The geologic column—that presentation of the rock record that places rock strata into various ages—can be intimidating. Because it seems authoritative and we see it so frequently, we sometimes place more faith in it than it actually deserves.

Without a doubt, rocks and rock strata can be characterized by placing them on the column. While many incorrect notions are imbedded in this diagram (most particularly the “absolute” ages given), rock layers really do usually line up the way the drawing presents them. This visual illustration can be a useful tool, especially when considering one rock’s age “relative” to another. But the rock layers are frequently dated by their fossil content, arranged in the erroneous evolutionary order. How much credence should the Christian creationist place in it?

It might help to consider the rock layers in Grand Canyon, since they are so well known and studied in creationist literature. Obviously, the layers rest one on top of another, with no gaps between them. Schematic drawings present them this way, but while the layers are dated consecutively, they are not dated one right after the other. Often there are lengthy time gaps postulated between the layers. The rock record of those time periods is missing. These gaps, called “unconformities,” represent either a period of non-deposition or of erosion….

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