In one of Job’s answers to the ill-informed panel of friends (14:18,19) he references earth processes recognized today to be within the scientific discipline of geomorphology.
“And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.”
What was the context of Job’s geomorphologic observations? These earth processes were simply part of divine governance. They were predictable systems that changed the topography of the established land features.
The point of Job’s reference to erosion in answer to his friends was “as predictable as the processes of nature that wear away the stone exposing its hidden treasures, so is the certainty of exposure and corresponding regret of a life characterized by vain, frivolous pursuits.”
This was neither a technologically simple nor spiritually dull civilization that expressed these observations and contextualized them as divinely appointed and influenced processes (“Thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth” -14:19).
Job made a similar acknowledgement a little while later when he wrote, “He (God) cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and His eye seeth every precious thing (28:10).”
Of Job’s scientific object lesson, Dr. Henry Morris writes (The Remarkable Record of Job, p.41), “The process of establishing a post-flood drainage system exposed the ‘precious things’ in the rocks, the beautiful and valuable metals and minerals so highly prized and widely used by man. Chapter 28 of Job mentions a number of these – the ‘gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire” (v.16), the ‘silver’ and the ‘crystal’ (vv.15-17), the ‘rubies’ and the ‘topaz of Ethiopia’ (vv.18-19)…But all these ‘precious things’ are said to be far less valuable than true wisdom and understanding (true science one might say), which is discovered only through the fear of the Lord.”
A most interesting study, beyond the exposure of such treasures, involves the source of such and the spectacular compatibility with the biblical model of earth history.
Gold is referenced in the Adamic tablet of Genesis (2:10-12) as an element of the original creation. Apparently, it was not distributed equally since the record distinguishes the antediluvian land known as Havilah by its “good” deposit of the precious metal. During the global destruction of “the world that then was” in Noah’s day, this and other mineral resources were displaced from their original deposit sites and subjected to the catastrophic influences of sedimentary burial, plate tectonics, and magmatic venting.
Geologist and author Dr. Andrew Snelling offers his deposition scenario for today’s gold discoveries in an article for Answers Magazine (first quarter 2011) entitled “Gold – A Little Bit of Heaven on Earth.”
“Initially hot acid waters in deep crustal rocks dissolved the gold, and molten magma and volcanic waters carried it toward the surface. This hot material then entered the cracks in the rocks near the earth’s surface.
As it cooled, the gold remained in place, either associated with certain large granite bodies (often with copper) or in veins and orebodies.
After these ‘primary gold deposits’ were put in place, heavy rains and other natural forces eroded many of the rocks. Because gold is very heavy and resistant to corrosion, it settled out into what are called ‘placer deposits.’ These secondary gold deposits include the gold particles found at Sutter’s Mill, which sparked the California gold rush in 1849.
Most placer deposits formed at the end of the Flood when the retreating waters drastically eroded the landscape. Indeed, most of the Flood-generated primary and secondary deposits formed during the closing stages of the Flood, especially during the building of the Rockies, Andes, Himalayas, European Alps, and other related mountain ranges.”
Dr. Snelling points out that earth processes are still exposing gold today. Not only in secondary deposits revealed through erosion, but also in primary ones such as seen at the Lihir mines in Papua New Guinea. Lihir Island consists of a series of volcanic units evidenced by hot-springs in and around calderas (collapsed volcanoes). Here, according to the article, “volcanic waters are still depositing gold at a rate of 52 pounds per year.”
A May 11, 2012 AP article entitled “Gold! Haiti Hopes Ore Find Will Spur Mining Boom,” reveals that there may be a literal “golden” lining to the devastating earthquake that rattled the island in January of 2010.
“Haiti’s geological vulnerability is also its promise. Massive tectonic plates squeeze the island with horrifying consequences, but deep cracks between them form convenient veins for gold, silver and copper pushed up from the hot innards of the planet. Prospectors from California to Chile know earthquake faults often have, quite literally, a golden lining.”
In a 2012 Discover magazine publication called Extreme Earth, Robert Kunzig authored an article entitled “Strip-Mining the Sea.” The article describes the discovery of tremendous ore deposits on the sea-floor around hot volcanic springs known as hydrothermal vents or black smokers off the coast of Papua New Guinea. These venting plumes of 650 ° F, metal-rich water grow chimneys that break off and reform leaving heaps of valuable deposits around them. The Bismark Sea expedition dredged rocks from the mounds that “contained copper and gold concentrations several times higher than those typical of mines on land.” This is likely a snap-shot on a dramatically reduced, yet comparable, scale of the way gold may have been distributed throughout the newly deposited landmasses when “the fountains of the great deep” erupted mixing the slurry of reconstructive sediment.
One discovery has even been attributed to the initial revelation of the landmass during the Creation Week. This is found in South Africa and is known as the Wit-waters-rand deposit (or simply known as the “reef” by the locals). About 40% of all known gold comes from this basin in the Dark Continent. Dr. Snelling describes it as “a great sea reef rising gently above the surrounding landscape.” He agrees with its classification as a placer deposit (water being essential in its placement), but rather than millions of years of settling, gold-laden sediments at the bottom of a huge ancient lake, he attributes it to the originally created landmass that emerged from the waters on Day 3. While it eventually became covered by mudflows during the great Genesis Flood, tectonics and erosion have exposed it at the surface once again. Perhaps this is the remnant deposit that distinguished the “good” gold of the pre-Flood land of Havilah (Gen. 2:11-12).
As in the original creation, the new earth (of Revelation prophecy) will be characterized with the existence of gold – transparently pure gold. The capitol city will not only have streets made of this rare metal (21:21), but the city itself will be constructed of it (21:18). Perhaps this forecast is detailed to help the believer rightly assign value while living on this present earth. Be discerning when it comes to your pursuits. Don’t prioritize in time that which will be common in eternity.