There is another possible explanation regarding fossils and Dinosaurs … I don’t see it as a lame attempt at trying to fit creationism into science … it is the very real possibility that the earth was created with age just as Adam was and that the fossils and the geological formations we see came into existence the day the earth was made.
K.C., Dayton, Ohio, USA
Thanks for your suggestion on how to harmonize the fossil record with a young earth. Although this idea was advocated by a sincere Christian biologist in the 19th century [Phillip Gosse, Omphalos (London, 1857)], here are the reasons why we don’t think it is a good solution.
In Genesis 1–2 we are clearly told that God made a mature creation right from the beginning. On Day 1 God made the earth as a sphere in space covered with water. Though its surface was not in its final form until day 3, it was the earth, not some cloud of gas and dust slowly cooling and condensing by the laws of physics and chemistry. On Day 3 He made the various kinds of plants with fruit already on their branches. He did not create the plants as seeds or seedlings in the ground. On Day 4 the sun, moon and stars were fully formed and immediately functioned as time markers. On Day 5 and Day 6, He made the sea creatures, birds and land animals as mature adults instantly capable of obeying His command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the oceans, atmosphere and land. Also, on Day 6 God supernaturally created Adam and Eve as mature adults ready to communicate with God and each other, tend a garden and procreate.
If God had not made a mature, fully functioning creation, He would have needed to constantly use miracles to sustain and perfect His creation, which would not reflect well on either His power or His creativity or His wisdom. What would we think of an engineer who designed and made a machine that he constantly had to tinker with to make it work, to keep it functioning and to eventually be what he originally designed and intended it to be? He would certainly be considered a incompetent engineer.
When God made this mature creation, it had an appearance of age that it did not actually have. Immediately after Adam’s creation he looked like he had been alive for perhaps 20 years, presumably the son of a mom and dad, when in fact he had only been made a few seconds earlier directly from dust. But God did not create a mature man (or plants or animals or heavenly bodies) for the purpose of making an appearance of age. Appearance of age was simply an inevitable characteristic of a mature, fully functioning creation. In fact, even if God had made the first plants as seeds in the ground or the first animals or man as fertilized eggs, it would still imply a history that never was (i.e., implying a tree that bore the seeds or parents that produced the fertilized eggs).
If we had been observers at the end of Creation Week, we would only be misled about the age of things if we ignored God’s own Word when it says how He made those creatures and how long it took (and if we forgot that they were the result of God’s supernatural activities instead of natural processes). So there was no deception on God’s part in making a mature creation.
But we get into difficulty if we say that during Creation Week God supernaturally created the thousands of feet of sedimentary rocks containing billions of impressions in the rocks that looked like (but were not) the fossilized remains of plants and animals (because those creatures would never have existed). God is neither a liar nor a deceiver (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2), yet this scenario would involve God in deception for several reasons.
First, having impressions in the rocks that look like fossils of former living things is not needed for fully formed, mature rocks. Many sedimentary rocks have no fossils, yet are just as suitable to be used for construction material as rocks that contain fossils. So why make rocks with impressions that look like the fossilized remains of former living things?
Second, a great percentage of those fossils show evidence of disease (including cancer), arthritis, carnivorous activity and violent death (even being buried alive). Having such bizarre and grotesque impressions in rocks would certainly not make them better rocks. What conceivable purpose would God have for creating stones with impressions that look like the diseases we have today and which we and God call evil? It would seem to be deliberate deception on God’s part to make us think that those impressions in the rocks are the fossilized remains of animals that lived with disease and ate one another, when in fact those rocky impressions were simply His creations during His “very good” Creation Week.
Third, some of those impressions in the rocks are not completely stone, but are partially organic material virtually identical to the organic material in very similar living creatures today. What conceivable purpose would God have for creating such partially fossilized organic material? Again, it would appear to be deception.
Fourth, attributing the fossils to Creation Week leaves us with a Noachian Flood that produced no evidence of its occurrence, even though we have good scientific evidence that the Flood could and would have produced fossils and partially fossilized remains—just like the impressions we find in sedimentary rocks. The Flood would also have produced the kinds of sedimentation and erosion features that we see, which in some cases show that the sediments with their fossils were deposited in one place and then eroded and redeposited elsewhere. A year-long, global, catastrophic Flood, as described in Genesis 6–9, could not have occurred without leaving a massive amount of geological evidence. To attribute the fossiliferous sedimentary rocks to Creation Week would require us to treat the Flood as a myth, contrary to the way Genesis and the rest of the Bible present it as a literal, historical event. In Genesis 6:7 and 6:13, God said that the purpose of the Flood was to destroy all the land animals, birds and people and the surface of the earth itself (which thereby would also have destroyed many sea creatures). The geological record is exactly what we would expect from the Genesis Flood (though a few sediments and fossils would have been deposited in the pre-Flood and post-Flood periods). Please see our many articles on Noah’s Flood and its geological effects in our Get Answers section for more on this topic.
Due to the above reasons, we cannot attribute the fossils found in rock layers to the creative activity of God during His “very good” Creation Week.
Thanks again for writing.
Dr. Terry Mortenson
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