History of Geology: Past Faith and Science Informing the Present

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Many sources, including textbooks and popular “history”, often perpetuate the myths of science-faith warfare rather than an accurate picture of the development of geology.

Both creation science and conventional geologists often misinterpret historical views by falsely assuming that a similarity between a past position and a modern one means that the two are the same. Replacing the simplistic false dichotomy of young-earth, biblically-based positions involving global flooding versus old-earth, non-biblical positions with no global flood with a true picture of the variety of historical concepts may promote better thinking about the range of possible positions.

As demonstrated by Martin Rudwick, chronologies such as Ussher’s actually were forerunners of geology, whereas the vast timeline of deists like Hutton was on a philosophical dead end. Neptunism and catastrophism were not compatible with modern flood geology.

Tracing the history of geology also provides a way that students can see the accumulation of evidence on the age of the earth and how it was accepted and fit into a Christian worldview. This may be easier to accept than starting with the conclusion of an old earth.


Presented at the American Scientific Affiliation Annual Meeting 2017