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Thread: Creation vs. Creationism

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Creation vs. Creationism

    I was asked to write a post on the issue of Creation vs Creationism. Let me define terms here first. When I am talking about Creationism I am talking about the Young Earth Creationism theory propounded by Robert Morris and others a number of years ago. They basically try to find a ‘scientific’ theory based on the literal interpretation of Creation in Genesis and the creation of the universe in a literal six 24hour days.

    By Creation I am talking about using science to understand and expose more of the Glory of God in a more and more detailed understanding of His Creation. To make this sensible I need to define a few more terms and ideas. When I am talking about science I am talking about those using the scientific method, of examining the observable universe and attempting to understand it by collecting data, analyzing data, and constructing theories from that data. Anything that goes beyond this process is defined as a Meta science, ie Metapysical theories that are built on something other than observed fact.

    In the philosophy of science a theory is an attempt to take all available data about a subject and organize it in such a way that it makes internally logical sense, does not conflict with other known fact, and creates new questions that are themselves testable and that create new data. In other words, a theory is never static and should always be changing and reforming as new data is added. When a ‘theory’ becomes static it is no longer science, it is now a statement of faith. An example of this is the way Evolution is often taught, as established fact and not something open to question. In Psychology Freudian Theory fits this definition.

    I assume it is obvious that I do not accept the arguments of the Young Earth Creationists. It is arguable on both a Biblical and a scientific basis. For a combination of both of these arguments I would refer you to a book that is unfortunately out of print – you will have to haunt Amazon or used book stores to find a copy. It is: Schroeder, Gerald, Genesis and the Big Bang, ISBN 0-553-35413-2. The ISBN number is now the only reference one needs to identify a book in a search. A more specific book that comprehensively destroys the ‘science’ behind the Young Earth argument is: The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth, ed. Hill, Davidson, Helble, & Ranney ISBN 978-0-8254-4421-0. The Grand Canyon is something that both sides accept and try to describe how it happened – and one is completely unsuccessful. This book is currently available, very readable and full of pictures as well.

    Intelligent Design is the current name for the philosophical/scientific defense of God in the picture. Our son Kyle (MDiv, working on PhD - Comparative Ethics) gave me some names for those who wish to pursue this – you may or may not. John Lennox, John Polkingham, and Allistair McGrath are all scholars at Oxford (or were at Oxford) who have taken this up. He also suggested the IanRamseyCenter on Youtube. This is the only one that I have currently followed.

    I do not read Hebrew, Kyle does. I have been told that it is not necessary to interpret the six days of creation literally for a number of reasons. One is that if the sun was not yet created there was no 24 hour day established at least until it was, and who knows when the Earth settled into a 24hr orbit once the sun was created? Another is that time is a variable in God’s kingdom different than in ours –“A day is to a thousand years and thousand years to a day” is a scriptural quote, and it is usually taken as a statement of hyperbole rather than a literal thousand years – i.e. it simply points out that God is outside of time and not constrained by it. Another is that the entire Bible is written so that the original readers could understand it, not so that we should read our understanding back into it. Probably the best example of this is God’s description of how to build the lake for the temple – he defines the circumference as three times the diameter – or Pi. Issac Asimov once wrote a commentary on the Bible where he states that God was wrong, Pi is an infinite number, not 3. My wife pointed out to me that Pi is 3, it is also 3.1, it is also 3.14, it is also 3.141, etc. and etc. My point is that God was not defining Pi to mathematicians; He was teaching people how to make something round. When He described His Creation to early man he described it in a way they would understand, not how Cosmologists now understand. They had no referents to understand the Big Bang nor did they understand galaxies.

    When I talk about Creation I am talking about understanding God’s creation on deeper and deeper levels. For example, if you read Ecology you know that the trees on the opposite side of a forest from a fire will start producing more and more water. The forest communicates! No, I am not arguing for intelligence or anything close, but trees totally uninvolved with the fire are reacting to it. I am willing to bet, if you study any science, you will see the Glory of God in greater and greater depth. Who can look at the Hubble Telescope pictures and not see God? Only those who refuse. A number of years ago NASA published the lowest musical note ever discovered, and gave the numbers. For those of us in the bass section of the choir this, of course, proved that God is a bass! (Yes, we can have fun with it, too.) If one is willing to look, one sees infinity in all directions, infinite space, infinite complexity, infinite simplicity, infinite smallness (subatomic particles, maybe smaller), etc. If you look at numbers, there is infinity between 1 and 2 – those spaces can be divided infinitely (I’m no mathematician, but I’m told Mandelbrot sets can be found here). Can infinity be created other than by an infinite God?

    Fundamental to Creation is the Creator. Science simply tries to understand what he has done. The Bible is our manual for moral development and behavior – our owner’s manual as it were. It is not a book of mathematics or of science or even of history beyond a specific time and geographical area and should not be used as one.

    I was taught that all truth is God’s truth and should be seen as such. If you were to refine all of today’s knowledge into its minimal essence you would still have a library. Certainly not something you can carry around in a large pocket. I am not surprised that God did not include a discussion on gravitational theory in the Bible, he gave us minds and charged and challenged us to use them. Gravity is fundamental to our lives and always has been. Just because it is not mentioned in the Bible does not mean we should not endeavor to understand it. (Wow – I wrote a triple negative!)

    I expect this will result in considerable discussion. Please read the entire post above thoughtfully - there are a lot of assumptions packed in there, I have only unpacked some of them. It is a result of considerable study and consultation and thinking. Please use the same thoughtful and considered approach in your responses.
    Last edited by Wayne Smith; 06-16-2017 at 08:57 AM.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I shudder when I hear people claim the earth is only 6,000 years old and that Noah's flood created the Grand Canyon and all the other geological anomalies. The science doesn't seem to back any of that up.

    But the opening versus of Genesis suggest a repair to the earth following a worldwide flood. It is possible the earth was destroyed when Satan, who originally had power over the earth/forces of nature, fell. There are subtle clues in the Bible possibly supporting this, but one cannot be too dogmatic.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I agree, when the manuscripts are consulted the clues are less subtle, and point to separate earth ages, same earth, different ages, but no where do they point to an earth that is only 6000 years old.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    When you read the creation narrative in Genesis 1, whether in English or Hebrew pay particular attention to the verbs used. God created. God said. God called. God separated. God saw. God blessed etc. etc. etc.

    What you will find is a theological statement about God, His power, nature, and authority. It is not by chance that the Books of Moses begins with such a powerful statement about who God is, and what God does. All our understanding of God flows from this bedrock beginning.

    Attempts to reconcile such a theological statement about God with various human sciences is to miss the point entirely. Genesis 1 is not about the mechanics or timeline of creation. It is about the nature, power and authority of God.

    Therefore, a fortiori, all of this "ceation vs. creationism" is much ado about nothing. It is about God having the power and authority to create, name, separated, bless and so on. It really is just that simple. Now, I don't suppose anybody will slap their foreheads and exclaim "now I get it", for folks are so bogged down in argument and refutation that they can't put it all aside and see the forest for the trees. Generations have been locked down in this senseless and needless conflict, no reason to change now right?

    I have heard it said that "Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it.". Theology is often like that as well. People go to the Bible with certain preconceived notions and that is what they find or don't find there. When one steps back and approaches Scriptures without presuming what they will find, often new understand will be the result.
    Last edited by Char-Gar; 06-16-2017 at 12:36 PM.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claude View Post
    I agree, when the manuscripts are consulted the clues are less subtle, and point to separate earth ages, same earth, different ages, but no where do they point to an earth that is only 6000 years old.
    That figures is obtained by folks adding up the ages of the various OT characters.

    It would appear that humans can't live with ambiguity and must come up with all kinds of theories and notions to remove all trace of ambiguity. Mankind is so arrogant as to believe they can figure all this out in their human minds. However God and His working can be reduced to numbers, schematics, graphs, charts and other such notions.

    I much prefer to live in world in pure wonderment about a creating God, that loves us without measure.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  6. #6
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    Great post, Wayne. Since man first stepped onto the scene, however God chose to create him, he's been trying to figure out whence he came to be here, and what his purpose is amid all that God has created for and around him. Mankind has been asking questions since his dawning. As time has progressed, he has learned seemingly honest and real answers to much of what he has asked. It's as proper and inevitable as anything could possibly be.

    And yet, there's always been a few who don't WANT to know, and don't want anyone else asking or solving questions, either. They're satisfied with what they already believe, however right or wrong it might be. This tends, I think, to smack of fear as the basis for such treatment of the issue. Man is finite, and pretty fragile, so there are many things he rightfully fears. And being mortal and fallible, he can sometimes take his fears a bit too far. But even so, that'a a pretty inocuous thing, really. So what if some fear the unknown. Don't we ALL fear the unknown, at least a bit?

    So if someone wants to believe the earth is literally only 6000 earth years old, I'm OK with that, if that's what they want to believe. It's certainly no skin off my nose. Yet, we ALL are curious about the reason we're all here, why we came to be here in the first place, and what our duties and rightful necessities are now that we're here. It's as inate and natural as anything we humans do.

    Science has indeed, though, presented us with some awesomely likely answers to many, many questions, that can, if we add them up properly in their natural order, teach us much about the God who made us, and watches over us, and sent His Son to save us from our own selves. But we have to have some sort of interest in the matter, the question, and the answers, if we're to really be able to use this kind of info to strengthen and solidify and illuminate our understanding and faith. And the more we know, the shorter the distance our faith has to go to believe. And it also strengthens our beliefs, too, if we understand it better.

    Despite pockets of disorder, the overall scheme of things in the universe is the creation of order out of disorder. When I learned just how many "coincidences" HAD to happen at just the exact microseconds of time, in order for our earth to exist, I was fairly dumbstruck. All those "coincidences" seemed to HAVE to be guided by a mighty hand. Someone once calculated, using accepted proceedures for calculating odds, that for all these things to have happened at just the right time in just the right places with just the right size planet, that had collided with another smaller celectial orb at some point, that left the elements we now have much more of than any other planet we have found so far, and the number the calculations turned up was greater than the number of all the atoms in the known universe!

    Truly, the more we know about God, and what He has done, and a bit about how He has done it, the more immense and incalculable He becomes, and our minds grow with the perception of just how huge, immense and infinite God really is. When I say I'm awed by God, I mean REALLY, REALLY, REALLY awed! Many people speak of God as though He were another entity much like us. They give lip service to His infinite knowledge, power and love, but never truly perceive, I think (at least in many cases), just what "infinity" really IS. When one's concept of infinity is expanded, so must be his appreciation of just how awesome and incalculable our God really is. He left us enough advice and instruction for us to come to know Him ENOUGH to become a part of His Kingdom. He did NOT leave us all answers to all things, and I suspect that may well be because in our present human form, we don't have the simple ability to comprehend just how wondrous and infinite He really is.

    The more I've learned of science, the more awed I've become in my view of our Creator and Sustainer. God is not just another "Joe." He is THE most awesome and incalculable entity that exists anywhere. When He is our own personal Lord and Savior, how could we be anything but loyal to and humbled by Him? The more we understand of God and how He has chosen to work, the more reverent we must inevitably be at all His mighty wonders. And humbled by His immensity, which is surely more than we have the mental facilities to comprehend. He is truly the one entity in all that is, that truly deserves the term "awesome." May all men come to know Him, and appreciate all He has done and created for us.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Car-Gar, I agree with you completely. My description of Creation:

    God considered,
    Jesus spoke,
    The Spirit moved.

    Like Blackwater the more details I know the more glory of God I see.

    Bishop Usher apparantly did not know that the Hebrew term translated 'begat' in the KJV is not specific to one generation but can mean a direct relationship of multiple generations. Simply adding up all the 'begat's' in the OT is not a meaningful relationship of either time or the number of generations involved.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    In Exodus 20 God commanded man to rest on the Sabbath for 24 hours as he rested on the seventh day. The word "day" is consistent throughout the Bible meaning 24 hours. God created time for man not himself. A day(one revolution of the earth), a month(one lunar cycle) and the year are based on God's creation. God does not need time.
    If you think God is awesome now consider Him doing everything in 6 days. Why would God need time to create if he is God?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    The word "day" is consistent throughout the Bible meaning 24 hours. God created time for man not himself. A day(one revolution of the earth),
    Not 100%, read 2Peter 3:8, in fact the entire chapter is germane to this discussion.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by wv109323 View Post
    In Exodus 20 God commanded man to rest on the Sabbath for 24 hours as he rested on the seventh day. The word "day" is consistent throughout the Bible meaning 24 hours. God created time for man not himself. A day(one revolution of the earth), a month(one lunar cycle) and the year are based on God's creation. God does not need time.
    If you think God is awesome now consider Him doing everything in 6 days. Why would God need time to create if he is God?
    It has nothing to do with how much time God needs. If everything we know about science is false, including the constants that establish the boundaries of possible life, then God's creation, including our brains to understand this, is based on lies? This is not consistent with the character of God as I know Him.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    I don't think God is restricted to the present earthly laws of science, laws of nature or thermodynamics. The miracles of the Bible have God's hand in them and do not abide by our laws or reasoning. Examples are the manna from heaven, the parting of the Red Sea, and Christ the Messiah in the form of man. Miracle after miracle can not be explained by our laws of science or laws of nature.
    The Creation can never smarter than the Creator. On this side of eternity our minds will never approach the capacity of God's knowledge or reasoning. Man can not be omnipresent,all knowing or have the love that God extends to mankind.
    How can you explain the Rapture of the Church, Christ's Resurrection or Judgement of mankind by our present knowledge of science?
    If the formation of the earth was over millions/billions of years, how long or how much time do you believe it will take God to resurrect and judge the dead? Answer: in the moment of a twinkling of the eye.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    It is indeed difficult for humans to understand a God that exists outside of time and space. It is rather like asking a deer to interpret fine art; we are just not built for that.

    I was educated as a scientist (microbiology and chemistry) as well as theology (Master of Divinity). I personally see not conflict between the theory of evolution, and Holy Scripture. Science only becomes a problem when one takes it farther than it is supposed to go; as the other Wayne pointed out, true science is always open to new data, and rearrangement of old theories.

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    Good commentary all. However, I'm reminded of an old saying, "God doesn't play dice with the universe." I think this came from Einstein? Whoever it was, I believe this is true, and I believe it because His word is always fulfilled. He makes rules for us, and then, almost always follows them. So things like gravity, matter, space and time, were indeed created by Him, but He created them for US. And we DO exist within the framework of all these things as long as we inhabit these delicate physical bodies we wear now.

    But when we're freed from these bodies, and space, time, etc. no longer affect us, what will we discover then? We're not told, but it's hinted at that we will be even MORE awed at how great and grand and awesome our God truly is! The first step is ours - belief. Then we comply, and eventually we're freed from these mortal, weak bodies, and become spirit, and are free from the normal constraints of this earthly realm. I suspect we haven't been told more than a pitance of what that will be like, because we simply don't have the ability to understand it right now. Some things, apparently, God must withhold from us until we have the ABILITY to comprehend it all. And that's just not all while we're still wearing these limited and mortal bodies. But one day ..... we'll know, and we'll know so completely, that it'll be overwhelming, and so wonderful, we may not even be able to endure it while still on this plane of existence. I suspect it's no accident that those who die, and are part of the body of Christ, and are revived, don't ever fear death again, is at least in part because of these things.

    Just speculation on my part, really, but .... FWIW, that's my take on it, and I'm ready to learn more, or better, any time there's an opportunity. Is our God a wonderful and mighty God or what?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting comments.

    Is the Bible true, or a book of fairytales? Genesis 1:3-5 seems very clear to me. A day then is the same as a day now.
    In John 1:1-3 who was this "word" that was with God, and was God? Did HE make everything, or not?

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    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    I have never understood why some people are so consumed with the craving to know why/how? Who cares? Does knowing how or why God made everything put food on the table? Understanding physics can put food on the table. Understanding how to conduct yourself so as to receive God's blessing can put food on the table. Establishing a factual timeline does nothing but create argument. There's no money in it. No food in it.

    Questioning "WHY" can be a good thing but if your mind is forever bent on it, if you constantly dwell on it when you could be doing something constructive, you're accomplishing NOTHING. Science trying to unravel the mystery of the universe does nothing. They could put that money and effort studying the stars into finding a way to save lives at a Shriner's hospital or St. Judes...or find a REAL solution for the common cold. Who gives a crp what's going on billions of light years away where you can do NOTHING about it. People are forever worrying about things they will NEVER master or control. Jesus addressed this in Luke 12:25.

    There's nothing wrong with study and discovery, we NEED that. There's nothing with looking for answers but people are wasting their lives looking for something means absolutely SQUAT. I don't care how God made anything. I don't care why or when. I'm here. I'll make the best use of my time feeding myself and as time and money allows, helping others to feed themselves, the ones that deserve it anyway. Any time not spent furthering those ends are spent entertaining myself.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master Boaz's Avatar
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    I haven't chimed in so ... . I go by the book of Genesis on the creation , it has held up for much over two thousand years . Most scientific 'theory' lasts but a short time . I enjoy science , I believe dinosaurs existed , I believe many animals , plants , earth , the solar system and the universe have changed or evolved by intelligent design over what we call 'time' . I grow weary of those finds a 1' piece of scull fragment and show a picture of a primate ancestor of ours . Trying to determine in the millions of years by imperfect radio carbon dating , speculation of celestial bodies 15 trillion years ago . They are STILL trying to figure out how the pyramids were built . I'll stop there , although many of the theories are interesting no one is going to get it figured out . We still can not explain time .

    As I said it is interesting but that's about it . Nothing wrong with talking about it , it is a built in part of our nature .
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    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boaz View Post
    I haven't chimed in so ... . I go by the book of Genesis on the creation , it has held up for much over two thousand years . Most scientific 'theory' lasts but a short time . I enjoy science , I believe dinosaurs existed , I believe many animals , plants , earth , the solar system and the universe have changed or evolved by intelligent design over what we call 'time' .
    There's not much to study, BUT, there were LOTS of things roaming the earth 'pre-flood'. Giants and leviathan. Dinosaurs. Even dragons wouldn't be a hard one to accept. Maybe not the fire breathers from Game of Thrones but still. I've never understood some church's stance on dinosaurs. As I said, 'pre-flood' there was a lot going bump in the night that would scare the snot out of us today.
    When dealing with islam one should always ask themselves: "What would Leonidas do?"

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Boaz's Avatar
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    I'm a fundamentalist , I believe dinosaurs existed . Exactly why , when ? Don't know exactly , don't really care but they are interesting .
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundarstick View Post
    Interesting comments.

    Is the Bible true, or a book of fairytales? Genesis 1:3-5 seems very clear to me. A day then is the same as a day now.
    In John 1:1-3 who was this "word" that was with God, and was God? Did HE make everything, or not?
    Genesis 1:14 "And God said let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs for seasons and for days and years. .......a fourth day. "

    If God did not create the sun until the forth day, how were day one through three the same as a day now?
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    There were two floods, the flood of Jeremiah chapter 4, and the flood of Noah, separate floods, with different descriptions.
    The one, the first, sometime after Gen. 1:1 and Gen. 1:2 which caused the earth to become waste and void, the second to destroy an influx of half breed angelic/humans called Geber/giants.

    (Genesis 1:1-2) "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.(flood of Jeremiah) {2} And the earth was(became) without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

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