Yellowstone National Park and the Flood
Yellowstone National Park and the Flood
Our national parks are wonderful places to vacation with your family. And there really is no place like Yellowstone National Park to do just that. You can camp, hike, fish, explore, so much fun to be had! Do we really want to spoil that with LEARNING something? Like geology? Like the Flood?
In a word, yes! Yes, you do!
What is so great about Yellowstone?
I grew up in the great state of Montana, with Yellowstone National Park in my “back yard.” On those very hot summer days that Montana is known for, my family would pile in the car after church on Sunday and drive to the much more cool park, just for an afternoon of picnicking and exploring. I knew Yellowstone was special, but it was not until I became a believer in 1972 that this wonderland came alive to me in a whole new way. And it was this realization that helped me to see how Yellowstone could help us as we seek to teach our kids the truth found in Genesis about Creation and the Flood.
Many of our kids can readily recognize the error when they see, “millions of years,” in a book. But most cannot apply the Genesis account of the Flood to what they see around them. Without being able to do this, they are left to the interpretation of others that do not share the same world view that they do. They need field study to flesh out what they are learning in their studies! Our national parks are a great place to study this, and Yellowstone is probably the best.
It is for this reason that we talk so much about Yellowstone, and why we sponsor family tours there. That’s how important we think it is! It is easy to be awestruck simply by the majesty of the surroundings there. Even more, your faith is impacted in ways that are altogether overwhelming when you overlay the book of Genesis on it. Being able to study this while enjoying the beauty of the park makes an unforgettable experience.
Worldview or Science?
Visiting any of our national parks, you must be aware that the official view of the park system concerning earth history is uniformitarianism. (Explanatory signs throughout the park display this worldview. You will see it along the walkways, in the museums and learning centers. And virtually every ranger talk that you have the opportunity to listen to will have this worldview.) Uniformitarianism can be defined as the present is the key to the past. In other words what we see today has been going on throughout the billions of years of earth history. Consequently, official park literature will give fantastic dates for the age of the park area, based not on science, but on their view that the earth was created out of fire in a time long past.
This brings me to the heart of a Yellowstone adventure. There is another way to view these amazing sites – in light of what the Scriptures record as the history of the earth.
Let’s examine a couple facets of Yellowstone from a different view – a Biblical view: the Yellowstone Caldera, and Specimen Ridge.
The Yellowstone Caldera
Much of Yellowstone National Park is a caldera – a super-volcano that erupted and then collapsed in on itself sometime in the distant past. And in Yellowstone you can see thousands of cubic miles of this lava! A trip to Yellowstone takes you right into the heart of this caldera – in some places, you can even see the rim of the volcano rising high above you.
Many scientists believe Yellowstone to have been the largest volcanic eruption in earth’s history. To put this into perspective, in 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted .25 cubic miles of volcanic material. In comparison, the Yellowstone caldera and the surrounding area erupted over 10,000 cubic miles! This is a staggering figure and should cause us to reflect on just what was the significance of this volcanic explosion.
Yellowstone and the Flood
This is one of the instances where Yellowstone National Park and the Flood cross paths. The Biblical account of the Genesis Flood has much to say about this. You see, when the “fountains of the great deep burst open” on the first day of the Flood, this would have set off a series of volcanic chain reactions of such magnitude that the earth would never be the same. Thousands of observable cracks in the earth’s crust testify to the crustal upheaval and the eruption of magma. Yellowstone was one of these eruptive events, which helped to create the Yellowstone Caldera. We simply don’t see volcanic eruptions today that even come close to Yellowstone’s eruptions. The present cannot be the key to the past as uniformitarian scientists claim.
Volcanism is a nasty and destructive geological event, not a creative event. Not only is there the destructive power of moving lava as in Hawaii today, but there are all kinds of poisonous gasses and choking ash that come from these things. The very nature of volcanoes would have worked against forming any kind of suitable habitat for life.
One of the most significant areas of recent study in Yellowstone is Specimen Ridge. It is an area of fossilized trees and plants in volcanic ash and mud flows, found in the northeast part of Yellowstone. The Hayden Expedition of 1871 proposed the idea that these were 40,000 years of successive petrified forests. And this explanation was allowed to stand, not because of the science supporting it, but rather because it fit their long-ages worldview. This idea remained entrenched in the official Park explanations until 1980. Why 1980?
Mt. St. Helens in Washington State erupted in 1980. (Visit Mt. St. Helens National Monument!) Volcanic flows moved thousands of trees into Spirit Lake. It looked eerily reminiscent of the petrified trees in Yellowstone. Consequently, geologists began to change their story of the petrified trees of Yellowstone – the trees had been moved into their present place by way of volcanic mudflows, the same as at Mt. St. Helens! They were not buried in place as forests over thousands of years.
So much to explore!
There are so many other features to examine in the Yellowstone area: Ice Age evidence, earthquake effects, rock types, and of course the marvelous geysers, hot springs and mud pots. Yellowstone National Park and the Flood are intimately entwined with all these evidences, because these evidences tell of the enormous power of a global flood, but more importantly, of a God who is not silent.
So plan that vacation that your family will never forget! There are many books that can help you, and certainly, you could plan to come along with us on one of our trips. Regardless, this is a chance you don’t want to bypass. Make a trip to Yellowstone from a new perspective. It will change your life!
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