By Wendy Wippel
An internet blog called the “Skeptics Report”, labels the Ice Age as one of the things that creationists hate, because, among other reasons, It’s never mentioned in the Bible. “Skeptic” goes on to say, “How could the “True History of the World” miss that?” Well…the true history of the world didn’t. Because it doesn’t end with Genesis.
Despite the fact that some Christians deny the historic reality of an ice age, also because the “Bible doesn’t mention it”, the scientific evidence for said Ice Age is pretty overwhelming, with separate lines of evidence from geological research, from chemistry, and from paleontology.
Geologists report substantial scratching of rock formations in northern latitudes as ice, carrying along substantial numbers of rocks and boulders, scoured the layers of rock below as they moved. Chemical testing of rock around the world demonstrated that rock formed at different temperatures and southern latitudes revealed differences in levels of certain isotopes (whose presence is dependent on the temperature at which they formed) in the two groups, demonstrating that rock in northern latitudes formed in much colder conditions than that in southern climates.
Finally, research into different species and their habitats over history through –looking at fossils across the world –shows a distinct period of time at which warm-climate animals died off or existed over a much smaller range than earlier members of the species, whereas the range of cold-climate animals expanded.
So we pretty much know there was an ice age, whether or not it appears in the Bible.
The next burning question, then, is what caused it. Basically? Science hasn’t a clue. The Wikipedia entry for the ice age admits that; “The causes of ice ages are not fully understood” and then lists these as important factors: atmospheric composition, such as the concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane; changes in the earth’s orbit around the Sun (i.e, variable levels of solar heat arriving to earth); the motion of tectonic plates resulting in changes in the relative location and amount of continental and oceanic crust on the earth’s surface (which affect wind and ocean currents), and the orbital dynamics of the Earth-Moon system.
And, because the scientists can’t really figure out how those components could have caused the massive glaciation of planet earth in the relatively recent past, they add in “the impact of relatively large meteorites and volcanism, including eruptions of supervolcanoes.”
Translation: Maybe glaciation on that scale required some kind of catastrophe. And, actually, biologists know that there have been several catastrophes on earth that killed off a lot of the earth’s animal populations, And, according to Harvard geologists, the ice age was in fact, precipitated by subterranean conditions that would eventually erupt as volcanoes.
Maybe the geologists don’t really talk to the botanists and the zoologists. Probably they are housed in different building on their IVY League campuses.
Because we know, for sure, that at some time, something really catastrophic happened.
How?? Millions of woolly mammoth carcasses frozen in the northern latitudes all across the world. Flash-frozen in the middle of eating their lunch. Some with the shrubbery still in their mouths.
And the Bible does describe at least one pretty catastrophic global event: Noah’s flood.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month-on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.,” For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.” Genesis 7.
Think about that, if you never have before. This was an event in which the crust of the earth was split apart. The single land mass that existed, (described in Genesis and termed Pangaea by scientists) broke into pieces (apparently noted in Genesis 10:25: “One son was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided”.
As a consequence of the crust’s disruption, mountains thrust upwards. magma flowed up into the oceans and across the earth. Science tells us that ocean temperatures increased until reaching as high as 100 degrees.
And an ocean that warm had consequences of its own. The waters of the ocean rapidly evaporated, fueling storms worldwide and unrelenting rainfall. Rainfall that went on all over the world, with no end in sight.
At the same time, the abrogation of the earth’s crust resulted in a multitude of volcanic eruptions, accompanied with a massive spewing of volcanic ash into the atmosphere. Also worldwide. And as the ash accumulated, blocking the sun, temperatures on earth started to plummet.
It makes sense. And, in fact, the US of A has actually experienced a mini re-run of this scenario. 1816: Mt. Tambora in Indonesia erupted, and “Volcanic Winter”-meaning enough ash in the air to block sunlight from reaching earth-gripped the eastern seaboard of the US all summer, with temperatures remaining below freezing in New England for the entire summer. 1800 people died. So we’ve seen the process in action.
So…back to the issues of whether the Bible does or does not mention the ice age. It’s true that the Genesis narrative never mentions it. But I don’t think it ever mentions the weather at all. Genesis had sort of a different purpose than meteorological observation.
But Job does. Job, who wrote the book, written in the primitive “paleo-Hebrew” common during the lives of the Patriarchs and now considered the oldest of the books of the Bible to be completed. He wrote shortly after the flood, as his lifespan (recorded as 140 years) fits with the lifespans recorded as they decrease after the flood.
And his book, curiously, contains more references to snow and ice than all the rest of the Bible put together.
“If I wash myself with snow water, And cleanse my hands with soap,” Job 9:30 NKJV
“As drought and heat consume the snow waters, So the grave consumes those who have sinned.” Job 24:19
“For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.” Job 37:6
“Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail, Which are dark because of the ice, And into which the snow vanishes.” Job 38:22
“By the breath of God ice is given, And the broad waters are frozen.” Job 37:10
“From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?” Job 38:29
Take that, “Skeptic”.