Does theology of massive extinctions exists?

Come let us reason again together. The book of Job is probably my favorite. It is considered the oldest book in the Bible. This book, like none other has changed my views about the nature of God and what he expects of his creation.

Job 1:6-7 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

When reading these verses, I was surprised that Satan would present himself before God. I had always imagined that there was a war between God and Satan. They would never meet on a casual basis. So I had to look at things quite differently when I saw that Satan actually took directions from God.

The first question that came to my mind, was what does God think of Job?

Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

Evidently Job was a righteous man who was considered blameless and upright, in other words he had a good or excellent relationship with God.

Imagine how shocked any of us would be to hear God saying to Satan the following about ourselves?

Job 1:11-12 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Apparently the bet with Satan is on! A question that comes to mind, is this a fair bet? Most people believe that God knows exactly what’s going to happen in the future, he knew how Job would react and easily take that bet.

However this would be like a person who while playing poker had an ace up his sleeve. Another question that came to mind is would God cheat on a bet? I personally don’t think so because this would be a form of lying. One of God’s moral commandments is Exo 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Satan loses the bet, however he comes back to double down.

Before God gives Satan another go at Job, God tells Satan how upset he is with himself for giving into the bet in the first place.

Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

Nevertheless God allows Satan to place a second bet.

Job 2:4-7 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.

In the end of all this happening, what did God and Job get out of the situation?

Job 42:1-6 Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job now has the **knowledge of the truth".

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I think this is a reference to the heat that would be generated by the rapid shifting of the tectonic plates that is proposed in the model made in a global flood. Or it could be the heat generated by the accelerated radioactive decay proposed to explain how dating methods could be wrong. Or the heat released by the condensation of water to get the huge rate of global rain needed to cover the mountains worldwide in a global flood. In the end, a global flood 4000 years ago requires one to not only say God did it and miraculously did it in such a way as to leave no trace that it happened, but also placed worldwide evidence that it did not happen but something else (deep time and normal geologic processes) did that never took place.

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Ahh…I think they may have been some misunderstanding🙃 for the record- I do not believe in the global flood 4000 BC, I was talking about “global flood” that supposedly happened long before the start of civilisation… And even that, I don’t think that actually covered the mountain tops!

And I’m defo not a YEC lol

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Which global flood would that be? There have been several in the Near East if you go back in history far enough. And when do you date “the start of civilization”?

Most people would date it before 2500 BC, which is about when a literalistic reading of the standard English translations places the flood. Which raises problems like “How are the pyramids still there?” “How did even older mummies that had to stay rather dry to be preserved survive?” “How did clay tablet inscriptions from Sumer survive?”, and many others.

All of the above would be serious problems, but the plate movements and increased decay rates would be especially bad.

500,000,000 km^2 * 30 km thick gives 1.5x10^19 m^3 for the crust, given a mean density of about 2.2 g/cm^3, that is 3.3x10^19 kg. Compressing plate tectonics into 6 months gives a velocity of ~40 m/s. Hence, a kinetic energy of 2.6x10^22 J. Given that most of that energy becomes heat, the energy-density of the crust will go up at a rate of something like 1K/s.
That’s on par with a microwave, but this is running for six months. The earth will only take half an hour or so to re-melt the crust, and if the energy input continued for the full six months the earth would achieve temperatures comparable to the sun’s core.

Given that Uranium and Thorium are the most common radioactive elements, we can get an estimate of the energy released by looking at them. Both require about 1 half-life to go by in six months to produce the measured ages. Given their abundance in the earth and earth’s mass, that is roughly 4x10^44 becquerels. Alpha decays emit about 10 MeV each. Hence, 3x10^32 joules get poured into the earth in that time. For reference, that is slightly more than Earth’s binding energy, or about the amount of sunlight that hits the earth every billion years. That is also enough to raise temperatures at 1000K/s, re-melting the crust in about a second and vaporizing the earth in 10. By the end of six months, the ball of plasma once known as earth would be about 50 MK, producing a Planck curve which peaks in keV x-rays and outshining the sun by 9 orders of magnitude, thus contributing 10% of the energy output by the galaxy.

That is to say nothing of the fact that increasing the weak nuclear force by a factor of 10^10, and decreasing the strength of the strong nuclear force by about 10^10 would prevent any atoms larger than hydrogen from existing.

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The specific problem is that the version of the flood promoted by modern young-earth advocates would destroy and bury everything that was around. (As Paraleptopecten has pointed out, it would also vaporize the earth, but this is sticking to the effects that they promote as part of their model). But the same rivers that were there in Genesis 2 as the location of Eden are still around after the flood. The modern young-earth flood is an invention to try to explain away the geological evidence of an old earth, rather than being actually rooted in the biblical description (especially if you recognize that the Hebrew requires nothing more than the hills in the land were flooded and Noah’s neighbors were wiped out).

You are quite correct; if we do not worry about why the Bible doesn’t mention theologically irrelevant things like dinosaurs or the pre-human geologic time periods, we will have much less difficulty relating science and Scripture.


BioLogos community and people connected to it work hard about theology of creation and evolution, just to mention N. T. Wright talk Christ & Creation. In my opinion they often give answer to questions on God’s “why” regarding thins like evolution and various aspect of creation. Explaining evolution but judging massive extinctions as “unknowable” seems to me as giant loophole in reasoning.

So we agree. You statement about Deism can suggest that reading and I’m very picky things like that.

I was thinking you are Humean, so argument from reason should not have big worth for you. To be honest, Hume himself wasn’t consistent in that part of his thought.

I have problem with that, since according to my knowledge, from the time of Roman in Roman Empire Christians were considered a very stiff people, that are against diversity of the gods. And also very hostile to many customs that they judged ungodly.

But, this depend on what “diversity” mean in this particular case.

You are entitled to your own opinion, but I don’t think evolution is an answer to why God created. It is only an answer to how God created.

What is “unknowable” is the mind of God. Why God chose to use evolution is unknowable. We just accept that He did.

Certainly, Christians did not believe in many Gods and neither did the Jews. However the Christians did not make a big thing about not being polytheists. They dressed and acted much the way everyone else did, except they did not believe in false myths. Where they did come into conflict with the state is when the state insisted that they worship the Emperor as a God. I think that they did object also to fighting to the death in the “games.” but this was based on morality, not theology.

Sadly many people including some Christians confuse faith with politics. Some conservative Christians think that only they are really true Americans. Fortunately they are in a minority.

From what I learn from the news and from Christians there is a serious problem in India because Hindu nationalism has inflamed passions against Christians in that country.

You don’t live near me, do you?

Diversity is certainly not a useful word in this context! Christians are monotheistic, believing in 1 God in 3 persons. But pagans usually believe in many gods.

I take this as a rhetorical question.

However I realize that it is likely that some people in this audience that are really hurting because some parts of the Church have lost their healing savor. We need to talk about the ability to accept and value diversity.

Diversity is important. We need to engage and share with others, No one has a monopoly on truth except God, and no human can read the mind of God.

By that I meant “I gather they are less common where you live than here (in rural piedmont NC), where it seems like they are a very large minority”.

These are really good questions and fair, thoughtful observations; thank you for sharing. I’ve heard that 99% of all species that ever existed are all extinct. That is a fact that does seem hard to swallow theologically, so I think it is an important conversation to have—i.e. how do we make sense of that as believers? How do we ensure our view of God and his workings throughout history are consistent with this hard reality? At the very least, it makes me appreciate the amazing patience and “long game” focus of God.

Absolutely. He wasn’t short of time!

(That is also why this is a favorite…):

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