Atheism, Evolutionism, and Green River “Varves”

Green River Varves

Frank Zindler has faith in his interpretation

by Paul G. Humberby

Visit any anti-creationist website and you’re certain to find a discussion of varves, tiny laminae thought to be annual deposits within sedimentary strata. In some areas millions of these are found in succession, which are offered as “proof” of long ages. More importantly, many feel that this proves the Bible’s account of recent creation to be in error [note: This explanation is taken from the ICR website]

The present author [Paul G. Humberby of the RAE website] and Frank Zindler, Editor of the American Atheist, have carried on a correspondence that has lasted over four months1. Many issues have been discussed, but by agreement there was a focus on two. One2 was geological and may be put in the form of a question. Do the “varves” of the Green River Formation (near the Rocky Mountains) disprove the chronology of the Bible? Mr. Zindler is of the opinion that they do. I strongly disagree.

He wrote, “But the whole question of astronomical time is rendered unimportant by the fact that we have evidence right here on earth that rules out absolutely the biblical chronology and shows that the earth…has existed through long periods of time. I refer to the Green River Shale of Eocene age out in the Rocky Mountain area….”3

He also drafted the following: “In the case of the Green River Shale, the number of annual layers (not true varves, however, in their formation) extends to about three million…. I have repeatedly challenged such apologists to explain how, if these delicate layers (about 80 pairs of black/white layers per cm) are NOT annual layers, such delicate layered deposits (in the case of the Green River shale extending over thousands of square miles) could have been formed during a world‑destroying flood, the ferocity of which biblical apologists never fail to require at various other parts of their ‘theory.’”3

How should a Christian respond to this challenge?

The Apostle Peter wrote, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet.3:15). This does not mean that Christians have to become experts in everything, but loving the Lord with our minds may include doing more study than we had planned. The Lord Himself set an example of answering antagonistic questions.4

Atheism worships the idol-god, Evolution.

Everyone has a faith in something. If it is not in God, then it is in self or something else. Frank Zindler’s faith is in evolution. He wrote that “we must never lose sight of the fact that all of science nowadays interlocks to produce a picture of evolution, from the cosmic level to the social level.”5 In the same context, he wrote, “The geneticist Dobzhansky once said that nothing in biology makes sense apart from evolution. The truth of that statement is everywhere evident.”5

My response at the time was as follows: “If I’m not mistaken, the Founder of Genetics opposed Darwin’s theory. Several years ago, my wife had hairy cell leukemia. Her hematologist let me see the hairy cells in his microscope. I asked him if there was ever a time in human development when the blood is something other than human. (Sagan had suggested in an article I read that humans go through evolutionary stages during development‑‑justifying abortion6). He contacted an authority at the University of Pennsylvania. The answer was that the notion is silly. Human blood is always human. It seems to me that evolutionary thinking might actually retard increased understanding about human blood. Here is biology that makes sense without evolution.”7


image credit: Green River varves from unknown source