Many members of our family are quite interested in geology, especially in the context of Creation and the Flood. When I had the opportunity to sign up to review a course offered by Northwest Treasures, several of us thought it would be useful. There are six video classes in Geology and Apologetics, the course we chose, and each class lasts from 10 to 20 minutes. Each of them is a lecture by Patrick Nurre, illustrated with a slideshow of photographs and quotes. Only four of us ended up watching the entire series—Gayle and I, Esther, and Mr. Intellectual. Simon watched for awhile, and Mr. Imagination was in and out through several of them (a delay tactic to avoid bedtime!), but the other boys were not interested and we didn’t require them to watch.
Lesson One, Knowing the Scriptures in the Secular Geological Age, gives an introduction to what apologetics is. The Greek word Apologia, from which the word Apologetics comes, is defined, and Mr. Nurre talks about why we need apologetics. The foundation we must lay is to know the Scriptures thoroughly. We appreciated this encouragement, and took the time to read the list of Scripture references he gave in the middle of the talk, but we also believe, as a result of personal experience, that knowledge of the Bible alone is not enough in this particular area. We also need to have real facts from the physical world around us in order to be convinced of the authenticity and truthfulness of the Bible.
Lesson Two, Clarifying the Conflict Between Science and the Bible, explores and defines philosophy, history, and science, and their relationship. We have found these definitions useful already as we discuss various topics.
Lesson Three is titled The Genealogies and Chronologies of Genesis, Are They Accurate and Reliable? Genesis 5 gives a record of the names and lifespans of the 11 patriarchs from Adam to Noah’s sons. It begins with talking about the book, the record of Adam’s family. Mr. Nurre points out that because there is no place in the genealogy for a gap, we can trust the age of the earth as shown in Genesis rather than modern scientists’ statement that the earth is 4.6 billion years old.
Lesson Four talks about Evolutionary Gaps in the Fossil Record, How Serious Are They? Mr. Nurre asks, “Is uniformitarianism science?” One little gem that stood out to us is that rocks are dated based on dates assigned in the 1800s, nearly 100 years before radiometric dating was developed. He also points out the “abundant lack” of transitional forms of fossil animals.
Lesson Five is titled Dinosaur-to-Bird Evolution, the Story that Never Seems to Die. Mr. Nurre discusses Archeopteryx quite a lot. He shows two chronologies purporting to show the evolution of birds—and inserts the dates assigned to these fossils by geologists. The result is fascinating, and shows that these chronologies are a pure fabrication! This was by far our favorite lesson, and as we discussed it, we came to the conclusion that the reason we liked it so well was that he told us where the chronologies he showed came from. The lack of citations or a bibliography in the other lessons made them a lot less meaningful to us.
Lesson Six, Time and Chronology in the Secular Geological Age, shows how the geologic column was developed. I found it fascinating that the rock layers we all know about were named for the geographical locations in which they were found. They were not found stacked up, as the charts show; rather, because of the “need” for proving evolution, and as a result of the development of the evolutionary theory the layers were stacked up based on the fossils found in them.
Each of these lessons ends with four questions for discussion. We didn’t find the questions particularly helpful, because we were already discussing the lessons in some depth. They could be good springboards, however.
Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a 20-minute bonus video that was included with our review. This is a very informative introduction to geology, and includes definitions of 13 terms used in geology, starting with Science and History. This video points out that geology is the foundation of what we believe about origins and about the earth. It is also done in slideshow format, with Patrick Nurre talking throughout.
We were disappointed by these lessons, and didn’t feel like they were what we expected. The trailer promised that this course would help us to resolve conflicts and defend our faith. As long as someone already believes that the Bible is true, the information in this series will encourage them and help to shore up their faith, but if we are trying to convince unbelievers or skeptics of the truth of the Bible, the information given here will not be of much help. We have had a number of encounters with unbelievers recently who consider the Bible to be merely a mythical story. Gayle, himself, has been confused in the past about which is true—modern science or the Bible. Because of his experience, and the people he has talked to recently, he feels that we really need evidence from the physical world, not merely from the Bible, to help prove our faith. There is a lot of evidence that has surfaced in recent years that backs up the Bible, which will go a long way toward convincing unbelievers. Some of this was presented in the course, but not enough to be very helpful to us.
I appreciated that the Bible is upheld as the standard of truth. However, as Esther pointed out, no hard proof of the Bible’s trustworthiness was presented; she felt like we were being told to blindly believe it. Also, as I mentioned above, the lack of citations detracted from the information that was presented. If we can’t confirm the facts given, how can we be sure they are true? So, as much as I want to love this course, I can’t truthfully say I do. It could potentially be very good, but we didn’t find it either very interesting or helpful. That may be our problem, since we have spent a lot of time already studying geology and palaeontology; I’m sure some people would get a lot out of this course. On the other hand, some of the other courses offered by Northwest Treasures look helpful. Rock Identification Made Easy looks especially useful; my little ones often ask me what type of rock they have, but I don’t know enough about rocks to answer!