Ministries say expeditions to archaeological sites support creationism
Ministries say expeditions to archaeological sites support creationism By J. Michael Parker Express-News Religion Writer Web Posted : 02/15/2003 12:00 AM A San Antonio ministry that subscribes to creationism is giving home-schooled children a chance for hands-on learning at archaeological digs that it says enhances the youths' knowledge of both science and faith.
Vision Forum is a 5-year-old evangelical Protestant ministry that provides instructional materials for Christian home-schooling parents across the country. Last year it began booking family expeditions with a Florida-based ministry, Creation Expeditions, to archaeological sites they believe support biblical claims that God created the world in six days.
Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum, said he led a 30-member expedition to western Colorado in May 2002 that uncovered part of an intact Allosaurus � believed to be a relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex � and that led to the location of only the fourth complete Allosaurus skull ever found.
Last week, an expedition to the Peace River in Florida turned up Ice Age fossils from woolly rhinoceroses, megalodons, giant sloths and other creatures, he said.
A common creationist view is that God created the world only 6,000 years ago � not millions of years ago, as evolutionists say. Creationists also believe that various species were created individually rather than having evolved over millions of years.
In some creationists' view, the Great Flood of Noah's time was the quick and catastrophic event that led to the extinction of dinosaurs about 5,000 years ago.
Creationists don't ignore the theory of evolution, the most widely believed theory of the world's origin, Phillips said. Students must be made intimately familiar with it simply because it's the majority view. But they view all evidence through the lens of Genesis' creation account.
Kenneth Dowling of San Antonio, who participated in last week's two-day Peace River dig, said: "This is a great way of showing children that they can believe the Bible. It assures us of the truth of what God said he did in Genesis. It's a great tool for assuring us that the Earth wasn't formed by a 'big bang.'"
Joshua Dowling, 13, said that besides confirming the biblical creation account, the expedition taught him to work with his father and brother Colin, 10, on a project that interested all of them. He said he found fossilized clams with closed shells, suggesting a quick, catastrophic event like the Great Flood.
"It was really neat to see the Bible come alive in front of my eyes � everything I read about in Genesis," he said. "I also learned to work with my family members, I learned what different fossils were and it was a great chance to spend a lot of time with my dad. I don't get to do that very often."
Phillips said the excavations give students learning experiences in geology and history while deepening their faith and strengthening family bonds.
"Most children who have been on the expeditions say the greatest thing about them was being with their parents," he said.
The nearly complete Allosaurus skeleton, which Phillips described as nearly 22 feet long, 10 feet tall and virtually complete, is locked in a San Antonio laboratory and is to be examined in early March by scientists from the Black Hills Institute for Geological Research in Hill City, S.D., a leading paleontology research center.