What is the origin of the Hawaiian Islands? The exploration of that question consumed my attention for several years. At that time—way back in the 1990s—I was a post-doctoral researcher at Southern Illinois University sequencing chloroplast genes from holoparasitic plants. At the same time I discovered list-serve discussion groups, I was given creation science literature with assurances that my every question would be answered, and I was challenged by church leadership to be wary of the “secular” education I was receiving.
The confluence of these things initiated my long involvement in the creation/evolution/age of the earth debate. In addition to reading all things Genesis and science I found myself drawn to the question about the origin of the Hawaiian Islands as a way of exploring different views of creation. So I dove deep into all things Hawaii geology and biology. The result of that research was a short manuscript using the Hawaiian Islands to examine competing Christian interpretations of origins. Eventually that evolved into a 195-page book manuscript focused on creation science interpretations of Earth’s history.
All of this was years before I began this blog. So what happened to that manuscript? Well, it has collected a lot of digital dust. I’ve opened the file and dusted it off a few times to work on a few chapters but if you were an early reader of this blog—or maybe even last week!:-)—you can imagine that the manuscript is poorly written and not publishable.
With that rousing endorsement:-) I share one of the chapters of that manuscript which examines the possibility that God created the world with the appearance of age.
The following is a sample (chapter 8) from a book manuscript: The Hawaiian Islands and the Age of the Earth: A Case Study on Creation Science by R. Joel Duff. The entire chapter can be downloaded by clicking here: Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands-RJDuff-Draft2019
Chapter VIII: The Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands
What is the origin of the Hawaiian Islands? In the previous chapters we explored both conventional and young-earth Flood Geology models for the origins of these islands. We saw that creation scientists universally prefer to account for geological features of the earth including the Hawaiian Islands by appealing to creative events during a recent global flood or post-Flood catastrophes. I have never met a young-earth advocate well-read in creation science literature who believed the Hawaiian Islands have their origins prior to a global flood about 4500 years ago. Why is that?
One possibility is the perceived lack of causal agents for such origins during the time between the end of the creation week and the initiation of the Flood (ie. nothing is recorded in Scriptures between the creation and Flood that would suggest dramatic changes to the earth’s structure). But what about the creation week itself? Couldn’t God have created the Hawaiian Island when he created the heavens and the earth?
As I said, I haven’t met anyone who is either a young-earth apologist or well-versed in creationists literature who believed the Hawaiian Islands were formed during the creation week. But I do encounter Christian non-scientists who have not explored the creationist’ or secular literature who are eager to point to events of the creation week to explain the origins of many of earth’s geological features and other features of creation such as the physical appearance of the Moon and other planets. Their appeal to fiat creation by God in the space of six days is often a reflexive response to what they perceive as overwhelming evidence that the Hawaiian Island are very old. We have explored some of this evidence in previous chapters. Radiometric dating, coral reef growth rates, paleomagnetism, tectonic plate motion, erosion of volcanoes and subsidence of the islands form a strong case for an ancient history of the Hawaiian Islands.
For Christians who feel a literal reading of scriptures demands a recent creation of the Hawaiian Islands a convenient response to these evidence of an ancient age can be an appeal to creation with the appearance of age. In a nutshell, creation with the appearance of age is the belief that God may have created physical objects during the creation week which, upon inspection, have the appearance of being much older than they actually are. The simplest proof of concept involves an appeal to the creation of Adam who, created as an adult, would have the appearance of having had a history of growth and development that was not a real history. The logic extension to this would be to propose that trees with growth rings, craters on the surface of the Moon and starlight endowed with information about supernovae explosions might all have been created to appear to tell a story of an ancient history but it is nothing more the appearance of age.
This is not a new idea. An appeal to creation with the appearance of age has been a common defense of creationism in the past especially among natural theologians of the 19th century. Appeals to apparent age creation were common at this time but have lost favor among Christian theologians and scientist in the 20th century. As I said before, many Christian non-scientists find apparent age creation appealing and intuitive and therefore still play a large part in common discussion of creation and the age of the earth. Its appeal is obvious. To someone not versed in science navigating the complex world of scientific evidence and sometimes complicated biblical evidence it seems far simpler to ask: why couldn’t God have created the Hawaiian Islands as we see them today? Many Christians wonder, why not just push the origin of the Hawaiian Islands all the way into the six-day creation week rather than find what seem to be convoluted explanation for their formation by what seems to be solely natural mechanisms?
It is the response to these questions that we will devote our discussion in this chapter. We will ask why creation scientists don’t believe that the Hawaiian Island were made by God during the creation week. We will also examine the history of apparent age creationism and see what creation scientist and theologians have to say about it.
Were the Hawaiian Islands created on creation day three?
……. continued here: Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands-RJDuff-Draft2019
I have also written about apparent age several times on this blog: