VIDEO Grand Canyon Carved by Flood Runoff

Secular science has long struggled to explain the timing and origin of Grand Canyon. The majority of secular scientists assumes it was carved by a large river in less than six million years.1 Why did it form where it did? In particular, how did the river “hurdle” the massive Kaibab uplift?

One of the issues secular scientists struggle to explain is how the water passing through the canyon could have possibly become connected from one side of the Kaibab uplift to the other. The uplift has warped an arch of rock about 3,000 feet above the surrounding terrain,1 and Grand Canyon currently cuts right through it.

To explain the dilemma of an incised river2 that seemingly had to flow uphill, some secular scientists claim that Grand Canyon was carved by stream piracy, a unique process involving headward erosion.1 This in itself is very tricky because it requires two streams flowing in opposite directions to meet at the exact same point and then somehow erode away enough for one stream to take over the other—thus the piracy. But this explanation doesn’t solve the problem: There is still a major drainage divide between the two rivers, even if the headwaters did touch at some time in the past. It doesn’t remove the uplift problem. Water would still flow in opposite directions away from the divide as it does all along the Continental Divide today.

Other secular scientists claim there were caves that may have allowed the streams on either side of the uplift to initially connect underground.1 They suggest these caves later collapsed and the canyon had a ready-made path through the uplift. But this is problematic because the layer of limestone the caves could have formed in was also warped up about 1,500 feet by the Kaibab uplift, causing the water to still have to somehow flow uphill. In addition, the carbonate layer, like the Redwall Limestone that contains caves today, is not thick enough to collapse and remove the total amount of topographic relief. The Redwall is about 600 feet thick, and even if the entire unit had been a cave, it wouldn’t remove the remaining 900 feet of relief caused by the Kaibab uplift. The streams on either side would still flow away from each other.

Secular science is left without an adequate explanation for how Grand Canyon developed through a major uplift. The river should have flowed around it, but it didn’t.

Fictional lakes that some creation geologists propose emptied in a catastrophic manner to carve Grand Canyon but are based on little if any geological evidence.
Image credit: Hill, C. et al, eds. 2016. The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon? Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 163. Used in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

Grand Canyon formed during the latter part of the runoff phase of the Flood. Tweet: Grand Canyon formed during the latter part of the runoff phase of the Flood. Grand Canyon Carved by Flood Runoff: @ICRscience #Science #Geology

Creation scientists have also disagreed on the timing and origin of Grand Canyon, but we generally all agree it happened within the last 4,500 years. One of the most popular ideas is the breached-dam hypothesis advocated by Drs. Walt Brown3 and Steve Austin.4 Both support a post-Flood formation of Grand Canyon caused by the sudden breaching of two presumed dammed lakes, Hopi Lake and Grand Lake (alternatively called Canyonlands Lake). Both scientists believe these lakes formed a few hundred years after the Flood, placing their development during the Ice Age or shortly thereafter. The lakes are claimed to have held over 3,000 cubic miles of water, roughly equivalent to three times the volume in Lake Michigan.1 The explanation for the breach varies, but advocates for this hypothesis claim a catastrophic release of this dammed water carved Grand Canyon.

The biggest problem with the breached-dam hypothesis is the lack of physical evidence for the existence of these lakes. Secondly, there is no satisfactory reason given for the cause of the breach through the Kaibab uplift.5 These were not ice-dammed lakes like other catastrophic breaches. In fact, Mike Oard pointed out that the water should have taken a different direction if, in fact, it did breach, carving a canyon to the north of the uplift instead of through it.5

View of Steep Mountain and the Bonneville bench. Note the beveled lake-cut terrace covered by 150 feet of sand and gravel along the top of light-colored Oquirrh strata.
Image credit: Copyright 2005 © Utah Geological Survey — State of Utah. Used in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

Let’s examine the evidence for these massive lakes that presumably built up over a few hundred years after the Flood. Helble and Hill point out that there is virtually no evidence for Grand Lake, supposedly the bigger of the two.1 And the evidence for the southern and smaller lake, Hopi Lake, is also weak. So right away, the largest body of water can be eliminated from a scientific point of view. Merely drawing in a vast lake based on today’s topography, without strong evidence to back it, is speculation, not science.

Neither of these “lakes” has any mapped lake-cut terraces or strand lines as are common surrounding Lake Bonneville, the Ice Age lake that has since evaporated to form present-day Great Salt Lake. Also, many other Ice Age lakes show evidence of temporal strand lines or wave-cut terraces, including areas along the shores of the northern lower peninsula of Michigan.

Admittedly, the presumed Hopi Lake does contain a sedimentary unit known as the Bidahochi Formation, claimed by secular geologists to represent a lake environment. However, this formation has been dated by secular geologists as between six and 16 million years old, based on igneous intrusions that cut across the unit.1 Although I disagree with this date and the dating methods used, these dates imply an age older than the Ice Age, which precludes this unit as a post-Flood source of water for the breached-dam hypothesis. Additionally, Helble and Hill point out that recent research shows the Bidahochi Formation is composed of several smaller lakes that likely were not well-connected.1 So, the evidence for any major lakes that formed after the Flood to carve Grand Canyon is weak at best.

The Colorado Plateau showing Grand Canyon in the lower left, draining to the southwest.
Image credit: Pederson, J. L., R. D. Mackley, and J. L. Eddleman. 2002. Colorado Plateau uplift and erosion evaluated using GIS. GSA Today. Used in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

In the mid-1990s, Steve Austin advocated for the breached-dam hypothesis because at the time he accepted a Flood/post-Flood boundary near the top of the Cretaceous System (K-Pg).4 His choice of that Flood boundary left few other options. He had to somehow come up with a massive source of water since he believed the Flood runoff phase was over before Grand Canyon was carved. Picking the wrong Flood/post-Flood boundary can clearly affect other interpretations even when the data tell us otherwise. This is why it’s so important to pick a post-Flood boundary based on as much data as possible.6

If there were no post-Flood lakes, how can we explain Grand Canyon in a Flood model? I think the best solution is the one Mike Oard presented in his book on Grand Canyon.5 Oard suggests Grand Canyon formed during the latter part of the runoff phase of the Flood. This would coincide with the latter part of the Tejas Megasequence.

After catastrophic plate motion ceased late in the Flood year, and even before, the thickened areas of continental crust would have begun to rise due to isostatic adjustment. In other words, the land rose to reach a balance due to the thickened crust that formed during subduction. This process caused the Four Corners region and the Colorado Plateau to rise about 5,000 feet late in the Tejas Megasequence (Neogene).7 Grand Canyon is on the western edge of that uplift. Oard suggests the floodwaters receding in this area may have initially drained to the east during a sort of sheet-wash phase.5 This easterly direction of transport deposited the Whopper Sand in the Gulf of Mexico during the earliest part of the Tejas.8 Later, as the Colorado Plateau rose, the water-flow reversed direction, diverting the drainage to the west and carving Grand Canyon toward the end of the Tejas. He called this latter draining the channelization phase of the runoff.5

Colorado River in Grand Canyon

If you uplift packed, wet sand, it will crack. Similarly, if you pack wet sand on your legs at the beach and then move your legs, the sand cracks. Water follows the easiest path. Water would naturally follow the cracks and fractures in the freshly deposited sediments of the uplifted Colorado Plateau. Some of it would have undoubtedly run through the fractures in the Kaibab uplift, creating a possible path through the uplifted and stacked sediment. And since water at the surface flows downhill, the water draining off the Colorado Plateau would flow westerly toward the Pacific Ocean. Rapid uplift, cracking, and surface drainage of receding floodwaters provide both the path and the necessary volume of water to quickly carve out Grand Canyon. This was all accomplished before the Ice Age during the receding phase of the Flood and not during or after the Ice Age.3,4

One of ICR’s volunteers asked why the receding floodwater didn’t form more “Grand Canyons.” Why is there is just one? The answer has to do with the right combination of events that make Grand Canyon unique. First, Grand Canyon needed a major uplift to erode down through. This was provided by the late-Flood isostatic rise of the Colorado Plateau, causing the entire Four Corners region to move upward about 5,000 feet. Second, fractures and fissures were needed to channelize the runoff water along the western edge of the Colorado Plateau, directing the path of the water and rapidly carving a canyon 5,000 feet deep. Third, there had to be a sufficient volume of water left in the receding phase to carve a major canyon. Fourth, all of these events had to coincide at just the right moment. Without the massive uplift, timed perfectly with the channelization phase of the receding floodwater, there would have been no Grand Canyon.

Other large canyons formed in the United States during the receding phase, such as Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon, but it’s not very deep in comparison to Grand Canyon. Palo Duro Canyon formed from channelized runoff water that flowed eastward away from the uplifted Rocky Mountains late in the Flood. However, the Texas Panhandle region did not experience as much uplift as the Colorado Plateau. Palo Duro Canyon, although the second-largest canyon in the U.S., is only about 700 feet deep at its maximum.9

All of these major canyons we see today are reminders of the immense power of the Flood’s waters.

All of these major canyons we see today are reminders of the immense power of the Flood’s waters. Even their recession left the fingerprints of “grand” canyons as a witness to God’s global judgment by water as recorded in the book of Genesis.


  1. Helble, T. and C. Hill. 2016. Carving of the Grand Canyon: A Lot of Time and a Little Water, a Lot of Water and a Little Time (or Something Else?). In The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon? C. Hill, G. Davidson, T. Helble, and W. Ranney, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 163-171.
  2. “Incised” means the river has cut or eroded a deep channel or canyon through rock.
  3. Brown, W. 2015. In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, 9th ed. Phoenix, AZ: Center for Scientific Creation.
  4. Austin, S. A. 1994. How Was Grand Canyon Eroded? In Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. S. A. Austin, ed. Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 83-110.
  5. Oard, M. J. 2014. A Grand Origin for Grand Canyon. Chino, AZ: Creation Research Society.
  6. Clarey, T. L. 2017. Local catastrophes or receding Floodwater? Global geologic data that refute a K-Pg (K-T) Flood/post-Flood boundary. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 54 (2): 100-120.
  7. Wicander, R. and J. S. Monroe. 2013. Historical Geology, 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  8. Clarey, T. 2015. The Whopper SandActs & Facts. 44 (3): 14.
  9. Clarey, T. 2018. Palo Duro Canyon Rocks Showcase Genesis FloodActs & Facts. 47 (7): 10.

* Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at ICR and earned his Ph.D. in geology from Western Michigan University.

Cite this article: Tim Clarey, Ph.D. 2018. Grand Canyon Carved by Flood RunoffActs & Facts. 47 (12).

Simple, By the Grace of God I Am What I Am

The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator. To complain over our incompetence is to accuse God falsely of having overlooked us. Get into the habit of examining from God’s perspective those things that sound so humble to men. You will be amazed at how unbelievably inappropriate and disrespectful they are to Him. We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are opportunities I have not had and so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.

Conversely, the things that sound humble before God may sound exactly the opposite to people. To say, “Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,” is in God’s eyes the purest expression of humility. It means you have so completely surrendered yourself to God that you know He is true. Never worry about whether what you say sounds humble before others or not. But always be humble before God, and allow Him to be your all in all.

There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.


Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.  My Utmost for His Highest, March 19, 761 L

Courage to Speak the Truth

Daniel 4:1-27

Why is it so easy to lie? Telling a falsehood is something we all did as children, but lying can trip up even longtime Christians. The underlying motive for giving in to deception is usually a desire to protect ourselves in some way. We lie to get out of trouble, to avoid an unwanted situation, to profit financially, to receive acceptance, to bolster our image, to hide our flaws, or for other self-serving reasons.

When Nebuchadnezzar had an alarming dream, the Lord gave Daniel the interpretation: The king was going to become insane and live like a wild animal for “seven periods of time.” At that moment, Daniel had to decide whether he would tell the king the truth or conceal it. In those days, giving a king a bad report could cost the messenger his life. Yet despite the danger, Daniel held to his convictions and delivered the Lord’s message to Nebuchadnezzar.

Here’s why Daniel could speak the truth in the face of danger: He trusted God. Since he was doing exactly what the Lord wanted, he wasn’t frightened into compromise. Obedience to God is worth far more than anything we could gain from speaking lies or doctoring the truth in an effort to stay safe.

Are you willing to commit to speaking truth even when it’s costly? Altering income tax information, falsely enhancing your image on social media, or ignoring a miscalculation in your favor on a receipt isn’t worth the loss of character that comes with deception. Seeking to please the Lord and letting Him handle the consequences will always be the best course of action.

In Occupied Territory

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

In our ongoing struggle for both survival and victory in this world, we do well to recognize that we are in enemy territory. While it is true that our Captain created the world—indeed, “all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3)—and sacrificed His life to redeem it and will reign over it for eternity, it is also true that “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19), occupied by “the prince of this world” (John 12:31) who is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).

The fact that we are surrounded by such darkness should come as no surprise, for before we were rescued by His grace, we too were part of the darkness—indeed, we had to be called out of it. John the Baptist came “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). Furthermore, as Christ taught, “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

This confrontation overshadows mere human conflict, however, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). But, praise God, we have been called “out of darkness into his marvellous light” as described in our text. Although we may be still in the world, our King has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). JDM

Woe to Men Who Do Not Pray

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

—Acts 6:3

Let us watch that we do not slide imperceptibly to a state where the women do the praying and the men run the churches. Men who do not pray have no right to direct church affairs. We believe in the leadership of men within the spiritual community of the saints, but that leadership should be won by spiritual worth.

Leadership requires vision, and whence will vision come except from hours spent in the presence of God in humble and fervent prayer? All things else being equal, a praying woman will know the will of God for the church far better than a prayerless man.

We do not here advocate the turning of the churches over to the women, but we do advocate a recognition of proper spiritual qualifications for leadership among the men if they are to continue to decide the direction the churches shall take. The accident of being a man is not enough. Spiritual manhood alone qualifies.   WTA016

Lord, don’t ever let me have leadership that I don’t deserve. Don’t ever let me become careless in prayer. Don’t ever let me rely on the women to pray while I lead. Amen.


He sure was manifested to take away our sins

And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.—1 John 3:5.

They that sin are enemies to their own life.—Tobit 12:10.

To choose sin is to reject Christ; to be ashamed, for fear of man, to do what Christ commands, is to deny Christ; to do, for fear of man, what Christ forbids, what is it but, with Pilate, to condemn Christ? For a Christian to be guilty of willful deadly sin, what is it, but to crucify Christ afresh, and put Him to an open shame? Do what ye know to be pleasing to God, and avoid, by the grace of God, what ye know will displease Him, and God will enliven your penitence, and enlarge your faith, and brighten your hopes, and kindle your love. Only be very diligent, not knowingly to do anything, which displeases God; be very diligent not to tamper with your conscience and do what you suspect may displease God.

Edward B. Pusey.


We can never cling to a besetting sin with one hand, and grasp Jesus Christ with the other. Until thou art content to reckon thyself dead indeed to every known form of sin, whether thou thinkest it small or great, thou never canst follow Jesus.

Wm. Hay M.H. Aitken.


Bible’s Supreme Place

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Ps. 119:165

Yes, a true love for the great Book will bring us great peace from the great God, and be a great protection to us. Let us live constantly in the society of the law of the Lord, and it will breed in our hearts a restfulness such as nothing else can. The Holy Spirit acts as a Comforter through the Word, and sheds abroad those benign influences which calm the tempests of the soul.

Nothing is a stumblingblock to the man who has the Word of God dwelling in him richly. He takes up his daily cross and it becomes a delight. For the fiery trial he is prepared, and counts it not strange, so as to be utterly cast down by it. He is neither stumbled by prosperity, as so many are, nor crushed by adversity, as others have been; for he lives beyond the changing circumstances of external life. When his Lord puts before him some great mystery of the faith which makes others cry, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” the believer accepts it without question; for his intellectual difficulties are overcome by his reverent awe of the law of the Lord, which is to him the supreme authority to which he joyfully bows. Lord, work in us this love, this peace, this rest, this day.


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