| Paleontology - 1
by Bruce Malone
Fossils. The very name brings to mind images of untold ages past...dinosaurs roaming ancient
swamps...slow but steady progression as simple sea life was transformed into today's complex variety. Is this
an accurate reconstruction of the past or is a worldwide flood the correct explanation of the fossil record?
Fossils are the preserved evidence of past life. They are found in every part of the world, including the tops
of the highest mountains. They may be as simple as a seashell which has left a permanent impression in sand
or as grandiose as a giant plesiosaur whose bones have turned to rock after rapid burial. The fossils
themselves tell us neither their age nor how they became encased in the rock layers because they must be
interpreted within some view of earth history. Many people have been led to believe that the existence of
fossils proves that millions of years have passed. In reality, fossils can form quite rapidly. Heat and pressure
from rapid burial can accelerate the fossilization process. Geologic conditions following a worldwide flood
would have exceeded anything imaginable in the world today and could have lead to the rapid fossilization
of the plants and animals on a massive scale.
Fossilization can happen rapidly under the right conditions, but it is a rare event today. Yet there are mass burial sites throughout the world that are tightly packed with millions of fossils. Apparently, billions of organisms were washed together by the mass destruction of the worldwide flood, buried, and rapidly fossilized. These massive and extensive fossil graveyards would be the predictable result of a worldwide flood, but would hardly fit the slow accumulation model which continues to be taught as the primary explanation of the fossil record. Something dramatically different must have happened in the past to have caused the wide spread fossilization which we find all over our planet. Noah's flood would have been this event.
Geologists and paleontologists operating from a Christian world view acknowledge the possibility that a worldwide catastrophe buried unimaginably amounts of plants and animals. If this was the disaster documented in the first book of the Bible, it lasted at least one year and had reverberations which lasted for centuries. Sea creatures would have been buried first (the salinity and temperature of the oceans would have changed during the catastrophe, wiping out massive numbers of these sea creatures). Plant and animal extinction would have been common throughout the flood period as many types of creatures failed to adapt to dramatically changing conditions and were buried in stratified rock layers. Although any order of burial would be possible, the general tendency would be for sea life to be buried in the lower rock layers and land animals to be buried in different rock layers. This tendency is generally found.
Creation geologists (and there are many of them) believe that the majority of the geologic record is a result of geologic activity during and subsequent to a one year long, worldwide flood. This flood would have been an incredible complex event with reverberations lasting for hundreds of years. It must have involved rapidly moving continental plates, changing climatic conditions, and massive volcanism throughout the event. Much is yet to be explained because creation geologists must be privately funded to carry out their research while evolutionary geologist can find abundant public money to support the evolutionary viewpoint.
Geologists and paleontologists operating from an evolutionary world view acknowledge local catastrophes, but do not allow consideration of a worldwide flood because this would wipe out the slow change over eons of time interpretation of the fossils. Whenever a supposedly "ancient" form of life is found in rocks above life which supposedly evolved recently, the anomaly must be explained as an over thrust or the entire evolutionary theory would have to be discarded. Thus, regardless of the order in which organisms are found in the rock layers (and they are found in every possible order), it is claimed that they fit the evolutionary progression. No geologist, whether creationist or evolutionist, denies that there have been massive movements of land in the past. However, creationists are free to interpret the rocks as having been laid down in the order which they are found unless the geologic evidence clearly indicates otherwise. Evolutionists must postulate a rearrangement of the original order whenever the fossils are found out of the preconceived "evolutionary sequence".