Embedded in the sedimentary rock layers (GEOLOGY; of sedimentary rock that has formed from sediment deposited by water) are the remains of once-living things. Most are just mineralized bones but many are the actual bones of once living things. Some soft tissues which have mineralized can be found in extremely rare instances and many soft-bodied animals left their impressions in the muck before that muck turned to stone. In some cases, the inside of supposedly mineralized bones are found ligaments, blood vessels and even cellular remains – intact and so well preserved that only an evolutionary scientist would believe that the tissues are millions of years old.
The layers of rock which make up the sediments are found stratified, one layer on top of another all around the world and on every continent giving the impression that the contents of the sediments, ie., the fossils, were laid down consecutively. Maybe they were.
The time it took to form the layers is a matter of great debate. For evolutionists, the layers are evidence of multiple catastrophic oceanic inundations onto the land; tsunamis of mega proportions must have collapsed onto the continents in every direction and rapidly spread thousands of miles into the continental interiors; effectively trapping all life in its path and immediately burying the creatures. This hypothesis suggests that a snapshot of life was captured in such catastrophes, presenting us with evidence of the life forms that dominated the planet at 65, 200, 350, 500 million years ago.
There are many problems with this view of the sedimentary rock layers. For instance, why are the dinosaurs trapped in sediments essentially void of plant biology? What kind of catastrophe causes sedimentation across the face of the entire planet with such a consistency so as to mirror a global flood? Furthermore, how is it that soft tissues could possibly last millions of years even under such preservation conditions and why hasn’t carbon 14 disintegrated to an undetectable level in these vast times (C14 lasts 50000 years in carbon-based life forms that have died).
A second hypothesis is that a single flood catastrophe which happened within the lifetime of human experience once covered the planet. This theory suggests that all life forms found trapped in sedimentary rock died at the same time and were buried. But, there are problems with this theory too. How were life forms sorted into certain types from bottom to the top of the sediments that are found? Why are marine animals found at the bottom of the sedimentary record followed by animals like clams, snails, worms, then salamanders, frogs and other amphibians, then reptiles, birds, and finally the mammals?
A recent paper describes the type of analysis that is given to the first theory; mammals followed dinosaurs so they must have evolved from them after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Since the layers that rest above the dinosaur extinction event have far greater types of mammals than all layers below this one, it is believed that the facts must be that life exploded into mammalian forms. Without dinosaurs to compete with the mammals, the mysterious evolutionary process molded new life forms and set them about to fill the earth; at least until the next calamity buried many of them as well. And evolution did this in 10 million years. 5000 new life forms sprung into existence by an ill-defined process of transmutation of life. One of the authors said this: “When dinosaurs went extinct, a lot of competitors and predators of mammals disappeared, meaning that a great deal of the pressure limiting what mammals could do ecologically was removed. They clearly took advantage of that opportunity, as we can see by their rapid increases in body size and ecological diversity. Mammals evolved a greater variety of forms in the first few million years after the dinosaurs went extinct than in the previous 160 million years of mammal evolution under the rule of dinosaurs.” (1) (How is it mammals survived when all other dinosaurian animals died?)
That is, I suppose, one way to look at it. But is that what happened? Is it possible that hydrogeologic forces of rapidly moving waters sorted out the body types of all animal forms based on their density and body configuration into layers of sediments, burying them into the assemblages as we find them today? Or is it possible that the mobility of the animal types played a factor in the cosmic calamity on planet earth such that those animals with greater speed, climbing skills, dexterity, and intelligence were able to move to higher ground before the inundation overtook every high hill and mountainous region? Is it possible that what we see captured in the oceanic sediments is the destruction of ecosystems one after another? Or is there an amalgam of all of these events?
Certainly, the bias of the biblical account of a global flood actually supports the latter hypothesis. Even radiocarbon and soft tissue discoveries make this a formidable theory. Furthermore the geology of such structures as the Grand Canyon, the scablands of eastern Washington State, the great lakes formation and the existence of mountain ranges that have the appearance of recent catastrophic uplift support this idea. River deltas that flow from the continents to far below the ocean surface and often well beyond the continental shelf prove that the sea levels have changed radically and recently. Standing and frozen tropical forests of the antarctic speak to another form of catastrophic change on the planet.
There are indeed far too many questions about what we see in the sedimentary rock layers to hold to a single theory. Especially when many theories rest on unproven ideas like biological evolution. Faith is required for any position to be held with any dogmatic commitment. When we consider the other theories that supposedly support great ages and hypothetical events that account for cosmology and astronomy we must pause greatly before believing the “improbable” especially when physics, chemistry, and the laws of the universe say “impossible.” To things like big bangs from nothingness and dark matter which cannot be detected and the existence of third generation stars, gravitational collapse of stardust into planets, we must caution that such curiosity and credulity are the characteristics of a savage’s intellect and not the educated.
It was once thought that the planet rested on the back of an elephant or a turtle and that the rainbow serpent gave rise to human habitation. The ability to see was once attributed to light emanating from the eyes and illuminating the world in every direction one looked (Didn’t anyone question why the night was dark?) Phlogiston caused wood to burn and light was made to travel between the stars due to the aether.
While many have relegated the idea of God to some primitive ignorance of former times, there is every evidence in all that we have discussed to point to a divine mind; one that supersedes matter and time. It has far more explanatory power than dark matter or dark energy and accounts for rational design; the very opposite of time and chance. If one can look past the ignorance of the pageantry of religious costume and liturgy, Christianity has a far more relevant comment on both creation and creature and does a far more formidable job of making existence both credible and purposeful.
But, I am only one among many. The paradigms will not shift on my account nor the majority be swayed by a single voice. Even if I had been granted three miracles to show that God is the mover and upholder of the universe, I doubt that many would be convinced any more than they are now that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.
To each is given the freedom to think and to chose. I chose a faith based upon evidence and reason. For if evolution could be proven, if the gas laws routinely reversed themselves (to form stars in a vacuum of space) and if gravity, every so often, become negative rather than positive there might be evidence and reason to believe that which is now impossible for me to believe. But until then, I chose the evidence I see, the reasoning that works today. Myth be damned. I choose God.
- Thomas J. D. Halliday, Paul Upchurch, Anjali Goswami. Resolving the relationships of Paleocene placental mammals. Biological Reviews, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/brv.12242