In the modern land of Israel, many truly wonderful sights are on display. The coastal plain, the hill country, and the interior valleys all present striking, never-to-be-forgotten vistas. Geologic wonders are present in stark cliffs and folded strata, while fertile valleys and hillsides covered in springtime wild flowers provide arrays of color. The people of Israel have a strong attachment to "the land" and have reclaimed it from the waste of centuries.
Two tour guides were assigned to the March 1998 ICR tour to Israel. At our request, they were both dear Christians of Jewish heritage, both having immigrated to Israel in recent decades. Although both believed every word of the Bible, including creation, neither had any prior knowledge of creationist thinking. They were fully aware of secular claims that evolution and old Earth had been "proven" by science, but saw no way to harmonize them with Scripture. In their minds, based on their understanding of Genesis, "the Land" had been created in its present state, not so very long ago. Thus, they just retreated to the conclusion that God had created the land in its present form, a form somehow misunderstood by many scientists.
Imagine their confusion when the ICR scientists taught of the strata being deposited, uplifted, folded, and faulted by the Flood of Noah's day; of the ibex and rock badger being adapted descendents of similar ancestors on board the Ark, not necessarily fully identical to those created on Day Six. God had not created the thorns and thistles, the dry wadies, the Dead Sea, and infertile rocky hillsides, He had created all things "very good" in the beginning, but now all things were cursed because of sin and restructured by the Flood.The gnarled strata,the Red Sea-Jordan Valley transform fault, the abundant fossils, and the frequent lack of rain are all evidence of God's attitude toward sin and His holy attribute of justice—not direct evidence of His perfect handiwork. But in many ways, "the Land" is absolutely beautiful, and the people of Israel rightly love it.
For several days at the start of the tour, the guides resisted our teaching. They certainly believed in the curse and the Flood, but couldn't apply it to this God-selected "promised land." Eventually they began to see how this more complete view solved the scientific problems they had been puzzled by, but how could this land have also been cursed and flooded?
Finally, one comment broke down the walls of resistance, satisfying both their love for the land, their firm trust in Scripture, and their great respect for their Creator, as well as their need to understand the evidence from a scientific perspective. And it can work for all of us as we strive to understand the world around us, from flowers to Grand Canyon. They promise to repeat it from now on to their tour groups and recommend it to you.
"Just imagine how beautiful God's original 'very good' creation must have been, so that its destroyed remnant could still be so beautiful."
*Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.