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Sabbath: Creation – Genesis as Foundation, Part 2 — 13 Comments

  1. Let me share a little bit of my personal journey here. I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and at an early age was exposed to the "wonders of the heavens". In our Junior Missionary Volunteer meetings on Sabbath afternoon we were shown slides of the Nebula of Orion and were told that it was like a giant tunnel through to heaven itself. It was fascination stuff to my science-oriented mind. The Nebula of Orion was about 600 light years away - an almost unimaginable distance.

    In those days our knowledge of the rest of the universe was limited to the solar system and our local galaxy that we know as the Milky Way. As my interest in science grew and our knowledge of the universe increased it was not long before I was exposed to the information coming from other electromagnetic spectrum analysis and in short order I learned of other galaxies (our sister galaxies, Andromeda and The clouds of Magellan), pulsars, and finally black holes.

    A pivotal moment for me was when I visited the Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungles here in Australia. mong the displays I saw a plate taken with the Hubble telescope of a patch of sky and it was quite densely covered with images of other galaxies, many of them larger than our own Milky Way. I have been educated in physics and understand the importance of spectra in providing information about light sources. They provide information not only of the composition of the light source but also the speed it is travelling and the distance it is from us. There are two things that came home to me quite clearly the day I saw that photographic plate; the immense size and complexity of the universe, and the fact that the whole of our visible universe is bound by the same physics that we have observed and reasoned with here on this earth,

    In my short lifetime our vision of the universe has gone from small to huge by several orders of magnitude. In my mind it has prompted questions about origins and existence that probably did not even enter most peoples minds, in my grandparents and parents generations.

    How do we sort out the science and faith questions that arise?

    The problem is that the Bible is naturally geocentric. It is about God's dealings with us on earth. About the only reference to the rest of the universe is "He made the stars also", and that one sentence is about the only reference to the rest of the universe.

    Here are some of the things that I think about:

    Was the "Big Bang" when God started it all? Scientists describe the moment of the "Big Bang" as when existence started. Before that cannot be described because there is no before. We claim that God created "Ex Nihilo".

    The universe shows us stars being created out of dense parts of the universe, and stars being destroyed in supernovae or blackholes. The cycle of creation and destruction seems to be universal. Does that imply that sin has affected the whole universe? Or is that part of God's plan. The Bible does say that God will destroy the heavens and the earth and create new ones. Does that support that view of the extent of sin.

    The farthest object we can see is Galaxy MACS0647-JD, which is about 13.3 billion light-years away. Is the universe really that old, or are we seeing an artefact that is much closer?

    I could go on asking questions like these and I could provide answers that I think helps me to resolve both the science and faith. I also have to live with unanswered questions because I simply do not know.

    Our scientific knowledge has exploded in one generation and for those who went to sleep during science and maths classes at school it must be bewildering. I have always taken the approach in my own thinking that science has given us a new window into how God works. One of the big issues that we have is that we have often limited our view of God to explaining the things we do not understand. The problem is that the more we understand, the smaller our God becomes.

    You may remember that God asked Job and his friends a series of questions. it is worth rereading those questions and asking how many of those questions we can at least provide partial answers to now. God is not limited by our knowledge, so our knowledge should not eliminate God.

    • Happy Sabbath Maurice. I have been long time admirer of your understanding of the Word, your approach and your explanation regarding the meaning of the things we study. But I do have a question on one of your comments, which I hope you can point me in the right direction. You stated the Bible says the God will destroy the Heavens and the earth. I have researched passage after passage and could not find where the Heavens would be destroyed. I found the words "pass and vanish". I even looked up the translations in Hebrew and the Greek and could not find the interpretation of where the Heavens would be destroyed (destroyed is a very important meaning). Can you help me to understand why the Heavens would be destroyed? To me, it seems like if the universe is watching (and if they are sinless beings), why would the Heavens be destroyed. I'm not questioning earth, just the Heavens.

      And please note Maurice, I have no problems with corrections. I will forever be a student of the Word. I appreciate you and thank you for your time in sharing light.

      • I stand correction. I was in a hurry and should have checked that one. Mea culpa.

        And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Rev 21:1 KJV

        • Nelson, I believe we need to define what the texts we are looking at mean by 'heaven' - I believe in Rev 21:1 it is referring to the firmament as mentioned in Gen 1:7-9 i.e. our atmosphere not the place where God and the angels live.

          I understand your concern with the spiritual implications of the word 'destroyed' however if the heavens are dissolved and no longer exist they have in the literal sense been destroyed

          Gen 1:7-9 KJV  And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.  (8)  And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.  (9)  And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

          Gen 7:11-12 KJV  In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  (12)  And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

          2Pe 3:6-7 KJV  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  (7)  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

          2Pe 3:10-13 KJV  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  (11)  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  (12)  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  (13)  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

    • Your experiences of "deep space" and "deep time" (our cosmology)are excellent examples of why we should not try to correlate the Bible with scientific knowledge at all. When we inn the next step try to judge the Bible by science, or science by the Bible, we run quickly into the fundamental problem of category confusion.

      For example, if we take Genesis literally, but can observe the creation of the "heavens" by Hubble telescope, then the Bible must be wrong when it says that "in six days the Lord made heaven and the earth." But understanding how ancients thought, we can easily consider the text of Genesis as an adaptation of God's knowledge to the people of the time, not to our time. If Genesis had been written today, it would doubtless have included a very different description of the coming-into-being of all things, including deep space and deep time.

      However, to say that God made something by His word is enough to maintain faith in God. Just how, when, and with what results, is not included in the meaning of Genesis--it is left to humans, with the aid of observation (by telescope, microscope, etc) to discover its underlying laws and workings. Restricting the meaning of the created world to a literalistic reading of Genesis is an absurdity that most people realize sometime in their teens or early adulthood.

      It is sufficient for us to retrieve the key meanings of Genesis without adopting the cosmology of the ancients as our own. We now realize that the universe is one of deep time and deep space, and the sight of so-called biblical scholars trying to make our perceptions squeeze back into the ancient world, or imagine that the ancients even by revelation knew the cosmos was just as we know it today, is just absurd.

  2. The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Ps 24:1-2

    The liberality required of the Hebrews was largely to benefit their own nation; today the work of God extends over all the earth. In the hands of His followers, Christ has placed the treasures of the gospel, and upon them He has laid the responsibility of giving the glad tidings of salvation to the world. Surely our obligations are much greater than were those of ancient Israel {AA 337.2}

    Genesis as Foundation, Part 2
    In our lesson for today, the writer shows/told us how different individuals acknowledged God as author and finisher of our world. In the study of different branches of science we read about how things were created and sustained. The study of science is the bedrock of our world. Almost every branch, division and subdivision of study is embraced by some sort of science. In research we are educated about the use of Evidence Base Practice (EBP). EBP is the idea that occupational practices ought to be based on scientific evidence. If the practice is not evidently based on science, then it cant be used or it is not true. In modern study, this is the push.
    In those above names mentioned and others, they needed no evidence but the evidence of an unseen God.
    In one of Robert Boyle conclusion- God is the author of the universe and the free establisher of the law of motion.

    Opposed to the writers/philosophers who acknowledged God as the Creator and Sustainer of this world/earth are humans who denied the existence of God as the Creator and Sustainer of this world. As a christian we have to know what we believe and who must we follow. There are many things we cannot understand or explain, yet by faith we have to believe.
    My generation of fore-parents passed on several things to each coming generation but they had no scientific knowledge. Whether true or not, many of those things still work. We have to know and ask ourselves, does the bible supports what they offered?

    The wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of Proverbs are still in high demand these days, but humans are looking in the wrong place for wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov 1:7.

  3. I agree with you, Maurice. I am writing a book that will help all Christian doctrines be defined a new. Heaven and earth are never a separate entities as God is both in heaven as he is on earth. That is equally true of a molecules. It can be in the space and here on earth at the same time.

    This is why I am writing a book on the Principles of Creation that will help us read the Bible afresh.

  4. "The problem is that the more we understand, the smaller our God becomes". The more human beings discovers new things clearly illustrates how little they know and not how smaller God becomes!At the same time, this clearly illustrates how much we are yet to understand and discover.The scripture is agreement that human knowledge and understanding is progressive.From generation to generation, knowledge has increased exponentially. Does that diminish God's claim as the Creator? I don't think so!This again shows how true is the Word of God."knowledge will increase"(Dan.12:4, Deut.29:29).

  5. Quoting Sabbath's lesson writer:
    "After the French Revolution, however, nineteenth-century science began to move from a theistic worldview to one based on naturalism and materialism, often with no place at all for the supernatural."

    This process was started in the 'Garden of Eden. It elevated man as the source and receiver of the benefits derived from using his own 'Wisdom'.

    When a god was allowed back into society's life, it was one that could be pressed into the form of ritualized worship. Government would not allow a sovereign God, only one of their own making for to help them control and sooth the masses' need for their true God.

    It is quite obvious that at the heart of this latest revolution was to establish again 'control' over men's destiny within himself and his works.
    Though again, God will work in mysterious ways, using His all-knowing omnipresence to establish His ultimate Will. Thank you God!

    The French revolutionists tried to kill their objects of build-up resentment, but could not kill true faith supported by the Spirit of God residing in the believer's heart.
    This is evidence of the ongoing Great Controversy, showing its effects on all levels of society - the social sciences, the legal as well as all the natural sciences.

    I suppose, faith expressed through science went underground for a while and is only now emerging again due to 'enough' gathered scientific evidence which could 'inspire' the still unconvinced to at least allow questions to emerge that challenge the believe in a 'no-creator-god' existence.

    I think that we could do better as Christians and as Christian Scientists if we would not take the 'bate' to 'debate' the non-Christian regarding whether God exists or how He created the Universe. Enough evidence is established to show Order is superior to chaos. We can show this to anyone at anytime.

    Using reason to establish doubt is the turf established by the adversary and unbelievers are pretty good at using it. Its circular reasoning format is allowing the scientific mind to reason without needing to come to a final conclusion.

    Faith on the other hand, because of not 'enough reason' to support it, is a hard sell and rarely enough to change their open-ended, reason-focused mind. Faith establishes an end point which reason's circular method can not allow!
    Faith is superior to reason, because it has linked our mind to the Wisdom of God and with that established the endpoint.

    God is most gracious and looks at our hearts! At the end of time, He will proof Himself just like He said! Prayer is a way for God to bring about change in the heart of man (the power of prayer has also become the focus of scientific studies lately)! 🙂

    I do not think that the Bible teaches an 'antiquated, unscientific view of cosmology'! Can we realistically expect to scientifically 'observe' God's work, especially the Beginning? Faith establishes this for us.

    Today's scientist requires empirical evidence in order to establish proof that God exists- that's the crux of the matter!
    We should refuse to play on this 'court'! The two sides cannot be combined. The unbelieving scientist can always move the goalpost as soon as evidence comes close enough to allow faith. Faith can never be part in empirical evidence.

    We use/allow God's Holy Spirit to enlighten us and lead us into all Truth, just as He enlightened Daniel, Ezekiel, John the Revelator and all His Prophets, Judges and 'beloved ones'!
    His Holy Spirit inspired Word is the ultimate proof to establish Truth, not reason. The Christian scientist knows and appreciates this as well.

    God's Word is sufficient for us to establish us in our Faith and conviction that HE established and created all things. We should avoid the temptation to 'proof' Him to anyone by using 'reason'!

    When accepting to proof God's existence within the parameters set up by unbelieving scientists applying the scientific methods of 'proof', we fall into a vicious trap set up by Satan, His adversary - using/enticing the adversarial mind to proof itself right through its power to establish 'reason'.
    Should the mind acknowledge that Faith is superior to reason, the mind looses its independence when reasoning. The willing mind and heart then submits itself to the superior Will of God.

    The biblical account was not borrowed from the surrounding pagan nations - just the opposite happened! Our Creator God needed to re-establish Himself with mankind and chose Israel to form this relationship. How could anyone understand this without believing in a Creator in the first place?

    Yes, 'the Bible's inspired nature elevates us to a view of origins that is complete in its divine framework'!

    • Brigette
      ou wrote: "Hi Jordan -
      Following your recent posts with interest, I am reaching out to ask you to kindly consider my point of view as it relates to the Creation controversy. I posted it in response to today's Sabbath lesson."
      - - - - - - - - - - - -
      I was intrigued by your statement: "This is evidence of the ongoing Great Controversy, showing its effects on all levels of society - the social sciences, the legal as well as all the natural sciences." There's a lot in there, I suspect, so I hope you can expand a little.

      You have made many comments about scientists, about proof for the existence of God, use of reason etc. If you mean that the existence of God cannot be proven, I agree. This is well known by almost everyone.

  6. In reality the roots of evolution date much further back than Darwin or even the French Revolution, but that is another study. There have been since time immortal a diverse palette of views on our origins. We are currently in a scientific world with its default being no outside miraculous interventions making what we can observe today. Nevertheless, the Bible has a bold view of origins and if one has ever read some of the other versions out there, it is, in my view, the best and most sensible that there is.

    I would like to recommend a series produced by a Professor of Zoology who believed and taught evolution at University level who was convicted by the Bible and the Holy Spirit and now is totally convinced of the truth of Genesis, creation and the flood.
    His series shows how the same facts can be interpreted so differently depending on your paradigm.
    I particularly found the episode on genes most fascinating.
    I personally have the series on dvd and have watched them several times as well as attending some of his live lectures. My daughter visited many times in his home while she was studying at a SDA university.

    Amazing Discoveries – Genesis in Conflict – Dr Walter Veith
    His series is available on You Tube and on DVD
    101 – The Earth in time and space (big bang, dating)
    102 – A Universal Flood
    103 – Bones in Stones
    104 – Where mammals reigned (ice age)
    105 – The Genes of Genesis
    106 – Creation to Restoration (how animals changed after the fall)
    107 – A Day to be Remembered (why God rested and sighed)
    108 – A Spade unearths the truth (archaeology)

    Walter Veith (born 1949) is a South African zoologist and a Seventh-day Adventist author and speaker known for his work in nutrition, creationism with the Amazing Discoveries media ministry.
    Veith was professor of the zoology department at the University of Cape Town and taught in the medical bioscience department. During this time, the department was awarded a Royal Society London grant for zoological research.
    After joining the Seventh-day Adventist Church he rejected the theory of evolution in favor of creationism and so had to give up teaching at the University of Cape Town.


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