Book Review - The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood

"The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood" is an examination of earth's geologic history that poses some interesting questions on how to best interpret Scripture. Is there a conflict between true biblical understanding and honest science? After all, both come from our Creator.

Book Information

Author
David R. Montgomery

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company

Publication Date
2012-08-27

ISBN
0393082393

Recommendation
Peter Eddington recommends this.

Hardcover, 320 pages

Find it on Amazon

Many Christians and many scientists still fuel the conflict between science and religion. Yet, if both are honest with the facts, a new appreciation for the Bible and for science emerges. They are not in conflict but merge gracefully and offer an increased understanding of our origins. Science can be a friend, not a foe, of divine revelation.

David R. Montgomery spends 13 chapters and more than 250 pages exploring the history of our planet and how our Earth came to be what we see today—from both a scientific perspective and the biblical interpretation. He introduces us to the mainstream beliefs of scientists and religionists throughout history. Over time, as more evidence has emerged and been discovered, the beliefs of both scientists and theologians has been challenged, and those who are willing to look at the facts honestly, have grown in their faith and in their understanding of our planet’s vast history. The facts bear out that our terra firm is very, very (even unimaginably) old—much older than 6,000 years for sure. So, how can religion and science together explain our world?

This particular work by Montgomery focuses on the story of Noah’s flood. Do “the rocks” support the biblical story of catastrophic loss of life at the hands of immense floodwaters? Does the geologic record indicate how widespread such a flood could be or was? How do we explain the many stories from antiquity, by civilizations around the world, of destruction by giant floods? The book makes an honest attempt at answers and is well worth the read.

Montgomery is a geologist, not a theologian. As a result, I do take exception with some of his interpretations of Scripture—particularly in chapter 9 of his book. I don’t believe that some verses even say what he says they say. For example, he sees contradictions in the creation accounts between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. But a more careful reading does not indicate a contradiction but two supporting accounts. He also sees contradictions in the biblical record about the animals going onto the ark in pairs of seven of each “clean” kind in Genesis:7:2-3, versus one pair of every kind twelve verses later. But, once again, an easy explanation for the difference can be made. I might add that the few items I take issue on with Montgomery, mostly in chapter 9, do not overly take away from the overwhelming geological evidence he presents in making his case about Noah, his Ark and a great deluge.

Here’s something for us all to consider: It’s hard to see evidence for what you’ve been told cannot exist. It’s hard to change our mindset. Perhaps the evidence is there and our understanding of what exists and what came to be needs expanding. As a result, Montgomery says he has come to see the biblical story of Noah’s Flood as rooted in truth. The discoveries of science have revealed the world and our universe to be far more spectacular than many of us have ever imagined. We must not minimize the wonder of creation.




Eric V. Snow

Eric V. Snow's picture

David Montgomery's book follows in the footsteps of the old classic apologetic work that launched the modern scientific creationist movement: John C. Whitcomb and Henry Morris' "The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications" (1961). It develops great Biblical reasoning against the "local flood" interpretation of the great Deluge. It also presents a lot of geological evidence in favor of catatrophism and against uniformitarianism, which almost completely ruled the world of scientific geology at the time. Yet so much of the evidence of the rocks themselves, including the fossils, are powerful testimonies that violent, wrenching events formed so much of what's seen in the strata or layers of earth. The present is not the key to the past, despite what the uniformitarians claimed.

Sure, Whitcomb and Morris advocate a "young earth" view: They like the idea of a 10,000 year-old earth, but not a 6,000 year-old. In this regard, it's good to remember what has often been called the "gap" theory. That is, many years may have passed between Genesis:1:1 and Genesis:1:2, when the earth became a chaotic wasteland. (The old King James Version's translation obscures the meaning of the Hebrew in verse 2). The earth could be millions or even billions of years old, yet could have still been made in six days by God roughly 6,000+ years ago. The scientific arguments advanced by the young earth creationists, however, should be listened to with an open mind and heart, not dismissed skeptically. We may well find out someday that the earth was (say) a hundred thousand or a few million years old, not 4 or 5 billion or 6 thousand. That is, both extremes may be wrong.

Evolutionists should consider being open minded on this subject. I was raised to be skeptical of creationism and a literal view of the Bible, but then Henry Morris' book "The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth" persuaded me otherwise. Reason can indeed be on the side of faith. For as we look at the general culture over the past century, so much of the Western world is throwing away both reason and faith, thus rejecting the medieval synthesis of the Catholic theologian and philosopher, Thomas Aquinas. In this regard, Aquinas's specific teachings in his theology is often wrong, but his general perspective of reconciling faith and reason is mostly right.



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