Are you a Creationist? Do you believe that God made this world? Or do you believe that it all evolved? And what about Noah and his ark?
The opening words of the Bible are “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
We don’t have many options. Science is on the side of evolution, and religion is on the side of God and creation. It is hard to be on both sides at once, and the Bible falls apart if we remove the part where God started it all.
I am a Christian, and I know that this topic divides people. I am concerned about the stressful times we are in, now, with a COVID Pandemic, and a war in Ukraine, and who knows what is coming next. I believe we should pray and ask God for help and direction. That God is the one who created the Universe. I also believe we need to get back to the God who made us, and we should read the owners’ manual. But, if we don’t believe at the beginning, it is not easy to believe for now, and for the future.
We have a problem.
So, how do we make the God of the Bible respectable, to people who see the early stories as ancient myths and fantasies? The story is more interesting than we might think. Science points in the direction of God, more than we know.
Here are some possibilities:
1) Catastrophic Days:
Charles Darwin, who gave us his model for “The origin of the Species” had a firm belief. He was a convinced Uniformitarian. For Darwin, the universe is a stable environment, like a clean laboratory, where life could emerge and evolve without interruption. With that belief, natural history is a slow gradual process, without changes that might interrupt evolution.
- READ: Uniformitarianism
At one time, all respectable scientists believed in a uniform, stable environment, where life could emerge and evolve, without God the creator.
Now, we have Climate Change, a belief in a world heading for a catastrophe and possibly our extinction. “Catastrophism” is probably what most scientists see in nature. We know that life has been interrupted by extinction events many times, and we might have another soon. That environment, with interruptions, contradicts the foundation of the theory of evolution in a stable environment.
The pieces don’t fit together as easily as they used to.
On the creation side, the Bible is a book of catastrophes, good and bad. Creation has stages or ‘days’ and Noah had a flood.
We should ask; how did Bronze age people know that, four thousand years ago? And why are we only learning it now?
2) The Fossil Record:
In the Bible, the Creation story is in the first book “Genesis” in the first chapter. It is the foundation of everything that comes after. You probably know, the creation story has a week of days. In the story, the environment forms and life emerges, in six stages. The seventh day was a rest period, when the world existed, as we know it.
In the creation sequence, a lifeless Earth changes, and life appears, in stages. The stages start with life in water, and in the air; and then dry land with plants, and then animals:
READ: Creation Days
Science has an early stage, the Devonian, with life in the water, and the Carboniferous, with plants on land, and then the animals on land.
There is an argument among Creationists. Is a Creation Day a twenty-four hour period, or an era, possibly extending for millions of years? In the Hebrew Bible, a day “yom” can be a day or an extended era. I find it interesting, that ‘morning and evening’ days emerged during the first Creation Day.
It seems that ancient writers described the fossil record, something that scientists are only discovering now.
Again; how did they do that”
3) Planetary Science:
We know the Earth is a tiny part of the Universe, and we still don’t know how huge the universe is. Also, scientists today are learning about the life and death of stars, and the formation of planets. It’s all-new … or is it?
Outside of the ‘days’ of Creation, we are told that God made everything “in the beginning.” Apparently, the seven days in the creation story happened after that.
I have a degree in Comparative Literature, something that never got me a job. One thing we had to learn, in our program, is that every story has a P.O.V., a ‘Point of View.’ When you watch a movie, notice the camera P.O.V. With the position of the camera, are you flying through the air and looking down on the land surface, or walking in a crowd, like a human spectator? There are many possibilities, and they help to tell the story.
The Bible gives a story, about God relating to us, down here. The Universe is vast in space and time, and in the whole Bible, we have a story about a few thousand years, on one tiny planet. We are told about the “beginning” and the “heavens and the Earth” and then the story focuses on us down here. Imagine a remote camera recording what happens on the surface of one planet. The film starts with a dark and lifeless place, and then light and days and nights appear; and then life, in stages.
We see development on the surface of a planet, and the pattern is consistent with modern science.
Without debating all the details, we should ask a question: How could a writer do that, thousands of years ago?
We live in a time when we can see the universe around us, including our Earth home. We don’t rely on theories, as much as we used to; now hard evidence is emerging. It is probably impossible to control, or win, a creation–evolution debate, but we should know that the story in the Bible is surprisingly consistent with the findings of modern science.
How do we explain that?
You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9: 6)