Why couldn't God have made the universe instantaneously?


(John Warren) #42

If God is omnipotent He could do it any speed He likes. Why does “instant” have the most oomf in showing His omnipotence?
Furthermore, if He’s personal, He would have other factors than omnipotence to determine His speed of creation. For instance, perhaps He wanted to ground the rhythm of weekly human rest in the way He created everything. In fact, there’s no perhaps.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #43

The fact that it takes him days, billions of years, or even seconds to create his work is not what we would expect for an omnipotent being


(Jay Johnson) #44

And if God always performed as you expected, what would that say? Would he be God, or your own mental construct?


(John Warren) #45

The limit is what Scripture says. Why is it a big deal that God could create someone fully functional? There’s no deception or special pleading in this. And this is worlds apart from the idea that God made fossils to test man, which is a silly idea. Creationists have fine theories on the way fossils were made.


(Randy) #46

If you read back further, I think the issue is not functionality, but evidence of scars and change that are not necessary for functionality. welcome back.


(John Warren) #47

What is it about omnipotence that demands instantaneous creation? It’s a non sequitur.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #48

@pevaquark

Matthew,

I certainly agree that God did not create the universe instantaneously.

However, it is a theological rule of thumb that God can do whatever God chooses to do. The name of YHWH means, I AM WHO I AM or Sovereign God. Therefore I would not say that God could not have created it instantaneously as if it were old. But then if God created it new as if it were old then what is the point?

We believe that God is Who God Is. God has nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

God does things because that is how God chooses to do things, not because God wants to impress us or prove somethi8ng to us.

God is not bound by time, yet God chooses to operate within time. God does not have to create the universe, yet God did create the universe and all that entails. God did not have to create human beings in God’s own Image, but God choose to do so. The only way we really know this is because we have the scientific picture of the history of the universe along with the Biblical narrative.

The special creation of humanity does not contradict that as long as we understand this as it would intended. God did create humans as a unique species, but did not create them de nova, but through evolution, step by step.


(Jay Johnson) #49

I agree that Scripture places limits on possible interpretations. But there is more than one valid, faithful interpretation of “what Scripture says” regarding ha’adam (“the man”). How do I choose between them? In light of the famous “Wesleyan Quadrangle” of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience, both interpretations of “the man” – as archetype and as literal person – are faithful to Scripture and tradition, but the special creation of Adam violates both reason and experience, in my opinion.

On your question about making someone fully functional, the problem is not with God or his power, but with “the man” himself. Like almost everyone, you vastly underestimate the amount of learning that takes place in the developing child. Walking, for instance, isn’t simply a matter of knowing how to do it. Some knowledge is only gained by experience, and a specially created Adam would have none. Thus, God would not only have to implant knowledge in Adam’s mind, but false memories. I see this as a problem.

Then, there is the simple fact that human behavioral complexity depends upon the extended maturation of our brains. This is true both in evolution and in the individual. (That dang archetype thing again!) Almost all of a chimpanzee’s brain growth takes place in the womb, while a human infant’s brain continues to grow for years after birth. So, rather than brain development taking place without sensory input, in humans it occurs “in the wild,” so to speak, in a content-rich physical and social environment that itself influences the way that the brain develops.

In short, take away all of a person’s learning, experience, and development, and what do you have? I don’t really know, but I’m certain that an Adam built upon the de novo pattern has nothing in common with me, nor with anyone else who has ever lived. How, then, is he qualified to serve as our representative?


(John Warren) #50

I don’t know how you get false memories in the picture. So Adam knows how to speak, focus his eyes, walk without falling, swallow water without choking, eat food without choking,… There are no false memories, and there’s nothing deceptive. If God can form him out of dirt, he can make him coordinated enough to do these things. You have to start somewhere.


(John Warren) #51

By the way, how do you know how I estimate the vast amount of learning children go through? I’ve given it some thought, and it’s quite amazing.


(John Warren) #52

Why doesn’t the physical resurrection of Christ violate both reason and experience? Have you ever seen anyone rise from the dead? Has anyone?


(Jay Johnson) #53

It does. But I believe the testimony of the witnesses.

Actually, speaking is more than a matter of coordination between mouth and brain, and communicating requires more than a head full of words and the rules of grammar.

Yes, but starting in the middle doesn’t make sense.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #54

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV2011)
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Scripture is not a book of science and there is no reason to treat it as such.


(David Heddle) #55

IIUC, I respectfully disagree. I find it far less problematic. Creating Adam with the appearance of age is not deceptive in the same way. The universe, as pevaquark (which I always want to write as pentaquark, a good nuclear physics term) pointed out doesn’t just have the appearance of age, it has fake memories. To be analogous God would have had to create Adam with a memory of his receiving an orange and yellow Little Tykes car on 6th birthday party.


(David Heddle) #56

If I understand you, I say with all due respect that I never quite grasp this kind of argument. To me it is what I call the “small miracle fallacy.” It is common among more scientifically inclined theists, and maybe it is not a fallacy but (in my mind, I mean no disrespect) an inconsistency–or a scale problem. It is when a theist acknowledges the mother of all miracles, that God created the universe, but has problems miracles many times smaller, e.g. that God created a man and woman who were fully functional. There may be any number of reasons to deny a specially created Adam and Eve, but the fact that it would have been to hard or impossible for God to do so doesn’t seem, to me, like one of them.


(GJDS) #57

I do not think the question revolves on what God can do, but rather our understanding of the account in Genesis. We are left with many question that may interest us, but this also means our attention is diverted from the teaching in scripture (which has little to do with the age and such matters on Adam).


#58

But I never said that it would be too hard or too impossible for God to do so. Too hard? Not at all. And it isn’t impossible for God to make a specially created Adam and Eve, or a specially created human tomorrow. And more virgin births? Why not? God could be a magic genie!

My own belief, for what it’s worth, is that deception (e.g. a poofed Adam or a universe created Last Thursday) is not consistent with the Divine Will. But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.


(Phil) #59

I agree that God could have created a fully mentally competent human, but just as we hold parents accountable to provide moral teaching to children, Adam’s moral ability would have to have been programmed in by God, making God responsible for his decisions, his nature, and his sin.


(David Heddle) #60

But isn’t it the case that a “poofed” Adam is not a deception, unless Adam had false memories. A poofed universe created with light in transit from events that never happened would be a deception. But creating an Adam who new nothing of his own existence until he appeared as a “grown man” is not deception–it’s just creation,.

I don’t understand. God created Adam and Eve with, as Augustine put it, the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. Adam had, in some sense, the law written on his heart. So yes he was “programmed”. He was also a free moral agent and responsible for his choices. As are we all.

And yes we hold parents accountable for providing moral teaching, but we do not hold them responsible for the moral failings, at least of their adult children. So just like parents are not (generally) responsible when their children commit crimes, neither is God responsible for his children’s crimes.


(Phil) #61

Good point, but in Adams case God would be responsible for everything that Adam was, his thought processes, his moral compass, his ignorance,