Are Rocks Clocks? Support for Millions and Billions of Years? Installment Two

Dear hijas,

To continue in my review of geologist John K. Reed’s new book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale” (Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA, 2013).

One of Dr. Reed’s key points is that the geologic timescale has played a key evangelistic role for the worldview of naturalism, the worldview antithetical to Biblical Christianity. He defines naturalism as ‘the secular worldview opposing Christianity in favor of materialism (matter is all there is), and its logical derivatives: evolution, uniformitarian geology, and deep time.”

The contrast is between Biblical history and secular history. This secular history is believed to be contained in the history of the rocks–the geologic timescale. This geologic history can be distinguished from Biblical history by the use of the term “prehistory”. For secularists, prehistory represents almost the entire past of the planet–billions of years that predate human civilization, Reed says, and the template of prehistory is the geologic timescale.

He defines the geologic timescale (you’ve seen the pictures in my previous posts and studied them in your geology classes), as a linear chronology following a number of distinct ages, through four grand eons–the Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic. The Phanerozoic, which is the most well-known, contains the eras of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. Take a look at any old geology text you may have, and you’ll see these headings clearly delineated.

So, prehistory = the geologic timescale = deep time = old earth. These terms are all somewhat synonymous, and are inextricably linked. In another article (Journal of Creation, Vol27(3) 2013), Reed and Doyle say, “Since the late 18th century, many Christian academics and theologians have embraced an old earth, claiming that it is compatible with Christianity. Even conservative Christians have been swept along. They think deep time and Christianity are like Romeo and Juliet–lovers fated to be together. The process has become predictable; scientists advance the latest iteration of the old-earth paradigm using ‘scientific evidence’ and theologians follow meekly, generating new interpretations of Genesis to accommodate it.”

What’s wrong with the word “prehistory”, you might ask? Well, it embraces the secular worldview, doesn’t it. It’s an icon of naturalism. It’s a confirmation that Biblical history is false. Christians shouldn’t use it, especially as the secularists define it. Think about what it implies, and contrast it to the Biblical worldview of a recent and mature 6×24 Creation. The two are not compatible.

Reed continues in ‘Rocks Aren’t Clocks’ that ‘one of the first issues to address is to decide which branches of knowledge are legitimate sources of truth about the past.’ He argues that ‘natural history does not belong to any one discipline, but is a mixture of science, history, philosophy, and religion. Science provides a forensic analysis, history provides a meta-narrative, and worldviews provide the necessary context for meta-theories such as creation or evolution. In other words, as we try to understand the past, we cannot avoid issues outside science.’

So then, what are the consequences of this secular view of history, this prehistory and geologic timescale, the one of which is the template for the other? ‘Whether there was a vast prehistory in Earth’s past is a question well worth asking because the answer has significant consequences’, Reed says.

Stay tuned, for we’ll pick up our discussion of the consequences of secular geologic history in my next post.

With love, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Are Rocks Clocks? Support for Millions and Billions of years?

Dear hijas,

The title of a new book by geologist John K. Reed is ‘Rocks Aren’t Clocks’ (Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA, 2013). In it he probes the assumptions behind geologic time and the current Christian contradiction between acceptance of secular ‘history’, (as supposedly established in the rocks for billions and millions of years), and the unwillingness to see the worldview behindĀ it. This secular ‘history’ is the basis for evolution. The two: 1) billions and millions of years in a supposed prehistory before man, and 2) evolution, are inextricably linked. Evolution needs the billions and millions of years to make it work, and without it would never have gotten off the ground. Enthusiastic Christians opposed to evolution (a good thing) are reluctant to criticize an old earth and the billions and millions of years that mark its progress (a bad thing). It is inconsistent because the two both come out of the same secular worldview of ‘naturalism’.

Dr. Reed explains that the geologic timescale, its underlying conceptual structure, and the framework of the billions and millions of years are antithetical to Biblical history. He calls for a rejection of both deep time and its framework.

The book is not about radiometric dating. What is important to remember, Dr. Reed says, is that ‘the concept that rocks could be used to assemble a chronology for a vast prehistory was entrenched long before radiometric dating was introduced. Because it was developed prior to radiometric dating both historically and logically, the timescale itself demands our attention, if for no other reason than if radiometric techniques were abandoned, the timescale would still stand’. ‘Therefore’, he continues, ‘this book focuses on the original edifice of antibiblical history, the geologic timescale’.

So, what’s wrong with the geologic timescale? For 1) one, its almost universal, unquestioned acceptance by nearly everyone. If it’s a good idea that leads to truth, then that’s a great thing, but if false, then our minds are chained to a bad idea that leads to further dead ends and falsehoods. 2) Two, the name itself implies a definite view of the past, Dr. Reed says, a view that exalts science. An exalted science, and a view that this science will be the eventual victor over oppression by religion, is nothing less than idolatry; a worship of the creature, or created thing, instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:23). To exalt science as the one and only arbiter of truth (positivism), is exchanging the glory due our incorruptible God, for the corruptible ideas of man. Then 3) three, the geologic timescale is an idea with theological implications. The timescale assumes that God is absent from history. ‘That perspective’, Dr. Reed says, ‘is quite different from orthodox Christianity’s belief in a God who is intimately involved in history from the very beginning’.

What I hope then to do, mis hijas, in my next series of posts, is to further outline what I’m learning from Dr. Reed’s ‘Rocks Aren’t Clocks; because how we understand the past profoundly affects the present.

With love,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas