Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Was the Destruction in 3 Nephi Merely Cosmetic? – Part I

For some reason, people seem to read the Book of Mormon looking for clues to the Land of Promise location but never consider the major themes involved in the process of natural science and factors governing how things in the scriptural record take place. They look for narrow necks, a hill Cumorah, or a river Sidon, yet ignore the more weighty issues of the land and its changes over time—about 4100 years since the Jaredites landed, and about 2600 years since the Nephites landed. Surely, some changes would have taken place since then.  
   After all, rivers don’t always flow the same because of sediment buildup, earthquakes, avalances, etc.; hills and mountains change, volcanoes rise and fall; islands disappear and new ones form—as an example, when Krakatoa exploded in 1883, just 135 years ago, it blew with the power equivalent to 13,000 megatons of TNT, about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the “Little Boy” Atomic Bomb that devastated Hiroshima, Japan, and four times the yield of the hydrogen bomb, “Tsar Bomba,” the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated, which was ten times the combined energy of all the conventional explosives used in World War II.
Not only was Krakatoa’s devastation enormous in destroying 165 villages and towns and damaging another 132, as well as the loss of 36,417 people and many more thousands injured, but two-thirds of an entire island disappeared, and a new island, Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) was later formed. The original island had formed some time earlier, perhaps in the 4th century A.D., with a record of four volcanoes appearing in the time of man.
    In the scriptural record, we find some interesting events taking place around 33-34 A.D. in the Land of Promise as outlined in 3 Nephi 8 and 9, and the destruction that took place, and how, through the Book of Abraham Chapter 4 and 5 in the organizing of the world to begin with, that some of the same processes would have been involved, according to the “did cleave together again” information in the scriptural record, which tells us a little about how that was accomplished.
    At this juncture we need to consider the utter destruction that befell the entire Land of Promise: cities sinking into the sea; cities sunk into the earth; mountains emerging to cover and bury cities; earth shaken until entire cities collapsed and left desolate; cities covered with earth; valleys and hills covered former cities—followed by statements of extreme destruction: “the whole face of the land was changed” (3 Nephi 9:12);  “the face of the whole earth became deformed” (3 Nephi 8:17); “solid foundational rock was broken up into fragments resulting in seams and cracks upon all the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:18);  valleys and hills formed (3 Nephi 9:8); mountains collapsed into valleys and valleys rose into mountains whose height was great; (Helaman 14:23); the earth and rock were broken up, mountains tumbled into pieces and plains of the earth broken up (1 Nephi 12:4).
    Yet, despite the comments of considerable destruction, theorists close their eyes and minds to the fact, claiming not much changed. As an example, John L. Sorenson in his An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, claims that “the changes at the Savior’s death were mainly to the surface” (p45), and on the following page, “the record itself gives no justification for supposing that the form or nature of the land changed in any essentials.” Now the word "essential" means “the fundamental elements or characteristics of something.” Thus, to Sorenson, none of the fundamental elements or characteristics of the Land of Promise changed. He also added, “Nor is there reliable evidence from the earth sciences to lead us to suppose major changes took place.”
    This is an absolutely amazing opinion. 
    Again, cities disappeared into the ground, others were covered by hills and mountains, with some mountains disappearing into level ground, and level ground rising into mountains to a height “which is great.” Is this not major changes to the elements and characteristic of the land?
    Certainly, this is not describing a cosmetic effect, and just as obviously, involves elements and characteristics being changed significantly. When Mormon tells us that “the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up; Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath” (Helaman 14:21-22, emphasis added). Certainly, this is describing reliable evidence of earth sciences to know and understand that major changes did take place.
    Another area to consider is the concept of Plate Tectonics, which is a scientific theory describing the large-scale motion of seven large plates and five smaller ones, and the movements of these plates of the Earth’s lithosphere, over the full existence of the Earth. Sea-floor spreading was validated in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as were the models for plate tectonics, which is based on theoretical models of continental drift. The lithosphere, which is the rigid outermost shell of a planet (the crust and upper mantle), is broken up into these tectonic plates, we must conclude that this destruction mentioned in 3 Nephi had an effect on huge areas beneath the surface of the Earth.
    Where the plates meet, their relative motion determines the type of boundary: convergent, divergent, or transform. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building and oceanic trench formation occur along these plate boundaries. The relative movement of the plates typically ranges from zero to four inches annually.
Zealandia, considered by geologists to be a massive mostly submerged continent

As David Pratt states in Sunken Continents versus Continental Drift: "Geological field mapping provides evidence that crustal strata can in certain circumstances be thrust over one another for distances of up to 125 miles. But plate tectonics goes much further and claims that entire continents have moved up to 4350 miles or more since the alleged breakup of Pangaea.”
    In fact, Sundaland, the name given to the Sunda shelf, which was part of the Southeast Asian continental shelf, when it was above water during the ice age; it also includes the Malay Peninsula, and the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java. Rising sea levels submerged Sundaland in several rapid stages, drowning a land area the size of India.
Sundaland, a continent that was once above sea level, and now is beneath the sea, with only its highest peaks and mountains above the surface, but a continent none the less

Stephen Oppenheimer speculates that during the inundation of Sundaland, its inhabitants migrated by land and sea to the Asian mainland, including China, India and Mesopotamia, and to the islands from Madagascar to the Philippines and New Guinea, from where they later colonized Polynesia. The point is, not only are we talking about plate tectonics, ocean seafloor separation, and continental drift, but included in such scenarios is the movement up and down of whole continents, both being submerged, and of rising.
    In fact, some geologists have hailed satellite imagery of crustal movement as proving plate tectonics. As Pratt continues: “Such measurements shed light on local and regional crustal stresses and strains, but do not provide evidence for plate motions of the kind predicted by plate tectonics unless the relative motions predicted among all plates are observed.”
    However, numerous results have not shown definite patterns, resulting in confusion and contradiction, causing other hypotheses being submitted. For instance, distances from the Central South American Andes to Japan or Hawaii are more or less constant, whereas plate tectonics predicts significant separation. In addition, the so-called practice of extrapolating present crustal movements tens or hundreds of millions of years into the past or future is clearly a hazardous exercise.
    The fact that the various continents can be fitted together into one large landmass is, to many, compelling evidence. However, such reconstructions have yet to provide acceptable models.
(See the next post, “Was the Destruction in 3 Nephi Merely Cosmetic? – Part I,” for more information on the meaning of the destruction described in 3 Nephi)

1 comment:

  1. I was watching a program on Netflix the other night entitled Pyramid Code. Here they spoke about the Nile River and how it was possible that these pyramids were not built some 8 miles away from where the Nile is NOW.. but have discovered there are dry river beds near the pyramids... and it is the Nile that changed it's course. So if the mighty Nile can change its course over time... why do people still think that everything remains the same? Looking for a river to remain in the same place for 1000's of years... normally just does not happen.