Re: YEC and fossils

R. Joel Duff (
Thu, 16 Jul 1998 12:14:23 -0500


I am always amazed at how these threads evolve:-) If I could just redirect
attention back to my original post for one moment. I wonder if I might ask
for some clarification on my main point (I will repost my original message
at the end of this message). That point was that one of the fundamental
assumption of YEC is that fossils represent formerly living things and this
combined with \ their interpretation of Scripture then requires all fossils
to have been formed after Adam's death (i.e. after the 6-day creation) and
leads directly to the proliferation of flood models we see today. As an
aside one of the most useful little YEC articles I have read lately was in
_Creation Matters_ V2(3): may/june 1997
( by David Tyler
outlining the three prominent flood models (some contrasting of the three
here would be very interesting).

Back to the real point!! Would any of the young earth advocates here like to
explain why exactly they believe that fossils represent the remains of
formerly living things. Now, I am not dumb, it seems so obvious to everyone
but I would suggest that you read some literature from before 1500 on the
subject. I am sure that one could say that even though the Bible doesn't
tell us that fossils truly are the remnants of living things neither does it
prohibit them from being just that. One could say it there is overwhelming
EVIDENCE that fossils are remains of formerly living things (there has got
to be a shorter way of describing this!). But what if there is overwhelming
evidence that the world view, necessitated by the acceptance of the modern
understanding of the nature of fossils is wrong. Shouldn't that give one
pause to question their beliefs about the nature of fossils themselves.
Surely if modern science can manipulate and miss represent the data about
the age of the earth they can missunderstand the nature of fossils
themselves. Wasn't it the "new" understanding of the nature of fossils
themselves that was one of the first things that cause these "atheist" to
even begin to question the age of the earth? The problem is that the flood
model construct for explaining all geology, fossils, and biogeographic
patterning of organisms is presuppositionally accepted though I am not sure
that the presupposition is based on the Bible but rather on some very modern
scientific assumptions.

So maybe we could here from some YEC's as to what they think the nature of
fossils is and why?

Just trying to stir things up a bit.
Joel Duff

Copy of my first post:


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