By James C. Rakestraw, PE, CFM
The purpose of this series is to explore what is termed “Flood Geology” in the creation discussion. Critics of the literal view of creation often claim that “There is no evidence for a world-wide flood.” Interestingly, those who make this claim never define what they would consider to be evidence for a worldwide flood.
This series is highly personal. I have seen a lot of geology over the years and my degree is in geological engineering. My professional registration is in civil engineering. My work is focused on hydrology and hydraulics.
Definitions: A good discussions starts with definitions; here are two:
Flood Geology: This is the position that most of the geologic and physiographic features of the earth were the result of a single global flood. For Christians, this flood event would be the Flood described in Genesis 6-9. (In this series, the word “Flood” will refer to the global flood described in Genesis 6-9).
Uniformitarian Geology: This is the position that most of the geologic and physiographic features of the earth were the result of a multiple near global floods and interspaced with periods of mountain building. Uniformitarian geology is the position of the scientific consensus. Uniformitarian geology could well be described as “floods (plural) geology”
The Journey of a Skeptic, Step 1, From Montana to Michigan:
My dad was a college history professor and my mom was a homemaker. I was blessed by having a good exposure to geology through places that we lived and traveled. When we lived in northern Montana, my parents took the family on trips to explore the bad lands where dinosaur bones could be found. Travels from Montana to the Pacific North West took us though the Rocky Mountains, the Silver Valley of Idaho and the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington. On the west coast we were able travel to Mt. Hood and other volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range. When I was older, the family moved to Houghton, Michigan. While there, I was able to see operating copper and iron mines of Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
I developed an interest in geology and mining. This interest led me to obtain a B.S. degree in geological engineering from Michigan Technological University. I enjoyed my course in historical geology where we learned about the various geologic periods and the new species of life that evolved during each geologic period. My textbook “Historical Geology” (Copyright 1954 by Ginn and Company) was published before plate tectonics became accepted. According to my textbook, there were mountain ranges (“Appalachia / Arcadia, Cascadia, and Llanoria”) just off the east coast, west coast and gulf coast of North America. When these ranges were raised up, they eroded and produced sediments that were deposited in inland seas within the interior of North America. As the offshore mountain ranges wore down, the interior of the North America raised up and sediment flowed to the ocean. Then new mountain ranges were formed off the coast and the cycle repeated itself. My textbook had illustrations of the North American continent and adjacent areas during various geologic periods. All the illustrations had common features – the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the North American continent. In various geologic periods, portions of the North American continent were flooded to one degree or another. Multiple near global floods were a major consideration in the pre-plate tectonic geology of the scientific consensus!
By the time I graduated, I was well grounded in evolution and uniformitarian geology. I was also convinced from my historical geology text that the North American Continent was subject to flooding in at least 10 different geologic periods (Cambrian, Silurian, Ordovician, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian, Jurassic, Triassic, Cretaceous). These geologic periods of flooding produced the layers sedimentary rock that we see today. Evolution and long geologic periods were not a problem for me. I attended a “mainline” church, but I was not yet a Christian.
However, I started to formulate questions:
- How could mountain ranges off the coasts of North America could rise and lower themselves for 10 cycles?
- Where are the mountain ranges off the coasts of North America today?
- What was the source for the sedimentary rocks that are found on other continents?
With my degree in hand, I was ready for the next my next step in my journey – Gilman, Colorado where I worked as a junior geologist at the New Jersey Zinc Co.’s Eagle Mine!