“…All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25).
Written by: Pastor Paul Naumann • Tacoma, Washington
A geology professor at the University of Wisconsin once made a stunningly frank admission to an auditorium filled with undergraduates. “I know that some of you are Christians,” he said, “and may disagree with the theory of the Earth’s origins that I will be teaching you this semester. Well, my advice to you is simple: be patient. Because the views of science concerning the Earth’s origins change completely every forty to fifty years!”
A case in point is the theory concerning the formation of the Columbia River Gorge. This massive canyon cuts through central Washington to join the Pacific Ocean at Portland, Oregon. Rivaling the Grand Canyon for beauty, its sheer rock walls rise to over 4000 feet in places. Until the last twenty years or so, scientific consensus held that its deep canyon was carved out by slow, uniform water and wind erosion over the course of millions of years.
This was considered “settled science,” and to contest it was to be labeled a crank or a religious fanatic. In recent decades, however, a new consensus has emerged: most scientists now concede that the immense erosion seen along the Columbia Gorge likely took place not over the course of millions of years but rather over the course of just days, or even hours! It happened, they say, when a large ice dam collapsed in western Montana, releasing a reservoir of water equal in volume to Lake Michigan, either all at once or in pulses.
When was all this supposed to have occurred? Not millions of years ago, it now transpires, but sometime around the end of the last ice age, a scant few thousand years ago!
These constant revisions–and often wholesale changes—of scientific theories can be observed in every branch of the physical sciences. One wonders why we are expected to accept their theories as fact (and endure ridicule if we do not) when the theories themselves are constantly changing!
Christians, as it turns out, are way ahead of the scientists on the origin of the Columbia Gorge. Believers have known for centuries that an enormous release of water did in fact cause massive erosion, not just in central Washington but around the globe. We refer to it as “The Great Flood,” and it is not a theory. Rather, we know it to be a settled fact established by God in the pages of His Holy Scripture (Genesis chapter seven).
The testimony of God’s Word is far more certain and reliable than the mutable and constantly-shifting theories of modern science. Trusting God’s Word is, in fact, the only way to properly understand the origin of the universe. The writer to the Hebrews says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
Unbelievers may heap their scorn and derision upon us. They may ridicule Christians (as one celebrated scientist recently did) for being “… people who believe in fairy tales based on dusty ancient manuscripts.” It is only fair to admit, however, that we Christians do have this advantage: our view of the world’s origin has stayed the same for centuries, and will stay the same as long as the word of the
Or, as Peter puts it, “forever”!