Touring the West is a geologist’s dream. Not that I’m a professional geologist, but I suppose I could be called an amateur. I took several science classes in college and got to take fascinating field trips around Texas collecting cool rock specimens and seeing God’s varied Creation. However, we learned the evolutionary model of an old earth based on millions of years. I never understood how to fit in the geology I learned with the 6 days of Creation and 1 day of rest in the Bible. I believed the Bible first, but couldn’t explain the geology. Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal of Creationism, from a medical doctor at our church and various ministries across America, including a guest speaker at last year’s homeschool bookfair. Dave Nutting from Grand Junction, CO took us through a great slide show of the Grand Canyon and other geological features in the West and explained geology from the Creationist viewpoint.
Dave Nutting told us that the Grand Canyon theoretically formed after Noah’s flood, when massive lakes formed as a result of the Flood in the Utah, Nevada, Colorado area. They evenutally collapsed and that huge flood created the Grand Canyon. Something about that also created the Petrified Forest nearby. I got to see that when I was a little girl and it was fascinating to see huge tree stumps laying on their side scattered throughout the desert. He showed slides of Mt. St. Helens. During the eruption, a lake collapsed and created a canyon in hours. As a result of the destruction there, a petrified forest is quickly in the makings there too. I told him that we were going to Palo Duro Canyon and he said to look on a map and there is a large lake to the north, Lake Merideth. He thinks a long time ago that was a larger lake that collapsed and formed the canyon.
As we hiked in Palo Duro Canyon last year, we thought about how it was formed quickly from a possible lake collapse. We looked at uniquely shaped rocks, which tell a story of wind erosion, and the constant temperature change between winter’s freeze and summer’s searing heat. The plant life is incredible, because it is completely different from the tableland above. Before you drive into the canyon, you see nothing but flat land for as far as the eye can see. The sky is the largest that I’ve ever seen it. It reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, Little House on the Prairie, where she describes the enormous sky that made her feel small. Then as we approached the canyon, the land suddenly disappeared and we drove down a narrow steep road into the bottomlands. Trees and shrubs abound. Above was farmland; below we were looking for interesting animal life. The most impressive rock formation carved by the wind is the Lighthouse, which is seen in the picture on the homepage of the link I put in my blog below. Texas history abounds here. From Spanish explorers to Charles Goodnight, a cowboy who had a nearby ranch and invented the chuck wagon. Famous Indian battles occurred here, resisting the move to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
Six years ago we visited the Royal Gorge in Colorado. We took a train ride, rode to the edge and peeked down into the gorge. That was awesome!
Part of the charm of touring the West is the amazing geological features in God’s Creation. It does get frustrating that every park and nearly every book uses the Old Earth Evolutionary method of dating. My son even got into a debate with a park ranger about it. I’ve told my children that in the end, they need to stand firm with their faith. They know the Bible is true. Usually the main difference between the Old Earth Model and the Young Earth model is the time frame. I told them to skip the billions of years and think Great Flood of Noah’s time. In the end, they are free to enjoy, understand from a Young Earth view and praise God for His Creation, all of which they love to do.
I walked away understanding the Young Earth (Creationist) versus Old Earth (evolutionary) models. The Old Earth model says canyons and such were formed slowly over millions of years by gently flowing streams. Hmmmmm, that never seemed logical to me. The Young Earth model says God created the Earth completely in six days and rested on the seventh. I am willing to let God be God; I know He is powerful enough to do it all in six days. What an awesome thought. Before the flood, the earth looked vastly different than it is today. Hmmmm, I thought all the mountains and canyons were created in the first week. But Creationists theorize that because of the flood, there were vast changes to the atmosphere and massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building. Okay, this is making sense to me. The Great Flood created massive changes in the earth. It was destructive, not gentle or passive. We can look at floods today and the changes they create to get a tiny sense of what the Great Flood did. That made sense to me, because several years ago, our area had a 100-year flood and there were massive changes to the surrounding areas. Floods carve out the land quickly. Still wondering about the Ice Age, I used The Geology Book by Dr. John Morris when I taught Tapestry of Grace’s Year 1 Week 4 (from Creation to the Flood) to my children. The Creationist theory is that after the flood, the land took a while to settle down (still have earthquakes and such today) and parts of the world went through the Ice Age. Suddenly, it all made sense! This year, our trip to the West was fresh, because now we better understood the geology of different areas. The world’s highest suspension bridge was built over the quickly water carved feature. DH considered driving on that this year. Gulp! Then he suggested riding the arial tram over the gorge. Oh no, that I cannot bring myself to do, to sway over a deep gorge like that! There is also a train ride in the bottom of the gorge, which we considered, but in the end we ran out of time to do.