Most of us are familiar to some degree with Leonardo da Vinci the artist and his famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. But Leonardo was also an accomplished inventor and observer in the sciences, including geology and paleontology. Not so much attention (until relatively recently) has been given to the fact that Leonardo observed and drew fossils, which he found not only in the hills of his native Tuscany in Italy, but also in other more mountainous areas where his travels took him. He was much intrigued by the fact that fossils of marine life appeared at high elevations.
In Leonardo’s day there existed a number of explanations about the origin of fossils. Some believed they had grown in the rocks. Leonardo pointed out the illogic of such a belief, showing that complex organisms could not possibly have grown inside the rocks, having no food source or way of moving to get food. Another theory was that fossils were nonliving imitations of living things, directly created by God.
However, the one possibility that drew the ire of Leonardo more than the others was the idea that the fossils had been laid down by the biblical Flood. Why? He noted correctly that some mountains are too high now to have been covered by water, and so he postulated that they must have been lifted up from sea level to have shells on top of them. He concluded that, since water flows downward, it could not possibly have deposited shells on the tops of mountains.1 But could it not be true that the mountains were lifted up and the valleys sank lower (as Psalm 104:6–9 indicates) after the biblical Flood deposited those shells, as many creation scientists believe? Why would he not at least admit to that possibility?
Here is the point: Leonardo had the same evidence that we have. Scientists nowadays can and do draw the same conclusions as Leonardo, if their presuppositional worldview is evolutionary. They will “fit” the evidence into their belief system no matter what that evidence shows. In the same way, creationists who see the world through biblical glasses will fit the evidence into our presuppositional worldview. So we have a problem: how do we influence an evolutionist to accept our creationist position using the evidence at hand?
For example, scientists believe there is plenty of evidence that there was once a massive flood on the planet Mars. Why? Because large rocks are oriented in a certain direction as if pushed that way by a flood, and there are also canyons and troughs that appear to have possibly been made by the action of flowing water. What is so odd about their belief is that there is no evidence at all of liquid water on Mars!
However, many of those same scientists, when confronted with the evidence of a worldwide biblical Flood, will mock the idea. Is there any evidence for it? How about three-fourths of the earth’s surface being covered with water up to 6 miles deep (so there is plenty of water here for there to have been a worldwide flood). Or massive graveyards of suddenly-buried, fossilized animals all over the world. Or sedimentation that could only have resulted by catastrophic flooding. You see that creationists see what we want to see and evolutionists see what they want to see, based on our presuppositional worldview.
So, what’s the bottom line? It is this: your interpretation of the “evidence” is seldom going to convince anyone. It might convict them. It might make them think. It might force them to defend their position and thereby make that position’s weaknesses evident to them. It may even force them to admit that “intelligent design” is evident in creation. But to become convinced that there is a Creator (not just any creator, but the great “I am” of the Bible, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) is ultimately a spiritual issue. Our focus at Answers in Genesis is not only to provide evidence for biblical truths, but to convince men and women that they need to return to the authority of Scripture before they can even begin to understand the world around them.
“Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” (Psalm 119:18)