Separation Canyon at Sunset

Grand Canyon Rafting Story:
Journey into Scientific & Spiritual Truth
Part III

Missed part 1? Read here…

Missed part 2? Read here…

Day Three

The next morning, we awoke to our last day in the canyon, so we river-washed and packed up our cots and gear.   I eagerly folded my cot and confidently bagged it; as I carried it to the raft, I jubilantly declared to some of my fellow campers, “now that I have this routine down to a science, I’ll never have to do it again!”  While not an outdoor camper, I must share that it was certainly worth the discomfort and effort to make this enthralling journey.  I encourage everyone who can to make the sacrifice of the comfort of home and hotel living to experience the grandeur and uniqueness of the Grand Canyon by river.

Memorial Cairn in Hopi Water Symbol

For our final lesson around the community circle, Nate spoke from Joshua 4:3-11 regarding memorializing spiritual events—this passage recounts the crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites as they entered the Promised land. In the center of our community circle was a cairn of twelve stones surrounded by concentric circles drawn in the sand, the Hopi symbol for water. Nate encouraged everyone to create their own memorial of this adventure to cherish and share for a life time. This story and photographic creation serve as my Ebenezer memorial for surely the Lord is our help!

After enjoying a great breakfast, everyone pitched in to help the river guides secure the rafts into one big barge for the final journey out of the canyon. There would be no more rapids, just a leisurely motor float to where the river flows into Lake Mead.

We spent some time in the shade of Spencer Canyon at river mile 245 and then ate our personally pre-packed lunches, chilling out leisurely as we would later meet up with a jet boat for the final leg of the trip out of the canyon.

Here in a very deep part of the river, one of the young men lost his Go-Pro camera accidentally dropped into the river; after the initial shock of the lost camera, he recovered quickly commenting, “500 years from now someone will find my camera and it will still be 74% charged!”


I share this incident to illustrate two lessons: 1) when on the river, always tether your camera! 2) when you face disappointment, seek consolation in humor. I watched this engaging young man record his entire experience with inspiring enthusiasm; yet when his precious camera vanished in an unfortunate moment, he did not allow his loss to dampen his joy. His attitude buoyed our spirits and was a testimony to us all. We beached one last time to take pictures and enjoy the waning river journey.

Headed out of the Canyon on the Jet Boat

We met up with the jet boat at Surprise Canyon river mile 249, loaded ourselves and gear for the hour, fast trip out of the canyon. Hualapai tribe boaters whose lands are on the south side of the river came from several jetties along the river; we slowed so as not to cause them problems with the jet boat’s wake.

At river mile 277.2 we took one parting look at the end of the Grand Canyon highlighted by wispy clouds expressing our sense of regret to end this deeply moving canyon experience.  Once we made it to the boat ramp at Pearce Ferry river mile 279.3, we climbed off the jet boat, loaded the bus and headed to the main road where we transferred to another bus for the final 90-minute ride to Las Vegas.

Last view of the Grand Canyon – End of an amazing journey!

Sharing Lessons Learned

On the bus we spent time sharing with our fellow sojourners what we learned on the trip and would take back with us. From youngest to oldest, each shared their special take-aways. For me the most impactful realization was from the geological and ministry teachings. To learn that the canyon, formed after the great world-wide Noah’s flood as a part of God’s judgement, was indeed a revelation. Of course, traditional theories presume the canyon was formed over millions of years by the Colorado river. But there are many problems with this theory including assumptions regarding the rock dating methodologies.1

One of the most significant problems is the Great Unconformity recognized by all scientists as the demarcation of the Cambrian explosion of fossils with bedrock below and the many sedimentary rock layers above it.  Where did the marine fossils come from?  What caused them to be trapped in layers estimated to be millions of years old?  Evolutionists cannot explain the fossils as they believe life evolved over millions of years, so seeing such a diverse plethora of marine fossils isolated in the midst of the lifeless Canyon layers is inexplicable to them.  But Biblical Creation scientists who have studied the geology in alignment with the Biblical creation and flood stories can explain it.

Grand Canyon Formation Aligns with the Biblical Flood

During the great worldwide flood all of life, except Noah’s family and the species brought two-by-two into the Ark, was destroyed in God’s flood judgment. The great rains, fountains opening from the deep, earthquakes and tsunamis during 150 days, caused life to be buried quickly enabling their preservation as fossils in successive layers of silt.

Bill identifies bedrock beneath Cambrian Layer

Great Unconformity separates lower granite bed rock and upper sandstone sediment from the flood

As the waters receded, layers of sediment buried the Great Unconformity which marks the beginning of the Cambrian Explosion. Geologists have observed this phenomenon in various places throughout the world, evidencing a worldwide flood. In addition, they have observed a great cauldron over the four corner states on the Colorado Plateau where a deep lake once existed after the flood. This cauldron is observable by satellite and is estimated as having held water equivalent in volume to the five great lakes surrounding Michigan.

At some point after the flood perhaps 400-500 years later, the lake gave way as a result of a catastrophic disruption causing this massive body of water to flow down rapidly carving the Grand Canyon. Creation geologists estimate that this catastrophic carving process happened rather quickly once the massive waters broke through their containment. Geologists present a modern-day example of how this process could have happened so quickly. Following the initial eruption of the Mt. St Helens volcano, a subsequent eruption and earthquake sent a massive pyroclastic flow of hot mud, steam, and debris down the mountain’s side; that debris-filled mudflow cut a massive canyon. (Video: Mount St. Helens Explains Grand Canyon; Article: Mt. St. Helens and Catastrophism). Once the Grand Canyon was formed, the Colorado River flowed through the canyon naturally seeking the lowest point.

We shared other lessons along the three-day journey that validate this explanation. One was demonstrated in a simple object lesson of how catastrophic events breach land dams and destroy downstream land in its path quickly. The catastrophic formation of the Grand Canyon is a theory supported by secular geologists, as well as Creationists. (Grand Canyon: How Do You Get a River Over a Mountain?; A receding Flood scenario for the origin of the Grand Canyon)

In a nutshell, the marine fossils buried in Grand Canyon sedimentary rock layers are a testimony to the ocean waters sweeping across the continents, transporting sediments and marine creatures with them. Multiple evidences, such as folding while all the layers were still soft and the lack of erosion between the layers, point to the whole Grand Canyon sequence of horizontal fossil-bearing sedimentary layers being deposited in quick succession. Due to both daily global tidal fluctuations and earthquake-generated tsunamis during the Flood, the ocean waters repeatedly surged across the continents with different sediment loads each time. Then, as the ocean waters progressively rose across the continents, different habitats were inundated. Thus, the fossils found in rock layers are a record of the order of their burial.” 2

The Grand Canyon no more was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years than we evolved from monkeys!

Science and World View

If you are still wondering how all those scientists who postulate that it took millions of years to form the world, life and the Grand Canyon can be wrong, remember that their world view is naturalistic and they analyze the evidence in the context of their world view.  The danger in their perspective is to overlook evidence contrary to their theories – in other words, circular thinking.  Darwin himself said that if there is no fossil evidence of transitional life formation, then the theory of evolution falls apart.  While overwhelming evidence in all the sciences disproves the naturalistic theory of the formation of life, evolution is still taught in schools!  The Grand Canyon no more was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years than we evolved from monkeys!  A Biblical world view, by contrast, analyzes the evidence in the context of Bible truth.  The evidence from the scientific study of geology, archeology, astronomy, physics, and biology aligns with the Biblical creation and flood accounts.

Knowing the Bible is accurate is foundational to faith.  Jesus challenged the Pharisees, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” John 5:46 To put it another way, if Moses were not inspired by the Holy Spirit, Christ would hardly have said, “since you believe in a fairy tale, believe in me!”  In many New Testament references Jesus and the apostles validate the truth of Moses’ Pentateuch, or Torah as Judaism references the first five books of the Bible.  The truth of scripture is so important to faith that after His resurrection Christ acknowledged Old Testament scripture both on the way to Emmaus and when appearing to all the disciples: “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  Luke 24:44

Separation Canyon – A Spiritual Lesson

The second take away for me was at Separation Canyon as we contemplated the Powell team split up. To draw a spiritual parallel, I thought about the river as the restorative power of Christ who provided for our redemption despite the judgment of God in the great flood. This wonderful community of believers had experienced together the great joy of being immersed in His eternal salvation as we traversed the rapids. In fact, the first night one rafter was baptized in the river. It was a moving experience for the entire community as we witnessed this act of obedience to the Lord; humbly submitting to baptism is to be figuratively buried with Christ and raised or born again to newness of spiritual life.

Separation Canyon at dusk

The lesson of the Grand Canyon is that the God of judgment is also the God of redemption. Out of His great love, we have salvation through Christ, our living water. Colossians 2:8 admonishes us, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

River Baptismal at Dusk

But many people have chosen their own paths, separating themselves from the love of God by going a different way perhaps out of pride, or self-righteousness, or love of the flesh as our ancient ancestors before the flood. Once the door of the Ark was shut by God, they were lost, drowned in the great flood. And so too will those who choose their own “separation canyon” be lost for eternity after death. We who know that the river of eternal life is Christ, who proclaimed “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, must share with others the way of our Lord as He admonished in the great commission.

The lesson of the Grand Canyon is that the God of judgement is also the God of redemption.

The Canyon Mission Multiplied

The Grand Canyon is a majestic God-ordained object lesson for the world to witness the truth of His Word.

Visited by thousands from all around the world every year, the Grand Canyon is a majestic God-ordained object lesson for the world to witness the truth of His Word. The canyon walls expose the revelation of the global flood’s judgment for the world to observe. Yet, it is God’s love that provided this awe-inspiring natural documentation to reveal the true story behind the Grand Canyon mystery. The faithful like Canyon Ministries and each of us privileged to experience this amazing rafting adventure and to learn its message of redemption are compelled to share it with others.

Sheryl in the canyon

I am grateful for Canyon Ministries to whom I was introduced many years ago when I discovered their book, Grand Canyon, a Different View, in my first visit to the Grand Canyon South Rim.  I cherished their perspective all these years until I could experience rafting the Grand Canyon with Canyon Ministries!  It is now my privilege and responsibility to share this life-changing lesson with others.  I praise the Lord for the enriching lessons of the Grand Canyon rafting adventure.  I hope you too will know the joy of immersion in the river of life and perhaps one day too, the transformative experience of rafting the Grand Canyon with Canyon Ministries.

By Sheryl Dawson
September 2019

Canyon Ministry Resources:

1 Grand Canyon: What is the Biblical Message?, pages 18 – 20

2 Grand Canyon: What is the Biblical Message?, page 23

True North Series: Your Guide to the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, A Different View