Published as an AiG Daily Feature on 11 September 2012. This review published on 12 September 2012.
Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
Are most scientists wrong about the age of the earth? That's what the daily article on Answers in Genesis website asks. In an article by Andrew Snelling titled "How Could Most Scientists Be Wrong?", Snelling looks at the Grand Canyon, and wants his readers to understand how scientists could possibly believe that it is millions of years old.1
He begins by making several claims. One of his claims is that sedimentary rock layers had to accumulate rapidly. His support for this claim is his own book. I'm not certain what research he is alluding to, but suffice it to say that while there is evidence of some sedimentary features forming rapidly, there is ample evidence that shows that most sedimentary rocks form over long ages. Today scientists can observe the deposition rates of sand deposits, calcium carbonate deposites (limestones), and silt deposits, and they can calculate the rates of accumulation, and compare this with the geologic record. In some cases, such as storm surges during hurricanes, deposits can happen very quickly. However, we are talking about tens of feet, not the thousands of feet we see in the geologic record.
Second, he states that there are no erosion features at the unconformities in the Grand Canyon. A unconformity in geologic terms is where one rock layer is deposited, then eroded, and another rock layer is then deposited on top of it. This time of erosion (or non-deposition) between the layers may have lasted millions of years. There are usually erosional features found in the bottom layer. While I am not certain what unconformities Snelling examines in his book, the blanket statement that no erosional features exist is false. For example, the Muav Limestone of the Grand Canyon area was deposited, and then there was a period of 165 million years until the next layer, the Temple Butte Limestone. Erosional features should be present in the top of the Mauv, and that's exactly what we find. There is evidence of deep channels carved into the top of the Mauv Limestone, and these depressions were filled with the freshwater limestone of the Temple Butte Limestone.
Young earth creationists always fall back on the claim that they have an eyewitness account of the creation and the flood of Noah, and the remainder of Snelling's article deals with this claim. Noah witnessed the flood, and passed this on, so that eventually Moses (the person believed to have written Genesis) wrote down his eyewitness account. While YECs rely upon this eyewitness account, Snelling says that scientists rely upon their own understanding. Snelling states, "That’s how most scientists are wrong. They have chosen finite, fallible man’s word over the Word of the infinite, infallible, all-powerful Creator God. It’s an issue of who is the ultimate authority."
Is this statement by Snelling right? Not from what I can see. While YECs believe they are trusting in the infallible Word of God, what they are really trusting in is someone's interpretation of God's Word. While God's Word should be considered trustworthy, what it means is a totally different issue. In reality, YECs are trusting in a fallible human's interpretation of the Word, and not the Word itself. So looking at Snelling's final sentence ("It's an issue of who is the ultimate authority"), the YEC's final authority is not the Word of God, but the word of some theologian interpreting the Bible.
Second, what about the scientist? Do they trust only in man-made scientific observations, free of any religious input, as YECs claim? Scientists examine the world, make observations, do experiments, and come to conclusions. What are they examining? God's creation. What measurements are they examining it by? By laws of nature that were created by God. Therefore if scientists are examining God's creation (whether they believe in God or not), they are indeed not free of any religious input. They are examining God's creation using natural laws that were created by God.
God's creation is part of what is called "general revelation," and is the basis by which Romans 1:20 gets its power. When examining the creation, we should be in wonder and awe of it, and God should get the glory for its beauty. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if we want to know about God's creation, we should examine it.
Again, however, we are talking about fallible man, examining the works of God. The scientific conclusions that we come to are never going to be perfect...just like the YEC's interpretation of the Bible is never going to be perfect. In reality, both YECs and OECs trust in fallible, man-made interpretations.
Snelling's article is unconvincing in its attempt to explain the gap that exists between old earth scientists and YEC theorists. Since YEC's rely upon man's interpretation of the Bible, the same as scientist's rely upon man's interpretation of general revelation, YECs are in no better a position theologically than old earth creationists. However, since old earth creationists can show that the Bible supports an old earth, we have both the Bible and science on our side, whereas YECs only have their fallible interpretation of the Bible on their side.
To comment, visit our Facebook page.
1 Answers in Genesis website - http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/au/how-could-most-scientists-be-wrong
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
To comment, visit our Facebook page.
To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.