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But uniformitarian thinking is still widespread, and secular geologists will seemingly never entertain the idea of the global, catastrophic flood of Noah’s day.
The age of the earth debate ultimately comes down to this foundational question: Are we trusting man’s imperfect and changing ideas and assumptions about the past?
Hutton said: The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now. Thinking biblically, we can see that the global flood in Genesis 6–8 would wipe away the concept of millions of years, for this Flood would explain massive amounts of fossil layers.
Most Christians fail to realize that a global flood could rip up many of the previous rock layers and redeposit them elsewhere, destroying the previous fragile contents.
Smith and Cuvier believed untold ages were needed for the formation of rock layers. No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.12 This viewpoint is called naturalistic uniformitarianism, and it excludes any major catastrophes such as Noah’s flood.
Hutton said he could see no geological evidence of a beginning of the earth; and building on Hutton’s thinking, Lyell advocated “millions of years.” From these men and others came the consensus view that the geologic layers were laid down slowly over long periods of time based on the rates at which we see them accumulating today. Though some, such as Cuvier and Smith, believed in multiple catastrophes separated by long periods of time, the uniformitarian concept became the ruling dogma in geology.
The question of the age of the earth has produced heated discussions on Internet debate boards, TV, radio, in classrooms, and in many churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries. Let’s give a little history of where these two basic calculations came from and which worldview is more reasonable. Of course, the Bible doesn’t say explicitly anywhere, “The earth is 6,000 years old.” Good thing it doesn’t; otherwise it would be out of date the following year.
So the rock layers can theoretically represent the evidence of either millions of years or a global flood, but not both.However, radiometric dating methods are not the only uniformitarian methods.Any radiometric dating model or other uniformitarian dating method can and does have problems, as referenced before.And Jean Lamarck also proposed long ages.11 However, the idea of millions of years really took hold in geology when men like Abraham Werner, James Hutton, William Smith, Georges Cuvier, and Charles Lyell used their interpretations of geology as the standard, rather than the Bible.Werner estimated the age of the earth at about one million years.