Carved in Stone is about real, touchable, drillable rocks. Few books are written on Flood geology, and even fewer are based on the actual rock data. Rocks are facts for geologists. Fossils found in the rocks and sedimentary structures like laminations and cross-bedding are also factual data. And the global patterns we can observe from the rocks give us great insight into the origin of the rocks. This book reports the results of a data-based study of the sedimentary rocks across multiple continents. It examines the rocks that are in place today and utilizes repeatable and real data.
No matter your background, this book will challenge you to rethink your views as we examine and expose the sedimentary rock record continent by continent, layer by layer. It is not a book of fiction but a book that reveals what the rocks really show. The results are the same whether you believe that Genesis records a global flood or a local flood, and whether you believe the earth is thousands of years old or billions. However, be forewarned, the data show undeniable evidence of a recent global geologic event.
Geology: The Science of the Solid Earth
Geology is the study of the solid earth, its rocks, and its history. Geology differs from the other natural sciences because it is mostly forensic or historical. Most other natural sciences—like chemistry, biology, and physics—use a higher percentage of repeatable experimentation. Geologists have to observe what is here today and try to figure out how it may have gotten there in the past. We use the rocks and fossils as the pages in Earth’s history book. As we go deeper in the pages, we go further back in time.
Geologists who hold to this view think they can explain all of the rocks by studying processes that occur in the world today, like studying current rivers or volcanic eruptions to understand past river systems and volcanoes. However, what if the events that created the rocks only happened once in history? Uniformitarianism fails if we cannot find a modern event to explain what we observe. Where in the world today do we find 10,000 feet of pure salt being deposited like we observe below the Red Sea? Where are 100- to 200-foot-thick coal seams being deposited like we see in Wyoming? We need to recognize that there were past events that may only have happened once in history, like the global Flood.
Geologists operate much like detectives, piecing together the clues to arrive at the best explanation for the observable data. Unfortunately, much of the rock record we observe is not being actively repeated. The rocks often reveal things that happened in the past that are not happening today. These observations contrast sharply with the traditional uniformitarian thought taught to most geologists. The philosophy of uniformitarianism stresses that “the present is the key to the past.”
It’s a Battle of Worldviews
The battle for science today is a battle of worldviews, and geology is at the forefront. Young-earth geologists accept God’s Word as truth, and they accept the book of Genesis as a true historical account of the creation and the Flood. After all, it was written by the One eyewitness to both events.
Young-earth geologists believe there was a global flood about 4,500 years ago. In complete contrast, whether they accept some of the truth of the Bible or not, old-earth geologists have fabricated their own alternative story of Earth’s origin and the origin of its rocks. Sadly, this view has become mainstream science and is taught exclusively in all public institutions and even most religious institutions.
Francis Bacon (1561–1626) is often credited with devising the scientific method in which experimentation and collected data are used to make conclusions. He accepted the Flood narrative and the 6,000-year-old age of the earth. Unfortunately, few scientists today are using the scientific method as outlined by Bacon. They practice what has been called verification science where they merely attempt to verify what they deem to be already known. This type of science leaves little room for falsification and true testing of hypotheses and theories.
Keep in mind that prior to the early 19th century most scientists were young-earth creationists like Francis Bacon. They believed the earth was about 6,000 years old and there was a global flood. They believed the Bible was historically accurate. Deep time was not readily accepted until midway through the 19th century, about the time Darwin proposed his theory of evolution. Evolutionists found they needed both concepts for their alternative version of origins. They needed deep time (millions of years) to give their proposed evolutionary theory a chance at being accepted.
So, the geologists looked at the thick layers of sedimentary rocks and tried to imagine the amount of time it took for them to form using rates they could observe today. This is the central theme of uniformitarianism. Uniformitarian scientists insist that nearly all the rocks can be explained by the same processes observed today, with exceptions for episodes of more rapid activity and a few local catastrophes. This version of uniformitarianism is called actualism. For these reasons, many 19th-century geologists quickly became convinced that the sedimentary rock record must have formed over millions of years at slow uniformitarian rates.
Soon after this, all sorts of doubt about the historical accuracy of the Bible began to infiltrate the sciences. People wondered if God really meant what He said in Genesis. Did God really say there was a global flood? These questions are eerily reminiscent of the questions the serpent asked Eve in Genesis 3. And these are the same doubt-filled questions being asked today by scientists and theologians.
I am frequently asked, “Where is the evidence for the Flood?” And I just answer, “Look down at the ground below your feet.” Most places in the world are covered by thousands of feet of sedimentary rock filled with billions of fossils. The evidence of the global Flood is at your feet. We just need to be receptive of the truth of the rock record.
And yet old-earth geologists look at the same rocks and insist there was no such thing as a global flood. They claim the earth was never completely flooded at any point in its history. But, as this book will reveal, they have never looked at the rock record across multiple continents simultaneously. They merely accept the secular story as taught to them by their geology professors, who were taught the same story by their professors, and on and on. They don’t necessarily question what they are told. They just accept the words and tales of what is called science.
Sadly, most geologists today believe in an old earth because of this indoctrination. They believe radioisotope dates “prove” an old age. In the process, they have convinced themselves that the majority of scientists cannot be wrong. However, many are never taught about the assumptions that go into the determination of every rock age estimation. I hope this book opens the minds of old-earth geologists to the truth. Although this book is written from a young-earth perspective, I hope both young- and old-earth geologists recognize the abundance of factual rock data that is presented. These data are the same no matter what your worldview is. This is truly data-driven science.
Formulation of a New Flood Model
In the last 25 years, the creation geology community has not progressed appreciably beyond the Flood model of catastrophic plate tectonics (CPT). A comprehensive Flood model that explains the distribution of global sedimentation patterns, the fossil record, and the timing of uplifts has remained problematic. This book presents a new and novel Flood model that is based on analysis of rock columns across multiple continents, developing a framework to which future studies can be linked. It builds on the CPT conceptual model but then takes it a step further by explaining the rock record in greater detail. A primary source of information to begin this study was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists-sponsored COSUNA (Correlation of Stratigraphic Units of North America) data set for the United States. These data consist of compiled stratigraphic columns, providing both lithology and thicknesses, at hundreds of locations across the U.S. Most of these columns were compiled by state and government geologists and supplemented by input from the oil and gas industry. Other data were compiled directly from oil well logs and from government reports, especially in western Canada.
Without a data-driven model, we cannot expect to improve our scientific understanding. The present model utilizes nearly 2,000 stratigraphic columns across North America, South America, and Africa, including the Middle East and parts of western Europe. The rocks identified at each site are factual data. It is only the interpretation of time within and between the rock layers that creates a difference between the views of uniformitarian and creation scientists.
The results are a challenge to all scientists. The creation community needs to take a fresh look at all available geological data and create a global Flood model that isn’t based on merely tweaking secular ideas but is instead a new conceptual model based on tangible geological data. This book is an attempt to develop a Flood model from that perspective. Secular ideas are employed but not necessarily adhered to. The science is the same. It only differs in the interpretation of the data. Results of this study are presented in a biblically based, global Flood model that assumes the Flood was real and occurred about 4,500 years ago. These results, because they are based on the rocks that are actually in place, are empirical and repeatable. Someone else could spend years of their life gathering and compiling the data and arrive at nearly the same results. These are the rocks that are there across the continents.
A final goal is to provide the Christian community and creation scientists with a better understanding of the progression of the Flood across the globe, tied directly to the biblical narrative of God’s judgment in Genesis 6–8. In a sense, this data set will help build a chapter-by-chapter model of how the Flood changed the surface of the earth. In our human minds we tend to make the Flood small since we have never witnessed a catastrophe of this extent. Only the Bible and the rocks left behind can reveal the awesome scale of the Flood event.
As this research journey unfolded, I began to see how the overall geology of the world (the rocks, fossils, and tectonic plates) all started to make sense. Patterns emerged again and again that could only be explained by a recent, global flood. And they all fit perfectly within a biblical worldview. The rocks don’t lie!
Abridgement of the Introduction to Timothy Clarey’s book Carved in Stone: Geological Evidence of the Worldwide Flood, available from the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, Texas.
* Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in geology from Western Michigan University.