So it’s the young rock at North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain that’s 65 million years old. But, many, many, many moons ago, the shifting of two of the earth’s major tectonic plates pushed older rock from down below up over the young rock. This was at a time when Grandfather Mountain was significantly higher than Mount Everest is now! Appropriately named Grandfather Mountain, worn down through the millions of years, is actually among the oldest of mountains on earth. So, along with the 65 million year old young rock, there’s also some older rock that’s been dated at 1.2 billion years old!
Further north, Virginia’s Natural Bridge is carved out of 500 million year old grey limestone. Standing an impressive 215 feet high, with 40 foot thick walls, spanning 90 feet in its arch, we look to little Cedar Creek, flowing gently under the massive bridge. And we look from the simple mountain stream flowing to the sea up to the rock bridge to see, again, the inexorable work of time.
Human beings might, with high explosives and various and assorted kinds of machinery duplicate the natural bridge … making an unnatural one. The wonder is, precisely, no one did. To see what was accomplished without us, what was not made with human hands, is to remember … to be reminded that creation did not begin with us—that the biblical record affirms the blessing of creation before we were ever around. And to stand on Grandfather Mountain or at the Natural Bridge is to be reminded why.
There are some of my faith who deny such numbers (the years, not the feet) as a threat to their understanding of creation, their affirmation of God, and some justification for their faith. Those numbers are though—that creative process extended through time is rather, for me, invitation to wonder ….