The Flood Matters: The Grand Canyon and the Age of the Earth

Josh Buice

aerial photography of mountain

As I documented in my recent article about the battle for the beginning and the origin of the earth, I recently had the opportunity to travel with a group of Christian leaders on a trip organized by Answers in Genesis to study the rock layers and fossil records in the Grand Canyon. We covered nearly 200 miles of the Colorado River on a 7-day journey. What we witnessed points to the reliability of Scripture. We do not need fossils and rocks to confirm that the Bible is true, it’s really important to connect the dots from the evidence of general revelation to the truth of special revelation contained in the pages of the Bible.

The Grand Canyon is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the United States of America. People travel from all around the world every year to look deep down into the vast canyon from the rim, walk the trails, and capture that epic sunset picture with the splendid colors of the evening sunlight reflecting on the rock layers.

According to the National Geographic Society the Grand Canyon is the product of evolution.

The Grand Canyon, in the U.S. state of Arizona, is a product of tectonic uplift. It has been carved, over millions of years, as the Colorado River cuts down through the Colorado Plateau. The Grand Canyon is between 5 million and 70 million years old. A canyon is a deep, narrow valley with steep sides.

The National Park Service around the rim of the Grand Canyon will tell you the exact same story with a slightly different number:

The Colorado River has been carving away rock for the past five to six million years. Remember, the oldest rocks in Grand Canyon are 1.8 billion years old. The canyon is much younger than the rocks through which it winds. Even the youngest rock layer, the Kaibab Formation, is 270 million years old, many years older than the canyon itself.

The point is clear, the common story about the formation of the Grand Canyon is rooted in the theory of evolution. However, the Grand Canyon itself tells you a different story. According to the rock layers and fossil records, the Grand Canyon is much younger and was never formed by the Colorado River.

Rocks Do Not Bend—They Break

Have you visited someone’s home and driven onto their concrete driveway and noticed the cracks? Sometimes this happens with the foundation of a home as well. The cause of the cracks is the soft deposits of soil that sink under the weight and pressure of the house. To be clear, the hard concrete does not bend, it breaks. The same exact thing is true with regard to rock layers beneath the soil of planet Earth. They do not bend, they break too.

We do not need fossils and rocks to confirm that the Bible is true, it’s really important to connect the dots from the evidence of general revelation to the truth of special revelation contained in the pages of the Bible.

In 2017, Dr. Andrew Snelling, a Christian geologist, embarked on a quest to secure permits enabling the collection of samples for a comprehensive study concerning specific rock strata within the Grand Canyon. His endeavor centered on investigating well-established strata, notably the Monument Bend section, where substantial rock layers appear to bend—some approaching nearly 90 degrees. His aim was to study these formations to see whether indications of intense heat and pressure had altered the materials of the rocks, resulting in their bend. The only other explanation would point to a catastrophic event shortly after soft sediments were deposited from the global flood. To achieve this, he planned to retrieve samples from a variety of locations, generating a control sample for comparative analysis. The rock samples obtained from the “bend” sections would be subjected to a meticulous scientific methodology, unveiling the history of their formation.

The Grand Canyon National Park rejected Dr. Snelling’s permit requests. He went through the necessary application process a second time and received a second denial. Suspecting that his rejection was on the basis of religious bias as a result of his Christian religion, he secured legal counsel from attorneys associated with the Alliance of Defending Freedom. They filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Interior, challenging the validity of the application rejections and called into question internal email correspondence exchanged among its staff. During the legal proceedings, the emails were brought to light validating that the rejection of Dr. Snelling’s research permits was motivated by an anti-Christian bias regarding his Christian faith. As a result, Dr. Snelling was granted the permits, allowing him to engage in his research project.

The process itself is profoundly labor-intensive, demanding substantial effort to access precise locations along the Colorado River with the necessary tools essential for scaling the ledges and retrieving samples. After the samples are collected, the post-sample research phase also consumes a considerable amount of time and meticulous effort. Nonetheless, the study culminated with clear documentation and evidence dispelling the notion that the rock bends in the Grand Canyon’s rock strata were caused by immense pressure and heat. Instead, the only viable explanation was that during a global flood event, swift deposits of soft sediment layers occurred—a hypothesis corroborated by fossil records. Immediately after the waters receded from the global flood, a cataclysmic earthquake led to a significant fault line shift. This geological catastrophe caused the soft sediment to bend beneath the surface. This shift also caused a large expansive lake region near the modern-day rim of the Grand Canyon to channel through the broken dam reforming and causing destructive and swift erosion of soft sediment, quickly carving out a colossal canyon. This transformative process allowed the Colorado River to adopt the path of least resistance through the canyon walls.

This story does not fit with the typical evolutionary theory of the Colorado River carving out the massive Grand Canyon, but the global flood is clearly documented by Scripture and the impact verified by evidence in the Grand Canyon.

Sea Creatures Do Not Live in the Colorado River

Did you know that you can find shellfish fossils in the Himalayas? How would that be possible since this mountain range consists of 110 peaks rising to elevations of 29,032 feet above sea level? One of those peaks is Mount Everest. The only serious answer to such a question is based on the record of the global flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9. One of the best places to study such evidence of the global flood is within the exposed walls and rock layers of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon rock ledges span hundreds of miles through desert region and are more than one mile above sea level. Yet, within these walls, canyons, and rock layers are deposits of many sea creatures that never lived in the Colorado River below. They once lived in the ocean, but were fossilized in the rocks in the middle of the desert for us to see today. How did this happen?

Consider the formation of fossils. The process of formation is unique. In order for a fossil to take place, it must undergo a swift burial that prevents a total decaying process of bones and preserves the animal from the elements which speed up the decaying process. In addition, this burial also conceals the animal from other wildlife and scavengers that would otherwise consume the meat and scatter the bones. To have such a large number of fossils preserved in the rock layers is indicative of swift burial that occurred during a cataclysmic event.

Any serious student of the Grand Canyon formation must face the reality that the fossilized sponges, squid, and other sea dwelling fish never lived in the Colorado River. The theory of the Colorado River cutting away rock layers over millions of years simply doesn’t hold up to the massive amount of evidence in the rock strata of the Grand Canyon’s walls. While the fossil records contradict the evolutionary theory often told about the Grand Canyon, they do not explain what actually happened. However, we do have a record of the event that does provide us with the explanation in Genesis.

Any serious student of the Grand Canyon formation must face the reality that the fossilized sponges, squid, and other sea dwelling fish never lived in the Colorado River.

When the flood waters recorded in Genesis rose to an extent that covered the highest peaks on planet earth, it was catastrophic. It reformed the continents, killed people, plants, and animals, and was massively destructive. Put far away from your mind the pictures of a boat with smiling giraffes poking their heads out of a window from Noah’s ark that appear to be on a nice little boat ride. What the world experienced will never be experienced again. After all, it was the judgment of our sovereign God. This is the only explanation that can demonstrate the swift flowing currents of water that moved fish from the sea into what is today a desert region and deposited these marine fish into the sediment that would over time harden into rock and preserve the fossil records.

When I left the Colorado river and made my journey home I found myself on an overnight flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Atlanta, Georgia. When I sat down in my seat on the airplane, the gentleman next to me wanted to talk. I wasn’t really in the mood, but I engaged with him as he peppered me with questions about my trip. I explained to him that I had been with a group of Christians in the Grand Canyon to study the rock layers and fossils covering about 200 miles of the Colorado River. He began to talk to me about growing up in the desert and often visiting the Grand Canyon. He asked me what was one of the most unique things I saw on my journey, and I was able to point him to the many fish that are preserved as fossils in the rocks along the walls of the Grand Canyon. He said, “Yea, I’ve heard about that before.” I said, “Well, you want to know why that is so interesting to me?” He said, “Why?” I said, “Because the majority of the fossilized fish I saw this week once lived in the ocean. So, you tell me, how did those sea creatures get into the middle of the desert?” He said, “You know, that’s a good point.” I said, “The answer is clearly recorded in the book of Genesis.” It was at that point that my talkative friend from Arizona suddenly wanted to get some sleep.

May the Lord continue to open up people’s eyes to the truth of what Genesis says about God’s wrath, a global flood, and the fact that the age of the earth is not billions of years old. The flood matters because it demonstrates the reality of God’s wrath, but it also provides a wealth of evidence in the aftermath proving that the common evolutionary theory is simply not true.

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Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.