Nature Confirms a Recent Creation Week

Summary

Past climate records are provided in the annual layers in ice cores drilled from ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Prior to 11,000 years ago, the ice cores indicate that the Earth experienced an ice age climate – low and variable temperature, extreme wind laden with dust, and also drought. This was incompatible with life in Eden where the climate was "mild and uniform" (P&P p. 61). Then the greatest global climate change ever recorded occurred giving a mild, stable climate and Creation Week followed. The conclusion is that Creation Week was a recent event, in accord with Scripture and the writings of Ellen White.

Introduction

Creation Week is a corner stone of Adventist doctrine and the foundation for observation of the seventh-day Sabbath. Recent theological studies,[1] and earlier studies based solely on Scripture,[2] both confirm that Creation Week was the latter part of a two-stage process of active Creation that was initiated when the foundation of the Earth was laid. This agrees with the age of the Earth revealed by God's Book of Nature and with the chronology of events that occurred during the "gap" period between Creation Week and primeval planet formation.[3]

But when did Creation Week occur on the Earth that God had prepared? This question is very relevant to current theology. Based on the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, Scripture states that the Creation Week of seven literal days occurred about 6,000 years before the present (BP). However, some scholars question the completeness of these genealogies, which are the only Scriptural basis for the 6,000 year belief. Ellen White stated many times that about 6,000 years had elapsed since Creation Week,[4] while according to the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs, Creation Week was "recent." However, according to progressive creationism, each creation day represents a long indefinite period of time suggesting Creation began eons ago. Adopted by many Protestants, including some Adventists,[5] and recently embraced fully by the Roman Catholic Church,[6] theistic evolution also destroys the significance of Sabbath observance.

In the above context, and in view of the uncertainty regarding the use of the Genesis genealogies as chronologies, the establishment of the recent creation concept is very relevant. Since Ellen White states[7] that, "... the book of nature and the written Word shed light upon each other, ..." these authors considered aspects of earth sciences and found evidence that Creation Week was a recent event. Created life would require a suitable climate in which to flourish and the climate after Creation Week was mild with a stable temperature and clear air.[8] A record of when this climate developed and when Creation Week probably occurred is provided by ice cores (about 2 to 3 km in length) drilled through the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

The Ice Core Evidence

Ice core research, based on the 19 cores drilled in Greenland, Antarctica, and Canada, represents a major achievement in modern Earth Sciences. Most Adventists have no concept of this and fail to realize it is another chapter in God's Book of Nature with relevance to Creation theology. Since the 18O/16O and 2H/1H isotope ratios (usually expressed as delta values) in ice are related to the temperature at the precipitation site, ice core layers can reveal past climate. Each Greenland ice core layer almost invariably represents one year and the summer and winter seasons can be distinguished which facilitates visual counting of annual layers. With Greenland cores, this can be done back to 90,000 years BP. However, due to the relatively low precipitation in Antarctica, the cores usually have required some calculation to determine layer age which extends back to 800,000 years BP. Nevertheless, recently some visual counting has been possible.[9] and [10] No radiometric dating is required in characterizing core layers. Cores from the ocean floors also provide data concerning past temperatures which correlate closely with the Antarctica ice core results confirming their reliability. While the Antarctic ice core record terminates at 800,000 years BP, the record of the marine cores continues in the same trend back to 2-3 million years BP. Hence the climate revealed by the ice cores probably continued beyond 800,000 years in the past.

Ice cores have revealed periods of severe glaciation and low temperatures (10–25oC lower than today) with recurring short warmer intervals (interglacials) that usually arise very rapidly giving transient maxima that decline much more slowly, often with a saw-tooth profile (see Figures 1 and 2).

The change in temperature recorded by the Vostok (Antarctica) ice cores (Figure 1, red graph line) extends back to 400,000 years BP and is typical of Antarctic cores.[11] However, the EDC core shows the same trends and continues back to 800,000 years BP when it terminates at the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic event confirming chronology.[12] Greenland ice cores[13],[14] and [15] accord with the Antarctic in time of onset of the last glacial maximum (about 25,000 years BP) but differ in having a greater number of interglacial (or interstadial) events over the period 32-50 thousand years BP. The NorthGRIP ice core from Greenland (Figure 2) reveals this climate instability clearly.

Figure 1: Atmospheric temperature (red profile) and methane concentration (green profile) recorded in annual layers along the Vostok ice core from Antarctica. The temperature data were calculated from delta 2H values. The profiles are derived from a graphic complex due to Petit and 18 coworkers (see ref 11).

Figure 2: The delta 18O values for annual layers along the NGRIP ice core from central Greenland. These values are very closely related to temperature and the maximum and minimum values correspond to a temperature differences of 20oC. To conserve space, the profile has been terminated at 48,000 years BP, but a similar pattern of peaks continues to about 90,000 years BP in this and other Greenland ice cores. The peaks at interstadials (transient warm periods) are numbered Gl-1 to Gl-12 using the system employed for Greenland. Peaks 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 when plotted on a broader scale, all yield saw-tooth profiles. The dramatic change in global climate at about 11,700 years BP is marked. The profile is modified from Svensson. (see ref. 13) with an extension to the present (derived from Blockley, see ref. 14) inserted at 10,000 years BP.

Some Answers for Possible Critics

Because ice cores establish an age for the Earth very much greater than six to 10 thousand years, young earth creationists (YEC's) endeavor to cast doubt on this science and resort to misquotation and selective quotation of science articles.[16] and [17] YEC continue to present discredited evidence purported to invalidate ice core science, notably the depth of ice covering abandoned WW2 planes in Greenland. Repeatedly this YEC reasoning has been exposed as error.[18],[19],[20] and [21] Another YEC proposal is that the ice core layers observed are event layers (caused by storms and climatic events) and not annual layers, and, in an attempt to establish this, work by ice pioneers was misquoted (see ref. 17). These pioneers considered the above question very carefully and based on observations concluded storms and weather events did not affect chronology.[22] The extreme regularity of new layer formation appears to exclude such variable events as agents of layer development.

If the ice core layers were due to storms and atmospheric events, layer number should vary with the climate at the location where the core was drilled. In the case of three selected Greenland core sites, climate does indeed vary considerably, but the layer number (and years) between Holocene events does not vary with cores from the three locations.[23] and [24] However, the ultimate change in polar climate would be a shift from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere. Thus when a group of volatile volcanic signals were recorded in both Greenland and Antarctica cores, the total number of layers counted visually between the signals is almost identical for both hemispheres (see ref. 10).

However, the chronology of ice cores and the annual nature of the layers is established beyond doubt by the occurrence of dated volcanic ash (tephra) in specific layers of the cores and also by geomagnetic and varve evidence. In YEC discussions of ice cores, all this evidence is omitted conveniently, but is outlined below under Chronological Markers for Ice Cores.

Chronological Markers for Ice Cores

The Greenland chronology, based on visual counting of the layers, has been verified by tephra markers at 1912 AD, 1783 AD, 1362 AD, 79 AD, 1642 BC, 10.3 thousand years (ky) BP, 12.2 ky BP, and 26.7 ky BP.[25],[26] and [27] The specific volcanic source of each tephra has been identified. Events dated by ice cores at 8.2 ky BP, [28]and [29] 11.7 and 12.9 ky BP [30] have been confirmed by the pollen record of lake varves. The volcanic aerosol sulphuric acid spike at 74 ky BP (see ref. 10), (the gigantic Toba eruption in Sumatra), and the 10Be peaks of the Laschamp geomagnetic event at 41 ky BP [31] provide additional confirmation for the Greenland ice cores.

The acid spike at 74 ky BP and the magnetic event at 41 ky BP also confirm the Antarctic chronologies which are further supported by known volcanic eruptions at AD 1884, 1816, 1601, 1460 (see ref. 12). These are evidenced by aerosol acid spikes, but the Antarctic cores usually lack the detailed tephra evidence applicable to Greenland. However, further significant confirmation for Antarctica is provided by: (1) the detection at the EDC core base of the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal at about 780 ky BP; [32]and [33] (2) the correct occurrence of tephra derived from the eruption of Mt Moulton (Antarctica) at 93 ky BP; [34] (3) the sea floor cores give a temperature and glaciation record (often substantiated by dated tephra layers) that corresponds very closely with Antarctic ice cores. Thus EDC core is the longest Antarctic ice core and correlates closely over 800,000 years BP with the LR04 marine sediment "stack" of 57 globally distributed benthic shell records. When the lag in expression of climate change in the relevant shell organisms is corrected for, the marine and ice core plots/graph lines are nearly identical.[35]

Conclusion: Modern Ice core science has an established chronological basis for the climate events of the past that this technology reveals.

Climate in Glacial Times

For over 1 million years, the Earth experienced periods of severe glaciation and the last glacial maximum (LGM), when temperatures were lowest, occurred at about 25,000 years BP (Figure 1 and 2). The Earth, and especially the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, were not a pleasant place at this time. Northern US, all of Canada, northern Europe including Scotland, northern England and all of Ireland, were covered by an ice sheet 1 to 2 km thick. At lower latitudes in Europe, there was a broad region of permafrost. During the LGM, greatest cooling occurred at high latitudes in both hemispheres and temperatures in Greenland and Antarctica were at least 10-25oC below those observed in these regions in pre-industrial times.

However, there is now evidence that the entire planet was affected by the LGM and even the tropics of Africa[36] and South America[37] were cooled by about 5oC. From a large compilation of world-wide differences in surface air temperature between LGM and modern times,[38] the mean difference for terrestrial tropic locations was 5.5oC. Changes in vegetation revealed by pollen evidence indicate southern Europe was about 10oC colder (annual mean) than at modern times, while Russia was over 20oC colder in winter relative to that of today.[39]

However, low temperatures with great variability (see Figure 2 prior to 12,000 years BP) was not the only climatic feature that could adversely affect man. In layers of ice cores of both hemispheres, at glacial times, high levels and fluxes of dust (20-100 times those of interglacials) were found and correlate closely with increases in sodium levels.[40]and [41] Since the dust in Greenland cores originated in China, and that in Antarctic cores has been sourced to South America, strong and persistent wind systems were involved. In the Northern Hemisphere, an increase in wind velocity and incidence of storms has been established during glacial times. The level of salt from the sea depends on wind velocity and the ice cores reveal that this uptake increased markedly and very rapidly during glaciation.[42] The increased wind speed has been confirmed by assessing a biological effect of wind recorded in marine cores in Venezuela.[43] Furthermore, stronger winds in glacial times relative to interglacials are recorded in China and Africa by the increased size of particles carried by ice age winds.[44]

Glaciation and formation of the giant ice sheets had a predictable consequence: reduced precipitation and hence drought. Since temperature was closely correlated with precipitation, this was predicted directly from the ice cores. Drought in glacial times occurred in many areas world-wide (see ref. 39) but particularly in China[45] and some desert regions expanded during the ice age. In combination, low and very variable temperature, dust-laden strong wind, drought, and giant ice sheets rendered many regions of the planet unsuitable for human habitation.

Further insight concerning the ice age world, and God as sustainer of the universe, is provided by the concentration of atmospheric gases in the air bubbles trapped in the ice core layers. The gases include CO2 and methane (CH4), the "greenhouse" gases. Each interglacial temperature rise in Antarctic cores back to 800,000 years BP is synchronous with increased CH4 and CO2 concentrations (see Figure 1 green plot/graph line; also ref. 35). Each interglacial numbered 1–12 in Figure 2 (Greenland profile) is exactly synchronous with a CH4 peak.[46] (CO2 levels not accessible.)

At glacial to interglacial transitions, the CH4 concentration in the air often doubles (Figure 1) with an increase of about 300 ppb in volume. This equates to a total atmospheric increase of 844 x 109 kilograms based on an effective atmospheric height of 8.2 km. This huge increase synchronizes with a marked increase in CO2 and a rise in temperature of 10–20oC at the ice surface. These are immense, rapid, coordinated changes that have occurred regularly for at least one million years. By chance or by design? They indicate biochemical integration on a scale only God could control.

The Great Climate Change

For one million years at least, the Earth was gripped by a hostile and very variable climate. During long glacial periods, dust-laden winds and storms swept a chilled planet which had areas of drought and other regions covered in giant ice sheets. Then, about 11,700 years ago, the ice cores reveal that the pattern set for nearly one million years was broken. After the temperature rose rapidly to yield another interglacial warm period, it did not decline as normal and continued to rise and then remained approximately constant for 10,000 years until today (Figure 2). This Greenland change in temperature was detected world-wide in ice cores from Antarctica, Peru and Bolivia, in lake sediment cores from Norway, Germany, Japan, Canada, Poland and New Zealand, and in spleothern records from China and Turkey. (see ref. 40). In synchrony with this rise in temperature at the beginning of the Holocene (11,700 years ago BP), each climate parameter already mentioned also changed very rapidly in the NorthGRIP and other Greenland ice core records. Precipitation increased; sea salt level was decimated and hence the strong winds and storms were calmed; dust level decreased by a factor of 50-100; the transient interstadial temperature rises (numbered 1 to 12 in Figure 2) with increases in methane and CO2 and observed for one million years, disappeared completely. Similar changes occurred in the Antarctic ice core layers. The ice ages of the past were gone and temperatures had become mild and stable (note the constant level in Figure 2 after 10,000 years BP). Climate had changed completely. It was the greatest climate change recorded on Earth. The resulting warm Holocene climate, revealed by ice and marine cores, contrasts with that for the preceding glacial (ice age) eras when the planet was locked in low and variable temperatures with dry, windy and extremely dusty conditions incompatible with life in Eden. Here climate was "mild and uniform in temperature" after creation (see ref. 8). It is reasonable to conclude that: Creation Week occurred after the great climate change and probably after 10,000 years before the present (cf. Fig. 2). This deduction from ice cores agrees with Scripture and the writings of Ellen White.

A Recent Creation Week

The great climate change and Creation Week appear to be linked. The increase in temperature caused by the climate change induced precipitation and also released vast volumes of water locked in the great ice sheets, probably contributing to the great water excess at the start of Creation Week (Genesis 1:2, 9; Psalm 104:6). Although the timing of the great climate change is known with certainty from ice core and lake sediment studies, the exact chronological relationship to Creation Week is not established. However, both are recent events and the climate change may have been a precursor for Creation Week. While 11,700 years BP was the time of initiation of the climate change, temperature and sea level continued to rise till 10,000 and 8,000 years BP, respectively. The latter date was determined by the time required for melting of the great ice sheets which raised sea level by 125 meters. There appears to be some logic in concluding that Creation Week actually occurred after these dates. This would also place it after the transient cold event of 8,200 years ago (see ref. 28 and 29).

The ice cores may have recorded an actual imprint of Creation Week after eight thousand years ago. In studies of CO2 levels in ice cores from six different Antarctic locations, an unexpected marked rise in concentration commenced at each site between 7,200 and 7,700 years BP.[47]and [48] The concentration then continued to rise steadily, instead of declining as predicted from the trend established over 800,000 years (Fig. 3). The unexplained rise in CO2 at 7.5 thousand years ago was accompanied by a decrease in delta 13C and the two effects have been regarded as evidence of a developing "global carbon cycle."[49] Like CO2, methane also exhibited an anomalous atmospheric concentration change and rose continuously after 5,000 years ago instead of continuing to decline. It is relevant that W.F. Ruddiman, an atmospheric scientist and expert in this area, considers the above elevations in CO2 and methane are "anomalous" and "are not natural and thus are most likely anthropogenic,"i.e., caused by man.[50] Some consider the rise in methane is attributable to increasing wetland culture of plants. A further abnormality of the Holocene was revealed in a comparison of the ice core data with an indicator of past climate. A marked transition of atmospheric circulation was dated at 6,600 years BP when a short period of unusually very stable climate began.[51] While the results outlined above are of interest, a causal relationship involving Creation Week has not been established. Never-the-less, the ice cores reveal that something significant occurred about 7,000 years ago probably involving a marked induction of plant growth and also atmospheric changes.

Figure 3: Carbon dioxide concentration in ice core layers of differing age. After reaching a maximum (natural CO2 peak in figure, 11,000 years BP) corresponding to the start of the great climate change, the CO2 levels then decline for 3,000 years. Based on 800,000 years of ice core records, projected levels are shown. The observed levels (red dots) are marked until 1,000 years ago. The figure is based on the Antarctic ice cores at Taylor Dome and is redrawn with modifications from Ruddiman (see ref. 50).

Studies of world populations may have some relevance to our discussion, but since these are a departure from ice core and related modern science, they and Figure 4 are relegated to an appendix. However, the Figure shows that the first recorded significant population rise occurred at 7,000 years BP, consistent with a recent Creation Week.

The above discussion indicates that Creation Week was a recent event probably linked to the accurately dated great climate change that began at 11,700 years ago.

Concluding Thoughts

A new chapter in God's book of Nature has been recorded in the polar ice sheets. Through modern science, man has been given the knowledge to understand this chapter in the book, which describes the planet before Creation Week and records a great many anomalous changes. Modern science cannot explain the control of their timing and initiation. We have noted anomalous changes in atmospheric gases about the time of Creation Week, but an event that arose suddenly, and contrary to the pattern set for millions of years, is the great climate change prior to Creation Week. It may rank as the greatest of all anomalies. The ice core records have indeed been a window to the past and have also supported other fields of modern science in exposing the error of YEC. An essential feature of this belief, a post flood ice age, was shown by ice core science to have never occurred.[52]

Many theologians now agree that a gap in time exists between creation of the planet and Creation Week of Genesis 1 (see ref. 1). They call it a passive gap, since in their view God was inactive as Creator. However, our previous discussion (see ref. 3) reveals how continental cleavage and migration, uplift from the ocean floor, volcanism, glaciation, mountain building and migration were all integrated over eons of time to reshape the planet before Creation Week. This further contribution reveals how the hostile climate of the ice-age world was changed to one where man and other created beings could flourish. Possibly by altering the geometry of the earth's orbit and the tilt of the axis, as well as the global atmospheric circulation regime, God created very rapidly the greatest recorded climate change of all time. This prepared the planet for Creation Week and occurred at the end of the "Gap" period.

Figure 2 is a revelation from one ice core, part of God's Book of Nature, and there are 18 further ice core sites. They all give the same message. Then there are over 50 cores from the ocean floor with a very similar message that carries us back in time to long before Creation Week. In one graph, Fig. 2 reveals the great climate transformation, a change from a cold, hostile and very variable climate (before 12,000 years BP) to one of warmth and stability (after 10,000 years BP). The graph pinpoints the time when this change was initiated (11,700 years BP). It was a very rapid initial change (see ref. 40) yielding a stable climate well described in the words Ellen White used in 1890 to depict climate in Eden: "... so mild and uniform in temperature..." and the air was "clear." (see ref. 8).

The message of the Adventist Church to the world, God's last message (Rev. 14), proclaims judgment, the Everlasting Gospel, and worship of the Creator. Today our Creation Message is disputed by theistic evolutionists in the Advent, Protestant and Roman churches. The Catholic Church has now embraced evolution more fully. The present Pope considers Genesis 1 to be misleading and that God did not create as described in Scripture (see ref. 6). The relevance of the call by the First Angel of Rev. 14 to worship the Creator in the last days, and the significance of the Advent Creation message, are now very clear. The truth of a recent Creation Week destroys the corruption of theistic evolution. For many the genealogies of Genesis are not convincing enough to establish this truth. Hence we have related the great climate change (initiated 11,700 years BP) to Creation Week. Both events were recent. The great climate change has been dated precisely by ice core science (e.g. Fig. 2) and by the record of many lake sediment cores worldwide (see ref. 40). Linking Creation Week to this defined recent climate event, on which Creation Week apparently depends, should convey certainty to those skeptical of a recent Creation Week.

"And Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth ..." (Hebrews 1:10). Very similar texts occur 13 times in Scripture.

Our planet Earth was founded in the beginning, eons ago, but as the texts suggest, was incomplete, and hence was modified geologically over a long period that terminated in the recent great climate change. This appears to have been a precursor to the Creation Week of Genesis 1 when diverse life forms were created and God gave us a Creation Memorial in time, the Sabbath. We have an inspiring Creation message for the world, revealing a Creator, unlimited by time, who has held our planet in His creative hands, not for 6,000 years as some maintain, but for eons past.

"To God be the Glory." (Rev. 14:7)

References & Notes:

[1]R.M. Davidson (2017). Perspective Digest, 22: no. 1, p. 1

[2]T.P. Arnold (2007). Two Stage Biblical Creation. Arlington Heights, IL, US: Thomas Arnold Publishing, 576 pp. See also: C.J. Collins (2006), Genesis 1-4, Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing Coy, 318 pp.

[3]D.S. Letham and C.J. Gibson (2017). Spectrum, 23 May. Nature identifies events during the "Gap" in Creation.

[4]G. Pfandl (2003). J. Adventist Theological Society, 14: 176-194.

[5]J. Standish (2015). Adventist Record, March 21, p. 4.

[6]Address of His Holiness Pope Francis, Plenary Session Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 27 October, 2014.

[7]E.G. White, Education, p. 128.

[8]E.G. White (1890), Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 44, and 61: Genesis 1:31 (TLC); Genesis 2:8.

[9]M. Sigl and 26 coworkers (2016). Climate of the Past, 12: 769-786.

[10]A. Svensson and 25 coworkers (2013). Climate of the Past, 9: 749-766.

[11]J.R. Petit and 18 coworkers (1999). Nature, 399: 429-436.

[12]E. Parrenin and 26 coworkers (2007). Climate of the Past, 3: 485-497.

[13]A. Svensson and 13 coworkers (2008). Climate of the Past, 4: 47-57.

[14]S.P.E. Blockley and 9 coworkers (2012). Quaternary Science Reviews, 36: 2-10.

[15]S.P.E. Blockley and 12 coworkers (2014). Quaternary Science Reviews, 106: 88-100.

[16]D.S. Letham and C.J. Gibson (2015). Spectrum Magazine, Sept 11, Perspective: "Clarifying 'Understanding Ice Core Science',".

[17]D.S. Letham and C.J. Gibson (2016). Spectrum Magazine, "Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism": Reader Feedback, and Authors Response, March 4 and 23.

[18]R.B. Alley (2000). The Two-mile Time Machine, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 229 pp.

[19]C. Obsidian (2006). The Western Geologist, March 16, The GISP2 ice core and the age of the earth.

[20]Mark Isaak (2007) (ed), Index to Creationist Claims, CD 410. Airplanes buried in ice (The Talk Origins Archive).

[21]P.H. Seely (2003). Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 55: 252-260.

[22]R.B. Alley and 11 coworkers (1997). J. Geophysical Research, 102: 26, 367-26, 381.

[23]B.M Vinther and 10 coworkers (2006). J. Geophysical Research, 111: D13102.

[24]S.O Rasmussen and 3 coworkers (2007). Quaternary Science Reviews, 26: 1907-1914. See also - K.R. Andersen and North Greenland Ice Core Project members (2004). Nature, 431: 147-151.

[25]S.E. Coulter and 8 coworkers (2012). J. Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 117: Issue D21.

[26]C. Barbante and 8 coworkers (2013). Climate of the Past, 9: 1221-1232.

[27]A. Svensson and 11 coworkers (2006). Quaternary Science Reviews, 25: 3258-3267.

[28]W. Tinner and A.F. Lotter (2001). Geology, 29: 551-554.

[29]S. Veski and 2 coworkers (2004). Geology, 32: 681-684.

[30]O.S. Lohne and 2 coworkers (2013). J. Quaternary Science, 28: 490-500.

[31]G.M. Raisbeck and 3 coworkers (2007). Climate of the Past, 3: 541-547. See also ref. 27.

[32]G.B. Dreyfus and 6 coworkers (2008). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 274: 151-156.

[33]G.M Raisbeck and 3 coworkers (2006). Nature, 444:82-84.

[34]B. Narcisi and 2 coworkers (2006). Quaternary Science Reviews, 25: 2682-2687.

[35]N. Lang and E.W. Wolff (2011). Climate of the Past, 7: 361-380. See also ref. 12.

[36]F. Gasse (2000). Quaternary Science Reviews, 19: 189-211.

[37]M. Stute and 7 coworkers (1995). Science, 269: 379-383.

[38]S-J. Kim and 5 coworkers (2008). Climate Dynamics, 31: 1-16.

[39]S.P. Harrison and 3 coworkers (2001). Earth Science Reviews, 54: 43-80.

[40]M. Walker and 18 coworkers (2009). J. Quaternary Science, 24: 3-17.

[41]R.B. Alley (2000). Proceedings National Academy Science, USA, 97: 1331-1334. See also, Lambert and 9 coworkers (2008), Nature, 452: 616-619.

[42]M. DeAngelis and 4 coworkers (1997). J. Geophysical Research, 102: 26,681 - 26,698.

[43]K.A. Hughen and 3 coworkers (1996). Nature, 380: 51-54.

[44]D. McGee and 2 coworkers (2010). Quaternary Science Reviews, 29: 2340-2350.

[45]S.C. Porter (2001). Earth Science Reviews, 54: 115-128.

[46]E. Wolff and R. Spahni (2007). Philosophical Transactions Royal Society, A Vol. 365, issue 1856.

[47]J. Ahn and 6 coworkers (2004). J. Geophysical Research, 109: D13305.

[48]E. Monnin and 11 coworkers (2004). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 224: 45-54.

[49]A. Indermuhle and 11 coworkers (1999). Nature, 398: 121-126.

[50]W.F Ruddiman (2013). Annual Review Earth Planetary Science, 41: 45-68. Climate Change, (2003), 61: 261-293.

[51]M. Schulz and A. Paul (2002). In: Climate Development and History of the North Atlantic Realm. (Eds) W.G. Berger, et. al., Springer-Verlag, Berlin. pp. 41-54.

[52]D.S. Letham and C.J. Gibson (2016). Spectrum Magazine, 10 February. Perspective: Ice Ages Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism.

Appendix

In prehistoric times, the world's population was largely confined to the Middle East and south-east Asia. The rapid population growth that followed Creation Week may be evident in estimates of world population. Unfortunately, the various estimates for B.C. times vary appreciably but averages are more satisfactory. However, the time of commencement, observed consistently, for a continuing population increase appears to have significance. One is clearly observed in Figure 4 at 7,000 years ago BP, in accord with a recent Creation Week.

Figure 4. World population related to years before present. To derive some certainty from the data that varies appreciably between investigators, the above graph was calculated by averaging the data of McEvedy and Jones 1978, Durand 1967, Gallant 1990, Goldewijk et al 2010, and World Population data of U.S. Census Bureau 2016.

NOTE: GCC denotes the Great Climate Change initiated at 11,700 years ago. Three other changes reflecting climate are marked also.

NOTE: A similar graph was presented in Spectrum June 23, 2017 by the present authors but had an error in the numbering of the horizontal axis.

D. Stuart Letham was awarded a PhD (Birmingham, UK) in organic chemistry in 1955. His subsequent research work included the purification, determination of structure and synthesis of the first naturally occurring cytokinin, compounds that induce cell division in plants. They occur in plants at the level of 1 part per billion (see Letham, Annual Review of Plant Physiology 1967, 1983). He is the author of over 190 refereed papers in biochemistry and plant physiology journals. He retired from the Australian National University in 1992 as Professor Emeritus.

Col J. Gibson worked in accounting in industry for a decade before taking an academic position as a senior lecturer in accounting at universities in Australia, New Zealand, and the University of South Pacific (Suva, Fiji). As a natural naturalist from an early age, he has been active, as a hobby interest, in helping many professional scientists in fieldwork and, now in retirement, still acts as a citizen scientist which includes field observations and bird photography.

Both authors have discussed the Science/Creation subject for the past few years and thought it was time to put some of their thoughts on this interface into the public arena for others to consider and comment.

Image Credit: BBC.com

See also: "Perspective: Clarifying 'Understanding Ice Core Science," "Ice Core Editorial Authors Reply to Respondents," "Perspective: Ice Ages Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism," "Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Reader Feedback & Authors' Response", "Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Authors; Second Response", “Nature Identifies Events during the ‘Gap’ in Creation”, and Nature Identifies Events during the “Gap” in Creation: Authors’ Response

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8110

How do we know that at Creation, the Total earth was tropical the year round?
We have very little word-of-mouth confirmation of this in both Religious and Secular
written communications from the past.
Much of our Civilization “Journals” are from the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea
area. And these are “post Flood”. We DO KNOW there were Ice Ages in parts of the
world. We DO KNOW that as one travels up land elevations it does become colder. That
water tends to become solid. Has the earth only had snow and ice since the flood?
We have seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter. When one season is in the north of the
equator, the opposite is happening on the other end of the equator. Summer in the US and
Winter in Australia.
What do we know about the water around the earth. We know that the water temperatures
affect the air masses that move around the earth.
ARE there a LOT of questions that Seventh day Adventist scientists avoid in printed
materials to the Church??? Or gloss over with a “that is not important” statement???

When Humans were first in Eden did many of the tree leaves turn “color” in the fall? It is my
understanding that it is the POSITION OF THE SUN in the “fall” [where ever fall is] that stops the flow of sap to the deciduous leaves, causing the chlorophyll green things to die, and when the green disappears, all the colorful xanthenes are allowed to put on their colorful show.
And then they fall off the tree, and eventually re-feed the tree and other vegetation through the roots.

What is it that causes the sap to rise in the early Spring so we can have our Maple Syrup? And to rise in other trees so twigs sprout new leaves. Actually, in the fall after leaves drop, one can see the “baby leaves” at the end of the twigs waiting to be awakened in the Spring.
This causes ANOTHER QUESTION regarding Ellen. She says " Falling Leaves made Adam and Eve recognize Death."
Did she make this statement [or one of her editors] because of lack of knowledge of Science??

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The authors seem to have fixated on ice core samples while ignoring the fossil record.
Admittedly, there are issues with carbon dating but most people agree that dinosaurs and humans did not coexist and were, instead, separated by eons of time.
Further–and if this is the case–how could T-Rex and his associates have survived in a proto-climate which must have been much worse than the most unfriendly terms used in this article?
And perhaps a more interesting question is which creator breathed life into those moribund-from-the-start creatures?
Perhaps one of the “other gods” that The Most Recent Creator’s Supposed Scribes have forbid us to worship?
In the end though, it seems reasonable to conclude that this is not so much a scientific piece as it the work of educated propagandists, using a limited set of data in an effort to prove what they want they want to believe, while sweeping under the rug, pesky facts that tend to undermine their dogma.

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The problem humans have is that they are frequently unable (unwilling?) to distinguish between the collected data and the subsequent interpretation of that data. Data is typically collected, then analyzed, then a conclusion is drawn. Then the real offense often occurs: the conclusion is presented as if it is an additional aspect of the collected data rather than as an interpretation - a single possibility among many potential possibilities. No matter how much data we collect, there is possibly much more relevant data that we have not yet collected. We must always assume that the as-yet uncollected data may have its own story to tell, and that those stories may contradict our current conclusions.

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This is an interesting contribution in an Adventist publication. But it raises more questions than it answers. The fundamental problem of the article is that it is another approach to save the biblical creation account’s scientific credibility from a modern point of view. Which is in my eyes a hopeless endeavor, misleading, unnecessary, against the apparent intentions of the bible and eventually harming the credibility of the gospel and God.

Let me pick out two or three elements to comment.

  1. The authors claim that there was a recent and extraordinarily stable elevation of temperatures that started about 10’000 years before present (BP). And they say that with this change, “…the pattern set for nearly one million years was broken. …” - This statement is not quite true in my opinion. The authors illustrate their point with figure 2. But as can be seen in figure 1 there had been repeatedly raises of temperatures before already. These were associated with stable phases of higher temperatures that could have allowed “Eden”-like conditions as well. It becomes apparent as soon as you look at temperature over time curves with a higher resolution. I include a link to one such graph (Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL, Switzerland, original from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project, copyright D.Dahl-Jensen, University of Copenhagen). This graph shows that the actual elevated temperatures of the last 10’000 years are nothing special if you only look back far and close enough. About 120’000 years BP there were similar conditions with even a bit higher temperatures than today and they lasted as well for at least 10’000 years. Graph: Temperatures over the last 120’000 years

  2. Influential representatives of other Christian denominations revised their views concerning a recent creation - okay. But are these quoted revisions really improving the authority of the bible and from which perspective? As much as I would love to solve the contradictions between the creation report in Genesis 1 and scientific findings I still think that the suggested approach is not helpful at all. Genesis 1 implies that before creation week there was no life (nor death) on earth besides the Spirit of God. The ice-core findings and their correlation to marine sediments however show (7/2017) that there was life (pollen, shells) on earth as far as 800’000 years ago. Genesis 1 leaves a door open for the existence of the earth before the creation week, but nevertheless establishes from day 1-4 events of such universal dimensions that it is unthinkable to not find traces of them that would go far beyond what can be found in ice-core layers from 6-10’000 years ago. Example: the “separation of light and darkness” or the installation of the “greater and lesser light and the stars”.

  3. To illustrate this further: The created humans on day 6 could easily have looked at each other and commented on their age: “You look like 18, dear Eve!” (“Oh Adam, you’re such a charmer…”). Every scientific attempt, according to modern standards, to determine their age would have produced a wrong result. The same if they had cut a tree and counted its rings. From the recent creation believer’s perspective the counting of ice-core layers is as non-sensical as judging by Eve’s length of hair the time it had been growing. By principle there is no door open to validate the truth of Genesis 1ff with scientific means. Only the other way round it might work, that the text imposes its statements on our view of the world and corrects our scientific findings.

  4. But does the creation report really try to do this? Both creation reports show markers of a local perspective. The categorization of animals in Genesis 1 is far from a modern systematic overview and stresses rather the perspective of ancient oriental farmers. It mentions those animals that were important in that time’s worldview. The new Adventist International Bible Commentary notes the similarity of the use of words to Leviticus 11, which supports this view: of interest was, what was of interest for inhabitants of the desert, bedouins and Near Eastern farmers, for the locals at the time when the creation report was written. No words about the creation of elephants nor monkeys, not to mention extinct species like dinosaurs. Nor any hint that the creation of a whale (who lives in the water) on day 5 instead of day 6 (together with other mammals) would just not make sense from a systematic, scientific point of view. Important for the writer(s) was agriculture, nutrition and the cultic use of animals for sacrifices. The same local and anthropocentric perspective can be found in many more verses, e.g. in Genesis 2:5 (agriculture) or 2:9 ("…every tree…pleasant to the sight…good for food…"NKJV). Who today would write in a creation report that trees were created pleasant to the sight?! From a modern ecological point of view this would for sure not be a primary focus. But it was of interest for an ancient Near Eastern inhabitant of a dry area. The focus of the creation report ist to establish God’s position as sovereign creator and loving redeemer (Gen 2:2) and the position of man as a spiritual being in the picture with the means of Near Eastern ancient knowledge. But not to teach us about the laws of nature.

  5. The four rivers in Gen. 2:10-14. I think as long as Adventists have no conclusive interpretation of why the text gives these rivers such a prominent position and elaborates in details about the “…land Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of the land is good. …”, we should not be too sure about our understanding of the rest of Genesis 1 and 2. In Jewish traditions there are notable interpretations of this passage that make much more sense than the one from the New International Bible Commentary of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. To me the passage is an additional indicator to the fact that Genesis is not about geography nor biology nor any other natural science but about literature, poetry, symmetry (compare the role of water in the first to water in the second creation account) to teach us about the authority of God over our lives.

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To the authors:

When you published your first article, I was hopeful to read a scientific treatise in which the conclusions were fact-based on the age of the earth and creation. In that first article and all subsequent ones I have been disappointed. With apologies, you continue to write opinion pieces with selective facts to support your assertion for your point of view and in your ongoing disagreements with YEC, and this is no different.

I’m not a scientist. But you don’t address (although obliquely try) that it could be possible for life to exist in temperate climates before 11,000 years ago. Instead, you infer that life might not hospitable - while asserting that your work is conclusive proof that life didn’t exist here before 8,000 - 12,000 years ago. Your inference is that no life could exist before this time frame, but your suppositions about temperature and wind speed may at best suggest that life for humans would be difficult (should we talk about all of the animals and plants that could easily exist in the world you describe? Should we talk about marine life?) Your work is based upon ice core samples from the extreme ends of the world. Nothing in your information refutes other fossil records for either homo sapiens or other organic life. Your basic theory is that the earth itself is millions or even billions of years old, but that life itself is just 11,000 years and yet you do not explain botanical evidence or information to the contrary, in short your theories have just as many flaws as YEC, or Darwinistic, etc. Instead, you would rather having a spat with YEC adherents.

I have three issues with your continued publications. The first is that you take facts about ice cores (I don’t know the science and thus can’t affirm or deny those facts), but then you extrapolate that to a worldwide opinion that your facts don’t necessarily support. All that you say about ice core records in Greenland and Antartica could be true and there could still be life in the equatorial zones - your facts don’t prove or disprove this and you say it does.

The second issue I have is that you then tie your conclusions to Bible and EGW passages and assert that your statements prove that those authors are correct and their statements prove that you are correct. This is in no way supported by the evidence you provide.

Third, again with apologies, frankly I am offended that someone must take all of your assertions to be true and factual or their theology is in doubt. If I don’t agree that your conclusions support the idea of a 6 day creation, then in your mind the concept of the Sabbath is nullified. In my opinion, that is not your right to assert.

Finally, my I humbly suggest that these articles hurt your cause more than they help it. Having the appearance of scientific rigor, but leading to unsubstantiated and unsupported conclusions simply causes ridicule for your ideas even if the foundation of them is correct. It becomes all too easy to just label it junk science - because you claim proofs that your work does not prove. It would be much better to present your ice core data and write those specific conclusions that you can support and present them in peer-reviewed journal, including those journals of those that don’t believe in a creation week. If the facts stand up, they stand up, if not then you can go to the drawing board.

Best wishes.

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Well stated. Although I’m mostly comfortable with a relatively recent 6-day creation, I cringe often at the claims of evidence presented by well-meaning creationists–and the millions of dollars spent by the church and private donors to indoctrinate the masses (such as at the latest conference just concluded in Utah). I think indoctrination with flawed arguments can do considerable harm when young people are eventually confronted with counterarguments they cannot refute. It especially hurts when our young people realize they were taught WRONG TERMS, which I addressed in the previous article by these gentlemen. I learned just today that the Brand and Chadwick textbook misuses the term “macroevolution,” though they admit their use of the word differs from standard usage. I cringed upon reading that.

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So what?

To me, what the authors of this article attempt to demonstrate is a scientific (and religious) dead-end. God can’t be draggeg into a scientific laboratory for experimental research. And, scientistic ‘proof-texting’ doesn’t validate their conclusions. Nor do they give us any clues as to who we believe in when we say ‘we believe in God’.

My take-away from this article is the flip side of the fundamentalist coin: scientism. And it is no less fundamentalistic than religious fundamentalism.

When it comes to God, the question of who? has priority over how? - as I see it. My faith is not anchored in a supreme cosmic engineer, but rather in a vulnerable and incarnated God of time and space. What Paul names “the weakness of God”.

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Since the fall of Adam and Eve, MISERY has dominated human existence.

As we speak, huge portions of earth’s population, even in this twenty first century, exist without flush toilets and running water in their homes.
Multitudes exist without ameliorating amemtitirs such as air conditioning to cool in hot climates, and central heating to make polar climates palatable.

Of course our peasant ancestors lived in abject poverty and penury, and lacked all modern conveniences. Even the castles of the aristocracy were infested with rodents,and were damp and cold. Even the King’s bed was infested with fleas and bed bugs. Sanitary conditions were awful even in princely palaces!

So, for me, a long duration of human habitation on this planet, covering mutilpe millenia, is incompatible,with a loving God, who would tolerate such a dreadful duration of misery.

Even six thousand years is TOO LONG for God to use the human race as "Guinea pigs " in his obsessive compulsion to "vindicate " Himself, before
"The universe " , as EGW outlines in her toxic explanation for sin and suffering.

So evidence for a shorter period of misery for mankind is wonderful and welcomed.

Even so, the Second Coming seems inordinately delayed/postponed /cancelled (? )

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“I cringe often at the claims of evidence presented by well-meaning creationists–and the millions of dollars spent by the church and private donors to indoctrinate the masses (such as at the latest conference just concluded in Utah).”— I “cringe” that anybody claiming to be a Christian would think the way you wrote.

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The initial pre-Abrahamic chapters of Genesis establish monotheism, the creator God of the whole of life and its world, the God who chose Abraham out of all the creation and through his lineage the slaves for whom Genesis was written, the very slaves who were salvaged by this God from Egypt and brought to Saini and then to the Jordan and finally Canaan, the Promised Land. Thus, do we humans do great disservice out of our ignorance-fueled need for ultimate clarity in lieu of faith to read into Genesis what is not there and was never intended to be there? It seems so.

As we the people of Seventh-day Adventism approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this coming October, we do well to remember that Sola Scriptura means that we individually embrace scripture independent of its interpretations by any church council, including our own. And we also do well to re-clarify that Sola Scriptura does not mean that special revelation has replaced natural revelation.

And as the people of Seventh-day Adventism, we do well to remember that, as the books of Moses specifically confirm, the Sabbath honors the power of God as creator and as redeemer, first symbolically through the children of Abraham and post Jesus the whole of his creation, as also promised in Genesis.

In light of this, do we not do better to simply let the ice cores tell their own story? It seems so.

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The Conference was fantastic! Your attitude is “flawed.” It was NOT an exercise in “indoctrination” but an open discussion where scientific evidences where presented and the problems with some models candidly brought to our attention.

The absolute definitive signs of design are found in new discoveries in functions in regulatory DNA and the revolution in Epigenetics!

If you have not read Chadwick and Brand’s book don’t trash it! Of course we don’t understand everything - it was never stated that we do!

“Si comprehendis, non est deus“ (If you comprehend it, it is not God) Augustine of Hippo

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Amen and amen!

////20

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Interesting answer/rebuttal from ICR on this topic - http://www.icr.org/article/ice-cores-age-earth/ Worth a look. In the article, they talk about a 50-foot layer of ice covering two WWII-era B-17 Flying Fortresses and 6 P-38 Lightning aircraft. Obviously this ice accumulation happened recently. In one section of the article, simple tests for particulate matter from known volcanic activity in earth’s history are referred to. The article also calls for young earth creationists to further study the ice core data and try to figure out what it means for them.

Short answer: don’t believe everything you read in Spectrum from those attempting to undermine young earth creation.

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That goes for what I say to.
The WWII aircraft landed on the coast where it snows great amounts. (and ice cores do not go back far) The very old ice cores are taken in land where it is much dryer and very little ice is added each year. [quote=“Irishtiger, post:16, topic:13827”]
simple tests for particulate matter from known volcanic activity in earth’s history are referred to.
[/quote]
From the pictures I saw; the volcanic marks in the ice are spot on.
If we only had ice, only lake sediment, only tree rings, only coral rings, etc… then one could be questioned. When they all do not say 6000, actually 4500 to a “great flood”.

[quote]“Trees made 3 to 5 rings per year in Bible times.”
“Ice core layers happen every day not every year.”
“Lake sediment, every storm.”
“The laws of physics were different is Bible times”
“The earth went around the sun much, much faster, back then.”[/quote]
Even if that was true, there are still too many layers/rings.

The question is not “millions or billions”, but why is there no mark in history 4500 and 6000 years ago? I fully understand there is no way to prove “to you”. Lets reverse it. I want to find water marks on 10,000 year old buildings in the middle east. I want to find only 4500 ice layers. I could write a book if I could only show that all start beyond 6000 light years don’t exist. I want to find this … but not in a Ken Ham way.

check out some of the archive articles for spectrum…here’s one, written by andre reis (a new testament theologian), that explains in simple terms why ice core analysis from greenland isn’t necessarily objective:

this is the point probably most in dispute among scientists, not only within the field of ice core science, but all the branches of earth origins science…conventional science simply denies that noah’s flood happened, and therefore finds no evidence that it happened…creation science, on the other hand, uses noah’s flood as a starting premise in everything they look at…all their models assume that it happened…this discrepancy in initial assumptions probably explains why scientists with the same degrees from the same institutions, and using the same methods, arrive at such different conclusions after examining the same evidence…

of course for the average lay person, this disconnect between qualified scientists gives good cover to disbelieve whatever lies outside of a chosen belief system…if the question of origins is a court trial, with the public being the jury, and scientists specialty witnesses, it means individual members of the jury, or the public, will likely conclude what they believed going into the trial…

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Thank you Dr Letham and Mr Gibson for your thoughtful article. It is refreshing to read a response to creation that is neither staunchly atheistic nor young earth creationist.

My question for gap theorists is: Is there a hierarchy of created life? So much geology is dependent on biology. For example, marine invertebrates and limestone, cyanobacteria and iron ore, buried forests and coal. How do gap theorists account for these (and other eg. dinosaur) life forms which have been present for more than thousands of years?

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Why do we insist on saying “the Sabbath” as if there were only one? (Lev 23 is chuck full of sabbaths that we flat-out ignore.)

“when diverse life forms were created and God gave us a Creation Memorial in time, the Sabbath.” And Isn’t it misleading for us to pretend that this particular sabbath was given in Genesis 1/2 as part of creation when it was actually given as part of the exodus? (Ex. 16, Dt. 5) And maybe we should emphasize that “the third day” and “the seventh day” and “the eighth day”, etc., never add “of the week”. Our preoccupation with the age of the earth seems to be driven more by our assumptions about the Bible than by its unambiguous declarations.

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So, what exactly do you propose was created during creation week? Settled farming? The insertion of the likeness of God into Adam and Eve? The climate on earth is tightly connected with life, and you include pollen for both ice core calibration as well as for determining past temperature ranges.

They do write that there was life in other areas of earth. Here:

When you write that the problems with some models were candidly brought into attention, would the model voted by the recent GC sessions be one of those highlighted? Or did the conference candidly bring evidence against competing models to your attention?

So I understand from your reply that the conference provided at least reasonably good solutions to these issues. Would you mind providing a summary of these solutions here, I would very much like to learn them. I have never learned of any probable, let alone any believable solutions to these questions and this, as you may understand, causes a great deal of internal conflict with regard to adventist belief, church and local congregation. Therefore I would be pleased if you could help me answering these questions.

The bible begs to differ from your assessment above.

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

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The belief of an old Earth creation is incompatible with the Fourth Commandment, spoken by God himself, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” (Exodus 20:11). The evening of the first day begins with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The timing is confirmed by Genesis 1:2 when, “…darkness was upon the face of the deep…” The morning of the first day begins with Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

So the Bible itself tells us that the first day was composed of an evening (the time of darkness upon the face of the deep) and morning (the time of light). One cannot truly accept and keep the Sabbath commandment while holding to a belief in an old Earth.

Does this mean I can explain away the above evidence for an older Earth? Certainly not. But if we are to walk by faith and not by sight, we must be able to reject even our best physical evidence if it is incompatible with our faith. To choose physical evidence over faith is to act as Eve, who rejected faith in God’s word because she, “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise…” (Genesis 3:6).

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