Grand Canyon 3: Carving the Canyon

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 9, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The question that enters nearly every person’s mind when they enter the canyon is: “How did this form?” There are two predominate models: the secular-humanistic model and the Biblical Creation model. The Old Earth models are completely inseparable from the secular-humanistic models in this case other than “God did it” slapped to the end. There is no point in trying to distinguish them. The secular models proclaim the Colorado River carved it (they have two primary competing theories for this), and the Biblical model proclaims it was a result of Noah’s Flood.

An interesting detail about the Grand Canyon is that the Canyon doesn’t carve into the valley it surrounds (see in picture above; in the back left is the Little Colorado River Canyon where it does carve into the valley). The vast majority of the canyon’s layers have been uplifted by what is called “the Kaibab Upwarp.” This is why the Colorado River enters Glen Canyon at an elevation of 3700 feet and exits at Lake Mead with an elevation of 1221 feet, but the rim of the canyon is between 6-8 thousand feet above sea level. It is important to note that water cannot flow uphill, and this is a major blow to the secular models. They can’t get the water high enough to cut it. So, they have two proposed models. 1) Forward cutting, where the Colorado River began to cut through the Upwarp and the layers above the river collapsed through the cutting. 2) Piracy, where erosion took place throughout the Upward and eventually cut backwards until it carved a new route for the Colorado River to take place. These two models have some merit because these mechanisms have been observed to happen with other rivers. But that merit ends right then and there. Just because it happened in one place, that doesn’t mean it happened somewhere else, especially when you don’t have favorable matching conditions or settings.

The Biblical models have two major competing ideas as well. 1) Flood runoff (promoted by Tim Clarey of ICR). This is a big one as both secular and Biblical models believe heavy amounts of runoff played a significant role in forming the region. 2) Breached dam hypothesis (Nate Loper who leads Canyon Ministries is a big proponent of this one). Once believed by secular models and now rejected by many, this one has some weight to it, too, because of how easily we have seen canyons form overnight from breached dams before. There is some back-and-forth debate as to whether each of these models can actually do what they claim to do. This comes from both parties and from within both parties.

As Christians, our job is to analyze things based on the framework of what the Bible says. The point of contention is Noah’s Flood. The secular-humanistic models intentionally deny this event, and the Biblical models make it the focal point. So, what does the Bible record? Take some time to read Genesis 7-8, then I’ll highlight some points.

There are two sources of water: the fountains of the deep and the windows from heaven. The window of heaven rained for 40 days, but the fountains of the deep were not closed for 150 days. So we have water from above and water from below. These waters rose for 150 days and then receded for 150 days. Noah was on the Ark for a total of 377 days. These waters covered all the high hills under heaven to the point where the mountains were completely buried. Then at the end of the flood, we see the waters receding over a span of a 150 days, and then the land dried out until Noah disembarked from the Ark. A flood skeptic will say, “I see no claims of geologic upheaval or volcanoes or anything that Flood Geologists claim.” Well, Genesis wasn’t written to be a scientific textbook, nor was it meant to describe things in modern scientific language. Rather, it was written so the uneducated person, no matter time, culture, or language, can get the big picture. However, what would happen if what the Bible describes did occur?

But what should we expect if the Flood was indeed a global event? We should expect to see many rock layers laid down by water. We should see billions of dead things caused by drowning or burial. We should see effects of fast-moving water in large quantities. We should see extremely little time in between layers as tides rolled in and out. And what do we actually see? Many rock layers laid down by water, filled with billions of death things, massive scales of water erosion, and in between layers, we have virtually no evidence of the passage of time. The rim of the Canyon at Desert View (see picture of Cedar Butte above) shows what we SHOULD see should any layer be exposed for any significant length of time. Hills, plants, erosion run off, etc. Instead, look at the layers right below it. There is no indication of any passage of time there. No indication of erosion over thousands of years, let alone millions, no indication of bioturbation (plant growth, animal livelihood, etc.), just rock layer after rock layer. The secular arguments against this nearly invariably deal on the technicalities, not the big picture.

Now what should we see if the secular models are valid? Besides what is addressed above, if millions of years have passed, we should see the canyon “walls” not actually look like walls. They should merely be ravines and valleys. If a river carved the canyon, any walls should be mostly collapsed with angles of more than 30 degrees. Consider the scale of the Canyon. If the Colorado River carved it, how wide did that river have to be in order to get that width? And how much water are we talking about to produce said width? The secularists have their models, their explanations, and their excuses, but they really have nothing that doesn’t resemble nor require water on a global scale. We should see a canyon that fits the size of the Colorado River, and we should NOT see large side canyons. (Look at the Bright Angel Canyon in the first picture, which heads towards the middle, and also look at the Little Colorado Canyon that you can barely see in the second picture below it). The secularists don’t have a reasonable answer for these side canyons that won’t invoke or suggest a global scale catastrophe.

I am convinced that Flood deniers have never seen water move in large quantities or velocity. I have. In 2006, here in El Paso, we had 15 inches of rain in less than 48 hours, and I saw canyons carved into the sand, meandering like the Grand Canyon and with vertical walls like the Grand Canyon. The power of water is highly disregarded by our mainstream geologists today. When we add grains of sand or dirt, we can cut steel with water. Imagine what that will do should a dam burst.

The secularists and old earthers will say that the Flood models are untenable. And there may be things in the flood models that simple won’t work or we don’t have answers to. But don’t think for a moment that the secular models are any better. Don’t think they have solutions that don’t have bigger problems. I could justifiably argue that for every problem the secularists present for the Biblical models, the secularists will have the same problems, only bigger for their own. I believe I can claim that if any “Deep Timer” were to apply the same standards of scrutiny upon their own models as they do the young-earth models, they could not believe in Deep Time any further and be honest about it. Next week, we’ll look at an even bigger problem for the secular models: two miles of rocks missing from the TOP of the Grand Canyon.

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