Young-earth creationists have been wrangling for decades over how to identify where the Flood/post-Flood boundary is to be found. I described the most popular hypotheses put forward by YECs in a recent post, Where is Noah’s Flood in the Geological Column? I have also recorded a YouTube video based on this article.
There is little reason to believe that this issue of the placement of the Flood boundary will be resolved any time soon.
While the Flood/post-Flood boundary has received much attention in the YEC literature there is another Flood boundary that deserves attention: the pre-Flood/Flood boundary. Most YECs assume that that boundary is to be found at something called the Great Unconformity which lies below the Cambrian Period rocks. Rock below this unconformity, which does include some simple fossils, is thought to have formed during the creation week or during the period between creation and the Flood. While most YECs talk as if this is an obvious point demarcating the onset of Noah’s Flood a few are not so sure.
Earlier this year, Answers Research Journal, the research journal of Answers in Genesis edited by Dr. Andrew Snelling (AiG) published what I think is one of the best critiques of Flood Geology ever published by an young-earth creationists and by a YEC journal. The article is titled: “Using Stromatolites to Rethink the Precambrian-Cambrian Pre-Flood/Flood Boundary.” It was written by Dr. Ken Coulson, a professor of science (geosciences specialty) at San Diego Christian College. Dr. Coulson received his BS in Geology at Cedarville University and PhD in geology from Loma Linda University. Cedarville has the most significant YEC-influenced geology program in the world. Dr. Coulson has published a book, Creation Unfolding which includes a challenge to his fellow creationists to rethink the bottom half of the geological column. The book is a fascinating read. Coulson identifies some serious flaws in the YEC geological paradigm. I agree very much with his assessments of where YECs need to do a rethink. His solutions, though based on a young-earth paradigm, are not likely to be accepted widely in the YEC community but his critique of standard YEC geology cannot be ignored.
In this ARJ article Dr. Coulson provides compelling evidence that the “traditional” pre-Flood/Flood boundary held by YECs needs to be rethought. He suggests that boundary be found much higher in the geological column.
I am not going to rehash his arguments against conventional Flood geology here or his solutions to the problems he raises. I am going to highly recommend that all those that are interested in understanding Flood Geology whether you be a supporter or critique need to read his article in ARJ. It is a long and detailed article but the discussion section provides a wonderful payoff for the time spent. Coulson provides one of the best overviews of the issues confronting Flood Geology. Although he is committed to the young-earth viewpoint I believe he has written one of the best critiques of Flood Geology that I have read.
You don’t have time to read a 42 page article you say? Linked below is the second part of a three-part series that is a video version of his paper. This nine minute video presents the heart of his argument for why the traditional view of the pre-Flood/Flood boundary must be wrong. I think this is very well done and in large part the same arguments he makes here could be applied to the entirety of the geological column and thus presents a significant challenge to the reigning YEC Flood geology models today.
All YECs need to watch this presentation and be challenged to incorporate Coulson’s evidence into their models. I have seen no response to Coulson’s article in ARJ or elsewhere across the YEC landscape. Usually Ken Ham and AIG will tweet/FB articles from the journal to their audience but thus far, apart from publishing the article in their journal I have not seem them bring it to anyone’s attention. The readership of the journal is very low and and article will receive almost no attention if the organization does not promote works its publishes. I will be interested to see if there are any academic YEC responses to this article in the next few years. As I said before, I believe this is an important article and should not be dismissed by YECs who wish to have their Flood geology beliefs taken seriously.
Lastly, I would point out that I wrote as series of articles about something I called “The New Creationists” as a way of identifying a new wave of creationism. Ken Coulson was one of the people I identified as part of this new wave. He and others are more willing to challenge the YEC paradigms and do so with a greater respect for gracious dialogue and willingness to allow the evidence to lead them. Below is part I of my YouTube discussion of this New Creationism.