Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#65- Two Lessons from Helen

A Character story about wisdom.

"Hey, Dad, can you drill me on these science terms for a few minutes? I want to get a good grade on the test tomorrow," Jason asked one evening.
"Oh, sure, Son," replied Mr. Jensen as he laid his newspaper on the lamp table. Taking Jason's paper, he began, "What is a fossil?"
"Any trace or remains of a living organism that has been preserved by natural means."
"Good. What is a rock stratum?"
"A layer of sedimentary rock."
"Say, you're doing well. I can tell you've been studying. Uh, who is considered to be the father of modern geology?"
"Uh, . . . Lyell was his last name. I forgot his first name. I know he started u-uniformitarianism - I practiced a lot to be able to say that one! He's the one who said, 'The present is the key to the past.'"
"And do you agree with this?" Mr. Jensen asked.
"Huh? I-I don't know. I guess so. I don't think that's on the study sheet, is it?"
"No, but you want to do more than just learn the facts, don't you?"
"Well sure, I guess. But I haven't really thought about what it means. Can you explain it?"
"I'd be glad to," Mr. Jensen said with a smile. "Charles Lyell said that to understand what happened in the past, you simply study present processes because nothing has really changed all that much. For example, how did the rock strata get here? Lyell said that the present way that rock layers are formed is the key to how they formed long ago. Now do you agree with that?"
"It sounds O.K., doesn't it?"
"Many processes do continue at a steady rate. But Lyell failed to acknowledge the effects of catastrophes such as Noah's flood. A world-wide event like that would change the face of the whole earth, wouldn't it?"
"Yeah, it sure would."
"In fact, Son, next week we are celebrating the anniversary of a major catastrophe. Do you know what it was?" Jason thought a minute, then shook his head. "On May 18th, 1980 at 8:32am a volcanic mountain named Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington blew its top. Here, I'll show you a few pictures in this book." He opened a book on the lamp table. "Here, this one shows the mountain before the eruption. It was 9677 feet tall. The blast caused by steam pressure from within had the force of 20 million tons of dynamite or 20,000 times the power of the atomic bomb dropped in the Second World War. It blew 1300 feet off the top of the mountain. Some of this formed a wave in Spirit Lake below which washed away trees 850 feet above the normal water level! The rock in this picture is a tenth of a mile in diameter and was thrown through the air for eight miles!"
"Wow!" Jason exclaimed. "Did it hit anybody?"
"Not this rock. But steam, dust, and hot rock at 550 degrees Fahrenheit spewed out for 9 hours. These are fallen trees in this picture. In six minutes, the blast knocked down enough trees to build 640,000 three bedroom homes. Now that's what you call a catastrophe!"
"I'll say!" Jason agreed.
"I'm telling you all this because some interesting geology has taken place since then. If you looked at the area around Mt. St. Helens today without knowing about the eruption, you might think it took thousands of years to form the changes. For example, over 600 feet of strata have formed from the volcano. While scientists say that normally an inch of rock strata take thousands of years to form, here is 600 feet that formed in a few years. Mud flows have also caused massive erosion. A mud slide on March 19, 1982 eroded a canyon system nearby that is up to 140 feet deep. It is a one fortieth scale model of the Grand Canyon of Arizona which scientists said took millions of years to form. Yet this one took only a few years."
"Now I'm beginning to see what you mean. The slow ways things normally happen today would never explain the result of a big ca- casatrophe, er, I mean, castastrope like an earthquake or volcano."
"Or a catastrophic flood like Noah's. And since these methods are the means of telling the age of the earth, maybe the earth is not really as old as some scientists tell us. What do you think?"
"Yeah, I get it. Maybe castatropes - or however you say it - made the earth look older than it really is," Jason nodded.
"Right. You see, Lyell was not the first uniformitarianist. In Second Peter chapter three we are told that in the last days scoffers will say, 'all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.' That's uniformitarianism, isn't it?"
"Is that really in the Bible?" Jason asked in surprise. "I didn't know it talked about science stuff like that."
Mr. Jensen chuckled. "The Bible deals with the principles that govern every aspect of life. Well, we'd better get back to studying. But first I wanted to share one other lesson St. Helens teaches us. An earthquake took place immediately under Mt. St. Helens in the middle of March of 1980. For the next two months before the eruption, steam streamed from the peak. Also the north summit began to swell at a rate of three to five feet a day, and in the last few days, at a rate of 50 feet a day. There was no doubt that something was going to happen. Yet, in spite of this, 60 people were killed because they failed to heed the warning and flee from the danger ahead."
"Boy, that was dumb," Jason sneered. "Why didn't they get out of there?"
"Oh, they had different reasons. Some might have said, 'This volcano hasn't erupted for 123 years. It probably won't erupt now.' In that same passage in Second Peter, it says that scoffers will say, 'Where is the promise of His coming?' You see, people say the same thing about the coming of the Lord. And when He comes, many will not be ready."
"That's really true, isn't it? Thanks Dad. I sure got more out of my science study than I hoped for. You always make it so much more interesting."
"Glad to help," Mr. Jensen beamed. "Well, back to the study questions for you. I just know you'll do great tomorrow."
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THOUGHT: If the present is the key to the past, then could evolution be true, since it has never been observed in the present?