landscape photography of mountains covered in snow

Theories on Geological Time & Origins

Uniformitarianism is an ideal proposed by Charles Lyell (1797-1875) that the events of the past can be explained by the processes of the present and that these processes have been constant. This position for explaining earth is also known as Lyellism.

This post will look at theories that will try to support the position of uniformitarianism in explaining the origins of the earth within the context of a religious worldview.

Local Flood Theory

The local flood theory states that instead of a worldwide flood that destroyed all land life, there was a local flood that seemed to destroy the whole world. Given that the average person only knew their local context, it seems reasonable that when a flood came that destroyed their place of living, this was the destruction of the whole world.

The local flood theory is one of the more famous theories. However, another theory may share equal prominence, and that is the Gap Theory.

Gap Theory

Gap theory claims that there were long intervals of time in the creation story as found in the creation story of the Bible. Instead of seven literal days as claimed in the Book of Genesis, these days were long periods of time.

Gap theory has been a popular approach to reconciling religious views on the origin of the earth with scientific views.

A similar idea is the day/age theory which states that it was not a general gap in time but rather that the days of creation were indeterminate lengths of time used for the development of the earth. There is no currently known way to very these ideas. The real purpose was to try and reconcile secular theology with religious thought.

Less Popular Theories

Diluvium theory states that a deposit of sediment was associated with the Pleistocene era. The layer of sediment found here was named Diluvium and thus the name of the theory. This was yet another attempt to try and place geology within the context of a religious worldview.

Another lesser theory is the Tranquil Theory. This theory states that the Biblical Flood slowly rose to cover the earth and slowly resided. The gradual manner of this flood is in contrast to how floods generally behave but does explain the worldwide sediment layer.


The point here was not to support any of these theories presented here. Instead, the point was just to show how people have tried to connect religious thoughts on the changes of this world with scientific evidence.

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