Is there a school of thought that considers the possibility that our Universe could have looked very different from a scientific perspective before the fall? Could our scientific understanding of the world be limited to post-fall data? If we could have examined the universe through a telescope or microscope before the fall, would it have provided very different information than from what we observe today? I am interested in finding out if there are any recourses that explore such a possibility.
The founders of science and philosophy believed that the creation of the universe was the result of the Fall. The Fall was from Heaven, a spiritual place into Hell, a spiritual place. The universe was then created after the second Fall, Genesis 3:24.
So, understanding the science that exists in the spiritual world should be the pursuit of enlightened scientists and philosophers, as it was for the likes of Socrates.
They did? Who is this now?
So are you suggesting that our sin had a hand in “re-creating” or somehow fashioning the universe? Or are you asking if our perspective of it just radically changed when beheld through fallen eyes?
If you call Answers in Genesis a “school of thought,” then that would be where to look for this idea. It’s more science fiction than science though, if you ask me. Like Merv, I don’t even see how it is theologically acceptable to make sin an agentive entity with creative power. God is the source and creator of “science.” Either God recreated the world in a destructive way after the fall or it is fundamentally the way he created it originally. I have a theological issue with God breaking his creation because of sin and I don’t think sin (which is an abstract noun that describes a state of humanity, not a concrete volitional actor) can undo or redo the fundamental natural laws and order that God set up.
I think that is really hard to justify from a physics perspective. We can measure how various constants of the universe have changed over time… And find little evidence that they have ever changed. Wikipedia has a little summary of a few examples:
So we can have confidence that there was not a point in our universe where the fundamental laws of physics ever changed.
Another interesting thing we can do is interpolate our present measurements/physical laws from physics backwards in time and ask if we can find things about the past. So you can measure the temperature of the cosmic microwave background billions of years ago and find that indeed it matches the predictions given the laws at present:
They are “founders” of science and philosophy?
Not just founders, apparently, but “the founders” according to Shawn. Of all the philosophers and scientists I have up around my wall in my science classroom, not one of those are showing. And to be honest I would have to look them up to even know who they all even were. Maybe I need to step up my game.
I guess I am interested in the ramifications of the fall. Could the observable universe be limited to the fallen universe? Could the big bang actually be the starting point of a post-garden existence?
No, the question that I answered was: Who is this now? Who are the people today doing what the ancient Greeks did? That is how I understood the question. I thought it is clear that the likes of Euclid, Pythagoras or Democritus were the founders of modern science. At least this is what Galileo and Schrödinger thought.
Thanks for the quick responses. I am new to the Biologos discussion. I was introduced to the work of Biologos through our Pastor (he recently attended the conference in Baltimore). I just read through “The Language of God” as well.
I admit that my perspective is deeply influenced by my Southern Baptist upbringing and a reformed view of scripture that I found later in life through the Presbyterian and reformed SBC churches that I have been part of. While most would identify me as “conservative”, I have always been open to the idea of an ancient universe and the “creation” of man through an evolutionary process. However, I still wrestle with perspectives that question the existence of a real, individual Adam, a real garden, the fall, etc.
So, from that perspective, I have often wondered if all of the scientific evidence we have about our Universe and its history can only tell us about our “fallen” world. Since we don’t really know what happened before the Big Bang, could Adam, Eve, and the garden, have existed on the other side of it?
I am really interested in finding resources that explore that possible idea. Thanks again for the discussion!
I think you’re asking a good question – it’s certainly an appropriate thing to muse about anyway, and as you’re working through the idea of how or whether faith is compatible with evolution, it makes sense that these kinds of questions would come up. I think a lot depends on whether you see this as a scientific question, or a theological one, or both. Looking at it from a theological perspective, it would seem that would make the Garden of Eden more of a metaphorical story, unless you’re assuming it took place in a spiritual world. I’m not sure how that would work out, but feel free to share ideas you have.
That’s possible, though the text seems to at least reflect on the mortality of Adam and Eve (created from dust). This wouldn’t work before the Big Bang as nearly 14 billion years would separate Adam and Eve from other humans. This series has some nice reflections on Adam and how the early church viewed him:
It sounds like you are asking if time existed before time existed. Let’s say it theoretically did in some parallel universe. Then the question is so what? Why would anything that Adam and Eve did affect our universe? For my theology it’s important that there be continuity between the humanity that fell and me. Otherwise, what is the point? That God was so mad about something that happened 14 billion years ago, he created a new screwed up world for a different humanity to live in as a punishment? How does that make sense?
I don’t think the garden narrative is explaining the origin of the physical universe. It is teaching theological truths about the nature of humanity and their place in God’s story of redemption.
Continuing from my answer above and addressing your continuity question here with @Back2Brent, it makes sense to me that everything before Genesis 3:24 happened in the spiritual world and that 4:1 is the first incarnation of the spirits of Adam and Eve into the material world. God created our spiritual self in His image - divine, immortal and spiritual. This is also how His only Son existed before everything and only incarnated into the material world 2,000 years ago.
Yeah, you’ve mentioned that before. It doesn’t make sense to me, sorry.
If you want to look at an interpretation from the perspective that Adam and Eve are historical, one compatible with inerrancy, you should check out John Walton’s Lost World of Adam and Eve.
Thanks Christy, I will check that book out.
From the little I have read, it seems that one argument for a more literal interpretation of the Genesis account goes something like this… “Yes, the scientific evidence points toward an ancient Universe, but considering the Genesis text, we must assume God simply designed the Universe to look ancient.”
Is that position one that finds much support within the science community? I have run across some push back against that position that finds it problematic that God would intentionally deceive mankind with that type of built-in “evidence” for something that was not actually true. I found that counterargument interesting because it seemed more theological in nature. From a Reformed perspective, I will admit that I am open to the possibility of God working in that way.
You are describing what is often called the Omphalmos Hypothesis, and is usually discredited for the reasons you meantioned, though some still hold to it.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis