Changing Their Tune about the Age of the Grand Canyon?
For literally thousands of years, the story of Noah’s Flood has enchanted, frightened, encouraged, and amazed Bible readers. In a downpour that lasted forty days and forty nights, Noah and his family of seven braved the crashing waters from the windows of heaven and the fountains of the deep (Genesis 7:11-12). In the single greatest cataclysm in Earth’s geological history, the Bible tells that “all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man…. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive” (Genesis 7:21-23).
Yet, in the past several decades, it has become increasingly popular to dismiss the cataclysmic effect that such a flood would have had on Earth’s geological structures. The idea of “uniformitarianism” has reigned supreme as the official anthem for the geological sciences. Uniformitarianism, simply put, says that things continue to happen as they have always happened. The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a geological doctrine that existing processes acting in the same manner as at present are sufficient to account for all geological changes.”
Using this idea—that the existing processes of geology can account for all geological changes—the geological community has extrapolated from the processes at work in the Grand Canyon, that the Canyon itself must be the result of slow, monotonous erosion. After studying the current rates of erosion caused by the Colorado River running through the Canyon, uniformitarians suggest that the Grand Canyon must have taken millions of years to carve.
In opposition to this idea of uniformitarianism, some in the scientific community, especially those who believe in the global Flood of Noah, have argued that slow, uniform processes cannot “account for all geological changes.” This idea, known as catastrophism, suggests that many of the Earth’s geological phenomena were caused by sudden, drastic catastrophes (i.e., Noah’s Flood).
Due to the overwhelming evidence for catastrophism, many in geological circles are being forced to admit that the idea of uniformitarianism cannot “account for all the geological changes” that are present on the Earth. In fact, recently in National Geographic Kids, the writers gave a telling nod to the idea of catastrophism when they wrote:
For a long time scientists believed that the Grand Canyon was carved out slowly over millions of years. Scientists also thought that the canyon had finished forming around 1.2 million years ago. But new research has turned both theories upside down. Geologists now think that the Grand Canyon grew in quick, violent spurts from massive flooding of the Colorado River (2003, p. 7).
Although not generally conceding the idea of a global flood, the geological community is being pulled closer to the fact that things have not always been the same on the Earth’s surface. They are also being pulled closer to the truth that things on this Earth might not continue as they are right now. As the apostle Peter once wrote:
[B]y the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:5-7).
[For further reading on the evidences for the Grand Canyon’s cataclysmic formation, see Stephen Austin’s book, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, published in 1994 by the Institute for Creation Research.]
“Baby Grand” (2003), National Geographic Kids, p. 7, March.
Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary (2003), [On-line], URL: http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary