A History of Brief TimeMay 17, 2007
This article is a simple overview of the theoretical time line that most young-earth creationists work with. It will be useful to put each of the following articles into the structure of a larger whole. They fit together in ways that I can’t always make apparent when focusing in the smaller context. Without evidence this time line is nothing more than a story, a useful way of bringing together a number of disparate events. However, there is physical evidence for each of the events, even if I don’t get around to covering them in detail.
A literal interpretation of Genesis means that God created the world in six days based on an Earth time reference. Since Creation Week is largely a unique, supernatural event only parts of it will be testable through the scientific method. Still, the language of Genesis 1 is one of processes, indicating that God did not simply bring all atoms into position instantaneously. In both Genesis 1 and 2 Peter 3 the Bible indicates that the Earth was formed out of water. There may have been nuclear decay during creation week. We don’t know, but the transformation from water to heavier elements requires nuclear fusion.
- Day 1: Light and Darkness
- Day 2: Separating the Waters
- Day 3: Dry ground and Sea, Vegetation
- Day 4: Sun, Moon, and Stars
- Day 5: Sea Dwelling, and Flying Animals
- Day 6: Land Dwelling Animals, Man
After Creation was the fall, which could be looked at as its own small creation event. New structures like thorns were formed. There is a lot of questions over how much new structure was formed and how many actively harmful structures are simply adapted or degenerate forms of useful structures. Ken Miller actually presents some very interesting evidence for Biblical creation when he points out that the Type III secretory system, a nasty structure used for injecting poisons from bacteria like Bubonic Plague, is actually a degenerate bacterial flagellum. This would constitute evidence that in fact, the secretory system was not a new structure created specifically for causing pain, but is simply a useful system with parts ripped out. Like a microwave which has been jammed on with all the shielding removed. The Fall probably represents the biggest difference between Intelligent Design and creation, in addition to the age of the Earth (Ken seems to get them confused). The truth of reality is that the world is very well designed, yes, but there is also a lot of death and violence that needs to be accounted for.
This is the mother of all events in the young-earth framework. The Flood is largely responsible for our current world as it constitutes a global scale reworking of the planet. A couple things that happened during the Flood:
- Destruction of all land-dwelling life in water
- Mega-tsunamis – possibly the start of the flood. Sediment laden waves cause rapid burial
- Spatial expansion – causes cooling
- Accelerated Nuclear Decay – creates heat
- Formation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Consequent breaking apart of Pangaea
- Rapid Plate Tectonic Movement
- Entire Earth flooded with Water
- Water pulsing back and forth liking a washing machine generated stratification and cross-bedding
- Large scale erosion and transportation of sediments and bodies
- Fossil Graveyard formation where bodies are deposited
- Global Volcanic Activity
- Removal of large amounts of carbon along with the (Carbon-based) biosphere
- Hyper-canes – Giant Meso-scale Hurricanes caused by high ocean temperatures
- Extinction of many water-dwelling species due to water chemistry and upheaval
As you can see, the Flood is a major event in Earth history. One that, if not included will give you a very different view of the world. The Flood is extremely well-supported from anthropological evidence alone as it would be the most memorable event in human history and it would be passed down from Noah’s family to the whole of mankind. To this end, we find that a global flood story occurs in almost every culture on the planet. Cultures that are highly isolated like the Australian Aborigines. Even cultures that live in the ice covered wilderness like Inuit, or the sun-scorched deserts of Arabia tell a story of a global flood. People that live in high tectonic areas, where the story should be about earthquakes, instead they have a story of a global flood (paraphrased from Dr. Bruce Malone).
Though the details understandable vary from each other based on over 4,000 years of oral tradition and cultural adaptation the consensus lies fairly close to the Genesis account. Plus, I’ve found it interesting in reading that many of the accounts contain corroborating details, like volcanic activity, inbreeding, and birth problems, that the Bible does not. For example, Ami from Eastern Taiwan and Babylonian legends. Other legends not only have flood information but also chronological details on the Tower of Babel and their own migration.
Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel is the last event shared by the entire human race. The basic summary is that all the descendants of Noah were all gathered together in one city (sometimes called Babylon) and they had a massive construction project called the Tower of Babel. All humankind refused to spread out across the planet which was in direct violation of God’s command. Together, humans were capable of basically anything they set their mind to, so God confused their languages so that they could no longer communicate. People broke off into family groups and tribes based on language and spread out across the earth. (Babel has a lot of interesting things to say about it, but I won’t in summary.)
As would be expected, there was some pretty serious environmental fallout from the Flood. During and after the spread of mankind Earth’s climate and crust were readjusting back towards equilibrium. For temperatures, the oceans had been artificially heated as much of it was processed through magma (CPT) and even with spatial expansion causing volume cooling they would be hotter relative to the land. Warm oceans causes increased evaporation which migrates over cold land and falls as snow and rain. Glaciers formed and carved many features in the land. Frozen land bridges and reduced sea level both made human migration easier. Glaciers during their migration is documented in the Hopi Legend and underwater cities lay testimony to reduced water levels in the midst of human civilization, not before it. The polar ice caps would form during this time, and this is also the time of the book of Job at the end of the ice age, possibly contemporary to Abraham. Job mentions ice, snow, frost, and cold more than the entire rest of the Bible.
In addition to temperature changes the earth’s crust was out of equilibrium. Catastrophic Plate Tectonics would cause a geologic principle called isostasy to be upset. Isostasy can be thought of like buoyancy on a geologic scale. The earth naturally seeks isostatic equilibrium where given a column of the earth, from surface to core it should weigh the same as any other column. So if some materials are less dense than others they will rise higher in the air, whereas extremely dense materials get depressed under their own weight. After the Flood isostasy would have caused the rise and fall of mountains and valleys based on their densities over hundreds of years. This would mean greater earthquake activity, high likelihood of landslides, mudslides and other catastrophic events. All of these could cause fossilization events after the Flood and because of this we have a fairly good map of the diversification that occurred after the Flood (Genetics of Species). Even today scientists have discovered gravitational anomalies that would indicate the Earth is not yet fully balanced.
Ancient Human History
Ancient human history is where creationists and evolutionists slowly begin to agree on things. The difference is the context. In a Biblical framework disparate civilizations had only recently migrated from the same area with some technology already developed. This explains the worldwide unity of flood stories as well as why early civilizations were such advanced builders. This also explains the reason why American Natives (Mayan, Incan, Aztec) had pyramids similar to those in the East like the pyramids of Egypt and China and the Babylonian Ziggurats. Didn’t know there were pyramids in China? Babylonian Ziggurats may be the closest resemblance to the Tower of Babel, in which case it would make sense that these disparate people would try to rebuild their civilization after they reached their new homes. No aliens necessary.
A Note on Dating methods
The Biblical account of history is fraught with catastrophism unlike the assumed history of a placid earth espoused by Uniformitarians. This has the effect of frustrating many dating methods because they require either an assumption of constants or calibration based on known historical. The assumption of constancy would be a nice simplifying assumption but it simply doesn’t match reality. For example, radiocarbon in our atmosphere is still not in equilibrium. Based on results from pre-flood fossils that give standard carbon-14 dates around 55,000 years we can get a calibration curve with an exponential error approaching the ecological recovery after the Flood. This may be where the discrepancy between Biblical and Egyptian chronology is found.
Other dating methods like Tree Rings are based off the assumption of constancy in seasonal cycles, which would be thrown off by the Ice Age, but probably far less. To that end, we may actually have at least one living tree, named Methuselah, that sprouted right after the flood. Poor thing looks like it has seen a lot… Also we know very little about conditions before the flood (seasonal, radioisotope concentrations (RATE p. 80-86), stellar). Despite these difficulties, creationist scientists do have a couple dating techniques like Helium Diffusion. In fact, according to Dr. Humphreys (a nuclear physicist from Sandia National Laboratories) “For every dating method indicating billions of years of Earth history there are 10 methods indicating the Earth is far too young for evolution to have happened”.
I hope that served as a useful overview. Each of these sections has a lot more information as well as many opportunities for future research. I may not cover all of these in this website but material can be found elsewhere on sites like ICR and AIG. Also I’d encourage people to search around on their own. Welcome to the Information Age. You will find that there is a point for point refutation of almost anything that a creationist might say. As well as some thoroughly devastating arguments against imaginary creationist straw-men. Just because someone claims a theory debunked does not make it true without real data interpreted with a proper understanding of the theory in question. I have spent months if not years of my life reading criticisms of creationists and basically all of them stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory or a philosophical difference, not actually from data. That is just the world we live in. To that end, I would encourage people to first develop a strong understanding of a theory and its context before they try and stress test it. I hope your studies are fruitful.
Blinding Light Articles
- Gravitational Time Dilation
- What Did the Early Earth Look Like?
- Catastrophic Plate Tectonic Theory
- The Genetics of Species
- On the Preservation of Species
- There Be Dragons
Creation Science Websites
- Institute for Creation Research
- Answers in Genesis
- Genesis Park (take with a grain of salt)
- Things Creationists Hate
- Talk Origins
- Skeptics Society (bitter: take with sugar)
- Wikipedia – currently whenever it intersects with Creation Science