Bernard E. Northrup Th.D.

For generations creationists have failed to provide a working explanation of the formation of the physical record of the rocks in the earth's crust from a Biblical perspective. Far too long we have been satisfied with generalizations that have attempted to explain the geological record. Yet we would recognize that they do not work if we were to examine these attempted harmonization models carefully. Inevitably, a bit like the uniformitarians, we assume too much. For the last 90 years the major Biblical, geological catastrophe, the Noahic flood, has been distorted completely out of proportion in the light of the Biblical and the geological evidence. Far too much in the geological record has been attributed to the Noahic flood without careful consideration of other events in the Bible that would have deposited geological deposits. The physical evidence demands a far more careful look. As a result, we fail to realize that there are two very Biblical, geological catastrophes that preceded the Noahic flood and two other very Biblical, geological catastrophes that came centuries after the Noahic flood. The purpose of this study is to explain that five Biblical events of a catastrophic nature actually deposited the geological record that is being misunderstood and distorted so that it appears to witness to a purely naturalistic, evolutionary explanation of the universe and the earth and of the life forms that teem our planet.


The first of these catastrophes left a unique set of geological deposits that are totally without any fossil content. It is the outpouring of the waters that produced earth's first great universal ocean as described in Genesis 1 and elsewhere. This universal flood is described in several places in the Bible as having been present on the earth after its creation. The following is my own translation of some of these passages.

Genesis 1:2-9 (2) "But the earth, it was waste and desolate, and darkness was upon the surface of the deep [ocean], and the Spirit of God was moving about above the surface of the waters. (3) Then God said, 'Let there begin to be light,' and there came to be light. (4) Then God observed the light that it was good. As a result, God caused a division between the light and the darkness. (5) Then God proceeded to name the light 'day,' but the darkness He had [already] named 'night.' Now it had been evening and it now came to be morning, day one. (6) Then God said, 'Let there be a stretched out space [the rachia,the atmosphere] in the midst of the waters, and let that be causing a division between waters from the waters. (7) Then God proceeded to make the stretched out space, and it caused the division between the waters that were down underneath [representing three Hebrew prepositions] the stretched out space, and between the waters that were up over the top of [again representing three Hebrew prepositions] the stretched out space, so it came to be so. (8) Then God proceeded to name the stretched out space 'heavens.' And it had come to be evening and it had come to be morning, day two."

Psalm 104: 5-6 remarkably describes the scene found in Genesis 1:2 through 8. (5) "He established the earth upon its foundations so that it might not come to be moved for ever and ever. (6) He covered it with the deep like a garment. The waters came to stand above the mountains."

In Job 38:8-11 the Creator Himself is describing this phase of his work that followed the creation of the heavens and the earth. (8) "Or who shut up the sea with doors when it when it broke forth [and] it came forth from [the] womb, (9) When I made the cloud its garment and thick darkness [to be] its clothing?"

I conclude that the so-called Archaeozoic section of the Pre-Cambrian deposits is nothing less than the debris left by this colossal outpouring of the waters that burst forth out of the womb of the earth when the Lord enshrouded earth with a thick swaddling band of darkness (Job 38:8-9) exactly as described in Genesis 1:2-3. It is absolutely essential for creationists to recognize that the Biblical record unquestionably describes the historical, geological event that deposited this great, unfossiliferous sequence of geological deposits entirely within Biblical time.


The second of the great Biblical/geological catastrophes recorded in Scripture and in the record of the earth very plainly entombs its own unique fossil record. This evidence testifies to a unique period of major diastrophism consisting of the abrupt uplift of a single continent out of that sea. It clearly entombs the record of vast marine and continental erosion that resulted from that abrupt uplift in the third solar day of creation. It also entombs evidence that in the months and years following that uplift in Genesis 1:9, there were random, rather immobile sea creatures and plant forms that came to be buried in the vast littoral, marine deposits that formed around that great, single uplifted continent as the waters of the formerly universal sea drained off in the undefined period of Biblical time that followed. These are the Proterozoic deposits.
I have concluded that the Proterozoic section of the Pre-Cambrian deposits entombs these first life forms that were buried after their creation and after the fall of mankind in the garden. I conclude that these deposits are the vast drainage deposits of materials that came to be stripped from the continent that uplifted in the first part of the third solar day of Genesis one. These Proterozoic deposits today are scattered widely in remote places of the world. An amazing display of them slightly tilted to the south can be observed easily on the North rim of the Grand Canyon. These elsewhere widely scattered, fragmented deposits, originally left by the drainage of the uplifted, great single continent, now are no longer contiguous as a result of the division of the continents into their present positions later in Biblical history. This event will be considered later. Undoubtedly this drainage of the continent continued for years after Adam's fall as springs and streams continued to drain the water soaked continent.

Psalm 104:7-12, when the Hebrew text is properly translated, clearly describes the massive uplift of Genesis 1:9 and the resulting drainage process. The passage has nothing whatsoever to do with the Noahic flood as some have thought.

(7) At Your rebuke they [the waters] began to flee. Because of the voice of Your thunder they began to hurry away.

(8) The mountains began to rise up. The valleys began to sink down unto the place that You had established for them.

(9) A boundary You established in order that they should not continue to pass over, in order that they might not continue utterly to overwhelm [and] to cover the earth.

(10) [He is the One Who] wonderfully began sending forth springs into the valleys. They began to run swiftly between the mountains.

(11) They provided drink for every living creature of the fields. The wild donkeys proceeded to quench their thirst.

(12) Beside them [the streams] the birds of the heavens came to dwell. From between the branches they proceeded to sing."

These verses unquestionably describe massive diastrophism, primarily in the vertical plane as the great single continent began arising from the sea as described in Genesis 1:9. That only a single continent was present above sea level at that time is clearly set forth in the words of that verse. "Then God proceeded to say, 'Let the waters under the heavens come to be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear." It should be obvious that our Sunday School literature so often has been wrong when it pictured the present continents arising out of the water in that great event.

Furthermore, the creationist who ignores the colossal, geological catastrophism that is described in these verses, as he attempts to formulate a working harmonization model that explains the record of the rocks on earth as the result of a single catastrophe, or even as the result of three catastrophes, can only fail to achieve his plan. These verses that describe the retreat of that first great universal sea, as the single continent rose out of its waters, require us to recognize a major geological event that necessarily has left its deposits as a part of the geological sequence found in the physical record of the rocks. The creationist who fails to recognize the importance of these first two catastrophic, Biblical/geological events also fails to have full understanding of the entire great Biblical event series that has produced the physical record of the rocks that is so misrepresented by the evolutionist.

It is not insignificant that in the record of the rocks, wherever preserved after the chaos of continental division centuries later, a great interruption of deposition sequence lies between the Proterozoic deposits and the Paleozoic deposits. Here is recorded the geological quiet of the millennium and one half [Heb.] to two [LXX] that passed between that great uplift of the continent in Genesis 1:9 and the beginning of the Noahic flood in Genesis 7:11. This great, unmistakable break in geological deposits, so clearly found in the record of the rocks, renders the gap theory utterly unacceptable because the gap theory's misinterpretation of Genesis one cannot explain it. In the same way it renders impossible any attempt to explain all of the lower geological deposits below the Paleozoic deposits as having been deposited by the Noahic flood. This great interruption of geological deposits absolutely cannot be ignored by the Creationist who is attempting to provide a working harmonization model that accurately explains the geological record. He must carefully examine the harmonization model that he has been following while seeking to understand the relationship of the great depositional series that is labeled "the geological column" to the Biblical record.


The third great (and perhaps the most important) geological catastrophe that must be recognized in Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible is that great, universal cataclysm that we call "the Noahic flood." I find overwhelming evidence that the earliest Paleozoic, Cambrian section of its deposits actually perfectly record the beginning of the Noahic flood with its inception in the ocean bottom.

Genesis 7:11a says: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all of the fountains of the great deep broken up. . . ."

This part of the verse plainly indicates that a similar event to that which had produced the first universal sea in Genesis 1:2-8 now was happening once again. Waters were pouring out of the crust of the earth. In the Cambrian deposits there are multitudes of evidences of the extreme violence of the outpourings of these waters. Among these evidences are multitudes of slower moving ocean bottom fossils that are buried in the vast debris carried by the rushing waters of those great wellsprings in the ocean bottoms. The abrupt appearance of these fossils have encouraged evolutionists to assume that these fossils are evidence of a sudden burst of evolution. In reality these suddenly trapped ocean bottom creatures give us a clear testimony of life on the ocean floor between its creation and the beginning of the Noahic flood.

Years ago I met a professor of meteorology from a Boston University when I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil I was lecturing on creation in a Christian college there. I think it was he who made the point that there was not enough water in the entire atmosphere to cover Mt. Everest which rises to more than 29,000 feet above sea level. In fact, he estimated that, worldwide, it would not rain more than one inch in a single downpour that brought down all water contained in the atmosphere. Of course this was an estimate that argued from the present to the past, without any consideration of the moisture available in the past. Some time later I received a letter from him after I had returned to my home. He revised his estimate, saying that the most it could possibly rain universally would be about one half an inch.

This kind of an argument continuously raised by unbelievers in an pitiful attempt to prove that the Noahic flood could not have occurred. The argument has three major problems. First of all, those who have studied the environment out of which the Himalayas in which Mt. Everest rises tell us that this great mountain chain was not even buckled up out of the continent where it lies until late in geological history. The Paleozoic deposits that were laid down by the Noahic flood are steeply uptilted and then eroded away in the upper parts of its front range. These tilted and truncated formations form much of the foothills of the great Himalayan range. I have traveled up through these foothills repeatedly to locations above 7,000 feet where I was meeting and working with national pastor translators of the Word of God. I was checking against the original languages of the Bible the accuracy of their re-translations into English of their Bible translation work being done in the tribal languages of East India.

Secondly, the argument of the unbeliever ignores the fact that the first source of the Noahic flood came from within the crust of the earth and not from the atmospheric heavens (Gen. 7:11a).

Finally, the argument ignores the second source of the Noahic flood which is described in the last clause of Genesis 7:11. That says, ". . . And the windows of the heavens were opened." Was this then atmospheric rain? No. The argument ignores the Biblical fact that during the second solar day of creation, God said, as described in Genesis 1:6-7,

(6) '. . . Let there be a stretched out space [the atmosphere] in the midst of the waters, and let that be causing a division between waters from the waters.

(7) Then God proceeded to make the stretched out space [the atmosphere], and it caused the division between the waters that were down underneath [representing the emphatic collection of three Hebrew prepositions] the stretched out space [of the atmosphere], and between the waters that were up over the top of [representing the emphatic collection of three more Hebrew prepositions] the stretched out space, so it came to be so."

What is being described here? On the second solar day of creation the Creator elevated a great amount of water in some form ". . . up over the top of. . ." the atmosphere, separating it from the universal sea that lay below the atmosphere. And the physical, geological deposits that are buried in the later Paleozoic deposits by the Noahic flood demonstrate that earth, before the Noahic flood, had a totally different environment than it has had since the flood. The fossils found in the Paleozoic deposits show that it was a very warm, humid environment in which fishes and amphibians almost totally dominate the fossil record. Similarly gymnosperm plants almost totally dominate the record of plant life that is entombed in the great deposits left by the Noahic flood. Why? Because earth, as described in Genesis 1:6-7, was canopied by a vast layer of water in some form that refracted light that reached the earth after passing through it. When the windows of the heavens were opened (Gen. 7:12b), a tremendous deluge joined with the waters welling up from within the crust of the earth. As a result, in very short order, the land mass once again was covered by universal flood waters, this time in a great judgment.

The record of the rocks above the Cambrian deposits displays a clear record of the rapid overwhelming flooding of all of the land mass as the windows of heaven came to be opened (Gen. 7:11). By the time that the upper Pennsylvanian deposits were laid down, the flood had begun retreating. By the time when the Permian Coconino Sandstone in the Grand Canyon was deposited, the thoughtful researcher can recognize a clear record of the stronger, initial stages of the retreat of the Noahic flood. Here are great, shoreline, continental wind deposits laid down by fierce winds that were given the task of drying up the newly exposing surface of the land mass. These often steeply tilted wind dunes repeatedly have been intruded by great marine shoreline oscillations. Where the water has intruded and retreated, later windblown sands beautifully preserve the tracks of multitudes of shoreline creatures that were now able to leave their floating rafts of debris and come ashore. The Biblical source of information describing these strong indications that the Noahic flood was now in strong retreat are found in Genesis 8:1-3.

(1) "Then God remembered Noah and every living creature, even all of the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God proceeded to cause a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters began to retreat. (2) Furthermore, the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens came to be stopped, and the gushing rain from the heavens came to be shut up. (3) Then the waters began to retreat, going and returning continually, and after the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters were decreasing."

I further recognize two Biblical catastrophes of great importance that followed the Noahic flood by several generations. These also must be recognized and their occurrence in Bible times properly located Biblically and chronologically by creationists on the basis of the agreement of the Biblical and geological evidence when both are examined carefully.


The first of these post-Noahic catastrophes is the physical division of the continents that began about the time of the birth of Peleg. This is the event that is described in Genesis 10:25. "And unto Eber were born two sons. The name of the first was Peleg ["divided by water"], for in his days the earth was divided [by water]. And his brother's name was Joktan." Both the name "Peleg" and the word "divided" are built upon the Hebrew root that consistently is used of water division. This is true both in Hebrew and in Classical Greek. In the latter there are about 18 nouns based on this root and every one has much to do with the ocean.

Some creationists have made the terrible mistake of jumping to the conclusion that this verse refers to the division of the languages at Babel, an event that is described when chapter eleven fills in important details that were only referred to in chapter ten. The researcher should note that this is a common approach in the Hebrew language.

By way of illustration, note how Genesis 2:4-25 expands the brief reference to the creation of mankind that was briefly given in Genesis 1:26-31. In the same way that Genesis 11:1-9 expands and gives the details of that which briefly had been alluded to in Genesis 10:5 and in Genesis 10:20. Genesis 10:5 makes it plain that the division of the languages occurred after the second generation of Japhethites had been born. "From these the isles of the Gentiles were divided in their lands, each one according to his language, according to their families in their nations."

Genesis 10:20 follows a section discussing Hamites and the relatives of Mizraim (Egypt) within that family. It requires careful study in order for one to recognize that it was at the very beginning of the third generation of Hamites that the division of languages at Babel occurred. The verse says: These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, in their nations."

And when did the division of the earth occur? Again, careful study, comparing the Septuagint text and its confirmation by Luke 3:340-38, will result in clear evidence that the division of the continents in Peleg's day occurred in the beginning of the fifth generation of Shemites. Furthermore, it must be remembered, as discussed above, that the name "Peleg" is based upon the one Hebrew word derived from the basic root PL is a word that in Hebrew and in classical Greek has to do with division by water. Two of these words in Greek appear in English. They are "archipelago" and "pelagic" (depths of the ocean). That name would scarcely be appropriate to be used to describe that which happened at Babel! Furthermore, rather than being between the second and third generation after departure from the ark, Peleg's generation was the fifth generation after the Noahic flood according to the Septuagint and Luke, indicating that something has happened to the text preserved in Hebrew. (And I say this even though I have been a Hebrew professor for many years).

According to the geological records, this geological catastrophe actually had the earliest stages of its beginning in the latter days of Paleozoic (Noahic flood) times. This undoubtedly played a role in the retreat of the Noahic flood before that initial plate movement, recognized in geology, ceased for a time. The full division of the continents in mid-Mesozoic times leaves powerful evidences in its rifting and uplift of the earlier post-Noahic wind and tidal wave deposits. These wind and tidal wave deposits happen to continue to provide the major characteristics of the earlier Mesozoic deposits. Some have recognized that wind deposits and tidal wave evidences are the major characteristics of earlier Mesozoic deposits. The earlier half of this great Mesozoic deposit sequence is filled with wind dunes and with great tidal oscillations, both of which are referred to in Genesis 8:1-3 in the description of the initiation of the retreat of the flood and evidently continued for many years after Noah was able to leave Mt. Ararat. The Hebrew text of Genesis 8:3 describes the continual oscillation of the shorelines in a way that is far more dramatic than we can observe in our English translations. The Hebrew construction points to oscillation that went on "continually, continually." A similar construction can be studied not far from this text in Genesis 8:7 where it describes the flight of the raven as that creature continued to fly back and forth. In Hebrew the verb in verse seven, ". . . and it went out" is followed by two infinitives absolute in exactly the same kind of a construction that is found in Genesis 8:3 describing the oscillation of the waves along the rising shoreline.

The division of the continents is an event that, according evidence in the Septuagint and Luke 3:35-38, must be dated five generations after the Noahic flood. This was about two full generations after the division of the languages at Babel (Gen. 10:25) even though that event is not described until Genesis 11:1-9. As I have said, this follows normal Hebrew arrangement where a bird's eye view of an event often is first given and then the detailed description is given later.

According to the record of the rocks, the major division of the continents began near the middle of the Mesozoic "era's" deposits. That event left massive signs of the rifting of the great single continent into its present plates. The physical evidence simply is corollary to that which is said in Genesis 10:25. The movement and collision of those plates produced great diastrophism resulting in the uplift of many of the earth's great mountain ranges. This is what produced the elevation of the Himalayan Ranges up out of the flood deposited Paleozoic debris that lies on the plains of India below this vast mountain uplift. There the uplift was caused when the Indian plate, moving, apparently with considerable speed, away from Africa to the northeast, collided, with the great plate below China. This diastrophism that built the South American Andes and the North American Rockies, Sierras, the Klamaths and the great uplifts of Western Canada and Alaska was produced along the leading edges of the continents as these continents moved apart with crushing force and finally settled in their present locations. These great mountain uplifts continued throughout most of Cenozoic times. Great changes were taking place on earth that were resulting from this movement. Among these were the vast climate changes that the Mesozoic/Cenozoic volcanism precipitated by obscuring the atmosphere. This is called "the changing the albedo [reflectivity] of the earth's atmosphere." This is the direct result of the modifying the reflectivity of the atmosphere by the enormous volcanic explosions and outbursts of livid steam of that time. Solar energy simply bounced off of the now highly reflective atmosphere, resulting in the steady cooling of the atmosphere clearly indicated in the Cenozoic deposits.


The final geological catastrophe, the Biblical "icy catastrophe," is the direct result of the intense heat and steam produced by the friction of the movement of the plates over the reosphere. That in turn resulted in the long term obscuring of the atmosphere by the vast volcanic explosions and steam that, continued throughout much of the later Mesozoic and Cenozoic times.

Although this evidence has long been overlooked by other creationists, decades ago I began to recognize a remarkable amount of information concerning this climate change described in so-called "Pleistocene Epoch" that actually is recorded in the book of Job. Many years ago while lecturing at a college in Wisconsin I woke up to the fact that, behind the theological overtones of the book of Job, there lay a remarkable description of the catastrophic events that were taking place during that misnamed "ice age" in the land that one day became Israel The book of Job is remarkably filled with references to rain, snow, hail, the sea freezing over, ice, cold, great cloud cover, mountain uplift and disturbance, rifting and great precipitation erosion of canyons, of people living in caves and even references to animals that are now extinct. Years ago I first presented this at a Bible conference in the East. Since then I have sent a paper on "Job and the Ice Age" describing these things to many around the world.

I personally believe, and hope that I have shown, that we creationists must recognize five Biblical catastrophes referred to in Genesis, Job and the Psalms. These are great, geological catastrophes, every one of them. If ever we will succeed in showing that the record of the rocks fully supports, by a confirming testimony, the accuracy of the Word of God in its statements about the Creator, we must recognize the role of these Biblical/geological catastrophes, Properly understood, the physical record of the rocks actually provides the corollary witness to that described in the Word of God. Without that, we will never understand the record of the rocks and its witness or the way that it fully agrees with and supports the Biblical record of earth's early events.

". . . Speak to the earth, and it will teach you. . . . Who does not know in all of these things that the hand of the Eternal Lord has done this?" (Job 12:8-9).

Posted June 22, 2002.