The Fossil Record Supports Creation
Two scientists climb their way to the top of the dusty hill. They look over the rocky edge into the bottomless ravine known as the Grand Canyon opening below them. Their awestruck eyes pan the geologic majesty as the sun’s bright orange glow cascades across the stream dotted with rafts far below them. The scientist on the right (an evolutionist) comments: “Incredible, a little bit of water and a lot of time created this entire canyon!” The scientist on the left (a creationist) comments: “Amazing, a little bit of time and a lot of water carved this entire canyon system!” Though perhaps a simple example, it represents the central issue in the current culture war. Which interpretation is correct, and why can’t we all agree?
Whether evolutionist or creationist, we all live on the same earth. Whether atheist or Christian, we all have the same universe, the same sun, the same geologic layers, the same fossils, etc. In short, all scientists, from humanist to Bible-believing, have the same evidence (observational science) [Reference 1]. How, then, do we have such a wide range of views and ideas? The evidence doesn’t speak for itself. Fossils never have tags on them telling you how old they are when you dig them up. The fossils exist in the present, and the fossil interpretations are about the past (historical science). The presupposition with which one approaches the evidence will drastically affect the conclusions. For instance, if you begin with the presupposition that the world is billions of years old and look at the fossil record, you will get a very different picture than one who starts with the presupposition that the world is only thousands of years old. As Patterson said, “No fossil, rock layer, or dating method can ever prove that evolution did, or did not, happen. The same is true for creation” [Reference 2]. Fossils can’t prove either evolution or creation, as the fossils themselves are interpreted within that worldview. But while the evidence is the same for all scientists, do observations correlate better with one theory rather than the other?
Darwin admitted in his book On the Origin of Species that the fossil evidence collected thus far did not correspond to his idea of evolution, though he predicted that his theory would eventually be shown in the fossils [Reference 3, p. 74-75]. So the question is whether the fossil evidence collected since Darwin’s time shown any different? While Darwin could claim that the lack of fossil support was due to an inadequate fossil collection, scientists cannot make such a claim today, as there are hundreds of millions of fossils in museums worldwide [Reference 3, p. 77]. With this immense amount of evidence, the adequacy of correlation should be obvious towards either evolution or creation. The Bible states in the Book of Genesis that God created different kinds of animals which could reproduce within their variety, but not change outside of it. Thus, if the Biblical creation account is true, we would expect to find different kinds of creatures (and perhaps variations within these kinds), and not a “clear-cut” evolutionary lineage (for instance, dogs coming from non-dogs, humans from non-humans, etc.). If evolution is true, the fossil record should be overflowing with intermediate forms between different creatures. It should show a clear progression from one form to the next, and so on [Reference 4, p. 417]. Yet the fossil record is eerily absent of any proven transitional forms or even a smooth evolutionary progression [Reference 5].
One evolutionary “icon” used to convince people of evolution is known as the geologic column. It is a picture of different rock layers in the earth, along with some fossils found within those layers. However, few know that the geologic column, often touted in textbooks as proof of fossil evolution, does not even exist in its entirety anywhere on earth [Reference 2] [Reference 5]. Even many fossils once-touted as “transitional forms” have been disproven by recent findings. Such is the case with the famous Archaeopteryx fossils. Once touted as an undoubted evolutionary link, is now being recognized by creationists and evolutionists alike as being a true, perching bird, rather than a primitive reptile-bird intermediary [Reference 3, p. 148-164] [Reference 2, p. 126]. In fact, Archaeopteryx fossils have been found in geologic layers along with modern birds, thus it could not be an intermediate link [Reference 3, p. 164]. Many other supposed “transitional forms” have been, and are being, refuted as well, such as the famous “horse series” and the whale series [Reference 6] [Reference 7]. In short, the transitional fossils are lacking. We find in the fossil record, for instance, fully formed dinosaurs and fully formed birds, but no transitional forms to base the claim that they have evolved. This is exactly what we would expect if there is an Almighty God Who created different kinds of animals that could interbreed and diversify within their own kinds.
Another problem for evolution is the fact that the fossil record contains so many intricately detailed fossils, and even many soft-bodied organisms. Fossilization itself is a bit of a trick for uniformitarians, as fossils do not readily form in the present world. Since most organisms don’t live in extremely hot or cold environments, an organism needs to be covered quickly by sediment (an almost catastrophic process, as opposed to the slow and gradual processes of evolution) to avoid rotting, decomposing, and being destroyed by other predators and means [Reference 8]. Many evolutionists are surprised by the sheer vastness of the fossil record, as fossilization does not occur much today. Dr. Harold Levin comments, “In spite of the many factors that prevent fossilization, the fossil record is remarkably comprehensive,” [Reference 3, p. 84]. Especially hard to fossilize are soft parts, and soft-bodied organisms, such as plants, jellyfish, and worms. These can only experimentally form under a few known conditions. Yet, millions of these creatures, and even ones as miniscule as bacteria and embryos have been found fossilized [Reference 3, p. 78]. These observations do not correlate well with the current evolutionary conjecture, and many technical papers have been filled with attempted explanations. Starting with the Biblical account, however, we would expect to see such wide and intricate fossilization. A worldwide flood would quickly destroy and lay down geologic layers while burying and preserving organisms in mineral-rich sediment, while keeping them airtight and away from digging organisms [Reference 1]. It seems more likely that the geologic column was laid down by catastrophe, rather than uniform conditions. The Genesis Flood seems to better fit the data. Is there any other evidence, though, which may support the claim of rapid, worldwide geologic deposition?
Like the two scientists mentioned at the start of this paper, many structures and formations are talked about equally by creationists and evolutionists. For instance, evolutionists might postulate that the Grand Canyon was formed by a river slowly cutting into the rock for millions of years, while creationists might contend that it was largely created by the flood-resulting ice age and its melting glacier lakes giving way. While an entire paper could be written about such a topic, there are certain geologic “mysteries” for which the Bible gives a possible answer, and evolutionists have no real explanation; meaning that the global flood described in the Bible is the only explanation we have. One geologic “mystery” is the appearance of fossilized sea creatures high above sea level. For instance, marine fossils are found at the rim of the Grand Canyon, some 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level today. Fossil ammonites have even been found up to 29,029 feet above sea level in the Himalayas [Reference 9]. How did these creatures arrive there if not through a global flood which covered “all the high mountains” (Genesis 7:19-20)? Another geologic “mystery” is the existence of fossil graveyards. In the Redwall Limestone of the Grand Canyon, billions of nautiloids were buried together quickly [Reference 10]. Many other examples abound of fossil graveyards around the world. The slow-and-gradual sedimentation contended by evolutionists is inadequate to explain the existence of billions of fossilized creatures across an area, as such an act would require catastrophically quick and wide deposition. This makes perfect sense in light of the Biblical Flood account. The Bible says the Flood quickly covered the entire earth, which would result in water quickly carrying and depositing sedimentation over vast areas. The third geologic “mystery” is the existence of “transcontinental rock layers.” Today, sediment is usually deposited in thin layers on the outskirts of continents and rivers. Yet, all over the world, there are thick rock layers that even go across continents. For instance, the famous English chalk beds can be traced all the way to the Middle East [Reference 11]. This continent-wide deposition (and fossils in those layers) suggests that the continents were once covered by water, as recorded in the Book of Genesis. There are other examples of geologic “mysteries” answered by the Genesis Flood, though these are some examples.
Traveling back to the question of fossils, we come face-to-face with the perplexing problem of “living fossils.” These are creatures (many of whom were once assumed to be extinct due to evolutionary timescales) who have changed little or virtually not at all from their known fossilized forms. A famous example is that of the coelacanth. Thought to have been extinct for over 65 million years, evolutionary scientists were amazed when, in 1938, this ancient fish washed ashore in Madagascar [Reference 2, p. 120]. Many other “living fossils” have been found, and there are myriad examples of living creatures who are virtually the same as their fossil counterparts. From an evolutionary worldview, we would not expect to find “living fossils” today, but this observation is completely compatible with the creation worldview. It suggests that many animals have stayed the same for long periods of time, rather than drastically changed. Evolution contends that, on average, mutations and other factors should be driving evolution in an organism nearly every generation. Yet there are hundreds of “living fossils” which have not changed in perhaps a billion generations [Reference 2, 121]. This makes sense in a Biblical worldview, as God made different kinds of animals, which would not “evolve.” Also, since the Flood account occurred only thousands of years ago (as opposed to the supposed uniformitarian formation of the fossils millions of years ago) it is not surprising that some animals thought to be extinct from fossils may still be living.
While many evolutionists have attempted to explain-away these problems, they still persist to this day. While we all have the same evidence, it is much more easily explained within the creation worldview. Many evolutionary predictions are also still left unproven. The predicted innumerable transitional forms are noticeably absent. In its place the fossil record has shown more problems for evolution, such as fossilized soft-bodied creatures. There are also many geologic features within the fossil record which can easily be explained through the creationist view, while there real explanation for the evolutionists. While we all have the same fossils, the evidence fits better in the creationist view rather than the evolutionary worldview. [Reference 12] [Reference 13].
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Evolution: The Fossils STILL Say No! by Duane Gish.
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