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When I was a teen, we were actually scheduled to go down to Mt St Helens when she blew. Fortunately we were still far away, but there was ash in the sky and all over the cars. It wasn’t until much later in life I began to ponder Divine protection, perfect synchronicity, and to ask, so why am I still alive?

When we are young many of us feel invincible and so it is only when one grows older that you can look back at your misspent youth and have a good shudder. I actually sailed to Hawaii, in a hurricane. Do not recommend. An entire shelf of pottery came down on me in an earthquake in California. What was so astounding, some of those pots were so heavy, they dented the tile floor, but not my head for some odd reason. I fell through the ice in a lake in Alaska, alone, and somehow managed to get myself out. It helped not being old enough to understand how dangerous that was.

Something I learned in Hawaii which has a lot of volcanic activity and is constantly building new landscape, is that time is not what we think it is. The same is true of the eruption at Mt St Helens. Rather than slow, progressive evolution spanning billions of years, the entire landscape can change in an instant. A few short years later, you would never even know what used to be there, how the entire mountain has been rearranged, lakes built, new plant life introduced. It almost looks as if it has always been that way.

That did not take a 100 billion years to build, that took months, at best a few decades to complete the whole design.

We people, scientists especially, are not very good at measuring time. Time is not really linear and what gives time it’s “linear feel” is actually just human perception, which as we know can be very subjective and fluid. That’s why it sometimes takes billions of years for 5 O’clock on a Friday afternoon to arrive and the whole weekend only lasts about 30 minutes.

Decomposition is another tricky one, a gruesome subject for sure, but it can take anywhere from 72 hours to 7500 years depending on many conditions, humidity, temps, climate, environment, scavengers, air flow. A dead mouse can disappear instantly if a cat comes along, or decompose in a few days if everything aligns. Or given the right conditions, remain petrified and mummified for much of eternity.

Those are some of the challenges we face in trying to assign a timeline to a recently expired critter. You can imagine how challenging fossils are! Recently some scientists acknowledged having made a mistake, likely having been off by about a million years. Believe it or not, “give or take a few million years,” is not all that unusual when it comes to science and time.

There are actually some living creatures recently discovered in the past 20 years that we once called extinct. They don’t even exist except in the fossil record, which sets them back a few hundred thousand years…but apparently our calculations where a bit off because some of them are swimming about today. So oops, these fossilized creatures are not good evidence of something having taken place at least a few hundred thousand years ago. That could have happened just 50 years ago.

When we start getting into deep time, time as a concept of billions and billions of years, all bets are off, heck all science is off. At that point what we have are theories, speculations, perhaps even probabilities, but nowhere is it actually written in stone.

So that’s all I want to say today. When it comes to things like evolution versus creation, a bit more observation of nature as she really is, might improve our understanding. Not long ago I was talking with some young scientists, trying desperately to explain to them that no, no, this occurred in my lifetime. I have photographs. We had a picnic in that very spot. I was there. I am not yet a fossil. What you see before you is not what once was.

Is there a name for this kind of cognitive dissonance, this worldview, this insistence that everything just evolved from the slow, progressive, gentle collection of silt over thousands and thousands of years??

A cataclysm is not an overpriced energy drink in a funny looking can. It’s a catastrophic event that creates rapid change, some of them like Mt St Helens being tiny enough (“tiny” being a relative term for sure) but I mean small enough to have left many of the witnesses still standing and able to study such things.

Anyway, yes, yes I do believe that creation as it is told in the Bible is a valid view, providing scientific data even, that can serve to change our worldview to one more aligned with reality. We recoil at the thought of the world being created in a day or of a global flood wiping out all life, and yet we have many actual “tiny” modern day examples of how our entire landscape can be rearranged in an instant.

I have a hard time convincing people that, “what you see before you is not what once was,” and that is true of so, so many things.