Why couldn't God have made the universe instantaneously?

(Phil) #82

Sort of a different subject, but I was reflecting on how man was made from dust rather than molded of clay, and wondering if that is significant(we have had a lot of Sahara dust in the air here lately prompting my musing). Dust is more ephemeral and ill defined, blown in the wind. Then there is that stardust thing.


Yes, I heard you Texans are in the midst of a cloud of African dust. Not to mention record-setting heat.

(John Warren) #84

Why isn’t a zygote “starting in the middle”. In everyday occurrence, they come from prior material. Your concept of middle is really a red herring.

(John Warren) #85

And why don’t you believe the testimony of the witness(es) who provided the material of Genesis 1-11?

(Christy Hemphill) #86

Why do you believe Genesis 1-11 should be categorized “eyewitness testimony?”

(John Warren) #87

If it were a book of science, I’d expect some equations in it. No Creationist thinks it’s a science book. Rather, what is says is accurate

(John Warren) #88

God’s the eyewitness, and testified to the authors of Genesis.

(Phil) #89

The question then becomes “What is it saying?”
Is it saying who God is, and what his relationship is to creation?
Is it saying what creation’s relationship is to God?
Is it saying who we are in relationship to God and the universe?
or is it
A description of the process?
I suspect you might answer, “All of the above” plus of course there is more meaning there in addition, so we probably agree on a lot except for I would not agree that it is a description of the process, but rather takes the concepts of the nature of creation that were accepted at that time, and uses them to reveal the nature of creation theologically.


I agree with you that the Bible is true and that it’s not a science book. It also agree that it’s a reasonable assumption that God’s Word would correspond to scientific facts since God does not lie. This is called concordism. But are you aware of the cosmology of the Bible? Below is a diagram of what the entire Ancient Near East (ANE) believed, including the Hebrews.

(courtesy of Dr. Denis Lamoureux)

God does not correct their pre-scientific understanding of the cosmos, or bring it in line with scientific accuracy. He does not lie but rather he accommodates to them through their ANE understanding to deliver timeless truths. I could provide several other examples of this as well. In short, scientific concordism fails time and again as an approach to understanding statements about the natural world in the Bible.

(John Warren) #91

Why stop short of a summary description (not a scientific one, mind you), if God bothered to put in text that looks just like that? If he’s dispelling erroneous theological notions, why wouldn’t He also be dispelling notions of the Creation of the cosmos?

Or, out another way, if you start doubting what the text clearl says about summary (not detailed scientific) information of the Creation of the cosmos, what warrant do you have to trust that the text is giving us good theological information about our Creator God?

(John Warren) #92

I don’t believe that Genesis speaks of a dome, but rather an expanse. This whole dome thing is a canard. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the ANE believed. They were pagan polytheists, why would an ancient Hebrew be expected to go along with their erroneous ideas?

Where does the accommodation end and the delivery of timeless truths begin? What’s so hard about communicating the simple truths of a six day Creation a short number of millennia ago that requires accommodation? I think what we have here is what C.S. Lewis called chronological snobbery: ancient people needed a ridiculous amount of accommodation.

(John Warren) #93

Dan. 4:10 talks of “a tree in the midst of the earth”, and this is supposed to support Lamoreaux’s assertion of a dome cosmology?

Makes me mistrust the rest of his cartoon.

(Phil) #94

Why would he? That was not the purpose or meaning of the text, and to go off on a tangent like that would only detract from the message. Nothing was said about heliocentricity either.

(John Warren) #95

Evolutionary Creationists keep saying you know what the purpose of the text is. What’s your authority to say that the 6 day duration, and the order, are distractions from the “real message.”

(Phil) #96

Perhaps you can share what you understand to be the message?

(Mitchell W McKain) #97

One of the problems with this question is the assumption of absolute time. Scientists have discovered that time is a part of the structure of the universe itself. Therefore even if God created the universe instantly according to his own measure of time that doesn’t mean that he creates a universe without a long temporal ordering of events.

But suppose we change the question to this last thing. Why couldn’t God have made the universe one which simply appears without any process by which the galaxies and stars and planets come into existence over a long period of time? The answer is one and same as the question of why God created a universe which operates according to natural law. It is because life requires this.

Why? To answer this question we must understand what life is. When an author writes a book, are the characters in his story alive? If we make that book into a movie or holo-novel are they alive then? If I make a computer system to do someones job does that make it alive? If not then why? What does it mean to be alive? I think it means doing things for its own reasons – reasons which come from them and not from someone else like a writer or designer.

But how can God make something which does that? How can an all-powerful God make something which is not just what he made them to be? Impossible? No. There is a way. But first He has to make an existence where things happen for a reason other than because God wants them to. This is the role of natural law. Things happen in the universe according to these mathematical laws of space and time. But isn’t that still doing things as God made them to do? Yes. That is only the first step. The second step has a twofold purpose. First it is to give God a way of interacting with things without breaking these laws of nature which govern them. Second is to make it so events are not simply a consequence of what has gone before – and thus disconnecting events from God’s design of the universe. This was achieved with quantum physics.

Now with these two conditions, things are not happening simply because God made things that way. But since these events are just random, it is still not quite what God was after. The final step or part of it is to make the universe and the laws which govern it to support self-organizing processes. We find these everywhere in the universe and they are a consequence of nonlinear equations. With these three things the stage is set for life to begin.

I stop my explanation there, because as you can see, the very first part/step is that the universe is governed by natural laws of space and time and these are what dictate the temporal extent and ordering of the universe which God has made. If God was just making a holo-novel or a machine then there is no reason He cannot start the story right in the middle or make the machine simply appear out of nowhere in no time at all. But God was not making either of these two things.


Do you think the ancient Hebrews understood the firmament (raqia) as an expanse? Could it be that our Bible translators have often chosen the less faithful interpretation of “expanse” because it better coheres with our modern scientifically-informed perspective?

Do you really think historical context is irrelevant? What about in our day? We as Christians are surrounded by secular and antagonistic worldviews. Are we immune from ever adopting erroneous ideas about the natural world on the basis of our faith?

I empathize with you, friend. When I first learned of scientific inaccuracies in the Bible I thought my whole worldview was imploding. Accommodation would not have been required if God literally created in 6 days as it would have been easy for anyone to understand. God accommodates precisely because the actual scientific mechanisms are far more complex and irrelevant to his message. C.S. Lewis is not a good example here because he believed in accommodation and a non-literal interpretation of Genesis. Chronological snobbery means we have nothing to learn from people in past ages, which no one is arguing.

(Jay Johnson) #99

Why do you capitalize creation, as if it were another name for deity? In any case, it requires accommodation because your “simple truths” are simply not true.

(John Warren) #100

I was treating it like a proper noun. Why do you capitalize the Earth?

(John Warren) #101

Well I wouldn’t want to summarize, because I’d probably botch it in the short time I have. Read it to get the message(s). But I will say the messages don’t stop at in the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. There’s an order, a timeline, and many occurrence of “and it was good”.