“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”[Genesis 1:9-10]
The overwhelming majority of physical scientists and geologists advocate a theory that the ancient earth’s land mass once fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and consisted of a supercontinent, called Pangaea. According to uniformitarian models of the earth, plate tectonics produced continental drift over millions of years and Pangaea gradually drifted apart forming the oceans and major continents of today.
Although the Bible does not explicitly teach that the earth was once a supercontinent, the basic concept of Pangaea is possible within Biblical creation models [see Genesis 1:9-10]. The geologic record seems to provide evidence that the continents once were interconnected.
For example, many rock types and formations abruptly end on the coast of one continent and just as abruptly begin on the coast of another continent. In many instances, these similar rock patterns and formations are found on the very continents that seem to have fit together in the past, which would imply that at some point they were seamless.
Furthermore, according to Answers in Genesis, the jigsaw-puzzle fit of Europe and Africa matches closely with North and South America, respectively.
“If the North and South Atlantic Ocean basins are closed, these continents fit together at approximately the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a range of mountains on the ocean floor centrally located in the Atlantic Ocean basins.”
But the glaring problem with the evolutionary model of Pangaea and the Biblical creation model is time! From a purely naturalistic, uniformitarian world view, Pangaea represents over 250 million years of gradual geologic processes and tectonic activity that eventually produced the continents of today.
The millions-of-years timeline is diametrically opposed to Biblical creation, which plainly teaches that the universe was created in 6 literal, 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago (Exodus 20:11).
But if an original supercontinent did drift apart, how can that be explained within the limited time in a Biblical creation model?
I’m glad you asked.
Plate Tectonics and the Global Flood
From a Biblical perspective, we understand the Pangaea model not as a slow, gradual continental drift over millions of years but rather as a rapid, catastrophic continental sprint that took approximately a year. If the continents were once joined together, then a global flood would explain the immense seismic, volcanic, and tectonic force necessary to fracture and rapidly move the earth’s crust.
The Bible speaks of this fracturing of the earth’s surface during the flood when speaking of the “fountains of the great deep” bursting from underneath the earth.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.”[Genesis 7:11]
Dr. Walter Brown has committed over 30 years to his hydroplate theory to explain one possible scenario of rapid continental drift during the flood. You can find out more about his theory by clicking the link here.
Interestingly, it was a Christian geologist named Antonio Snider in 1859 who first proposed this jigsaw puzzle fit of all the continents, except that he believed the spreading apart and separation of the continents occurred catastrophically during the Genesis Flood.
Mountains Rose Up Rapidly
Another interesting discovery we find in Scripture is that high mountains and deep ocean basins were likely formed rapidly as a result of the catastrophic geologic rearrangement of the earth during the flood. This would explain how sea shells and marine fossils are found on the highest mountain peaks all over the world.
Consider Psalm 104.
“He set the earth on its foundations,[Psalm 104:5-9 – ESV]
so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.”
All the primary geologic processes responsible for forcing the catastrophic continental movements during the Flood appear to have likewise begun to rapidly decelerate on and after day 150. Genesis 8:3 indicates that the Flood waters began to steadily decrease and therefore recede from this time point onward, which would seem to indicate that the Flood waters were now subject to new land surfaces and topography rising and valleys sinking as a result of vertical earth movements.
“And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.“[Genesis 8:3-4]
Folding and Buckling Rock Layers
Whereas uniformitarian geologists claim that tens of thousands of feet of sedimentary layers have been deposited over more than 500 million years, the global cataclysmic Flood of Genesis leads creation geologists to believe that most of these layers were deposited in just over one year. As a result, many different strata would have been laid down in rapid succession during the Flood, creating the amazing folded, jutted, and wrinkled rock formations we see today through the earth.
Only sediment that is pliable like mud or clay can coalesce into such unique rock formations, which gives further credence to the global Flood. Solid rock formations will always crack or fracture when bent under pressure.
Furthermore, there is evidence of rapid plate collisions across the continents that caused rock layers to rise up and jut out.
Pangaea may have been a reality in the pre-flood world, but only the Bible gives a logical, scientific explanation for how there are similar geologic formations all over the world, how continents rapidly split apart, and how the high mountain ranges and deep ocean basins were formed.