Fossils. The very name brings to mind images of untold ages past … dinosaurs roaming ancient swamps … slow but steady progression as simple sea life was transformed into today’s complex variety. Is this an accurate reconstruction of the past or is a worldwide flood the correct explanation of the fossil record?
Fossils are the preserved evidence of past life. They are found in every part of the world, including the tops of the highest mountains. They may be as simple as a seashell which has left a permanent impression in sandstone or as grandiose as a giant plesiosaur whose bones have turned to rock after rapid burial. The fossils themselves tell us neither their age nor how they became encased in the rock layers. Rather, they must be interpreted within some view of earth history. Many people have been led to believe that the existence of fossils proves that millions of years have passed. In reality, fossils can form quite rapidly. Heat and pressure from rapid burial can accelerate the fossilization process. Geologic conditions following a worldwide flood would have exceeded anything imaginable today and must have led to the rapid fossilization of the plants and animals on a massive scale.
Fossilization can happen rapidly under the right conditions, but it is a rare event today. Yet there are mass burial sites throughout the world that are tightly packed with millions of fossils. Apparently, billions of organisms were washed together by the mass destruction of the worldwide flood, completely buried, and rapidly fossilized. These massive and extensive fossil graveyards would be the predictable result of a worldwide flood, but would hardly fit the slow accumulation model which continues to be taught as the primary explanation of the fossil record. Something dramatically different must have happened in the past to have caused the wide spread fossilization which we find all over our planet. Noah’s flood would have been this event.
Geologists and paleontologists operating from a Christian world view acknowledge the possibility that a worldwide catastrophe buried unimaginable amounts of plants and animals. This was the disaster documented in the first book of the Bible. It lasted at least one year and had reverberations which lasted for centuries. Sea creatures would have been buried first (the salinity and temperature of the oceans would have changed during the catastrophe, wiping out massive numbers of these sea creatures). Even after the flood, plant and animal extinction would have been common as many types of creatures failed to adapt to dramatically changing conditions.
Although any order of burial in a flood would be possible, the general tendency would be for sea life to be buried in the lower rock layers and land animals to be buried in different rock layers corresponding to their ecological niche. This tendency is generally found.
Creation geologists (and there are many of them) believe that the majority of the geologic record is a result of geologic activity during and subsequent to the year-long, worldwide flood. This flood would have been an incredibly complex event. It must have involved rapidly moving continental plates, changing climatic conditions, and massive volcanism throughout the event.
Geologists and paleontologists operating from an evolutionary worldview acknowledge local catastrophes, but do not allow consideration of a worldwide flood. This would wipe out the “slow change over eons of time” interpretation of the fossils which is needed to continue believing in evolution. Only one interpretation of the evidence can be correct and only one interpretation of the evidence agrees with what the Bible claims is the history of our planet.