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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Creationism pt 1

The Bible opens with a very bold claim: in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. For millenia the greatest minds dismissed such a notion. How could the universe itself have a beginning? Certainly the Bible teaches that God is atemporal (2 Peter 3:8), but the pre-Hawking philosophers couldn't grasp being outside time as a physical reality. We are so conditioned to the idea that the surface absurdity of a beginning of time misses us completely. Stephen Hawking's simple (in hindsight) idea of reversing a black hole and the induction of the Big Bang changed all that. Time and space did have an absolute beginning and a timeless region was now conceivable, if unobservable.
Despite the unanticipated redemption of this first verse, the rest of the Genesis story comes under constant scorn. I believe, however, that a careful study will reveal numerous evidences for belief.
I will go through a few quoted from the Scriptures to show my points:

'In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth'
The idea of a 'Prime Mover' has never, in my estimation, been well refuted. The idea of spontaneous matter generation prior to the Big Bang is just a religion of a different color. The idea that in a timeless world cause need not follow effect is only valid insomuch as neither could occur.

I have 2 tweaks to verse 2.
"And the Earth was without form and void"

The phrase 'without form' is the Hebrew word 'tohu.' The phrase 'and void' comes from the Hebrew 'wa-bohu,' which never appears independent of tohu. The word translated 'was' can be either was or became, depending on context. I seek to prove it should be became.

My proof text is Isaiah 45:18:

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else." (NASB)

Not very conclusive is it? But if you read it in Hebrew alongside Genesis 1:2, you would understand:

'He established it and did not create it in tohu, but formed it to be inhabited.'

'And the Earth was tohu wa-bohu'

See the issue? This implies with a subtlety lost in the English that the Earth was not created the way it is in Genesis 1:2. So, the Earth became without form and void, but was first inhabited. The (near) idol worship of the King James Version prevents many from seeing what the original Hebrew plainly teaches: an old Earth.

Young Earth Creationists (YEC) have several logical problems they are rarely, if ever, called to task over.

YEC Question 1: If there is no gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, when were angels created? Let's look at another passage.

God speaking: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7)

YEC Question 2: If God is not the author of confusion, why does the universe appear so old?

YEC Question 3: If your objection to OEC is that there was no death prior to Adam, do you call God a liar? Since God said that in the day they ate the fruit they would die, obviously it means spiritual death, not physical death.

The angels were there for creation.
Old Earth is the only logical and scriptural way to go. How old? The Bible doesn't tell us: fundamentally the Bible is a book of theology, not science. For inquiries into the old world, we can use only science and be confident it is not of spiritual importance.

The best argument, in my estimation, of what caused this great division in time was the fall of Satan and a third of the angels, what Jesus compared to lightning (which is rather destructive, don't you think?).

The passage which describes this event is here:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (Isaiah 14:12-13)

Satan was cast down from his place and man was given dominion over the world in his place, during the six day recreation.

My first point is then that the Bible does not contradict the idea of an Old Universe and indeed, a plain reading (tohu, not tohu) would have shown the original readers a gap.

You say, that is all well and good, Justin. You have shown that the creation of the universe is consistent with the Bible and it could have happened that God recreated everything in six days, thus accounting for the missing link in evolution and reconciling all of science. You have challenged YEC on several points and shown that OEC serves better in every way - but enough that it COULD have happened that way. Building on this foundation, show me that it DID.

Stay tuned, my friend, for part 2.
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