YEC and fossils

R. Joel Duff (
Sat, 11 Jul 1998 09:48:31 -0500


I recently attended a national meeting of the Presbyterian Church in
America. I was most interested in a judicial case that was to be presented
to assembly for a vote. Although really a question of the extent of the
authority of an individual presbytery to make certain decisions regarding
doctrinal issues the case involved 6-day creation which overshadowed the
main issue. During lunch before the vote a pamphlet was placed on the
commissioners chairs from Albert Anderson, founding member of the Creation
Study Group of Greenville SC (I had not heard of this organization before
this time). The pamphlet entitled "None Dare Call it Heresy" is strongly
6-day creation. The placing of such material on chairs right before the
discussion and vote was strongly condemned by the moderator and the vote
resulted in a strong majority against the position that tried to make it
into a 6-day creation referendum.

Reading through the pamphlet several things caught my eye, including an
appeal to Douglas Kelly's book _Creation and Change_ (which I have read but
many people may not have seen, it's supposedly an examination of the
exegetical and Biblical case for 6-day creation and endorsed by Brown) and
Brown's book _In the Beginning_ as "Scientific data that refute the claims
of "secular, humanist, evolutionist scientists." But the paragraph that
really made me pause and think was the following:

"Instead of accepting the biblical explanation of the dead creatures buried
in geological strata as being the fossil record of God's judgement by
Noah's flood, theistic evolutionists accept the explanations of secular
scientists that a so-called "geological column" was laid down over millions
of years before man arrived on the scene. Then they try to harmonize this
belief, originated by false prophets among the people, namely, James
Hutton, Charles Lyell, and Charles Darwin, with the Bible by attempting to
fit that slowly formed fossil record into imaginary age-long days or gaps
between the beginning of the creation in Genesis 1:1 and the creation of
becomes obvious reason, for a fundamental doctrine of the Christian Church
teaches that death is the consequence of Adam's sin; therefore, Adam had to
have been created before the fossil record formed."

Focussing on the text in CAPS, I hear this argument all the time but
something really struck me about it in the context of this paragraph. Given
the disdain for things scientific, I asked myself how do these people KNOW
that fossils represent dead creatures? It appears to me the ONLY reason
they can say this is because science tells them that fossils are remains of
formerly living things. But this is as much as admitting that examining the
present can reveal things about the past. They say it is obvious that
fossils represent previous death? Yes, I believe that, by why does the
author of this paragraph believe this given his disbelief in other "plain"
and "obvious" facts.

Most of the pamphlet bemoans how it wasn't until modern science came along
no one ever thought of the days as being anything other than 24 hours. But,
can't the same be said for fossils, they were not always viewed as the
remnants of living organisms and it was science that has brought us to that
understanding, yet her we find Anderson accepting the nature of fossils as
fact based solely on science. His entire argument hinges on this
interpretation of fossils. Because fossils are the result of death and
death resulted from the fall then all fossils had to have been created
POST-six-day creation.
I realize that from a 6-day perspective it would create many difficulties to
view fossils in another way but I still strikes me that many 6-day
creationist think some things are so plain that they don't ever to think to
question those "facts."

Whenever I talk about origins with certain people I am ALWAYS hit with the
line "how do you know, where you there?" Given that many, if not most, YEC
will say that fossilization is not currently occurring and that it happened
differently in the past can I not say "how do you know that fossils
represent formerly living thing, where you there?" How can a YEC know that
just because a fossil appears to have similar characteristics to a living
organism that it was alive?

I hope I am not treading over a well worn path here but I was just struck at
how clearly Anderson's entire view of earth history is shaped by the simple
belief that fossils are remnants of living things.


Joel Duff

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