Ellen G. White Statements Relating to Geology and Earth Sciences


Chapter 16—Volcanic Eruptions and Earthquakes

(1864)—Before the flood there were immense forests. The trees were many times larger than any trees which we now see. They were of great durability. They would know nothing of decay for hundreds of years. At the time of the flood these forests were torn up or broken down and buried in the earth. In some places large quantities of these immense trees were thrown together and covered with stones and earth by the commotions of the flood. They have since petrified and become coal, which accounts for the large coal beds which are now found. This coal has produced oil. EGWSRGES 54.4

God causes large quantities of coal and oil to ignite and burn. Rocks are intensely heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. Water and fire under the surface of the earth meet. The action of water upon the limestone adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes and fiery issues. The action of fire and water upon the ledges of rocks and ore causes loud explosions which sound like muffled thunder. These wonderful exhibitions will be more numerous and terrible just before the coming of Christ and the end of the world, as signs of its speedy destruction. EGWSRGES 54.5

Coal and oil are generally to be found where there are no burning mountains or fiery issues. When fire and water under the surface of the earth meet, the fiery issues cannot give sufficient vent to the heated elements beneath. The earth is convulsed—the ground trembles, heaves, and rises into swells or waves, and there are heavy sounds like thunder underground. The air is heated and suffocating. The earth quickly opens, and I saw villages, cities and burning mountains carried down together into the earth. EGWSRGES 54.6

God controls all these elements; they are His instruments to do His will; He calls them into action to serve His purpose. These fiery issues have been, and will be His agents to blot out from the earth very wicked cities. Like Korah, Dathan and Abiram they go down alive into the pit. These are evidences of God’s power. Those who have beheld these burning mountains have been struck with terror at the grandeur of the scene—pouring forth fire, and flame, and a vast amount of melted ore, drying up rivers and causing them to disappear. They have been filled with awe as though they were beholding the infinite power of God. EGWSRGES 54.7

These manifestations bear the special marks of God’s power, and are designed to cause the people of the earth to tremble before Him, and to silence those, who like Pharoah would proudly say, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” Isaiah refers to these exhibitions of God’s power where he exclaims, “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence as when the melting fire burneth. The fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence. When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1-3).... EGWSRGES 55.1

“The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire and the rocks are thrown down by him” (Nahum 1:3-6). EGWSRGES 55.2

“Bow thy heavens, O, Lord, and come down. Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them. Shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them” (Psalm 144:5, 6). EGWSRGES 55.3

Greater wonders than have yet been seen will be witnessed by those upon the earth a short period previous to the coming of Christ.... EGWSRGES 55.4

The bowels of the earth were the Lord’s arsenal, from which He drew forth the weapons He employed in the destruction of the old world. Waters in the bowels of the earth gushed forth, and united with the waters from heaven, to accomplish the work of destruction. Since the flood, God has used both water and fire in the earth as His agents to destroy wicked cities. EGWSRGES 55.5

In the day of the Lord, just before the coming of Christ, God will send lightnings from heaven in His wrath, which will unite with fire in the earth. The mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrible streams of lava, destroying gardens and fields, villages and cities; and as they pour their melted ore, rocks, and heated mud into the rivers, will cause them to boil like a pot and send forth massive rocks and scatter their broken fragments upon the land with indescribable violence. Whole rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed, and there will be dreadful eruptions and earthquakes everywhere. God will plague the wicked inhabitants of the earth until they are destroyed from off it. EGWSRGES 55.6

The saints are preserved in the earth in the midst of these dreadful commotions, as Noah was preserved in the ark at the time of the flood.—Spiritual Gifts 3:79-83. (The Spirit of Prophecy 1:81-85) EGWSRGES 55.7

(1885) Subterranean Fires Burning—These mountains to me are significant. Subterranean fires, although concealed in them, are burning. When the wicked shall have filled their cup of iniquity then the Lord will rise out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth. He will show the greatness of His power. The supreme Governor of the universe will reveal to men who have made void His law that His authority will be maintained. Not all the waters of the ocean shall fail, nor the fires which the Lord shall kindle. The earthquake makes the earth tremble, the rocks heave from the place, the hills and solid ground shake beneath the tread of Omnipotence, yet once more He will shake, not the earth only but also the heavens. There is a sea of fire beneath our feet. There is a furnace of fire in these old rocky mountains. The mountain belching forth its fires tells us the mighty furnace is kindled, waiting for God’s word to wrap the earth in flames. Shall we not fear and tremble before Him?—Ms. 29, 1885. EGWSRGES 55.8

(1886) Changes Brought About by the Great Deluge—If everything in God’s works looks to us so beautiful, and the majestic mountains and towering stern old rocks have attractions, how far exceeding it in beauty, in grandeur and loveliness, was the world before the flood, which was destroyed because of man’s sinfulness. God had surrounded them with the precious things of earth because He loved them. But these blessings were turned into a curse, and they used the precious things of earth to gratify their pride and to glorify themselves until the Lord destroyed them and the earth which was defiled by their violence and corrupting works. Even now, if the curse of sin were not corrupting the earth, it would be a happy place, but every place inhabited by human beings is debased with sin. EGWSRGES 56.1

The rocky mountains rise abruptly and seem to tower upwards, reaching to the very heavens. At my left is a grand old castle standing upon the mountaintop, and in the distance rises another mountain far above. The peaks reach almost to the heavens—a mountain that to human eye appears inaccessible, rising thousands of feet above the level—and on the very summit is a tower. It may be for observation. The ambition of man will not be restricted. We come to scenery that appears to our senses as indescribably grand. Mountain peaks rise above mountain peaks, the massive, curiously splendid shaped rocks that were heaved up by mighty agencies and sculptured by the storms of ages.... EGWSRGES 56.2

The great God has reared His mighty structures in the granite rocks, in the towering mountains, in clefts, in the gulches, in the gorges, and in the castle rocks and the caves of the earth and with these surroundings of evidences of God’s power, how thankless the heart that needs images of man to worship.... EGWSRGES 56.3

Men may trace, in the broken surface of the earth, the evidences of the flood. Men thought themselves wiser than God, and altogether too wise to obey His law and keep His commandments and obey the statutes and precepts of Jehovah. The rich things of earth, which God had given them, did not lead them to obedience, but away from obedience, because they misused their choice favors of heaven, and made the blessings given them of God objects to separate from God. And, because they became satanic in their nature, rather than divine, the Lord sent the flood of waters upon the old world and the foundations of the great deep were broken up. EGWSRGES 56.4

Clay, lime, and shells that God had strewn in the bottoms of the seas, were uplifted, thrown hither and thither, and convulsions of fire and flood, earthquakes and volcanoes buried the rich treasures of gold, silver, and precious stone beyond the sight and reach of man. Vast treasures are contained in the mountains. There are lessons to be learned in God’s book of nature.... EGWSRGES 56.5

We see in the broken face of nature, in the cleft rocks, in the mountains and precipices, that which tells us a great wrong has been done, that men have abused God’s gifts, forgotten the Creator, and that the Lord was grieved and punished the wicked transgressors of His law, and as the result we have its effects in creation.—Ms. 62, 1886. EGWSRGES 56.6

(1890)—At this time [the flood] immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes, and fiery issues. As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, there are heavy explosions underground, which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow; and these often failing to give sufficient vent to the heated elements, the earth itself is convulsed, the ground heaves and swells like the waves of the sea, great fissures appear, and sometimes cities, villages, and burning mountains are swallowed up. These wonderful manifestations will be more and more frequent and terrible just before the second coming of Christ and the end of the world, as signs of its speedy destruction. EGWSRGES 56.7

The depths of the earth are the Lord’s arsenal, whence were drawn weapons to be employed in the destruction of the old world. Waters gushing from the earth united with the waters from heaven to accomplish the work of desolation. Since the flood, fire as well as water has been God’s agent to destroy very wicked cities. These judgments are sent that those who lightly regard God’s law and trample upon His authority may be led to tremble before His power and to confess His just sovereignty. As men have beheld burning mountains pouring forth fire and flames and torrents of melted ore, drying up rivers, overwhelming populous cities, and everywhere spreading ruin and desolation, the stoutest heart has been filled with terror, and infidels and blasphemers have been constrained to acknowledge the infinite power of God. EGWSRGES 57.1

Said the prophets of old, referring to scenes like these: [Isaiah 64:1-3; Nahum 1:3, 4 quoted]. EGWSRGES 57.2

More terrible manifestations than the world has ever yet beheld, will be witnessed at the second advent of Christ. [Nahum 1:5, 6; Psalm 144:5, 6 quoted.] EGWSRGES 57.3

As lightnings from heaven unite with the fire in the earth, the mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrific streams of lava, overwhelming gardens and fields, villages and cities. Seething molten masses thrown into the rivers will cause the waters to boil, sending forth massive rocks with indescribable violence and scattering their broken fragments upon the land. Rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed; everywhere there will be dreadful earthquakes and eruptions. EGWSRGES 57.4

Thus God will destroy the wicked from off the earth.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 108-110. EGWSRGES 57.5

(1891)—Terrible shocks will come upon the earth, and the lordly palaces erected at great expense will certainly become heaps of ruins. The earth’s crust will be rent by the outbursts of the elements concealed in the bowels of the earth. These elements, once broken loose, will sweep away the treasures of those who for years have been adding to their wealth by securing large possessions at starvation prices from those in their employ. And the religious world, too, is to be terribly shaken; for the end of all things is at hand.—Ms. 24, 1891. EGWSRGES 57.6

(1902)—In the bowels of the earth God has in reserve the weapons that He will use to destroy the sinful race. Since the flood, God has used, to destroy wicked cities, both the water and the fire that are concealed in the earth. In the final conflagration God will in His wrath send lightning from heaven that will unite with the fire in the earth. The mountains will burn like a furnace, and pour forth streams of lava.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:946-947. EGWSRGES 57.7

(1913)—When in difficulty, philosophers and men of science try to satisfy their minds without appealing to God. They ventilate their philosophy in regard to the heavens and the earth, accounting for plagues, pestilences, epidemics, earthquakes, and famines by their supposed science. Questions relating to creation and providence they attempt to solve by saying, This is a law of nature.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 440. EGWSRGES 57.8