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Wednesday: Creation and Time — 18 Comments

  1. It is easy for us to think up arguments that justify our position on origins to ourselves but when it comes to convincing others that we are right we find that they either do not want to listen, or alternatively come up with arguments that we have to go away and think about.

    Here are a couple of things to consider:

    1) Not all arguments that support our position are good arguments. Back in the days when I was teaching in science in our church schools I went to some lengths to show students that while such arguments may tickle our own ears, they are nonsense to others. I have mentioned in this forum before. the TV presentation, "In Search of Noah's Ark" that used video simulation to impress the viewer about a story of a pilot at the end of WW1 who claims to have seen the Ark on Mt Ararat. It took a lot of effort to convince those students that they were looking at a simulation.

    I have seen more detailed papers that to the non-scientific believer appears entirely convincing because the introduction and conclusion state that the paper "proves" what they already believe. An analysis of there rest of the paper by a believing scientist often exposes the shortcomings of the paper.

    2) While it gives us some satisfaction to decry Darwin, we should be careful that we disagree meaningfully. I have read "Origin of the Species" (probably evidence to some that I have a seriously damaged brain) Darwin's work on the variation of species shows a careful scientific mind observing changes in species (eg the Galapagos finches) that has given us a much greater understanding of how nature (God) works. I disagree with his extrapolation that such variation can explain the whole of life. My perception of Darwin is that he was reacting to the position known as the "extreme fixity of the species", held by many Christians. and which he demonstrated as quite untrue.

    3) It is important that we retain the perspective that it is the character of God as demonstrated by those who claim to be his children that is ultimately going to convince unbelievers. The miracle of the influenced of a saved life is more powerful than any erudite argument.

    Read Jesus prayer for us:

    Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:,I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17: 20-23 KJV

    Does that put the issue into perspective?

    • I absolutely agree with you. We need to be careful. Arguments do not convince those who believe differently. They are great for building our own faith when they support what we already believe.

      Have you ever read "The Evolution Handbook?" By Vance Ferrell. It's a good one. I haven't read it cover to cover but one thing that I found interesting was that it states that Darwin was never a scientist. You say it shows a careful scientific mind. I don't know if I agree.

      The full title of Origin of the Species is "On the Origin of the Species by means of natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life." I believe that title speaks for itself.

      Here is a quote from the Evolution Handbook on that book:

      "In his book, Darwin reasoned from theory to facts, and provided little evidence for what he had to say. Modern evolutionists are ashamed of the book, with it's ridiculous arguments."

      It goes on to point out quite a few things. I would suggest folks read it and see what it has to say for themselves. It paints a very different picture of Darwin than is commonly seen.

      • I think the characterisation of Darwin is a little biased. He was a scientist of his time and while his methodology may be somewhat lacking by modern standards is still quite good compared with other scientists of his day. The other issue is that evolutionary scientists now recognise the limitations of Darwin's conclusions and have proposed other mechanisms for evolution. We have also discarded much of what used to be called Newtonian Physics in favor of the general theory of relativity. That does not diminish the work of Newton.

        Part of the issue as far as life science is that we sometimes use the "God of the gaps" idea to explain life. The issue being that as we learn more our God shrinks. When we understand that much of what we do understand in the natural world works well because it is God-designed, then we have a much better picture of God.

        • I can't speak to the bias but I just urge folks to read that book. It gives a little biography on Darwin. Whether or not the biography is accurate may be up for debate but according to what I read he was a philosopher not a scientist of his time. The book goes on to share the position of the actual scientists of his time. They did not agree with his theories. Most of the others who did agree and wrote books were philosophers not scientists.

          There were other things that were mentioned that I didn't go into but while I don't share your opinion on Darwin I do agree that many do tend to use the God of the gaps idea to explain things that they may not have an explanation to so we certainly need to be careful not to speak authoritatively on things that the bible is silent on as if the bible speaks on them.

          • The section "Origin and evolution of the term" in the Wikipedia article "Natural philosophy" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_philosophy) provides an understanding of the term "natural philosophy" as it was used at the time Darwin wrote. A "natural philosopher" was considered to be what we would now call a scientist. The term "science" is derived from the Latin word for knowledge or study and was generally used to describe man's search for knowledge generally. In the late 1800s, the term science came to be understood as we understand it now.

            The meanings of English words change over time. If we are unaware of this in our reading of books such as the KJV and Darwin's "Origin of the Species," we will likely come to conclusions that are not what the authors of the books intended.

          • Richard, you make a good point. I read much on that very topic. I don't want to belabor it but I saw that there was much debate over how to classify him and what his actual training was. But of course everyone should read and make up their minds on this.

            I don't want us to miss the point though that Maurice was making by getting too sidetracked over Darwin himself.

  2. Could we say that God created "time" on earth? In the beginning there was only darkness, then God said "Let there be Light", then He separated the light from the dark and called it Day.
    Are there days in Heaven? What about Rev 21:23-25 which says there is no need for sun or moon and there is no night there?
    What does that say about " time" in heaven?

    • I think we're fairly safe to say that God did create "time" on this planet - both from a biblical perspective and a scientific perspective. On this earth, the relative positions of the earth and the sun measure our "time" according to Genesis. According to physics, the concept of the time-space continuum tells us that time out in space is quite different from time here - that space and time are relative.
      Since God created time and space, He also exists outside our space-time continuum. That has ramifications regarding God's foreknowledge. (At least that's the way it appeared to me when first encountering the time-space continuum concept.)

      • Inge, if there is no separation of days in heaven, will there be a day called Sabbath? I believe that it won't be necessary because the LORD is present with his people all the time Rev 21:3

  3. The time framework provided in the bible speaks to interlocking linkages in relationships from Adam to Noah and Abram (Abraham) as noted in Gen 5, 11 and 1 Chron 1:18-24 through which a number of lessons come to the surface.

    1. Man's origin can be traced back through an audit trail as provided for in Gen 5,11 & 1 Chron 1:18-24 and not the purported evolutionist theory whose basis is still a matter of conjecture.

    2. The longer the family chain the shorter the life span for man as his way of life gets compromised. While man could live beyond 900 years in the early part of the family chain, currently the span is reduced below 70 yrs. Psalm 90:10 International Standard Version says 'We live for 70 years, or 80 years if we're healthy, yet even in the prime years there are troubles and sorrow. They pass by quickly and we fly away.'

    3. The time frame speaks to the 'temporariliness' of life on earth. e.g Adam lived x number of years then begat x, then lived x number of years within which he had other sons and daughters. in total he lived x number of years and then he 'DIED.' This is true for all except Enoch and Elijah who were translated. Its time you and me put our 'houses' in order seeing that our stay on earth is temporal. It might be cut short even before 70 years.

    4. Within the corrupted family tree, Enoch proved that it was possible to live a holy life as seen through the patriarch Enoch & Noah among many others. Equally, despite the rotten moral fibre within our community, we too can live holy lives if we choose to walk with God on a daily basis.

    5. With unity founded on God, man can accomplish amazing results as deduced from the tower of babel experience. The opposite is also true, with dis-unity, man cannot accomplish his Godly endowed potential. (Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'

  4. This discussion of the “chronogenealogy” , I find quite interesting. As a result of one of our past lessons where the book was mentioned, I was inspired to read the “Book of Jasher” (The book of the Righteous). For those of you that are Biblical History buffs, you might find it very interesting reading despite its going wayward from time to time.

    One of the interesting aspects is a slight correction to the Biblical chronology that has Abraham and Noah contemporaries for a short period of time. The correction amounts to a bump in the road, 60 years. This time frame is well defended and supported by some biblical scholars. The difference has to do with the linguistic interpretation of one symbol being one period of time or another. The point is not to cast a shadow on the biblical interpretation. The point is that the story goes on to say that Abraham, as a young man, was sent to spend a considerable period of time in the household of Noah and Shem. This is where he learned to be a Godly man. This is a theme throughout the Book of Jasher. Those chosen to carry the flame spend time with the elder statesman for Godly

    Just to add a little intrigue to the Book of Jasher, two other interesting tidbits are presented there that are not discussed in the Bible. The animal skin given to Adam by God himself to cover him, makes its way all the way down after the flood to Esau by way of Ham to Nimrod. Also the stick that God fashioned for Adam to first till the soil, is passed down and is the rod that Moses takes to back to Egypt and becomes a tool used to lead Israel out of bondage and through the wilderness.

  5. I am a little troubled by this lesson, as it seems to suggest that people who feel names may be left out of the genealogies are heretics who don't trust God's Word. They mention that no names are different in I Chronicles, but for some reason they have not mentioned that Luke's genealogy includes an extra name. Personally I am open to this possibility that even in Genesis 5 and/or 11, names may be omitted. I don't say this as one who doesn't trust in God's word, but I recognize that the Bible does give precedence for this. I do think creation was recent, but does it really matter if it was 6,000 years ago or 8,000 or 10, 000? As long as we believe God created in 6 days, I don't think when it happened is that important. The obsession with creation happening 6,000 years ago has led to theories about the Second Coming which have not been helpful, in my opinion.

    I think we have to be careful in scorning archaeology and history. It is imperfect, as is everything man-made. However, we use dates gained from it to prove our prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. For example, we use history to start the 490 year and 2,300 year prophecies in 457 BC. If history showed these dates to be wrong, we'd have some troubles. I think it isn't fair to use these dates in some circumstances and not in others. I'm not in favor of being dogmatic about history and archaeology either, but I don't think it's wrong to consider it. Ultimately, the exact year of creation and the flood is not a salvation issue, in my mind.

    • You make some good points, Christina. I think that arguing for the exact correctness of Usher's chronology, based on these biblical genealogies is not necessary. If there are some generations left out, it would add no more than a few thousand years to the chronology, and it would not affect any of the rest of biblical teachings.
      The evolutionary time scale, by contrast, calls for billions of years. And the evolutionary scenario does away with fundamental biblical teachings such as a perfect creation, a fall through lack of faith/disobedience, and the need for a Savior.

    • Nicely said, Christina. I agreed and we can take the view you offer and still not have to embrace millions or billions of years of evolution to attain the life forms we see today or make accommodation for the fossil record.

  6. This book of Jasher must be an interesting book just as we're referring to it in this lesson. Please, how many book of Moses do we have? And if more than the five we're familiar with, why are they not included in the WORD for all to read?

    • Hi Edun Gabriel. When I was doing my study on the history of the Bible's transmission and translation. I found a lot of references to the apocryphal writings and their inclusion/exclusion. At some stage, I plan to tie it all together and make another post about it. The process of exclusion from the Canon is just as important as the inclusion.

      Ths short answer is that many of the apocryphal books exclude themselves simply because some of their content is out of harmony with the rest of scripture. I won't say much more than that at this stage because I still have a lot more study to do on the topic but hopefully, I may post something later this year.

      • Very cool. Looking forward to reading your synopsis of why some books remained apocryphal or became Canon.


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