Thursday, May 24, 2012


There are few things as interesting to study as a fossil. To have a once-living, now dead and buried organism in front of them can be captivating for some people. It’s very easy to get caught up in imagining what this creature looked like when it was alive. How did it live? What did it eat? What would’ve eaten it? How did it die? The nature of this field of science (paleontology) is that these questions have to answered with a mixture of science and imagination. As a result, many of today’s paleontologists are among the most creative of scientists.

Fossils are literally everywhere. From deep below the water to high in the mountains, from the scorching deserts of Africa to the frozen land of Antarctica - fossils can be found in rock layers in nearly every area in the world. Where did they come from? How did they get there? It’s not surprising that the answer to those questions depends on the assumptions one starts with.

Scientist who start with secular evolution as their premise will say that these creatures were buried gradually. According to them, the geologic column (that is, the different layers of rock around the world) were laid down over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Each layer of rock represents a different era in the past. Although some fossils may have been buried rapidly in an isolated catastrophe, the vast majority of them were buried after they died and then fossilized.

Scientists who start with biblical creation as their premise will say that these creatures were buried very rapidly. According to them, the geologic column is a record of a rapid, watery burial during the worldwide flood described in Genesis seven and eight. Around 4,500 years ago, millions of creatures were quickly drowned and buried in water-borne sediment (such as sand). The different layers of the geologic column were formed under the water and eventually hardened into sedimentary rock, along with the fossils they contained.

Because I believe that the Bible is true, I hold to the second interpretation of fossils. After all, if the world was once wiped out by and completely covered with water - wouldn’t you expect to find dead creatures around the world buried in rock that was formed by sediment and water?

There is an enormous amount of evidence that the creatures that formed these fossils were buried extremely rapidly. When an animal dies today, it quickly decays and is picked apart. Very little of it, if any, is buried naturally. Yet we continually see complete and intact fossils being dug out of the ground! Many of these fossils still have preserved skin, organs and other soft tissue. Fossilized jellyfish have been found in Australia. Fossilized insects have uncovered, still in their burrows, with all of their intricate details preserved. Fossilized plants are uncovered all around the world with every detail of their leaves preserved. You tell me, isn’t the simplest explanation that they were buried in sediment before they had a chance to decay?

An enormous amount of the fossils we find are from aquatic animals, including fish. Are we really supposed to believe that these fossilized fish - many of them whole and intact - died, sank to the bottom of the sea, and were then buried in the sand? Isn’t it common knowledge that fish float when they die, and are picked apart by scavengers? So the fact that many complete fish fossils shows that these fossils must have been buried quickly. Fish have even been found buried while in the process of eating other fish!

Did you know that there are even fossils on the tops of the Himalayan mountains. These are the tallest mountain ranges on earth, yet there are still creatures buried in rock at their peaks. And these aren’t just any fossils - they’re aquatic fossils. Fish, clams and other shellfish can be found throughout the rock on the Himalayas. How could there be fossilized shellfish on a mountain unless it was under water at one time?

Another interesting fact about the fossilized clams on the Himalayas - they were fossilized while they were still closed. Clams have a specific muscle that keeps their shells closed. As soon as the clam dies, their muscle relaxes and their shells open. For these “mountain shellfish” to be buried while closed, they had to be buried alive

Many times we find large groups of fossils that have been jumbled together into a single area. We call these areas fossil graveyards. These graveyards are strong evidence for a watery catastrophe. One possible explanation is that area could have been high ground before the flood. As the waters rose, these creatures crowded there for safety - but were drowned anyway as the water covered even the highest places. A more likely explanation is that these creatures drowned in the flood and were carried by currents to their burial place.

There’s a bigger problem for the rock layers = millions of years theory - they’re called polystrate fossils. These are fossilized organisms (usually trees, but often large animals such as whales) that protrude through several different layers. If these rock layers were supposedly laid down over thousands of centuries, how could these fossils criss-cross them? Wouldn’t the parts of that tree or animal that were sticking above one layer have decayed long before the next layer could be formed?

Then there’s the issue of bent and curved rock layers. In many different mountain ranges, all the rock layers have been curved and bent together. If these layers were already solid rock, they would have fractured, not folded. The only way these layers could have all bended and folded together is if they were still wet - i.e. they weren’t dry rock yet. This means that they must have been formed together, not one by one over millennia.

I believe that the fossil record is a clear record of the biggest catastrophe the world has ever seen. Millions of animals and plants were suddenly swept away and buried, preserved for us to find today. This isn’t a record of era upon era, age upon age - it’s a record of judgement on sin. It shouldn’t really be surprising to a believer  that our modern culture wants to forget that. Peter declared in his second letter that this would happen. Listen to his prediction in 2 Peter 3:3-7:

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires...They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of His command, and He brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then He used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

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