Earth’s Catastrophic Past: Geology, Creation & the Flood

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This past summer I lead a PhD seminar on Biblical Creationism at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. One of the texts that we critiqued was Dr. Andrew A Snelling‘s Earth’s Catastrophic Past: Geology, Creation & the Flood (Dallas: Institute of Creation Research, 2009). Snelling’s two-volume work is an impressive geological extension of Whitcomb and Morris’s Genesis Flood. Because of Snelling’s outstanding geological credentials, his geological update to the Genesis Flood is profound. This is a must-read for both young-earth and old-earth creationists.

The two-volumes have 126 chapters organized into ten sections. Each volume has five sections. The point of the first volume “is to focus on the global Flood as described in Genesis, and with scientific evidence that has convinced many today, including Christian geologists, that Genesis must be taken seriously as literal history” (p. 10). The purpose of the second volume “is to construct a biblical geologic model of earth history, taking the data of the geologic record and placing them within the scriptural framework for earthy history” (p. 467). Here is the breakdown into each section.

Volume 1: The Genesis Record of Creation and the Flood Defended

Introduction (pp. 1-14)

Section I. The Biblical Record of the Global Genesis Flood (pp. 15-74)

Section II. Non-Geological Arguments Used against the Global Genesis Flood (pp. 77-122)

Section III. Noah, the Ark, and the Animals (pp. 125-82)

Section IV. The Framework for a Biblical Geology (pp. 185-292)

Section V. The Modern Geological Synthesis (295-417)

Selected Bibliography (pp. 421-30)

Color Figures (pp. 441-64)

Volume 2: Geological Implications of the Biblical Record for a Biblical Geologic Model for Earth History

Section VI. Geological Implications of the Biblical Geologic Model for Earth History (pp. 467-610)

Section VII: A Biblical Geologic Model of Earth History (pp. 613-793)

Section VIII: Problems in Biblical Geology Solved–Radioactive Dating and Geochronology (pp. 797-864)

Section IX: Contradictions in Geochronology–Support for Biblical Geology (pp. 867-906)

Section X: Problems for Biblical Geology Solved–Formations Imply Slow Deposition (pp. 909-1029)

Concluding Challenges (pp. 1033-42)

Selected Bibliography (pp. 1045-58)

Topical Index (pp. 1061-65)

Color Figures (pp. 1079-1102)

When I read the Genesis Flood back in the 1970s, I was convinced that Whitcomb and Morris had combined to make a strong biblical and scientific argument for a literal global flood in Noah’s day. Snelling’s work is a comprehensive and systematic geological extension of the Genesis Flood. His focus on presenting a biblical and geological argument for a global flood in Noah’s day is a biblically profitable read as well as effectively responding to the demands of uniformitarian geology. As was the case when I read Whitcomb and Morris, Dr. Snelling’s geologic expansion is an impressive and thorough argument. I highly recommend that you purchase and read Earth’s Catastrophic Past. To purchase the volume, click here.

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Creation, Fall, Restoration

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Andrew S. Kulikovsky’s Creation, Fall, Restoration (CFR) is a welcome addition to a growing list of books supporting young-earth creationism. His primary purpose in this book is to defend the traditional interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis and other pertinent texts, along with treating other issues such as our stewardship of creation and its future restoration. While Kulikovsky’s work is an academic defense, he provides a readable text that is a basic exegetical and theological explanation and defense of the biblical text, as well as refuting common evangelical interpretative schemes that undermine the traditional reading of Genesis.

CFR is made up of the following twelve chapters (pp. 13-285).

Why a Biblical Theology of Creation?

Scripture, Science, and Interpretation

Creation and Genesis: A Historical Survey

The Genesis Account: Its Purpose and Function

Formation, Re-creation or Creation Ex Nihilo?

The Days of Creation: God’s Creative Activities

The Days of Creation: Meaning and Significance

Creation of Humanity and the Garden of Eden

The Fall and Its Effects

The Flood and Its Effects

Creation, Preservation, and Dominion

Creation Restored

The twelve chapters are followed by a commendable bibliography (pp. 286-302) and a scripture index.

While this book has many positive features, let me highlight two of these. First, the foundation for this book is the crucial distinction that he makes between general and special revelation. “General revelation,” according to Kulikovsky, “reveals to all humanity, past and present that God exists, the He created the universe and everything in it, and that He is great and powerful. Thus, the physical world is not a second book of revelation from God, but a signpost pointing to God the almighty Creator” (p. 25). In contrast, special revelation is the Creator’s explicit communication to man in human language “regarding truth that is inherently inaccessible to human perception and inquiry” (pp. 26-27). As such, it is impossible for general revelation to explain God’s original creation. Knowledge about origins can only be derived from the special revelation of Scripture. Kulikovsky’s commitment to the inerrant special revelation of Scripture provides a solid foundation CFR.

Second, I profitably enjoyed reading Kulikovsky’s treatment of creation, the fall, and the flood in chapters 4–10 (pp. 85–238). Because of his solid and readable substance, I believe other believers will also benefit. More specifically, these chapters nicely dovetail with a biblical creation class that I teach at DBTS. In these chapters, the author provides basic exegesis and helpful theological insights.

Because CFR calls believers to embrace a literal read of Genesis 1–11 as well as providing an example of how to interpret these chapters, I recommend that you purchase this book and make it a basic part of your reading on creationism. CFR will be basic reading in my classes on biblical creationism.

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PhD Creation Seminar

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This week I am leading the first part of a biblical creation seminar for PhD students at Central Baptist Seminary in Plymouth, MN. Today was our first day of class. We met for 7 to 8 hours and our interaction with multiple sources was good.

The seminar involves everyone doing a critique of multiple sources totaling 3,709 pages as well as each participant writing six short papers. If you are interested in looking at course requirements, go here.

I was encouraged by our seminar participation today and feel like we are off to a great start. In addition, it is great to see that Central Baptist Seminary like Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary is promoting a biblically-based approach to young-earth creationism.

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Why Biblical Creationism Is not a Second-Class Doctrine

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Because the opening chapters of Genesis deal with creation, I am convinced that it is the foundation for the rest of the canon. As such, I am not convinced it is a secondary doctrine. I rejoiced today when I went to the Grace to You’s Blog and saw this post and video of Dr. MacArthur: “Creation: A Second-Class Doctrine?” The video is only five minutes long and I highly recommend that you take the time to listen to it. To listen to it, go here.

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The Deficiency of the “Framework Hypothesis”

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Over the past few days, I have been following with interest, as well as with some of my own brief interaction, a discussion of the framework hypothesis at Grace-to-You’s Blog. Over the years, I have appreciated the theological strengths of Grace to You with their commitment to biblical creationism, as I reflected with some blog posts that linked to their Pulpit Magazine back in the spring of 2008 (for my first post with a link, go here). Besides writing a book that I highly recommend in my biblical creation classes and seminars, The Battle for the Beginning, Dr. John MacArthur wrote a great foreword for our book Coming to Grips with Genesis. In any event, Grace to You continues their defense of biblical creation with a recent series of blog posts. Thanks to a friend that I have made through blogging, Fred Butler at Hip and Thigh, alerting me to the discussion of the framework, I was able to participate in some of the discussion. Along with some of the other discussions related to biblical creationism, take a few minutes to check out “The Fallacy of the ‘Framework Hypothesis.'”

A Concise Review of the Framework Interpretation

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Today I uploaded a greatly abbreviated critique of the framework interpretation of the creation account.

A few days back, I did a brief post announcing that I had uploaded my two articles, from the 2005 & 2006 issues of the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, evaluating the framework. Together both articles are around 120 pages. In case you do not have the time to read these two articles, my chapter in Coming to Grips with Genesis is around 40 pages. However, I had a few friends who asked me to cut my critique down to a bare minimum, which I shortened to a 4-page article. To read this greatly abbreviated paper, go to “What about the Framework Interpretation?

My Two Critiques of the Framework Interpretation

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Yesterday I uploaded to my website a two-part series evaluating the framework interpretation. I wrote both articles for the 2005 & 2006 issues of the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (to subscribe to the journal, go to this page).

Both of these articles laid the foundation for a chapter on the same subject that I wrote for Coming to Grips with Genesis (you can purchase this book by going to DBTS online store). If you are interested in reading the foundational articles for this chapter, you can download both articles from the following two links.

A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Account (Part 1 of 2)

A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Account (Part 2 of 2)

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Creation Seminar at Tunkhannock Baptist Church

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Last week end I did a four-part Biblical Creation Seminar at Tunkhannock Baptist Church in Tunkhannock, PA, “God’s land” (I grew up in western PA), followed by my speaking twice on Sunday at the church. Between the sessions on creationism and my Sunday messages, the interaction and hospitality of the church greatly encouraged me. I thank our Lord for the time of blessing that I had at Tunkhannock Baptist Church.

Here are the sessions that I did on Friday night and Saturday.

Genesis 1 and Creationism

Death & Decay in Genesis 3

The Impact of Noah’s Flood on the World Today

Two Contrasting Worldviews

On Sunday I spoke in the AM and PM services. Sunday morning I spoke on “God’s Delight in Creation” from Psalm 104, and in the evening on “The Works of God’s Declaring God’s Glory” from Psalm 19:1-6.

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The Nature of the Noahic Flood

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Earlier this week on Monday eveming, we finished our Biblical Creationism class. We looked at the ninth of ten lessons in my syllabus. This lesson is on “the Nature of the Noahic Flood.” The initial part of this lesson covers seven biblical reasons supporting the global nature of the Genesis Flood. We treated these reasons in the first part of our class (classes at DBTS are just short of two-hours in length). In the second part we looked at a DVD on the Grand Canyon and Noah’s Flood.

In the first half of class, we looked at biblical reasons that provide support for the Genesis Flood being global.

A. The depth of the flood, Genesis 7:19–20

B. The duration of the flood, Genesis 7:11 and 8:13–14

C. The geology of the flood, Genesis 7:11

D. The size of the ark, Genesis 6:15

E. The need of an ark, Genesis 6:13, 7:2, 6:19–20, 7:9, 15

F. The testimony of the apostle Peter, 2 Peter 3:3-7

G. The purpose of the flood, Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13 (see Whitcomb, The World That Perished, pp. 47-65).

In the class syllabus, I have two other major sections in this lesson: God’s involvement with the flood and results from the flood. Because of class time constraints, I recommended for the class to read the final portions of this lesson after class.

When I went white water rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2008, I became convinced that this Canyon of Canyons was a monument to the Genesis flood (concerning my trip, I did a blog entry here; one of my colleagues on this trip, Dr. Del Tackett, has an outstanding series of 10 posts summarizing each day of our trip along with outstanding pictures; to look at this, you should start with first post “The ‘Canyon'” and follow his posts by going to his section “Science“; and finally, for an advertisement for this year’s trip, go here). Because of my trip, I had resolved to give more attention to the Grand Canyon in my Biblical Creation class. What better way in a classroom is there to get a sense of the Canyon than taking a 55-minute visual trip through the Grand Canyon, while listening to the expert voices of 5 creation scientists. So, for the last hour of our class, we watched the DVD “The Grand Canyon: Monument to the Flood.”

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Though a DVD is not the same as an actual trip in which you get soaked with river water where temperatures are between 46 to 50 degrees, bake under the sun in 120 degree temperatures, etc., you get a sense of the Canyon while being guided by Drs. Steve Austin, George Van Burbach, John Morris, Andrew Snelling, and Kurt Wise. This DVD presents seven evidences that support the Canyon having been formed as a result of the global flood in Noah’s day.

Ocean waters covered the continents

Rapid burial of plants and animals

Widespread strata

Short time between strata

Massive tectonic upheaval

Rapid erosion

Doubtful dating methods

In short, Drs. Austin, Van Burbach, Morris, Snelling, and Wise provide both geological and biblical evidence that clearly explain the provenance and history of the Canyon. Because of the colorful graphics, aerial pictures, and interviews with these men, I would highly recommend that you purchase this DVD from here.

In the final analysis, this was an enriching semester for me for two reasons. First, besides having solid testimonies and a commitment to understanding biblical truth, the desire of the 15-students in this class to understand the early chapters of Genesis made this a great milieu in which to teach. Second, because evangelicalism is being inundated with voices that support an old-earth cosmogony, this class reinforced my commitment to defending a literal interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis that unambiguously affirm that God created the heavens, the earth and all things therein a few thousand years ago.

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What’s Wrong with Progressive Creationism?

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What does progressive creationism or the day-age view teach and why has interest in it grown over the past few years? In addition, how does this hypothesis compare with Scripture and science? Earlier today, Answers in Genesis placed online chapter 12 from The New Answers Book 2. In the chapter “What’s Wrong with Progressive Creationism,” Ken Ham and Terry Mortenson answer these introductory questions. To read this informative chapter, go here. In addition, let me encourage you to buy the whole book in which this chapter is found. Go to AIG’s store

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