Why couldn't God have made the universe instantaneously?

Is there any reason why God couldn’t have made the universe instantaneously? This would make most sense for an omnipotent deity.

I would suggest that a student learns nothing when the teacher does all their work for them, likewise God’s creations would learn nothing if God just did their work for them.

What do you think?

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Is there any reason why God couldn’t have made the unvierse last Thursday and given you all the memories and knowledge you had from before then? I don’t think there’s any way to disprove the Omphalos hypothesis, but it is a bit tricky that the Creator gave billions of years worth of false history to the universe and earth from planting fossils in exactly the order that would be expected by common descent and the theory of evolution to creating electromagnetic radiation that fits Big Bang Cosmology and contains information of events that didn’t really happen.


Does anyone else think that the discussion about the A vs B theory of time has relevance to this issue? If the B theory is right, then the universe was actually created (assuming it was created) at once.

St. Augustine believed that the Genesis account of creation was symbolic rather than literal because he believed that God created the universe in a single instant.
If the Big Bang theory is correct, God did create the universe in an instant, but even more impressively than fully-formed, as a disorganized mess of fundamental particles that had the potential to become matter, evolve into stars and galaxies, and eventually give rise to life, which would evolve the intelligence to understand how it all happened.


For me it’s not impossible that God created the universe instantaneously 6000 years ago and gave it apparent age (for some reason), with the seven days of Genesis merely being symbolic (seven being a holy number in the Bible). But Occam’s razor would have us believe otherwise.

It was common for the church fathers of the Patristic Era (A.D. 100-450) to assert that God’s method of creation did not even require 24-hour days, but only an instant – all things springing into being with the appearance of age at God’s command.

  • Ephraim the Syrian says, “The herbs, at the time of their creation, were the productions of a single instant, but in appearance they appeared the productions of months.”
  • The Cappodocian Basil the Great says, “At this saying all the dense woods appeared; all the trees shot up… Likewise, all the shrubs were immediately thick with leaf and bushy; and the so-called garland plants … all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously upon the earth.”
  • Athanasius of Alexandria agrees that “not this appeared first, and that second, but in one day and by the same command, they were all called into being. And such was the original formation of the quadrupeds, and of birds, and fishes, and cattle, and plants… No one creature was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at once together upon one and the same command.”
  • Against the natural speculations of the Greeks, the Latin father Ambrose writes that Moses “did not look forward to a late and leisurely creation of the world out of a concourse of atoms.”

One might well ask why it was necessary to have all the time between the Fall and the Incarnation. Was it really necessary for two thousand years to go by between Abram’s call to leave his home and the birth of Jesus?

Why didn’t Jesus give to his apostles a absolutely understandable set of instructions before his Ascension that were complete and passed on, without alteration, to succeeding generations? Why was it necessary for decades to go by before the New Testament documents were all written?

How about this: why did the Church have to wait more than three hundred years before the Nicene-Constantinopolan Creed was finished and even longer for the decisions of the following Ecumenical Councils to clarify certain things?



We are made in God’s practical image, not in that of His mere shadow. We are not God pets that His landlord has required by spayed, neutered, and kept-on-a-leash-when-taken-outdoors.

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Fallen Man is on trial, not only before God, but in the witness both of the holy angels and of the Accuser. There must be a complete, orderly, maximally just, due process. It is a due process by definition of what Man is, not simply that Man is fallen and guilty.

This seems logical if you look at everything from a juridical point of view. If we view salvation as ever-increasing communion with God, rather than avoiding hell, then this explanation seems incomplete.

I took a course on Job when I was a Fuller student. The lesson that Job seems to finally learn is that we cannot know why or how God did everything the way he did. We have to accept our limitations, go on with life and be faithful.

I offer the following from

The Orthodox Teaching on Personal Salvation / Православие.Ru
The Orthodox Teaching on Personal Salvation / Православие.Ru

“Salvation is the restoration of the wholeness of God’s image in us, of the possibility of our union with God. It is the restoration of our original essence. “Holy Tradition teaches that… we will be saved when we become like Christ… Because of our faith in Him and our desire to become God-like, we are not so much saved all at once as slowly changed into the creatures we were created to be.”

Please take a look at that article. It expresses the Eastern Orthodox teaching of salvation better than I can.

I’d also like to add that if our ideas are governed by loyalty to a particular concept of inerrancy and the conclusions that we perceive to be dictated by that conclusion, we may limit our understanding of many things, theological as well as scientific.

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@Swamidass has the answer to that question! Use your ID for the BioLogos discourse system to join Dr. Swamidass’ PeacefulScience.Org discourse system.

Briefly stated, the delay between Adam (or Noah) and the birth of Jesus was required to make sure all humanity was completely included within the Ancestral tree of humanity, from the genealogical perspective of Adam/Eve.

The logic is similar (but for completely different purposes) as the Mormon church’s goal to have all of humanity “sealed” to at least one member of the Mormon Church (alive or deceased).

[Important note: But do not let this reference unintentionally create the idea that Joshua is in any way representing Mormonism or any kind of offshoot of those denominations.]

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Thank you, Mr. Mohr, for this gracious reply. I agree.

However, I am not closed to the idea of Hell. I am closed simply to the idea that Salvation is in any way mainly about avoiding being sent there.

Thus, when I say that Man is on trial, I do not mean that Man is called to conceive of his life as a trial. His life is, after all, a blessing, even though he knows he shall one day die.

No healthy little child thinks life is either curse or trial, and no healthy non-human animal thinks that way, either. Death even can be understood at all only in face of life.

And, finally, for us Bible-respecting Believers, the first chapters of the Bible are not known to even mention anything like Hell. It just mentions death; And that fact normally would implicitly emphasize only a promise of resurrection, which is what God is all about: promises of good.

I’m not sure what you mean there, but we may agree there, to a deep extent. For my case, I am aware that, even the YEC community is not homogeneous as to what inerrancy ought to imply for how to correctly exegete a given verse or passage. I am very much YEC myself, but I have deep disagreements about some very status quo ideas in that community. Among these ideas are those concerning what it means for the book of Genesis, in particular, to be Divinely inspired and infallible. Many YEC’s assume that Genesis is written from the point of view of an ‘omniscient narrator’, and thus that it specially spells out only what it wants for us to know or understand about its subjects’ lives in relation to the origin of the text and to what the text spells out.

Ah, well - I am influenced by The Creationist Debate to some extent when Arthur McCalla argues that the ID/Creationists are really concerned about inerrancy.

In my Protestant days, I wasn’t troubled by inconsistencies in Scripture. Did Jesus die before or after the curtain was torn? Who cares? If the Ancient Church didn’t bother to harmonize the Gospels over this detail, why should it matter to me?

It seems that the concept of infallibility that some have today doesn’t match what existed in the first and second centuries, when copyists felt qualified to change difficult readings and even add to the original, as was the case with the pericope of the woman caught in adultery.
I’m not worried about that.

I believe that the world is extremely old. I like what Professor Kenneth Miller has written in Finding Darwin’s God. I don’t like reading in some homeschooling text that nothing has been created since the first week in Genesis or that the “stripes” having to do with Earth’s magnetic field in the ocean floor are a misunderstanding and really don’t exist.

Sorry. I’ll get off my high horse now.

As a follow up, here is a presentation I’ve made as to why I thoroughly reject this idea.


Why couldn’t God have made the universe instananeously?

Because although God could have excercied such power, in fact we see in Jesus a God who comes humbly into His own creationand and lets people make their own decisions, and by extension God always acts with servant love. God’s acts are from love and gives creation and all the secondary forces in the universe. God is Trinitarian love and not just omnipoent Being. God as Trinity does not dominate the universe bit allows it freedom to change and develop. God has instead put patterns of laws fthat guide but do not dominate but allows natural potentials do Trinitarian loving will. Love gives freedom to all things.

Good talk. And the problem includes de novo Adam. If Adam was specially created by God, all of the knowledge that the rest of us learn in childhood had to be implanted in Adam and Eve’s brain, including such basic things as how to walk and talk. It’s another form of creation with appearance of age, except that now we are talking about a human being, not inanimate matter. To my mind, that’s much more problematic.

Where do you get 6000 from?

Very problematic indeed! For humans, if we don’t learn a language (spoken or other) by age seven, we don’t learn to speak properly. And what language would Adam and Even speak, anyway? How would they raise their young? And if God can make a magic man with an implanted language and other AI features, what’s to stop him from making another one?

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@Reggie_O_Donoghue is no doubt quoting the typical time frame estimated for the Earth’s Creation - - 6,000 years ago, or about 4,000 BCE, give or take a dozen years or two.