The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic geological features on Earth. Its immensity of the canyon regularly causes those that have peered into its depths to wonder about its origins. How could such an awe-inspiring canyon have formed?
This fascination with the Grand Canyon has fueled a long a history of geological research. As a result there is a wealth of data that has been used to assess the age of the canyon and its development over time. There have been many books that have detailed the origins of the Grand Canyon and described what seems to be every nook and cranny of the canyon. There would seem little need of another book which explores its geological history. But I believe that there is such a need because there is an audience which needs to hear the testimony of the Grand Canyon: much of the modern Christian church. That audience has different concerns than many that peer into the canyon. The Grand Canyon forces Christians to confront questions of the age of the Earth and biblical authority. A book, with the Grand Canyon as its central focus, that addresses those concerns seriously is lacking.
This need was made even more apparent with the publication of two books that sought to fill this need with a radical re-reading of the geological record within the confines of a young earth creation paradigm. In 1994 a young earth creationist named Dr. Steve Austin published a book entitled: Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. In that book Dr. Austin championed an alternative interpretation of the geological history of the Grand Canyon in which the rock layers and the canyon eroded in them were formed less than 5000 years ago. This represented one particular interpretation to scriptures and application of that interpretation to the geological evidence.
Nine years later, inspired partly by Dr. Austin, Grand Canyon tour guide Tom Vail authored the book Grand Canyon: A Different View. This book of photography of the canyon and more than 20 essays by Young Earth Creationist’ (YEC) authors, including Dr. Austin, was a huge commercial and critical – among creationists – success. The book was sold at the Grand Canyon bookstore until 2014 generating a fair amount of controversy when it first went on sale.
These books and numerous pamphlets and yearly YEC-sponsored rafting trips down the Grand Canyon, are evidence that YECs have spent considerable effort to explain the Grand Canyon from an explicitly young-earth perspective.
Millions of Christians visit the Grand Canyon each year and most surely ask themselves: how can I understand the origins of the Grand Canyon in a biblical context? These YEC materials provide what appear to be an answers for those that believe the Bible requires a young earth.
However, many Christians, including the majority of Christian geologists, believe this YEC flood geology explanation for the Grand Canyon to have little scientific merit. In addition, many Christians, including most Biblical scholars, are critical of the biblical interpretations that YEC’s depend upon to support their understanding of how God’s creation must be interpreted.
How might Christians respond to the claims of young earth creationists? Is there a better way of understanding the evidence from scriptures and testimony of the Grand Canyon? How can their age be determined? How can different models of the Grand Canyon’s origins be tested? Why is it said that the flood geology model is void of explanatory power and thus falls short of showing the canyon is young?
There is a new book about the Grand Canyon that addresses these questions. This book helps Christians and others examine the question of the age of the Grand Canyon from a science and faith perspective seeking to provide a way of understanding the origins of the Grand Canyon that is faithful to God’s testimony in scripture and his creation.
That book is: The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth. The subtitle to the book asks the question that the book answers: Can Noah’s flood explain the Grand Canyon?
I have been involved in the development of this book from just after its inception. I am thrilled to be have been able to contribute two chapters that explore plant fossils in the Grand Canyon and more recent animal and plant life in the Grand Canyon.
In all, 11 authors contributed to this book including several that have extensive personal experience with the Grand Canyon geology. As a result, this book brings you the most current understanding of the formation of the Grand Canyon from experts who have developed some of those theories.
In the book we take you on a vivid geological trip through the Grand Canyon examining every aspect of it’s amazing geological formations and exploring how this massive canyon was formed. We examine many sources of evidence and compare the “flood geology” and conventional geology models to see which makes most sense of the data.
The book is written for pastors, seminary students and lay Christians. Anyone who has ever wondered about why so many people find the geological evidence for an old age of the Earth so compelling and wonder how that evidence is interpreted will find this book very helpful.
The book is a lesson in geology, an exploration of the age of the Earth debate and an inspiring encounter with one of the most spectacular geological formations in all of God’s creation.
Don’t let the Amazon.com price of the book fool you. This is a high-quality, image-rich, larger-format book. The authors provided many of the images and donated their talents to make this book possible. As authors we never intended to make money but rather sacrificed time and money out of a desire to keep the cost as low as possible so that as many pastors and other Christians could afford to purchase this book. We believe that the Christian community needs to hear the witness of experts who see the evidence from God’s creation every day and have spent much of their lives trying to understand it.
The book is for sale in all eight of the Grand Canyon bookstores. It is my hope that this book will help those that come to see this magnificent witness of God’s creation this summer understand its testimony in the rocks.