Commentary by Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International: Roger Oakland Ministries

On May 18, 1980, a major catastrophic event occurred in the state of Washington, which exhibited explosive power unprecedented in modern United States history.

Imagine the scenario.  A mountain begins to ripple then slides down the hill in a massive avalanche. Plumes of superheated ash rise rapidly from the summit crater then move horizontally accelerating at high speed. In a matter of moments, trees are flattened in an area covering 150 square miles.

One branch of the avalanche slammed into Spirit Lake, approximately five miles to the northeast of the crater, forcing water out of the lake and shooting 600 feet up the neighboring slopes. Trees, top soil and volcanic debris were washed back into the lake with tremendous force.

The bulk of the avalanche, directed westward, left a deposit of volcanic mud and ash over 600 feet thick. Subsequent eruptions took place over the following months and years, and although less severe, they caused additional mud flows and added volcanic deposition to the area of devastation.

For decades, geology has been based upon the assumption that the layers of the earth represent gradual deposition over extremely long periods of time. For example, when an observer stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon and looks at the vast horizontal layers of the earth that make up the canyon walls, uniformitarian geology proposes that these layers represent hundreds of millions of years of time.

But the Mt. St. Helens event shed new light on the picture. As a result of three separate mud and ash flows deposited by the Mount St. Helens eruptions over a two year period [1980-1982], and a canyon that was formed by erosion as these deposits were devastated by a mud flow on March, 19, 1982, we now have overwhelming evidence that stratification can occur quickly. The layers are there for everyone to see.



Mt. St. Helens has caused geologists all over the world to reexamine their basic beliefs. Layers can be formed suddenly during catastrophe. If it can happen, as demonstrated by the activity of just a single volcano in just a short period of time, what about the possibility of this happening on a much larger scale in the past, perhaps simultaneously around the world?

According to the biblical account, there was a time in earth's history when the layers of the earth were formed at the same time. The Genesis account tells us about a global catastrophic event which occurred as the "fountains of the great deep broke up" (Genesis 7: 11). The entire planet experienced volcanic activity as the earth's crust fractured. Powerful wave activity along with volcanic eruptions would have deposited layers of the earth very quickly on a massive scale.

While evolutionary geologists willingly deny the Flood of Noah ever occurred, the evidence for sudden destruction and the formation of layers evidenced by Mt. St. Helens is rather clear. The evidence we see in the world and the explanation we have from God's word agree.