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Subject: ORIGINS: Review of "Foundation, Fall and Flood" by Glenn Morton; 18-Aug-95, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Hamilton)
Foundation, Fall and Flood: A harmonization of Genesis and Science Glenn R. Morton. 1995. DMD Publishing Co., 16075 Longvista Dr., Dallas, TX 75248 ISBN 0-9648227-0-9. 159 pages + index. $15.00 + $2.00 postage
Glenn Morton’s web site is currently at
Most conservative Christians have puzzled over the question of how to reconcile Genesis with science. For those with backgrounds in science and applied science, this is a significant question, since its answer affects how we carry the Gospel to our colleagues, as well as our colleagues' perception of our integrity. Whether or not we accept the young-earth view, we Christians view the Bible as God's written word -- an inspired document.
For young-earth creationists, the points of friction between science and Scripture include the age of the earth, evolution and the Flood of Noah's day. By interpreting the creation week as six literal days followed by a literal day of rest, and by interpreting the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 as describing gapless lists of successive generations, young-earth creationists conclude that the age of the earth must be no more than 7000-10000 years. A straightforward reading of the flood account in Genesis 7-9 leads to the conclusion that the flood was global and lasted approximately a year. Evolution is ruled out by, among other things, interpreting the creation account as relating direct acts of God, by the Scriptural statement "and God saw that it was very good" -- ruling out millions of years of death implied by evolution, and by the shortness of the available time. 7000-10,000 years is not enough time for evolution. Young Earth creationists view the fossil record as the sediments deposited by the flood.
Glenn Morton is a geologist and a Christian. Although he was once a young-earth creationist, the compelling evidence of the earth's age he encountered in his work led him to an agonizing reappraisal of his faith and his understanding of how the Bible should be interpreted. Happily, Morton exited from this reappraisal a Christian. He no longer subscribes to the young-earth view, however, and this book explains why. In addition, it provides an alternative harmonization of Genesis and science which honors Scripture while treating the physical evidence honestly.
In spite of his acceptance of an old earth and evolution, Morton remains convinced that the Bible must be interpreted literally, except where compelling evidence dictates another interpretation. The book is a tightly reasoned, meticulously documented interpretation of Scripture and physical evidence which aims to show that acceptance of an old earth and evolution do not require the Christian to abandon a straightforward, honest reading of Scripture. In the process of developing his scenario, Morton derives insights which demand serious attention.
How then, does Mr. Morton make his case? First he shows that the creation days can be understood to be twenty-four hour days in which God announced what He was about to begin creating. The actual realization of the creation took longer, but God set in motion all the required processes in 6 literal 24 hour days. Morton is not a deist, however. He sees continued involvement by God in oversight of His creation.
In Morton's harmonization the origin of man occurred about 5.5 million years ago by a direct intervention of God. While the 5.5 million year figure violates the time scale creationists infer from the genealogies, Morton shows that the phrase "so-and-so lived x years and became the father of y" can as easily mean that at age x so-and-so became the ancestor of y, and that this is a legitimate interpretation of the Hebrew.
While such an ancient origin of man might seem to cause a problem with genealogies, it solves a problem with the flood of Noah. As a geologist, Morton learned early in his education that there is no evidence for a worldwide flood occurring about 2350 B. C. True, there are few places on the surface of the earth that show no evidence of ever having been flooded, but the flooding of various locations occurred at different times, and there is no time when every location was flooded. Morton's solution for the flood is the filling of the Mediterranean about 5.5 million years ago. There is ample geological evidence that prior to 5.5 million years ago, the Mediterranean was a deep valley. The total inflow from rivers and rainfall did not exceed the water loss by evaporation, and a land bridge at Gibraltar kept the Atlantic Ocean out. This land bridge collapsed, causing a cataclysmic flooding of the Mediterranean.
Some implications of this scenario may seem unsettling. For example, so-called modern man did not appear on the scene until some 100,000 years ago, implying that Adam and his descendants, including Noah, were most likely one of the earlier hominids, such as Homo habilis. However, this does not imply that Noah was some sort of subhuman. The physical differences between these hominids and later men do not necessarily imply that they were genetically different. Dogs are all the same species. But a fossilized Chihuahua and a fossilized Malamute might be mistaken for different species if these two fossils were found and dogs were not extant today. Furthermore, fossil differences cannot tell us whether modern man and earlier hominids differed spiritually.
Reading Foundation, Fall and Flood can be tough slogging at times, because of the huge volume of detail presented. But the detail is well organized to support the central theme of the book, and the reader who persists will be rewarded with fresh insights into how Scripture and scientific knowledge can be integrated. If Morton's scenario is correct, the question of whether the earlier hominids were human is answered, at least in part. The question of why the Bible tells us so much about the flood is answered. A flood in 2350 B. C. would surely be documented in the literature of many nations. Records of a flood 5.5 million years ago might be lost had God not told Moses about it. Morton's scenario is a welcome alternative to the disconnected, contradictory arguments of young-earth creationists and the over reliance on allegory some theistic evolutionists are prone to.
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