Part 1: The World of Prehistory
Part 2: Has Earth Already Had an “End Time”? Cataclysm of the Great Flood
Part 3: Transition from One Environment to Another
Part 4: How Well Does Evolution Theory Agree with Scientific Principles and Discoveries?
Part 5: How Old Is the Natural World?
Part 6: Conclusion
Part 3: TRANSITION FROM ONE ENVIRONMENT TO ANOTHER
3-A: How the Flood Re-modeled Our Earth’s Environment
3-B: Pictorial of the New Features in Our Post-Flood Environment
3-C: A Further Word about the Giants
3-D: Was There an Ice Age?
3-E: Early Migration Before the Rise of Civilization
3-A: How the Flood Re-modeled Our Earth’s Environment:
Unlike the prehistoric (pre-Flood) environment, Earth’s environment now features very high mountain ranges, enormous volcanic and sedimentary rock formations, vast ocean basins, polar ice caps, and extreme weather conditions. These stand today as impressive monuments to the great catastrophic convulsions that once rocked the Earth during, and shortly after, that tumultuous year of the Flood!
How massive flooding re-modeled the landscape
- Most of the Earth’s surface is made up of sedimentary rocks of many different sorts. (But below the surface, there still exists the original foundation of hard crystalline bedrock.)
- Thus, the more recent “water-formed” rock formations, like sandstone, chalk, shale, and limestone, etc. are all end results of the violent eroding action of the turbulent Flood waters upon the deep soil and rocky materials of the Earth’s original surface.
- As the Flood rampaged over the earth, most of the loose surface material dislodged under the enormous crushing weight and plowing action of the roiling waters.
- Floods of today can do much damage, washing away the soil, rocks, and even boulders out of just a small area in the Earth’s surface. But on the much much larger scale of this great worldwide Flood of old, how much greater was the extent of destruction through water erosion! It is hard for us to conceive the magnitude of what can happen when such unimaginably huge volumes of water move over the earth’s surface.
- Earth’s original covering of soil was torn away, then dumped into great piles of sediment, settled and sorted out into various layers of sand, silt, mud, clay, etc.
- The end result of such rapid erosion followed by the sedimentation process on this grand worldwide scale was the formation of vast layers of sedimentary rock, often 1000’s of feet thick, found everywhere throughout the Earth – a beautiful silent testimony and startling reminder to us of this great catastrophe of long ago.
- Nowadays it is often thought that it took 1000’s or 100,000’s of years for the sediments in each of these rock layers to be deposited. If that were the case, the boundaries between these stratified layers should be quite rough and uneven. But what do we actually find? The rock layers are neatly laid out, having clean smooth boundaries without any of the telltale signs of erosion or plant growth one would expect to find if this process had taken such a long time.
What the Flood waters did to the plant and animal life
- As the Flood waters began to move over the landscape, they immediately tore away the vegetation and forests and swept away herds of animals of all kinds. This was followed by the scraping away of loose surface materials of soil and rocks; these mixed with and buried the plant and animal life that had already been swept away.
- The fossil graveyards found throughout the earth testify loudly of rapid burial in a great catastrophe. (Had it not happened in this manner, the plants and animals would have decomposed and disappeared long ago rather than end up being preserved as fossils. This is the only way they could have become encased as they are now into such large “graveyards” embedded in the sedimentary rock formations of the earth.)
- In many of the old riverbeds, fossil bones are exposed and available to archeologists, and provide clear evidence of what happened during the Flood. Everywhere throughout the Earth are found these dramatic signs of widespread and sudden destruction, drowning, and burial of the Earth’s prehistoric plant and animal life.
- Besides the land animals, many of the fossil “graveyards” show that great quantities of marine life also were destroyed suddenly, buried deep underground by great upheavals in the ocean bottoms. The contorted appearance of these fossils suggests that the fish suffocated while suffering a rapid burial in sediment-laden waters.
- So this explains easily the origin of the mysterious fossil “cemeteries” of prehistoric plants and animals that exist everywhere in today’s environment.
- And in addition, the origin of the great coal beds and oil reservoirs of today – what we now call fossil fuels. These also were a by-product of the Great Flood. (Earth’s organic matter was first to get swept away during that tumultuous era; this was followed by the soil sediments, with the end result that most of that organic matter was buried and compacted deep underground.)
Leaf Frond Fossilized in Coal
- Under pressure from rock layers above, these vast accumulations of buried organic life transformed quickly into coal in dry areas and into oil in areas where the organic deposits remained mixed with water. (By the way, there is no way to explain the existence of the coal beds and oil reservoirs in terms of gradual processes – since these are not in the process of formation nowadays. However, they can be understood easily as by-products of the kind of catastrophic action and burial of earth’s plant and animal life that took place during the Great Flood cataclysm.)
How earth movements re-modeled the landscape
- In addition to the action of the Flood waters, there were great earth movements and volcanic activity; these also did much to re-model the earth’s landscape.
- As great underground pressures heaved underground, the landscape buckled, folded, and faulted resulting in a grand and thunderous formation of new hills, mountain ranges, and elevated tablelands all over the earth.
- The very high mountain ranges like the Himalayas or the Andes were created at this time.
Tectonic Forces at Work: India Plate Pushed against the Eurasian Plate after the Flood
Where Ganges Plain (left) meets Tibetan Plateau (right) is the Range of Himalayan Mountains
- Geologists even refer to these as “young” mountain ranges in comparison to the smaller “old” ranges like the Canadian Shield, Baltic Shield, or the Ghats of southern India where the rock formations from the original Creation still lie exposed. Geologists call this type of hard, crystalline rock Pre-Cambrian.
Rock Formations from the Original Creation: (L) One of the Nandi Hills north of Bangalore, India (R) Canadian Shield at Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario
- During the era of these great uplifts and sinkings, swollen rivers gouged and scoured out the landscape, as the waters drained off the mud-filled lands and into the oceans. “And the waters returned from off the earth continually.” (Genesis 8:3)
- The Grand Canyon, as we’ve seen, is a good example of how these rampaging rivers cut deeply into the soft new land surface. In fact, this is how most of the wide river valleys and canyons in our present environment were first carved out.
- In addition to the effects already listed, the great rumbling upheavals in Earth’s crust caused disturbance of its huge subterranean beds of molten rock .
- Dormant cauldrons of molten rock spewed out their contents on an unbelievably wide scale
- Great rivers of molten lava, showers of brimstone, and springs of underground water burst from the ground, spewing out through volcanoes, geysers, and cracks in the Earth, and poured over the landscape.
- Forests were mowed down, ancient hills and valleys were covered under thick layers of molten stone.
- Today many regions of the Earth contain these immense formations of volcanic rock spread out over 100,000’s of square miles of territory, along with a host of extinct volcanoes. (For example, much of the Deccan Plateau is overlaid with volcanic rock formed at this time.)
The Deccan Traps are a large igneous (volcanic) province located on the Deccan Plateau of west-central India and one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. The bulk of the volcanic eruption occurred at the Western Ghats (near Mumbai). They consist of multiple layers of solidified flood basalt that are sometimes more than 2,000 m (6,562 ft) thick and cover an area of 500,000 sq km (193,051 sq mi). The volume of basalt is estimated to be 512,000 cubic km (123,000 cu mi). (By contrast, the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens produced only 1 cubic km of volcanic material.) The term ‘trap’, used in geology for such rock formations, is derived from the Dutch word for stairs, referring to the step-like hills forming the landscape of the region. This type of volcanism that covers large areas of Earth’s surface does not take place nowadays. But at the time of the Flood it seems that large cracks opened in the earth’s crust, allowing volcanic material to flow out in unimaginably huge quantities. This was different to the type of volcanic action we see today – smaller, explosive eruptions from cone-shaped volcanic mountains.
Thick stack of basalt lava flows north of Mahabaleshwar. Photograph by Lazlo Keszthelyi, January 28, 1996.
Eruption of Mt St. Helen’s, Washington state, USA
- These newly formed and very high mountain ranges, and the volcanic and sedimentary rock formations, found in our present environment are an impressive monument to the great catastrophic convulsions that once rocked the Earth during, and shortly after, that tumultuous year of the Flood!
How the Great Flood Changed the Earth’s Climate
- In addition to the landscape, Earth’s environment underwent another major change – in its climate.
- In pre-Flood times the weather, as far as we know, had been warm, calm, and fairly uniform throughout the earth.
- In the post-Flood world, however, because of the collapse of the original shelter of water vapor in the upper atmosphere, the climate transformed radically.
- Earth became subject to great extremes in temperature and much air movement as a result.
- Also, there came a great change in the evaporation cycle; the pre-Flood world had not known rain before. In the Genesis Book (2:5-6) there is an unusual statement: “The LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth… But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”
- But all that changed in the new post-Flood environment. A very different evaporation cycle came into being because of the changed atmosphere.
- Our world in some ways became a more interesting place with more variety in seasons and weather; but also, it became a more difficult environment.
- Not only had the landscape transformed from the gentle terrain of pre-Flood times (as far as we know, it consisted of small seas, low mountains, and rolling plains) to one of very high, rugged, difficult-to-cross mountains and enormous stretches of ocean, but the climate also transformed into a much harsher one than before.
- Snow, rainfall, extreme heat in deserts, frigid polar regions, blizzards, storms, these were all new factors in the environment that those who survived the Flood in the Ark, and we their descendants, have had to contend with.
- Perhaps this was part of God’s plan to keep mankind so pre-occupied with survival that he would have less opportunity to get into trouble.
In the pre-Flood age, mankind had gotten himself into plenty of trouble.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at His heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6)
Because of this, and in His great concern for mankind, God used the Flood cataclysm as a way to give humanity a fresh start in a new environment – not a more comfortable environment, but a better one all the same.
An important conclusion from all of this: Knowing about God’s purpose behind this great cataclysm helps us to understand that the Flood was not some kind of freak accident of nature; it was brought by the hand of the Almighty and happened under His control.