Nature Identifies Events during the "Gap" in Creation

For 150 years Protestant churches, including Adventists, have debated the meaning of Genesis 1:1-3; as to whether, the entire planet was formed at Creation Week, or whether Creation Week occurred on an "old" Earth formed eons ago "in the beginning."[1],[2] The debate continues today. Careful analysis of Scripture, as very recently discussed by Davidson,[3] clearly supports the view of a two-stage Creation. Some scholars in ancient Hebrew (e.g. C. J. Collins[4]) also support this view, while the age of the Earth (4.5 billion years), now reliably determined by modern science,[5] is in accord.

Of old has thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. -Psalm 102:25

Davidson and most "old earth" creationists consider a 'passive' gap period occurred between the two creations, presumably, meaning that no significant creation activity appeared to occur during the Gap.[*] This appears to us to be a strange conclusion. We have difficulty in understanding why God would create a planet intended to support life and then abandon it for 4.5 billion years. In this study, we note immense geological changes were found to have occurred, particularly toward the end of the 'gap' period. The control of these events is beyond human understanding and could well reveal a further feature of the Creator's power. (Rev. 14.7). However, the forces of Nature involved are still evident today, and indeed are essential to maintaining planet earth as a viable habitat.

In this article we focus on the 'gap' period, and use the development of the geomorphology of New Zealand as an illustration of God's design in creating the physical world to prepare the planet for Creation Week. Although New Zealand is a small country, its geomorphology displays great diversity and has been studied intensively by local geologists, some of considerable distinction, and by numerous international groups including many US scientists. Because New Zealand is young in a geological sense, development of a chronology for its formation has been facilitated.

In some respects, this article relates to previous contributions[6] (see ref. 2) concerning the age of the Earth and young earth creationism (YEC). Those earlier discussions were based on scientific data and graphs that are not easily determined, and less easily understood by many readers. Some readers even displayed an anti-science attitude, noting with some alarm such stories as "The Scientific Captivity of Creation and Beyond."[7] Consequently, we base our reasoning now on features of the New Zealand natural world that all can visit and see with their own eyes, and perhaps understand, while limiting scientific measurements here to a minimum.

Submersion and Uplift

In 1642, when the Dutch mariner Abel Tasman sited the snow-capped Alps of the South Island of New Zealand, he was probably the first European to see that country. The Dutch named it Nieuw Zeeland after a province of the Netherlands. They saw it as a new land surrounded by sea, but they did not realise that the numerous alpine peaks over 10,000 feet in height, and most of the entire country, had been uplifted from the sea floor. Today this is clearly evidenced from geology.[8],[9]

Two factors contributed to the above uplift. First, the interface between the Indo-Australian and the Pacific tectonic plates runs nearly the full length of the South Island (the Alpine Fault, see Figure 1) and then continues off the coast of the North Island. Interaction between the plates produced uplift. Second, a submerged continent (termed Zealandia[†]) occurred over and around the seafloor area which was uplifted and contributed foundation material that became part of present-day New Zealand (see Figure 1). Before the submersion, Zealandia had split from Antarctica and the east coast of Australia, both of which were then part of the giant ancient continent of Gondwana.[10],[11]

Modern seafloor mapping has provided continental edge profiles that fit together to support the concept of Zealandia, Australia and Antarctica being joined. Confirmation comes from comparative geological studies of Australian and New Zealand ancient rock formations formed before the separation of Australia and Zealandia. The similarities are often striking indicating the countries were joined. Further confirmation is given by leaf fossils in the above rocks. Both Australia and New Zealand have fossils of the same extinct flora implying physical union as components of Gondwana (see refs. 8, 9). The split of Zealandia was initiated about 85 million years (my) ago and was complete 65 my before present, while eastward rifting placed Zealandia near its present location 10 my later.[12] Based on the age of New Zealand lime stone and fossil shells,[13] and other evidence, submergence occurred 24-35 my ago. Initially, Zealandia was generally considered to have been fully submerged, but more recent evidence indicates that a small proportion of primeval New Zealand remained above sea level.[14]

After the split, rifting eastward and submersion, tectonic uplift of 7% of Zealandia about 20 my ago produced the precursor of modern New Zealand. The submarine origin of land is substantiated by several types of evidence including the widespread occurrence of limestone of a uniform age that formed from shells of marine organisms, the predominance of marine fossils relative to terrestrial, and widespread areas of inland flat land due to levelling by the sea (marine planation) during gradual submergence.[15] (see refs. 8, 9).

A new primordial land had been formed by uplift from the sea. The subsequent modifications in geomorphology are recorded in God's Book of Nature and are partially outlined below further revealing God's power as Creator.

Figure 1

A map derived by bathymetric measurements of the main portion of the submerged continent Zealandia. A map of the North and South Islands of modern New Zealand (light green) has been superimposed with the Alpine Fault marked. The Lord Howe Rise and the Norfolk Ridge of Zealandia extend about 800 km further northward. The boundary of Zealandia adjacent to the red symbol marked LHI coincides with the volcanic Lord Howe Island, which is 600 km east of the Australian coast. The small insert indicates the position of New Zealand relative to Australia. The map was modified from the SVG file: Zealandia-Continent map (Wikimedia Commons).

Alps and Plains

About 5 my ago, the subtropical climate that occurred in primeval New Zealand became colder and a change in the motion of the alpine fault caused rapid uplift along the interface between the Australian and Pacific plates in the South Island.[16],[17] Uplift has continued until today producing the Southern Alps with 23 named peaks over 10,000 ft and many glaciers. The largest of these is the Tasman glacier (area 101 km2, length 27 km, depth 600 m) which flows past the base of Mt Cook (over 12,000 ft), the highest peak in the Alps (Figure 2A).

Several types of evidence confirm that the Alps were uplifted from the seafloor, including: (1) the presence of marine fossils in the alpine rock; (2) the basic composition of greywacke, a rock formed on the seafloor; and (3) the position of the Alps closely parallels the adjacent Alpine Fault.

Figure 2

Features of the South Island, NZ, landscape referred to in the text.

2A: A small section of the Southern Alps, the mountains uplifted from the sea that extend 500 km. Mt Tasman (left), Mt Cook (right) both about 12,000 ft, and Lake Matheson is in the foreground. Photo purchased from Alamy Ltd. UK.

2B: The Canterbury Plains that formed on gravel 1 km deep derived from the Alps. The view shows the Western side of the Plains looking towards Mt Hutt and the foothills of the Alps. Purchased from Alamy Ltd. UK.

2C: Rock dust (loess) produced by glaciation being blown from the bed of the Rakaia River across the Canterbury Plains. Source: ref. 21, used by permission, NZ Society of Soil Science.

2D: Red Mountain (in Otago near Fiordland) once linked to Dun Mountain, but now separated by 500 km due to displacement. Note how the ultramafic rock has prevented all plant growth. Used with permission from GNS Science pictorial library, NZ.

2E: In Milford Sound near the Entrance. Purchased from Alamy Ltd. UK.

2F: Mitre Peak (in Milford Sound), that rises 6,000 ft above the water, was sculptured by glaciation, which probably involved multiple glacial flows. The huge cirque or corrie (centre) carved out by ice suggests the extent of glaciation. Purchased from Alamy Ltd. UK.

The formation of the Southern Alps had an important consequence – the development of the Canterbury Plains (Figure 2B) that extend from the Alps to the sea. The east-flowing rivers that originated in the Alps carried glacier-produced rock debris which, over time, and through flood plains and gravel fans, generated a giant gravel bed (over 1 km deep) on which fertile soil developed averaging about 100 cm in thickness.[18] Seafloor cores, with chronology confirmed by dated volcanic ash layers, record the nature of river effluent. These cores showed that the Alps were fully active for over 3 my in producing rock debris for plain formation.[19],[20] Now, the giant glaciers of the ice age are gone and so is the expansion of the Canterbury Plains, but today, as a reminder, rock dust (loess) from the river beds can still be seen, carried by the prevailing north-westerly wind, to fertilise the land.[21] (See Fig. 2C). We might think of God uplifting the Alps, and then crushing the rocks to form the plains and maintain fertility. In other words, a more active rather than passive gap!

For you are dealing with the One who formed the mountains… …and crushes down the mountains underneath His feet: Jehovah, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is His name. -Amos 4:13, Living Bible

In addition to causing uplift, the alpine fault induces horizontal displacement[22] and a clear example of this involves two mountains, Red mountain near Milford Sound and Dun Mountain with the associated Red Hills in Nelson. All have the same dull red colour and an unusual mineral composition that prevents plant growth. Research over many years has established that the two mountains were once linked by the Red Hills with the Alpine Fault running between them, but now they are separated by over 500 km due to displacement along the Fault.[23], [24] Red Mountain (see Fig. 2D) is on the Pacific plate, while Dun Mountain is part of the Australia plate. Not only are the separated mountains very similar in composition, but associated rock formations, on opposite sides of the Fault, match.[25] (See also Ref. 22). Hence, the two mountains apparently were not created in situ, but were displaced after formation. This displacement along the Fault continues today and geology indicates that the current displacement rate (30 mm/year) has occurred over the past 4,000 years and probably for several million years.[26]

Questions for YEC: (1) How long did the established displacement of the two mountains require? and (2) How can this be rationalised with YEC 6,000 year doctrine?

In many ways, the geomorphology of New Zealand with its alpine regions and volcanism (the latter not discussed herein) is unique. But, so is its alpine flora with over 600 species and 94% are endemic to New Zealand. These include many unusual species designed to withstand the harsh climate. There were no mountains in Zealandia or in New Zealand after uplift from the sea and the nearest comparable mountains were in South America. The origin and diversity of these 600 species of alpine plants has presented a problem for botanists. Evolution from low-land plants, and from species dispersed from other land masses, has been proposed.[27] However, during the uplift of the Southern Alps and associated glaciation, "the biological effects of…[this] orogeny were restricted to extinction".[28] It certainly is difficult to see how plants could evolve under an ice sheet possibly 1 km thick moving over the alpine surface and grinding rock to gravel and dust. After the ice age ended, temperatures began to rise about 18,000 years ago and the ice sheets were gone 5-8 thousand years later. This would appear to have left insufficient time for active evolution to yield new genera, but was in ample time for Creation Week.

Glaciation and Fiords

In a recent article in Spectrum, we discussed the last glaciation (ice age, glacial maximum about 23,000 years ago) and its effects on the Northern Hemisphere (see ref. 2). This glaciation and earlier glaciations also affected New Zealand markedly. The glaciated valleys in the Southern Alps produced the rock debris that became the foundations of the Canterbury Plains. Southwest New Zealand experienced several severe glacial periods with the mountains covered by ice sheets that gouged out wide-bottomed steep-sided valleys which reached the sea.[29],[30] Here immense amounts of rock debris were deposited but are now submerged. The sea level rose gradually after the last glaciation maximum (24,000 years ago), and the valleys were later flooded forming 15 large fiords (or fjords) 14 to 40 km in length, over 300 km of the coast. The deepest is Doubtful Sound (421 m) but Milford Sound (see Figures 2E, 2F) is best known as a great tourist attraction. The maximum depth below sea level is 291 m, while above water, the walls reach 2,000 m. Such fiords are of course not unique to New Zealand, as similar fiords are even more abundant in Norway.

Some Geological Discussion

Thus far, we have considered a series of geological events, namely, the formation of the continent Zealandia and its movement eastward, its possible submersion below sea level, the subsequent uplift of 7% of its area to form ancient New Zealand, the further uplift of the Southern Alps and other mountains from the sea floor, the development of endemic alpine flora, the displacement of mountains by over 500 km, the formation of the Canterbury Plains and the glaciation that produced the numerous fiords. Hence, in the formation of New Zealand, we see a sequence of designed and coordinated events that may typify the continued activity of the Creator in the physical realm to prepare the planet for Creation Week and the creation of man in God's image. These events did not occur by chance. They are far too complex. Their final product is one of beauty, the signature of the Creator.

The million year periods assigned by geologists to stages in the development of New Zealand have been noted above. However, periods similar to these can be reached in relation to the formation of the Southern Alps and Fiordland without reference to radiometric dating and similar complexities. Both formations require severe glaciation and we have noted previously that the ice ages occurred over 20,000 years ago. However, moraines, glacial till, erratic rocks and other sources of evidence indicate that a series of glacial advances and retreats occurred in South New Zealand. These extend much farther back in time probably to 140,000 years ago.[31] However, as already mentioned herein, the alpine-derived effluent of Canterbury rivers reveal a continuum of periodic glaciations extending at least 2 million years into the past. Hence the Alps and fiords were glaciated over this period and their formation commenced at an earlier time.

However, using precise methods, each geological change involved in the Creation of New Zealand can be shown to have occurred over millions of years. For example, several types of evidence established that the marked uplift to yield the Southern Alps began 5 my ago. Active glaciation was occurring 2 my later and the habitat for alpine plants was formed after a further 2 my. Thus 4 my of uplift produced mountains similar to those of today.

But, some (thinking of 'young earthers') may still claim the above geological changes occurred at Creation Week by fiat creation (the instant creation in response to God's spoken command). However, if the Alps were formed thus, they would not have marine fossils, and the seafloor cores, which reflect alpine climate, would not reveal the recorded recurring glaciations. Also, huge deposits of off-shore rock debris are present under the sea at the entrance to each fiord. In fiat creation, there would be none and there would be no striations on the walls of fiords caused by passage of rock embedded in glacial ice.

Modification over time is clearly involved in the formation of New Zealand. Since the latter stages are dependent on glaciation and Creation Week followed the ice ages,[32] all this terrestrial change occurred during the 'gap' period. How long did the transformation of Zealandia into modern New Zealand require? Geologists (modern science) say 80 million years, and, based on the magnitude of the diverse changes involved and chronology presented, that seems perfectly reasonable. The development of the geomorphology of New Zealand over time as described herein strongly confirms the concept of a two-stage creation and a long gap period involving an "old" earth on which Creation Week occurred subsequently.

Some Discussion Involving Scripture

The antiquity of the Earth was revealed to the Hebrews in Scripture they could understand (e.g. Genesis 1:1, Psalm 102:25, Hebrews 1:10). Today, we can consult God's Second Book (Nature and modern science) and find an exact age for the Earth in terms we also can understand – the answer 4.5 billion years.

YEC adherents ignore this age and the Scriptural basis for a two-stage Creation [ref. 3], and incorrectly interpret Genesis 1:1-3 to mean the planet and universe were created at Creation Week (i.e. about 6,000 years ago). Because of the false claim that this age has clear Scriptural basis, many science-literate people, and particularly the young people, are likely to reject the Bible completely!

Since there is no valid modern science to support YEC views, they have resorted to misquotations, quoting out of context, and selective quotation of science literature (see ref. 2, 6). However, a recent Spectrum article[33] indicates YEC doctrine is accepted by Adventist leaders and is now being actively promoted by YEC adherents at the theological level and this was also evident in the book by Bull and Guy who claim, "…in Genesis 1 there is no indication whatever of two separate Creation processes."[34] Such claim is often made by YEC and is very relevant to the conclusions of the present article. While Davidson [ref. 3] has presented 10 reasons based solely on Scripture that support a two-stage Creation with a gap period, the claim of Bull and Guy appears to be dismissed by simple logic (see also note in ref. 34).

Genesis 1:2 states water and "the earth" were present before Creation Week. The latter could exist normally only as a planet-like sphere and "evening and morning" in Genesis 1:5 suggests one rotation every 24 hours. For stability the sphere/planet would need to be in orbit. Realistically, that can only mean the orbiting of the sun. Hence, before Creation Week (Genesis 1:3-31), the solar system was present, at least in part. However, since the planets are probably all the same age (note the recent age determined directly for Mars),[35] the entire solar system appears to have been functional before Creation Week. Furthermore, the water referred to in Genesis 1:2 requires solar radiation to maintain the liquid state, otherwise the Earth would have been a sphere coated in ice. The above observations are in accord with the 10 lines of evidence given (see ref. 3). This Scriptural evidence combined with the age of the planet and chronology of gap period events detailed herein, establish the occurrence of the two-stage creation of our planet. Simply expressed this is creation of the solar system with a special planet Earth that was modified during the gap period, followed by Creation Week.

Belief in a 6,000 year old Earth formed in a single creation process (i.e. no "gap") defies all logic, can incite ridicule and has no basis in Scripture or modern science. Instead, we have the truth of an ancient world created eons ago by a Creator who transcends time. Then during the ages of the gap period, final preparation was made for a recent Creation Week. The two stage Creation, which we can confidently promote to the World is in accord with Scripture, and also modern science in accepting the age of the Earth as about 4.5 billion years old. The geological wonders of the gap period reveal a further aspect of God's design and control of our planet.


New Zealand, a Microcosm of geological change, is only a small country, about the area of Colorado or the British Isles. It is young in a geological sense and this has facilitated elucidation of a diverse geological past. Where else in such a small area does one find: remnants of a submerged continent, snow capped alps uplifted from the ocean floor but now endowed with a unique alpine flora, large glacial lakes, deep glaciers up to 27 km in length, high water falls, a great plain built of alpine sediment 1 km deep, mountains that moved over 500 km, very deep fiords, intense volcanism (not discussed herein) that built high mountains and numerous young volcanic cones and ash from many former major eruptions.

Creation is evident in the unique alpine flora with 600 species and nearly all occur exclusively in New Zealand. However, in the modifications of the early Earth revealed by New Zealand geology we see something very significant: the integration of continent formation, volcanism, sea-floor uplift, glaciation, mountain and plain building and lateral fault displacement. All this occurred over long periods of time. It constituted time-dependent abiotic change prior to Creation Week and involved coordinated events that are clear evidence of a designer, a Creator. All the events mentioned above can be fitted into a chronology and occurred during the gap period before Creation Week. The events confirm the two-stage creation of the Earth, a long gap period, and the fallacy of YEC, while an overlooked aspect of Creation is revealed.

Geological change in New Zealand, a small country, has been discussed, but what would have occurred globally during the gap period, and how were the events coordinated to enable creation of a perfect Earth?

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

References and Notes:

[*]The "Gap", as we understand it, and as used herein, is a time gap, between the Creation "In the Beginning...", that is, eons ago, and Creation Week, which appears to be a very recent event, and which we address separately in a following story titled: Nature Confirms a Recent Creation Week.

[†]Near the end of the 20th century, one does not expect to learn of a new continent, but one was found. It was named Zealandia in 1995 by the US geologist, Dr. B. P. Luyendyk. Surveys of the seafloor around New Zealand had revealed a submerged continent half the area of Australia. Geologically it has attracted great international interest.

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

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

[4]C.J. Collins (2006), Genesis 1-4, Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing Company.

[5]U.S. Geological Survey(2016). How do we know the Age of the Earth? G.B. Dalrymple (2006), The TalkOrigins Archive. How Old is the Earth?

[8]I.J. Graham (2011) (Ed). A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century. Geological Society of New Zealand and GNS Science, Wellington, NZ. 377 pp.

[9]H. Campbell and G. Hutching (2011). In Search of Ancient New Zealand. GNS Science/Penguin Group, NZ, 239 pp.

[10]N. Mortimer and 10 coworkers (2017). GSA Today (Geological Society America) 27: Issue 3.

[11]S. McLoughlin (2001). Australian J. Botany 49: 271-300.

[12]S. Cande, J.M. Stock (2004), in The Cenozoic Southern Ocean: Tectonics Sedimentation and Climate Change between Australia and Antarctica. Geophysical Monograph Series 5, American Geophysical Union.

[13]C.S. Nelson and 5 coworkers (2004). New Zealand J. Geology and Geophysics, 47: 719-730.

[14]M. Heads (2017). Biogeography and Evolution in New Zealand, Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press. pp. 250-261.

[15]C.A. Landis and 5 coworkers (2008). Geological Mag. 145: 173-197.

[16]G.E. Batt and 4 coworkers (1999), In: U. Ring et al (eds.) Exhumation Processes: Normal Fauling, Ductile Flow and Erosion. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 154: 261-282.

[17]G.E. Batt and 3 coworkers (1999). Geological Society of America Bulletin, 112: 250-266; G.E. Batt and J. Braun (1999). Geophysical J. International, 136: 403-420.

[18]D.D. Wilson (1985), J. of Hydrology, 24: 32-44.

[19]R.M. Carter and P. Gammon (2004). Science, 304: 1659-1662.

[20]C.S. Nelson and 3 coworkers (1985). Nature, 318: 361-363.

[21]L. Molloy (1998). Soils in the New Zealand Landscape - the Living Mantle, (2nd Ed.). New Zealand Society of Soil Science, Dept of Soil Science, Lincoln University, Canterbury, NZ, pp. 179-187.

[22]R. Galbreath (1999). "Harold Wellman and the Fault", New Zealand Geographic, Issue 41, Jan-March 1999; S. Nathan (2011). "Harold Wellman and the Alpine Fault of New Zealand". Episodes, 34: 51-56.

[23]S. Lamb and 3 coworkers (2016). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 17: 1197-1213. See comment by T. Cook, EOS 97: 22 July 2016.

[24]W.J. Sivell and M.T. McCulloch (2000). New Zealand J. Geology and Geophysics, 43: 133-146.

[25]C.A. Landis (1980). New Zealand J. Geology and Geophysics, 23: 551-567.

[26]A.F. Cooper and R.J. Norris (1995), New Zealand J. Geology and Geophysics, 38: 509-514.

[27]R.C. Winkworth and 3 coworkers (2005), Organisms Diversity and Evolution, 5:237-247.

[28]See Reference, 14, p. 304.

[29]D.L. Shuster and 3 coworkers (2011), Science, 332: 84-88.

[30]B.R. Stanton (1986), New Zealand J. Marine and Freshwater Research, 20: 299-314.

[31]H. Rother and 5 coworkers (2014), Proceedings Natl. Acad. Science, U.S., 111: 11630-11635.

[32]See reference 2, and discussion in a forthcoming paper expected to be submitted to Spectrum in the next few weeks: Title: Nature Confirms a Recent Creation Week.

[34]B. Bull and F. Guy (2011), God, Sky and Land, Roseville, CA: Adventist Forum, p. 137. Note this claim is repeated on p. 36. On pp. 137-138, texts proposed to support YEC are given including a misquotation of Ex. 20:11. All these texts and conclusions are assessed by Davidson (ref. 3).

[35]K.A. Farley and 33 coworkers (2013), Science Express, 9 December, pp. 1-9.

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.

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" and "Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Authors; Second Response"

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Although the article may be sound from a human perspective, the bible is clear on the account of creation. I am reminded of the quote from Mrs EG White:

Infidel geologists claim that the world is very much older than the Bible record makes it. They reject the Bible record, because of those things which are to them evidences from the earth itself, that the world has existed tens of thousands of years. And many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that Creation week was only seven literal days, and the world is now only about 6000 years old… {LHU 52.6}
Without Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of a state of things differing in many respects from the present. But the time of their existence, and how long a period these things have been in the earth, are only to be understood by Bible history… When men leave the Word of God in regard to the history of Creation, and seek to account for God’s creative works upon natural principles, they are upon a boundless ocean of uncertainty. Just how God accomplished the work of Creation in six literal days He has never revealed to mortals. His creative works are just as incomprehensible as His existence (Spiritual Gifts 3:90-93). {LHU 52.7}

Your thoughts.


While I appreciate the scientific exposition and acknowledge its accuracy based on data derived from analogous processes, I tend to be concerned when attempts are made to turn the poetry of ascents in the Creation account into a scientific text. I doubt it was ever intended to be such. I do not agree with the Young Earth Creationists that accepting the geological paradigm set forth by science negates the existence or even the concept of God. There is far too much beyond the realms of scientific inquiry to believe that all can or will be explained rationally. Infinity is such a useful concept in that regard. :wink:


But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority–not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support. GC 595
The Sabbath commandment states that the heavens and the earth were created during the six days of creation. That doesn’t necessarily include the starry universe but could be restricted to this planet only or to this solar system.

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Hear, hear brother. One can’t let sound human perspective or those infidel geologists cause you to doubt your understanding of the truth.
And I too am reminded of the following quote concerning the real cause of earthquakes from Mrs EG White:

“At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes , and fiery issues. As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, there are heavy explosions underground, which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow; and these often failing to give sufficient vent to the heated elements, the earth itself is convulsed, the ground heaves and swells like the waves of the sea, great fissures appear, and sometimes cities, villages, and burning mountains are swallowed up.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p.108).

Your thoughts.


Why can’t we both be correct ? God created nature fully grown. Adam was a grown man, at one day old .But to look at him , we would say that he was about 30 years old. In the beginning God, and the Spirit moved over the face of the water . My question is , " When was the water created ? Then Rev 14:7 , God takes credit for creating the waters . There are also millions of planets. It gives us the idea that God could/ would come back to them and fit them out to sustain life , whenever . He can do that, because he is God.

The creation as outlined in Genesis 1 is a masterpiece of literary reductionism , perhaps not meant to be taken literally as to timelines. The account, however, seems valid as to the order , or stages, of creationor serial appearance of lifeforms. It may well have been derived from Babylonian religious practice , especially the references to “eves”, since the Biblical account was written by post-exilic priests who had no doubt witnessed the Babylonian elaborately- staged, and multi-phazed, creation drama with creation stages much like those appearing in Genesis. This dram was staged at every New Year celebration. The Babylonians prefaced every holy day with an “eve” so that their astronomists could identify(or at least pretend to identify) the star system from which their Gods came.This is therefore a lunar protocol typical of Babylonian religion. There is no such requirement in the Exodus commandments. In fact in the 10 commandments a solar protocol is indicated , as in the use of the word “day”. By “light” is meant the stage of thermonuclear ignition of a new star. The geological research in this article is very impressive, and I have saved it so as to go over it slowly as available time permits After ignition the new star(such as our own) will undergo a shrinking/ contracting process which can take up to some 30 million years—a short time astrologically. Then the expulsion of semi-molten material will eventually settle down to form planetisimals/protoplanets if all goes well; because some of these may not receive the “gas” they need to survive. A condensation cycle involving the new star and at least the nearer planets will be set up and this will no doubt produce rain for perhaps thousands or even millions of years, thus causing the surface of planets nearer to the sun/star to become filled with water (oceans/seas). According to some accounts (Raelism) God/ Yahweh, in preparing earth for habitation, ordered that material be raised from the bottom of the oceans/seas to form land. This was done by super massive controlled explosions. So originally there was one massive continent , which some call Pangea. It eventually devolved into several breakaway pieces from which one can trace the breakaways forming modern continents. God is indeed a super engineer/geologist/scientist/creator.

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Here’s an excerpt from a book, “Reasoning from the Scriptures” from the Watchtower Society regarding this subject.

“The facts disagree with such a conclusion:(1) Light from the Andromeda nebula can be seen on a clear night in the northern hemisphere. It takes about 2,000,000 years for that light to reach the earth, indicating that the universe must be at least millions of years old. (2) End products of radioactive decay in rocks in the earth testify that some rock formation have been un disturbed for billions of years.
Genesis 1:3-31 is not discussing the original creation of matter or of the heavenly bodies. It describes the preparation of the already existing earth for human habitation. This included creation of the basic kinds of vegetation, marine life, flying creatures, land animals, and the first human pair. All of this is said to have been done within a period of six “days”. However, the Hebrew word translated “day” has a variety of meanings, including ‘a long time; the time covering an extraordinary event.’ (Old Testament Word Studies, Grand Rapids, Mich.; 1978, W. Wilson, p.109). The term used allows for the thought that each creative “day” could have been thousands of years in length.”

To me, this line of reasoning harmonizes with both the Bible and scientific evidence.


Ever notice that “defenses of the Bible” tend to focus focus of the literalness of the Gen 1:1 through 2:4a story, while ignoring the second story which speaks of “the DAY that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens”?

The Oxford scholars wrote an introduction to their literary masterpiece which warns the reader not to rely on the KJV as a literal translation. A reasonable test of the scientific historicity of Scripture would be to put spotted sticks in front of sheep or goats during breeding and count the increase of spotted offspring.
Or at least read The Rocks Don’t Lie.


New Zealand is geologically stunning and rivals Norway’s fiords and BRITISH COLUMBIA, with its magical mix of lakes, sounds and majestic mountains.

What is of interest is that although there are dozens of species of UNIQUE to NEW ZEALAND birds, ( including the KIWI and the extinct ostrich-like MOA )
—there are NO native mammals on New Zealand — an animal less island!

And when mammals were introduced – rats – they decimated the bird population by eating the birds‘ eggs.

Captain Cook on arrival in the late 1700s, heard a cacophony of intense bird calls.-- dozens of unique species with no predators!

No longer, because the introduction of the domestic cat was calamatous.
Cats can kill eight birds a day.

A theological question:
Who installed the super complex neurological pathways to create the hunting instinct in cats, causing them to pounce on prey?
And whence came their sharp claws to grab their victims?

Also how did these unique NZ species travel the vast distant from Mount Ararat in Turkey, the supposed resting place of Noah’s ark" , without leaving traces of their uniqueness in the intervening immense distances?

One of my homes, is on the slopes of Haleakala – the house of the sun.
taller than MOUNT EVEREST, because the mountains peak at 10,023 feet, is only what shows above sea level.

The mountain’s shoulders descend another twenty thousand feet to the PACIFIC floor surrounding MAUI.

How many eons did it take to form this massive mountain, starting from a bubbling lava flow on ocean bottom, to reach a height of 30,000 feet?
Everest is,29,000 feet. The cubic volume of this immense mountain is incalculable. Seventy five per cent of the large island of Maui is comprised of this one mountain/volcano.

And how many more eons for wind, weather and water, to break down the super dense solidified lava, to form grains of sand suitable for plant growth?

Our six thousand year "young creation " advocates are silent in face of these legitimate provocative questions


The authors support a gap theory for creation. A long time of geological preparation for a creation week. And yet the authors refer to the presence of created life in the form of fossils including limestone, as part of this geological process. This does not seem to be consistent and I would be interested in the authors explanation.

@ezbord For the record New Zealand does have some native mammals. Hectors dolphin is found only in New Zealand waters and there are a couple of native bats. Like the birds, dolphins and bats have an advantage over non swimmers and flyers in reaching remote islands.


No one should expect the authors of early written texts, such as those comprising scripture, to have had knowledge of nature that was unavailable to them or their audience of the time. Those who require The Bible to literally comply with current knowledge and understanding are misrepresenting what The Bible is. Knowledge of nature continues to emerge as a result of research and data, aided by reason. Understanding of what The Bible is can also change and become more refined and accurate. A fuller appreciation of nature can help with that.


It is not helpful to quote Ellen White on this subject. You are assuming that God revealed these things to her in a dream or vision, which she never claims. What else could she have done but reflect the most conservative thinking on science and the bible in her day. If she had challenged it then, her ability to guide the church would have evaporated. God has left it to us to figure out these issues, the Bible notwithstanding. /

Beyond geology, we have anthropology, paleontology, bio-chemical and DNA research, all pointing to the same conclusion. We can keep fighting this battle by insisting that reason must submit to Scripture until, like the Amish, we provide no helpful answers to encourage faith in the God of Jesus Christ and become irrelevant. No thinking person who knows this literature, who has not grown up with a reverence of the work of Ellen White or the bible, would ever give this approach a moment’s notice. Sad indeed, but very true.


Thank you for your research and reasoned thought outlining the process of Creation of islands and continents. The authors are not to be faulted for their keen description and drawing together of biblical text and scientific history. Adventist readers need more of this kind of localized knowledge so they don’t swallow the idealistic and ungrounded ideas of YEC, which sounds pious but make no sense when you relate them to the real world as we know it.

One problem, which the authors seem to gloss over and over, is the remarkable age, not just of the rocks and geological data, but of life forms on this planet. The so-called “gap” they describe seems to be no gap at all, but a steady parade of extinctions and subsequent explosions of life forms. 99% of the species that ever existed did so “before” Creation Week as described here. In many ways this weakens the apparent role of the Genesis Week, which now becomes a late re-arrangement of a fully-diversified world of animals and humans about 6,000 years ago. I would like to hear the authors’ response to this criticism.

I prefer the approach taken by many others who accept the scientific description without any so-called “gap”. The biblical account is no sense a scientific or historical description of how life developed, but a theological reflection on the ancient worldview known to the writers of Genesis. The “gap” theory flies in the face of known ways to read ancient texts, and does not solve the problem it seeks to save.


Perhaps there have always been “infidel geologists.”

But for the record, let me mention the following 16 writers:

John Whitehurst (1713-1788)
John Playfair (1748-1819)
James Parkinson (1755-1824)
Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)
John Smith (1774-1851)
William Phillips (1775-1828)
Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864)
Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)
John Sumner (1780-1862)
William Buckland (1784-1856)
Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873)
William Conybeare (1787-1857)
Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
Roderick Murchison (1792-1871)
Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864)

What did these men have in common?

All of them, based upon the evidence they observed, concluded that the earth is old. All reached their conclusions before Charles Darwin published Origin of Species (1859).

Of the 16 listed, 12 were geologists. All were Christians. 5 were Christian pastors. All were creationists. And among these was not one “infidel geologist.”

Someday I may write an article offering more details.

R. Wresch, M.D.


The gap theory, is a hundred some years old now. See Herbert W. Morris, Work-Days of God; or Science and the Bible, enlarged ed. (London: W. Nicholson & Sons, 1915), 21– 106;
This theory interprets the tōhû wābōhû of verse 2 as implying a significant time gap in the account of creation. They take the Hebrew verb hāyâ (translated “was”) (“and the earth was”)to mean “became.” So the Earth did not begin formless and empty but rather ‘became’ formless and empty. However the verb hāyâ is best translated “was”) not “became. One rationale for messing with the translation is to reconcile the scientific evidence for Earth’s antiquity with the popular twentieth century teaching that the Genesis days represent six consecutive 24-hour periods.

The EGW quote from PP is referring to the immediate aftermath of the Genesis flood, probably months to a few years. It should not be taken to explain earthquakes today.

Is God capable of speaking matter into existence? With His voice, is he able to restore life to a decomposing body? Is He omniscient and omnipotent? How does the collective scientific understanding of the entire human race, compare to God’s understanding and capabilities? How much greater are His ways over our ways? Is their any scientific record of a human being who has observed a world unaffected by sin? Isn’t all scientific theory, regarding the age of the earth and human origins, based on an assumption that everything we observe today, in the physical world, has always functioned in the same way for all time? Could events like the introduction of sin and the global flood, have a catastrophic aging effect on the world we observe today?

Scientific inquiry is great, but at the end of the day it is nothing more than man’s understanding of the world around him. It is not the supreme authority in this universe. God’s word should always take precedence, over scientific theory, when the two are at odds with one another.

People often get wrapped up in the irrelevant debate on whether or not the language of Genesis allows for the creation week being significantly longer than 6x24hr days, or that scientific theory regarding evolution is possible if Genesis is understood as not being literal. The salvation of the human race is at the heart of the Biblical narrative, and the shedding of innocent blood is at the heart of the salvation narrative. Science would suggest that there was carnage and bloodshed, long before Adam and Eve sinned, and that suggestion flies in the face of the very heart of the gospel message.


Thank you to the authors of this provocative piece! (I confess to not yet deeply reading the entire thread, but promise to do so soon)I somewhat off handedly (and certainly neither scientifically or theologically) suggest that this moratorium on creation may well be the stayed hand of the creator, waiting at the end of the cosmic driveway for the first lost son to return home. I imply that If the whole of creation were at risk due to the insurrection of the progenitor of war and lies in heaven, that a loving creator would chose to not create more beings who would inevitably either be destroyed in the great conflict or suffer the other sequelae of needfully living through it.
If the parables have any real merit, how long would the prodigals father wait? He has limitless time, near a half dozen or even hundred billion enduring years would suggest untold more grace, than say a mere six thousand paltry days.

It begs the question-if he loves to create (and loves what he creates), how much does this (likely continuing) moratorium affect him? Imagine wanting to be a parent, and yearning to create a son-but choosing not to. The desire-and the reality are in stark conflict, even in our bodies.

With limitless space to fill-space perhaps crying out, like a restless spirit moving over old waters-i imagine it pains him deeply. Imagine–he wishes to share his whole creation (and has shared a palpable pro-creation responsibility with us)–but may have chosen to blunt his divine creative imperative.

Hey, and so very good to see you out here Joe!

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A question: at what point would a global Flood enter into these geological considerations?

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