Embracing Climate Change

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The Topic. Climate change? What does that have to do with fiction or a Christian worldview? A lot, I think, at least when it comes to the latter.

Climate change, many in the media say, is a direct cause of man’s misuse of the environment, and if we but change our habits we can preserve the earth for future generations.

Christians often counter with skepticism. For one thing “climate change” used to be called “global warming,” but since the science isn’t there to support the theory that the earth is heating up, the term has changed.

Also, the cause of any perceived change can’t actually be traced to human practices (manufacturing, use of fossil fuels, etc.) since there are too many other factors and no way to run an experiment isolating one potential cause over the others. In other words, there is no real way to use the scientific method to determine the truth or error of the hypothesis.

So in view of this shaky science, why am I suggesting we should embrace global warming?

I believe liberals unintentionally are reporting what the Bible said nearly two thousand years ago, namely that Man is to blame for the decay of our environment. The difference is that liberal environmentalists claim this decay started with man’s use of fossil fuels whereas the Bible says the decay started when Man first sinned.

For one thing, God told Adam he would have to earn his food by the sweat of his brow. Perhaps this was only because of Adam’s change of address—from #1 Place, Garden, to Some Where, Out There.

But other changes occurred. The animals, once friendly with each other and with Man, no longer were. The land mass which was at one time together, divided. A catastrophic flood covered the earth. Devastating plagues decimated the Nile basin.

In fact, the Bible records numerous droughts and resulting famines. Major rivers the Bible mentions have all but dried up; some have vanished. According to Hillary Mayell of the National Geographic News, “8,000 to 10,000 years ago, what is now desert was probably lush savannah and grasslands. Today the Sahara is hot and arid, the land sandy, rainfall minimal, and vegetation sparse.”

A study in 2008 at Lake Yoa in Chad bears this out:

[The study] found evidence for a slow decline in tropical plants, followed by the gradual loss of savanna-type grasslands, and then the eventual spread of desert species.

Pollen samples revealed, for example, that the decrease in tropical trees accelerated after 4,800 years ago, while desert plants took root between 3,900 and 3,100 years ago.
– James Owens, “Once Lush Sahara Dried Up Over Millennia, Study Says,” National Geographic News.

Zoom forward to more recent times. Scientists have noted that for years the Sahara Desert, larger than the size of the US, has been encroaching on bordering savanna. In the decade between 1980 and 1990, the southern boundary moved south over 80 miles.

Of course, one scientist has now reported that in the last twenty years images reveal “extensive regreening” of the semiarid savanna in the south due to global warming.

The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany
– James Owen, “Sahara Desert Greening Due to Climate Change?” National Geographic News.

I can’t help but wonder just how warm the air has to become for it to hold moisture. Weren’t the hundred-plus-degree days previous to “global warming” enough to hold moisture? But I’m getting sidetracked.

Why should we embrace climate change? Because the idea that the earth isn’t what it once was is completely consistent with what the Bible says:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
– Rom 8:20-22 (emphasis mine)

In addition, taking care of our environment is completely consistent with God’s direction to Adam in the beginning.

Why, then, should we not embrace what the Bible says? The liberal media may have the facts wrong and certainly have the wrong idea that Man can fix a broken earth, but their conclusions and Scripture lead to the same place: Man is at fault for the mess we’re in, and Man should act responsibly to care for our world.

Why would we fight those conclusions?

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Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm  Comments (18)  
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18 Comments

  1. Lots of thoughts. Please bear with me, Rebecca.

    “For one thing ‘climate change’ used to be called ‘global warming,’ but since the science isn’t there to support the theory that the earth is heating up, the term has changed.” Uhhh…yes and no. Something is definitely there, but as you say there’s no definitive way to determine what the cause is. We can’t bottle up the planet in a test tube and perform experiments in an isolated environment. The best estimate I’ve heard is that climate change is about 80% confirmed. It’s a difficult thing to detect let alone verify.

    “I believe liberals unintentionally are reporting what the Bible said nearly two thousand years ago, namely that Man is to blame for the decay of our environment.” Who? I think you meant to say ‘environmentalists’ or even ‘scientists’. There are surely conservative environmentalists who claim this too. I don’t know why you need the liberal label in this sentence.

    “The difference is that liberal environmentalists claim this decay started with man’s use of fossil fuels whereas the Bible says the decay started when Man first sinned.” Che–, uh oh. First, the liberal label appears again. Second, Rebecca you’re stating that a philosophical concept, that of original sin, is the cause for physical decay in the universe, which is a consequence of the set of physical laws that govern the universe.

    No. Don’t go there.

    The bible says – I believe in the psalms – that the laws of God are fixed. If this refers to the physical laws that govern the universe, and I believe they do, then those laws haven’t changed since creation/the big bang. It is the second law of thermodynamics that gives rise to the concept of decay. Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden brought about spiritual death and decay, not a physical variety. Hence, Jesus came to save our souls and not our bodies. When entering Jerusalem Jesus said that he could have raised up descendants to Abraham from the stones had the people not cried out. Our bodies can be completely destroyed on this earth and yet we can rest perfectly assured of our spiritual life in Jesus.

    Now, I’m not disagreeing that there weren’t consequences to the fall, but I do not think the fall caused life to somehow erratically follow a different set of physical laws. That’s nonsense.

    “Why should we embrace climate change? Because the idea that the earth isn’t what it once was is completely consistent with what the Bible says…” Amen. Preach it sister!

    “In addition, taking care of our environment is completely consistent with God’s direction to Adam in the beginning.” Ditto!

    “The liberal media … certainly have the wrong idea that Man can fix a broken earth…” Huh? What are you talking about? Are you referring to that whole original sin thing I explained earlier? I believe Man has the ability to fix outright or at least temper many of his mistakes with regard to the environment. Otherwise, why would God – logically speaking – ask us to take command over and care for the planet? I mean, if we can’t affect the outcome why entrust us to take charge over its management and maintenance? This notion that we can’t fix it is illogical.

  2. Rebecca makes a good argument. The liberal left purports all kinds of incorrect environmental philosophies and desires to base their unscientific assumptions on hoaxes and their comrades’ deductions in the so-called scientific community.

    The earth was perfect before sin. Perfect. There is no argument for this basic tenet of Christianity. The fall created the trouble, the unbalanced climate and chaos of every kind in humanity and on the earth–in an instant. Not over time. One bite of disobedience, and the damage was done. Man created the mess and certainly in all the years since hasn’t figured out how to make it whole or better, nor will he.

    This earth and all its sin-related stuff will one day pass away. God will do it. Not man.

    We’ve argued before, Daniel. Just because you think it or articulately express it doesn’t make it right or true.

  3. True, Nicole. Just because I say something doesn’t make it true or right. That’s why I reference the words of the bible whenever possible. It is our standard as Christians. But surely I am entitled to my opinion? Rebecca has graciously permitted me to comment here and that’s all I’m doing.

    But I have to disagree with you in part. Earth was not perfect before sin. If it was perfect then why does the bible state in Revelation that God is going to create a new heaven and Earth? If the one before the fall was perfect, why not simply take us back to that kind of existence? That is in fact what all of the other world religions – the false religions – do. They preach a return to paradise, but God in His transcendance has something better for us.

    Secondly, God foreknew that sin would enter the world through Adam and Eve. (OK, technically it was through Lucifer, but I digress.) So, why wouldn’t he have prepared for this and setup creation from the start to handle it? A very good argument can be made that He did just that. The laws of the universe actually limit the effects of sin and help to contain it. That’s what I believe anyway.

    Thirdly, hear the words of the bible in Psalm 104: 27-30 (KJV):

    27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. 28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. 29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. 30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

    Who are these that wait upon the Lord? The earlier part of the psalm speaks of every kind of animal, bird, and sea creature. It is too lengthy to quote here, so here are the highlights: every beast of the field (11), wild asses (11), fowls of the heaven (12), cattle (14), birds (17), stork (17), wild goats (18), conies (18), all the beasts of the forest (20), young lions (21), sea creatures (25), small and great beasts (25), and leviathan (26).

    So all creatures depend on God for food (27). And when God withholds his sustenance they die (28). But He can create new ones to replace them (29). Does this not fit the record of nature with regard to the dinosaurs and other ancient creatures? God created them according to His purposes. Then they died – also according to His purposes. The notion that somehow physical death entered the world as a response to Adam and Eve’s sin just doesn’t work – and here is clearly violates the record of the bible. The dinosaurs lived before the garden of Eden. They went extinct and became the oil that powers our civilization. Therefore, I believe God purposefully created them and then made them extinct to benefit humanity.

    It is a broad-brush view of His purpose and His amazing care for us. Remember, death is not to be feared by Christians. Death is also not to be viewed as an “evil”. It’s not evil. Physical death was actually an act of mercy bestowed by God on Adam and Eve after they sinned. They were kicked out of the garden to prevent them from living forever in their sin by eating the fruit of the other tree. Jesus now has the keys to death and the grace. They are but His tools to do His will. And they always were.

    Here we are in agreement: “This earth and all its sin-related stuff will one day pass away. God will do it. Not man.” Absolutely true.

  4. Can’t say I have the time to refute all the Biblical facts I deem a bit off, but this one will just take a moment. Or at least, I wish to learn more of your thought pattern on this :)

    “The notion that somehow physical death entered the world as a response to Adam and Eve’s sin just doesn’t work – and here is clearly violates the record of the bible. The dinosaurs lived before the garden of Eden. They went extinct and became the oil that powers our civilization. Therefore, I believe God purposefully created them and then made them extinct to benefit humanity.”

    “The bible says – I believe in the psalms – that the laws of God are fixed. If this refers to the physical laws that govern the universe, and I believe they do, then those laws haven’t changed since creation/the big bang.”

    I need a clarification here, are you saying the big bang happened? Creation and the big bang are not synonymous. And just because something is a law does not mean it cannot change.

    “It is the second law of thermodynamics that gives rise to the concept of decay. Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden brought about spiritual death and decay, not a physical variety.”
    Now, Adam and Eve had Physical perfection and Spiritual unity with God. Things were PERFECT, the perfection was lost :( Pain was introduced, death did come as a result of sin,
    Romans 5:12

    “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–”
    That clearly states that because of sin death came.

    “Hence, Jesus came to save our souls and not our bodies. When entering Jerusalem Jesus said that he could have raised up descendants to Abraham from the stones had the people not cried out. Our bodies can be completely destroyed on this earth and yet we can rest perfectly assured of our spiritual life in Jesus.”
    Aye! He came to save my soul! And yours, and all who would accept it. Not sure what you are getting at, but I totally agree :) But, we do get new bodies at the resurrection!
    *Assuming Christ does not come back in my lifetime*

    The entire chapter in Psalms, is about God caring for his creation! It speaks of that without God, the animals would die. Shucks, without God, we would die lol.
    “28You give to them, they gather it up;
    You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
    29You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
    You take away their [h]spirit, they expire
    And return to their dust.”

    I read those verses, they are pretty much saying without God there would be REAL issues :P

    “Secondly, God foreknew that sin would enter the world through Adam and Eve. (OK, technically it was through Lucifer, but I digress.) So, why wouldn’t he have prepared for this and setup creation from the start to handle it? A very good argument can be made that He did just that. The laws of the universe actually limit the effects of sin and help to contain it. That’s what I believe anyway.”
    You have an interesting point, but if we follow the logic I believe it breaks down. Also, is the earth good now? Is the groaning the earth does good? I think not…God said his creation was “Good”. That in itself I believe breaks down the idea.
    Also, as God did know sin would be introduced, why not take it a step further and not make tree? Or bring the Messiah before sin? Or..Any number of things? No, I really do not think that God Pre-prepped for sin.

    ~Respectfully
    Millard

  5. “But I have to disagree with you in part. Earth was not perfect before sin. If it was perfect then why does the bible state in Revelation that God is going to create a new heaven and Earth? If the one before the fall was perfect, why not simply take us back to that kind of existence? That is in fact what all of the other world religions – the false religions – do. They preach a return to paradise, but God in His transcendence has something better for us.”
    Didn’t see this at the top :)

    Now this is an easy answer lol, although I kinda adressed it with the earth being “Good”. Because he is getting rid of it! :P A fresh beginning :) No need to wind back, or God is a creator. Why would he want to go back to an earth that had been corrupted? Even say he repairs it? No, that is not his style. There will be a new beginning in a sinless :)

    Note: “Good” false religions mix truth with lies :) So just cause you say “false religions” teach such things, then..*coughs* doesn’t mean it is all wrong ;) And I am not saying a return to the old earth, but a brand spanking new one!

  6. Re: Millard

    “I need a clarification here, are you saying the big bang happened? Creation and the big bang are not synonymous. And just because something is a law does not mean it cannot change.”

    Yes and yes. The same event is described both in scripture and in scientific literature. I equate them as the same thing. The Big Bang is really very strong evidence that the bible is right.

    Yes and no about the laws. If you mean the scientific ones, then the definition of a law is any phenomenon that can be reproduced with a high degree of probability that the same result will occur. (i.e. drop an apple and you’ve proven gravity to still be a scientific phenomenon in effect.) Can these be changed? Well, there’s nothing really forcing them to keep on happening! :D So calling them laws is just an easy mental shortcut.

    Now if you mean the laws of God (which, if you believe God is the creator of the universe then the laws governing it are *also* laws of God, which is what I believe) then Psalm 148 has your answer:

    1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! 2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! 3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! 4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. 6 He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.

    The words of scripture are clear. God established the heavens and set the laws governing them in place. These shall not be moved.

    I know some of this may seem off, but it’s because our interpretation of scripture has been wrong for generations such that it’s now ingrained into our collective Christian worldview. But the scriptures are there. We cannot deny them or what they say. It is dangerous to lock in a particular interpretation. One should at least be open to new ideas if only to see if they have merit. If our original interpretation is sound, then nothing will tear it down. If it is not, then by all means we should hold on to what is false for we should seek out and hold to the truth.

    All of this is based on one simple assumption: If the God of the bible is who He says He is, then He is the author of the bible, the Creator of the universe, and incapable of contradicting Himself. Therefore, the record of nature and the words of scripture *cannot* contradict one another. They have the same author – God – who is above contradicting Himself.

    “Now, Adam and Eve had Physical perfection and Spiritual unity with God. Things were PERFECT, the perfection was lost :( Pain was introduced, death did come as a result of sin,
    Romans 5:12
    ‘Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.’
    That clearly states that because of sin death came.”

    Yes, but it does not identify the type of death. Adam and Eve did not drop to the floor immediately, for example, yet that would be the most literal interpretation. Scripture consistently describes, and traditional theology espouses, that we are a trinity: soul, mind, and heart. Many scriptures speak of this, some with all the parts and some not, but I’ll point you to Mark 12:30 as one example. (Now there is also a fourth, the body or strength, but this is understood to be the outward actions of the workings of the inner three.) Anyway, how do we know this didn’t mean physical death? (1) They didn’t drop dead immediately, (2) why have a tree of life if you’re already going to live forever, (3) Jesus came to save souls not our bodies. This is clearly understood doctrine of the church. Research it if you like. Search for “spiritual death” and refernce the garden of eden.

    “The entire chapter in Psalms, is about God caring for his creation! It speaks of that without God, the animals would die. Shucks, without God, we would die lol.”

    True. But notice who is responsible for the death. God is. We have in our collective consciousness the weird notion that death is evil. Yet that cannot be if God is causing the death of so-called innocent creatures. Yet this is *the* very reason used by young-earth creationists to argue that death did not occur before the fall. Because death, you know, is bad. It totally violates scripture and the entire argument falls away. If you allow death before the fall, then you open the door to rectifying scripture with the record of nature which included the deaths of the dinosaurs and millions of other species of life that must have existed on this planet for many, many years before the time of Adam and Eve.

    It all flows back to God as Author of the bible and God as Creator of the universe. These two versions of God must be in complete agreement with one another or God is inconsistent and Christianity is a myth. This argument is based on the very nature of God so the only way it can be negated is if God isn’t who He says He is. And if He isn’t then Christianity is a myth and we have no hope. Those are the stakes.

    “You have an interesting point, but if we follow the logic I believe it breaks down.”

    This notion, that the universe was setup by God prior to the fall, in preparation for it is a new one. It’s best explained in a book called Why The Universe Is The Way It Is by Hugh Ross. You can find it on Amazon. It’s a fascinating read. A few highlights: during the holocaust Hitler had millions of jews executed. But because of the geographical laws of the universe, many millions more were spared. They simply couldn’t get to them all in time before the end of the war. That example is from the book and is a good example of what I’m talking about. Why is the universe the way it is? God could have made it any way He wanted to. Why like this? Why do we exist in three spatial dimensions and move ever forward in time? Why can’t we fly or breathe underwater? God set it all up, at least in part, to control and limit the effects of sin. Dr. Ross would argue that God’s ultimate goal in creating this universe is to bring about a rapid conquest of evil so that He can quickly usher in the new creation where all will be perfect.

    “Also, is the earth good now? Is the groaning the earth does good? I think not…God said his creation was “Good”. That in itself I believe breaks down the idea.”

    Earth is in a fallen state. It’s not good per se. Neither is it bad exactly. God’s creation was good, but mankind has perverted much of that goodness. Also note that God called everything good prior to the fall. I don’t see any contradiction to the state of what God made before the fall being good and it now being fallen. Exactly what fallen means is the real issue. Some have argued that Eden was perfect so physical death and decay entered existence at that time. My reasons for discounting this argument have been stated earlier so obviously I believe it’s got to be something less intrusive – maybe even subtle. It’s difficult to describe the effects of sin. Consider a drug addict. The initial sin might be to just smoke one joint to fit in with a group, but this can quickly transform to an addiction to more powerful drugs. And theft to pay for the habit. And lying about the theft. Then a criminal record and jailtime, etc., etc. Sin starts out small, but it’s insidious. It grows and grows as it destroys and destroys. I like to think of the groaning of the Earth and it’s fallen state as something like this. The Earth still exists, but it’s not what it could be. It could have been much, much better.

    “Also, as God did know sin would be introduced, why not take it a step further and not make tree? Or bring the Messiah before sin? Or..Any number of things? No, I really do not think that God Pre-prepped for sin.”

    Ever heard the following? God desires a relationship – specifically with us. However, God being Who He is He must have an upright and loving relationship. The Angels cannot provide this as they were made to minister to God and have no free will. We on the other hand do have free will. We can choose to love God or not. An honest, loving relationship must be so important to and cherished by God that He gave us free will in the hope that at least some of our number would choose to be a relationship with Him. There is no other way for God to have this kind of relationship. This allows for sin to come in – even requires it – in order to test our love and loyalty. That’s the argument I’ve heard anyway.

  7. Re: Millard (again)

    “Note: “Good” false religions mix truth with lies So just cause you say “false religions” teach such things, then..*coughs* doesn’t mean it is all wrong.”

    True. I hadn’t addressed this in my comment. But I think you understand what I meant. The bible is unique in describing a transcendent future existence. A human probably wouldn’t have thought to do this.

    “And I am not saying a return to the old earth, but a brand spanking new one!”

    Yes, although the word translated as create in Revelations means to create something new using existing materials. So the current earth will be “reborn” somehow. It does mention a renovation by fire. We are left to speculate on the details though there’s a whole chapter that includes a lot of what can be gleaned from scripture in that book by Hugh Ross I already mentioned.

    And generally, my thoughts and scripture references come from Hugh Ross and Reasons To Believe out of California. They’re online at reasons.org. It’s a great resource and they’re great people. I really do believe they are on the right track to aligning scripture and science back together.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope I’ve answered your questions.

  8. The God given responsibility to replenish what we take from the Earth is very clear right out of Genesis. The Earth is the garden to which Eden was the microcosm of what we should take good care.

    The sinfulness that is causing the environmental problems we are having is related directly to our failure to obey the command to restore and replenish. We fail to obey because we want to get more and pay less. We want to cut down trees much more than what we want to plant in return. As a result there are now less forests the world over than what is required to absorb the growing amount of moisture that is in the atmosphere.

    It is this growing quantity of moisture that speeds up the spins of hurricanes; that increases the volume of annual floodwaters and snowfalls; that create climate contrasts of droughts and floods, hot summers and harsh winters.

    The longer it takes for us to increase the areas of our forests, the sooner we will get to those doomsday scenarios that a lot of people are talking about. At present the forest areas are decreasing. We need to reverse the trend; and we should do so as fast as we can.

    The CO2 debate is distracting us from doing what is our basic responsibility: to take good care of God’s creation. The forests are the habitat of many living forms. If we fail in our stewardship of God’s creation, we have failed in our responsibility to take care of God’s other creatures on this planet whose presence are to help us do our work. Creation is a system; it is a life system that we are fouling up. Soon it will break down to a catastrophe if we do not get the forests all over the world restored.

    Forests clean up the air of dusts, CO2, and other gasses. It absorbs excessive moisture away from the atmosphere and deposits the collected waters into the aquifers that supply our drinking needs. The forests help us keep clean and healthy life systems.

    Each nation and their governments must set goals in terms of how much forests are to be restored. This is not a simple thing to do considering the growing world population. It is this inevitable growth in world population and the diminishing amount of forests that will become the scissors that will cut the sustainability of this planet. By the way, when I say forests I include marine forests, swamp forests, dipterocarp forests, and mossy forests. These different kinds of forests function to make the Earth sustainable and livable.

    Let us confess our sins, and go back to doing what we have been commanded by God to do, right from the very beginning. This is urgent!

    God help us to get our senses back to our Edenic responsibility: to take care of God’s garden.

  9. Gabriel: I read your posts, still do not agree, but i fear we could spend all day on this ;) And night! I am encouraged though by this
    “I really do believe they are on the right track to aligning scripture and science back together.
    Thanks for sharing. I hope I’ve answered your questions.”
    I believe that you truly are seeking the truth, as am I :) So though we differ, and truth remains stationary, whichever one of us that is wrong, I hope will sort it out! :D

    Something that concerned me very much was the Big bang, and it being scriptural, unless you speak of the “Big bang” as, God said let there be light..and BANG! Then that is really taking a cultural idea that is pretty shaky and putting it with the Bible.

    A word of caution, far to often in these things people will say, “No the Bible teaches my way you can’t get around it” or those kinda phrases, obviously we both looked at the scriptures, but we both got a different take away because of our word view. So, I ask that instead of using such phrases you would say something perhaps a little less of a door slamming in my face ;)

    All in all, interesting discussion.

    Aye we are called to take care of his creation!
    ~Millard

    Start with the Bible, and real science will always line up with it

  10. Good discussion for the most part, all. Daniel, I’m not surprised you disagree because as we’ve established in the past, you look at any apparent contradiction between the Bible and science and assume science is right whereas I look at such and assume the Bible is right.

    I find it unconvincing to take verses from the Psalms to prove something you believe about science because poetry by its nature uses figurative language.

    Genesis 5:29 clearly states that God cursed the earth, as He said He would in Genesis 3. (“This one [Noah] will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.”) And Romans 8 repeats that point.

    In addition, God makes it clear that the death He condemned Man to was physical:

    Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;

    By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.
    – Gen 3:18-19 (emphasis mine)

    As to Adam not dying immediately, that’s a fallacious argument. God never said he would die instantaneously. He just said he would die. When he did, it seems clear, that was a direct result of his sin, as was him getting kicked out of the Garden and having to work by the sweat of his brow.

    I don’t think the genealogy in Genesis 5 reads like it does by accident. None of the others in the Bible declare that the individual in the ancestral line died, but scan vv. 5-31. And note also the length of these people’s lives. Only a radical change in the environment could explain this.

    So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

    Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh.

    Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.

    Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan.

    Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.

    Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel.

    Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.

    Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared.

    Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.

    Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch.

    Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.

    Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.

    Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.
    Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

    Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech.

    Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

    Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son.

    Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.

    Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters.

    So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died. (emphasis mine)

    Becky

  11. Someone commented that “The notion that somehow physical death entered the world as a response to Adam and Eve’s sin just doesn’t work – and here is clearly violates the record of the bible. The dinosaurs lived before the garden of Eden. They went extinct and became the oil that powers our civilization. Therefore, I believe God purposefully created them and then made them extinct to benefit humanity…”

    Though I know many Christians have been led astray by macro evolution I implore the commenter to consider this question: Should we interpret the Bible based on science? Or, should we interpret it based on other Scripture?
    According to Hugh Ross, God used evolutionary processes to create. But that is not backed by a simple examination of the seven days of Creation. Interpret the seven days of creation by Exodus 20:9-11 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God…For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
    This was spoken direct from the mouth of God. He uses the days of creation as an example for them. I find it disturbing that some people will presume to know more about the original meaning of the text than those who wrote it.
    But on top of this, consider that dinosaurs co-existed with man. There is fossil evidence in the limestone where human footprints impose over the dinosaur prints. And there is ample manuscript and archeological evidence that dinosaurs (or, as the word formerly was used, dragons) were used for various tasks by man (note: china, myans,etc.)

    Let’s interpret science by the Bible, not the other way around. If new ‘science’ seems to question the original text, then reconsider the science. Science is always changing based on new discoveries. It is always going to change… The Bible has not.

    A good website for young earth evidence is http://www.answersInGenesis.com

  12. Agree one hundred percent Mr. Appleton.

  13. I agree with Millard, Scott. Your Exodus reference is very strong. It seems clear that God intended Man to see the creation process as a six-day event. Yes, Scripture does also say that to God a day is like a thousand years, but in Exodus He is making a statement about a day, not an era.

    You also hit upon the difference Daniel and I have discussed before in the ways which he and I view Scripture/science. As I see it, the Bible is authoritative. It doesn’t always address subjects in disciplines other than theology, but when it does, it is to be believed because it is God’s writing, His revelation, and He didn’t make a mistake in what He’s told us.

    We make a mistake, at times, forcing an understanding of scientific or historical matters the Bible never intended to address. But that doesn’t mean the Bible is at fault. (A typical criticism is when Scripture mentions the “rising of the sun.” In actuality science shows the earth rotates rather than the sun rising. Some point to this as biblical error. But these passages were not intended to speak scientifically, any more than our newspaper reports are that indicate the times the sun will rise and set).

    On the other hand, science is constantly updating and correcting. It can speak authoritatively within the parameters of the finite world it can explore, but there is so much beyond the capacity of science to know, whereas there is nothing beyond God’s capacity to know. It seems eminently wiser to me to look to the Bible as the sure authority rather than to the shifting sand of science.

    I actually don’t think there’s a clash between the two. Rather, if scientists would be willing to say from time to time, We can’t know, I think there would be less apparent contradiction. Instead, scientists make dogmatic statements (the use of fossil fuels is causing global warming … uh, make that, climate change) that cannot be proved, but they act as if they have the scientific method to back them up.

    What they have is observation, and a large number of them add the presupposition that there is no God, no special revelation that speaks with authority. So observation and the conclusions from it trump all.

    Sorry, but they don’t trump God.

    He is not silent and He is not wrong. Consequently, when He speaks in His Word, I’ll accept every time what He says over what man observes.

    Becky

  14. Re: Rebecca #10

    I treat scripture and science as equals as I’ve explained more than once. Since they are both revelations from God in my understanding, how can I elevate either one over the other? Where the science speaks and scripture is silent, I listen to the science. Where scripture speaks, I listen to it. I think you react to any scenario that is not “scripture first” as a threat to Christianity but that’s just not the case here. I am not demoting scripture or undercutting Christianity. Quite the opposite, I’m marrying the concept to an additional firm foundation in science. Please don’t misinterpret my words through this apparent bias that you have that one or the other must win out. Scripture and science, when properly understood, will and by necessity must be in total agreement.

    Tell me where it says that the Psalms must only be understood as figurative language? It is my understanding that all scripture is useful for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction, and training in righteousness. I’m sorry, but it sounds like you are limiting the ability or purpose of God to write something important using poetry. But it if does not convince you then that is your choice. I did not come to my own beliefs about this easily or quickly. It took some 10 years or more for me to fully embrace the worldview I am sharing here. The evidence continues to mount that scripture first described what science uncovers.

    “In addition, God makes it clear that the death He condemned Man to was physical:”

    I’m actually surprised at this. You are normally well-informed on historically-held doctrine. I’m surprised you take this interpretation. This scripture does not convince me that there was a cause and effect relationship between original sin and physical death. Maybe it’s the english wording, but the physical death part seems included for emphasis as yhe eventual end to the additional physical suffering Adam and Eve would endure. It’s like God saying thus is what your future holds because you disobeyed NOT this is your condemnation because you disobeyed.

    “Only a radical change in the environment could explain this.”

    Sorry, no. Mine does too and I’m sure there are others.

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this. Thanks for letting me respond.

  15. Daniel, whenever we get in these discussions, we end up in this place: we must agree to disagree. We come at the topic from different starting places, so it’s no wonder we don’t end up in the same place.

    You explained you position by saying I treat scripture and science as equals as I’ve explained more than once.

    While I agree that what God created reveals Him, my point of disagreement is that the world is no longer as God made it. Man’s sin altered the world. This I know from Scripture. You choose to interpret the verses that state this fact through the lens of “equality,” but when there is an apparent contradiction, Daniel, the two “equal” revelations can’t both be right.

    You say, those who read the verses I quoted from Genesis 3 are not reading them right. I say, those looking at science aren’t reading it right.

    You say I think you react to any scenario that is not “scripture first” as a threat to Christianity but that’s just not the case here. I am not demoting scripture or undercutting Christianity. I don’t feel science is a threat. Someone believing something wrong doesn’t threaten what is true. However, I do believe a wrong view of creation can open the door to false teaching.

    You say Quite the opposite, I’m marrying the concept to an additional firm foundation in science. But I’ll point out again, we’re not really talking about science but about observation, and conclusions people come to based on those observations, many made by people who don’t believe God exists. True science is repeatable and can be tested in isolation to other possible causes. So much of what passes today as science simply is not true science.

    And the Bible, written by an omniscient God, doesn’t need any additional firm foundation. I absolutely believe that nature points to God. Scripture confirms this. But today we have people whose eyes are blind. They don’t see God’s hand behind drought or earthquakes or tornadoes, no matter what the Bible says.

    So who’s marrying observation of nature and the Bible? Not someone who explains away the consequence for sin God gave to Adam and Eve, including the indication they would die—the very thing He told them would happen and the very thing Satan said wouldn’t happen. This was at the crux of their disobedience. Satan called God a liar—”You surely shall not die!” (Gen. 3:4) One of the reasons God gave for kicking them out of the garden was so that they would not eat of the Tree of Life and live.

    Do I know that animals didn’t die prior to this event? I don’t. Scripture doesn’t mention anything about their life span prior to the fall. Could there have been evolution of all but Man? I’m sure a case can be made for this, but the Bible is so specific about Man’s creation, it would require some academic gymnastics to maintain what the Bible says and still think Man is a product of evolution.

    I also want to clarify my views about the Psalms. You said I’m sorry, but it sounds like you are limiting the ability or purpose of God to write something important using poetry. Not at all, Daniel. I absolutely believe God inspired the poetry the psalmists wrote, and it is given for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. It wasn’t given to be a science textbook, however. I’m not limiting it. If you believe the psalms are to be understood in a scientifically literal way, then how do you explain the passages about the rising sun?

    “Only a radical change in the environment could explain this.”

    Sorry, no. Mine does too and I’m sure there are others. Your ideas about evolution explain how people lived nearly 1000 years before the flood, but today mostly live short of 100? Sorry, I must have missed when you explained this.

    Becky

  16. Re: Millard #9

    “Something that concerned me very much was the Big bang, and it being scriptural, unless you speak of the “Big bang” as, God said let there be light..and BANG! Then that is really taking a cultural idea that is pretty shaky and putting it with the Bible.”

    I believe that the Big Bang that science speaks of corresponds to Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In Hebrew this is a compound noun which refers to the totality of the universe.

    One more thing though, the Big Bang is not merely a cultural idea. It’s firmly grounded in science. There have been many different models over the years that compete over the specifics though one by one they get discounted until only the correct one remains. It’s a bit live Pavlov’s dogs – closer and closer approximations to the truth until you have the correct answer. Though science is almost never finished. LOL! There are always new questions.

    “A word of caution, far to often in these things people will say, “No the Bible teaches my way you can’t get around it” or those kinda phrases, obviously we both looked at the scriptures, but we both got a different take away because of our word view. So, I ask that instead of using such phrases you would say something perhaps a little less of a door slamming in my face.”

    Correct. It’s all about our worldview. But I meant no insult. If you took anything I said as such then I apologize. I am not here to make enemies. I feel so strongly about this that it can come across too strongly.

  17. Re: Becky and everyone

    Yet again Becky we are actually in agreement. We come from different perspectives, but we are more in agreement than you realize.

    “While I agree that what God created reveals Him, my point of disagreement is that the world is no longer as God made it. Man’s sin altered the world. This I know from Scripture. You choose to interpret the verses that state this fact through the lens of “equality,” but when there is an apparent contradiction, Daniel, the two “equal” revelations can’t both be right.”

    Ahhh! That actually helps me understand your viewpoint. The two concepts require each other in your worldview. To give up the notion of physical death, etc. is to throw these other beliefs into question. I can relate…

    Becky, I’ve been there. It took me at least 10 years to come to my worldview. I was afraid to let go of what worked for me – parts of it kept me sane in college – but ultimately I found problems with it. It wasn’t a logically consistent foundation for example. So when I now speak of scripture and science (yes, I mean their interpretations and observations too on the part of science) as both being revelations by God and therefore cannot be in conflict, that is a very clear logical position. Consider the negative of the argument: if either are ever found to be in conflict, provably irreconcilable, then God too is proven a liar, He’s not all-powerful, or Christianity is a false religion. Any which way it goes, God would cease to be God. Therefore, since I have faith that God is who He claims to be in scripture then this will *never* happen.

    It is ironic and yet so fitting that my own faith is now founded on the very personality of God and His unchanging qualities! I know of no one else who can or will make such a claim. And now you see why I can no longer change my worldview: To do so would unravel my entire faith. Having thus integrated my worldview I can no longer separate the two.

    But this is not a position of weakness! I’ve never felt stronger in my faith in my life. What I’m offering is nothing less than the holy grail of theology – an integrated worldview where Christianity and science are no longer enemies. In a world that is increasingly advancing in technology and all things “science” my faith is assured. I no longer have to worry about the next scientific breakthrough invalidating my faith. Such problems have already been decided. My faith will stand any scientific test or observation. I have experienced it happen over and over. Can yours do that? Do you cower when you learn something that disagrees with your worldview? Or bury your head in the sand like an ostrich? This blog is called, “A Christian Worldview of Fiction” yet taken literally “Fiction” means “not true”. So is this the blog of people who’s worldview is made of untruth or of truth?

    Yet you will not believe me. I feel like Jeremiah. And you won’t even consider its merits because you’re afraid of what you might have to give up.

    And you’d be exactly right.

    I went through a very dark place in college. I was in a pit. The walls were too tall to climb out of. My belief system had shattered because it was built on sand – just like I know yours to be. But God was there with me in the pit. I felt His presence but He did not speak to me. So I spoke to Him. I poured out my soul and told Him that He was all I had left. After I spoke He left and I began to feel better. It took time to gain my strength back. I honestly don’t remember those days very well because I asked God to dull them from my memory. But I know that I was stripped of my faulty belief system. And it was painful and difficult and long.

    But here I am before you now over ten years later. Everything that was stripped away God gave back just in a slightly different form. I was shy as a child yet I now speak with such boldness that your readers routinely believe I am rude. (LOL! – not at them, at the notion, which I find ridiculous.) My belief system is whole and better than ever. My faith is strong, the words of the bible are true, and I no longer have to cower when something threatens my worldview. God is bigger than any challenge.

    And so I come to the end of my soapbox. I apologize if I spoke too boldly yet this is something I want to shout from the rafters. It most certainly was not an easy journey giving up my faulty interpretations of scripture, but the end result was wonderful. For me, there was a glorious mountain on the other side of the valley of the shadow of death. At least you know what will happen should you choose this same journey. No one was there to warn me about the trials or that it would take far longer than I expected. You have that benefit. You also know where to find help in Reasons to Believe. Maybe I have convinced some of you that this is at least worth looking into. Scripture does say to test everything and hold to what is good.

    Oh, this has nothing to do with evolution, by the way. Anyone who thinks it does doesn’t understand. God purposefully and deliberately arranged for the entire universe to exist for our benefit. He specially created every creature and lifeform that ever lived on the planet. Every atom and molecule was preordained by Him to be and do whereever and whatever so that we would have a nice place to live, know Him, and choose Him. I couldn’t have said that before but I can now.

    And I’ll leave it there. You may all shake your head at the audacity of my words – I do not care – for this will be my final comment. Getting into these discussions (one could say arguments) takes a lot out of me and a lot of my time. I also did not come to make enemies – far from it. Thus I think I can better use it in other pursuits like working on my WIP.

    Blessings to all even if we disagree – especially if we disagree. In heaven God will answer all of our questions. I’m sure I don’t have everything figured out so I’m looking forward to it. And remember that none of this discussion is a prerequisite for salvation. We’re all just Christians trying to figure out some details about God. I have enjoyed my time here and I hope you all have too.

  18. Daniel, thanks for giving me the last word. I do want to clarify some of your misconceptions about me.

    1. I do not believe there is a disparity between belief in God and a true understanding of nature. As you so passionately state, God created nature, so it will reflect Him, not contradict Him. Scripture affirms this. I thought I’d said as much frequently. Since you don’t seem to think this is my position, obviously I haven’t been clear.

    My contention, however, is that fallible man interprets what he observes, and sometimes those interpretations and even those observations are wrong. You yourself have made this point for me as you indicate there might be “new revelations” around the corner.

    2. I also value logic, though apparently you believe otherwise.

    You said: Consider the negative of the argument: if either are ever found to be in conflict, provably irreconcilable, then God too is proven a liar, He’s not all-powerful, or Christianity is a false religion. Any which way it goes, God would cease to be God.

    This is precisely so. But the truth is, some scientists say they have in fact proven that the Bible and science clash. You answer this by changing your interpretation of the Bible, in essence making faulty human observation the standard by which you view inerrant Scripture.

    How is that logical?

    3. Apparently you think my beliefs are built like a house of cards, with one key position holding up the others. In a way it’s true that I have one key position, but it has nothing to do with death. The key to my worldview is who I believe God to be.

    You said: That actually helps me understand your viewpoint. The two concepts require each other in your worldview. To give up the notion of physical death, etc. is to throw these other beliefs into question.

    This statement proves my point. Scripture that I’ve quoted and many others make it clear that sin ushered death into Man’s experience. This is not my “notion.” This is an example of me taking the Bible at its word and believing it over man’s conclusions based on his own observations.

    I think it is faulty logic to believe man’s suppositions as the standard by which to interpret God’s revelations. How much better to take the infallible as the means by which to understand all else.

    Scripture validates the fact that we now know in part only. God alone is omniscient. Why not trust His Word, take it at face value?

    But I’ll admit, I don’t know what “other beliefs” you’re referring to.

    My position on creation is this. No one knows precisely how the world came into being. We know God created it. He explained the process as occurring in six segments He referred to as days. Some people believe they are literal days, others believe they are representative of eras or ages.

    I say, we can’t know for sure because we weren’t there. And no, looking back through a telescope doesn’t put us there, either, Daniel, no matter how much you might argue that we can know something from such observation.

    You said to Millard: the Big Bang is not merely a cultural idea. It’s firmly grounded in science. There have been many different models over the years that compete over the specifics though one by one they get discounted until only the correct one remains.

    Again this proves my point. You think there’s only one model left, but no one has disproved that God spoke the world into being in six days. You’ve simply thrown that out as untenable. But if you actually believe in an omnipotent God, nothing could be too great for Him. He can create a completed mountain, with fossils and aging if He so chooses to do so.

    You say, no He can’t because He wouldn’t “fool us like that” (my paraphrase of your position from an earlier discussion). But He didn’t fool anyone if He said, I did this in six days, and you choose not to believe Him.

    4. Not only do I value logic, I believe my position is completely logical but also grounded on eternal truth.

    You said: So when I now speak of scripture and science (yes, I mean their interpretations and observations too on the part of science) as both being revelations by God and therefore cannot be in conflict, that is a very clear logical position.

    So essentially, you’re saying God reveals Himself through Man’s observations and interpretations of science in the same way that He has revealed Himself through Scripture.

    The fact is, you have not made the observations you cling to and the interpretations are not yours. You are trusting in the observations and interpretations of others, many who are not guided by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, you CAN read God’s Word and experience first hand His specific revelation. In addition, His Spirit promise to guide you into all truth from there.

    I find it suspect, Daniel, that you continue to point to a book or a Web site as having the answers rather than pointing to the Bible which you say is God’s revelation. If you do believe it is, then I trust you are spending as much time searching Scripture as you are searching the Web.

    5. Though you think otherwise, Daniel, I am in no way afraid of science.

    You said: My faith will stand any scientific test or observation. I have experienced it happen over and over. Can yours do that? Do you cower when you learn something that disagrees with your worldview? Or bury your head in the sand like an ostrich? This blog is called, “A Christian Worldview of Fiction” yet taken literally “Fiction” means “not true”. So is this the blog of people who’s worldview is made of untruth or of truth?

    I in no way cower when “new revelations” come up. I have worked through my worldview for far longer than you have, Daniel, though perhaps my travail has been spread over time and not experienced in one “dark night of the soul” as you describe yours.

    I’ll accept your apology here for your “audacity.” It is audacious that you would presume to know I would “be afraid of what [I] might have to give up.”

    I’m sorry that your faith is on such shifting sand that it would unravel if you changed your worldview, though I suppose we’re all there in a way.

    My worldview is that God is sovereign over His universe, including the affairs of men, and that He has chosen to reveal Himself to us, first through what He created but also through His Son and His inspired Word, understood as the Holy Spirit teaches us truth.

    There isn’t a single scientific discovery that can undermine these positions. What I believe stands on the authority of God’s Word. How can science disprove God’s sovereignty or His revelation? These are things spiritually discerned. Science doesn’t speak to them. It is limited and it is fallible.

    6. I’ll take issue with your ideas about fiction, too, though I don’t think you really believe what you said. Fiction does not literally mean “not true.” If you check a reliable dictionary, you find it refers to a type of literature with imaginary characters and events. That does not mean it is “untrue.” In fact, what I proclaim is that Christian fiction, especially fantasy, has the means to tell the truth in the most authentic and engaging way.

    So to answer your question, this blog is intended to discuss truth. I’m sorry you apparently don’t believe it does.

    I know we are agreeing to disagree, Daniel. I hope I haven’t stated my beliefs in a disagreeable way.

    Becky


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