Evolution and the Message of the Strata

An observer standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon can see some 5000 ft. of rock layers. This is but a glimpse of the total Geologic Column. Nowhere can the full column of sedimentary rocks be seen visually, but underneath the Gulf of Mexico are rock layers ten miles in thickness. Geophysical tools and deep drilling have given scientists much information about these rocks.

It is a principle of geology that the history of the earth may be read in the layers of this column of rocks. In this case, the book is read from back to front, for the deepest layers are the earliest written with each successive layer deposited later in time. Exceptions occur when “lava flows” or “thrust faulting” insert pages in the wrong order. Within these sedimentary layers are often found fossils, imprints in the stone, of plants or creatures that once lived when the sediments were deposited. Sediments, the products of erosion, are laid down in lakes and oceans and later hardened by overlying pressure and heat of the earth. Neither the sediments nor the fossils tell their actual age, their position alone indicates their age relative to each other. Absolute age is determined only by radioactive measurement, which is based upon several questionable assumptions.

The concept of the slow deposition of sediments through vast periods of time is called “Uniformitarianism.” Along with it goes the clich, “The present is the key to the past.” William (Strata) Smith (1769-1839) observed differences in fossils through the vertical layers. He correlated these fossils over large lateral distances. This is known as “the principle of faunal succession.” This “book” of the earth, usually read as history, might be better classified as mystery, for there are a great many difficulties and things still not understood.

An ancient earth with slow change is essential to the theory of evolution as advocated by Charles Darwin in 1859. Darwin’s theory follows two main principles; (a) all creatures have inherited features and (b) diversity is caused by factors of nature, especially isolation. The reasoning is that all life, as we know it, came from a single source in the far distant past and changes developed through time. The fossil record of a very old earth should provide the evidence to prove the theory. This article will look at three problem areas for the evolution theory.

1. There is no evidence of how life began.

2. There is no evidence of how species change.

3. The geologic record shows global catastrophe, not uniformity that evolution requires.

How did life begin?

Darwin and natural selection cannot answer this, but evolutionists give three possibilities. Time Magazine (Feb, 1996) stated, “Life is a freak, a zillion to one, an accidental concatenation of molecules, a statistical fluke.”

(a) The Primodial Sea

The traditional belief is that somehow (an important word in evolutionary writings), in the warm surface waters of an early earth, the essential elements came together to form amino acids, the building blocks of the proteins of life. In 1953 scientists tried to reproduce this with a mixture of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, water vapor, and electricity. A decade later other scientists realized that an early earth did not have the needed hydrogen and so they looked elsewhere for the “statistical fluke.”

(b) Hydro-Thermal Vents

In the 1970s, scientists found hydrothermal vents, geysers of hot water on the ocean floor. The sites are rich in bacteria, with giant worms, clams, and shrimp. The findings have been hailed as evidence that life may have begun, not on a warm surface, but deep undersea near the warm vents. The theory of evolution is evolving to meet new evidence. What has been found is simply another biosphere. The jungles of Africa, the plains of America, the seas of the Arctic and Antarctic all have their unique species, but none of them show how life began. Hydrothermal vents are located near fractures in the crustal plates, by the mid-ocean ridges. These are far too late in geologic history for evolution to begin. Furthermore, the presence of worms, clams, and shrimp indicates that these creatures moved there from elsewhere, unless the zillion in one accident has happened repeatedly.

c) Space

Some evolutionary scientists take a different view altogether. Dr. Frances Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, is one of many who suggest that life could not have started on earth, but must have come from somewhere in space. A major factor in the probes to Mars and Venus is the hope of finding some evidence of life there. Evidence of bacterial life in the solar system would enable evolutionists to push back the question of origin into the assumed distant past of the universe.

There is no answer as to how life began, not in the fossils, nor anywhere other than the Word of God, which says, “In the beginning God created…”

What caused the variety of species?

If evolution were true, billions upon billions of intermediate forms should indicate change from one species to another. This has always been the great problem for evolutionists. The textbooks of the past 150 years have many examples of blunders made as evolutionists “find the missing link.” Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Java Man have all turned out to be wrong.

Textbook pictures and sequences are based on imagination, not evidence. The fossil record should provide “multiple billions” of links, showing change from one species to another. If the “fittest” survive where is the evidence of the “unfit” multitudes that didn’t? If change of species is by mutation, then for each that succeeded multitudes more failed. Where are they?

The Cambrian Explosion or “Biology’s Big Bang” is at the deepest of the sedimentary rocks. Too suddenly for evolution, the fossils of sea creatures with “claws, jaws, teeth, and tentacles” appeared. At higher layers, land creatures, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals appeared with evidence of humans at the top. The change is not gradual but sudden, emerging at specific levels. Darwin himself noted that the fossil record is not of orderly progression.

God created each “after its kind” with the potential for genetic diversity within each species. The fossil record shows no evidence for change of “kind.”

Uniformity of Catastrophy

Prior to the 1800s the presence of fossils, especially of marine fossils in high mountain ranges was believed to be evidence of a global flood. For 150 years concepts of slow gradual processes dominated geologic thinking, but by the 1950s evidence of global catastrophes was again in vogue. Today there is evidence of five major global extinctions of life as seen in the geologic record. More are being found all the time. The best known of these is the fifth, the destruction of the dinosaurs. In the 1970s there arose within the evolutionary camp the theory of “Punctuated Equilibrium.” The basic idea is that the slow progress of earth history had suddenly been interrupted by major catastrophic events and somehow, as a result, mutant life forms flourish while the majority are wiped out. Again the theory of evolution is changing, hoping to explain the lack of transitional fossils in the record, yet there is no evidence as to how a species changes. Largely ignored in geologic literature is an event higher still in the rock layers. It is the great Pleistocene (Ice Age) disaster. In a single catastrophe, best explained by a massive flood, the bones of “whales, sharks, crocodiles, mammoths, elephants, rhinoceroses, hippos, tigers, deer, horses, various species of the bovine family, and a multitude of others” are buried together.

The Young Earth-Flood Geology Theory, familiar to most readers, would put all these disasters into the one great earth-destroying event, the flood of Noah’s day.

Evolution has no answer for questions about the origin of life or about how new species develop. It does show that creatures go back to the earth. The Bible, on the other hand, shows where life originated, that species don’t change and, while the physical body returns to dust, “the spirit returns to God Who gave it.”