September 23, 2017

Thoughts On Origins

By Dick Blackford

I am neither a scientist nor the son of a scientist. My only claim is to be a Bible student. On rare and unexpected occasions I receive a small surge of common sense. I am praying it will kick in as I write. As a common man, I write for common men. What is said here will not shake the earth. It will probably be the only article I shall submit on the subject as it contains all I know about it.

The “Big Bang” Theory

Marilyn vos Savant holds the Guin- ness record for having the highest IQ. She writes a column, “Ask Marilyn,” for Parade Magazine. In a recent article she spoke these words concerning the “Big Bang” Theory: “The theory holds that, billions of years ago, everything in the universe was contained in an area smaller than the head of a pin (!) and that this minuscule speck of unbelievably dense and incredibly hot matter suddenly exploded violently. That sounds just plain nuts, right?

“But do you believe it? If so, how do you support your belief that the entire cosmos was once smaller than a polka dot? (With a strong line of reasoning? Some solid evidence? Anything at all?). If you cannot, welcome to the world of faith: You’re accepting what you’ve been told by those you respect. And that’s what creationists do. They just respect different folks.” Yes, like God and Moses.

For a thing to be scientific, it must be repeatable, observable, and testable. The “Big Bang” is not repeatable. If it was, we could all see it and there would be no debate. The “Big Bang” is not observable, since it was a one-time event supposedly billions of years before man. It is not testable, for there is no way of knowing that any testing device is accurate in measuring billions of years. That any such testing device should be questioned is indirectly admitted in that Big Bang advocates cannot tell us exactly how many billions, including fractions of a billion (such as twenty-three billion, four hundred thirty-seven million, seven hundred forty-one thousand, nine hundred and twenty-two and a half years). If they can measure billions of years, surely they can measure smaller amounts of time. But there is a big difference between what scientists believe and what scientists know, just as there is a big difference between what theologians believe and what theologians know. How can they be sure it is billions instead of trillions? This shows they have great faith in something they don’t know for sure because it is unprovable. 

Let us consider the nature of an explosion. Defenders of a Creator have often argued rightly that a wristwatch does not happen as the result of an explosion. Nor does a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica result from an explosion in a print shop. Neither does a new Cadillac result from an explosion in a junkyard. The reason we so argue is because it is not the nature of an explosion to result in a higher degree of order. Destruction and disarray are always in the aftermath of explosions. Remember when the space shuttle, Challenger, exploded? What higher degree of order came out of that? We are still mourning the dead and the millions of dollars down the drain. What about the bomb dropped on Hiroshima? The destruction was so terrible we have resolved not to do that again. People are still suffering. What about the World Trade Center bombing? The Oklahoma City bombing? When I was in London in 1996, we were shown where London was bombed in WWII. Evidence of destruction is still there. I submit that no one can name an explosion that did not destroy something in the physical realm. I further submit that Big Bang theorists have it backward. The Bible teaches that is the way it is going to end. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). There’s your Big Bang. But it comes at the end, not the beginning. And did you notice the results of that explosion? Destruction. The same that happens in all explosions. Explosions do not result in a higher degree of order such as a wristwatch, a set of encyclopedias, a new car, or life, or a well-ordered universe.

Days Of Creation

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:5). If this is not an inspired definition of what a literal day is, then we are at a loss to define it. It consisted of darkness, called “Night” and “evening”; and light, called “Day” and “morning.” That’s still what we call it today. This definition is very specific. There are some figurative or generic uses of the word “day” in the Bible and even in Genesis (Ezek. 7:7; 2 Cor. 6:2; Gen. 2:4), but we do not have a period described as “evening and morning,” “darkness and light,” and “night and day” used to describe anything but a literal day. In understanding any language we always approach it from the literal meaning first, before consider a figurative meaning. A basic rule of interpretation is that a passage is to be taken in its plain and obvious meaning unless something in the context forbids it. What forbids taking Genesis 1 literally? Is there any passage in the Bible that speaks of days, numerically, that is not talking about literal days?

It has been suggested that we are on “God’s time” in Genesis 1, thus these are not literal days, as we normally understand them. On the contrary, Genesis is a revelation from God to man and is written for man to read and understand. God accommodates man and speaks of numerical days in sequence. 

There would be no motive to clothe his language in a highly figurative manner as in the book of Revelation. 

Time means nothing to God. He is not limited by it (2 Pet. 3:8). It is almost an oxymoron to speak of God and time together. He does not give the days numerical names for his benefit, but for man’s understanding. Why would God speak in numerical terms that suggest a sequence of events if he intended to be nebulous and indefinite? Are there “gaps” of  approximately one billion years between each of the days? To affirm there were is to speak where the Bible is silent. Notice, it does not say, “And the evening and the morning and the eon were the fourth day,” etc. What was God doing during these billion year periods between the days of creation? Was he allowing time for the things to evolve that he had begun on the previous day or was he resting? It seems to be it would have to be one or the other. We learn what he was doing in the same verses that mention those gaps.

Genesis is not an attempt to explain things naturalistically because it is above nature — supernatural. If a supernatural event occurred then science will never be able to explain it, test it, or measure it. The supernatural is far beyond the realm of science. Science explains things on a naturalistic basis. Thus, science cannot explain the virgin birth, restoring human limbs to the maimed, how Naaman was healed of leprosy, prophecy, speaking a foreign language one has never learned, calming a storm, casting out demons, or raising the dead. These are totally out of the realm of the science of nature.

Were Miracles Instantaneous?
The word “instantaneous” is not used in connection with any miracle. Neither is “eon.” It is significant that miracles were completed within brief periods of time and not dragged out for long periods to the point that one could not tell that a miracle had occurred. The complete healing of the blind man in Mark 8:22-26 occurred in two stages, but within a short time on the same day. For reasons known only to God, this may have been two separate miracles. I don’t think anyone would want to take the position that this was a partial miracle in which Christ failed on his first attempt. Regardless, the significant thing is that it occurred within a brief period of time on the same day. Does anyone know of a Bible miracle that, according to the text, took a long period of time to effect? 

It may be said that God caused it to rain 40 days and nights (were these literal?) when the earth was flooded. We could debate whether God was using the natural in an unnatural way or whether this was totally a supernatural event. Granting it was a miracle, how does 40 days and nights compare with 4.5 to 6 billion years? One is brief. The other is beyond comprehension. 

Was each day of creation a partial miracle, culminating in one complete miracle when it was all over? For example, on the fifth day, God did not partially create a whale to be completed at a later time, but the job was completed on the same day. 
Could God have done everything in one day instead of six? Yes, but remember that God was also setting a pattern for man’s work week (Exod. 20:9-11). This would destroy the pattern that Moses gave. It still would not mean that the creation of sea and air animals were only partial or incomplete miracles. At the end of each day, “God saw that it was good.” He miraculously created on each day what he intended to create on that day. Everything said on the subject shows it was immediate at his command (Ps. 33:7-9; Heb. 11:3).

Naturalistic Explanations

To bridge the gap between special creation and macro evolution we may be tempted to accommodate a naturalistic unfolding of events. It is easy to fall into the “billions of years” to explain what happened. In dealing with those who accept macro evolution, we point out that evolution means the development of something existing, into something else. Therefore, evolution cannot really explain the origin of anything. A theory of how things developed does not explain how they got here in the first place. Evolutionists attempt to solve this problem by having recourse to vast periods of time. When asked how the universe and man came to be, they reply that there was a gradual development, which took vast ages. But the mere lapse of time does not explain anything. The lapse of time is not, itself, a cause of any effect. What is needed is not ages of time, but an adequate cause. As someone aptly remarked, “All eternity is not sufficient to complete that which has not yet been begun.”

There is nothing in the Bible that compels us to believe the days of creation were vast periods of time (billions of years) or that there were gaps comprised of trillions of days between the days named. The only days we know of are the ones stated. If Genesis 1 is explaining things on the basis of “God’s time” and if 2 Peter 3:8 is to be a literal description of time to God (a day for a thousand years), then we still would end up with a 6000 year creation week, not billions of years. And those days would have an evening (night, darkness) and a morning (light, day) that lasted several hundred years (Gen. 1:5). This would still not be enough time for day-age theories. Otherwise, we must hold to the view that 2 Peter 3:8 means that time means nothing to God. He is not governed or limited by it. And if he is not governed by it, it becomes absurd to say Genesis 1 is explaining things on “God’s time.” We dare not grant to the evolutionist the very foundation for his theory by reinterpreting the days of creation in Genesis 1.

Why accommodate a theory that some well-known scientists have said is faulty? “The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches. The rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossil record” (Stephen J. Gould, Natural History, Vol. 86, 13). “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study” (Stephen J. Gould, Natural History, May 1977, 14). Concerning the “Big Bang Theory,” Sir Fred Hoyle said, “As a result of all this, the main efforts of investigators have been in the papering over of holes in the big bang theory to build up an idea that has become ever more complex and cumbersome . . . I have little hesitation in saying that a sickly pall now hangs over the big bang theory. When a pattern of facts becomes set against a theory, experience shows that the theory rarely recovers” (Science Digest, May 1984, 54).

While these quotes have been around a few years, have we been overwhelmed with new discoveries that have totally reversed what these men said? Most fossil discoveries have ended up being placed in evolutionary branches that do not lead to the dawn of man.

Consequences

1. We become guilty of mishandling Genesis 1 the way some mishandle the book of Revelation. Switching back and forth between literal/figurative and figurative/literal to accommodate the day-age theory is not unlike what premillennialists do with Revelation. The days are figurative but the sequence is literal?! This switch has to be made in each verse.

2. Exodus 20:8-11 becomes nebulous. Whatever God did is what man is to do. Just as God did his work in six days and rested on the seventh, man is to do likewise. If God took an indefinite period of time, numbering in billions of years, then the whole analogy or parallel is destroyed and scripture becomes meaningless. 

If the numerical days in Genesis 1 are not to be taken literally, then how did the Jews know to take them literally? And how can we know Jesus was raised on the literal “first day of the week”? What rule of interpretation allows this? It is confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).

3. We provide a non-compelling compromise to evolutionists that is totally unnecessary. It grants the very thing needed for their theory to work, and there is no compelling reason to do so.

4. We minimize the power of the word of God. We limit his power when we suggest he needed more time than six literal days. When doubters and antagonists ridicule the validity of baptism to do what the Bible says it will do, we point out that their problem is not with what the Bible says about baptism but in underestimating the power of God’s word to do what he says it will do. When God healed Naaman at the Jordan, the power was not in the water, but in the word! (2 Kings 5). When God healed the blind man at the pool of Siloam, the power was not in the water, but in the word! (John 9). When God says baptism washes away sins, the power is not in the water, but in the word! (Acts 22:16). This is the word of the same Being who said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and he came forth. This is the word of the same Being who said, “Peace, be still,” and the storm was calmed. This is the word of the same Being who said, “Let there be light,” and there was. The power was in the word of an Almighty God.

5. We make it impossible for God to communicate what he means. If God had intended to tell us the days were literal, how would he have said it other than the way he said it (darkness-light, night-day, evening-morning)?

6. We confuse miracles (divine demonstrations of power which supercede natural occurrences) with what occurs in the realm of nature. One would have great difficulty demonstrating to a faith healer how a genuine miracle differs from his healings that may gradually occur over a period of time through natural means. (We do not question that some people are healed at these services through the power of suggestion and positive mental attitudes and may gradually begin to feel better, but they are not miracles in the biblical sense.)

Conclusion

There are no natural or supernatural limits to God’s power. As the angel said to Abraham when Sarah laughed at the idea of giving birth in her old age, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). Could God have done it in a literal six days? If so, then where is the problem? The voice of Jesus echoes the same sublime truth. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). And, “With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). God is unlimited in power. He is omnipotent. 

My goal has been to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it is silent. The reader will have to judge if I succeeded. And that’s all I know. 

P.O. Box 3032, State University, Arkansas, RLB612@aol.com

Truth Magazine Vol. XLV: 2  p6  January 18, 2001
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