Reconciling RTB and BioLogos Biblical Creation Models


(Mark Moore) #1

I can’t help but notice that the model for creation in Early Genesis, the Revealed Cosmology merges both the BioLogos and RTB models nicely. Though it ultimately comes down on the Old Earth Creationist side, it argues that what creation was trying to do was theistic evolution, but our natural universe simply could not pull off fulling God’s will by itself! It could not do so without His further direct intervention- in other words the natural universe has the same problem we have!

I am not going to go into all of the details here, but the premise is that in Genesis chapter one God is separating the natural from the supernatural universe until the mid-point of the third day. After that creation is happening at different rates of responsiveness to God’s Word in the two realms.

On the first part of day six for example, we see the pattern. In verse twenty-four of Genesis chapter one God initiates the sixth day by commanding the land, in whatever realm it may be natural or supernatural, to bring forth living creatures after their kind. The land in the supernatural realm, the third heaven, does so immediately and exactly as God says. High Heaven then reports “And it was so.”

But while the land above performs His word completely, we learn in verse twenty-five that in our world God Himself must act subsequent to High Heaven reporting “it was so” in order to fulfill His word on this earth. Our natural world can’t seem to get started until God makes “kinds” of land animals. Unlike in the heavenly realm, the earth only brings them forth after God has made the kind, or category, for the earth to work with. Since we can’t do His will without His intervention either, this is a suitable universe for beings in our spiritual condition.

Ironically, what occurs in the land above sounds a lot like “theistic evolution”. God commands the land to bring forth the living creatures by kinds and the land does so. But it is not our land. It’s the land those who love God will enjoy in the life to come. Down here on earth, creation can’t pull this process off without God’s continued direct intervention. God has to “make” the land animals kind by kind. He puts on the earth patterns of what is heaven and the earth then takes it from there.

In this view of things, the many disputes between those who think life diversified via theistic evolution versus those who believe God used direct creation seem almost irrelevant. Which view is correct? Well, both are correct in their respective realm. On the one hand, in the realm we live in God had to directly make prototypes of the animals by kinds. So that’s divine creation. On the other hand, its only divine creation because this realm doesn’t have it together yet- what happened in the land above looked more like theistic evolution.

According to this passage that is not what happened down here though. God directly intervened and got things going for “the land.” In the record of nature that might still look a lot like theistic evolution, because nature (the land) was working off of a pattern which worked very much like “theistic evolution” in the heavenly realm. In this mixed realm of darkness and light, the land could not pull it off alone. So both sides are right and both are wrong. Can’t we all just get along here?

Imagine a color printer that an adult can use to print off a color picture from an electronic file at the touch of a button. The adult does not have to actually paint the picture. The printer does that for them on their command, and then “reports” when the job is done. Then the adult hands that picture to a small child with a paint set, and the adult asks the child to paint a copy of that picture. The child needs a lot of help from the adult to get started, but once the adult gets them started they finish up. It is a very imperfect copy of the original, but the adult compliments them on it just the same. The child then reports that the adult “saw that it was good”. It was not a perfect copy of what was above, but it can be used to accomplish whatever the adult had in mind.

In this analogy, the printer is the land above and the child with the paint set is the land in our realm. The result would also look similar to the original yet not prepared in quite the same way- much like our record in nature may look similar to what it would if theistic evolution produced the results we see, yet those results were not strictly produced by that method.

In short, it may be that RTB and BioLogos can actually defend the same Biblical Creation Model by somewhat modifying the models they are each putting forth. As we learn more and more about the truth of God’s Word our models can be expected to be more and more refined, much like the record of nature allows scientists to refine their models.


NT Wright: If Creation is Through Christ, Evolution is What You Would Expect
#2

Surely an all-powerful and all-knowing God could create a universe that was capable of fulfilling his will, at least by my reckoning.[quote=“Mark_Moore, post:1, topic:37468”]
In short, it may be that RTB and BioLogos can actually defend the same Biblical Creation Model by somewhat modifying the models they are each putting forth. As we learn more and more about the truth of God’s Word our models can be expected to be more and more refined, much like the record of nature allows scientists to refine their models.
[/quote]

Why wouldn’t the truths we learn about the universe through science influence those same models? The scientific discoveries made by Galileo influenced the models that Christians held for the movement of the Earth, Sun, and other planets, so why couldn’t the same thing happen in biology and geology?

Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Cardinal Bellarmine who just so happened to be the Cardinal who oversaw Galileo’s trial as part of the Inquisition.

“I say that if there were a true demonstration that the sun is at the center of the world and the earth in the third heaven, and that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun, then one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary, and say rather that we do not understand them than what is demonstrated is false. But I will not believe that there is such a demonstration, until it is shown to me . . . . and in case of doubt one must not abandon the Holy Scripture as interpreted by the Holy Fathers. I add that the one who wrote, “The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose,” was Solomon, who not only spoke inspired by God, but was a man above all others wise and learned in the human sciences and in the knowledge of created things; he received all this wisdom from God; therefore it is not likely that he was affirming something that was contrary to truth already demonstrated or capable of being demonstrated.”


(Mark Moore) #3

“Why wouldn’t the truths we learn about the universe through science influence those same models?” - Well I don’t deny that they do. I am of the “Scripture and the Universe have the same Author” camp, as I perceive that you are.

“Surely an all-powerful and all-knowing God could create a universe that was capable of fulfilling his will, at least by my reckoning.”

Yes, and He did. That is the land above. But He also created a realm where there is resistance to His will being done- that is down here. It is why we are instructed to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. It is all through the scriptures once you see it. He made this realm a place where His creation cannot perfectly execute His will without His further personal intervention, because that is the state that the people in it exist in- and the Cross is the ultimate example of that. That is the “subjection to futility” referred to later in scripture. We’d be out of place in a world that did God’s word perfectly and quickly without any help. That’s not us!


#4

I am actually an atheist, but I have no problem discussing the merits of a specific theology within the confines of Christian doctrine.[quote=“Mark_Moore, post:3, topic:37468”]
“Surely an all-powerful and all-knowing God could create a universe that was capable of fulfilling his will, at least by my reckoning.”

Yes, and He did. That is the land above. But He also created a realm where there is resistance to His will being done- that is down here. It is why we are instructed to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. It is all through the scriptures once you see it. He made this realm a place where His creation cannot perfectly execute His will without His further personal intervention, because that is the state that the people in it exist in- and the Cross is the ultimate example of that. That is the “subjection to futility” referred to later in scripture. We’d be out of place in a world that did God’s word perfectly and quickly without any help. That’s not us!
[/quote]

I may have misunderstood your intent. I thought you were implying that nature was incapable of evolving humans and all the other species we see today, at least as part of the OEC model. Am I getting something wrong?


(Phil) #5

Also, if you are not aware of it, there is a book for this:

I think if you donate to Biologos, it was or is complementary at a certain level. Good thing to consider doing.

The book is really quite good, and there is a lot of common ground.


(Mark Moore) #6

“Am I getting something wrong?” T-water

You are not wrong. It is as I said in the initial post- my take on Genesis one is a blend of the Reasons to Believe Model and BioLogos. What nature was TRYING to do looked a whole lot like Theistic Evolution. That is what it looked like in the land above. But the two realms are not equal in their responsiveness to God’s Word. The first four minutes of this video explains it using a pattern of the verses… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tijmm1hFLRs&t=2s


(Mark Moore) #7

“There is a book about that” - JPM

This seems to be a different book than the one that got me thinking about this post. There was one with RTB, BioLogos, and Ken Ham and one other that is new and making some waves out there, but this one looks more focused in my range.


(Phil) #8

Yes, and that book is on my reading list also. The book I mentioned above is more an interview format, and provides a bit more side by side comparison of both differences and similarities.


#9

So he sabotaged his own creation. Nice.


(Mark Moore) #10

Where did you get that? He provided a temporal realm between eternal darkness and eternal light. A place where, for a time, His will CAN be done but does not HAVE to be done on a day-to-day basis. I suspect this is a necessary condition for free will to exist.


(Mark Moore) #11

It means that we are MEAN’T to need Him to produce right action. We cannot do it on our own, and we were never meant to in this realm. Faith was always a necessity. It is written “our righteousness is as filthy rags”. So WE can’t even do His will on our own, we require HIS imputed righteousness, and therefore it makes no sense that the universe we live in would be better than us. It is suitable for creatures in our condition. Now I was surprised to read that the other poster was an atheist, but what I am saying about the universe here aligns exactly what scripture says about the human condition and the need for the gospel. That is why I originally put this as a comment on a thread about how evolution was the kind of universe Christ would create. I had a slightly different take on it, but it is powerful that even Genesis one ties so elegantly with what the gospel says about our ability to perform God’s will on our own.


#12

Because you said, “He made this realm a place where His creation cannot perfectly execute His will without His further personal intervention”


(Mark Moore) #13

Right, but just because GE doesn’t make a light bulb that can produce light without being connected to a power source doesn’t mean that GE is “sabotaging” its light bulbs. They are designed to produce light when properly connected to their power source. That’s us too.


#14

You were talking about creation. What are worms supposed to do?


#15

If GE could make light bulbs that produce light all on their own, then I am sure they would. It’s not as if they can make light bulbs that can produce light all on their own, but then purposefully sabotage their production lines so they aren’t able to make them.

On top of that, nature appears to be able to evolve the species we see today without any need for any additional intervention. Using your analogy, it would appear that we do have light bulbs that produce light all on their own.


#16

We do have creatures that evolved Bioluminescence . What could be more beautiful? All part of creation, but ioluminescence evolved independently many times over, so God probably didn’t need to intervene to put lights on these twinkling critters.


(Mark Moore) #17

Well, it should “appear” like that because that was what was supposed to happen. The earth was supposed to bring forth living creatures on God’s command. That is what happened someplace because “it was so”. That is not what the text says happened down here though. First God made “kinds” whatever that is, and the earth took it from there.

Now I don’t deny that the earth is able to produce “species” at this point. If we are talking about animal life (as opposed to plant life which the text seems to indicate evolved on earth without His further intervention) then that is normally by SUBTRACTION of information from the genome, but earth can do it. What has not been demonstrated is that earth can produce entirely new families or orders of creature without help. The ability to make numerous tiny jumps does not mean that great leaps can be made. Certainly none have happened in the thousands of years we have been looking.

Actually we have been more than looking. We have been actively “forcing” evolution via animal domestication. And what we have learned is that domestic breeding had limits. We can only take things so far from the archtype before problems arise and limits assert themselves.

What I see in the text of Genesis chapter one has a lot more evolution going on than Ken Ham would be comfortable with but a lot more Divine Intervention going on than a strict “evolution is the whole answer” person would be comfortable with. That may be you, but the text says what the text says. Maybe in a million years of watching we will learn that life can change that much. Right now, the evidence from the present which does not require the interpretation which the fossil record requires, says “no”.

PS- in my analogy “GE” is also the electric company. They WANT light bulbs and energy together just like God wants us and His Holy Spirit together…


(Mark Moore) #18

You have the advantage on me as to the details regarding the independent origin of bio-luminescence, which I agree is beautiful. Please see my reply to T-water above to understand that the model does not require God to independently re-introduce such piddling changes to various worms. Nature itself does most of the species-splitting.


#19

You are wrong about that. It has been seen.


(Mark Moore) #20

Bill I don’t mind being wrong, but you did understand my claim right? I am not saying that no new SPECIES of animals have evolved in human history. I am saying that new families and orders have not done so. Little jumps easy does not equal great leaps possible. For example breeding a coon dog with retractable claws like members of the cat family so it could climb those trees and get the prey better…

If you did understand my claim correctly and you still know it to be in error, kindly provide a link…