The Pre-Adamic Ruin Theory

Our readers are perhaps aware that there are only three possible theories about the fossils, so far as they are related to the record of creation given in Genesis.


Our readers are perhaps aware that there are only three possible theories about the fossils, so far as they are related to the record of creation given in Genesis. They are:

1. The Pre-Adamic, or Pre-Edenic Ruin theory, which says that the fossils represent the ruins of a world of plants and animals which existed before the creation recorded in the first chapter of the Bible. This is also sometimes called the Ruin and Reconstruction theory.

2. The Day-Age theory, which says that the days of creation were long periods of time, and the fos­sils are the result of the living and dying of the creatures during these long periods. This theory very naturally and inevitably grows into or has grown into the evolution theory.

3. The Flood theory. This says that the world was made "very good ;" but after sin came in, it became necessary for God to destroy the world by a universal flood ; and the fossils are the results of this flood.

There has come to this office a very fine set of arguments against the Pre-Adamic Ruin theory. And although it was not designed for publication in its present form, we have re­ceived permission from the author to publish it, which' we do herewith. The author is Byron C. Nelson, the author of those two, good books, "After Its Kind," and "The De­luge Story in Stone," both published by the Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

4. This Pre-Adamic Ruin explanation rests upon an interpretation of the second verse of the Bible, which is contrary to the simplest sense of the pas­sage, contrary to the sense that it has had in the minds of all Bible students, Hebrew and Christian, from the most remote time when we have records of interpretations of it until modern times, contrary to that which it has today for the Christian church as a whole. Had the sense of the passage not been different from that which Mr, X believes, the trans­lators of the Scriptures into every language would have translated the fourth word in the second verse Of the Bible became not was, as they have done, since was obscures the idea of a primitive creation and destruction, as held by Mr. X.

"a. His explanation is supported (Scofield Bible) by reference to Jeremiah 4:23-26, which is supposed to tell also that the earth underwent a cataclysmic change before it was given its present form, when, as a matter of fact, the passage does nothing like that whatever, but describes in highly graphic lan­guage the condition of desolation which was to come upon the land of Israel in the then future. This is shown by the fact that there are four parallel ex­pressions beginning: 'I beheld, and, lo' (verses 23, 24, 25, 26), one of which undeniably refers to Israel's cities. (Does Mr. X believe there were cities in the first creation?)

"b. His explanation is supported (Scofield Bible) by reference to Isaiah 24:2, which, instead of look­ing to the past, looks to the future of Israel, as the context (verse 1-13) shows.

"c. His explanation is supported (Scofield Bible) by reference to Isaiah 45:18, as if the statement there, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited,' was a contradiction of the idea that when God was creating the present world, it was in a dis­organized condition before it was completed, whereas the statement in Isaiah referred to can just as well apply to the state of the earth described in Genesis 2 :31.

5. His explanation is supported (Scofield Bible) by reference to obscure Ezekiel 28:12-15 and to ob­scure Isaiah 14:9-14, which may be regarded as referring to some judgment of Satan, past or future. John 12:31, Regardless of how it may refer to Satan, there is no sense in the idea that a physical creation of plants and animals should be destroyed as a' punishment upon a purely spiritual being like Satan, whose realm is in the spiritual, not the physi­cal, world. It is like a boy kicking a tree which has nothing to do with his injury received in playing ball. It would indicate foolishness on the part of God.

"6. While the explanation bases such large occur­rences as the earth's stratified and fossiliferous con­dition on a passage (Gen. i :2) which most unclearly testifies to such occurrence, it denies such clear statement of Scripture as Genesis 6 :13, which plainly says that God, in bringing a judgment upon physical beings, men and animals, would destroy the earth.

"7. Because it makes the flood to have been a paltry affair having no geological effect upon the earth, the explanation denies such passages as 2 Peter 3:4-7, which institutes a comparison in the magnitude of their destructions between that wrought by the flood and that yet to come by fire.

"8. It fails to make the conclusions which an in­telligent man ought to make who believes what the Bible says about the flood,—(a) it was universal (Gen. 7 :19) [If not universal, why an ark? since men and animals could readily escape destruction by moving elsewhere.] ; (b) the waters were deep enough to cover the highest hills (Gen. 7:u0) ; and (c) the waters were moving back and forth continually (Gen. 8:3) [Hebrew: "to go and re­turn"]. One cubic foot of water. weighs 64 pounds. At the bottom of half a mile of water there is 168,96o pounds' pressure per square foot. Such weights of moving water over the earth, or even far less, would do immense amounts of geological work, and if there were plants and animals, would bury many in sediment.

"9. From the -time of Philo to the time of Price, all through the Christian Era, as I have shown in my history of the flood theory of geology ("The Deluge Story in Stone," 1931), two competing theories to account for the earth's geological state ran side by side, the deluge theory and the modern uniformitarian theory, with the former predominat­ing until the rise of modern infidelity. No one, in all these centuries, thought of, or at least never sug­gested or championed, the Pre-Adamic Ruin theory until very recent times. If there is any truth in the theory of pre-Adamic ruin, it would have occurred to some of the earnest and intelligent men of God who were contending for •the Bible.

"10. The Pre-Adamic Ruin explanation, I believe, originated with Bible lovers who saw in it a way of reconciling the Bible with the theory of vast ages advocated by modern uniformitarians and evolu­tionists."

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October 1938

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