THE REALITY OF BIBLICAL CATASTROPHES PART SIX

CHAPTER 3 (continued): A Conflict in Biblical Interpretation

The weight of our rapidly-expanding knowledge continues to impose an increasingly heavy burden on the uniformitarian belief system. In the years since Velikovsky first published his books Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval, our technological achievements have constantly surprised mainstream scientists, inexorably forcing them toward a reconsideration of his thesis. They move in that direction with great reluctance, failing quite frequently to disseminate their changing views to the world at large, and consistently failing to acknowledge the original source of their new viewpoints when they grudgingly offer them to the public. Consequently, while our natural sciences are just now starting to turn back to their catastrophic roots, their new perspective has not yet filtered down to the man on the street. The common person continues to accept the notions of stability and slow, continuous change that were so loudly insisted upon as recently as a few short decades ago. It is to Immanuel Velikovsky’s credit that he persisted with his views in the face of a massed onslaught by contemporary mainstream science. And it is probably the embarrassment of the Velikovsky episode that spanned two of those decades that is causing our modern science to backtrack with such furtive silence.

Backtracking it is indeed. The increasingly popular focus, stimulated by the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter in 1994 and the recognition of numerous impact craters on earth previously thought to be of volcanic origin, is of asteroid collisions with Earth and the consequences of such events on our history and future. Graham Hancock provides an excellent overview of this new catastrophism in The Mars Mystery, clearly tracing a hypothesis, gleaned from a variety of sources, of how our world (and our planetary neighbors) came to find itself in such unhappy circumstances. According to a this hypothesis, presented very briefly here, our solar system passed through a portion of the galaxy that disturbed the Oort Cloud of cometary bodies. About five million years ago this disturbance caused a very large object to slip out of a stable orbit, slowly heading toward the inner planets. By fifty thousand years ago, this object had come sufficiently close to our region that it was influenced by Jupiter’s gravity, which thrust it into an elliptical orbit between Jupiter and the Sun. The orbit itself made it a potential threat to Earth and its neighbors, but with the single object, large as it apparently was, the odds were against a collision event. However, under gravitational stresses induced by Jupiter and the Sun, it began to break up, greatly increasing the chance of a planet coming into contact with one of the pieces. Eventually this did happen, possibly as recently as ten thousand years ago, causing severe impact events on Earth as well as on Mars and the Moon. Mars appears to have fared the worst, having been stripped of a large portion of not only its atmosphere but its surface in the cataclysm. The Tharsis Bulge, in fact, may represent a distortion caused by the impact of a massive asteroid-like object into the opposing side. The Taurid meteor stream is an apparent remnant of the original object. Ominously, recent investigations of this stream furnish some evidence that it represents a significant future danger to Earth, as the continuous precession of their point of collision may bring our planet into contact with larger elements of the meteor stream.

The hypothesis generally ignores Velikovsky and his pioneering thesis of a comet originating in Jupiter. While both theses ultimately result in the same order of effects, they differ in some important respects. The asteroid thesis presumes a relatively small object, on the order of five to ten kilometers, traveling at a very high velocity relative to earth, directly impacting the surface like a massive bullet. Velikovsky’s comet, on the other hand, is of planetary size but approaches quite near and perhaps even orbits briefly or partially under the influence of both gravitational and electrical forces without actually colliding with the earth. An asteroid approaching from the dayside would be visible for perhaps a minute or less before the collision event; it is difficult to reconcile this brevity of view with underlying folklore describing terrifying apparitions in the sky that take on recognizable forms. It is equally difficult to imagine an asteroid impact as the source of the kind of disturbance to the earth’s rotation that led to Joshua’s long day and the long night in the Americas. On the other hand, it is just as difficult to explain the numerous and supposedly recent impact craters on Earth, Mars, and the Moon in terms of Velikovsky’s comet.

Perhaps the implication of the surprisingly dramatic effect on the impact of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragments on Jupiter should be reexamined. It is possible that this relatively minor event actually furnishes corroboration for Velikovsky’s thesis while reconciling it to its asteroid contender. What if the asteroid hypothesis was correct, but its primary target was Jupiter itself, in addition to the smaller terran planets? If a truly enormous asteroid impacted this giant planet at great speed, could it not involve sufficient energy to cause more than a Tharsis-like bulge on the other side of Jupiter, and to actually initiate the ejection of a hot, planet-sized mass from the mother planet? Could not this secondary object, the result of a high-energy asteroid impact, then proceed through the inner planets as the very comet of which Velikovsky spoke? This is mere conjecture, but it is worth investigating further, for it would certainly reconcile the differing views into a cohesive picture that is consistent with both what we observe today and the folklore of yesterday.

Even the new asteroid view, however, remains essentially private to the scientific world. Of this particular fact there is little doubt. Our institutions, both secular and Christian, continue to push the old uniformitarian view.

Graham Hancock expresses his deep concern over the failure of the scientific community to give public voice to the emerging catastrophic paradigm. But if the secular community has suffered an intellectual impoverishment at the hands of the uniformitarians, Christians have fared even worse. The havoc wreaked against them by this false science has turned their system of faith into a chaotic mess. Secularly-oriented theologians continue to insist to the public that God’s domain is of such limited scope as to rule out the possibility of a universal flood. Timid pastors, swayed by their outspoken onslaught, either refuse to address the issue or parrot their beliefs. But even as they speak, the science that they claim for the justification of their stance, as we have noted, is quietly backtracking in betrayal: slinking away, under cover of public silence, to a position that supports the ubiquitous catastrophe. As long as the Christian public continues to receive its information from such shallow sources as television and the daily newspapers and timid pastors, it will continue to be misled regarding the so-called clash between religion and science. Worse, that public will continue to misunderstand the real nature of miracles and their interplay with perfectly natural events.

Instead of conflicting with our modern science, as the secular-minded and confused Christians among us presuppose, the properly-interpreted Word of God fully supports the shift in viewpoint that our science is currently undergoing. But this Word is capable not only of setting the record straight, but of extending our science to new frontiers. Considering that our God also created the universe with its physical laws governing its electromagnetic and gravitational interactions, we may also find in Scripture a deeper meaning to these fundamental relationships, and of the marvel of life itself, than we can achieve out of our secular-based science.

Ironically, the scientific community’s earlier refusal to accept catastrophism now may be the cause of its present consternation. Surprised and somewhat alarmed by the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter, they were further unsettled by the Alvarez team’s linkage of the extinction of the dinosaurs with the impact of an extraterrestrial object. Roused into action by such events, some respected members of the scientific community have fielded a search for other impact craters around the earth. They have found them in numbers sufficient to generate an additional measure of concern. Now that they have turned around to embrace the notion of our catastrophic history, they are shifting their attention to the cosmos, looking for possible new threats. Their efforts have attracted government interest just within the last decade, its delay in response due primarily to its past uniformitarian bias, preventing it from considering as real the potential of imminent catastrophe from space.

The Appendices to this section are not included in this posting, but are available to interested persons as long as supplies last by requesting a copy of Family of God by email to perkinsart44@yahoo.com. They present admittedly partial lists of facts which are in serious conflict with the mythical paradigm that remains in current favor with the public. Specifically, Appendices 4-1 and 4-2 summarize in outline form the primary information and arguments presented by a number of prominent modern authors in (A) support of their catastrophist theses and (B) rebuttal of the uniformitarian dogma.

Extensive as they are, the fact that these lists only scratch the surface indicates how far astray we have been led by the desire to remove our God from the bounds of objective reality. The references listed in those Appendices are highly recommended for persons who wish to obtain some in-depth understanding of the controversy over the past several decades between the uniformitarianism which most of us have been taught in school and the thesis of recent catastrophism. As the serious reader of these books will quickly appreciate, their primary focus is secular rather than religious. Nevertheless, their viewpoints have a great potential impact on the Christian individual’s appreciation of the truth of Scripture.

There is a strong possibility that those who insist on a mythical interpretation of Scripture are themselves the victims of an enormous irony in accepting as truth certain scientific notions that are in reality nothing but myths. Paul writes of this possibility in his Second letter to the Thessalonians:

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

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