Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

Beauty in Science.
The American Physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “You can recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity.” But what is a serious scientist doing writing about cold, objective facts and emotionally compelling beauty in the same sentence? Is there beauty beyond sight, sound and smell? Is there beauty in a simple mathematical equation or a profound idea? And if so, does that beauty communicate anything deeper? At the end of his video essay, “Change”, MIT Physicist Phillip Morrison is discussing the significance of Einstein’s equation E = mc2. He asks what it means and then becomes animated and declares, “What it means is wonderful.” He goes on to explain what it means and because the equation is so simple and profound he marvels at its beauty. So wonder at beauty comes in many ways and at many levels.

More Questions That Beauty Raises.
But what is beauty? Is it “in the eye of the beholder”, that is, subjective, or is it an objective fact about an object or process? Does it have any purpose or is it only random? What is the source of beauty?

Beauty Defined.
In his book “The Evidential Power of Beauty”, Thomas Dubay writes, “The objective evidence for the truth of the tulip flows from its form and not simply from the fact it satisfies a person’s needs or desires.” The tulip is beautiful whether anyone is there to see it or not and even if anyone who sees it is incapable of recognizing its beauty. The eye of the beholder neither makes the tulip beautiful nor denies it of its beauty. Beauty is objective.

Beauty Elicits Response.
But I do not want to rob the beholder of beauty or of his or her pleasure in beholding it. Beauty is compelling; it “elicits a response.” It affects us. Why? John Piper responds to the question this way, “Why do we get near bigness and beauty and magnificence and excellence? It’s because that is what we were made for. We were not made for mirrors. We were made for standing in front of what is infinitely beautiful and having it so satisfy us…” Hans Urs von Balthasar says, that in fact, “every experience of beauty points to infinity.” King David knew this, for he said, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” Psalm 27:4.

Answer to the skeptic.
As a student of science have I not jumped to conclusions by attributing beauty to God as implied by these quotes? Could not beauty be merely the product of a happy convergence of random processes as demanded by the Naturalist’s evolution? Dubay points out that we know better. “People know that chance can explain neither beauty nor intricate complexity.” Chance and time result in chaos. Therefore, “beauty is a powerful pointer to truth because common sense immediately perceives design and intellect.” So then, God has made His creation so that “The heavens are telling of the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) and in every detail there was beauty for “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

Beautiful Conclusion.
So the purpose of beauty is to point us to God and His work. For that reason I will not be embarrassed to tell you that one of my favorite moments of relaxation is to lie under a tree and observe all of the various ways that it exhibits beautiful form. My knowledge of xylem and phloem, photosynthesis, forces and equilibrium, symmetry, wood grain and heat content of firewood only increase my enjoyment of tree beauty. On the part of the tree, its beauty points to heaven in a greater way than by the simple fact of standing upright with upturned branches. And Creation is only a dim reflection compared to the sight every believer will see one day. They “will see the King in His beauty” (Isaiah 33:17), and “splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary” (Psalm 96:6), because He is there.

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We are made of stardust. It is a hugely popular saying in our culture. In one form or another it has been repeated numerous times in recent years by such people as singer Joni Mitchell (August, 1969), Carl Sagan (book, 1973; “Cosmos”, 1980), and most recently and sophisticatedly by physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson (2017). It is not a new idea, showing up in an ancient Serbian Proverb and probably being first stated in modern times in a speech by Albert Durrant Watson, then president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada: “Our bodies are made of star stuff.”

What are we to make of it?
As Christians we evaluate all truth claims in the light of Scripture. The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), and not until day four that “God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens’” (1:14). Since “the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground” (2:7), the dust out of which man was made existed before the stars were created. It is reasonable that we have many of the same elements as we measure to be present in stars through spectral light analysis. Those elements were present in both the heavens and earth formed in the beginning. But a straightforward reading of the text gives no indication that earth was derived from this substance and there were certainly no stars. Therefore, we are not made of stardust.

The Substance behind the Material.
Earth, and therefore people, derived from stardust is a construct to fit Big Bang cosmology, and it fits well with our self-importance in God-denying Humanism. As Bible believing Christians, we must be very careful not to be drawn in by seemingly innocuous ideas that are false and dangerous.

The Real Source.
Our real value and source is not derived from “stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out” (Tyson), but from God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (2:7) Man is impressed by the dust because it is self-glorifying, but the believer is impressed by the breath of life because it and the dust are God-glorifying. Our value comes from being made in God’s image. (1:27)

This greater value of man means capital punishment is right(Genesis 9:6) and abortion is wrong (Exodus 21:22-25), children are a blessing (Psalm 127:3-5), and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Romans 13:9).

And we have known this value and source of mankind since ancient times as well: ““The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4) These ideas are not just about theological or scientific perspectives. It is about who receives glory and praise and allegiance:

“Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,
“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you,
And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” Isaiah 42:5-9

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Following is the second in a series of Scriptural Science Segues. It highlights God’s infinite ability to design and care for Creation:

Biosphere 2.
In the 1972 movie, “Silent Running” a spacecraft carries the last ecosystems from Earth in biochambers, which sustain life with no outside input but sunlight. Scientists have attempted a terrarium on Earth in which people lived called Biosphere 2. The experiment was run twice, once for two years and two months beginning in 1991, and then again for seven months in 1994. The sealed enclosures included sophisticated designs for self-sufficient living. Filters, recyclers, and energy manipulators of every sort were necessary. The design closely copied many things we know about nutrient, waste and energy cycles of Biosphere 1, that is, Earth. For all of the inputs of design, energy, and monthly corrective supplies, the experiment was shut down because cockroaches proliferated, soil bacteria robbed the air of oxygen, which had to be supplied, and birds and bees died so that there were no longer any pollinators.

Biosphere 1.
God’s design for the self-sustaining life zone of Earth is wonderful by comparison. It has cycled nutrients (food, gases, and water), wastes, and energy for centuries without failure. When catastrophes occur in various locales, it regenerates to a steady state of tremendous diversity, multi-function, and beauty. Even when poisoned by our pollution, it isolates and purifies the pollutants and adjusts. It may have limits which we seem determined to push, but its ability to renew is phenomenal and without parallel.

He Is Able.
When God answers Job’s challenge to His justice in Job’s suffering, God asks Job a series of questions to test Job’s knowledge of Creation. God is pointing Job to His superior and infinite knowledge and power so that Job can know that his suffering has not slipped by God’s notice nor overcome His control. God is an Intelligent and Powerful Designer, Creator far beyond anything we may hope to know or do. As it says in Romans 1:20, “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

The Downfall of Our Understanding.
Herein is a danger of modern science. God has enabled us to understand many things about His Creation. We certainly know the gestational period of the Mountain Goat and Deer (Job 39:1-2) and many of the laws governing the heavens (38:33). But we cannot command the morning (38:12) and were certainly not present when God created it all (38:4). There is much we still do not know, cannot control, and were not present to observe. In the case of many modern scientists, it is similar to the plight of Edom who felt secure in their rock refuges: “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you.” Obadiah 1:3

Humility, Acknowledgement, Praise.
We cannot even copy what God has done in nature to set-up a self-sustaining biosphere, let alone explain how God brought it into existence and sustains it on any meaningful level. We need to be humble in our knowledge. Believe God’s Word; He knows but we do not. And we should render praise and be forever fascinated by God’s creative and sustaining ability. He provides seed and bread (2 Corinthians 9:10), food for the birds (Luke 12:24) and beasts (Psalm 147:9), grass and trees (Psalms 104:14,16), refuge for animals (104:17,18,21), the Moon for marking seasons and the Sun for day and night (104:19), and so much more.
“Oh Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.”
Psalm 104:24

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Unity of All Knowledge.
There is no dichotomy between Christianity and true science. Truth is truth wherever you meet it, and God’s Word is the root of all truth. This unity of knowledge extends to all things spiritual and physical. It is my intention to communicate the unity of knowledge through examples of where Science meets Scripture. I will call these short essays Scriptural Science Segues.

Four Fundamental Forces.
In our present understanding there are four fundamental forces that hold the universe together. In order from strongest to weakest these are 1) Strong Nuclear, 2) Electromagnetic, 3) Weak Nuclear, and 4) Gravitational. The Strong Nuclear force is attractive, holding protons and neutrons together in the nucleus and the Weak Nuclear Force is repulsive and causes radioactive decay. Both work over distances of a fraction of an atomic nucleus. The Electromagnetic Force is attractive and repulsive, working over distances of up to a few miles. It controls interactions of static and flow electricity, magnetism, chemical bonding, as well as clinging interactions like cohesion, adhesion, and friction.

The Outlier.
Scientists have come close to unifying the first three forces through one explanation, but gravity resists explanation. The first three forces can be explained by force particles that travel between interacting bodies. The theoretical particle for gravity, the graviton, has never been observed. Gravity is one septillion (1 x 1024) times weaker than the Weak Nuclear Force, but operates over distances the size of the universe. How would a graviton work anyway? What particle could travel across the universe fast enough to prevent stars from drifting apart?
We know in great detail what gravity does to the extent that we can send space probes across the solar system for decades and they will arrive exactly when and where we calculated. However, we still cannot explain why gravity works. It continues to be the force that prevents scientists from formulating a Grand Unified Theory (GUT), one explanation for all interactions in the universe.

The Fundamental Force.
The Scripture supplies an explanation of the one force that holds everything together, the very GUT of the matter. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “All things have been created through Him…He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” There is the fundamental force in the universe, as it says in Hebrews 1:3, “He… upholds all things by the word of His power.”

The Skeptics’ Reply.
At this point the proponents of Naturalism, that religion of science which attributes all that exists to physical phenomena alone to the exclusion of any spiritual source, will say, “You are explaining what we do not yet understand by your superstitions about God just like medieval man did in his ignorance about disease.”

A Christian Answer.
We disagree because we know of God’s interaction with His Creation through His Word, through our salvation and life in Him which includes answered prayer and provision, through fellowship with believers, and through the world around us that testifies to His power and attributes. As it says in Psalm 33:8-9, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast. Specifically, the fundamental force holding the world together is His Word.

Retraction of His Sustaining Word.
In the future “by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire.” (2 Peter 3:7) When He speaks again concerning the created order “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense hear, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

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I have been a Six Day Creationist for as long as I was read to from the first several chapters of the Bible. I became a much more informed one with the reading of “Scientific Creationism” by Henry Morris in 1977 when I was 17 years old. The more evolution I heard, by the grace of God, the more I rejected it as I got a Biology degree in college. I have made a lifelong study of the subject, finding nothing that evolution explains better than the Bible. On questions I could not answer I have always assumed that the Bible is true and the answer will be revealed, either in the Bible or by observational evidence. So far I have not been disappointed. I’ve been called foolish, ignorant, and blinded for believing the Bible over “science”. But Big Bang Theory, Origin of Life Scenarios, and Evolution by natural selection are worldview interpretations of evidence, not science. “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4)

All that having been said, I have been encouraged by numerous people to see the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. I thought it might be nice to see but didn’t feel any compulsion or need to see it since I know where I stand and have a full range of evidence and had no opportunity until recently. One of my sons was going to a wedding near Louisville and wanted a traveling companion. He suggested that we go see the Ark Encounter and then go to the wedding. I convinced him to see the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter while we were in the neighborhood. I knew Answers in Genesis’ take on presenting the controversy and feared that I might be disappointed in the level of science presented. It certainly was a popularized version for the general public, but it was well done with serious attention to the science that was communicated. The presentation was aligned around the AIG’s 7 C’s of Creation: creation, corruption, catastrophe, confusion, Christ, cross, and consummation. I wondered at the outset how the salvation message would be presented. I was very impressed with the Gospel presentation.

I saw most everything that I wanted to see and read most things in a somewhat rushed fashion because of our time constraints, even taking a quick walk through the outside gardens and seeing the short movie, “In Six Days”. On the bottom floor was an amazing insect collection. There is much evidence based science at the museum, but I hope as they expand, the designers will delve even deeper. Enjoy a few pictures I took while there.


Swinging Bridge in the Gardens


Extensive, well kept gardens lead to the museum



These are very diverse interpretations of the same facts. They cannot both be right. The horizontal lines about 1/3 of the way up on the “orchard” represent the Flood.


“In Adam’s Fall, We sinned all” New England Primer


“Christ crucify’d, For sinners dy’d” New England Primer


In the Garden


“Ebenezer”, Allosaurus fragilis, one of the best preserved skulls extant; approximately 30% of the skeleton is actual fossilized bones with the rest reconstructions from other specimen


Very rapid burial!




Noah and Son: They weren’t ignorant primitives (Genesis 4:17,20-22)

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I have long been curious and fascinated by Biblical chronology. It is right that I should be so, since I believe that the Bible is true and all other truth claims are to be interpreted in light of its meaning. It is not, however, a straight forward pursuit since various factors have obscured the truth that is contained therein. Various people deal with this problem in various ways, but it seems to me that the main procedure that they use, on some level, is to discount  the validity of the Scriptures. So, while I believe and can confidently say based on Scripture and corroborating scientific evidence that the Earth was created recently, perhaps six to eight thousand years ago, I can equally confidently say that no one knows the exact number of years ago that “God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) Others refuse to explore these issues and say, ‘What difference does it matter?’ I believe that it matters for at least the following reasons:

•An old Earth laced with death means death is not a result of Adam’s sin.

•If Adam’s sin did not bring death, then there is no need for a Savior.

•If we cannot place the Flood in the correct time where it fits with what else we know of history, we cannot apply logic to see how the modern Earth has resulted.

It is this latter idea that I want to explore on an admittedly shallow level and give my opinion. My musings here will not resolve the problem, but they will help me to clarify what I have come to suspect and perhaps stir some readers to consider different legitimate perspectives.

As a kind of introduction to the problem, has it ever bothered you about how rapidly post-Flood changes took place? Nations of peoples in a very few generations, Tower of Babel, Ur, and most of the planet settled in 300 years? And all of these people came from three women who came off of the ark. (It does not say that Noah had other sons and daughters, but it does say “These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.” (Genesis 9:19)) Abraham could have known Shem who “ was one hundred years old, and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; and Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad” (Genesis 11:10-11). 500 years after the flood would be long enough for him to be alive when Isaac was born. Noah and Abraham could have even known each other because “Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood.” (Genesis 9:28)

What I have not told you is that this chronology and the resulting seemingly odd consequences come from the Masoretic Text (MT) of Scripture. The Septuagint (LXX for 70 scholars who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek.) extends the date of the Flood earlier by about 900 years (exact numbers are not really possible for many reasons). This extra time easily and neatly fits many historical and scientific claims.

I come across examples of how the LXX chronology fits with what we know about the world every now and then. Following are a few examples that I can remember. The first Egyptian Dynasty is said to have begun around 3150 B.C. (1) Now if it were said that Egypt was around in 4500 B.C. or some such date, I would not accept that because it clearly contradicts Scripture by any reasonable, straight-forward reading of the text. Even the dates they do give could be skewed, but they seem reasonable.

Bristlecone Pine ring cores have dated Methuselah at 4845 years old and Prometheus, which was cut down, at just over 4900 years old. And more recently one unknown, purposefully hidden specimen was dated at 5062 years old. (2) Even with a number of double rings (two sets of rings grown in one year), these trees would have sprouted before the ~2400 B.C. of the Masoretic Flood date.

I was listening to a video with students about a month ago on the subject of the Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964. The USGS geologists studying this 9.2 megathrust earthquake took soil cores from the zone near the inter-tidal zone where barnacles were suddenly thrust up out of the sea about 8 feet in 4 minutes. When they drilled down deep, they found the sudden occurence of land based plants at nine places in the core, going back about 5500 years, based on the C-14 dating. The researcher said that this suggested that the average time between large quakes was about 630 years.  (3)

These examples may seem random and anecdotal with respect to biblical chronology, but they have one thing in common. All three examples originated in the range of 3500 to 3000 B.C., meaning that the events would have happened after the Flood as recorded in the LXX text of Scripture. I don’t think that experience and “scientific” and “historical” evidence mediates Scriptural discussion. In fact that is what has gotten us into the unbelieving mess we are in now. But when multiple lines of evidence line up with what the Scriptures say, it lends some credence to the argument.

Tell me what you think. Have you read or heard evidence from secular or Christian sources that suggest that the Flood happened before 3000 B.C.? Or do you have a well thought our reason to remain with the 2400 B.C. date? If you begin to explore these ideas, be aware that there is a boat load of information. It is not worth getting swallowed up by, but it does merit some curiosity, particularly if it pushes you to examine Scripture for more truth. Let me know what you think.

(1) https://www.ancient.eu/First_Dynasty_of_Egypt/

(2) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-one-man-accidentally-killed-the-oldest-tree-ever-125764872/

(3) http://www.earthquakenewz.com/1964-quake-the-great-alaska-earthquake-5/

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My pastor abbreviates the condition of Creation as “beautiful but broken”, a deeply descriptive phrase for what we observe in nature. I got to thinking about it one day after church and the following began to come to me.

Beautiful but broken
This world that He made
Of His nature a token
But hastening to fade

Beauty marred by man’s sin
Caused death and decay
So all who are Adam’s kin
To God’s Son, no delay

Though all Creation groans
In futility
Slave to corruption it moans
One day will be set free

The sons of God revealed
Creation restored
We and it too be glorified
Through both God will be praised

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18


Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains