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SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE

28 Oct

HEADINGS ON THIS PAGE

1. GOD REVEALED FROM ‘A to Z’                    8. PREACHER & SALOONKEEPER               15. DAYS 5 & 6
2. GOD SEEN IN HIS WORD & WORLD            9. THE ‘YEC’ PERSPECTIVE                          16. NOAH’S FLOOD
3. I BELIEVE IN ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN’         10. WHY EVENINGS AND MORNINGS?         17. BIG AND SMALL
4. TWO KINDS OF EVOLUTION                       11. DAY 1                                                        18. OTHER LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
5. CHRISTIANS DIVIDED                                  12. DAY 2                                                        19. THE MIRACLE OF LIFE
6. WHY I AM AN ‘OEC’                                     13. DAY 3                                                        20. THE TRUTH IS AS CLOSE AS A BOOK
7. A POLARIZED DEBATE ABOUT TIME          14. DAY 4

 

BIBLE QUOTATIONS ARE FROM THE OLD KING JAMES VERSION, WITH MODIFICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR

GOD REVEALED FROM ‘A to Z’ (EVERYTHING FROM WHO GOD IS TO WHAT GOD IS)

When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he told them that everything there is to know about God is revealed to all of us, every day, through the things that He has made. This revelation includes what God is (such as eternally powerful), and Who God is (conveyed in the word ‘Godhead’).

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them (mankind), for God has showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

Paul’s Epistle to the Romans 1:19-20

Paul was repeating a message that is also found in the Old Testament:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

David’s Psalm 19:1-4

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.

Isaiah 6:3

This web page, along with my first page titled ‘God is a Family Called the Trinity ‘ , are the ‘bookends’ of this site. The first page discusses the personal aspects of Who God is (the Trinity), and this final page discusses the impersonal aspects of what God is (wise, good, powerful).

GOD REVEALED THROUGH BOTH HIS WORD AND HIS WORLD

Although Paul taught that the created world clearly reveals God to us, he did not limit the revelation of God to creation alone. Paul taught that the Bible contains the direct, verbal communication of God to mankind. Therefore in each of my web pages about the nature of God, I refer not only to the general revelation of God in the world around us, but also to the special revelation of God found in His word. Christians call this concept ‘dual revelation’. Both of these things, creation and the Bible, come from the same God. Therefore it is my challenge, as a Christian, to both understand and explain to others how they are consistent with one another.

Unlike my first web page on the Trinity, I am not dividing this page into separate sections regarding what the Bible says about God, and then what everyday observation (science) tells us. This page is less formal. In this page I am simply diving into my subject; discussing what I think science tells us, as well as what the Bible tells us, more or less at the same time.

I BELIEVE IN ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN’

I think it’s important, right from the beginning, that my reader know what I believe and where I am coming from. With the rise of Darwinism and the Theory of Evolution in the 1800’s, along with advances in Geology and Astronomy, many fundamental Christian beliefs about God and the Biblical account of creation began to be questioned. The Genesis account of creation was widely seen in the eyes of the world as a myth. Many Christians, like myself, did not know how to answer these challenges except to say ‘The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it!’. For over 100 years after Darwin, the profound discoveries of scientists elevated them to a kind of ‘priesthood’ where whatever they said about the world and the history of man was considered ‘sacred truth’. When I became a Christian in 1975, I knew that I had met God, but I did not know how to answer this ‘high priesthood’ of science.

It was not until 1992, when I read a book from my local city library titled Evolution: Theory in Crisis by Dr. Michael Denton, that I began to realize that evolution was invalid. Dr. Denton was not a Christian; he was an agnostic and a microbiologist who loved truth. He exposed two major flaws in the theory of evolution:

      1)Large gaps in the fossil record where ‘transitional forms’ between species are missing.
    2) The inability of evolution to explain the highly organized and extremely complex mechanisms that define life at the cellular level.

Not long after I finished Denton’s book, I discovered Dr. Hugh Ross and his organization; ‘Reasons to Believe’. Dr. Ross is an evangelical Christian and an astrophysicist. I began to read his materials, and my ability to reconcile modern scientific discovery with the Bible has grown ever since. I do not agree with Dr. Ross on everything (his theology and views on Noah’s flood are different from mine), but his work has been a blessing to me. In more recent days I have discovered other organizations like ‘Illustra Media’, which produces effective DVDs presenting the argument for Intelligent Design.

What is important to recognize here is that Dr. Denton did not reach his conclusions based upon religious beliefs; he had no religious beliefs. He reached his conclusions upon the basis of scientific fact. He could not help but infer that the complexity of life within the living cell might suggest the possibility of a ‘Designer’; but he had no opinion about Who that Designer might be. This defines the ‘Intelligent Design’ movement; a willingness to consider the possibility of a Designer/Creator, based upon scientific discovery, without specifying who this Designer/Creator is. As such, the Intelligent Design movement, while supported and promoted by many Christians, is not affiliated with a particular religion. Those who try to discredit Intelligent Design, seek to characterize it as the product of fundamentalist Christians, but the concept stands scientifically on its own two feet, and will continue to do so.

I believe that science’s increasing knowledge has been a source of encouragement for all evangelical Christians. I expect that most would consider themselves believers in ‘Intelligent Design’. The Christian believes that the ‘Intelligent Designer’ is the Trinity, and more specifically Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But Intelligent Design theory does not require one to embrace the Bible. I can foresee a time in the near future when the whole world will acknowledge the truth of Intelligent Design, and will earnestly seek the Designer. But this ‘seeking’ will not necessarily lead to the true ‘Designer’. My expectation is that, as the ‘spirituality’ of Intelligent Design displaces the ‘materialism’ of evolution, we will see a rebirth of mysticism, occultism and paganism that has not been seen in many years.

TWO KINDS OF EVOLUTION

It is important to point out that scientists have proposed two different kinds of evolution:

      1) General Evolution:The theory proposed by Darwin, that one species can evolve into another. The premise of General Evolution is that life began as the chance interaction of energy and chemicals in some swamp somewhere, and that life somehow spontaneously self-organized and began without any outside intervention. From that early beginning, single-celled organisms eventually evolved into all of the different species of plants and animals on the earth today.
      2) Special Evolution: The idea that various species undergo change

within themselves

      over time, in order to adapt to their environment. That in any given group of offspring (dogs for instance) there will be a certain amount of variation within the group (some puppies will have long hair, and some shorter, some darker and some lighter) that will give some offspring certain survival advantages over the others, thus insuring the survival of

the species as a whole

    in changing environments.

It was this ‘evolution within a species’ that Darwin observed in the Galapagos Islands. Darwin himself had been a pigeon collector, and knew very well that human beings could change the characteristics of the pigeon species by favoring certain pigeons while rejecting the others. As he travelled to South America, he was looking for evidence that natural forces could have the same effect upon animal populations. When he discovered that nature could indeed favor certain changes ‘within a species’, he chose to expand his discovery, proposing that nature could cause one species to change into another. He argued that the existence of Special Evolution supported the theory of General Evolution.

Most informed people know that Special Evolution is a valid concept. We humans apply artificial ‘pressures’ to bring about changes in species all the time. But those changes remain within the species. Much of the variation amongst dogs is the result of human breeding choices. We apply similar pressure to plants, seeking for the largest or best tasting fruits through cross-pollination. The human race itself is an example of Special Evolution. Black people have more skin pigment because the intense sun of Africa has favored offspring who have more Melanin in their skin. Nature has favored other traits amongst the white people of the north, and the Asiatic people. Yet all of these people can give blood transfusions to one another, because they are of the same species.

Back in the 1970’s the U.S. government passed a law requiring that all cars have 5 mph bumpers; bumpers that could withstand hitting a light pole in a parking lot at 5 mph without sustaining any damage. In my mind’s eye I can still see Volkswagen Rabbits driving around with what looked like shock absorbers holding up their bumpers. Special Evolution is very similar to this. It is God’s 5 mph bumper within the species, allowing it to run into any number of various environmental changes over time, and still ‘survive the impact’, because the minor variations within offspring guarantee that some members of the species will survive. In my opinion Special Evolution is just one more argument in favor of an ingenious ‘Intelligent Designer’ of life.

It has been my concern that many people, as they have listened to discussions about evolution, have not understood that these two kinds of evolution are involved. Thus those who have argued in favor of General Evolution have, just as Darwin first did, been able to use Special Evolution as the supposed proof of General Evolution, and many people have not been able to discern the weakness of their argument. Dr. Michael Denton did see the weakness of General Evolution, and in Evolution: Theory in Crisis, one of his major points was that the expected transitional forms that would be found if one species mutated into another, are absent from the fossil record. Denton also pointed out that many supposed examples of transition from one species to another are not truly transitions at all.

CHRISTIANS DIVIDED

While I think it’s safe to say that all fundamentalist, evangelical Christians rejoice over what science is discovering through the microscope, they are divided over what science claims to see through the telescope. Scientists are telling us that our universe may be 14.5 billion years old, and that our solar system is 3.5 billion years old. Christians are divided over whether or not these ‘insights’ are valid. All evangelical Christians are ‘creationists’, and believe that God created the universe and everything in it; but they differ regarding how old God’s creation is.

One group of Christians believe that our earth and solar system are ‘young’; a mere 10,000 to 20,000 years old (more or less). I will call this group the Young Earth Creationists (YEC’s for short). Their belief is based upon two basic things:

      1)An understanding of the Genesis account of creation, and its associated genealogies of the human race, that indicates (to them) that the earth is relatively young. They believe that the creation ‘days’ of Genesis were 24-hour days.
      2) A reaction against the Theory of Evolution; a theory that is based upon the idea that,

given enough time

    , all life can be explained as the product of chance interactions between matter and energy without any supernatural intervention.

When one asks the YEC’s how they reconcile the apparent great age of the universe with their belief in a young earth, they generally give one of two explanations:

A) They say that the earth and universe are indeed very old, but that the earth was wiped clean by a major traumatic event a few thousand years ago (Catastrophe theory), and Genesis describes God’s creative work after this catastrophe

B)God created the earth and universe to ‘look old’ (the appearance of age), when in fact they are not.

The second group of Christians believes that what the scientists are saying about the age of our universe and solar system is correct, and that these perspectives can be reconciled with the Bible. I will call this group the Old Earth Creationists (OEC’s). Their beliefs are based upon two things:

      1)A belief that the creation days of Genesis were not 24-hour days, but ages or epochs of God’s creative work, performed in the order that they are described in Genesis, but not in 24-hour periods.
    2) That the universe is as it appears to be to the scientist, and that Christians are obligated to bow to the truth whenever and however it presents itself.

Sadly, although there are many fine, good and God-fearing Christians in each of these groups, their differences over Genesis divide them. Many of these folks share one of the most profound things that a human being can know; a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. But they feel obligated, by doctrinal differences, to separate themselves from one another. Not to put too fine a point on it, the YEC’s think that the OEC’s are heretics who have abandoned the divine inspiration of the Bible. For their part, the OEC’s believe that God’s truth is found both in the Bible and in the created world, and that the YEC’s ‘believe that the earth is flat’, and stubbornly refuse to open their minds. I have no problem with the fact that Christians are separated over these issues; this is as it must be. But at times these disagreements have become rancorous on both sides.  This ought not to be.

Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself and is not puffed up. Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, and thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

WHY I AM AN ‘OEC’

For me, one of the most important truths of the Bible is found in the apostle Paul’s words:

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them (mankind), for God has showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

Romans 1:19-20

God has revealed His eternal power through the things that He has made. In my opinion a 14 billion year-old universe, millions of light years across and containing millions of galaxies, does a good job of that. If I bench press 500 pounds, that’s power. If I press that 500 pounds over my head with one arm all day long, and twirl it around like a marching baton, that’s impressive sustained power. If I cram a universe full of fusion-powered stars into a space the size of an atom, and then cause it to constantly expand outward over 14 billion years, that’s divine ‘eternal power’. In doing this, God has made a statement that we cannot ignore. I believe the scientist when he tells me about the size, age and nature of the universe. God prophesied long ago that in these last days human knowledge would be increased.

But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Daniel 12:4

I know in my heart, when I look up into a starry sky at night, that almost everything that the astronomer and physicist are telling me is true. When someone I love is injured, I run to the hospital for a CT scan to find out what’s wrong. For me to question the findings of a scientist who measures the universe using much of the same technology found in that CT machine, is an internal contradiction and intellectually dishonest. Like it or not, Christians must realize that they do not have a corner on the truth. Those who study the material sciences possess truth that is just as valid as biblical truth; in fact it is biblical truth. Herein lies the problem with some Christians; they cannot acknowledge that knowing the Creator does not necessarily make them experts regarding His creation.

POLARIZING THE DEBATE: MAKING IT ABOUT TIME

As I stated above, the second reason that the YEC’s insist upon 24-hour creation days is their belief that, if they allow for a longer period of creation time, they will have yielded to the evolutionists, and the evolutionists will have won the argument. Whether they realize it or not, those YECs who oppose longer creation days for this reason are really ‘closet evolutionists’. They believe that, if there was a longer period of time involved, evolution really could take place. They have not yet fully grasped that it doesn’t matter how much time evolution is given, it never has and never could happen.

For decades the fundamentalist Christians and the scientific community have fought back and forth with each other. Their disagreement has centered solely around the issue of time. Evolutionists have claimed that, given enough time, everything could be explained without God. Fundamentalists, as though in a tug of war with evolutionists, have pulled equally hard on their end of the rope, insisting that God requires no time.

YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISTS SAY GOD MADE EVERYTHING WITHOUT TIME
EVOLUTIONISTS SAY THAT TIME MADE EVERYTHING WITHOUT GOD

The problem has been this; that the scientists and the YECs have defined the discussion so thoroughly in terms of time, that people have been prevented from approaching the issue from any other direction.

THE PREACHER AND THE SALOONKEEPER

Actually, although they despise each other, the evolutionists and the YECs have been in a symbiotic kind of host/parasite relationship for some time. By agreeing that their argument can be about time, and only about time, they have helped to insure each other’s continuing prosperity.

The ongoing disagreement between YEC’s and evolutionists might be likened to an agreement between a saloonkeeper and a preacher in an old wild-west town. One day the saloonkeeper and the preacher got together and decided that, in order to insure that each of them had steady business, they would pass a law stating that people may meet in only one of two public places; the saloon or the church. No public meetings or discussions would be permitted anywhere else. People could go about their business, visiting the various stores and shops, but when it came time to discuss important public issues, the saloon and the church were the only public forums where this could be done.

With this monopoly on public discourse, the preacher and the saloonkeeper gained tremendous influence and wealth in the community. They were one another’s avowed enemies, but their agreement insured that each enjoyed a substantial audience. The saloonkeeper could warn his patrons that their only other option for them was that ‘ignorant, superstitious church’. The preacher could warn his congregation that their only other option was the ‘godless saloon’.

Then one day along came an Intelligent Design guy, who suggested opening up the conversation in town. In order to keep his customers, the saloonkeeper denounced the Intelligent Design guy as the Preacher in disguise, because he had ‘religious’ ideas. At the same time the Preacher warned his congregation about the Intelligent Design guy because he held those ‘godless OEC’ ideas about Genesis. This is the battle that Intelligent Design advocates and OEC Christians have had to fight; a turf war for a place where ideas can be openly and respectfully presented.

In my hometown of Detroit there is a huge hotel/office complex originally called the Renaissance Center (now the GM center). To anyone who looks at it, it is obvious that it was designed and built by people who are very intelligent. People in Detroit don’t stand around debating whether or not it was built in 3 days, or evolved over 3 million years. Both notions are patently ridiculous. It is obvious that it was built, but that it took some time to build it. It is also obvious that anyone smart enough to create such buildings was also probably able to build them in an efficient and timely manner. If the evolutionists and YECs had their way, however, we would all have to choose between 3 days or 3 million years.

THE ‘YEC’ PERSPECTIVE

The YEC worldview closes its eyes to reality. It may have had some credibility in days gone by, when we thought that earth was the center of the universe. Now we now know that our planet is simply a speck of dust in a much larger debris field orbiting our sun. We know that our sun is just one of millions of stars in our galaxy, and that our galaxy is only one of millions in the universe. The universe is so large that it would take us 4 years, if we were traveling at the speed of light, just to reach our nearest next-door neighbor star (Proxima Centauri) right here in our own galaxy. This is the universe that the God of the Bible has created and governs.

YECs ask us to believe that this infinite God did all of His creative work on this speck-planet during 6 consecutive rotations on its axis; that each of the major changes that the book of Genesis describes in its sequence of creation ‘days’ was accomplished in 24 hours. They would tell us that the sun fired up on Day 1, that earth’s atmosphere and water cycle were fully established on Day 2, that the land appeared and was filled with plants on Day 3, the sun, moon and stars appeared on Day 4, the birds and fish arrived on Day 5, and the land animals and mankind were all created and established on Day 6 (Adam was shown all the animals on the planet on day 6 as well, he named them all, and Eve was then created and brought to him before the day was over). It all occurred in 144 hours, and every living thing was settled in its place before Day 7 arrived. Such a perspective conjures up a picture of God putting a Styrofoam ball on a stick, and then spray- painting it a different ‘creative color’ on it with each successive rotation. Could God have done it that way? I suppose so. Do I have to believe it in order to be a genuine Christian? No. Do I have to believe in 6 creation ‘days’ to be a Christian? Yes. Do they have to be 24-hour days? No.

When one thinks about how vast the universe is, and about how miniscule the earth is in the overall scheme of things, it really doesn’t make much sense to insist that the Creator of the universe governed His work by the rotations of this planet. Such earth-centric thinking harkens back to those who forced Galileo to retract his claim that the earth revolves around the sun. The problem for the YECs is that they are unable to step away from this planet and look at it in the context of the infinite time and space of the universe; in other words, from God’s point of view.

WHY DID GOD SPEAK OF DAYS WITH EVENINGS AND MORNINGS?

YECs will respond to me by asking ‘Why did God describe His work in terms of earth days, comprised of evenings and mornings?’ To me the answer is simple. God inspired Moses, the great lawgiver, to write Genesis. God wanted to establish a 7-day week for mankind, with 6 days of work and 7th day of rest, as a pattern that we would observe in remembrance and honor of His work as the Creator. God described His work in earthly terms as a way of stooping down and relating to us. It’s as simple as that. Outside of Genesis chapter 1 there are no other passages in the Bible, in the Old Testament or the New, which either insist or imply that God’s creation days must be understood as 24-hour days. There are examples, however, where God uses the word ‘day’ to describe periods of time that are greater than 24 hours.

As I understand it, 14 billion years ago God set a universe in motion, and then roughly 3 billion years ago He began a special project here. The earth on which we live reveals an ancient material canvas of geological and atmospheric processes initiated by the Creator and continuing over vast periods of time. Upon this ancient canvas God has placed the brushstrokes of instantaneously created life, when and where He has seen fit. There is no need to choose between the ‘infinite time’ and ‘no time’. Both time frames are valid. We simply need to recognize that one applies to geology, and the other to biology. The material universe reveals God’s eternal power and wisdom, while the living world reveals His incredible instantaneous creative genius.

The simple fact is that, when we leave the question of time out of the discussion, we find that Science and the Bible are in striking agreement about the earth’s chronological history (its order of events). Personally only two things are ‘givens’ for me;

      1)That the universe is extremely old; as old as time itself.
      2) That God created the human race and united us within a man named Adam

in the relatively recent past

    .

I am open to many possibilities regarding the age of the earth and its history otherwise. I listen to many different views and ideas, aware that both scientists and Christians tend to interpret findings in terms of their preconceived notions. Truth that is both scientifically and Biblically accurate is so precious that one must look everywhere and be open to every perspective in order to find it.

DAY 1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said “Let there be light”: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Genesis 1:1-5

Some people understand the words ‘in the beginning’ to simply mean ‘the first thing that God did regarding the earth’. Personally, I take them further. When God says ‘in the beginning’, I understand Him to mean in the beginning: in other words, in the beginning of time itself.

It is my personal belief that time is a created thing. It is my understanding that when the ‘Big Bang’ occurred, time, space, matter and energy came into existence for the first time. I believe that the universe is infinite, and therefore reveals a Creator who transcends the infinite. So I understand Day 1 as follows: In the beginning of all time, God created the stuff (the molecules) that would eventually comprise the earth. 11 billion years later the earth had come into existence, but was without form and void. It contained significant amounts of water over which the Spirit of God was taking a special interest, and at which time God ordered the ignition of our 3rd generation star (the sun). And because it was a revolving planet, every portion of it began to experience day and night (the length of our days and nights playing a critical role in the future stability of the planet).

DAY 2

And God said “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters”. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Genesis 1:6-8

This is a description of the earth’s atmosphere. Here we find God working with the water that He had carefully preserved, establishing earth’s early protective atmospheric covering and a water-cycle between the clouds above and the seas below. This is all very much in keeping with what scientists tell us occurred in the early days of this planet.

The Bible calls our atmosphere ‘heaven’. The Bible refers to 3 heavens. The first heaven is earth’s atmosphere, the second is outer space or the universe, and the third is a ‘spiritual heaven’ which transcends all, where God dwells. As far as I am concerned, as I think back upon the awesome cloud formations, sunsets, storms and migrating birds that I have seen in my life, I’m convinced that ‘heaven’ is a perfect description of earth’s atmosphere. It is indeed heavenly.

DAY 3

And God said “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear”: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth”: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Genesis 1:9-13

Here we see the onset of Plate Tectonics. This passage explains why most of our land, including our highest mountain ranges, is comprised of sedimentary rock; those sediments were all initially laid down under water, and then thrust up out of the water through Tectonic processes powered by the heat of the earth’s core.

In this passage we find the first mention of created life; plant life. I believe that simple animal life also existed at this time. I expect that the early seas were teaming with single-celled organisms, and maybe more complex life. The Bible does not give us a detailed account of all life on this planet; it hits the high points. It describes the plants, the fish and birds, the land animals, and lastly mankind, all in the same order that paleontologists tell us they arrived.

Genesis 2:5-6 tells us that, prior to the advent of plant life, earth’s water cycle did not include rain. It says, rather, that a mist (dew) fell upon the ground every night, watering the earth. As we shall see, before Day 4 the earth was enveloped by clouds, so that the sun, moon and stars were not visible on the surface of the planet. This was the nature of the earth when God placed plant life on it. The planet was universally warm, the atmosphere was rich in Carbon Dioxide, and plant life was richly and evenly sustained from pole to pole through regular nightly watering. This is why we find coal, oil and natural gas deposits in every part of the earth today. They are the deposits of ancient plant life that dominated this planet early on, for millions of years, converting the earth’s atmosphere to an oxygen-rich one while enriching the soil for future generations, laying a foundation capable of sustaining the many life forms that would follow. This is the Carbon Dioxide-rich world that so many fear global warming will lead us back to.

DAY 4

And God said “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth”: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14-19

There is controversy and confusion surrounding this Day. Many YECs understand this passage to say that God created the sun, moon and stars on Day 4. They claim that the light that God caused to shine on Day 1 was some supernatural temporary light source that He established for the planet, while the sun, moon and stars did not come into existence until 3 ‘days’ later. Naturalists and evolutionists love this YEC interpretation of the passage, because it puts the Bible on a collision course with what we know about the history of our solar system.

The whole passage hangs on the words ‘in the firmament of the heavens’. God did not create the sun, moon and stars on this day, but He broke the earth’s cloud cover and allowed them to appear in the sky (the firmament) to anyone who might be looking up from the surface of the earth below. Why is this significant? Because the disruption and opening of the cloud cover represents the advent of weather and seasons on this planet, and the means for future animal survival. God was preparing for the animal life whose daily lives, reproductive cycles and migratory patterns would be driven by precise timekeeping, weather, seasons and celestial navigation. This advent of weather, seasons and celestial visibility was not only initiated for animals, but for mankind also.

Despite the fact that the King James version of the Bible says that God ‘made’ the two great lights (the sun and moon) on Day 4, the original Hebrew version of Genesis conveys a different idea. The original Hebrew word translated ‘made’ can also be translated ‘set’, ‘placed’ or ‘established’; the idea being that God said ‘Let celestial lights appear in the sky’, and that He then proceeded to establish them there. It is here that we see the radical difference between where the YECs and evolutionists would take us (with their misunderstanding of Day 4), and where the Bible really leads. The Bible and science are in much greater agreement with each other regarding the earth’s chronology, than either the evolutionists or the fundamentalists would have us believe.

Days 5 & 6

I do not wish to go into great detail about God’s work on these 2 ‘days’. Suffice it to say that He introduced life to the waters, to the skies and then to the land. The question of whether or not this is really true is addressed very adequately by Intelligent Design advocates. Ultimately God finished His work with the creation of mankind.

Paleontologists tell us that roughly 500 million years ago there was a sudden (geologically speaking) explosion of animal life on this planet. This is known as the ‘Cambrian Explosion’. I am comfortable with that time frame. This sudden presence of a broad variety of animal species in the fossil record agrees fully (as far as I am concerned) with the Genesis account, and runs directly counter to the theory of evolution.

500 million years is a frightening number to many Christians. They fear that if we begin talking about such time scales, the Bible will be discredited and evolutionary thought will prevail. 500 million years does not trouble me, however. First of all, 500 million years may dwarf me, but it does not dwarf my God. The Bible says that for Him one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day (2 Peter 3:9). I also find it helpful to put things into perspective by using the ‘paper towel’ illustration that some schoolteachers use. If you unravel 14 connected sheets of paper towel and lay them on a floor, you have a time line of 14 billion years, with each towel representing one billion years. The beginning of the towel-line represents the Big Bang start of the universe. Our solar system begins 11 billion years later, with the 3rd towel from the end, and the Cambrian Explosion occurs half way through the last towel. This illustration helps me to realize how relatively recent the advent of advanced life on this planet really is.

Secondly, evolution’s theory of the spontaneous development of life in primordial swamps has been discredited, both by the fossil record and cellular biologists. The transitional forms between species that Darwin expected to find have not been found. Moreover it has been ably demonstrated, by Molecular Biology, that even the simplest living things are complex machines far too intricate to have arisen spontaneously. They bear the marks of a Designer, no matter how old the earth is, or how long they have existed. Is there evolution within a species? I believe so. But one species does not evolve into another. Dinosaurs do not become chickens, and monkeys do not become men.

Thirdly, I have discovered personally that I existed as an individual within the Father of the human race, Adam. Everything that the book of Genesis says about the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is true. I have proved that for myself, and my reader can do so as well (see Testing Christianity).

NOAH’S FLOOD

I believe that the Genesis flood was a genuine, worldwide event, just as described in the Bible. I am intrigued by the possibility that the ‘Younger Dryas Event’ (YDE) was the Genesis Flood. There is abundant information about the YDE on the Internet, and I would encourage my reader to check it out. It seems to possibly coincide with the sudden disappearance of the Sabretooth Cat, the Woolly Mammoth, the Giant Sloth, and other species. When the Bible says that all of the mountains were covered with water (Genesis 7:20), I simply understand the water at those altitudes to have been snow.

Scientists tell us that the YDE was a sudden, but temporary advance of snow and ice fields over the earth which occurred around 8000 years ago. They conjecture that this sudden shift in worldwide climate was precipitated by a sudden influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic, disrupting the ocean salinity and deep sea currents that play such an important role in the stability of the earth’s atmosphere. These sea currents are like conveyor belts that transport the earth’s heat and energy around the planet. I am inclined to believe that these conveyor belts truly were disrupted. The Bible says that God broke up the great fountains of the deep in order to initiate the flood (Genesis 7:11). I believe that the recent movie entitled The Day After Tomorrow might provide us with something of a picture of the nature and scope of Noah’s flood.

BIG AND SMALL

Someone might ask ‘Don’t you think that an infinitely large universe makes you and your God irrelevant?’ My answer to that is ‘No’. Our size reflects God’s special interest in us. God has placed us at the crossroads of size. We are uniquely positioned to investigate the inner world as well as the outer one. I would be willing to bet that mankind has spent the same amount of money, and has achieved the same degree of progress in investigating the atom as we have in studying the universe. Some ‘scientists’ talk about possible ‘parallel’ universes; they need not wonder about it. There are millions of universes within and around us. God is big and small. He can hop from galaxy to galaxy, as if they were stones in a river, if He wishes. And yet He puts His ‘wrenches’ on molecules, and can ride on the back of a butterfly.

Physical size, for all its range, is ultimately insignificant. Who would be willing to trade his children for the sun, the moon, or any of the planets? That is why Jesus could ask “What shall it profit a person if he should gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? Or what shall a person give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). God sees size in spiritual terms, and so should we.

OTHER LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE

Scientists tell us that the universe is so large, and physical beings are so limited by the laws of physics, that any meaningful travel for mankind, even within our own solar system, is a practical impossibility. Star Wars and Star Trek are pure fantasy. However, this does not rule out the possibility that there are non-physical beings who travel freely about the universe. I am referring to what the Bible calls ‘angels’.

It makes perfect sense to me that any person capable of traversing the universe would have to be spiritual, and not constrained by physical laws. I am inclined to think that angels were brought into existence shortly after the ‘Big Bang’, and that God has used them as His administrators of the universe ever since. Are there other physical beings out there? The Bible does not speak to that question. The variety of plants and animals on this planet demonstrates that anything is possible. Ultimately, however, the life on this planet should not move us to wonder about other creatures, but to seek the Creator who has already fully revealed His glory to us right here on earth.

THE MIRACLE OF LIFE

There is a personal observation regarding the complexity of life that I would like to share with my reader. Up until recently I had thought of the human genome (our chromosomes) as simply a blueprint for the human body. But recently it has occurred to me that it is much, much more than that. If a person were to pour a concrete foundation, take all the lumber and other necessary materials for a house and place them on a building site, and then place a blueprint along side of those materials, nothing would happen. The house would not self-construct. Yet when a male and female set of chromosomes combine, that ‘human building’ does ‘self-construct’.

Human chromosomes are much more than a blueprint. They are an instruction set that drives that first cell to selectively choose fuel and materials from the mother’s bloodstream, and then build a human being from the ground up. And not only do those chromosomes contain the information for the self-construction of an incredibly complex organism, but they also control the operation of that human being for the rest of its life, from the cradle to the grave. In that single tiny first cell exists all of the information for the immune system, the brain, the eye, the heart, the blood with it’s clotting mechanisms; everything that allows a human body to function, self-repair and change throughout the various stages of life. When I think about it, such technology stuns me into silence. As far as I am concerned, every time a human being is conceived in the womb, a Big Bang as awesome as the beginning of the universe occurs.

I could try to duplicate the thoughts found in some of the great books and articles that have been written regarding Evolution vs. Intelligent Design, but I could never do justice to the subject. I received my first real exposure to these issues when I read Dr. Michael Denton’s book Evolution: Theory in Crisis. I recommend it to my reader. Denton’s work has inspired much thought and many other good books on this subject, such as Darwin’s Black Box by Michael J. Behe, and Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson. In addition, I would encourage my reader to view two great DVDs; The Privileged Planet and Unlocking the Mystery of Life, both from Illustra Media.

THE TRUTH IS AS CLOSE AS A BOOK

As scientists become more clear about the supernatural nature of our world, many are searching for the God behind it all. But an understanding of creation can only take us so far. As I have pointed out in Justification by Faith, God is not found through our wisdom, but through acknowledging our lack of wisdom. The first step in approaching God is to realize that we are mere children before Him. In the light of that truth, He has chosen to hide Himself from those who are ‘wise in their own eyes’, and to reveal Himself to ‘babes’. It is only as we despair of our own intellectual power, and turn from our books to His book (the Bible), that we can meet this Creator who humbled Himself and became a man, born in a stable in Bethlehem.

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1 Corinthians 1:21

The Bible tells us that we are to love God with our minds as well as our hearts (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30). I am so glad that this is true, and that God values our minds and our intellectual capacities. Ultimately, however, it is not through the mind alone, but more importantly through the heart  and the conscience that we find God. God doesn’t care if we have a Nobel prize in physics or not. He has all the wisdom in the universe; He is not impressed with ours. He cares about how we view Him, and how we treat our fellow human beings. It is only in wrestling with these issues, and with how we come to deal with our guilt and failure in these personal areas, that we can truly and fully come to see and know Him.

SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE

TOP OF PAGE

1. GOD REVEALED FROM ‘A to Z’                    8. PREACHER & SALOONKEEPER               15. DAYS 5 & 6
2. GOD SEEN IN HIS WORD & WORLD            9. THE ‘YEC’ PERSPECTIVE                          16. NOAH’S FLOOD
3. I BELIEVE IN ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN’         10. WHY EVENINGS AND MORNINGS?         17. BIG AND SMALL
4. TWO KINDS OF EVOLUTION                       11. DAY 1                                                        18. OTHER LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
5. CHRISTIANS DIVIDED                                  12. DAY 2                                                        19. THE MIRACLE OF LIFE
6. WHY I AM AN ‘OEC’                                     13. DAY 3                                                        20. THE TRUTH IS AS CLOSE AS A BOOK
7. A POLARIZED DEBATE ABOUT TIME          14. DAY 4

 

BIBLE QUOTATIONS ARE FROM THE OLD KING JAMES VERSION, WITH MODIFICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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