SCIENCE IS SILENT ON THE REAL ISSUE
Scientists do not address the real issue when they explain merely that the world started with a gigantic cosmic explosion. What fueled the explosion?
Science only explains how certain laws (where did the laws come from?) operate on physical matter (where did the matter come from?) to produce repeatable and verifiable results.
Even though there is change and development within species, everyone knows that stones never become plants and that plants never become animals. And if man is just an evolved animal as some claim, why doesn't archaeology reveal substantial evidence for a line of creatures (‘missing links’) in the evolutionary path between ape and man? To merely say that we evolved by natural process out of nothing for no reason is not a plausible explanation for our existence and purpose.
The Bible gives a comprehensive explanation. It says the world was created by God as part of a broad plan that’s still unfolding. It says God created the world in six distinct time periods, climaxed by creation of his supreme creature (human being), made in his own likeness. The Bible explains that at this present time (seventh period), God is now ‘resting’ – waiting for every human being to give a personal response – before commencing with the eighth and subsequent periods. Each individual's response now will determine how he will participate in the events of the coming periods.
Incidentally, this explanation answers one of the questions perplexing those who believe in natural evolution without God. These people cannot document the production of a single new animal species in nature, yet they’re documenting the extinction of hundreds of species. They’re experiencing what the Bible says: For six periods (as seen in the fossil record) God created, in the seventh period (present time) God is pausing, and in future periods God will resume his creative activity. In the future periods, God will involve human beings (with new and better bodies) in his new creations, provided that we decide in this lifetime that we want to participate with him, but he will completely abandon those who don't now choose to participate. The participation is called heaven; the abandonment is called hell.
NO ONE KNOWS WHEN THE WORLD BEGAN
Hundreds of year ago some well-meaning people – including Archbishop Ussher, who wrote margin notes in the King James translation of the Bible – attempted to use family genealogies in the Bible to estimate the age of the world. Their understanding at that time was very flawed, and they calculated an age of 4,000 to 6,000 years. Because of their comments printed in the margins, many people have been led to believe that the Bible states an unbelievably low number for age of the world, but in fact the Bible does not give any dates, or any method of calculating dates, for any of God's creative acts.
It’s not necessary to have answers to all the questions of origin in order to continue our inquiry about God and his plan. It would be interesting to know what method and timing he used in making the world – if indeed anyone were intelligent enough to comprehend it – but the only important thing to understand is that GOD DID IT!
WITH ANY VIEW, IT’S A MATTER OF FAITH
‘Faith’ is trust and confidence in someone or something when unequivocal proof is not possible. Faith does not mean subjectively deciding that something is true, but rather seeing a reality which can hardly be denied.
Everyone knows that a considerable amount of faith is needed in life, even for simple matters like planning tomorrow's schedule (will tomorrow come?), reading a map (is it drawn correctly?), or sitting in a chair (will it hold me?). On important issues, where the risk is high, we usually try to get as much evidence as possible so our ‘leap of faith’ can be shortened.
In some matters – like what we believe about origin of the universe – we need considerable faith, whatever our conclusion, because our understanding is so limited.
One person says, ‘You cannot prove that God made the universe.’ Another says, ‘You cannot prove that God didn't make the universe.’ Both are right. It's not a matter of proof, but of faith.
A more meaningful question is: Does it take more faith to believe that the universe ‘just happened’ from nothing or to believe that it bears the marks of intelligent design?
Creation ‘day’ could be a long period of time!
The Bible says that God created the world in six ‘days.’ What he created on each of the days is specifically stated in the first book of the Bible and is summarized in Discovery 33.
Some people interpret the word ‘day’ to mean a literal 24-hour period. Others interpret it to mean an indefinite period of time, an age. From the word itself in the original manuscript (Hebrew, ‘yowm’) it’s impossible to tell which meaning is intended, since the word is used both ways in the Bible, just as it is used both ways in common usage today.
If God is capable of creating a universe at all, it’s not difficult to believe that he could create it in six 24-hour periods. Even though scientific carbon dating methods show geological ages to be millions of years, that is irrelevant because God could have created the world with built-in ‘apparent age’ (as the first man an adult rather than a baby, a tree rather than a seed, etc.), thus confounding all attempts to put the world in our time frame.
Most scholars believe that ‘day’ in the creation account is more than 24 hours. Here are some reasons for their conclusion:
- An interval of time greater than 24 hours must have occurred between the creation of Adam and the creation of Eve. The Bible says that, before Eve, God gave man the assignment of viewing and naming every living creature that God had made. It’s not likely that all of Adam's experiences and loneliness in Genesis 2:15-22 could have been crowded into the daylight portion of 24 hours.
- Genesis 2:4 says that this is the record of the day (yowm) when God created the heavens and the earth. Since the previous chapter said there were six days involved in creating the heavens and earth, usage of the word must necessarily mean more than 24 hours.
- The concept of a calendar day (24 hour period) did not even originate until the fourth day (yowm).
- The description of each of God's first six days ends with a poetic formula – ‘And there was evening, and there was morning’ (a distinct ending after a distinct beginning) – except for the seventh day (yowm), which implies that the seventh period has not yet come to an end.
- The Bible refers to the next major time period in God's plan as the ‘day of the Lord.’ It’s clear from II Thessalonians 2:1-3 that this day (yowm) is longer than 24 hours.
Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
God created the universe
Skies proclaim God's work
God made everything
Universe was formed at God's command
We all witness what God has made
By faith, but considerable evidence
For help, see Topic 29.