Geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling is a professor with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and is a highly regarded geological researcher and author. [Ed. note: In June 2007 Andrew’s employment began with Answers in Genesis as their Director of Research. He continues though to reside in Brisbane, Australia and commute regularly as necessary to the USA.] This article is based on a recent conversation between Ken Ham (president and CEO of Answers in Genesis) and Dr. Snelling. This interview summary also includes excerpts from Dr. Snelling’s contribution to the upcoming Master Books release Persuaded by the Evidence.
Q: Andrew, did you grow up in a Christian home, and did this influence you to become a born-again Christian?
I was raised in a Christian home in Australia and was taken by my mum and dad to a Bible-believing church, but it wasn’t until I was eight that my parents’ faith became my own. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I went to a holiday camp, and a camp leader gave a serious presentation of the gospel. That night, I knelt by my bed, asked for God’s forgiveness, and invited Him to take charge of my life.
Q: How and when did you first get interested in geology?
A year later, we went on a family holiday to Tasmania and Queenstown, where there were some copper mines. I was fascinated by the colored rocks. By the time I got to high school, I was convinced I was going to become a geologist. I could often be found reading geology books in the library during lunchtime.
Q: As a Christian studying geology, how did you reconcile what you were reading in secular textbooks with what you read in the Bible?
That was a faith-testing time. During high school, I struggled to reconcile what I was reading in textbooks—countless references to millions of years—to what the Scriptures so clearly taught. The gap theory was held by my church, but that didn’t satisfy me. So my mother went to a Christian bookstore in Sydney where a gentleman told her about the book The Genesis Flood.
Q: Andrew, were you ever the object of any bias for being a creationist while working on your Ph.D.?
There were a couple instances, but one of the most prominent involved an article I had written for Creation magazine after receiving my doctorate. The article exposed some problems with published dating results obtained from mineral samples from the Koongarra uranium deposit in Australia’s Northern Territory. A staff member at the university where the analyses were performed got rather irate by the article. I was told later that a delegation went to the chairman of the geology department and asked that my Ph.D. be taken from me for having written this article.
All I was doing was using their own results to point out the problems with the dating methods. They didn’t like that. But as I see it, if Christians won’t stand for truth, who will?
Q: Could they have actually taken your Ph.D. from you?
No, not directly. The chairman would have had to have taken his complaint to the University Senate, who is the authority for awarding the Ph.D. degree in the Australian system. Someone told me that the chairman didn’t want another “Galileo affair.”
Q: What advice would you give young-earth creationists about their future education and research in their given field?
Initially, I would suggest that they contact creation scientists in their field of interest to obtain advice as to what area to study and which university is the best from which to obtain a Ph.D. Those creation scientists can then mentor and help students while they remain silent, get the best possible degree from the best suited university for the chosen field—one that would assist future creation research.
Q: Andrew, you were an integral part of the ICR’s RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) project. Do you think the project answered the questions about the problems with the dating methods?
It gave significant results that give answers and confidence to Christians. The “clocks” can’t be trusted to have ticked correctly. The basic assumptions are wrong, and they give clearly spurious results. Therefore, we don’t have to be shaken from our scriptural foundation by these supposed accurate numbers because they are not accurate. The second thing is that there is positive evidence from radioisotopes and from what we see in the rocks that the earth is young. (For more information about the RATE project, see RATE research reveals remarkable results—a fatal blow to billions of years.)
Q: You are writing a new book on the Flood that will come alongside and update The Genesis Flood. Can you tell us about it?
It’s a huge project that I’ve been working on for the last seven years. We’ll incorporate the latest findings from creation scientists about deposition during the Flood, the layers, fossils, and earth movements. It will also deal briefly with the dating methods. Of course, Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. John Whitcomb didn’t have some of those evidences back in 1961 when they wrote the book.
Q: What are some evidences that persuaded you to become an avid biblical creationist and Flood geologist?
The one thing that has not changed through all these years is that the scriptural account of earth history alone explains the world. Second, the preservation of so many remarkably complete fossils, even with soft tissues meticulously fossilized, could have resulted from nothing less than a catastrophic global Flood. And third, the strata of the geologic record bear testimony to the catastrophic geologic processes that were responsible for depositing them on a global scale.
To hear the exclusive 40-minute interview between Ken Ham and Dr. Andrew Snelling, click here.