Friday, January 12, 2018

When the Andes Came Up – Part II

Continuing from the previous post, in which we discussed the fact that geologists haven't always agreed about the history of our planet. In fact, they have debated back and forth between catastrophism and uniformitarianism over the last few hundred years! We also discussed, in part, the ongoing struggle from catastrophism to gradualism to uniformitarianism and now a strong movement is heading back toward catastrophism.    However, in that process of ever-changing beliefs, theories, and understandings, during James Hutton’s period of gradualism, in 1789 was published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh Bulletin Volume of the famous dissertation “The Earth theory, or on terrestrial composition, disintegration and restoration of law.”
    In fact, it was read before the Society three years earlier in 1785 in a little known pamphlet called the “Abstract,” in which Hutton first announced publicly his famous Theory of the Earth.
It seems Hutton himself was the author of the “Abstract,” and that it was published in 1785, some three years before the Royal Society paper was issued in the Society's Transactions. The writer concluded that the “Abstract,” and not, as had been supposed, the Transactions paper, constituted the first form in which The Theory was published.
    At the time, Richard Kirwan, the famed and widely known Irish geologist, chemist, meteorologist and former attorney in the Irish bar, winner of the Copley Medal, a scientific award given by the Royal Society, and at the time President of the Royal Irish Academy, criticized Hutton and his work, accusing him of atheism and poor logic, and continued with a lively dispute with upholders of Hutton’s theory for many years. Later in life, Kirwan refused a baronetcy before his death in 1812.
    In answer to Kirwan’s criticism, Hutton published in 1795, a two volume, roughly 1200-page version of his theory, in which he described Earth as a living organism. His work would become influential for centuries, even inspiring Charles Darwin during his writings on evolution. Hutton’s idea was a major turning point in the field of geology, and established it as a proper science. In fact, today, he is considered “the father of modern geology,” and credited with claiming that the erosion of landforms, the deposition of sediments, the drifting of continents and the eruption of volcanoes, were all happening long ago, on roughly the same scale and at roughly the same rate as they are today.
He called his theory “gradualism,” which was popularized by another geologist, Charles Lyell, who expanded Hutton's theory of gradualism into the theory of uniformitarianism. Lyell observed processes that made small changes in Earth's features and inferred that similar changes had happened in the past. His fierce insistence that the processes that alter the Earth are uniform through time and viewed the history of Earth as being vast and directionless held sway for more than a hundred years, however, recently we have seen a rise in the theory of catastrophism once again.
    At the time, Hutton’s theory led to the idea that mountains are uplifted, valleys carved, and sediments deposited over immense time periods by the same physical forces and chemical reactions seen operating today, and sometimes described as gradualism—in which slow incremental changes, such as erosion, gradually created all the Earth's geological features.
    Thus, in its original form, catastrophism eventually fell from grace with the scientific community as they reasoned what they felt were more logical explanations for natural history. But catastrophism was renewed in international interest in the 1970s and has been gaining momentum ever since, partly because of a return to Biblical understanding, but mostly because modern measurement techniques, knowledge, scientific studies and findings have led numerous independent-thinking scientists to question Hutton’s views.
    Originally, of course, the theory and subsequently today’s continued belief, developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when both tradition and scientific laws were based on Biblical knowledge, and paramount was Noah’s Flood. This idea of catastrophism, believed by a growing number of geologists today, interprets the origin of the Rocky Mountains or the Alps as resulting from a huge earthquake that uplifted them quickly, and when viewing the Yosemite Valley in California they assert they were not carved by glaciers, but rather the floor of the valley collapsed over 1,000 feet to its present position in one giant plunge. Strict catastrophic theory also argues for long periods of inactivity following catastrophic events (a thorough understanding of this is outlined in our book Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths).
    So we have two prevalent theories today, one of which being Hutton’s gradualism and Lyell’s uniformitarianism on the one hand, which has the majority of support and has become entrenched in the public conscience and taught at schools and universities. The other is the much older theory of catastrophism that had shaped thinking for much of Earth’s scientific development prior to the end of the eighteenth century, and is now making a comeback among many scientists.
    As a side note, it might be of interest to know that Paleontology, which is the study of fossils, is concerned not only with their description and classification but also with an analysis of the evolution of the organisms involved. According to Paleontologists, simple fossil forms can be found, they claim, in early Precambrian rocks as old as 3,500,000,000 (3.5 billion years), and it is widely considered by them that life on Earth must have begun before the appearance of those oldest rocks. Thus, Paleontological research of the fossil record since the Cambrian Period has contributed much to the theory of evolution of life on Earth.
    Following this theoretical concept is a simple one—if rocks were used (indestructible matter) to build this Earth from other locations by Divine beings and indicated in the Pearl of Great Price, then the idea that this Earth has to be older than the rocks found on it, is fallacious and without merit—just a thought for consideration.
    As for the other comments submitted by the reader, such as “it is well known that the Andes rose over time,” that is a uniformitarianism view of geology, and one not shared by Biblical events and the word of God connected to them. That theory is well known among godless scientists who rely on their own knowledge and not the word of God. This blog does not agree with that theory.
    As for where the Andes were when they rose, the scriptural record says that “there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great (Helaman 14:23, emphasis added). That would seem to preclude they rose out of the water, but rose up from flat land (valleys), as we have continually stated. However, since there are valleys at various levels of elevation, it does not mean they rose from level ground at “sea level,” but simply that they rose up from land considered valleys by the Nephites.
    As for lands in Brazil rising. The entire continent rose, or tilted, with the west coastal area (according to Darwin) rising higher. Thus, the continent along the Pacific rim rose higher out of the water, as the mountains rose, bringing up the entire central area, called the Amazon Drainage Basin today, which is confirmed by geologists—we just differ in the time frame.
    Which brings us to the scriptural record that says the mountains rose during the crucifixion, that places the event around 34 A.D. In placing that Land of Promise in the Peruvian area, that means the Andes were the mountains which rose to a height “which was great” so they came up in 34 A.D. At what level (or various levels) they were before they rose during the crucifixion is not known.
    As for three hours. Yes, we are saying they rose during the events described in the scriptural record, which states quite clearly: “and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours” (3 Nephi 8:19).
    To our understanding there have been four major catastrophic events that affected either the entire Earth, or at least significant parts of it: 1) The Creation; 2) the Flood; 3) the Earth was divided; 4) the destruction in the Land of Promise during the Crucifixion.
    All of those events occurred suddenly and in a short period of time and had extreme effect on the Earth and its geologic makeup. In addition, there have been other catastrophic events that might have been more local in scope, but affecting geologic makeup none-the-less.
    In short, then, the events described in the scriptural record associated with the crucifixion found in 3 Nephi, depicts serious changes in the topography of the Land of Promise that took place in three hours and over a three day period. Obviously, this is not something the gradualism crowd is going to accept, for they rely on man's knowledge and not that of God. However, it  is clearly stated as how the Lord accomplished the events described.


  1. We need to be careful about making old earth uniformitarianism fit into the biblical account. The Pearl of Great Price (Moses 3:7) is clear that there were no life on earth before Adam. You mention that there was life in the PreCambrian. There is a problem with that. the leading Creationist Christian site reported that the bacteria that was found by these scientist when examined are virtually identical to modern bacteria. The bacteria are found in chert in carbonate rock. Chert is a replacement rock that was injected later into the rock hence the origin of the bacteria. They are not ancient but quite modern.

    The PreCambrian-Cambrian boundary is a real problem for the OE scientists. There is an explosion of life in the Cambrian and disputed claims of life in the PreCambrian. The Cambrian was deposited during the great flood of Noah's time, hence the reason for the countless billions of complex fossils found. The life forms are very complex and show no signs of evolution at all. They all appear fully formed all seemly at once in the fossil record.

    Good article - thanks Del.

  2. Thank you for your comment. It was not my intention to make such a claim, but to show that Paleontologists make such a claim in support of their evolution theory. I have added a few words to clarify that issue for anyone who misunderstood the intent.

  3. I am fairly convinced that the fossil record was "sorted" by liquefaction during the flood, just like the sediment layers, and does not represent millions of years of evolving life. But what do I know? Doesn't catastrophe make fossils, as opposed to long periods of calm? I'm no scientist though.

    Thanks again for the interesting blogs that encourage me to look around a bit more for information rather than defaulting to the apparent consensus view.

  4. Todd, Absolutely! For example, brachiopods fossil are found in carbonate rock with closed shells. This shows being buried alive. When a brachiopod dies its shell pops open. This shows that the fossil record was created catastrophically and not over millions of years.

    You can believe the scriptures when they tell you that Adam was the first man and the first flesh on the earth. I'm a geologist and I've proved the Biblical creation in so many ways. Uniformitarianism is not correct.

  5. The expression: "formed man from the dust of the ground" according to President Young means Adam was formed the same way we are formed: our mother eats food from "dust" and our body is formed. So according to President Young, Moses 3:7 is saying that Adam was formed on a previous earth and came here with a resurrected body. As such, he was the first flesh and first man upon the earth. Every living thing for this earth had been created spiritually in preparation, and with Adam here these life forms began to obtain physical bodies and Adam named them (verse 19) as they came here. Right?

    Moses 3:7 that you quoted about Adam being "the first man and first flesh" is BEFORE he was put into the garden of Eden and thus before the fall. So it cannot be talking about Adam with a body exactly like we have.

  6. erichard, interesting take on Adam. I have a different belief and the hint is Eve. A rib was taken from Eve to create her. A rib is where the best cells are taken to clone some living thing. She is a clone of Adam. I believe Adam was cloned as well as an exact replica of the Father. And that my friend is the answer to the Adam-God dilemma that has goofed up the Saints for over 100 years since Brigham. At he time of Brigham and Joseph cloning was not known. It is now and its a very simple concept. Brigham was right that Adam was God the father. His body was the exact replica.

    Sorry Del for getting of the subject but this is something that ought to be understood. There was no previous earth, and many believe that false doctrine.

  7. Perhaps you might find the following of interest. It was written by the First Presidency in 1909 in response to the growing opinions of the time regarding the Origin of Man.
    Adam, our first progenitor, “the first man,” was, like Christ, a pre-existent spirit, and like Christ he took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a “living soul.” The doctrine of the preexistence—revealed so plainly, particularly in latter days—pours a wonderful flood of light upon the otherwise mysterious problem of man’s origin. It shows that man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality. It teaches that all men existed in the spirit before any man existed in the flesh and that all who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner.
    It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declared that Adam was “the first man of all men” (Moses 1:34). and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our Heavenly Father.
    True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man.
    Man, by searching, cannot find out God. Never, unaided, will he discover the truth about the beginning of human life. The Lord must reveal Himself or remain unrevealed; and the same is true of the facts relating to the origin of Adam’s race—God alone can reveal them. Some of these facts, however, are already known, and what has been made known it is our duty to receive and retain.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme. By His almighty power He organized the earth and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist coeternally with Himself. He formed every plant that grows and every animal that breathes, each after its own kind, spiritually and temporally—“that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal, and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual.” He made the tadpole and the ape, the lion and the elephant, but He did not make them in His own image, nor endow them with godlike reason and intelligence. Nevertheless, the whole animal creation will be perfected and perpetuated in the Hereafter, each class in its “distinct order or sphere,” and will enjoy “eternal felicity.” That fact has been made plain in this dispensation (see D&C 77:3).
    Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.
    Joseph F. Smith
    John R. Winder
    Anthon H. Lund
    First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    November 1909