Participants at the event next to the fossil remains of a whale in Ocucaje, Ica, Peru. (Photo: Fernando Quispe)

South America

Researchers Analyze Fossil Remains in Peru and Compare with Biblical Account

Scientists, Adventist Church leaders, and students from all over South America participated in the fourth Meeting of Faith and Science.

Peru | Marco Simons

Despite the tension and collision that sometimes exists between faith and science, people who are on the side of biblical faith have never renounced meeting and dialoguing with the scientific community. An example of this is the recent fourth Meeting of Faith and Science, held in Peru in early September and attended by researchers, Adventist Church leaders, and young students from across South America.

As the framework for a paleontological experience, the program included traveling about 300 kilometers from the city of Lima, Peru's capital, to visit the place where the largest number of marine fossils discovered to date have been recorded: Cerro Blanco and Cerro La Bruja, in Ocucaje, Ica.

As the participants set foot on the land of Ocucaje, surrounded by hills that are cut by the Ica River and fertile in fruits such as grapes, mangoes, figs, dates, watermelons, ingas, and pomegranates, a question arose: How did the place become the largest paleontological cemetery in the world? How did so many cetaceans come to fossilize in such a specific area?

Paleontological Evidence of the Flood

Dr. Roberto Biaggi, who specializes in paleontology and holds a master's degree in geology, maintains that "with these specimens, burial occurred suddenly and quickly." He adds that, for example, of the whales found in Pisco, three pieces of evidence can be deduced: "You can see an excellent preservation. One can see that all the bones of the whales are fully articulated and that the filtration apparatus (baleen) is perfectly preserved."

Regarding this last piece of information, it is necessary to remember that whale baleen normally begins to decompose within two days. These details speak to the reality of a catastrophic, sudden event, such as the flood described in the Bible. 

Geological Studies Confirming the Biblical Account

Another line of investigation and a relevant voice in this Meeting of Faith and Science is geology, specifically along the Coastal Batholith of Peru, which has been extensively studied in the last 30 years. Basically, the study focuses on igneous rocks, which come from the interior of the earth.

This study consists of observing and analyzing the behavior of magma in the Peruvian Andes. This, as is to be expected, requires the well-trained eye of researchers and specialists who have been studying the rocks that are stretched from Ica to Juliaca. It is worth noting that more than 16 scientists from around the world are working in Peru on this topic. Among them are María Alejandra Román, Raquel Bendita, and Orlando Poma, Peruvians who are part of this group of researchers.

Peru is a country that has reserves of silver, copper, lead, zinc, gold, iron, and antimony, among many other minerals. The big question is, How was this great diversity of metallic materials formed? Was it through very peculiar geological processes, formed by tectonic and magmatic events and mineralization over many centuries?

There is a written truth that cries out to be discovered in the rocks adjacent to the Rio Pisco and Hualla Grande. There has also been controversy in this field because traditional geology states that these rocks were formed over thousands and thousands of years.

The team of scientists working in Peru has been demonstrating, by modeling the cooling rate of igneous rocks, that this process of rock formation occurred in much less time. For this, they rely on the evidence of these igneous rocks that are spread over the Rio Pisco and Hualla Grande in Ica.

Reconciling Faith and Science

As an epilogue to what this Meeting of Faith and Science meant, Ben Clausen, lead researcher of this elite team, was asked, “Is it possible to have a dialogue and find coincidences between a Christian and a non-Christian scientist?” 

The answer from Clausen, a man with a PhD in Nuclear Physics, was, "I found a lot of common ground with a non-Christian scientist who has over 200 published papers.”

Faith and science are not irreconcilable. Just take a look at history and keep in mind that many of the most renowned scientists have been Christians. Among them are Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, Nicolaus Steno, Carolus Linnaeus, William Thomson, James Clerk Maxwell, and many others.