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Science and the Bible Pt 3

Here is the third part of this series. Again, I am not endorsing this information or position, just presenting it as a well written article for your enjoyment and study.

Vast Periods of Time?
Vast periods of time, and many successive ecological niches, had to exist in the earth, for algal reefs of hundreds of feet to grow in place. Much time was required for vast quantities of vegetation to live, grow, and die, and to become entombed, to create vast deposits of coal in Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

This vast period of time YEHOVAH put to good use.
As Robert Macdonald shows, in a paper entitled Geology:
"The fossil record contains hundreds of zones, each with its own particular faunal assemblage. What is the chance that such an invariant worldwide sequence of life forms could be built up if they all lived CONTEMPORANEOUSLY, and the sequence in which they are found were only a burial order? How could a burial order based not on water sorting, but on environments do the job?...

"Suppose that in a worldwide catastrophe, one group of organisms were brought in from one area and deposited, then another assemblage from another area were deposited on top of that, and so on. A local sequence of life forms would be built up. But the chances would be against the deposition of fossils in the same order in a local sequence in another area. Consider the chance that the same order would occur in all sequences worldwide. It would be NIL!

"There is NO WAY to account for the sequence in faunal succession by ONE catastrophe. Nor is there any way to account for this sequence by a SERIES of catastrophes, or by a LONG DRAWN-OUT catastrophe. If all these Paleozoic and Mesozoic organisms were contemporaneous, there would inevitably have been some mixing of early and late forms.

"The ONLY explanation is that each geologic horizon does indeed represent a DIFFERENT time in the past during which a unique assemblage of life forms was living and being deposited in many parts of the world. Slow or incremental deposition is therefore essential to give time for worldwide changes in populations of fauna whose remains preserved as fossils vary from one stratum to another."
During the geologic ages of the earth's past, life went on in a normal fashion for millions of years. Fossil reefs obviously grew in the place in which they are found. Standing trees, with their roots in place, tracks and trails both on land and on the sea bottoms, layer upon layer containing burrows and borings made by animals just as they do in the sea-bottoms today, all show that most of the geologic column was created OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS, not in the Flood of Noah's time, or some other isolated catastrophe.

Although the record in the earth's strata clearly shows that great catastrophes did take place, in the earth's past, the record also shows that there were periods of millions of years in which no violent cataclysms occurred. During these calm, relatively nonviolent periods, great CREATIVE PROCESSES were going on. Cyclothems of coal were formed. As Macdonald points out, coal is commonly found in a sequence of beds called a cyclothem -- a cycle of beds repeated over and over again, perhaps dozens of times. Much time would be needed for such deposits to be made, one on top of another.

The Pre-Adamic World
How, then, are we to understand the "Pre-Adamic world"? What was it like?
Robert Macdonald gives a good answer:
"The fossil record shows that new organisms appeared in the record from time to time, and at other times groups of organisms have become extinct. This shows that at times God created new organisms, and at other times, species were destroyed or allowed to die out. There is a continuity to this pre-Adamic world. It would appear that there is no record of the COMPLETE destruction of all life during that period before Adam."
Macdonald continues: "I therefore do not consider the pre-Adamic world as a series of creations, but one creation, even though the acts of new life forms were not all simultaneous.
"Why the sequence of life we find in faunal succession? What possible reason could there be for God creating the organisms of the pre-Adamic world 'by stages' instead of all at one time? Perhaps a better question would be 'Why a pre-Adamic world at all?' Human answers to these questions are bound to be somewhat speculative since God has not revealed this knowledge, but a few ideas have been proposed.
"It has been suggested that there was pre-Adamic life so that the angels could have something to rule over and work with. This seems a likely possibility, but there must be more to it."
Robert Macdonald goes on:
"The first life forms created apparently were bacteria, algae and possibly worms, 'simple' organisms that could survive in a barren and sterile environment. The points in the sequence which mark the first appearance of new life forms indicate where God created new species, and added them to an already viable ecological system. These new organisms were added from time to time as the environment became prepared for them by the former ecological system.
"The succession of life forms added by creation was one of generally increasing complexity and size. Thus the sequence observed in faunal succession was not a result of evolution, but one necessitated by practicality. It took a few 'simple' small varieties of organisms in the beginning to prepare the way for more numerous varieties of larger and more complex organisms, and so on."
Macdonald asserts:
"Understanding the reasons for this sequence imparts an understanding of at least one possible purpose of the pre-Adamic creation -- to prepare the earth for man. This preparation was not only of the environment, but also of the fossil fuels and our mineral resources which made possible the industrial revolution."
The world before Adam can only be understood by studying the evidence of that world contained within the earth's strata. The Scriptures allude to such a world in the very briefest of terms. But there is not a word in the Bible that would lead one to understand that physical life on earth existed before Adam. The Bible is largely silent about that ancient world. It remains, therefore, for the study of geology and paleontology to guide us and to provide information about that by-gone world.

The fact that geology shows us that various forms of animal and plant life became extinct, at different periods of the earth's geologic past, would indicate that YEHOVAH God allowed these extinctions for a purpose. At times, to accomplish His purpose, the extinctions were widespread and general, and involved catastrophe.

At the end of the Cretaceous period, the dinosaurs were exterminated. However, frogs, turtles, lizards, snakes and crocodiles CONTINUED ON THROUGH the boundary, into a new world. The destruction, although vast and global in nature, was NOT universal.

Fundamentalists, who attempt to account for all life remains and fossils within the past 6,000 years, simply dismiss the 100 miles of evidence in the geologic column!
As Bertrand Russell, the famous philosopher, once wrote: "The world was created in 4004 B.C., complete with fossils, which were inserted to try our faith. The world was created suddenly, but was made such as it would have been if it had evolved. There is no logical impossibility about this view. And similarly, there is no logical impossibility in the view that the world was created five minutes ago, complete with memories and records" (An Outline of Philosophy, p. 27).

Theodosius Dobzhansky, professor of genetics at the University of California, at Davis, and professor emeritus at the Rockefeller University, points out it is foolish to try to make the Bible into a primer on natural science. If all the radiometric evidence is wrong, if the duration of the geological and paleontological record is grossly distorted, he adds, then the Creator must have seen fit to play deceitful tricks on geologists and biologists. If fossils were placed by the Creator where we find them now, so as to deliberately give the appearance of great age and antiquity, then YEHOVAH God must be absurdly deceitful. Dobzhansky added: "This is as revolting as it is uncalled for."

Sir Albert Einstein once said, "I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world." The God revealed in the pages of the Bible is a loving Creator. He is not malicious, spiteful, capricious, or a "Practical Joker." Nor is He a cosmic Magician pulling rabbits out of a hat.

The God of the Bible is a Creator -- a Builder -- a Designer and Architect, Engineer, Supreme Draftsman, and Originator. Everything He does it with plan and purpose. NOTHING is haphazard. His original creation was PERFECT. And every addition He has made was PERFECT, for the purpose for which He designed it.

Creation is an ongoing process. It is still continuing, today. Each new life which is born is, in effect, a "new creation."

Embarrassed Creationists?
In the book of Genesis we read the account of the creation of man. The chronicler relates: "Then God said, 'Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.'
"So God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26-27, RSV).
More information is given in chapter 2, verse 7: "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

Is this creation account mere legend? ancient mythology? Or is it factual -- literal -- historical?

How does the evidence of paleontology relate to this question?

A person searching for TRUTH must recognize that he must not prejudge an issue before he gets all the facts -- before all the available evidence is in. And he must be willing to change his views if at any future time new evidence comes along which controverts his previous conclusions.

So it is with the field of anthropology and early man and dating techniques as they have been applied to fossil man. In past years, most if not all creationists have argued that radiometric dating methods, particularly RADIOCARBON dating, must be in absolute error because they would indicate that the earth is much older than 6,000 years. Also, POTASSIUM-ARGON dating, and radiocarbon dating, using this reasoning, must a priori be in error because they show that early man lived on the earth for anywhere FROM 40,000 YEARS TO THREE OR FOUR MILLION YEARS.

Potassium-argon dating methods have been used to date geologic material associated with remains of HOMO ERECTUS and NEANDERTHAL MAN. If these creatures are true men, and if the dates are essentially accurate, then man has indeed been on the earth for many scores of thousands of years, as anthropologists insist on telling us. And they don't have any ax to grind; they are merely reporting what they find in the fossil fields of the earth. They are not striving to prove evolution. They DID NOT invent these dating methods merely to embarrass creationists.

Even more embarrassing to creationists of the old school, however, is the realization that more than one dating method APPEAR to reveal the same essential TRUTH of the antiquity of fossil man.

Creationists continually assert that radiocarbon dating is a fraud; is unreliable because of the Noachian deluge; is based on false assumptions related to the influx of cosmic rays into the earth's atmosphere; and is therefore untrustworthy and must be categorically rejected.

As if that were not enough to disturb the quiescent theories dates for the last 8,000 years have been carefully examined and tested by comparison with tree-ring dating methods, or DENDROCHRONOLOGY. And to the consternation of most creationists, the two methods APPEAR to be IN GENERAL AGREEMENT as far back as they have been compared!

As if that were not enough to disturb the quiescent theories of creationists, and give them nightmares in their sleep, now a new dating method has entered the field -- RACEMIZATION, or the comparison of the proportion of D amino acids in fossil remains with L amino acids. This new, totally INDEPENDENT dating method, unfortunately, APPEARS to agree with dendrochronology and radiocarbon 14 dating and potassium-argon dating, and APPEARS to provides an independent check on the other systems.

What does all this mean?

Pity the poor creationist who believes that the earth was just created by divine fiat 6,000 years ago because that is what he thinks, sincerely, the Bible says.

Such discoveries have rocked the faith of many erstwhile believers in the Bible and the inspiration of Scripture. But do such discoveries really CONFLICT with revelation? Is there really a CONTRADICTION in the Biblical revelation and the apparently well attested, authenticated discoveries of paleontology?

It is time we re-examine some of the basic theological premises we have taken for granted and assumed to be true without adequately testing them by the Bible record itself. It is also time to re-examine some of the pet theories of the evolutionists and the dating methods they use to determine the age of the fossils they uncover!


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