|Shoshone Falls area of Idaho. One of many places we saw|
on our trip that now attribute the terrain to a short duration
catastrophic flood event instead of a gradual carving out
over long periods of time.
Over the early decades of the 1800s it appears the catastrophists were shut out as the dominate voice, with a few "Scriptural Geologists" trying to hold the gates closed, but Christian leader after Christian leader collapsing under the pressure and assumption that the latest geological "evidence" was true. So, scrambling to find a way to "preserve" the inspiration and truth of Scripture these other theories surfaced that tried to reconcile the two, giving room for vast periods of time and Scripture to still be true.
By the time Darwin published his On the Origin of Species book in 1859 the church had already, for the most part, caved to old earth theories—"reinterpreting" Scripture to fit "nature" instead of interpreting nature in light of Scripture. At this point in the early to mid-1800s it seems to me that it is mainly geology and the earth that seem to be discussed, but then, along comes Darwin—strongly influenced in old earth gradual change theory—who publishes a theory of life that has man evolving from primitive life forms over ages and ages of time.
"Oh no! What do we do? Man made in God's image from apes! Death before sin! Heaven forbid!" I can assume many cries like that went up from Christians based on many of the responses to Darwin's book I've read about . . . but, it is the church who'd already put in place from their pulpits the two primary tenets needed to believe in evolution across species (the earth is vast periods of time old, and Scripture doesn't mean what it clearly says it means and confirms in other places in Scripture), and who'd already set the precedent of reinterpreting Scripture to "science."
Well, now the church has to explain how and why the rest of Scripture and God's promises and the revelations of God's character and nature are true when they've already put themselves as the judge and jury in arbitrarily declaring parts of it true and parts not. And, they have to explain in a way that doesn't keep "reinterpreting" Scripture, how death entered through sin if there was death before sin, how a brutal and self-centered killing idea of survival of the fittest could possibly be declared "as good" by God, why Jesus' genealogy goes to Adam, how sin entered through "one man," and so on and so on and so on.
I actually find it stunning in the inconsistency of a church submitting God's Word to purported "science" in the origins and age of the earth issue, but then standing adamantly against that same "science" that equally declares impossible or "false" things like resurrection from the dead, virgin birth, multiplying of loaves and fishes, miraculous healings, parting of oceans, walking on water, demonic and angelic activity, Heaven, Hell, etc. Is it any wonder the world gives us so little credit when we are so inconsistent and arbitrary?
Anyway, I found that insight into the early/mid-1800s compromise fascinating and eye-opening as it sheds light on why, when Darwin pops up, we fell so fast. Maybe it interests you as well. I believe that this issue is tremendously critical as the foundation of our faith in the Bible, how we interpret the Bible, and the foundation of what we submit as the highest source of truth are at stake. And, despite what the media and everyone else tells us, a little research will reveal multitudes of Ph.D. and other scientists who believe the evidence supports a literal young-earth Creation as recorded in Genesis.
Note: Today it is fascinating how many geological sites (some of which we visited on our Fall "Creation Trip" up into Yellowstone) now attribute significant terrain features to massive interior seas that breached in the past and carved out stunning canyons and topography on their way to the major oceans. Of course none of these sites attribute any of that to the receding flood waters of Noah's flood, or mention that these interior seas likely formed during the flood and subsequent Ice Age, but it is interesting to see the word "catastrophe" returning in different forms in secular geologic theories since it was so "taboo" to even hint at it for so many decades and possibly give Creationists and "Flood people" any chance of credibility.