A geologist who believes the Earth was created just 6,000 years ago has been granted permission to take rocks from Grand Canyon National Park after citing an executive order from US President Donald Trump.
Australian Young Earth creationist Andrew Snelling sued the park’s administrators and the US Department of the Interior after he was denied a permit to collect 50-60 fist-sized rocks from the protected site.
Snelling, the director of research at the Christian group Answers in Genesis, claimed that the US government blocked his research, which aims to prove the great biblical flood actually took place, because of his religious views.
“Australian Aborigines have stories about a great flood. You find similar stories in China. It’s all circumstantial but … I believe the Bible is a record given to us by God and what I read in the Bible really occurred,” Snelling told to The Australian.
Court documents state that park officials didn’t approve the project because the type of rock Snelling wanted to study can be found outside the park. Research in the Grand Canyon is restricted, particularly if it includes removing material from the park.
Snelling, who holds a Ph.D. in geology, lodged the lawsuit shortly after Trump signed an executive order promising protection of religious freedoms “from undue interference by the federal government.”
He has reportedly withdrawn the suit since being granted the permit.
Young-Earth creationists believe that the Earth was created in six days 6,000-12,000 years ago.
The group also believes that the surface of the Earth was radically rearranged by a biblical flood 2,300-3,300 years before the birth of Christ. All land animals and birds not on Noah’s Ark perished, and many of these were buried in the flood sediments.
Young-Earth creationists also believe the Grand Canyon itself was carved out by “catastrophic erosion” caused by Noah’s flood. They also claim that the stratified rock layers date back to creation week and, later, to sediment left behind in the aftermath of the flood.
Snelling has given lectures and guided rafting tours on the formation of the Grand Canyon as it is explained by young-Earth creationists.