Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
The Fossil Record and Creation The Gift of Life
From: JASA 28 (September 1976): 143.
The assertion that the fossil record supports the Genesis account of creation is frequently made by those who follow the world view advocated by Henry Morris. Among such statements are the following:
"The creation model . . . predicts that there would be systematic gaps in the fossil record and that these would be essentially the same gaps as in the present world."1
"Furthermore, a COROLLARY PREDICTION [of the Genesis account of creation] would be that researchers would expect to find gaps in the fossil record between distinct kinds of animals and plants. Full confirmation for these predictions from the Genesis account of creation can be obtained from... paleontology . . ....2
"The historical (fossil) record, rather than supporting the theory of evolution, as evolutionists claim, is actually incompatible with the theory. The rocks give proof that "in the beginning, God created . . .... 3
For the reasons given below it is my judgement that the fossil record does not support the Morris version of creation and that statements such as those cited are incorrect and misleading, particularly to laymen, and tend to inspire confidence in a particular interpretation when it is not merited.
What is "the fossil record"? Not simply a pile of bones and shells which, when assembled, reveals gaps in kinds. Rather, the fossil record consists of both the remains of living things and the strata, with all of their interelationships and complexities, that contain the fossils. The Genesis account of creation gives no reason whatever to even suspect that there is any such thing as a , 'fossil record".' A straightforward reading of Genesis I and 2 would seem to indicate that if there were any fossils at all they would exist only in the surficial layers of the earth. As this is clearly contradicted by the evidence, creationists of the Morris view are forced to adopt a much later event such as the flood of Noah to account for these strata. But, if the strata are flood deposits, then the fossil record (strata and fossils) is not a record of the original creation. The fossil record does not provide, according to the flood geology theory, any information about the creation period itself.
A second point relates directly to the fossil remains. If the fossils are the record of forms living at the time of the flood they are not then necessarily the originally created forms. Many "creationists" have difficulty explaining the existence of great defensive or offensive structures such as horns, teeth, indicators of a carniverous form of life, etc. on animals created in a state of perfection. The usual explanation is the curse, which resulted in structural changes in the animals, and the loss of timbs of the serpent of Genesis is frequently cited as an example of the effect.' If true, however, this means that the animals found in the fossil record are not the originally created forms but are cursed forms, and if the curse was such so as to alter the entire structure and bodily functions of animal groups, even to the extent of eliminating legs or adding great horns or teeth, it seems clear that any attempt to infer the nature or kinds of the originally created forms must be pure speculation. Therefore, the attempt to relate the Genesis account of creation to the strata and fossils found in the crust of the earth seems invalid, since flood geology theories clearly indicate that the fossil record does not date to the creation period but is separated from it by (we are told) two profound events, the Edenic curse and the Noahican flood.
The evolutionist may indeed have difficulties with the gaps in the fossil record as he attempts to understand the origin and development of living things through the ages. The flood geology adherent is, however, in a much more difficult position. According to his own theory he doesn't even have a record of origins to interpret!David J. Krause