Kyle Butt, M.Div.
Scoffers in the Last Days
Kyle Butt, M.Div.Apologetics Press
From the foundation of the world, there have been those been who have scoffed at the Word of God. The apostle Peter informed us in 2 Peter 3:3 that scoffers would continue to be around in the last days, jeering at God and His children. Peter also told us exactly what the scoffers would be saying: “All things continue as they are from the beginning of creation.”
The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines uniformitarianism as a geological idea which says “that existing processes acting in the same manner as at present are sufficient to account for all geological changes.” In other words, those who believe in uniformitarianism say exactly what the Peter said the scoffers would say: “All things continue as they are from the beginning of creation.”
According to this idea, the present is the key to the past. For instance, suppose a river at the bottom of a canyon is eroding 1 inch of soil every year from the riverbed. Then suppose that the canyon is 500 feet deep. According to uniformitarianism, that river must have been eroding the riverbed for the last 6,000 years.
However, this idea has serious problems because no one alive today knows what kind of environment existed in the distant past. We cannot claim to know how fast things eroded in the past, because we do not have any evidence to prove that natural processes always have been the same. Let’s consider how badly this idea could alter our calculations. Suppose you come upon a man who is cutting down trees in a forest. You watch him for an entire hour and he only cuts down 1 tree. Then you count the number of trees he has cut—31 in all. If you assume that he has been cutting trees down at the same rate all day, then you calculate that he has chopped for 31 hours. However, when you talk to the man, he informs you that, earlier in the day when his ax was sharp and his stomach filled, he was cutting down 5 trees an hour; only in the last hour had he slacked. With this information, you now understand that he worked for only seven hours, not 31. Claiming that the natural processes in the past were the same as they are now is an assumption that cannot be proven.
In truth, we have information that shows us that natural processes have not always behaved in the past as they do today. Volcanic eruptions such as Mount St. Helens, as well as countless local floods and other catastrophes, prove that erosion and other such geological processes can (and often do) occur at rapid rates over short periods of time, causing verified geological effects that contradict the idea of uniformitarianism. Ariel A. Roth has documented several such catastrophes, including the formation of Surtsey Island located near Iceland. In 1963, this volcanic island grew to 1,800 feet in just five days, and eventually reached over a mile in diameter. Furthermore, in 1976, the Teton Dam located in Idaho sprung a leak and the rushing water cut through over 300 feet of soil in less than an hour (1998, pp. 200-203). In order for anyone to continue to believe in the false idea of uniformitarianism, that person must willfully decide not to look at the vast amount of evidence against the philosophy. Once again, the apostle Peter hit the nail on the head when he stated that scoffers “willfully forget” about the global flood of Noah and the miracle of Creation (2 Peter 3:5-6). Things have not always been the same in the past, and they will not always be the same in the future. Peter urged his readers (as I do mine) to be ready for the final “catastrophe in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:10).
Roth, Ariel A (1998), Origins: Linking Science And Scripture (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald).