Life in the Ice Age
Scientists believe that the Earth goes through cycles of climatic change. Periods of lower temperatures are assumed to result in long-term periods of glaciation, which are known as an ‘Ice Age’. As the causes proposed for these Ice Ages seem to be deficient, there is reason to believe that there was only one Ice Age.
This post is based on a children’s book by Hughes and Cosner (2018).
Was there really an Ice Age?
Evolutionists say that there have been many Ice Ages throughout history (Appendix A). Actually there was only one Ice Age, and it was caused by Noah’s Flood. Though the Flood lasted only one year, its effects on the climate lasted for centuries! Hot underground water was a major source of Flood waters, so even after they retreated back into the oceans, the water stayed warm. Also, massive volcanic eruptions would have poured ash into the air, which blocked out much sunlight over the land. So the land would have been much cooler. Then some of the warm water evaporated into clouds which then dropped much snow over the cold land. Over centuries, this packed into huge ice sheets covering a third of earth’s land. We can even see the effects the snow and ice had on the earth today; the ice at the North and South Poles is left over from this (about 10% of the earth is covered in ice); the alpine glaciers; and the glacial landforms and sediments. Because these effects are seen on the current land surface, it is clear that the Ice Age occurred after the Flood.
The global Flood provides a simple mechanism for an ice age. In contrast, the slow and gradual evolutionary scenarios used to explain an ice age do not work. If the oceans gradually cooled along with the land, by the time everything was cold enough so that the snow didn’t melt in summer, evaporation from the oceans would be insufficient to produce enough snow to generate massive ice sheets. So secular scientists can’t explain how an Ice Age happened because they can’t supply a cause for increased precipitation of ice and snow. This is because they fail to recognize the unique conditions after the Flood.
The Ice Age lasted for about 700 years. Based on the cooling of the oceans (due to evaporation and reduction in volcanism), the Ice Age could reach glacial maximum in about 500 years. And it would take about another 200 years for the ice sheets to melt to their current positions.
If we use the Bible as our timeline, Israel went down to Egypt close to the end of the Ice Age.
Is the Ice Age in the Bible?
‘Ice Age’ is a modern term, so that phrase is not in Scripture. However, there is an indication that Job lived during the Ice Age. Some of the things he mentions indicate that he was familiar with ice and snow – in a place that doesn’t have a lot of ice and snow today. He said, “My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring when it is swollen with ice and melting snow” (Job 6:15-16). And God asked Job “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail?” (Job 38:22). And he mentions wide expanses of frozen water (Job 37:9-10; 38:29-30). Of the books of the Bible, the words “snow” and “ice” occur most often in the book of Job. This is consistent with this book describing events that probably occurred about 2,000BC, which would have been during the Ice Age.
The climatic changes during that Ice Age would have occurred slowly over decades and not been obvious to the people living at the time. As there was no ice cover in the Middle East, biblical characters like Abraham would have had no concept of an Ice Age. So the Ice Age isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Also, the term “Ice Age” is a modern concept invented to describe a unique period of climate on the earth.
What did the Ice Age do?
While the earth we see today was mostly shaped by Noah’s Flood, the Ice Age did its part too! Glaciers, huge accumulations of ice, shaped the landscape. Ice formed dams for huge rivers, extremely deep lakes, and fjords (glacial valleys that were later submerged by the ocean).
Lower sea levels during the ice age also allowed the migration of people and large animals from the Middle East to distant continents now separated by water. As there would have been no ice caps after the Flood, the sea level would have been about 70 m above today’s level. During the Ice Age the sea level dropped about 130 m (to 60 m below today’s level) forming a land bridge between Asia and North America and Asia and Australia. This allowed people and large animals to spread across the earth. After the oceans had cooled sufficiently and the volcanic activity began to wane, the ice sheets melted and the land bridges disappeared beneath the rising ocean water, effectively ending the migration. God provided the land bridges and removed the bridges via the Ice Age.
How did animals survive the Ice Age?
In North America and Europe, many animals survived that had thick fur, or were otherwise equipped for life in a cold climate. However, many animals did die as a result of the Ice Age. Some creationists think that that the Ice Age might be why dinosaurs were never very common after the Flood – they seem to have been more suited to a warmer climate. In Australia it seems that megafauna thrived at the beginning of the Ice Age, but became extinct at the end.
We know that the earth’s deserts and semi-arid areas were once well watered. This was probably due to the ponding of water in enclosed basins during the run-off stage of the Flood and greater Ice Age precipitation. The Ice Age climate was very wet with strong drying afterwards. So these areas underwent climate change from being well watered to being drought stricken.
What did people do during the Ice Age?
We know that people lived in areas affected by the Ice Age, and some even thrived there. That’s because God created humans to be very creative and able to adapt to many different situations. Even today, people can live in places that become very cold, like Alaska and Greenland, or other places that become very hot. There is evidence that the Neanderthal peoples lived near the edge of the ice sheet in Western Europe during the Ice Age.
We know that people hunted woolly mammoths and other animals for food during the Ice Age – in the cold frozen parts of the world, it would have been hard to find enough plants to live on. Perhaps this in one reason God gave people permission to eat meat after the Flood (Gen. 1:29; 9:3). Caves made convenient homes for these people, and sometimes they painted on the walls, showing the types of animals they encounted.
How did the Ice Age end?
The imbalance that caused the Ice Age – the cold continents and the warm oceans – eventually corrected itself, and the snow and ice retreated from the continents. Today, only the extreme north and south of the earth is permanently covered by ice, reminding us of one of the great events in the aftermath of the Flood. This shows that the earth is a highly stable system. Its climate returned to equilibrium after the incredibly large deviation that occurred at the end of the flood.
Some animals that became specialized for living in the cold conditions of the Ice Age, like the woolly mammoth, seem to have become extinct after the Ice Age. They may have been so specialized for the cold weather that they could not survive in a warmer climate.
The unique conditions after the Flood caused the Ice Age. Besides shaping the earth, the climate change associated with the Ice Age could have influenced the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Neandertal peoples probably lived during the Ice Age. So the Ice Age was more recent than evolutionists suppose.
Appendix A: What about claimed ancient Ice Ages?
Uniformitarian scientists believe that there were four main ice age periods followed by more repeating ice ages. They also believe that some of these ice ages were so severe that they covered most, it not all, of the earth.
Some layers within the rock record do resemble glacial debris composed of rocks of all sizes, scratched rocks, and larger rocks floating within banded layers of fine sediments. The problem is that these features can be duplicated by other processes like landslides or submarine slides. The movement of the rocks in the slides can scratch rocks and rock scrapes against rock. They can also cause large rocks to float in finer-grained layered sediments.
Most of the earth’s sedimentary rocks were laid down by the Flood, sometimes over vast areas. So, these so-called ‘ice age deposits’ are within deposits from Noah’s Flood. There could not have been any large accumulations of snow or ice at that time. The Flood water would have been too warm from the ‘fountains of the great deep’ and abundant volcanism (hot lava) for any snow and ice accumulation.
As the Flood was global it can account for the large size of most of these ancient ‘ice age deposits’ by huge submarine slides. Because of uplifts or earthquakes, the sediments could slide rapidly and spread over large areas. Most of these deposits appear to have been deposited in ocean water, which is what we expect from the Flood.
Uniformitarian scientists also claim that the thousands of layers observed in ice cores drilled in the Antarctic and Greenland represent annual deposition. But this is only true since the Ice Age. Lower down in the ice cores the layers are less distinct and they are probably caused by other mechanisms, such as individual storms.
Hughes E and Cosner L (2018), Creation answers for kids, Creation Book Publishers, p.22-25.
Oard M J and Reed J K (2017), How Noah’s Flood shaped our earth, Creation Book Publishers, p.195-197.
Written, August 2019