Beliefnet
Excerpted from "Grand Canyon: A Different View," compiled by Tom Vail. Used with permission from Master Books. Copyright 2003

The Grand Canyon is an awesome display of God's creation. Carved through layers of limestone, sandstone, shale, schist, and granite, this great chasm stretches 277 miles through the Colorado Plateau. It descends over a mile into the earth and extends as much as 18 miles in width. The Canyon holds within its walls mountains that are taller than anything east of the Mississippi River. Grand Canyon National Park encompasses both Marble Canyon and Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is also a place to find and explore the wonders of His creation. When viewed from a biblical perspective, the Canyon has "God" written all over it, from the splendor and grandeur of the Canyon walls, to the intelligent design of the Creator displayed in the creatures that inhabit this magical place.

Not only is the Canyon a testimony to creation, but it also presents evidence of God's judgment of the world, as told in the book of Genesis. It was a judgment by water of a world broken by the sin of man known as "the Fall." (See the Genesis account of the Days of Creation, the Fall, and the Flood on pages 10-11.) The Canyon gives us a glimpse of the effects of a catastrophic global flood, as well as an appreciation for the scale of the biblical Flood of Noah's day. And yet, at the same time, we see God's handiwork in the beauty and majesty of the earth that we live in today.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon generally find it to be awe inspiring, but at the same time, too overwhelming to be fully understood on its own, for the Canyon can't tell us about itself. As humans, we tend to ask two questions as we view this vast, mysterious hole in the ground: how and why. With the help of some of the top creation scientists and theologians from around the world, we hope to at least scratch the surface of these questions and provide you with some resources to "dig deeper" if you wish.

If we visit the Canyon, or read the prevailing interpretive literature about it, we will find that the views presented are predominantly based on evolutionary theories. For the Canyon, this means that the rock layers were laid down a particle at a time over literally hundreds of millions of years and that the Canyon was later carved slowly by the Colorado River. These theories tend to deny God's involvement and often His very existence.

As you read this book, you will see that we look at the Canyon from a biblical worldview. With that in mind, there is one basic premise, or framework, used as a starting point. That premise is: the Bible, in its original form, is the inerrant Word of God. Therefore, there are three truths that should be clarified. First, in Genesis a "day" is a day, which means a literal 24-hour period of time (technically a "solar day" which is approximately 24 hours). Genesis 1:5 says ". And there was evening and there was morning, one day." Second, there was no death before sin. The first death came as a result of initial sin in Genesis 3:21: "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them." And third, Noah's flood was an actual historical global event. Genesis 7:19-20 says, "The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. The water prevailed fifteen cubits [about 20 feet] higher, and the mountains were covered."

If we accept those truths, then Scripture tells us that God created the heavens and earth, and everything in them in six literal days. Based on the lineages laid out in the Bible and other historical documents, this occurred about 6,000 years ago. The vast majority of the sedimentary layers we see in the Grand Canyon, and in the rest of the world for that matter, were deposited as the result of a global flood that occurred after, and ultimately as a result of, the initial sin that took place in the Garden of Eden. And the fossils found in the rock layers are remnants of the plants and animals that perished in the Flood.

Other interpretations - that there was a "gap" early in Genesis 1, that creation days were "long periods of time," or that it was just a "local flood"--are compromise positions, compromises made in an attempt to fit man's fallible ideas into what God has told us in His Word. Deuteronomy 4:2 says, "You shall not add to the Word which I am commanding you." Unfortunately, these compromises do just that. They add to God's Word in an effort to fit man's millions-of-years evolutionary theories into the Bible. This compromise in turn calls into question the authority of Scripture, beginning in the first verse of Genesis right through the last verse of Revelation.

Some will say that the age of the earth is not important, that it is a "non-essential," but what is vital is a belief in and a personal relationship with the living God. To some degree that is true. The gates to heaven will not be closed to us for believing in millions of years. But it is important! Why? Because adding millions of years to the Bible undermines the authority of the Word of God. If we can't believe the accounts of Genesis, which are foundational to the entire Bible, why would we believe the rest to be truth? If the Word doesn't really mean "in six days," then maybe it doesn't really mean "thou shall not."

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