The NGOMB provides an excellent setting for testing various Flood/post-Flood boundaries because of its robust sedimentary representation of the Mesozoic/Cenozoic erathems. Three different proposals are tested using the NGOMB sedimentary sequence. Specifically, we will examine proposals for placing the Flood/post-Flood boundary at: 1) the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, 2) the boundary between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic and, 3) the boundary somewhere in the Pliocene/Pleistocene. Estimated volumes of Mesozoic, Cenozoic, and Quaternary sediments are presented for comparison in Table I, along with the present day volume of the modern Mississippi River delta plain. Although these numbers are crude estimates, they provide additional information to support the diagrams presented in figures below. Any biblical model of Earth history must be able to explain field evidence (Reed and Froede, 1997). We believe that a careful examination of various young-earth Flood stratigraphic models will disqualify any of them that are built on any attempt to harmonize the Scriptures with the GUC.
Recent support for a Paleozoic/Mesozoic - Flood/post-Flood boundary was presented in a special symposium within the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (see Snelling 1996). Several articles proposed and defended the Paleozoic/Mesozoic boundary as marking the termination of the Genesis Flood. Numerous arguments were advanced to harmonize the GUC with the global Flood of Genesis. Woodmorappe (1996) and Froede (1997) took issue with this approach because of its perceived inherent support of evolution, and because it required multiple large-scale (i.e., global) extra-biblical catastrophes following the Flood to accommodate the uniformitarian column within a young-earth time frame.
How does this proposal explain the sedimentary section in the NGOMB? The Paleozoic/Mesozoic boundary within the NGOMB is presented in Figure 3. If the model proposing that the Paleozoic/Mesozoic boundary represents the end of the Genesis Flood, it must explain the following:
We do not believe that any reasonable explanation can be offered for these conditions in the NGOMB. Thus, either the boundary is incorrectly placed in this proposal relative to the GUC, or the difference between plausibly setting the boundary at the base of the Mesozoic in selected locales but not in the NGOMB suggests that the GUC cannot be harmonized with biblical history. Similar examples of immense volumes of post-Paleozoic sediment can be found in North Africa, the North Sea, Indonesia, etc. In-depth discussion of these areas is beyond the scope of this paper, but offer avenues of further research for any interested creationist. Although examples could be multiplied to demonstrate the difficulties of depositing the combined global Mesozoic and Cenozoic erathems in a youthful, post-Flood world, only one is needed to demonstrate the failure of the proposed global model. We find this proposed Flood/post-Flood boundary inadequate in explaining the Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediment sequences in the NGOMB, and unacceptable within the framework of the young-earth Flood model.
Other creationists support a Flood/post-Flood boundary at the Mesozoic/Cenozoic boundary. Dr. Kurt Wise, a young-earth creationist, has stated that “virtually all creation geologists accept the entire Cenozoic as post-Flood” (BSN, 1995, p. 18). Dr. Wise’s position appears to establish the Flood/post-Flood boundary at the Mesozoic/Cenozoic contact. This boundary is also proposed in Dr. Steve Austin’s book on the Grand Canyon (1994, p. 58, Figure 4.1). An evaluation similar to that performed above forces us to the conclusion that we do not understand how this proposed boundary can explain the sedimentary sequence found in the NGOMB. We welcome any forthcoming explanation from either Dr. Wise or Dr. Austin.
How does this proposal explain the sedimentary section in the NGOMB? The Mesozoic/Cenozoic boundary for the NGOMB is presented in Figure 4. This proposal also requires tremendous volumes of sediment to have been eroded and deposited into the NGOMB following the Flood. If the model proposing that the Paleozoic/Mesozoic boundary represents the end of the Genesis Flood, it must explain the following:
Like the Paleozoic/Mesozoic boundary proposal, we do not believe that
any reasonable explanation can be offered for these conditions in
the NGOMB. Again, either the boundary is incorrectly placed in this
proposal relative to the GUC, or the difference between plausibly
setting the boundary at the base of the Cenozoic in selected locales
but not in the NGOMB suggests that the GUC cannot be harmonized with
biblical history. We find this proposed Flood/post-Flood boundary
inadequate in explaining the Cenozoic sedimentary sequence in the
NGOMB, and therefore unacceptable as a viable
Many young-earth geoscientists support moving the Flood/post-Flood boundary well up the global uniformitarian stratigraphic column toward the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary. Of the choices that would harmonize the GUC and the biblical record, this approach appears to be the most reasonable when looking at the changing geologic-energy levels implied by the strata. However, if some parameter other than time (such as changing energy levels) is the basis for judging the goodness of fit between a Flood model and the GUC, then why not abandon the time-centered methodology of the GUC. For many young-earth geoscientists the location of the boundary at the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary is believed to satisfy the transition from the Flood into the Ice Age. However, problems with this approach occur when moving offshore in a clastic setting and/or with biogenic carbonates of this “age” in areas such as the Bahamas, Florida Keys (see Froede, 1999), and the Great Barrier Reef.
How does this proposal explain the sedimentary section in the NGOMB? The Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary of the NGOMB is presented in Figure 5. This proposed Flood/post-Flood division is placed near the “top” of the NGOMB uniformitarian stratigraphic column. This approach correctly suggests that most stratigraphic deposition occurred during the high-energy period of the Flood. The post-Flood continental and nearshore deposits are relatively minor and reflect lower energy levels. However, in offshore settings the Pleistocene deposits can be many thousands of feet thick (both clastics and carbonates). What processes eroded and then deposited the thick blanket of Pleistocene clastic deposits far offshore, and could this have formed within the short time constraints of the post-Flood world? Likewise, how do creationists account for the hundreds of feet of Pleistocene carbonate strata in a post-Flood setting? We believe that the volume and location of these offshore Pleistocene deposits present similar, though less dramatic, problems for this boundary proposal relative to the preceding two.
Another important issue related to the proposed Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary is the method whereby these offshore deposits are stratigraphically defined. It is typically done by the transition of microfossil assemblages. The old problem of dating sediments by the evolution of biota once again is an issue here. Presently, young-earth creationists have not devised an environmental means of using microfossils to explain sedimentary units within the Biblical framework. Hence, we recommend that the basis for harmonizing the GUC boundary with the Flood boundary be rejected until creationists can show that there is a stratigraphically significant, but non-evolutionary explanation for the microfossil assemblages.
The publication of The Genesis Flood in 1961 will be remembered as a revolutionary event in creationist hydrology and geology. The dominant naturalist-uniformitarian paradigm was challenged on the most fundamental levels, and even today the implications of that challenge have not yet been fully realized. Since 1961, even geologists who continue to claim the naturalist-uniformitarian worldview have been affected by creationist challenges. The movement away from the strict nineteenth century uniformitarianism of Lyell can be partly attributed to Whitcomb and Morris’ work.
Advances in creationist stratigraphy have been frustratingly slow in the last four decades. There has been no direct impact in the secular geologic community. This is because the naturalists have been quick to realize the fundamental nature of the challenge of creationism not just to their historical scenarios, but to their very worldview. With few workers, creationist geology has been both slow to develop alternate interpretations and confusing to those workers who have insisted on the priority of following the GUC in their work. Some researchers have discovered that the gulf between the GUC and the Bible is wider than first hoped. Some have not been able to shift their assumptions toward the Scriptures, and have become advocates of a theistic version of uniformitarianism that does no justice to Genesis. Others have not vigorously pursued their models to logical conclusions, and thus work with inconsistencies in their framework.
The stratigraphy comprising the NGOMB provides a setting where we can compare the GUC to several creationist Flood/post-Flood boundary proposals. This area provides an excellent test of the various theories because it represents a relatively complete uniformitarian rock section spanning the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. We consider this not only a test of the boundary proposals per se, but also of the entire strategic approach of reconciling the GUC to the Bible. As expected, each of the creationist models tied to the GUC fail to explain the observed stratigraphic sequence in a logical and defensible manner. This is because the uniformitarian rock column emphasis is on evolutionary biology and “time” and not on the tremendous geologic forces experienced during and following the global Flood.
We are not condemning the work of the last forty years. The road to progress in knowledge does not always proceed in a straight path. Glover (1984) called Scholasticism the most fruitful failure in the history of ideas because the process of critically comparing the Aristotelian and biblical worldviews was a necessary step in modern western thought. If the comparison of current creationist proposals that seek reconciliation between Scripture and the GUC to the NGOMB stratigraphic section is an adequate test, then the failure of creationists to reconcile the GUC and the young-earth Flood-dominated geologic history of the planet should be acknowledged, recognized as progress, and another strategy pursued. Ironically, Whitcomb and Morris (1961) described another strategy. They realized that their work would require a vast reassessment of geology; not on a shallow level of readjusting interpretation, but on the more fundamental level of replacing governing assumptions and following the implications of the new structure to a logical conclusion. They advocated the reinterpretation of geologic data within a biblical framework, rather than the reinterpretation of the uniformitarian framework within the biblical framework. Human beings naturally search for the most efficient manner to achieve goals. However, the goal of refashioning geology in a biblical worldview cannot be done in a cursory fashion. It will require exhaustive research to reinterpret that data, not simply to reinterpret the interpretations.
Several authors have pointed out the incompatibility of pursuing a reconciliation of the GUC and the Bible (Froede, 1995, 1998; Reed, 1996a, 1996b, 1998; Reed and Froede, 1997; Walker, 1994; Woodmorappe, 1981 - to cite the most recent). A new alternative rejects the GUC because it rejects the use of time as the primary parameter in interpreting geologic history. The emphasis in this method is on events and their associated energy requirements (Froede, 1998; Reed, Froede, and Bennett, 1996). As with any proposal seeking to match the stratigraphic record with the Bible, it must also be able to successfully explain the physical rock record in order for it to be used in young-earth Flood studies. Regardless of whether or not this particular energy approach is successful, we believe that only in a move away from the GUC will we be capable of defining creationist geology.
Our approach to understanding Biblical geologic history is presented in Figure 6. It examines the changing geologic-energy levels as they affected Antediluvian sediments, flora, and fauna (and new materials added during and following the global Flood). It does not use traditional evolution-based methods (i.e., biostratigraphy) to define time. It instead infers the energy required for materials to be eroded, transported, and deposited, and compares those relative levels to Scripture. Note that our energy-based stratigraphic column is completely independent of the GUC. The Flood/post-Flood boundary is defined environmentally by the subsidence of high-energy Flood events and the transition into more “uniformitarian” depositional patterns, rather than by correlation to a uniformitarian boundary “golden spike.” Although high-energy events occurring after the Flood may blur the boundary, these Ice Age and Present Age Timeframe deposits could be diagnosed by being more local in their aerial extent. We propose that this manner of interpreting the stratigraphic record can be rewarding in revealing the tremendous power of the Flood. At a minimum, it meets the necessary criterion of divorcing creationist stratigraphy from the GUC, and shifts the interpretation of Earth’s history back to a Biblical approach and away from naturalism.
Concepts, models, and interpretive theories depend on the physical supporting data. The GUC is an illustration of the reliance on non-scientific presuppositions that may or may not be readily apparent to the user. Scientists are trained to develop models using available physical data. However, difficulty occurs when attempting to evaluate the non-scientific components of these models. Examining the GUC “model” against the Bible’s presentation of earth history demonstrates the complete failure in unifying these two worldviews. Over the past four decades various strategies for using the GUC as a framework for biblical history have been proposed by creationists. We have examined three of these proposals against the strata found within the NGOMB. All of these approaches fail either because of the time/energy demands of the sedimentary record relative to a short post-Flood history. While the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary comes the closest to what we expect with ever-decreasing geologic-energy levels, it too falls short when examining offshore clastic and carbonate accumulations. There appears to be too great a volume of Pleistocene sediments offshore requiring too much energy for too short a period of time to define all of these strata as post-Flood deposits. Many of the Pleistocene sediments were deposited under high-energy conditions that could only have occurred with the closing stages of the Flood. Hence, we propose that creationists examine the various sediments with some understanding about the energy necessary to precipitate or grow them (as in the case of carbonates), or erode, transport, and deposit them (for clastics).
Any ongoing effort to join the GUC to creationist geology must by definition explain how it can be harmonized globally. If a given model fails at the NGOMB, it has failed. If these efforts fail (and we believe they have) the model(s) must be abandoned or modified! Failure to discard bad ideas will only lead to greater confusion in creation science. Both creationist and secular scientists require internal corrections to their models and ideas. We believe a new approach to creationist stratigraphy is required. We hope that other creationists will focus their efforts developing concepts and models that eschew the GUC. By changing this conceptual framework, we can open new doors to understanding geology and the Bible, we can focus our studies on understanding the Flood’s impact on the Antediluvian world, and we can jettison the evolutionary baggage that permeates the GUC. We hope this will lead to greater productivity as we base our investigations more consciously on Scripture instead of worrying about how to make the Bible work within a system based on evolution.
CRSQ: Creation Research Society Quarterly
CENTJ: Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal
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