Re: Geology, Fossils and Genesis

Dick Fischer (
Sun, 09 Jun 1996 02:09:15 -0500

>I have never seen the 25 mile high continent assertion in a geology book.
>I have nearly an entire converted garage full of geology books and I can't
>find this "fact" in any of them. Do you have a reference?

"... huge dome-like blocks of granite welled upward from the depths of the
mantle. These intrusions were more than twenty-five miles in height ...,"
from ASAer John Wiester's book, _The Genesis Connection_, page 61.

>Thus, since the Biblical order states that land life came first, are you
>admitting that the fossil record does not match the biblical order as I

Plant life must have begun before animal life inasmuch as the earliest
animals had to eat plants. Starting with plant life does not seem out
of order. The beginnings of life began in the sea we think, and plant
life emerged on land prior to amphibians venturing out of the water.
So plants are also first on land. Again, no discrepancy. Notice also
that God let the earth bring forth first plant life (Gen. 1:10), then
animal life (Gen. 1:20). The sea creatures God created in Gen. 1:21
need not be ex nihilo in my humble estimation.

So the phraseology might not be what you and I would have done had we
been tasked with writing Genesis. But I honestly don't think it's
completely out of kilter either. I certainly wouldn't call the author
errant on this particular issue due simply to manner of presentation.

>material is now found down in the latest part of the Precambrian and some
>of the Ediacaran like animals are found in the earliest part of the
>Cambrian. The "explosion" has become gradual.

I think you're right about that, but "Cambrian explosion" is still a
prevalent term of description.
>>Strange looking colonial creatures called graptolites were prevalent,
>>and are part of the Stomacordata group which stands midway between
>>invertebrates and vertebrates. The first hint at vertebrates appeared in
>>the Ordovician period 500 million years ago such as a kind of fish
>>without jawbones called Agnatha, forerunners to present-day lampreys.

>Sorry Dick, this is also wrong. The earliest chordate is from the early
>Cambrian. (J. Y. Chen, et al, "A Possible Early Cambrian Chordate,"
>Nature, 377, Oct. 26, 1995)
Notice that you said the earliest chordate is from the early Cambrian
and cite the article titled "A POSSIBLE Early Cambrian Chordate." How do
you have a certainty that exceeds the authors?

Arduini & Teruzzi's _The Prehistoric Atlas_ was my prime source for this
material, copyright 1982. Fourteen year old material may be okay for
biblical references, but scientific stuff can get dated in a hurry. In
fact, since I started my research the Cambrian period has been moved up 40
million years. I stuck with the older date, because, who knows, they might
change it again.

>>Here critics can point to seeming discrepancies. From the evidence
>>available, life in the ocean dates to even before the Cambrian period of
>>570 million years ago, and preceded life on land. The Bible demonstrates
>>consistency, though; ancient precursors to modern men are excluded from
>>the biblical record, and so are ancient aquatic precursors to modern
>>plant and animal life.

>Where do you get that idea? This seems rather ad hoc. Evolutionarily,
>fish are our ancestors and they are in the Biblical record!

The point is that the Bible begins with a man named Adam not a lady called
Lucy. Blue-green algae didn't rate biblical recognition either.

>>The latimeria and ceratodus could be called modern fish, but they
>>appear 195 million years ago in the Jurassic period. Over 100 million
>>years stand between seed bearing land plants and what could be called
>>modern fish.

>Do you really think the Bible is making this type of biological

I don't think Moses wrote the Pentateuch with this kind of microscopic
scrutiny foremost in mind. The kind of exactness you are looking for
isn't available in the Hebrew language. You have to wait until NT
Greek before you are going to have a precision language form that will
allow this kind of examination.

In Psalm 22:14, David laments that "... all my bones are out of
joint ..." Do I think for a minute that 206 bones could be out
of joint? Does that mean Bible error? Please, cut the Bible a little

>Even if it is, this can hardly be considered a concordance
>between Genesis 1 and the fossil record. If you say that God was talking
>about seed bearing plants rather than spore bearing plants ...

Glenn, there's not a high confidence among Bible scholars concerning
Genesis 1-11 as to the precise meaning of every phrase. You corrected
me earlier on the basis of information that bore a 1995 copyright date.
In succeeding years do you think any new data will surface to change some
of the things we are so sure about today?

>then you still
>have the problem that the sun and moon must have been created less than
>195 million years ago, after the plants. You have made your problem

Please reread earlier post. Sun, moon and many stars all created before
the earth had birth pangs, maybe not visible, though.

>Teleosts, bony fish, which most modern fish are, appear long before seed
>bearing plants. Sharks appear 500 million years ago long before
>seed bearing plants (Ivan J. Sansom, M.M. Smith and M. P. Smith, "Scales of
>Thelodont and shark-like fishes from the Ordovician of Colorado," Nature,
>379, Feb. 15, 1996.)

Yes, I agree, although ancient vegetation preceded ancient fish and more
modern vegetation preceded modern fish. Putting plant life ahead of animal
life can be justified for at least a couple of reasons. Furthermore, the
"days of creation" may overlap. I'm not saying they do, but others have
suggested that, and I have heard a case for that method of explanation.
In other words, God started plant life first on earth and plant life is
first mentioned in Genesis. But the chain of plant life talked about in
the text doesn't have to be complete on the third day, it may overlap the
fifth and sixth days.

>>But what about "grass" on the third day of creation? Grasses did not
>> emerge until after the dinosaurs became extinct. How can 62 million
>>year old grass predate the dinosaurs, for example, who came into
>>existence over 200 million years ago?
>>Massive dinosaurs leave huge bones, which make wonderful fossils. The
>>Cambrian explosion left a permanent record of hard-shelled marine
>>creatures that is impossible to ignore. Any soft-shelled predecessors
>>left scarcely a trace. The same could be said for any land-based
>>vegetation that might have been.
>Good try, but pollen is given off in vast quantities by grasses. And
>pollen is a very easily fossilized material and is very difficult to
>destroy. If grasses existed prior to the dinosaurs, grass pollen WOULD be
>found in rocks of those ages. I know several palynologists and they
>assure me that no pollen evidence of grass exists prior to the early
>tertiary. This suggestion simply will not work

Glenn, that leads into the next paragraph.

>>Sparse fossil evidence gives us no way of knowing exactly what plant
>>life first began to grow on dry land. Try to find last year's grass
>>clippings on your front lawn today. More to the point, the Hebrew word,
>>deshe' translated "grass," can mean simply "vegetation." We can verify
>>that the earth has had land-based vegetation for over 400 million years.

>Yes, but marine life has been on earth for 3.4 billion years.

And the first marine life was plant life, but I don't know how that could
have been said in ancient Hebrew. If in this instance "earth" means the
entire earth - this planet - then that would include the sea, and deshe',
the Hebrew word for vegetation, should be broad enough to mean plant life.
Beyond that I would say, ask Moses.

>>Modern fruit trees certainly were not in existence before fishes. That
>>seems to be true, but these verses say nothing about "modern" fruit
>>trees. In English, fruit trees bear edible fruit; apples, pears,
>>cherries, and so forth. The Hebrew term includes seed-bearing trees, and
>>shade trees that do not bear edible fruit.
>You are being internally inconsistent Above you wanted to use "modern"
>fish to explain the concordance and now you say the Bible says nothing
>about "modern" fruit trees. Well the Bible didn't say anything about
>"modern fish" either. This is ad hoc.

I should have said trees bearing edible fruit. "Modern" is a relative
term, but I was running into a conflict with terms of precision and terms
easily understood. Fruit trees to us are apple, pear, banana, etc. In
Hebrew a Pine tree meets the definition because nuts are the fruit of a
nut bearing tree.

>>Apple trees, for example, do not date to the Upper Silurian, but the
>> "fruit" of any plant is its yield. Conifers were among the first
>>land-based vegetation, and calling them "fruit trees" is consistent with
>>the Hebrew.

>Conifers were not among the first land-based vegetation. The psilopsoda
>appears in the fossil record in the Silurian circa 420 million years ago.
>Conifers do not appear until 360 million years ago. If sixty million
>years is "among the first" then we live in the age of the dinosaurs!(see
>McAlester, The history of life, p. 86)

Point well taken (even if picky, picky, picky).

>>Some Bible scholars have put a strain on these passages, maintaining
>>that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day. This is
>>unwarranted. The emphasis in this verse is on the purpose for the
>>heavenly bodies not their coming into existence.

>Those pesky Bible scholars! They are probably straining other passages,
>maintaining that land plants were created on the third day or that mankind
>was created on the sixth day. They should be ashamed of themselves for
>such straining. It is clear that these verses are emphasising the
>purpose of the landplants and the purpose of mankind not their coming into

And be sure you include the flat earth, the geocentric universe, the
24-hour days of creation, no death in the animal kingdom before Original
Sin, the vapor canopy, the global flood, the commencing of all languages
at Babel. Actually, pesky Bible scholars have made such a hash of it,
it's a wonder to me how Christianity has survived it. Perhaps errant
interpretation leaves the ignorant unaffected.

>>A possible reason Genesis lists land plants before the luminaries began
>>to govern is either because there were no eyes to see light, or
>>something such as liquid water or dense clouds prevented the heavenly
>>lights from being seen. Dense vapor clouds surrounding the primitive
>>warm earth might not have cleared enough to enable the sun, moon, and
>>stars to shine through, and so they could not be used for telling time.
>>Is it possible that cloud cover could have lasted four billion years,
>>until after land plants appeared? Maybe not, but clouds are only a
>>water vapor barrier which inhibit terrestrial creatures from making
>>celestial observations. No land animals existed until the fifth day of

>>Sea creatures also cannot make celestial observations due to a water
>> barrier in liquid form. So for whichever reason, the presence of an
>>obscuring barrier, or the lack of observers, the sun, moon, and stars
>>beginning to function as timekeepers on the fourth day of creation in no
>>way contradicts the flow of events projected by naturalists.

>Are you saying that there was someone around 400 myr (or 195 million if
>you use the seed bearing plants) ago who could tell time? This is
>almost silly.

Let's use the Bible's rationale: for "signs," "seasons," "days," and
"years," all of which we measure in time (except for signs).

>... I view Genesis 1 as a set of
>proclamations made prior to the foundation of the universe. This is when
>God set in motion the laws of the universe and the events which led to us.
>Thus the order God proclaimed things does not have to match the order
>they were fulfilled. Thus I within my view I don't have to worry about
>the order of events in Genesis 1. You do, but I don't.

Very convenient. Makes it much simpler that way. Had my book come out
a year ago, I would have stated the age of the universe at approximately
15 billion years. After new data from the Hubble Space Telescope, I used
a figure of approximately 12 billion years. Isn't it amazing that the
entire universe got 3 billion years younger in just one year? Science,
the fossil record, and dating is an ongoing process.

Dates and sequence of appearances of various life forms as it stands today
is not etched in stone. No, birds will never precede reptiles, but flying
insects surely do. You can't blame Moses for that one. He used the right
word. We just didn't know how to translate it in 1611.

>The Biblical order does not match the fossil data.

As an apologetic device, if God commanded in one order and the events
transpired in another order, that would cover almost any discrepancies
you could name. My position would be that once obvious corrections are
applied, any possible discrepancies that still exist would be minor in
nature and could be explained by either Hebrew mannerisms and grammar,
scribal errors, mistakes in translation and interpretation; or by a
fossil record that is continually revised as new evidence surfaces.

If I had to retreat from that position, due to more difficulties than I
have seen raised thus far, a fall back position is the overlapping days
method, which I think fully eliminates any difficulties. God creates
heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1) which has to include the surrounding universe,
galaxy and solar system. He commissions the heavenly bodies for the
sighted creatures that appear after plant life appears. Day three, five
and six could overlap.

My opinion is that the order of events in Genesis 1 is too good to give up
on it altogether, which is how I would view your approach. It's the same
way I feel about progressive creation. If God used progressive creation,
why does it look like evolution?

I think you have pointed out flaws in geologic scholarship correctly, but
nothing that negates the entire methodology which has considerable
advantages over anything else competing in the marketplace of origins ideas.

Your friend,

Dick Fischer
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