Past climate records are provided in the annual layers in ice cores drilled from ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Prior to 11,000 years ago, the ice cores indicate that the Earth experienced an ice age climate—low and variable temperature, extreme wind laden with dust, and also drought. This was incompatible with life in Eden where the climate was "mild and uniform" (P&P p. 61). Then the greatest global climate change ever recorded occurred, giving a mild, stable climate, and Creation Week followed. The conclusion is that Creation Week was a recent event, in accord with Scripture and the writings of Ellen White.
Creation Week is a cornerstone of Adventist doctrine and the foundation for observation of the seventh-day Sabbath. Recent theological studies, and earlier studies based solely on Scripture, both confirm that Creation Week was the latter part of a two-stage process of active Creation that was initiated when the foundation of the Earth was laid. This agrees with the age of the Earth revealed by God's Book of Nature and with the chronology of events that occurred during the "gap" period between Creation Week and primeval planet formation.
But when did Creation Week occur on the Earth that God had prepared? This question is very relevant to current theology. Based on the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, Scripture states that the Creation Week of seven literal days occurred about 6,000 years before the present (BP). However, some scholars question the completeness of these genealogies, which are the only Scriptural basis for the 6,000 year belief. Ellen White stated many times that about 6,000 years had elapsed since Creation Week, while according to the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs, Creation Week was "recent." However, according to progressive creationism, each creation day represents a long indefinite period of time, suggesting Creation began eons ago. Adopted by many Protestants, including some Adventists, and recently embraced fully by the Roman Catholic Church, theistic evolution also destroys the significance of Sabbath observance.
In the above context, and in view of the uncertainty regarding the use of the Genesis genealogies as chronologies, the establishment of the recent creation concept is very relevant. Since Ellen White states that, "the book of nature and the written Word shed light upon each other," these authors considered aspects of earth sciences and found evidence that Creation Week was a recent event. Created life would require a suitable climate in which to flourish and the climate after Creation Week was mild with a stable temperature and clear air. A record of when this climate developed and when Creation Week probably occurred is provided by ice cores (about 2 to 3 km in length) drilled through the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
The Ice Core Evidence
Ice core research, based on the 19 cores drilled in Greenland, Antarctica, and Canada, represents a major achievement in modern Earth Sciences. Most Adventists have no concept of this and fail to realize it is another chapter in God's Book of Nature with relevance to Creation theology. Since the 18O/16O and 2H/1H isotope ratios (usually expressed as delta values) in ice are related to the temperature at the precipitation site, ice core layers can reveal past climate. Each Greenland ice core layer almost invariably represents one year and the summer and winter seasons can be distinguished which facilitates visual counting of annual layers. With Greenland cores, this can be done back to 90,000 years BP. However, due to the relatively low precipitation in Antarctica, the cores usually have required some calculation to determine layer age which extends back to 800,000 years BP. Nevertheless, recently some visual counting has been possible. and  No radiometric dating is required in characterizing core layers. Cores from the ocean floors also provide data concerning past temperatures which correlate closely with the Antarctica ice core results, confirming their reliability. While the Antarctic ice core record terminates at 800,000 years BP, the record of the marine cores continues in the same trend back to 2-3 million years BP. Hence, the climate revealed by the ice cores probably continued beyond 800,000 years in the past.
Ice cores have revealed periods of severe glaciation and low temperatures (10–25oC lower than today) with recurring short warmer intervals (interglacials) that usually arise very rapidly giving transient maxima that decline much more slowly, often with a saw-tooth profile (see Figures 1 and 2).
The change in temperature recorded by the Vostok (Antarctica) ice cores (Figure 1, red graph line) extends back to 400,000 years BP and is typical of Antarctic cores. However, the EDC core shows the same trends and continues back to 800,000 years BP when it terminates at the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic event confirming chronology. Greenland ice cores,and accord with the Antarctic in time of onset of the last glacial maximum (about 25,000 years BP) but differ in having a greater number of interglacial (or interstadial) events over the period 32-50 thousand years BP. The NorthGRIP ice core from Greenland (Figure 2) reveals this climate instability clearly.
Figure 1: Atmospheric temperature (red profile) and methane concentration (green profile) recorded in annual layers along the Vostok ice core from Antarctica. The temperature data were calculated from delta 2H values. The profiles are derived from a graphic complex due to Petit and 18 coworkers (see ref 11).
Figure 2: The delta 18O values for annual layers along the NGRIP ice core from central Greenland. These values are very closely related to temperature, and the maximum and minimum values correspond to a temperature differences of 20oC. To conserve space, the profile has been terminated at 48,000 years BP, but a similar pattern of peaks continues to about 90,000 years BP in this and other Greenland ice cores. The peaks at interstadials (transient warm periods) are numbered Gl-1 to Gl-12 using the system employed for Greenland. Peaks 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 when plotted on a broader scale, all yield saw-tooth profiles. The dramatic change in global climate at about 11,700 years BP is marked. The profile is modified from Svensson. (see ref. 13) with an extension to the present (derived from Blockley, see ref. 14) inserted at 10,000 years BP.
Some Answers for Possible Critics
Because ice cores establish an age for the Earth very much greater than six to 10 thousand years, young earth creationists (YEC's) endeavor to cast doubt on this science and resort to misquotation and selective quotation of science articles. and YEC continue to present discredited evidence purported to invalidate ice core science, notably the depth of ice covering abandoned WW2 planes in Greenland. Repeatedly, this YEC reasoning has been exposed as error.,, and  Another YEC proposal is that the ice core layers observed are event layers (caused by storms and climatic events) and not annual layers, and, in an attempt to establish this, work by ice pioneers was misquoted (see ref. 17). These pioneers considered the above question very carefully and based on observations concluded storms and weather events did not affect chronology. The extreme regularity of new layer formation appears to exclude such variable events as agents of layer development.
If the ice core layers were due to storms and atmospheric events, layer number should vary with the climate at the location where the core was drilled. In the case of three selected Greenland core sites, climate does indeed vary considerably, but the layer number (and years) between Holocene events does not vary with cores from the three locations. and However, the ultimate change in polar climate would be a shift from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere. Thus, when a group of volatile volcanic signals were recorded in both Greenland and Antarctica cores, the total number of layers counted visually between the signals is almost identical for both hemispheres (see ref. 10).
However, the chronology of ice cores and the annual nature of the layers is established beyond doubt by the occurrence of dated volcanic ash (tephra) in specific layers of the cores and also by geomagnetic and varve evidence. In YEC discussions of ice cores, all this evidence is omitted conveniently, but it is outlined below under Chronological Markers for Ice Cores.
Chronological Markers for Ice Cores
The Greenland chronology, based on visual counting of the layers, has been verified by tephra markers at 1912 AD, 1783 AD, 1362 AD, 79 AD, 1642 BC, 10.3 thousand years (ky) BP, 12.2 ky BP, and 26.7 ky BP., and  The specific volcanic source of each tephra has been identified. Events dated by ice cores at 8.2 ky BP, and  11.7 and 12.9 ky BP  have been confirmed by the pollen record of lake varves. The volcanic aerosol sulphuric acid spike at 74 ky BP (see ref. 10), (the gigantic Toba eruption in Sumatra), and the 10Be peaks of the Laschamp geomagnetic event at 41 ky BP  provide additional confirmation for the Greenland ice cores.
The acid spike at 74 ky BP and the magnetic event at 41 ky BP also confirm the Antarctic chronologies which are further supported by known volcanic eruptions at AD 1884, 1816, 1601, 1460 (see ref. 12). These are evidenced by aerosol acid spikes, but the Antarctic cores usually lack the detailed tephra evidence applicable to Greenland. However, further significant confirmation for Antarctica is provided by three facts: (1) the detection at the EDC core base of the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal at about 780 ky BP; and  (2) the correct occurrence of tephra derived from the eruption of Mt Moulton (Antarctica) at 93 ky BP;  (3) the sea floor cores give a temperature and glaciation record (often substantiated by dated tephra layers) that corresponds very closely with Antarctic ice cores. Thus EDC core is the longest Antarctic ice core and correlates closely over 800,000 years BP with the LR04 marine sediment "stack" of 57 globally distributed benthic shell records. When the lag in expression of climate change in the relevant shell organisms is corrected for, the marine and ice core plots/graph lines are nearly identical.
Conclusion: Modern Ice core science has an established chronological basis for the climate events of the past that this technology reveals.
Climate in Glacial Times
For over 1 million years, the Earth experienced periods of severe glaciation and the last glacial maximum (LGM), when temperatures were lowest, occurred at about 25,000 years BP (Figure 1 and 2). The Earth, and especially the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, were not a pleasant place at this time. Northern US, all of Canada, northern Europe including Scotland, northern England and all of Ireland, were covered by an ice sheet 1 to 2 km thick. At lower latitudes in Europe, there was a broad region of permafrost. During the LGM, greatest cooling occurred at high latitudes in both hemispheres and temperatures in Greenland and Antarctica were at least 10-25oC below those observed in these regions in pre-industrial times.
However, there is now evidence that the entire planet was affected by the LGM and even the tropics of Africa and South America were cooled by about 5oC. From a large compilation of world-wide differences in surface air temperature between LGM and modern times, the mean difference for terrestrial tropic locations was 5.5oC. Changes in vegetation revealed by pollen evidence indicate southern Europe was about 10oC colder (annual mean) than at modern times, while Russia was over 20oC colder in winter relative to that of today.
However, low temperatures with great variability (see Figure 2 prior to 12,000 years BP) was not the only climatic feature that could adversely affect man. In layers of ice cores of both hemispheres, at glacial times, high levels and fluxes of dust (20-100 times those of interglacials) were found and correlate closely with increases in sodium levels.and Since the dust in Greenland cores originated in China, and that in Antarctic cores has been sourced to South America, strong and persistent wind systems were involved. In the Northern Hemisphere, an increase in wind velocity and incidence of storms has been established during glacial times. The level of salt from the sea depends on wind velocity, and the ice cores reveal that this uptake increased markedly and very rapidly during glaciation. The increased wind speed has been confirmed by assessing a biological effect of wind recorded in marine cores in Venezuela. Furthermore, stronger winds in glacial times relative to interglacials are recorded in China and Africa by the increased size of particles carried by ice age winds.
Glaciation and formation of the giant ice sheets had a predictable consequence: reduced precipitation and hence drought. Since temperature was closely correlated with precipitation, this was predicted directly from the ice cores. Drought in glacial times occurred in many areas world-wide (see ref. 39) but particularly in China, and some desert regions expanded during the ice age. In combination, low and very variable temperature, dust-laden strong wind, drought, and giant ice sheets rendered many regions of the planet unsuitable for human habitation.
Further insight concerning the ice age world, and God as sustainer of the universe, is provided by the concentration of atmospheric gases in the air bubbles trapped in the ice core layers. The gases include CO2 and methane (CH4), the "greenhouse" gases. Each interglacial temperature rise in Antarctic cores back to 800,000 years BP is synchronous with increased CH4 and CO2 concentrations (see Figure 1 green plot/graph line; also ref. 35). Each interglacial numbered 1–12 in Figure 2 (Greenland profile) is exactly synchronous with a CH4 peak. (CO2 levels not accessible.)
At glacial to interglacial transitions, the CH4 concentration in the air often doubles (Figure 1) with an increase of about 300 ppb in volume. This equates to a total atmospheric increase of 844 x 109 kilograms based on an effective atmospheric height of 8.2 km. This huge increase synchronizes with a marked increase in CO2 and a rise in temperature of 10–20oC at the ice surface. These are immense, rapid, coordinated changes that have occurred regularly for at least one million years. By chance or by design? They indicate biochemical integration on a scale only God could control.
The Great Climate Change
For one million years at least, the Earth was gripped by a hostile and very variable climate. During long glacial periods, dust-laden winds and storms swept a chilled planet which had areas of drought and other regions covered in giant ice sheets. Then, about 11,700 years ago, the ice cores reveal that the pattern set for nearly one million years was broken. After the temperature rose rapidly to yield another interglacial warm period, it did not decline as normal and continued to rise and then remained approximately constant for 10,000 years until today (Figure 2). This Greenland change in temperature was detected world-wide in ice cores from Antarctica, Peru, and Bolivia, in lake sediment cores from Norway, Germany, Japan, Canada, Poland, and New Zealand, and in spleothern records from China and Turkey. (see ref. 40). In synchrony with this rise in temperature at the beginning of the Holocene (11,700 years ago BP), each climate parameter already mentioned also changed very rapidly in the NorthGRIP and other Greenland ice core records. Precipitation increased; sea salt level was decimated; hence, the strong winds and storms were calmed; dust level decreased by a factor of 50-100; the transient interstadial temperature rises (numbered 1 to 12 in Figure 2) with increases in methane and CO2 and observed for one million years, disappeared completely. Similar changes occurred in the Antarctic ice core layers. The ice ages of the past were gone and temperatures had become mild and stable (note the constant level in Figure 2 after 10,000 years BP). Climate had changed completely. It was the greatest climate change recorded on Earth. The resulting warm Holocene climate, revealed by ice and marine cores, contrasts with that for the preceding glacial (ice age) eras when the planet was locked in low and variable temperatures with dry, windy, and extremely dusty conditions incompatible with life in Eden. Here climate was "mild and uniform in temperature" after creation (see ref. 8). It is reasonable to conclude that Creation Week occurred after the great climate change and probably after 10,000 years before the present (cf. Fig. 2). This deduction from ice cores agrees with Scripture and the writings of Ellen White.
A Recent Creation Week
The great climate change and Creation Week appear to be linked. The increase in temperature caused by the climate change induced precipitation and also released vast volumes of water locked in the great ice sheets, probably contributing to the great water excess at the start of Creation Week (Genesis 1:2, 9; Psalm 104:6). Although the timing of the great climate change is known with certainty from ice core and lake sediment studies, the exact chronological relationship to Creation Week is not established. However, both are recent events, and the climate change may have been a precursor for Creation Week. While 11,700 years BP was the time of initiation of the climate change, temperature and sea level continued to rise till 10,000 and 8,000 years BP, respectively. The latter date was determined by the time required for melting of the great ice sheets which raised sea level by 125 meters. There appears to be some logic in concluding that Creation Week actually occurred after these dates. This would also place it after the transient cold event of 8,200 years ago (see ref. 28 and 29).
The ice cores may have recorded an actual imprint of Creation Week after eight thousand years ago. In studies of CO2 levels in ice cores from six different Antarctic locations, an unexpected marked rise in concentration commenced at each site between 7,200 and 7,700 years BP.and  The concentration then continued to rise steadily, instead of declining as predicted from the trend established over 800,000 years (Fig. 3). The unexplained rise in CO2 at 7.5 thousand years ago was accompanied by a decrease in delta 13C, and the two effects have been regarded as evidence of a developing "global carbon cycle." Like CO2, methane also exhibited an anomalous atmospheric concentration change and rose continuously after 5,000 years ago instead of continuing to decline. It is relevant that W.F. Ruddiman, an atmospheric scientist and expert in this area, considers the above elevations in CO2 and methane are "anomalous" and "are not natural and thus are most likely anthropogenic,"i.e., caused by man. Some consider the rise in methane is attributable to increasing wetland culture of plants. A further abnormality of the Holocene was revealed in a comparison of the ice core data with an indicator of past climate. A marked transition of atmospheric circulation was dated at 6,600 years BP when a short period of unusually very stable climate began. While the results outlined above are of interest, a causal relationship involving Creation Week has not been established. Never-the-less, the ice cores reveal that something significant occurred about 7,000 years ago probably involving a marked induction of plant growth and also atmospheric changes.
Figure 3: Carbon dioxide concentration in ice core layers of differing age. After reaching a maximum (natural CO2 peak in figure, 11,000 years BP) corresponding to the start of the great climate change, the CO2 levels then decline for 3,000 years. Based on 800,000 years of ice core records, projected levels are shown. The observed levels (red dots) are marked until 1,000 years ago. The figure is based on the Antarctic ice cores at Taylor Dome and is redrawn with modifications from Ruddiman (see ref. 50).
Studies of world populations may have some relevance to our discussion, but since these are a departure from ice core and related modern science, they and Figure 4 are relegated to an appendix. However, the Figure shows that the first recorded significant population rise occurred at 7,000 years BP, consistent with a recent Creation Week.
The above discussion indicates that Creation Week was a recent event probably linked to the accurately dated great climate change that began at 11,700 years ago.
A new chapter in God's book of Nature has been recorded in the polar ice sheets. Through modern science, man has been given the knowledge to understand this chapter in the book, which describes the planet before Creation Week and records a great many anomalous changes. Modern science cannot explain the control of their timing and initiation. We have noted anomalous changes in atmospheric gases about the time of Creation Week, but an event that arose suddenly, and contrary to the pattern set for millions of years, is the great climate change prior to Creation Week. It may rank as the greatest of all anomalies. The ice core records have indeed been a window to the past and have also supported other fields of modern science in exposing the error of YEC. An essential feature of this belief, a post-flood ice age, was shown by ice core science to have never occurred.
Many theologians now agree that a gap in time exists between creation of the planet and Creation Week of Genesis 1 (see ref. 1). They call it a passive gap since, in their view, God was inactive as Creator. However, our previous discussion (see ref. 3) reveals how continental cleavage and migration, uplift from the ocean floor, volcanism, glaciation, mountain building and migration were all integrated over eons of time to reshape the planet before Creation Week. This further contribution reveals how the hostile climate of the ice-age world was changed to one where man and other created beings could flourish. Possibly by altering the geometry of the earth's orbit and the tilt of the axis, as well as the global atmospheric circulation regime, God created very rapidly the greatest recorded climate change of all time. This prepared the planet for Creation Week and occurred at the end of the "Gap" period.
Figure 2 is a revelation from one ice core, part of God's Book of Nature, and there are 18 further ice core sites. They all give the same message. Then there are over 50 cores from the ocean floor with a very similar message that carries us back in time to long before Creation Week. In one graph, Fig. 2 reveals the great climate transformation, a change from a cold, hostile, and very variable climate (before 12,000 years BP) to one of warmth and stability (after 10,000 years BP). The graph pinpoints the time when this change was initiated (11,700 years BP). It was a very rapid initial change (see ref. 40), yielding a stable climate well described in the words Ellen White used in 1890 to depict climate in Eden: "so mild and uniform in temperature" and the air was "clear" (see ref. 8).
The message of the Adventist Church to the world, God's last message (Rev. 14), proclaims judgment, the Everlasting Gospel, and worship of the Creator. Today, our Creation Message is disputed by theistic evolutionists in the Advent, Protestant, and Roman churches. The Catholic Church has now embraced evolution more fully. The present Pope considers Genesis 1 to be misleading, that God did not create as described in Scripture (see ref. 6). The relevance of the call by the First Angel of Revelation 14 to worship the Creator in the last days, and the significance of the Advent Creation message, are now very clear. The truth of a recent Creation Week destroys the corruption of theistic evolution. For many the genealogies of Genesis are not convincing enough to establish this truth. Hence, we have related the great climate change (initiated 11,700 years BP) to Creation Week. Both events were recent. The great climate change has been dated precisely by ice core science (e.g. Fig. 2) and by the record of many lake sediment cores worldwide (see ref. 40). Linking Creation Week to this defined recent climate event, on which Creation Week apparently depends, should convey certainty to those skeptical of a recent Creation Week.
"And Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth" (Hebrews 1:10). Very similar texts occur 13 times in Scripture.
Our planet Earth was founded in the beginning, eons ago, but as the texts suggest, was incomplete, and hence was modified geologically over a long period that terminated in the recent great climate change. This appears to have been a precursor to the Creation Week of Genesis 1 when diverse life forms were created and God gave us a Creation Memorial in time, the Sabbath. We have an inspiring Creation message for the world, revealing a Creator, unlimited by time, who has held our planet in His creative hands, not for 6,000 years as some maintain, but for eons past.
"To God be the Glory" (Rev. 14:7).
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In prehistoric times, the world's population was largely confined to the Middle East and south-east Asia. The rapid population growth that followed Creation Week may be evident in estimates of world population. Unfortunately, the various estimates for B.C. times vary appreciably but averages are more satisfactory. However, the time of commencement, observed consistently, for a continuing population increase appears to have significance. One is clearly observed in Figure 4 at 7,000 years ago BP, in accord with a recent Creation Week.
Figure 4. World population related to years before present. To derive some certainty from the data that varies appreciably between investigators, the above graph was calculated by averaging the data of McEvedy and Jones 1978, Durand 1967, Gallant 1990, Goldewijk et al 2010, and World Population data of U.S. Census Bureau 2016.
NOTE: GCC denotes the Great Climate Change initiated at 11,700 years ago. Three other changes reflecting climate are marked also.
NOTE: A similar graph was presented in Spectrum June 23, 2017 by the present authors but had an error in the numbering of the horizontal axis.
D. Stuart Letham was awarded a PhD (Birmingham, UK) in organic chemistry in 1955. His subsequent research work included the purification, determination of structure and synthesis of the first naturally occurring cytokinin, compounds that induce cell division in plants. They occur in plants at the level of 1 part per billion (see Letham, Annual Review of Plant Physiology 1967, 1983). He is the author of over 190 refereed papers in biochemistry and plant physiology journals. He retired from the Australian National University in 1992 as Professor Emeritus.
Col J. Gibson worked in accounting in industry for a decade before taking an academic position as a senior lecturer in accounting at universities in Australia, New Zealand, and the University of South Pacific (Suva, Fiji). As a natural naturalist from an early age, he has been active, as a hobby interest, in helping many professional scientists in fieldwork and, now in retirement, still acts as a citizen scientist which includes field observations and bird photography.
Both authors have discussed the Science/Creation subject for the past few years and thought it was time to put some of their thoughts on this interface into the public arena for others to consider and comment.
Image Credit: BBC.com
"Perspective: Clarifying 'Understanding Ice Core Science,"
"Ice Core Editorial Authors Reply to Respondents,"
"Perspective: Ice Ages Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism,"
"Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Reader Feedback & Authors' Response",
"Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Authors; Second Response",
“Nature Identifies Events during the ‘Gap’ in Creation”,
Nature Identifies Events during the “Gap” in Creation: Authors’ Response
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