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Faculty Profiles

Stephen Moshier, Ph.D.

Professor of Geology, Black Hills Science Station Director, Department Chair





Stephen.Moshier@wheaton.edu

Dr. Stephen O. Moshier is a Professor of Geology at Wheaton College, where he also chairs the Department of Geology and Environmental Science department and directs the Wheaton College Science Station (a campus for summer programs in the Black Hills, South Dakota). Much of his early research in geology involved describing and interpreting oil reservoir rocks, with published papers on oil fields in North America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. More recently, Dr. Moshier's research efforts are in the field of geoarchaeology, with contributions to Bronze and Iron Age excavations in Sinai, Egypt, and Israel by combining surface geology with satellite imagery to reconstruct the ancient geographic settings of the archaeological sites. Dr. Moshier is responsible for education in the areas of earth history, sedimentary rocks, petroleum geology, and geoarchaeology, as well as popular courses on natural disasters, National Parks, and theories of origins.

Louisiana State University
Ph.D., Geology, 1987

SUNY Binghamton
M.A., Geological Sciences, 1979

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
B.S., Geology, 1977

  • Geology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth History
  • Petroleum Geology
  • Natural Disasters
  • Sedimentary Rocks
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists: Member
  • American Scientific Affiliation: Fellow
  • Affiliation of Christian Geologists: Past President
  • Geological Society of America: Member

Creationist Suing Grand Canyon, Interior Department Over Research
91.5 KJZZ Radio

The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular sites in the world for tourists to gaze at and take photos of. Its natural wonders have amazed visitors for generations. But the Canyon is also a place that has great religious meaning for people known as young earth creationists, and one man, Andrew Snelling, is suing park officials and the Interior Department. As part of research into the Canyon’s possible connection to the Bible’s account of Earth’s creation, Snelling wanted to take a number of rocks from the park, but he was denied. To learn more, we talked with Stephen Moshier. He’s a geologist and Professor at Wheaton College. He’s also the former president of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists.
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Quoted in "A Creationist Sues the Grand Canyon for Religious Discrimination"
The Atlantic

“That’s really a tough question because in science we want to be the type of community where people can bring about ideas that are controversial,” says Stephen Moshier, a geologist at Wheaton, a Christian liberal arts college in Illinois, and a former president of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists. The problem, according to Moshier, who is not a young-Earth creationist, is that they want mainstream geologists to be open to new ideas, but it’s the young-Earth creationists themselves who have proved inflexible in the face of new evidence contradicting their ideas. “Often I read things by young-Earth creationists where I think they really ought to know better. Many of them have excellent training in the geosciences,” he says.
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Did Noah's Flood Create the Grand Canyon?
Let's Talk with Mark Elfstrand (WYLL-AM Chicago)

Mark Elfstrand interviews Dr. Stephen Moshier about his new book, The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth.
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Young Earth Creationism Makes Life Difficult for Everyone
Christianity Today

Christian evolutionists are the ones really bugged by this movement. "Geology at Wheaton is presented and practiced much the same way as at secular universities," Stephen Moshier, the department chair, says. However, young earth creationists have a lot of influence, Moshier says. "It can get so frustrating," he said. "Many of us at Christian colleges really grieve at what a problem this young-earth creationism makes for the Christian witness. It's almost like they're adding another thing you have to believe to become a Christian. It's like saying, You have to believe the world is flat to be a Christian, and that's absolutely unreasonable."...
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Rock of Ages, Ages of Rock
The New York Times

The statement of faith for Wheaton College in Illinois, Billy Graham’s alma mater, for example, says that Scripture is “inerrant in the original writing” and that “God directly created Adam and Eve,” but when it comes to pinning down the age of the earth, the school balks. Wheaton has a strong geology department. Its professors argue that the Bible makes no specific mention of the age of the earth. They belong to groups like the Geological Society of America and wring their hands about the “geo-literacy” of the church. “Geology at Wheaton is presented and practiced much the same way as at secular universities,” the department chairman, Stephen Moshier, said in a recent talk. Other professors have issued long tracts comparing the various methods of radiometric dating and showing that they all agree: The earth is over four billion years old.
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  • Natural Disasters (nonmajor course)
  • Geology of National Parks (nonmajor course)
  • Theories of Origins (nonmajor course) (co-teacher)
  • Earth History and Stratigraphy
  • Biogeology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Petroleum Geology
  • Marine Biology (co-teacher with Biology faculty)
  • General Petrography and Petrology (co-teacher)
  • Senior Geology Seminar

Individual Projects

  • Geoarchaeology, Quaternary paleoenvironmental analysis- study areas in east Nile Delta and NW Sinai, Egypt and Tell Ashkelon, Israel.
  • Carbonate petrology (sedimentology and diagenesis): modern and ancient depositional environments, porosity; carbonate-coal depositional systems; carbonate petroleum reservoirs.

Research with Students

  • Geoarchaeology (field work, remote sensing and GIS).
  • Watershed analysis for urban planning and community development (previous projects in Chicago suburbs and rural Honduras).

Which Way Out of Egypt? Physical Geography Related to the Exodus Itinerary, Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience
Moshier, S. O., and J. K. Hoffmeier, 2015

“The Ways of Horus” – Reconstructing Egypt’s East Frontier Defense Network and the Military Road to Canaan in New Kingdom Times, Excavations in North Sinai: Tell el-Borg I
Hoffmeier, J. and Moshier, S. O., 2014

Geologic Setting of Tell el-Borg with Implications for Ancient Geography of the Northwest Sinai, Excavations in North Sinai: Tell el-Borg I
Moshier, S. O., 2014

“A Highway Out of Egypt”: The main road from Egypt to Canaan, Desert Road Archaeology in Ancient Egypt and Beyond
Hoffmeier, J. and Moshier, S. O., 2013

Flood Geology and the Grand Canyon: A Critique, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 61: 99-115
Hill, C. A., and Moshier, S.O., 2009

From the beginning: faith and geology at evangelical Wheaton College, In M. Kobel-Ebert (ed.) Geology and Religion: Historical Views of an Intense Relationship between Harmony and Hostility. The Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 310: 301–316.
Moshier, S. O., Maas, D. E., and Greenberg, J. K., 2009

Review of Supercontinent: Ten Billion years in the Life of our Planet, by Ted Nield, Books and Culture 14/4: 10-11
Moshier, S. O., 2008

Late Bronze Age paleogeography along the ancient Ways of Horus in Northwest Sinai, Egypt, Geoarchaeology 23: 450-473.
Moshier, S. O., A. El-Kalani, 2008

Review of Extinction, How Life on Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago, by Douglas Erwin, Books and Culture 13/3: 38-39.
Moshier, S. O., 2007

Disrupted coal and carbonate facies within two Pennsylvanian cyclothems, southern Illinois Basin, United States., Geological Society of America Bulletin 109: 1231-1248
de Wet, C. B, Moshier, S. O., Hower, J. C., de Wet, A. P., Brennan, S. T., Helfrich, C. T., and Raymond, A. L., 1997

Microporosity in micritic limestones - a review, Sedimentary Geology 63: 217-240.
Moshier, S. O., 1989

Quantitative evaluation of Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group as source rock for Alberta's oil sands, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 69: 161-172.
Moshier, S. O. and Waples, D. W., 1985

Robert C. Bishop, Larry L. Funck, Raymond J. Lewis, Stephen O. Moshier, and John H. Walton, Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins: Cosmology, Geology, and Biology in Christian Perspective. Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 2018.

Moshier, S. O. “Geology does not support a worldwide flood.” In The Lost World of the Flood, Mythology, Theology and the Deluge Debate by T. Longman and J. H. Walton, 150-161. Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 2018.

Moshier, S. O. “Responding to Young Earth Creationism.” In the Trenches 8/2 (2018): 2-3. Dictionary of Christianity and Science, edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael Strauss, 498-500. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017. Authored entries: "American Scientific Affiliation," "Dinosaurs," "Extinction," "Paleontology," "Uniformitarianism."

Dictionary of Christianity and Science, edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael Strauss, 498-500. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017. Authored entries: “American Scientific Affiliation,” “Dinosaurs,” “Extinction,” “Paleontology,” “Uniformitarianism.”

The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon?, edited by Carol Hill, Gregg Davidson, Tim Helble and Wayne Ranney, 41-51. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2016. Co-authored chapters: “What is Flood Geology?” “Time Frame of Modern Geology,” “Sedimentary Rock Types and How They Form,” “Sedimentary Structures: Clues from the Scene of the Crime,” “Using the Present to Understand the Past,” “Solving Puzzles: Relative Dating and the Geologic Column,” “Missing Time: Gaps in the Rock Record.”