The Ice Age

In the last post, I mentioned the Ice Age Room at Heart of America’s museum. I thought that I would talk a little bit about the Ice Age.

Like many past events in history, the Ice Age is often associated with deep time and long ages. It is the most recent event, being the last stage in the evolution of the modern world, if you will, nevertheless, it is often thought of as a series of events (traditionally, there was not one Ice Age, but several with warmer periods interspersed between them) starting back 2.5 million years ago and continuing to today (we are thought to be in the middle of a warmer period between ice ages).

Despite the popular ideas about the Ice Age, an Ice Age actually fits very nicely in young-earth creationism. For one thing, rather than a series of ice ages, we believe that there was a single Ice Age. In this model, the Ice Age began a few hundred years after the Flood and ended about 700 years after the Flood. This is a much shorter Ice Age than long-agers describe, but it fits very well with an earth that is only around 6,000 years old.

This model of the Ice Age actually has the Flood initiate the Ice Age. To explain why this happened, we need to understand two seemingly contradictory things about the Ice Age. First, the summers on the continents need to be cold. This specificity might seem odd: doesn’t the entire Earth need to be cold in order to have an ice age? Not necessarily. Our current winters are cold enough for an ice age. After all, many places in high latitudes receive plenty of snow and produce plenty of ice during the Winter. The problem is that is all melts during the Spring and Summer. Thus, the whole year does not need to get colder, just the Summers.

Second, an Ice Age requires a lot of precipitation. Obviously, snow needs to build up in the high latitudes on the continents, so there much be a lot of snowfall. Here is where things seem to become contradictory: increased precipitation means that the oceans need to be warm. After all, most evaporation occurs in the oceans, and that evaporation eventually falls as precipitation, so increased snowfall actually requires warm oceans. Yet, as the previous paragraph explains, we also need cold summers. How do we get the two at the same time?

This is where the Flood comes in. Recall that there were two primary sources of water for the Flood: fountains of the great deep and windows of heaven (Genesis 7:11). While the windows of heaven get a lot of focus, since that is where the forty days of rain came from, the fountains of the great deep may have had a bigger impact on the Flood. There are a variety of explanation of the fountains of the deep, ranging from a storehouse of subterranean water, to a massive amount of undersea volcanism, to a huge amount of tectonic activity that produced a gigantic dome of magma in what is now the Atlantic Ocean. Regardless of what the actually meaning may be, a lot of heat would be involved since something was coming up out of the molten layers of the earth. In fact, it is also thought that the heat produced by these fountains probably cause a lot of immediate evaporation that sent jets of steam shooting into the atmosphere, which contributed the the forty days of rain.

Imagine all of the heat that the fountains could produce. Imagine also about all of the dust and ash it would produce in the atmosphere, especially if volcanism or magma was responsible for flash evaporation of tons of water. As the Flood began to recede, the earth would be calming down, but the aftereffects of the Flood would still be felt. For on thing, the oceans were probably hot, compared to their temperature today, for hundreds of years after the Flood. It would simply take that long for all of the heat from the fountains of the great deep to dissipate. That residual heat would create the evaporation needed to drive the Ice Age. As for the ash and dust, that could have lingered in the atmosphere as fine aerosols. These suspended particles would block the Sun, cooling the earth down. Now, we also have cooler summers. These two factors probably led to the Ice Age.

Over time, the oceans would cool down and the aerosols would fall out of the air and the earth would reach a condition very much like what we know it today. Those first several years after the Flood, however, probably continued to shape the earth, both the landforms on Earth and the distribution of animals and humans across the surface of the earth.

If you would like to know more about the Ice Age caused by the Flood, I would recommend the books An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood published by ICR and Frozen in Time published by Master Books. Both books are by Michael Oard. The former books is technical while the latter is for a general audience. Both lay out of the cause of the Ice Age and describe some of its impacts on the earth.

That should help but the Ice Age in context, and that is the purpose of the Ice Age Room at Heart of America’s museum. The displays in the Ice Age Room are still being created, but it will include a mural showing life in the Ice Age and fossils from Ice Age creatures. Such a display will be a fantastic addition to the museum, and it would be wonderful to make this easily accessible to the public. That can be helped by finishing the new entrance to the museum. That is why we are asking for donations to go toward the completion of the entrance from now until Giving Tuesday. Donations will be gladly accepted on our website, which can be accessed through out Facebook account.

Thoughts from Steven King