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Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V





      THE ISSUES in the conflict between Science and Scripture with regard to the earth's earlier history during the ages which preceded the coming of man have become almost impossibly confused. On the one hand, we have the confirmed evolutionist who finds no place whatever for the supernatural in his scheme of things, and therefore no place for God. He holds that everything has happened purely by chance, and that the process has occupied an immense period of time to be measured in billions of years. He rigidly excludes anything that smacks of catastrophism, holding to Lyell's dictum that the present is the key to the past. The progressive change from simple to complex forms of life has neither involved unbridgeable discontinuities nor divine interferences. The apparent gaps in the record do not represent discontinuities in the great chain of life. At the other extreme are those who, as openly confessed creationists, believe that virtually all the past is in one way or another stamped with the hallmark of instantaneous creation. Everything that has existed -- the universe, our solar system, the planets, trees, animals, and man -- came into being by fiat creation not more than a few thousand years ago. They interpret the phenomena of stratified rocks containing fossils as evidence of a global catastrophe in Noah's time and are therefore commonly referred to as "flood geologists."
     Then there are creationists who believe that evolution was God's way of "creating." This seems to me really an abuse of language, but those who hold this view look upon evolution as a kind of creative process in itself. But they would admit that fiat creation was probably involved in the origination of matter, of life, and possibly of man as well.
     A fourth school, of which I count myself a member, holds that we simply do not know precisely how God ordered the world in geological times prior to man, whether by direct creative activity or

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by something akin to evolution. Those in this group believe, as I do, that something went wrong and a catastrophic judgment brought that older world to a disastrous end, leaving it ruined and desolate, as Genesis 1:2 describes it. Then followed a re-creation at a tremendously accelerated rate, over a period of six literal days, at the end of which, as for a jewel, the setting was reconstituted. Man was then created to be the star of the piece and to dominate the stage thereafter. Much of the geological evidence of catastrophism that has been commandeered by the flood geologists is believed, by this school, to belong between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Such a concept is anathema to those creationists who believe in a very young universe, not because it is catastrophic, but because it makes concessions to the concept of a very ancient world -- and this invites an evolutionary interpretation of that world. On the other hand, it is almost as unpopular with theistic evolutionists who see no need for it and no evidence of it, because it does involve the catastrophic and badly conflicts with current uniformitarian philosophy among geologists.
     So we have certain atheistic and theistic alternatives, all of which are held by people who honestly believe that the evidence entirely supports their own particular view. And it is no longer possible, it seems, for the protagonists to really communicate with one another usefully. But being the creatures we are, we each hold fast to the view that best serves to integrate the knowledge we have of the evidence, and this paper is merely one man's attempt to do just this from a biblical as well as a scientific point of view. Frankly, I think it can be shown that the direction in which geological theory was heading just before Lyell and Darwin turned the tide was very much that which I am proposing in this Paper. The evidence now has accumulated to such an extent that I believe this older view should be brought forward again and re-examined. Certainly the Lyellian view of geology is beginning to show signs of bankruptcy, even as I think the Darwinian view of paleontology has done.
     The informed Christian assuredly has two great advantages over the non-Christian. In the first place, he almost certainly will have a rather good idea of the data upon which the evolutionist rests his case, whereas the non-Christian evolutionist has probably read almost nothing of a serious nature from the Christian point of view. In this respect, he is likely to be seriously unaware of the weaknesses of his own position. In the second place, the Christian has the tremendous advantage of being willing to accept the light of Revelation which, by its very nature, supplies data that cannot be obtained any other way.

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     So here is the situation as I see it: We have four basic alternatives -- the purely nontheistic evolutionary view, the theistic evolutionary view, the young earth or flood geology view, and the view to be explored in some detail in this Paper, which argues for that particular form of catastrophism that sees a discontinuity between our present world and "the world that then was" (2 Peter 3:6), which was disastrously overwhelmed and left a desolation as described in Genesis 1:2 and reconstituted in Genesis 1:3-31.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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