formation. I make mention of the value of this particular type of a study to creationists. It helps us to evaluate the physical evidence which must be harmonized with the Biblical record of creation.
I have long decried my geology teacher who said he was a Christian but he carried his geology book in one pocket and his Bible in the other, and as the expression goes, "...never the twain shall meet." We learned the millions and billions of years and all the details without ever raising the question, "How does this fit into the Biblical record?" I cannot live with that, and I have been wrestling with it for many years--for the last l9 years I have been examining my own harmonization model which I proposed in l968 and which I have been examining ever since.
I see in the study of taphonomy the opportunity of returning to the fossils their testimony. I believe every life form has a testimony about its Creator. Indeed every grain of sand has something to say about the processes of Biblical history and how these were deposited. Well, in that I am far afield from normal interpretation, you can tell that. I believe that taphonomy will provide us guidelines for a meaningful, working harmonization model only by studying the fossil, the matrix that it contains, trying to determine what kind of a life zone this creature lived in, what it was that brought about its death, something of forensic geology here, something of the transportation mode if it has been moved out of its life zone into another, what buried and brought about its fossilization. This will, I believe, help us enormously in coming to a meaningful harmonization model.
A harmonization model is merely a proposal which says this is the way I think that we align the geological record with the Biblical record. You notice how I put it--I'm not aligning the Biblical record with the geological record. I do not bend on the one. I do not bend on the other, for that matter, though I do eliminate geological time and evolution. When I do do that then suddenly everything begins to fall into place. If you play the geological record at Biblical speed, fascinating things happen. It also helps us to guard against inadequate harmonization models. You will find in the geological record as I have been saying and will continue to say, many fossils buried in death environments which most certainly were not Noahic flood deposits. They are post-flood deposits, and we need to have our model revised to the point where it accounts for the actual facts found in the fossil record. I have no problem at all with the fact that there is a fossil record. I expect to find as I read of the Biblical catastrophes in Genesis, and you will notice I did put that in the plural. Finally, I think taphonomy will help us to gain a valuable, corollary testimony concerning the explicit details of these events recorded in Genesis l-11--a corollary testimony. I do not have any problem with seeing natural revelation as a corollary testimony to Biblical revelation and, therefore, as a theologian, I put it in its proper place--it is only a corollary.
The Biblical revelation is that which governs the study of the corollary revelation.
We have been scanning the Precambrian materials and the Paleozoic materials. I made a comment about algae in the Precambrian. These algal clusters actually found in the later Precambrian (Proterozoic) materials, have to do with time immediately after the uplift of the continent in the third day, after the creation of plant life in the latter part of the third day. This is why one can find plant life fossils in Proterozoic deposits. (21) I also commented that you will find brachiopods and corals and other things like that in these late Proterozoic deposits. I also said that I believe that the Proterozoic deposits continue for many years even after Adam was created. That would account for the problem that some might raise up, "How could there be life forms here if all life forms die as a result of Adam's sin?" By the way, there is an interesting problem there. There had been sin in the universe before Adam's sin, had there not? Yes, I am confident that the angels had sinned before that, though they had not sinned before the creation. There is strong evidence that they had after that and it may be that the life forms in the sea were carnivores. I suggest that this is a real possibility.
The vegetation diet that was given to animals and to man is specifically restricted to those on the face of the earth there in Genesis l:30-3l. That just might leave an open door for the Baline whale to be created in Genesis l:20-2l and to go right on feasting upon plankton and small microscopic living creatures just as he does today, even though Adam had not yet sinned. I'll leave that for you to pursue and evaluate. In fact, that is why I am presenting this material on taphonomy. I am asking my readers to evaluate and criticize and to destroy my suggestions if they are inaccurate. We creationists must learn to discard those positions which we recognize to be inaccurate. One of the problems we have is that we haven't been having funerals for the fossil harmonization models that ought to be put back where they belong. Those that are inadequate should be laid away. Therefore I give you my ideas for that purpose.
We also have been discussing the Paleozoic "era" and I have already suggested that man was created during the Proterozoic "era" which I think lasted no more than a few months. This latter Precambrian "era" is followed by the "great unconformity," a tremendous interval of l500 to 2,000 years which lie between Adam and Noah. Long ago I introduced the postulate that this "great unconformity" that lies between Precambrian and the bottom of the Paleozoic falls into this Biblical period of man's history. But if that is so, then where are men's fossils in that period? That quiet interval was not a time when fossils were being produced. Fossils normally are produced by catastrophism. The quieting of the waters and the stable condition of the earth was not conducive to fossilization.
But what about during the Noahic flood? Yes, there are multitudes of fossils deposited during the Paleozoic "era" and the question, "Where are the men fossils in the Paleozoic if it's the major part of the one year Noahic flood? That's an interesting question and one I wish you would pursue. I have suggested that one reason for our failing to find human fossils in Paleozoic deposits is that very probably man did not multiply nearly as rapidly as some would suppose. I think it highly likely that the canopy had a negative effect upon the multiplication of all mammals. That is suggested by the practical absence of mammals in Paleozoic deposits and that is strongly suggested by the slow maturation rate of mankind recorded in Genesis 5. In Genesis 5 the record that two men in the genealogical table, Mahalalel and Enoch, both had their first offspring when they were 65 years old. As the researcher pursues the details of the chapter he will find Methuselah had his first offspring at l87 and his son Lamech at fathered his first son at l82 years. Therefore the reproduction cycle was reduced in that time about l5 times from what it is today.
A second possibility is that mankind was still concentrated in the lower Mesopotamian Valley where apparently the Garden of Eden was located since out from it the great river divided into four heads above it (Gen. 2:10). If that was the case, then the flood waters easily could have swept the bloated bodies of the many dead out into the Indian Ocean where they would have dissolved in the acids of the ocean. On the other hand it might just be very interesting for a creationist who specialized in reading oil well drill cores to examine some of the drill cores from near the Persian Gulf. It is possible that they might contain fragments of human bone from hundreds of feet below the present surface of that great plain from whence enormous oil supplies are drawn. Is it possible that the Persian Gulf oils are so plentiful because they are formed from the animal, plant and human life-forms which the Noahic flood buried? I suspect that there were not nearly as many mammals available to become fossil under the canopy, assuming on the basis of the slowed rate of maturation evidenced by human chronologies that the pre-Flood world was in effect somewhat of a hostile world not only to mammals but to the angiosperm plants. What kind of plant life dominates the Paleozoic deposits? It is the gymnosperms, those plants that love a hot, steamy, humid hothouse climate.
Examine what happens to the dominant animal and plant life forms in successive "epochs" and "eons" through the geologic record before and after the canopy collapses in the Noahic flood. Considering that the sun began to shine on earth with full and unhindered brilliance after the canopy fell in the Paleozoic, Noahic flood, one can predict what dominant life-forms will begin to be found in the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic deposits. You can predict that there would be a massive transition in dominant life-forms. One should expect the reptiles, mostly creatures which have close relationships to a watery environment, would leap into dominance in the Mesozoic "era." These demonstrate by the multitude of tracks which they have left along the Triassic shores as the flood extensively retreated that they had survived the Noahic flood with the fully marine creatures. But one should expect that creatures like the dinosaurs, which seem to have been cold blooded creatures, to have found life very difficult under the brilliant sun and the fierce winds and tidal waves which dominated Mesozoic times. Surely those factors played an important role in the fact that these, apart from fully marine creatures like the Pleisosaur, actually died out in Mesozoic times.
I believe that the uniformitarians have totally misunderstood the "age of the dinosaurs" and that it was not the time when these creatures rose to dominance. I believe that the pre-Noahic flood world is the world where they were very dominant and that the Mesozoic is the time when the dinosaurs were dying out in a hostile environment. On the other hand mammalian life that enjoys the kind of atmosphere that we have today would have leaped into dominance and that their increased rapidity in multiplication began immediately after the gangplank of the ark was lowered. That dominance really does not show up well until the beginning of Cenozoic times (which I do not place more than perhaps 800 years after the Noahic flood.
The dominance shown by mammals in Cenozoic times is matched by that of the hard seed plants in this last period of the physical, geological column. It is only reasonable that these angiosperms, like the mammals, would leap into dominance while the gymnosperms would be repressed by the great transformation of the earth's climate patterns after the Noahic flood and after the division of the continents. The gymnosperm plants would seek places like the Amazon Jungle and the woods of northwest Washington as just a couple of locations where they would be better adapted for survival. It is amazing how many things lie parallel between so called historical geology and the event series of the Biblical record once creationists begin examining these in parallel. I have mentioned that I have counted upwards of l00 points of contact, both of events and of consequences of those events, which lie remarkably parallel. I suspect there are far more than that and that once we creationists construct the entire complete parallel of these two columns, the Biblical column of time and the geological column of physical time as recorded in the geological record, that we will find countless corollaries between the two columns. Only one conclusion will be justified when one examines this phenomenon. They are the same story, apart from the elements which have been extrapolated into the message of the geological record.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE MESOZOIC TAPHONOMIC STUDIES THAT WE DARE NOT IGNORE AS CREATIONISTS
Let me remind you again that taphonomy has to do with that remarkable interval between a living life forms, its death, transportation, partial dissolution, disarrangement, disarticulation and finally burial whatever happens in that interval. This is what we should be looking for.
Now, the key geological features of what is called the Mesozoic Era by geologists are great evidences of powerful wind movement and constant tidal oscillations. I've seen these evidences in the many places where I have studied the Mesozoic formations. Tidal oscillations record waters going and returning, going and returning. (Genesis 8:3) "And the waters (I would translate) continued to return' from off the earth going and returning continually, continually." As I pointed out previously I am trying to dramatize the Hebrew construction which strongly emphasizes duration and repetition. In many places the very temporary, lowest section of the Mesozoic called the Triassic displays shorelines which preserve multitudes of larger marine reptile tracks. I have spoken earlier of smaller tracks in the Paleozoic Supai and Permian. Now there are much larger tracks here.
A trip to Rock Hill, Connecticut is an amazing field trip. There the Triassic red beds, brilliantly stained by oxides which probably were released from new post-flood volcanoes resulting from the initial stage of the division of the continent. The same oxide stains fill the Supai. Indeed, it is their stains which have washed down over the Mississippian Redwall Limestone Formation which originally gave that bluish white limestone formation its name. At Rock Hill and in many other exposures in the northeast there very obviously are many shoreline beds which resulted from unusual tidal oscillation. These alternating beds often are no more than six inches to a foot thick. I consider these rapid oscillations to result from the crustal movement which also provided the oxides which stain the Triassic materials. A bulldozer operator who was working for the highway department, while preparing a site for a highway building, accidentally tipped over a slab of rock.
To his amazement he saw giant footprints under it and was wise enough to tell someone. After more excavation the site became a remarkable museum of fossil tracks. Researchers have peeled off layer after layer of rock and have continued to find dinosaur tracks in one layer of the mud stone under another. It is an absolutely beautiful historical display, although marred by the uniformitarian prattle which one hears while looking back into the days when Ararat received its marine visitors. I have a cast that I made from one of the tracks there. It is getting rather fragile now since I did not have any binder to strengthen the plaster of paris. That track is about 14 inches across. I am not able to identify which kind of a dinosaur made that set of tracks, and there are no dinosaur skeletons found near Rock Hill, but these creatures surely were coming ashore on the Triassic shorelines that were freshly exposed by the continuance of the retreat of the Noahic flood. That is very significant.
I say that it is impossible to hold that these tracks were made in the sea during the Noahic flood. The land mass was erecting out of the sea according to all of the evidence that I have been able to study in Triassic deposits. I believe these tracks record the fact that these reptiles, now that more than l50 days, in which there were universal floodwaters, have passed. These creatures were beginning to head ashore to complete their reproduction cycle. As I understand it, reptiles go ashore from the water to complete their cycle whereas amphibians go into the water to lay their eggs. I have seen quite a few dinosaur egg beds Choteau, Montana which very obviously had been set up in the muddy sands not far from the shore of an arm of the sea which for a time extended southeast into Montana from an area in northwestern British Columbia. I am convinced that these egg beds, the new hatch of dinosaurs and their parents were buried by a huge mudslide and tidal wave generated when the northern Rockies hinged up out of the sea. That produced the very real Lewis Overthrust which allowed late Proterozoic, still unindurated littoral materials suddenly to overthrust Paleozoic materials deposited along the coastal shelf by the Noahic Flood and Mesozoic materials which were being deposited by movement of the great plate to the west. There are places along the eastern slopes of the Northern Rockies where these later materials lie crumpled like a rug that has been pushed on a slick floor. They have been shoved eastward by the overthrust which ends just to the west of these folds. I understand that Jack Horner has found a very new fossil egg bed somewhere between Calgary and Alberta. I would like to evaluate their contribution to this picture.
Many of the dinosaurs of very select groups are found in the brilliant shoreline Triassic deposits of our land. I suggest that these represent specimens which were less resistant than others to the dramatic changes that were being wrought in the climate at the time that they came ashore out of the Noahic flood. I see at the beginning of the Mesozoic dramatic climate changes. The dinosaurs which had come ashore now were being exposed to intense solar radiation because of the collapse of the canopy. Where they were subjected to the direct radiation of the sun without the benefit of being able to cool their bodies in water, many of these great creatures died.
I personally do not believe that Adam ever looked directly at the sun. I believe on the basis of Genesis 1:14 that Adam looked at lights in the great expanse of the atmospheric heavens. This is the only way that the word translated "firmament" is used in Genesis One. The word has not been redefined after its use in Genesis 1:7 where it only refers to the space between the universal pre-Adamic sea and the canopy. When Adam looked skyward to see what time of day it was or how bright the moon was, he was looking at lights in the expanse of the atmospheric heavens. He governed his days, seasons, and years by the lights in the space that was stretched out between the sea and the canopy, the waters that the Creator had elevated up over the top of the atmosphere. Adam was looking at a sun dog on the bottom of the canopy and not at the sun itself, which by the way had produced the three preceding solar days as earth rotated on its axis and orbited about it. The same is true of the moon dog which appeared on the bottom of the canopy as the moon's light shone through it. It is very easy to read through Genesis 1:14-19 and have presuppositional blinders on which filter out very significant revelational material there. And by the way, it helps to read the passage in Hebrew, too.
These oscillating shorelines of the early Mesozoic deposits, as I have already suggested, are marked by extreme signs of oscillation. The red beds of the Triassic are filled with iron oxide. Now I suppose it is questionable how those oxides were placed there. I have personally always thought that the beginning of the wind driving that humid air and picking up sand particles played an important role in the oxidation of the very grains of the sands, staining them with oxides on the outside of them. These oxides may be telling us to look for evidence that a very large iron core meteor largely burned up in the atmosphere in the upper Mississippian (Supai) stage of Paleozoic time during the Noahic flood, yet striking the great single continent with enough force to produce the initial stage of the separation of the great single continent. That would mean that this movement opened new ocean basins and produced the rapid initial retreat of the flood, exposing the shorelines with multiple oscillations. And it may be that still another iron meteor burned up in the atmosphere and contributed its brilliant oxides to the early Mesozoic, Triassic stage of the retreat of that flood.
Yet I personally also believe that we must remember that these beginning Mesozoic layers tell us much about the extreme humidity of the face of the earth as the waters were beginning to retreat from off the face of the earth. As a result, I watch for evidences like of oxidation concentration, oscillation evidences and wind signs as I look through the geological column. I find the effects of this oxidation stage and major wind movements moving right up into the Jurassic in mid-Mesozoic times. There, however, the formations move away from dominance of brilliant reds into the buffs and the softer tones. Occasionally one will find near brilliant white sands. When one is studying the Kayenta formation, which is a part of Arches National Monument, you see great fins of very fine red sandstone. Its grains are so small that a l0-power hand microscope is needed to study the individual grains. I don't think there is any question that that material was airborne or that it was deposited in the water which then covered that area to form the Kayenta formation.
Nearby, is the Navajo formation in which there are bold signs of turbulent air. I have concluded that for a short time the water had receded and the air has deposited the formation above sea level. Arches National Park is filled with sands and with its brilliant colors. The area has been domed by an uplift after the silicas in the sands welded the materials together into a solid formation. The great faults produced by this doming uplift gave the winds a place to do their erosive work. Not only has this widened great rifts between these great fins but the wind blown sands have blasted their way through softer places by eroding away grain after grain. This has produced the park's beautiful arches. It is a fantastic place to visit and consider Post-Noahic catastrophism and to attempt to reconstruct the great event series which followed the Noahic flood.
The almost-constant presence of wind and the great wind dunes mark the middle Mesozoic in many places of the world; not all over the world, but in many places. I have already suggested that this wind was the jet stream. It plays a great part in our changing weather patterns today. I suggest that God simply dropped the jet stream down to the earth and used it to play a major role in dehydrating the earth. It sweeps across our continent in zigzagging patterns. One actually can calculate the direction from which the wind was blowing in a section of a formation by the direction in which the dune materials are swept. For example, in the great Coconino sandstone layers in the Grand Canyon one readily can determine the major directions out of the west from which the wind had been blowing as this great formation was built along the oscillating shores of the sea as they existed at that time. Throughout a large part of southern Utah and western Arizona the great air stream snake which we call the jet stream was whipping back and forth across that particular area and blowing fine, red oxides all over Oklahoma and on into the loess beds of the Mississippi Valley.
Going back again to those wind dunes. These winds often blow the sands and dump them in the water. You will find that in Zion National Park, hundreds of feet of water deposits of sand that I believe were wind born and then as you get up, say around Domino Dome on the way out to the east toward, I've forgotten the name of the junction, you will find slabbing patterns which certainly say wind dunes to me and I wouldn't mind you looking at it and telling me if I am wrong. I say then we are seeing signs of Genesis 8:l, 3 and the arches in Echo Park on the Green River not far from Dinosaur National Park--you've got a fantastic cliff there that will show wind dunes that are lopped off by water intrusion, wind dunes. I think I counted thirty reversals there and I wondered, You don't suppose that is a month of history there do you? Kind of a silly thought but still intriguing. I think we need to puzzle over things like that and find out if we are missing the boat in some of these areas. By the way, these wind dunes, not only have tidal intrusions, but there are places that you will find in the wind dunes dehydrated fossil remains. I think it is the American Museum in New York City where I saw a fairly large dehydrated dinosaur. I don't think there was any question about it that the creature had been dehydrated in desert sands. He was not deposited, as far as I could tell, by any dehydraulic action.
How does that fit into your geological column? The greatest single geological event of the Mesozoic is recorded, I believe, in the division of the continents. Now this was geological heresy not many years ago, and there are still some who fight against it but almost entirely all of the geologists have been forced to admit that the division of the continents took place during Mesozoic times, the final division of the continents. I have already said that in Paleozoic times there is some indication of movement. I attribute that to the deepening of the ocean basins to receive the runoff of the Noahic flood. I believe the Noahic flood continues to retreat for at least a thousand years throughout the Mesozoic deposits.
The geologist has the Precambrian as the longest period of history, the Paleozoic quite a long period, and the Mesozoic a little shorter, and the Cenozoic as even the shortest. I suggest, and this is still hypothesis, that the Cenozoic actually is the longest of these periods. If you study this issue in the light of Biblical history you should conclude that the Mesozoic is far longer than the Paleozoic. I suggested that as a ballpark figure that the Mesozoic may have lasted a thousand years. I suggested that the Paleozoic may have largely been confined to the year of the Noahic flood and its violence burying the life forms that lived in the interval between Precambrian and Paleozoic times.
I have been wrestling with this model for 20 years nearly and have been able to study the geological evidences on six continents, I guess, and I have been able to refine it but I haven't been able to discredit the total structure of my Catastrophe Series Harmonization Model. When did this happen Biblically?--this division of the continents. Where do I place this tremendous division of the continents that the geologists say lies in the middle of the Mesozoic. They claim that all of the Atlantic ocean bottom is new material and that South America once lay in exacting configuration to the shoreline of the coast of Africa and similarly Europe to North America, with a little of Africa touching up on the coast of North America. Is there any validity to this or is it just a wild geological speculation? It's very easy to be a uniformitarian creationist and to refuse to think in catastrophic terms like that but when I read in Genesis l0:25 about the fifth generation after Shem that a child was born who was named (Peleg)--"utterly divided by water" "for in his days was the earth divided" by water. The first is an intensive verb form used as a noun and the second is simply the passive of the same verb then I begin to think in catastrophic terms. When I recognize from the Hebrew names that every child for generations is given a name which can be understood to have catastrophic overtones, my ears perk up. You won't recognize that in English. I conclude that five generations after the Noahic flood, at the beginning of the third generation after Babel, this great division took place. Paul may elude to it in Acts l7:26 when he speaks of God setting the boundaries of the nations. "And He made out of one blood every nation of mankind to dwell upon all of the face of the earth, for He previously determined, the times and the seasons having been prescribed for them and the boundaries of where they established their dwelling places."
Something similar to that is found in Psalm 74:13-14 where there is a very catastrophic description of tidal waves and of Leviathan being cast up on the shore for food for the desert people and then a reference to the setting of the bounds of the nations. I think that has reference to this event we are talking about here. "You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters. You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces and gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness." It is my conclusion that many interpreters are far to ready to assign this (and many other Old Testament passages) to metaphorical language describing the judgment of Egypt. I strongly doubt that such an interpretation is in harmony with the intent of the Revelator who speaks through this Psalmist.
The Jurassic deposits in particular entomb many large dinosaurs. Usually these are found in what must have been extremely hostile environments among windblown desert and shoreline sands and volcanic ash deposits. What does an examination of the taphonomic evidence surrounding these creatures seek to tell the researcher? In what kind of an environment do the dinosaurs lie? Let's go for a moment to Dinosaur National Park in Utah near Vernal. You will find there a bed that has now been tipped up to what?--40 degrees, something like that, and as they excavate the face of this sandstone lens. They peel off rock and expose disarticulated dinosaur skeletons. They have taken, what, a hundred of them off or more and carried them off to the museums. Very interesting to study the surrounding environment. This grew on me gradually. That sandstone lens is in a fantastic bed of mingled ash and sands, volcanic ash; an odd environment for the dinosaur echoes on. Why would he be living there? But, if he was there by choice, I suggest that the tidal waves that continued as earth movement continues, the widening of the basins begins in the middle of the Mesozoic sent tidal waves far inland on the low profile of the continents. I don't think the mountains were there like they are today. Yes, Ararat was there--though even that according to Burdick has been elevated massively by huge block faults. It's right at the very north end of the great African rift, 6,000 mile crack in the earth.
The tidal waves well could have carried many of these dinosaurs into what would have been hostile environments; areas where the wind is blowing, where the sand is blasting them, where the sun is brilliantly overheating them. These are creatures that often lived in the sea. Many of them have their nostrils on their forehead because they spent 99% of their lives submerged to their eyeballs and eating the vegetation of lakes and ponds and perhaps the marine shoreline. Of course, there were those that were land creatures that lived along there and preyed upon them. Dinosaur National Park and Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta both have this fantastic amount of volcanic ash down in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona--it is called the Morrison formation named after the town of Morrison, south of Denver, where I think it was first identified. There is a several hundred foot layer of that ash that lies all over these four states. It's not everywhere, but you'd be amazed at how often you'd run into it and you can recognize it immediately because as the bentonite and other chemicals have continued decomposing, the ashes continued decomposing into bentonite, there has been fantastic coloration and you can see it's brilliant pinks and mauves and other colors and just say immediately, I've got to go look for dinosaurs. Why? Why not?
When you are up around Choteau, Montana where the fantastic egg deposit was found; there were more eggs found there than any other place in the world. What is the environment in which these are buried? Well, they were living in apparently a shallow sea and as the mother dinosaurs had been coming ashore on shallow homocs and laying their eggs there near the water. And in what are they buried? A millage of ash and that sand and it's pretty tumultuous, too. I personally believe that something that we have thrown out a long time ago was responsible, the Lewis Overthrust. I believe the Lewis Overthrust occurred while most of that area was still under water and still largely uncemented and the sudden abrupt whipping up of a fault produced the sliding of these wet muds and they slipped as much as 35 miles and more and generated tidal waves and landslides that affected creatures for well over l00 miles to the east of that where they were living in the shallow sea. You will find fantastic support for this if you would just go out and look at the evidence all along the east side of the Rockies clear up into Canada. You will find the current swirls and the powerful movement that indicated that these creatures did not just simply lie down and die a quiet death. In fact, some of them may have been killed by the ashes being borne from the rising Rockies from the west.
Again this is not Noahic material. The Rockies rose well after the Noahic flood as a result of continental movement westward and there were hundred of volcanoes up there spewing out I suppose cubic miles of volcanic ash and that swept over into what is now known as the Red River basin and deposited a layer a couple hundred feet deep, something like that. There are dinosaurs scattered--I have seen them over l50 miles of the Red Deer River and they are constantly in contact with volcanic ash. I think many of them were killed by the ash falls, not dinosaurs but other creatures found in Nebraska excavated very recently and that this abrupt tidal movement buried them. Now that to me says, Hey, take it easy, revise your harmonization model if it says those dinosaurs died in the Noahic flood. It just does not fit.
The monocatastrophist creationist is in deep water without even a canoe when he begins attempting to harmonize most of the physical, geological column almost entirely by the Noahic flood. (I am happy to see that some of my friends in creationist circles are beginning to recognize just how deep the waters of presupposition are about them and are beginning to acknowledge that not all of the physical layers of the earth are the result of the Noahic flood. There are many serious problems when one attempts to support what has long been called "flood geology." For example, how in the world would the flood hydraulically sort out and ignore angiosperm plants and trees while depositing almost entirely gymnosperm plant and tree fossils in the Paleozoic deposits. Why would the Noahic flood waters decide to wait until Mesozoic and Cenozoic times to begin depositing angiosperm plant fossils? The creationist who wants to continue holding a mono-catastrophic model of harmonization needs to ask himself that question. For that matter, he needs to ask himself ask yourself how the flood hydraulically sorted and deposited the fishes and the amphibians as the dominant life form in the Paleozoic. He must ask himself how it is that the reptiles were reserved by the flood waters to become the dominate life forms of the Mesozoic. Somehow he needs to find a convincing explanation of how the majority of the mammals were reserved by the Noahic flood waters for burial in presumed final last stages of the Noahic flood. Mammals, earth's creatures which would have been the least likely to survive to be buried last in a Noahic flood and be deposited in the great Cenozoic layers, yet that is where they are found.
What happens to the massive evidences of continental division and of great diastrophism resulting from that separation? And worse yet, how can one maintain that the ice "age" also was a part of the retreat of the Noahic flood in the light of the physical evidences of a remarkable part of earth's positive land mass that it was above sea level while all of this plate separation, mountain building, multiplication of mammals (after their departure from the ark) if the ice catastrophe late in Cenozoic times was part of the Noahic flood??? How can we continue to attempt to explain the historical geological column as the deposits of one great single catastrophe? Impossible! Certainly not by hydraulic sorting of the Noahic flood! The one still holding this inaccurate position needs to go back to work on his drawing board again. A monocatastrophic geological column will not work, and there has to be a better answer. Heart Mountain overthrust near Cody Wyoming is fascinating place and a very real overthrust in spite of creationist denials. As one travels north out of Cody toward Billings, Montana, Heart Mountain lies to one's right as the two lane highway goes between it and the great hinge fault which is called Rattlesnake Mountain. This is a huge fault that leans to the east with the fractured edge of the tilt block on the west and northwest of Cody. I believe that this hinge fault was tipped up to the east by underthrusting blocks pressing the area from the Yellowstone Park area. This of course was a consequence of the pressures resulting from the migration of the great plate which fills so much of our northern hemisphere and is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west.
This violent uplift was accomplished when Rattlesnake Mountain and the younger material which became Heart Mountain were still very soft ocean bottom muds. Heart Mountain is simply a chunk of that soft mud that slid down the face of Rattlesnake Mountain, crossing over and crushing to death a number of dinosaurs that were in the shallow water or on the shoreline just to the east of Rattlesnake Mountain and left of the present highway. I have seen a surprising number of dinosaur fossils between Heart Mountain and the mountain which was the source of this overthrust. Their bones are crushed, shattered and broken. Scattered everywhere there are highly polished gastroliths which they apparently had carried in their stomachs for ballast when grazing in the shallow waters which then covered much of that area. After a rain one can go along and a little north of Heart Mountain and begin watching the road cuts. One should clamber along the edges of the road cuts and he probably will find several of these beautiful shiny polished rocks. And the researcher must remember as he holds a gastrolith in his hand that before his eyes lies a silent testimony about the violence of the catastrophism which abruptly destroyed these creatures.
The lifting and tilting of the dinosaur beds at Dinosaur National Park is a product of the same compression forces of plate movement after Genesis 10:25. There the fossils are frozen in a hardened layer of sands which now are tipped southward to at least 45 degrees. Southwest of Denver in the Green Mountain area a similar exposure of dinosaur evidence in the form of tracks may be found in the Denver hogsback. The road from the east crosses the Hogsback on the way through Mesozoic materials to the Amphitheater which is built in steeply tilted Paleozoic materials. It angles across the Mesozoic formations as it climbs to the top of the Hogsback. Abruptly the driver realizes that the road is running across a limestone bed that is tilted to the east at least a 45 degree angle. This is not the result of compression forces but rather as a result of the enormous upthrust of the Rockies which apparently came to rest over a hot spot deep in the rheosphere below the area. On this now strongly tilted limestone layer one can dimly see several enormous dinosaur tracks. They are no longer clear because of erosion and because tourists and others have been pecking away at them, trying to carry them home with them. I am confident that no dinosaur walking on that tilted surface produced those tracks. I believe that the Denver area was the shoreline of the retreating Noahic sea well into Mesozoic time. These creatures were coming ashore or were living in along the shallow waters in that area.
The uplift of the Rockies is a post-Noahic flood phenomenon. In the high mountains of the Rockies a researcher occasionally can find pendant formations of the Noahic flood Paleozoic materials and even Mesozoic materials. These have been lifted on the backs of the great intrusions which produced the Rockies. All around these isolated blocks of earlier material great volcanoes have spewed out their debris. As the researcher travels over the Rockies to their western slopes he will find the same formations that are tipped up on the east along the Front Range, only on the west side of the Rockies they now are tipping to the west. Younger material has uplifted, broken, and shattered these materials and has tipped the dinosaur-bearing beds on the west of the major ridge of the Rockies. These tracks on the Hogsback gives one some sort of an idea of when these marine shoreline reptiles which left their tracks on its face had crawled out of the Noahic flood waters. It definitely was after the Noahic flood. The context of the formations surrounding these tracks forbids any other interpretation by a creationist. Genesis 7:20 says, "Fifteen cubits (2l l/2 feet) upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." I think what we are simply being told is that the key to the ark which would have ridden about 2l l/2 feet deep judging from the size of it and the loading of it, never touched a mountain top after it was borne up. I don't think Ham was the needing the lead line to check the depth of the water. It is a passage that indicates that the surface of the entire earth was covered at the time of the Noahic flood.
But how could creatures have survived and crawled ashore as the Noahic flood began its retreat? After all, does not Genesis 7:2l say: "All flesh died..."? That is true, but that is not what the passage actually says. That statement is not complete until the reader correctly includes all of the restrictive clauses which follow that statement and greatly modify it. These make it clear that the Noahic flood particularly was designed to destroy air breathing creatures which lived on the continent in elevations above the marshy shorelines. "And all flesh died that moved upon the earth..." "All flesh died..."--That, at a first reading, settles it, doesn't it? I hope you don't read your love letters like that. Continue reading the whole sentence; there are some restrictive clauses that follow: "All flesh died that moved upon the earth..." What does that mean? Does that include all the sea creatures that swim in the sea? You reexamine chapter l and I think you will be forced to conclude that this is talking about land creatures. ". . . both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man." That's quite a few restrictive clauses there but look at the next one. (v. 22) ". . .All in whose nostrils was the breath of life." Doesn't that exclude gill creatures? Are they not able to take care of themselves, for the most part, in the Noahic. That's not to deny that many of them were killed by the floodwaters. In fact some marine species were completely exterminated in Paleozoic times. But I do not think that one needs to recalculate the size of the ark in order to include an aquarium to save all the species of the fish in the sea from the Noahic flood waters. They took care of themselves in the environment in which they normally lived.
". . .Of all that was in the dry land died." Now here a very unique Hebrew word occurs. I think it's only found nine times in the Old Testament. It has to do with high and dry, well drained land--"terra firma." I believe that when examines the way that the word was used, he will see the possibility that not only the creatures that lived in the sea, but marine/shoreline reptiles which easily could take care of themselves in the water actually floated around for l50 days until the land mass began to be exposed permanent. And it is only when the shorelines stabilize in a continuing retreat mode that their tracks begin to appear in the many places where they began to go ashore in the Triassic. Remember that these large and small reptiles were not out to make speed dashes to see who could get to the opposite side of the ocean first. They only were trying to survive and that was all. They could survive by floating in water. As the geological record shows, they started going ashore in multitudes leaving their tracks everywhere in the Triassic but leaving their carcasses in the Triassic and Jurassic and even up into the Cretaceous their carcasses which were ill adapted to the Post-Noahic flood world. Finally, some time after the days of Job they appear to have died out.
Of course there is the outside possibility that a few survivors are hidden away in the swamps of the Congo. That is an interesting possibility into which saved scientists actually have looked into not many years ago. After all it wasn't many years ago now when Japanese fishermen off New Zealand dredged up with their dredge trawl a Pleisosaur specimen, photographed him, sketched him, dumped him back in the water because he was rotting and they were afraid the rancid body would ruin their catch. When they got back to Japan and showed the pictures around the scientists were very upset. They recognized a Pleisosaur. The Japanese fishing fleet in that area dragged their great nets for weeks trying to pick up that skeleton again. It had not been attacked by multitudes of carnivores in the sea and stripped flesh--it had not been dead that long--Certainly not for 70 million years. I have copies of photographs taken only a few years ago on the coast of Northwest California. They show the rotting remains of a creature that washed ashore in that area. To me they look remarkably like the remains of a Pleisosaur. What surprises me is that we heard absolutely nothing about this creature from "60 million years ago." If it really was a Pleisosaur, it would have been a great find. But then it simply would have shown how inaccurate the statements of the historical geologists are who put them all to death those millions of years ago in their minds. Perhaps that is why we did not hear a report of that amazing find.
I think it is time that we heeded Psalm l48. The Psalm begins by turning to things in the heavens in verses 1 through 6. There it calls upon all that is in the heavens to praise the Lord. The Psalm even alludes to the waters that were above the heavens (Notice the verb "to be" is supplied in translations. If one is going to supply the linking verb, then he must look at the context (which in this case takes one all of the way back to Genesis 1) to decide what is the tense of the verb "to be" should be supplied in the translation). The past tense just as well could have been supplied with reference to the waters which ". . .were above the heavens" in the interval before the Noahic flood. In 7 of the Psalm the Psalmist suddenly turns to the earth. "Praise the Lord from the earth, you TANNANIM and all depths . . . ." The Hebrew word is variously translated as whales and serpents in the King James. Often modern versions render it as great sea monsters . This is a far greater group of creatures than simply the whales. Job says "am I the sea or a 'tannanim' that you set a watch over me?" Why would anyone set a watch over the sea? you'd better If one lived near the coast and was anticipating the arrival of dangerous tidal waves, he would do well to set a watch over the sea. But why would anyone put a watch over a sea monster? Well, Grendell's story found in the old Norse legend Beowulf might give you a hint. That creature would crawl out of the sea and eat two of Beowulf's men every night. I personally doubt that that is just a fairy tale legend of the past.
There are far too many records of dinosaurs and man cohabiting the earth at the same time. Psalm 74 refers to the tidal waves casting the dragons on ashore v. l3 "You did divide the sea by Your strength: You broke the heads of the 'TANNANIM' in the waters." Some versions translate this word by crocodiles--I doubt it! "You broke the heads of the Leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness." These are the high steppes of the wilderness where one scarcely would expect a sea creature to be found.
Obviously the waters of the implied tidal waves have borne that sea creature there. That is something about which I have been speaking considerably. I have mentioned that Job 40 has references to the BEHEMOTH . This Hebrew word is the feminine plural of the noun which often refers to the cattle. But here by the description, it obviously is an unusually large creature. I have speculated that the creature was Baluchitherium, a giant, hornless rhinoceros. God mentions and partially describes Leviathan in Job 41. This was a creature that swam in the sea and, surprisingly enough, breathed fire. This description traditionally has been carried down by people all over the world. I think they are recording a historical fact and that there is a seed germ of truth behind it. Don't ask me how the creature accomplished such a remarkable feat. For that matter, don't ask me how a Bombardier beetle is able to mix gasses from two separate tanks in his tiny body and suddenly jet out gasses which are at the boiling point. But he does. The translators with whom I have worked who are from East India have described these tiny creatures to me as inhabitants of the near jungle terrain were these people live.
The Mesozoic closes with the extermination of practically all of these larger land reptiles and of many of the gymnosperm or soft seeded and spore bearing plants. I think there are a number of factors here: the adaptability of the mammals and the angiosperms to the type of an environment the earth has now that the flood has taken away the canopy probably is a major factor here. Furthermore, great mountain chains by this time were being crushed upward by continental plate movement. Many of the world's great mountains were built at this time as a result of the enormous uplifts or diastrophism. These new mountains now were modifying air currents from the ocean basins that were flowing ashore onto the land masses. This began changing climates on the plateaus of the land mass. Furthermore, the inability of the large reptiles and most gymnosperms to adapt to a climate that was drier than the pre-Flood world also contributed to their extinction.
Creationists should be willing to examine the possible validity of the suggestion offered by Alvarez that a large meteor impact and its enormous dust cloud at the close of the Cretaceous, the final deposit series of the Mesozoic, provided the final blow to the large creatures of that period of earth's history. He recognized that there were unique concentrations of iridium deposits in this strange taphonomic transition in the geological column. This conceivably could provide an explanation for the obviously abrupt termination of the large reptiles which already were ill adapted to the great change in climate which Mesozoic deposits display.
One of the fascinating factors found in the underlying Paleozoic deposits is the massive evidence that these deposits record the burial of life-forms from a previous time when earth had a universal climate. Of course that is not the way that the uniformitarian interprets Paleozoic evidences. Having extrapolated Paleozoic time into a period of about 300 million years, he interprets the life-forms found in the Paleozoic deposits to have lived during Paleozoic times, not recognizing that he actually is examining overwhelming taphonomic evidence pointing to the great cataclysm in which they died. He is unable to recognize that the Paleozoic deposits left by the Noahic flood record the nature of life under the canopy in the centuries between Adam and Noah.
I do not think that it is at all impossible that a giant meteor striking Central America may have left its mark world wide at the transition between Mesozoic time and Cenozoic time. I have for years suggested that we creationists should be more active in searching for astroblemes, the scars of meteor contacts with the surface of the earth. Alan Kelly awakened me to that possibility years ago. He and Daschille, a geologist who worked for the University of Pennsylvania until his death, made the suggestion in a book called "Target Earth." Many years before Alvarez made his suggestion, Kelly proposed that the Gulf of Mexico was a giant impact site from very early in Cenozoic time. He pointed to configuration of the very early Eocene structures at the beginning of the Cenozoic as they lie along the shoreline of the Gulf. He saw in the arrangement of these layers evidence of extreme catastrophism at the submerged impact rim. He suggested that the great salt domes and huge layers of pure, unfossiliferous rock salt and great quantities of oil far beneath the present surface, which are found in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico were evidence of the evaporation of sea water which covered the area at that time and the evaporation of the bodies of multitudes of sea creatures. He proposed that the salts are the result of the instantaneous evaporation of many cubic miles of sea water by the great heat of the meteor strike in the sea. The oils would have been the result of the instant evaporation of multitudes of sea creatures from diatoms on up to the largest whales, the oils of these life-forms being less susceptible to being volatilized. The salts and oils would have fallen out of the purple hot plasma of gasses which ruptured the atmosphere. They then were buried by the enormous tidal waves that were generated and which ultimately were able to cross the extremely hot hole left in the crust of the earth.
Early in the decade of the 1970's I met a salt geologist who worked for the Diamond Salt Company. This company mines the subsurface salt deposits in states like Mississippi or Louisiana. We were discussing the total absence of fossils in these great layers of salt. He, as he had been taught in his geology training, attempted to explain the salt layers as the deposits of vast evaporation basins. But he admitted that the absence of larger bodied fossils was very puzzling to him. He said something like this: "You would at least think that an occasional creature would have wandered into the basin and would have died there!" When I explained the possibility that these great, unfossiliferous layers of salt were the byproduct of a great meteor strike in the sea at the present location of the Gulf of Mexico he shook his head in amazement. He admitted: "I never thought of that!" I have pursued possible evidence that the waves from this great catastrophe raced northward across the Great Plains and left their mark as far west as the Front Range of the Rockies which were still rising and as far north as Nebraska and South Dakota. I think that the heat of the strike and the several hundred foot wave which crossed Texas and the Central States may be the correct explanation for the grounding of the great ammonite which I found near Lake Whitney. It also could explain what happened to the dinosaurs whose tracks in the Paluxy River layers have so intrigued creationists.
It would also explain some of the great marine life-forms found buried in Kansas. It possibly could explain the remarkable evidences of erosion which has sliced away the debris along the Denver Front Range, materials which had washed out of the Rockies as they were erected by heat released in a plume from the fierce fires of continental plate movement. It must not be forgotten that the Rockies have great pendant formations which once covered the area where the Rockies now lie. These shattered, uplifted and isolated formation remnants are fragments of Noahic flood and retreat of flood deposits which have been well indurated before their uplift. These isolated layers and the Paleozoic fossils and early Mesozoic fossils which are found in them have a clear message for the creationist who still wants to honor the Noahic flood as the sole universal Biblical catastrophe. It is a message which requires the passage of time between the flood and the catastrophically abrupt separation of the great continental plates to their present configuration. The u-shaped scars of glaciers which fill the uplifted Central Rockies which contain these pendant formations also have a message for the creationist who wants to make the "ice age" the closing stage of the Noahic flood. Such a position is absolutely impossible when one examines the physical evidence which the Creator has left for us to read about its event series as He "set the boundaries of the nations" (Acts 17:26).
I have not been able to discredit the possibility which my mind suggests that the meteor strike which is well documented in Yucatan actually followed a much greater strike in the Gulf of Mexico and that the tsunami devastation which followed the greater strike obscures much of the evidence. If the idea is accurate, then it is evidence of a global catastrophe of life and death proportions that may well account for the remarkable transition in the dominance of life-forms which obviously lies between the scene and the dominance of reptilian life forms implied by Mesozoic deposits and the remarkable transition to an abrupt rise to dominance of mammalian life forms which is found in Cenozoic times. Most certainly the creationist should recognize the inadequacy of most creationist harmonization models to explain the taphonomic transition to which the record of the rocks clearly testifies. The time is long overdue for a total revision or a discarding of those models which cannot explain the evidence.
There are other very significant implications found in Cenozoic taphonomic studies which we creationists dare not ignore. The key climatological factor of the Cenozoic is found in the constant reduction of temperatures until the Pleistocene ice catastrophe in one way or another affected the entire earth's climate. Some years ago I ran into something very interesting for which I no longer have the documentation. Geologists studying the fossil oxygen content of shellfish in the sea in various layers of the Cenozoic came to the odd conclusion that the oxygen content had reduced through these periods. From that they drew the conclusion, I believe I am right in saying that the temperatures had steadily dropped until the sea basins in the Arctic regions were at zero centigrade. By then, the Pleistocene Ice Epoch had started.
To me this material is a very strong indicator that the Pleistocene "Ice Age" is the fifth catastrophe directly resulting from the abrupt division of the continents, the fourth catastrophe which left its mark on all of the world. This movement of the crust of the earth on colossal perspective produced volcanism beyond anything we can imagine today. Inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest rightly trembled when Mt. St. Helens erupted. Can you imagine what it must have been like when there was a chain of fiery volcanoes rubbing shoulders from Tierra Del Fuego (the land of fire) on the southern tip of south America through the entire Cordillerian chain of great peaks, through Central America, through the Central and Northern Rockies, the Sierras Klamath Mountains and the Cascades and on through the Canadian and Alaskan Rockies and even into Siberia? The entire area was ejecting great ash explosions and outpouring huge lava flows as volcanoes everywhere were exploding.
Scientists have calculated the temperatures dropped somewhat after the great explosions at Mt. St. Helens. Others have calculated the drop in the world's atmospheric temperature after the explosions in the valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in 1912 in Alaska. They reported that for a time solar energy entering the earth's atmosphere was reduced by 20 percent! Imagine how much the earth's temperatures must have been reduced when Mt. Krakatoa exploded in the western Pacific in the 1800's. It is reported that, as a result of the darkened skies, chickens went to bed at 4 p.m. in Kansas. Maine had no summer at all that year! The violent explosion of that one volcano affected climates all over the world. How would you have liked to have lived when the Cordolerin Chain was blasting off? There are volcanoes over 22,000 feet high in southern South America. There are some pretty good ones in the Canadian Rockies. I flew over them once from Seattle to Calgary. and I watched in amazement as volcanic peak after volcanic peak passed below me. There was massive evidence of broken marine strata which were tipped in practically every direction in between these volcanoes. That is catastrophism! I once rode by train from Toronto to Chilliwack, British Columbia which is just east of Vancouver. I spent most of the trip between cars where I could see better as we passed through those very mountains. I was staggered to observe the extremely extensive volcanism of the Canadian Rockies that was evident everywhere but probably was more impressed to observe those fantastic uplifts caused by continental movement well after the Noahic flood. These are key geological factors of the Cenozoic deposits. Everywhere on the continents there is positive evidence of positive land mass throughout most of the Cenozoic on most of these newly-formed continents of the world. Do not try to harmonize these Cenozoic materials with Noah's universal flood. Positive land masses above sea level is very frequently occurs in the presence of sub- aerial volcanic ash and lava flows throughout the whole Cenozoic Era. Sub-aerial volcanic explosions well above sea level have scattered their ash and muds as well as continental lava flows.
In my own area of Northern California that ash has fallen and has been deposited above sea level between Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta and far to the east. There are all kinds of exposures of continental volcanic extrusions and explosions in our area. For instance, if I travel east on Highway 299 or Highway 44, I drive for miles through enormous mud slides that appear to be as much as 300 feet deep or even more. I have never tried to measure their depth. These great flows which have extended at least to Palo Cedro contain rocks and boulders of all kinds that have come spewing out of the enormous volcano that once stood just south of present day Mt. Lassen. Mt. Lassen as it exists today is just the volcano which has built on the northern edge of the rim of an enormous volcano that was built on the area where Lake Almanor and its basin now lie. Then it collapsed in on itself after it had blasted debris all over northern California and southern Oregon and for many miles to the east. It had spewed mud slides everywhere to the northwest of the present crater.
My house in north Redding, California is built on some of this debris which has been washed down out of the mud slides and ash to the north. It appears to have been deposited as part of a delta in the north end of the extension of the sea that filled the whole great valley at one time or the enormous ice "age" lake filled with melt water from the melting snows and glaciers of the sierras. You can even see the shorelines of these if you look for them. The researcher who would like to pursue further information about taphonomy will find much material in the bibliography of "Fossils in the Making," edited by W. W. Bishop and Freeman are editors of the Prehistoric Archeology and Ecology series. (21) It is quite useful even though the book largely focuses on a symposium on modern taphonomy in Africa. The researchers there were been studying creatures that have died in Africa and that are gradually decaying. They attempt to use their observation of a portion of the process whereby a life-form is transformed into part of the lithosphere. In other words they attempt to use a limited area of the study of taphonomy in order to extend the decay of animals today back into historical taphonomy, my own area of interest. This book is what got me fascinated with this field. Then I began pursuing it on my own. Bishop the last thing he wrote, published posthumously, lists ten major suitable environments for death and resulting fossilization. He points out that lake deposits in the mountain basins of growing mountain chains have specific natures adaptable to fossilization and are places where life-forms can be buried and fossilized. Lake Florisant near Pikes Peak is an excellent example. There multitudes of plant and insect life-forms and even tree trunks were buried in the water as it became filled with volcanic ash. Rift valley sumps and grabens form a good location. I think that I have mentioned man's fossil traces around Lake Naiavasha and Olorgasallie in the Kenya rift. Bishop mentions volcanic fields with tefras and pumices. The John Day formation in Oregon has all kinds of plant materials directly embedded in ash, apparently without the presence of water as at Lake Florisant. At the Feather River canyon not far from Greenville, California there are all kinds of ash beds rich with plant life.
Delta areas of rivers flowing into the sea, locations marked by marine transgressions in shallow water estuaries and lagoons are places where you fossils are found. Modern fossilization can be examined in Supai Creek in Havasu Canyon where the stream is laden with lime derived from springs in the lime formations above. Desert settings such as hot, sand dune fields and salt playas have been very productive in China. Deep freeze settings can produce creatures like the mammoths in Siberia. I insist that that is not a Noahic flood deposit. This is something that happened during the Ice Age and is a very interesting and isolated catastrophe which probably was triggered by a large meteor impact in the Canadian ice cap. Alan Kelly has suggested the possibility that such an impact ruptured the atmosphere above the impact site in southeast Hudson Bay. The vacuum created drew down extreme cold which swept around the far northern part of the hemisphere as the earth rotated beneath it. That cold quick froze the mammoth's lungs, almost instantly killing them, and then burying their bodies in the extremely cold debris carried by the shock wave.
Add also shoreline and inland tsunami deposits, the tidal waves generated by crustal movement under the sea, carrying in and depositing the vegetation which became the coal on the east coast of the United States. Submarine eruptive deposits are a very important source of marine microfossils. California Geological Bulletin l83 describes the formation of chert. Chert forms when multitudes of microscopic silica shells are brought together with submarine silica "ash" extrusions, then buried under tremendous pressure in a deep sea basin about l3,000 feet deep. That great pressure of the sea concentrates the chert and produces these enormous deposits which are found along the California Coast Range. This is not a Noahic flood deposit. Submarine slumps and continental slumps also instantly bury life-forms with a good prospect of producing fossils. A number of campers were buried not far from Yellowstone Park. An abrupt movement and tilting of the land mass produced an enormous slide which covered their campground. The same thing happens when shallow seas are lifting and things are sliding as I have suggested probably is the cause of the deposits east of the Lewis overthrust. Another important cause of fossilization is the fiery extrusion of basalt along the mid-Atlantic rift. It is a trail of microfossil death which lies between South America and Africa and between Europe and North America. There is a trail of fossil death down there where micro- fossils were killed and buried in the intense heat of that hot rift zone which continued to separate as movement took place. There still is some movement going on there. As usual the Lord loves to give someone the rope to hang themselves and to say: "This is a uniformitarian deposit. See how slow it is moving now? That's how fast the separation of the continents moved in Mesozoic and Cenozoic history."
Wind blown deposits along shallow seas on the land mass is another place where I have found continental deposits containing fossils. On Interstate 40 in western Colorado I became fascinated by the great road cuts through ancient lake shore wind dunes. We clambered up the slope of a road cut and stumbled onto an ancient fire pit through which the road cut had sliced. There were flint chips discarded by an arrow maker all around it. Beside the fire pit we also found lower leg bones of what I identified as mountain sheep. I felt confident that the fire had been built at the time that fossil Lake Uinta had filled that entire basin east of Vernal, Utah but well before the Biblical ice catastrophe ice melt from the Green River Basin area of southern Wyoming and northern Utah had carved their way on farther south to join the Colorado River Drainage and carve the Grand Canyon. As one drives through the Uinta basin from that point on west of Vernal, he actually will be crossing a lake basin that was temporarily trapped when the Green River Basin finally managed to break through the east end of the Uinta Mountains, slash through the Green River Canyon and expose the uplifted strata in which the dinosaurs of Dinosaur National Monument had been buried centuries before. Eventually the powerful waters of the Green River drainage, the Colorado River Drainage and the San Juan Drainage broke through the Coconino/Kaibab uplift to carve the Grand Canyon. That event probably largely was completed within a single month. After these powerful cavitating waters had cut the Grand Canyon, they raced through the area east of Las Vegas, probably totally flooding that area briefly, then raced on south into the area of Needles, California.
These waters may have contributed much of Barstow Desert as they joined an estuary of the sea. Indeed, they may have, in the power of their flow, have even contributed largely to the materials of the Yuma Desert. Other elements in Cenozoic deposits show that there was positive land mass throughout the Cenozoic. It can be seen in the archaeological record of man's migration from Mesopotamia as mankind continued the migration begun at Babel, searching throughout all of the now separated land surface masses of Cenozoic times for a place where they might live undisturbed by other linguistic groups. Man's fossil record of his migration in the Cenozoic cannot possibly be associated with Noahic flood deposits. Man's caves and artifacts have been found even below sea level where the melting of Pleistocene ice shields has raised sea level. Other temporary habitations like that have remained above sea level and the materials left by these migrants in the caves where they lived often are still fairly well preserved.
Not only can one get some idea of man's migration routes from Babel as he scattered on the face of the earth but it is possible to trace his development of necessary tools during these difficult times of migration when he could not practice metallurgical techniques which he had known since Genesis 4. In their migrations, many of the peoples of the earth totally forgot how to make sharp cutting tools of bronze and iron after the manner invented by the descendants of Cain. The evolutionary archaeologist treats the trail of temporary tools left by these migrants in a remarkably imaginative way. He finds in these caves, by the fire pits and other temporary stops along the way clear evidence that man first used stone tools and rather simple tools at that. From this rejection of the Biblical evidence they began proposing that they were observing man's evolution through the record of his development of his "Stone Age" tools. With that base of presupposition archaeologists have further perfected their frameworks of human history which now include the bronze age, the iron age and the plastic age.
I suggest that in that in the very difficult time of migration after the Noahic family had landed on Mt. Ararat, as they began to follow the mountain ridge to the east that now had risen above the sea. That now is called the Zagros mountains. Eventually they finally followed the retreating sea, moving down from the east (Gen. 11:1) onto the Mesopotamian plains where they chose to settle. That was not an area where they could mine metals so they were not much interested in working furnaces and using the technologies that were invented in Genesis 4. I suggest that during their long journey from Ararat they had turned to a technology that you would have turned to if you were in that kind of a situation. Everything is covered by the hundreds and even thousands of feet of Noahic flood debris. Minerals would have been hidden from their eyes in most cases. I propose that, on their journey from Ararat, Noah's sons introduced and refined the technology for making tools which came to be carried all over the world by migrants from Babel nearly three generations later.
I have found flint knives in southern Israel near Beersheba. I found them in caves east of the Grand Canyon. These tools have exactly the same design. I have examined the digging tools at Kariandusi in the African rift of Kenya. I have an obsidian digging tool from northern California. They are remarkably similar. I believe many of these migrating peoples never returned to the technologies which their ancestors had known as the world began to dry out and warm up. Others did. Actually there are bronze and even iron instruments found in archaeological sites far older than the evolutionary scheme of tool development would have placed them. And, that is an interesting part of creation studies that is not being touched. Others peoples continued to use the stone age tools. Those who migrated over the Siberian route down into the United States and those who came from the east never relearned metal technologies.
How did they get here from the east? One Indian legend tells they were on a great island far to the east when their god became angry at them. This is in the 1983 Creation Minutes from Anaheim. Their god became angry and broke off the southern end of the island where she had herded all of them and the island floated in the sea for a long time and finally two people managed to escape by canoe and made it to the land where they now live. This is down somewhere among the Lenni Lenapi Indians on the east coast--very interesting legend for an Indian to imagine. One scholar says that every one of those stories has some seed germ of truth in it and I suspect there is a pretty good size germ in that one. I think some people came from the east and that continental movement may have been a factor in their movement and that migration took place onto Africa and elsewhere and there may have been indeed some that came by boat. I wish I knew the whole story. I am going to sit in the front row of the re-runs when we get the chance. Man continued perfecting his technologies with stone. I managed to pick up some stones out in the edge of the Sahara Desert in Niger that had been windblown for centuries and the fine strata in them are eroded by the sand blasting but you can still see the skill of the technology of those who manufactured those stone tools. By the way, some on the east coast of the United States among the American Indians did use metal technologies. In the great mounds in the northeast and central states there are plates of native copper, pendants and a few copper tools which has been worked by these Indians. The book of Job contains fascinating references to metal technologies. I place the book of Job far back in Biblical history at about Genesis 10:29, and I feel that it is by far the oldest book of the Bible. It mentions the working of iron, silver and lead. It mentions writing skills as well. I have suggested that Job probably was written during the first warm period after the most intense period of the ice age.
Biological factors in Cenozoic times
By far the dominate life forms I have mentioned are the mammalian and angiosperms. I've already told you that I believe there is very good reason for this. Here is something else that is interesting that I'd like to chase--gigantism shows up among many mammalian life forms during Cenozoic times. I'd like to know if this really is what it seems to be--gigantism or the present forms dwarfed. Chase that one for me. I wonder sometimes if the rich mineral content of the soil during all this volcanism might have been a factor in producing gigantism. Still you have gross vitamin shortage indicated in the human forms in the caves of Europe and elsewhere producing forms like the Neanderthal Man-- something more to study.
I want to mention, too, that a fascinating thing is that the geological sub-divisions of the Cenozoic largely rotate around the number of specimens which survive out of that period into the present so that you begin with say 5% of the life forms surviving to the present and you continue down until you have about 90% of the life forms surviving into the present as you go through the Cenozoic. I think the taphonomic testimony consistently points to several forms of catastrophism as major factors in the death and fossilization records here--not just one, but many, and it points to death causes and means of fossilization that you simply cannot use a monocatastrophic harmonization model. I think you are going to have to look for some way of recognizing and utilizing these several catastrophes that I have suggested.
It is crucial that we do not ignore fossil man. None of his fossils from Cenozoic time suggest universal flood burial. For example there are fossil tracks of man through volcanic ash which are found in east Africa. The great stone tool manufacturing sites which once were completely
buried by volcanic ash in the African Rift have nothing to do with the Noahic flood. His presence in glacial debris in western Minnesota points to the catastrophic event series which followed the Noahic flood. All of man's fossils from Cenozoic deposits relate to the land mass above sea level. This also is clear in the record of man's migration from the near East and his spread over all of earth's land surface in later Cenozoic time.
This undoubtedly represents the final stages of Man's migration from Babel in the third and subsequent generations following Babel, not less than five generations after the Noahic flood (Gen. 10). It is seen in the record of man's temporary use of stone implements, in his difficult time of survival during the "ice age" and in the development of great civilizations as that climate improved. This stone "age" culture represents the difficult years of migration after the ark landed, of the years of travel after the division of the languages, of travel during the unbelievable difficulty of the centuries involved in the major movement of continental division, and finally, in the hardships of living during the extended years when volcanic, atmospheric debris brought earth's environmental temperatures dangerously low. It must be remembered that Cain's family invented metal working technologies within a few generations of the garden. This helps us to realize that "the stone age culture" is nothing more than a temporary expedient of these difficult times of migration. As those difficulties of migration during continental division gradually were relieved, many of Noah's descendants soon returned to the metal technologies which their ancestors had used and perfected them. Positive evidence of major mountain building is found throughout Cenozoic deposits. The effects of abrupt continental separation in Genesis 10:25 continued to produce diastrophism for centuries and even today is a factor to be recognized. This great period of plate movement built the world's great mountains far above sea level in the extended period which followed the Noahic flood by centuries. The key biological factors of the Cenozoic all point to life on the greatly disturbed surface of the planet. By far the dominant life-forms are mammalian and gymnosperm. This dominance cannot be explained by either of the flood models of harmonization. These life-forms are survivors of the Noahic flood which came to live in a world which now favors warm blooded creatures rather than cold blooded creatures. The larger representations of this group of creatures soon died out in the post-Noahic flood world which was hostile to them. Most of the surviving reptile families are those able to live in the sea or to retreat into cool places during the heat of the day. Most of the gymnosperm survivors are found in humid, swampy, well protected biospheres.
Gigantism among many of the mammalian life-forms of the earlier centuries of the Cenozoic is common. Whether this is gigantism or whether present survivors are dwarfed is a moot question. I suspect that the rich mineral content of the soils as a result of the very extensive volcanism of continental division may have temporarily produced larger life-forms. At any rate, present day survivors appear to be direct descendants of these larger life-forms. The geological subdivisions of the Cenozoic are named and largely divided on the basis of the number of survivors from each period which are still present today. This certainly does not point to "flood selectivity of burial." Rather it strongly requires us to recognize that many creatures which lived in the post-Noahic flood, early Cenozoic times, have not been able to survive into the present. Still more creatures from mid-Cenozoic times have survived. Far more from later Cenozoic times have survived. To me this merely represents the continuing migration of creatures from the landing point of the Ark and the gradual extinction of those life-forms which were not well adapted to survival under the keen competition of living with an expanded human race in a climate which had changed greatly.
It is my conclusion that the several strange and unworkable harmonization models which attempt to harmonize the physical record of geology with the Biblical record have grown out of our failure as creationists to examine scrupulously the evidence from both sources. The Biblicist far too often has been led astray by the translators who themselves have not fully understood the original text. Too often they have supplied words in the text which have resulted in Scripture harmonizing to some degree with their presuppositions but actually resulting in Scripture appearing to contradict itself. The presuppositions and inadequate researches of earlier creationists far too often have been imposed upon the Revelatory text in such a way that the message intended by the Divine Author has been obscured for them and for those whom they have taught. Yes, a very important part of the problem is the fact that we as creationists far too often have imposed the errors and half- truths taught to us upon those whom we have taught. I recognize my own guilt in this for I still meet my graduate students who for years have taught others what I taught them years ago from that totally inadequate harmonization model which we call "the gap theory." It is time that we as creationists carefully chip away the cement which we have allowed to harden about our feet before we had done even the first steps of adequate research. Only then can we expect to influence the naturalist uniformitarian who today can only scoff at the inadequate grasp which we have of two very crucial streams of information which we have been given concerning earth's early history. I am speaking of natural revelation, that which comes from the Creator's hand, and Biblical revelation, that which we have received from the Creator's mind. I hold that both are completely trustworthy when we adequately grasp the message which is embodied in them. And I say that every grain of sand has a message for us if only we could hear it speak. Since we cannot, only the keenest of diligence in research will help us to read the message which it brings, a message in complete harmony with the Word of God---apart from the interpretative corruptions with which we read its infallible message.
1 Olson, Everett C., "Taphonomy: its History and Role in Community Evolution," in "Fossils in the Making," Anna K. Behresnmeyer and Andrew P. Hill, eds., p. 9. 1980, University of Chicago Press from the series "Prehistory and Archaeology Series," #4.
2 _______, pp. 5-8.
3 Scofield, C. I., "The Scofield Reference Bible." p. 4.
4 Reported in Frank W. Cousins' "Fossil Man. The Evolution Protest Movement, 1966, flyleaf.
5 Baker, Mace, "Evidences of a world-wide flood from the study of Dinosaurs." Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism. Pittsburgh 1990. Vol. 1, pp. 15-20.
6 Northrup, Bernard E., "Identifying the Noahic Flood in Historical Geology: Part One and Part Two." Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism. Pittsburgh: 1990. pp. 173-188. 7 Thompson, A. O. and R. G. Dodson, "Geology of the Naivasha Area. Government of Kenya, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Geological Survey of Kenya. p. 17.
8 Northrup, "The Sisquoc Diatomite Fossil Beds." Creation Research Quarterly, Dec. 1969, Vol. 6, #4. pp. 129-135.
9 _____________, "The Sisquoc Diatomite Fossil Beds." Creation Research Society Quarterly, Dec. 1960, Vol. 6, #3, pp. 129-135.
10 ____________, "Book Review: Franciscan and Related Rocks", March 1970, Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 6, # 4, pp. 161-171.
10 Froede, Carl R. Jr., "A Proposal for a Creationist Geological Time Scale." Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 32, #2, Sept. 1995. pp. 90-94.
11 __________, Op. Cit., p. 92.
12 ________, Op. Cit. p. 70.
13 Northrup, "Continental Drift and the Fossil Record" in "Repossess the Land," essays and Technical Papers. Anaheim: 15th Annual Convention of the Bible Science Association, 1979.
14 __________, "A Critique of the Contemporary Division/Flood Model." Minneapolis: The Bible Science Newsletter, Vol. 15, # 12, Dec. 1977, pp. 2-6.
15 ________, "On Finding an Ice Age Book." East Point, GA: 1975. Colonial Hills Baptist Church, Fourth Annual Bible and Science Conference.
16 ______________, "Book Review: Franciscan and Related Rocks." Creation Research Quarterly, Mar. 1970, Vol. 6, #4, pp. 161- 171.
17 Watts, J. Wash, "A Survey of Syntax in the Hebrew Old Testament." Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1964. pp. 92-93.
18 Edwin D. McKee, "Paleozoic Rocks of Grand Canyon." pp. 42-64 in Breed, William J. and Evelyn Roat, "Geology of the Grand Canyon." Flagstaff: Museum of Northern Arizona. 1976.
19 von Engeln, O.D. and Kenneth E. Caster, "Geology." McGraw Hill, 1952. p. 375.
21 Bishop, W.W. and Freeman, Eds., Fossils in the Making," edited
by Anna Behrs Myhre and Andrew Hill in the series, "Prehistoric Archaeology
and Ecology, Vertebrate Taphonomy and Paleoic Ecology," edited by W.W.
Bishop and Freeman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, l980. 338 pages.
Online edition, January 1, 1997.
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