Is God Cruel, Deceptive, or Incompetent?

In case you missed it, Randy C left a comment today to the January 30 post, Creation Is the Crux. In it he said

I’ve always felt that creationism is actually an anti-God belief system. It requires a God that is cruel, deceptive and not very competent.

He ended by saying that creationists don’t actually love God, they just love the Bible.

This was an interesting position, one I’ve never heard before. What I found curious, though, is that our friend Randy dismissed the Fall as the cause for the ills he ascribed to God—death and violence, the extinction of a huge portion of the identified species, and evidence pointing away from the truth.

In many ways, ignoring the Fall and it’s effects on the world is like saying you want to find out who the person is writing this blog, but the picture and bio in the sidebar aren’t valid, so you need to use your own method of discovering who this author is.

The point is, the Bible tells us the Fall, in fact, did change the world. It also tells us that the resulting sin caused God to bring judgment, a cataclysmic flood that changed our planet in untold ways. Not to mention that the most reasonable explanation of the flood seems to be the release of waters in our atmosphere and under the earth’s core that would have altered the climate and the seismic activity in radical ways that evolutionists don’t, and probably can’t, take into consideration.

The easiest answer is to dismiss these events as fable. No Fall, flood, no explanation of the things we see except the theories Man comes up with. Why? Why would we discount such evidence?

The answer certainly isn’t scientific. The evidence is ignored because it stems from a source these particular scientists disbelieve—divine revelation. Another fact so often ignored is that an increasingly vocal group of scientists believe in the Biblical records and include them in their view of the other evidence.

With this approach, all of nature clearly supports the existence of a designer, a Creator, a transcendent, self-existent, all powerful Person who, for some incomprehensible reason, loves the very people who spit in His face.

How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
– Jesus (Matt. 23:37

No, God isn’t cruel, deceptive, or incompetent. The world He created was perfect. The environment, the communion between God and Man, the relationship between the people. Death did not exist.

Rather than looking at the world and thinking that God is cruel, deceptive or incompetent, I look at the Fall and realize how ugly and all pervading and horrific sin is. How it wreaked havoc on creation. How it introduced death. And doubt.

Creationists love the God of the Bible because He shows Himself to be kind, true, immensely capable, and the world is evidence of His character. The ugly stuff? Evidence of ours.

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm  Comments (33)  
Tags: , ,

33 Comments

  1. I’ve actually heard the ‘deceptive creationism’ argument, to some extent.

    Cruel because God created nature in a way that is “Red in tooth and claw” as Tennyson put it. That can’t be a result of the Fall of Man because man couldn’t have made nature cruel. Only God could have done that. Effectively creationists believe that God kicked man out of the Garden and then effectively kicked the dogs, cats and other animals in the ribs as they left.

    A bit melodramatic, but Scripture does claim that the entire earth is under a curse and groans in anticipation of the last days, when the universe itself will be remade.

    Deceptive because God left a mountain of evidence making it look like evolution has taken place. If it hasn’t taken place, why is that evidence all around us?

    This is the part I’m familiar with. I guess I just don’t see any deception in thinking “Gee, maybe I’ll just start with it already mature rather than waiting five billion years so I can add people.” I dunno. To me that doesn’t really make sense.

    Not very competent because at least 99.9% of all species that ever lived on Earth are now extinct. Yet there are not massive, empty ecologican niches. So apparently God “over designed” nature by a factor of 1000! Engineers occasionally add two or even three times redundancy. Any engineer that would add 1000-times redundancy is not a competent engineer. (That’s just one of a huge number of ways in which God is necessarily not competent if creationism is true.)

    Is this sort of like the “If there are no aliens, why the wasted space?” argument? I mean, come on. If you can make something that big, why not? Two, has anyone ever actually counted the number of species from day one to the present? I think it’s safer to say those died naturally, or through some natural disaster than it is to assume we have documentation of every animal on the planet.

    The bottom line: if you really LOVE God, don’t be a creationist.

    No offense intended, but I think this is a severe stretch. You want to be a theistic evolutionist, or traditional evolutionist, or whichever (I’m not sure which you are), so be it, but I think your conclusion is a bit stretched there.

    Though I will grant you some people favor their preferred interpretation and actually worship their Bible as an idol rather than the Living God. I just don’t know that you have to be a 7-day creationist for that to happen.

    This was an interesting position, one I’ve never heard before. What I found curious, though, is that our friend Randy dismissed the Fall as the cause for the ills he ascribed to God—death and violence, the extinction of a huge portion of the identified species, and evidence pointing away from the truth.

    Actually, I think it’s more a fatalistic idea: We cannot control anything, and since God is ultimately responsible for everything, all natural disasters, disease, etc, he is ultimately responsible for. This disregards human will and humanity’s responsibilities as the rightful rulers of the world.

    The answer certainly isn’t scientific.

    Scientific methodology can only ask questions; it can’t actually deliver answers. The problem is that the circumstances surrounding what makes the earth what it is are largely historical, not scientific. This is why science can’t figure it out, and, history, at best, can speculate.

    Okay, I was gonna say more, but dinner’s ready.

    Like

  2. “Rather than looking at the world and thinking that God is cruel, deceptive or incompetent, I look at the Fall and realize how ugly and all pervading and horrific sin is. How it wreaked havoc on creation. How it introduced death. And doubt.”

    Amen

    Like

  3. I can’t let a comment like that slip by.

    That said, I have to disagree slightly with you Rebecca. (Can I call you that?) It sounds like you are mixing young-earth views on the flood with old-earth creationists views. Young-earth views think that there was no physical death prior to the fall. That simply doesn’t work for an old-earth view.

    The best old-earth view I’ve heard is from Origins of Life by Hugh Ross and Fuz Rana. In the book and their various talks they argue that God actually turns his back on lifeforms He created when they have fulfilled their usefulness to Him. In essence, God spent 2 billion years taking the earth from “formless and void” using bacteria and then progressively more advanced and larger creatures until ultimately it was suitable for mankind. God wanted man to achieve a highly technological civilization quickly for a rapid conquest of evil. Everything about this planet and the timing of our existence on it and it’s location in the universe all maximize our opportunities for growth and advancement.

    We would not, for example, have fossil fuels if there weren’t many animals who died in the past. Likewise we wouldn’t have oxygen to breath if many bacteria in the past hadn’t produced it. And when those bacteria had accomplished their purpose, God literally turned His face from them, turned His back to them, and they went extinct. There is a Psalm that talks about this and both Hugh Ross and Fuzz Rana use it to interpret how the planet got here in the form it’s in. It’s an interesting argument, but not one for the weak stomached. You have to set aside many of the things you’ve likely been taught in church to fully see and objectively compare the different possibilities. I, for one, see this as the best explanation for why we have fossils, dinosaurs, and evidence of ancient life on earth going back billions of years. It was all part of the master plan of a loving God who wanted his highest creation to have a nice place to live.

    Did he allow death in His creation before the fall, I think so, yes. Death is part of life. There’s nothing inherently evil in death, especially for a Christian. For the non-Christian, however, it’s scary. I think that’s what came through in the original post. Death is not to be feared but overcome through faith in Jesus.

    So, getting back to the problem of death in the two views, I believe the death spoken of in Genesis was a spiritual death. Adam certainly didn’t die on the spot, so this is the only real explanation. I think Adam and Eve’s sin affected creation, yes, but not so revolutionary as to make the animals hunt, kill, and eat one another as if they had never done so. Sin affected them more subtly than that, but it did have an effect.

    Like

  4. Wow! Great post! I never cease to be amazed that man always wants to deny their sin as the reason for the Fall. I love what you said,

    “Rather than looking at the world and thinking that God is cruel, deceptive or incompetent, I look at the Fall and realize how ugly and all pervading and horrific sin is. How it wreaked havoc on creation. How it introduced death. And doubt.

    Creationists love the God of the Bible because He shows Himself to be kind, true, immensely capable, and the world is evidence of His character. The ugly stuff? Evidence of ours.”

    A-men!!

    Like

  5. Death is not part of life. It is the opposite of life. We have always been eternal beings, never supposed to physically or spiritually die. For all the studying and creative opinions about sin, it is responsible for the curse, for physical and spiritual death, and for a once perfect existence instantly corrupted by a single act of disobedience spread to all of creation.
    Secular humanism infiltrates all areas of study and seeps into the church through careful and insidious presentation worthy of the serpent’s efforts in the Garden.

    Like

  6. Kaci, what an excellent job answering Randy’s comment point by point. Thanks.

    You’re right, Nicole, and I’d meant to emphasize the fact that death is not a part of life, but forgot. I’m glad you caught it and brought it to our attention.

    Kim, I don’t know if you remember or not, but a few weeks ago I wrote a post about sin being the central dividing issue today rather than creation. Obviously creation still divides, but sin more so, it would seem.

    Daniel, you can call me Rebecca but my friends call me Becky, so take your pick. I don’t know if I’m mixing young earth and old or not. It’s been a long time since I studied these topics formally. All I can say is, I see a number possible ways that God might have created, all consistent with the observable data science has uncovered, and none of them dependent upon evolution. I think it would be presumptuous of me to declare which, of the many possibilities, God used. Could He not have created in a way that defies Mankind’s understanding, which is why He didn’t explain it to us to begin with?

    Jessica, you mentioned in one of your posts, and again in your blog that you didn’t think God would mislead us by giving the false impression that there were dinosaurs when there weren’t. I didn’t really know what to do with that. The thing is, God told us He created the world. Said, Let there be light, and there was. If that is our starting point, it seems to me, when we observe the universe, we wouldn’t have the thorny questions. We wouldn’t have to come up with a theory to explain things because there is truth already available.

    I think too many people have started their scientific discoveries with this idea: There has to be an explanation for the universe since we know God didn’t create it, so what might that be? In other words, the discussion of dinosaurs could be completely different, if we said that all we see must square with what God has already revealed in His Word. From the get-go anthropologists could be aware that they are uncovering something that might or might not reflect the earth’s literal history. No one needs to feel deceived, no more so that we who look at pictures of airbrushed models need to feel deceived. 😮 OK, bad example. We probably should feel deceived. 😉

    Becky

    Like

  7. Re: Nicole and Becky

    P “Death did not exist.”
    #5 “Death is not part of life”

    I agree with this part of Nicole’s comment: “We have always been eternal beings, never supposed to physically or spiritually die. For all the studying and creative opinions about sin, it is responsible for the curse, for physical and spiritual death, and for a once perfect existence instantly corrupted by a single act of disobedience spread to all of creation.”

    Isn’t there a cycle of life? Did God not institute at least human death as a grace to prevent us from being stuck in our sins back in the garden of eden? I fail to understand how you can say that death is not part of life. Why even Jesus spoke of real living as dying to oneself.

    Now, let me be clear I did not always believe as I do now. I used to think as both of you that all death started then in the garden, but that argument just falls apart upon closer scrutiny. I do believe human death started at the fall. Spiritually, Adam and Eve died on the spot. Physically, it took a while. However, I think animals physically died before, during, and after the fall. Here’s my argument:

    (1) Death is not a “bad” thing or a “necessary evil” since God instituted it.
    (2) Everything God created as described in Genesis 1 was good and perfect.
    (3) Therefore, God had to have created a sustainable ecosystem back in the garden of eden.

    A sustainable ecosystem requires a cycle of life which includes animal death. It does not necessarily include carnivorous activity, but it must include animal death. For example: Carbon Dioxide must be converted into Oxygen or the animals would suffocate. This requires photosynthesis to occur which uses up energy in the process. The energy comes from the sun (which uses up its own fuel in the process), but also requires the absorption of minerals and water from the earth and air. All of these things illustrate the second law of thermodynamics at work, which is the law of death and decay. All of these things are standard biological and environmental processes that must go on to maintain an ecosystem. Plants had to die to enrich the soil for the next generation of plants to use the nutrients in the soil to grow and produce oxygen. Animals had to be born, grow, and die eating at least the plants to produce the dinosaur bones and oil we find buried in the earth, etc, etc.

    There just is no way that animal death wasn’t already happening at the time of the garden of eden. God doesn’t normally violate His own laws governing the universe except under very specific conditions. Granted, this is a loophole and technically He could have done it this way, but this seems at odds with His character. See below.

    Let me emphasize one final thing: We’re not going back to the garden of eden. That part of human history is over and will not be repeated. God has something different and better for us in the future. What that might be like I couldn’t say. Scripture says that we lack the words even to describe it.

    Anyway, just think about it.

    #6 “Could He not have created in a way that defies Mankind’s understanding, which is why He didn’t explain it to us to begin with?”

    Yes, but that wouldn’t fit His personality or at least my perception of it. It’s kind of like a character doing something out of character in a book. God made us in His image. I think a big part of that is our curiosity, creativity, and propensity for understanding. I think He wants us to explore the world he made for us, to bend it to our will, and ultimately to understand it if we can’t outright harness its power.

    In my experience God rarely does things for only one reason at a time. I think God delights in killing multiple birds with the same stone. Understanding how He did it is just one of many reasons for me. Now, I won’t claim to know how He did it at a 100% rate of certainty, but I think a scientific understanding of creation can offer us an increasing level of trust that we do know how He did it over time.

    Like

  8. Daniel, I think the problem comes because people look at the way things are and reason backwards. So now we describe death as a part of the cycle of life because that’s all we’ve ever known. Now we assume plants must die to make the ecosystem work because that’s what happens today.

    But here’s where I think we need to measure our knowledge of the world with Scripture. What does the Bible say about death? “The wages of sin is death.”

    In addition, if we take the Bible at face value and learn that people before the flood lived nearly a thousand years, then clearly something was different in the earth’s environment from what it is now, or even after the flood.

    I know Jessica, I think it was, said she wasn’t sure she believed in a whole-earth flood. For some time, when I started thinking about how impossible that seemed, I began to wonder if the flood wasn’t in fact a localized event. But then I heard others supposing that the waters God separated below and above the expanse (Genesis 1:7) were released, causing the flood.

    No one has given a credible idea of what waters those would be. I think it’s possible it was a layer in our atmosphere that protected life.

    Maybe so, maybe not. The point is, God can do the impossible. That should be our first guiding principle. Then when the science we observe seems to clash with the truth we know, we look for other explanations in the “impossible.”

    Becky

    Like

  9. I keep forgetting to mention this, Daniel. Both you and Jessica disagreed with me that we cannot know the process of the earth’s origin, though we are in agreement that we can say God caused it to come into being. My concept of His ability to do the impossible opens up vast modes we haven’t conceived of.

    Maybe He gave each angel the task of putting together a solar system and He provided the raw material, then conceived of a way to hold it all together. Far fetched, yes, but just because something seems unlikely to me shouldn’t rule it out as a possibility.

    Did God sending His Son to die on a cross seem likely? After Jesus’s death and resurrection, I don’t think we should be surprised about anything God does (though I constantly am) or shut the door on ideas of how He worked in the past.

    Personally, I think God answered our curiosity about creation when He answered Job:

    “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth!
    Tell Me, if you have understanding.
    Who set its measurements, since you know?
    Or who stretched the line on it?
    On what were its bases sunk?
    Or who laid its cornerstone,
    When the morning stars sang together,
    And all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (excerpt from Job 38 )

    There’s more, but you get the point: we can’t know because we weren’t there.

    Becky

    Like

  10. Re: Becky

    I yield on the death argument and I cannot explain the long lifespans either. You’re also correct in that we can’t know for sure about certain things since we are not direct observers of those things. However, I think you have the following quote backwards.

    #9 “The point is, God can do the impossible. That should be our first guiding principle. Then when the science we observe seems to clash with the truth we know, we look for other explanations in the ‘impossible.’”

    I’m not discounting your sincerity, but one can be totally wrong and very sincere at the same time. Regardless, that person is still incorrect. Think back to the church before Galileo’s time that believed the Earth to be the center of the solar system. Humanity before Columbus and Magellan thought the Earth was flat too. Ancient Egyptians thought the sun was their god. People in these eras were sincere, but also wrong.

    I guess what I’m saying is there must be a foundation for the belief. I trust what the bible says too, but I believe God invented the laws of the universe that are studied in science as well. Thus, they are also a trustworthy avenue of inquiry. Only when an interpretation of scripture and empirical evidence from science are found to be in agreement can I be certain that I have found the right explanation. (Otherwise, look to an incorrect interpretation of the scripture or the scientific data.) God inspired both and He can’t contradict Himself. Thus, both will be in agreement when understood properly. There is a new testament verse that essentially says this, but I do not know it. I understand from Hugh Ross that this is a traditional church view on the subject going back many centuries. I believe it still holds true today even though much has changed.

    Again, thanks for sharing. I’ve enjoyed this conversation very much. I hope that you have as well.

    Like

  11. “Now, let me be clear I did not always believe as I do now. I used to think as both of you that all death started then in the garden, but that argument just falls apart upon closer scrutiny. I do believe human death started at the fall. Spiritually, Adam and Eve died on the spot. Physically, it took a while. However, I think animals physically died before, during, and after the fall. Here’s my argument:

    (1) Death is not a “bad” thing or a “necessary evil” since God instituted it.
    (2) Everything God created as described in Genesis 1 was good and perfect.
    (3) Therefore, God had to have created a sustainable ecosystem back in the garden of eden.”

    Ecosystem is a learned technology based on what? Evolutionary principles. God created PERFECTION. We have never known perfection. We have only known a flawed-by-sin existence. All parts of creation has been cursed by sin.

    To attempt to squeeze God into a system which justifies 21st century “advances” is ludicrous. He spoke our reality. It worked perfectly. There was no death. It was eternal and incorruptible. You can certainly entertain your 21st century information glut, but you can’t improve upon or attach man’s philosophies and principles to an existence that does not exist today because of sin.

    Death is a horrible thing for unbelievers. And just ask those who’ve watched loved ones die an excruciating death if death is not “a bad thing” or “a necessary evil”.

    And just a side note on the flood. It rained for 48 hours in my area this winter. Just 48 hours of exceptionally hard rain. Roads, cities, entire areas which had never flooded were under several feet of water. It was devastating. Forty days and forty nights of hard rain nonstop: no doubt would cover this entire planet.

    Like

  12. Nicole, you were probably writing your comment while Daniel was posting his.

    Daniel, in saying this I should have been clearer: The point is, God can do the impossible. That should be our first guiding principle. Then when the science we observe seems to clash with the truth we know, we look for other explanations in the ‘impossible.’ What we know is what Scripture says.

    People didn’t believe the earth was flat because of the Bible. They believed it to be flat because their powers of observations told them it was. They didn’t believe the earth was the center of the universe because the Bible said it was. They believed it because their powers of observation said the sun went around the earth.

    In other words, your examples prove my point. What is reliable is what we can know from Scripture. The problem comes when people claim we can know something from Scripture that Scripture never intended. Which brings us back to creation. I don’t think God was giving us His how-to manual in Genesis 1.

    Was this because the first audience of Genesis had no knowledge of the scientific things involved or because the 21st century audience no longer believes God can do the impossible? I don’t know. I don’t need to know. I can look at Scripture, and not just the first chapter, and know that the triune God created the world, and this is unequivocal.

    It is the unequivocal I was referring to in the line you quoted and I repeated in this comment, not the observable that very well might change tomorrow or five years from now, depending on what new thing we unearth.

    But some times the unequivocal requires belief in the impossible, the best example again being the resurrection.

    And yes, Daniel, I really enjoyed this discussion. I’m a fan of discussion. I especially appreciate it when all involved are respectful and knowledgeable, something I believe the visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction are consistently. Thanks for your part.

    Thanks for yours, too, Nicole. I was going to give the example of being at my mother’s side when she passed away, but didn’t think my experience would necessarily serve as proof. But as a case in point, here it is. My believing mother was not in pain, and I would describe her death as merciful. She didn’t have a long hospital stay, and until the last day we didn’t believe her illness was necessarily terminal. Still, when she died, I knew … knew at the heart level … that this was wrong. God had designed us to be with Him and commune with Him forever. This death thing we go through is an interruption and not what He intended.

    His intention is clear in Scripture through the purpose of Jesus’s coming—to give us life … abundant and everlasting life. And that will eventually include a perfect physical body such as Jesus has now, in a perfect new heaven and new earth. I know this as sure as I know my own name. It’s unequivocal, but it’s also part of the impossible.

    Becky

    Like

  13. Re: Nicole

    #11 “Ecosystem is a learned technology based on what? Evolutionary principles.”

    “Ecosystem” is a perfectly good word used to describe “a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment”. I think the creeping creatures, animals, fruit and flowering trees, etc. in the garden fit this definition. An ecosystem could have been called “zoecom” or “fluffybunny” and it would still have the same meaning. Would you prefer I used “nature” instead? It’s less specific, but it can have the same meaning. An ecosystem is our way on understanding what’s already going on in that place where the organisms live. It’s not a technology. It’s an understanding. Please don’t get caught up over semantics.

    Now, I don’t want this to turn into a debate about evolution. I completely reject evolution as an explanation for human origins. That said, evolution, when understood properly as merely the scientific principle of change over time, is something I do believe exists. Now, do not confuse the two! Since that last sentence is probably not clear enough, let me be even clearer. Evolution does not explain where humans came from. Only the bible can explain that. Evolution utterly fails to explain how even the simplest creature formed on its own without divine intervention. But as adaptation or “change over time” evolution is a good, usable model for scientific inquiry. This should not be misunderstood as one species converting into another like apes into humans or dogs into cats. That doesn’t work, there is no evidence for it, and I simply don’t believe it happens or ever happened. But creatures do exhibit small changes over time. As climate changes creatures adapt or migrate. This is what evolution means. Separate this from the human origins issue. They really are separate (but obviously related) issues that often stay confused by well-intentioned Christians.

    #11 “He spoke our reality. It worked perfectly. There was no death. It was eternal and incorruptible.”

    I’m sorry to disagree with your views. You have the right to them just as I have the right to my own. I do not believe that the garden of eden was eternal. Nothing in scripture supports this. It is believed by many without any scriptural or scientific support. The fact that Revelations talks about a new heaven and a new earth renovated by fire to replace the present heaven and earth suggests that God has something better planned. So, if the garden of eden really was the perfect, eternal, incorruptible place you describe why aren’t we headed back there? I will re-emphasize that since God is the author of both nature and the Bible, and God cannot contradict Himself, then the two records – the record of nature and the Word of God – will be in perfect harmony when properly understood by us fallible humans.

    When we get to heaven God can answer all of our questions. I’m sure he will have to correct both you and me on some issues since neither of us is perfect. So let us agree to disagree on this.

    “Death is a horrible thing for unbelievers. And just ask those who’ve watched loved ones die an excruciating death if death is not ‘a bad thing’ or ‘a necessary evil’.”

    I agree that death can be horrible – especially for unbelievers because they have no hope of salvation. I’ve already lost my father and more recently my last remaining grandmother. She probably would’ve drowned in her own fluid had her heart not given out. That would have been horrible, yes, but God allowed her to die relatively peacefully. And He allows us to die as a token of His love. He sent Adam and Eve out of the garden so that they would not partake of the tree of life and live forever in their sin. Death is an escape. From our perspective death is bad, yes, but imagine never dying yet being in sin which is alienation from God. That would be far, far worse wouldn’t it?

    “Forty days and forty nights of hard rain nonstop: no doubt would cover this entire planet.”

    No, it wouldn’t. There isn’t enough water.

    There is a fixed amount of water on the earth. The water in all the oceans, the seas, in the earth’s interior, and the atmosphere is not enough to cover all the land on Earth as it’s shaped today. Mount Everest is about 9 kilometers high and all the water on a relatively flat Earth would reach only about 3 kilometers.

    At the outside, the flood happened at most 200,000 years ago. Mount Everest and the rest of the geologic features of the planet – the mountains, continents, and islands – cannot grow or move fast enough to be that flat before the flood and be how they are now in just 200,000 years. Oh, it’s technically possible but the heat energy produced would have melted the planet! Since that obviously didn’t happen, then those mountains and things were there during the flood. The only conclusion is that the flood could not possibly have covered the entire planet.

    Furthermore, water’s chemical formula is H2O giving it a molecular weight of 1+1+8=10. Gravity holds this to the planet unlike other molecules like helium (4) and hydrogen (2) gas, which can escape earth’s gravity. So, there couldn’t have been more in the past that somehow evaporated and escaped. We can add over time but we can’t take away. Earth’s gravity prevents this.

    I do have an explanation though. The words and phrases interpreted as global in english probably meant more like our word world. So, what’s your world? Mine is my little corner of North Carolina where I live with my wife and daughter. My life revolves around them. They are my world. That same concept works here with the hebrew words and phrases. Practically speaking, at that time all the humans lived together. The purpose of the flood was to eradicate all the sinful humans and start over with Noah’s family. So, why would God need to destroy the whole planet if all the people were localized?

    Plus you have the evidence of the ark. It’s sure possible to put lions, tigers, bears, and all the other animals on the ark but they had to stay ther for how long? Over a year? How much food did they eat? Where was it stored? Did they grow their own somehow on the ark? It just doesn’t work. Noah and his family didn’t take african animals on board, they took the equivalent of farm animals. Chickens to lay eggs, goats to provide milk, etc. The rest of the ark – the majority – was storage for food and feed for the animals and Noah’s family of 8.

    Like

  14. Re: Becky

    I found that verse. You deferred to what scripture says so read this.

    “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” – Romans 1:20 (KJV)

    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20 (NIV)

    I think this verse clearly states that the natural world (what has been made) is a trustworthy source of truth. If it can convict of sin, then it’s a very powerful witness for God indeed. Thus, we can trust what we find in nature, in science, to tell us the truth about God. If it happens to conflict with scripture, I say look into the interpretation of the thing. Either the interpretation of scripture or the explanation of nature is faulty since both are done by fallible humans. It’s also possible that there isn’t enough information yet. Any of these things will give the appearance of an incompatibility when there really isn’t one.

    I liked your words about your mother. I agree with everything you said in those two paragraphs, but does what I’ve said earlier necessarily contradict any of what you said? I don’t believe so. Death is separation, and God doesn’t want that for us, but that is our reality thanks to sin.

    Like

  15. Daniel, the verses from Romans say we can know that God is and we can know something of His character by what He made. That doesn’t then translate into looking at nature as infallible revelation about other things. Nature doesn’t tell us about Christ or His sacrificial death and resurrection, for instance.

    I realized, too, that we have another fundamental difference. It seems you believe in the existence of a set of immutable natural laws that exist on their own. I believe Man has identified principles that describe what God does in His on-going work described in Colossians 1: “For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (emphasis mine)

    You mentioned gravity and it holding the water to the earth, for instance. I suggest that gravity is in place only in so far as it does what God wants it to do.

    The Bible records things like a star announcing the Savior’s birth, a piece of sheep’s hide wet when everything else around was dry—then dry when everything else was wet (or vice versa. I can never remember the order). There was a day that God extended time and another occasion when a shadow reversed direction. There was a great fish God appointed to swallow a man and the time Jesus sent His disciple to take a gold coin out of the mouth of a fish. Never mind all the instances of healing.

    What are these things but God choosing to override the usual “natural laws” with the impossible. If God is all powerful, all knowing, sovereign, and good, then why can’t He stop the laws He set in motion or start them again at will? And who’s to say when these “laws” started?

    Your statements in your comment to Nicole about the flood sound as if God could not possibly do a new and different thing. That He didn’t have the means or the power to override nature. That is what I’ve been saying all along in these posts. People on both sides of the argument, saying this or that has to be or could never be, are seeing a small god who can only act in the way they conceive. When we look at God and think He is bound by our understanding, that He couldn’t flood the whole world, for instance, because our observation of the world says this isn’t possible, then I say our view of God is off kilter.

    Do I know that He flooded the whole world and not just the “known world”? No, I wasn’t there. There’s good evidence that the whole world experienced a flood, but more importantly, I believe God could do it. He’s that big, that capable, that in control of nature. He stopped a whole river and dried up another, brought some kind of heavenly bread to the earth six days a week for forty years, kept shoes from wearing out, and any number of other evidences that He is in charge of nature. He didn’t just start things up, then step back and watch. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all that He has made.

    OK, I’m coming up for air. 😉 As you can tell, I feel pretty passionate about who God is and what He is capable of.

    Becky

    Like

  16. Daniel, Genesis 3:23-24 explains the Garden’s existence then and now. What you fail to employ in all of your scientific analysis is the supernatural elements which science will never definitively comprehend or be able to explain. God is so far above all the pontificating about how everything has “evolved” or occured, and he owes us nothing in explanations, yet he chose to give us enough information and the desire to explore and examine, knowing that even at man’s best he could never uncover the essence and intricacies of most of what we see. And the spiritual element is part and parcel of all creation, that which we can see and that which we cannot see, touch, hear, feel, and think about.
    You’re to be commended for your studies, and you’re right: you’re entitled to your opinions. The only problem with your observations is that you state them definitively as if they’re indisputable.
    Regarding “ecosystem”: it’s just a word, I know. The thing is God didn’t have to “study” it before He created it. He is the source of perfection. And as far as man’s “understanding” goes, it is a farce depending on which ecological environmentalist you listen to. So pick a word, any word, but mankind can’t even agree on their “understanding” of how this world works.
    On one hand, you say you believe the Word of God, and then you proceed to dispute it based on what you’ve gained from man’s studies of the world as we now know it, not as it was at creation.

    Like

  17. “People didn’t believe the earth was flat because of the Bible.”

    This is completely wrong. There is a long tradition of interpreting biblical support for a flat (like a dinner plate) earth. It has to do with verses about the foundations of the world being set and not being able to move, the sun rising and setting and going to where it goes, and so on.

    Try googling “flat earth” and “bible verses” and you should get a good look at this tradition. It is one of the things that Islam holds over historical Christian traditions. They still think this shows that Christians are not very bright.

    You should be careful offering casual arguments that can easily be shown to be false.

    Like

  18. Wait a minute, Ken. People’s interpretations of the Scriptures don’t mean the people are right. So what how they interpreted the earth’s shape? They were wrong. Just look at all the denominations in the Christian faith. The one unifying and immovable doctrine of true Christianity is Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave making salvation available to all the world. You’ve been reading all these comments–look at the disagreements. Traditions are irrelevant to the truth. And scientists of today that explore anything without God in it are never going to find the truth. It was the same then. And just because the intentions of people to follow the Scriptures leads them to false assumptions, ideas, or cultish religions doesn’t mean they were correctly interpreting the Word of God.

    Like

  19. Nicole, you have missed the point. Becky said “People didn’t believe the earth was flat because of the Bible”. Historically there have been a lot of people who used the Bible as their authority for the flatness of the earth. Especially when the evidence for its non-flatness began to mount. Who was right or wrong is not the issue. Becky is saying what people believed, but her position is not consistent with the evidence.

    In reality, the ancients were very comfortable with the idea of a round earth. Paradoxically it was only in the 1800s that the push to promote a flat earth really took hold. You can check this out by reading:

    Flat Earth : The Extraordinary History and Modern Revival of an Ancient Idea by Garwood, Christine

    It’s all very well to say what we THINK people in the past believed, but where we have their own words we should not contradict them. That would be imposing our own views on people in the past because we think our understanding is superior. In the past there were people who believed that the earth was flat because they read the Bible in a manner which told them that the earth was flat. You could probably find people today who hold the same idea.

    Like

  20. I understand what you’re saying, Ken. And you explained it well. The point I’m making is that people use the Bible as their source for all kinds of errors. Did every person who believed the Word of God in the 1800s believe the earth was flat? No way to tell. Yes, Becky generalized when in fact the sources you named contradicted her statement, but just how many out of the believers of that day all around the world were asked and quoted?
    Much like some of the polls we hear about today who questioned 1000 people with a known political slant what they think about the opposite party position–not entirely accurate.

    But I see your point.

    Like

  21. Re: Becky #15

    “I realized, too, that we have another fundamental difference. It seems you believe in the existence of a set of immutable natural laws that exist on their own. I believe Man has identified principles that describe what God does in His on-going work described in Colossians 1…”

    There is no difference of opinion here between us. I believe all the laws and rules by which the universe works and is governed were put into place by God when He spoke the universe into existence. That is the same as you. It is sometimes difficult to get the words out exactly right though.

    For example, I agree with your statement about gravity. I also believe that gravity is only there because God made it so. He could eliminate the law of gravity of course too. He’s God, but here is where we differ slightly. I do not believe He will. Many of the laws of the universe work together as a complex, orchestrated whole. Therefore, making even the slightest change could cause irreversible damage or even destroy the entire universe. You spoke of miracles and I have no explanation for them, but that doesn’t bother me. I never claimed to have an explanation for everything. God could certainly have violated His own laws to make these things happen. He could also have worked inside the laws in ways we cannot fathom. I believe all these things happened, but I cannot say how He did everything He did.

    “What are these things but God choosing to override the usual ‘natural laws’ with the impossible.”

    Could it be this? I think yes. Are we sure? No. Can we ever be sure? Not likely. But if you look at human nature and culture we tend to describe as miracles things that we simply don’t understand. I’m not talking about some kind of new physics, but maybe God knows more about the existing physics of the universe and works inside them to make things happen that we can’t explain. Certainly the people who witnessed them could not explain them.

    “And who’s to say when these ‘laws’ started?”

    Actually, that’s well understood now. They all started at the beginning. At the moment the universe came into existence all the laws were in place. All the laws, the dimensions of space (and there must be more than three), even time.

    Did you know time is part of the fabric of the universe? It’s a fascinating concept! All the other world religions describe their deity as being bound by time. Not so is our God. He is described as being outside time throughout scripture. The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. When Jesus appeared to Timothy in the upper room after the resurrection He appeared bodily. This requires at least an extra three dimenstions for Jesus to just appear like that. Is that a violation of the universal laws? I don’t think it has to be so. Is it a miracle? Well, what is a miracle anyway? It’s something that happens but we don’t understand how. It appears to violate the normal laws of existance. So, yes, this was a miracle! But since we also now know a little bit about the fabric of the universe we begin to see how it might have been done. Jesus, being God, moved His physical body which exists in three dimensions to three other dimensions that also exist as part of our universe. Don’t ask me to explain further – it’s complicated – but they are there. They’re just so small we have no interaction with them, but Jesus could have and apparently did.

    “Your statements in your comment to Nicole about the flood sound as if God could not possibly do a new and different thing.”

    Yes, it came across that way and that is almost exactly what I intended. I never intended for it to exclude the possibility, just that it probably didn’t and wouldn’t happen. Scientists who have measured the universe have discovered that the laws must be constant. They cannot have changes at any point in the entire history of the universe. So any appeal to an argument that God could do anything He wants, while technically accurate, isn’t practical. If He ever changed the fundamental laws we wouldn’t still be here.

    Somehow, I just don’t see God changing things and then covering it all up. That comes across as deception to me and that is outside God’s nature. Why is it so difficult to believe that God is so intelligent and so powerful that He got the entire universe right and working perfectly right from the beginning without needing to make any changes or exceptions, ever, along the way? It seems that an appeal to God having to manipulate His creation on occasion lessens His power and majesty. That’s a small God in my opinion. My God has no such shortcomings. But, just because He can doesn’t mean He did or had to.

    “OK, I’m coming up for air. As you can tell, I feel pretty passionate about who God is and what He is capable of.”

    So do I. That’s why I’m here and why I like your blog. You’re passionate about this. We have that in common and I think a lot more.

    Like

  22. Re: Nicole #16

    “What you fail to employ in all of your scientific analysis is the supernatural elements.”

    You’re right, but I also never made that claim. See my post #21 for a little bit more about miracles. Since there is no single worldview that explains everything, I see no problem with my view since it does explain a lot without any contradictions. That’s what I’m all about, science/nature and the Bible understood properly together without any conflicts or contradictions.

    “The only problem with your observations is that you state them definitively as if they’re indisputable.”

    Well, that’s how I type and talk. I meant no offense.

    “The thing is God didn’t have to ‘study’ it before He created it.”

    You know, I never said this. You were the one that brought up ‘study’. Then I responded to what you wrote.

    “On one hand, you say you believe the Word of God, and then you proceed to dispute it based on what you’ve gained from man’s studies of the world as we now know it, not as it was at creation.”

    Where have I done this? Show me where I have been anything less than respectful of God and His power anywhere and I will make amends. I love my Lord and would not be here without Him. He has also given me a gift of scientific understanding. It is one of the passions in my life. I have spent years of my life trying to bring together my Christian faith with my knowledge of science. It hasn’t been easy, but I have made great strides due largely to materials provided by Reasons to Believe and of course the Holy Spirit. The two can be made compatible. Of this I am absolutely convinced. It is us and our wrong understandings that get in the way.

    I grew up in church trusting that what I was taught was correct. Adam and Eve, a global flood covering everything, death beginning with the fall, a universe created in 6 24-hour days, the whole hit. When I grew older and learned about the conflicts between science and Christianity I was merely intrigued. I did not see how there was a problem. Both concerned themselves with truth so it is only natural that they be in agreement. Boy, was I wrong and naive!

    It was only years later in college that I became aware of the deep-rooted feelings and beliefs which absolutely short circuit any attempt at reconciliation between the two. I determined that I would figure this thing out. Now, years later, I have largely integrated these two sides of my personality. It has been long and difficult, but I would not take anything for any of it – even the pain. For I had to unlearn some things. I had to sacrifice some things that I held dear. Things I thought would destroy my faith and my faith did suffer. I became depressed and fell into a mental hole, but guess who found me there? I called out and God came to me in the pit. That was my lowest point. In the true meaning of John 3:14 I held on to Jesus for dear life like those israelites did when the vipers came into their camp. And Jesus led me out of that pit, bit by bit.

    I still cannot reintegrate the words of scripture in describing the flood with the science that has to be there. I do still trust God to be the author of both the Bible and nature, so there has to be a way to do this. I just do not know what that is yet.

    Like

  23. Re: Nicole #18

    I couldn’t have said this better! Right on! It is most often our interpretations that are flawed!

    Like

  24. Rich Deem over at http://www.godandscience.org/ has posted a Book Review of Hugh Ross’ new book, More Than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation at http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/more_than_a_theory.html. The review is a short read but the following two quotes stood out to me regarding our conversation in the comments here.

    “Appendix A provides additional information regarding the Bible as the origin of the scientific method.”

    “Instead of resorting to name calling, ridicule, fear, and personal attacks, RTB challenges others to issue predictions from their models to see which models produce the best results in the coming years.”

    Now, I haven’t read the book yet, but I plan to. I would also probably recommend it to anyone that’s curious about the comments I’ve made.

    That said, I’ve enjoyed this conversation. Hopefully, you understand me a bit better and I think I understand all of you better for it. Thank you for letting me share.

    Like

  25. […] My Christian Worldview February 16, 2009 Posted by Daniel Smith in Faith, Science. Tags: A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Deception, Evolution, Laws of Nature, Laws of the Universe, Origins, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Romans 1:20 trackback Over at Rebecca LuElla Miller’s blog, A Christian Worldview of Fiction, I’ve been part of a lively discussion concerning my Christian worldview of science and how that interacts with my faith. The particular post in question is: Is God Cruel, Deceptive, or Incompetent?. […]

    Like

  26. Daniel, I’m going to take one statement from all of yours that typifies the point I’m making.

    “Scientists who have measured the universe have discovered that the laws must be constant. They cannot have changes at any point in the entire history of the universe. So any appeal to an argument that God could do anything He wants, while technically accurate, isn’t practical. If He ever changed the fundamental laws we wouldn’t still be here.”

    Scientists are people. They’ve decided that certain things simply cannot happen because of their intense studies and discoveries. Man’s practicalities are not a consideration to God. If He wanted to change ANYthing at ANYtime, He could change it in part or as a whole in the blink of an eye. And He wouldn’t even have to clue man in to it. It could be different in an instant without us even noticing the change.

    You’re smart, Daniel. But your reasoning is limited by science. Science starts from behind. God already knows it all and is not bound by man’s mind for discovery. The universe is His, and He can do what He wants with it, practical or impractical. And He does and He will.

    Like

  27. Ken, I have to jump in on your comment re this line: People didn’t believe the earth was flat because of the Bible. Nicole understood my intent.

    While I haven’t read the book you mentioned, the quick study I did confirms that for centuries after the canon of Scripture was established, this flat earth idea was not the normative view. Not until Victorian times did the flat earth notion really take hold again, as an answer, presumably to perceived threats from science. Here’s the pertinent information from Wikipedia:

    By early medieval times, it was widespread knowledge throughout Europe that the Earth was a sphere.[4]

    However, throughout history, many intellectuals and individuals continued to support the notion of a flat Earth. Modern hypotheses supporting a flat Earth originated with English inventor Samuel Rowbotham (1816-1884). Based on his interpretation of certain biblical passages, Rowbotham published a 16-page pamphlet …

    (emphasis mine)

    If this in fact was what the Bible taught, then certainly the church would have had an established opinion at some earlier point. As it was, it seems that the idea that the church in the 16th century adhered to a flat-earth belief was exaggerated.

    I’m not discounting the idea that people can twist Scripture so that it says whatever they want it to say. Evidently that’s what some people did regarding the belief in a flat earth. But I stand by the statement that this idea is not something Biblical. The Bible never says “the earth is flat, not a sphere.”

    Meanwhile, people in these Flat Earth Societies were conducting experiments trying to show that when a ship disappeared over the horizon, it was because of refraction or some other cause.

    In other words, they believed what they believed and dug Bible verses out of context to try to bolster their beliefs. Or they felt the modernism of their day threatened their worldview, so they went to the Bible and did some scholarly gymnastics to get Scripture to say what it does not say. Then they could add the strength of religious dogma to their arguments. This was not thinking that arose from Scripture because clearly Scripture does not give rise to this idea, nor has it ever. It takes someone misinterpreting it to arrive at that point.

    If you were following my discussion with Daniel, then you know the point I was making to him in that section of that post was this: What is reliable is what we can know from Scripture.

    But I’ll say again, what we know is much less than what many claim to know—evolutionists and 6-day creationists alike. That people can say they know how creation started is beyond me.

    God Himself said to Job, you weren’t there. Why do we think we are so much more advanced that now we can say back to God, So what?

    Becky

    Like

  28. Re: Nicole #25

    “Man’s practicalities are not a consideration to God. If He wanted to change ANYthing at ANYtime, He could change it in part or as a whole in the blink of an eye. And He wouldn’t even have to clue man in to it. It could be different in an instant without us even noticing the change.”

    I think I’ve already responded to this and I agree. God can do what He wants when He wants. My point is that I think it’s out of character for Him to do so. Look at the example from Jesus. Jesus was born as a baby, grew up, worked to support his mother, walked and talked as a full human who was also fully God. Now, call me crazy but that appears to be God working within the confines of His own rules. Couldn’t He have just appeared in the flesh walking out of the wilderness without going through a lengthy childhood or the birth process? A human without a belly button might have garnered some attention! No, He chose the human route. He could’ve just absolved humanity of our sins by waving His arm. Done. No, He didn’t do that. He sent His son to die by our hands so that we could be redeemed that way. That doesn’t sound like a God who takes the easy way out and changes the rules on the fly.

    “Science starts from behind. God already knows it all and is not bound by man’s mind for discovery. The universe is His, and He can do what He wants with it, practical or impractical. And He does and He will.”

    You’re absolutely right. Science can’t know anything apart from God allowing it.

    Thanks for calling me out on my arguments. I think they are stronger for it and I appreciate that. I also think I understand your perspective better. Hopefully, I’ve given you some things to think about, but nothing that will harm or weaken your faith.

    Like

  29. Re: Becky #26

    “But I’ll say again, what we know is much less than what many claim to know—evolutionists and 6-day creationists alike. That people can say they know how creation started is beyond me.”

    I can answer part of this. And yes, this does make much of what I’ve said sound foolish. A lot of what is known about the origin of the universe comes from astronomy and there’s a little known fact about outer space. When astronomers look far away into space they are actually looking backwards in time. They see things not as they are but as they once were. Light travels at a fixed speed and the distances are so great that time actually factors into the equations. Our sun, for example, is a few minutes away when we look at it. I think it takes light from the sun either 4 or 7 minutes to reach Earth. Thus, if the sun went supernova or some catastrophe befell it we would not know for those 4 or 7 minutes. Things that are farther away are still farther back in time such that, with the right telescope, we can see back all the way to a few hundred thousand years after God spoke the universe into existence when light first emerged. Before that, the physics say that the universe was dark and the telescopes bear this out. Earlier things have been calculated in laboratories and research papers down to mere fractions of a second after the Big Bang, but no one has or can see all the way back and our very laws of physics break down at the point of the Big Bang. There’s no way to know what came before. The bible tells us of course that there was nothing, only God.

    As a neat side note, God describes Himself as the great I AM which is first person. Scientists have proven that Time is part of the universe. Thus, God having existed prior to and outside the universe is not bound by time so words like “was” and “will be” wouldn’t apply to Him. I think scripture models this beautifully and of course it matches what the science says.

    BTW, I equate biblical creation with the scientific Big Bang and, actually, it’s a great proof that the Bible has it right. It’s a shame so many Christians think it hurts Christianity’s validity when it practically verifies it! No other religion describes the beginning of the universe in a way that is compatible to our Bible.

    “God Himself said to Job, you weren’t there. Why do we think we are so much more advanced that now we can say back to God, So what?”

    I had to laugh at this! I love your choice of words!

    Yet, I do believe what I’ve said – that God wants us to search out the secret things of this world He created. He made it for our benefit, after all. It seems a shame to waste so much space if He didn’t have additional reasons for creating it all beyond merely a good home.

    BTW, rather than stating the obvious, could God have been nudging Job (and future readers) toward a profitable line of discovery? I mean it is actually possible to look back very, very far as I explained above. We can actually do this, and since that’s so, why couldn’t God’s words be interpreted this way?

    It’s a thought anyway.

    Like

  30. Daniel, I’ve sort of lost the thread of this discussion in light of the more recent posts. I’m glad you’ve found the give and take helpful. The one thing I’m mystified about is your willingness to admit that we can’t know how God achieved the miraculous: You spoke of miracles and I have no explanation for them, but that doesn’t bother me. I never claimed to have an explanation for everything. God could certainly have violated His own laws to make these things happen. He could also have worked inside the laws in ways we cannot fathom. I believe all these things happened, but I cannot say how He did everything He did.

    But then you turn around and say Scientists who have measured the universe have discovered that the laws must be constant. They cannot have changes at any point in the entire history of the universe. So any appeal to an argument that God could do anything He wants, while technically accurate, isn’t practical. If He ever changed the fundamental laws we wouldn’t still be here.

    The thing I object to here, Daniel, is that you box God into doing what science says He must have done.

    Here’s the thing. I also believe that the “big bang” is probably God creating. But that’s all we can know. Did He bring matter and energy into being before time or after? Did He cause matter to collide … but that would presuppose the existence of matter. So when and how did it all come down? Why is it so hard to say, We don’t know for sure because we weren’t there, but one theory that seems to have a lot of evidence to support it is …

    The idea that it has to be the way that science today thinks it was (without actually knowing about Quantum gravity and the string theory and the multiple spacetime dimensions and any number of other things that might be discovered or hypothesized), seems like the height of hubris.

    God is the Transcendent One. He and He alone put this universe all together, and the idea that we can ever understand it as well as He is just head-shakingly unthinkable.

    Can the clay ever say to the Potter, I get it. I know just how you made this wheel you have me on?

    Daniel, understand. I am not anti-science. I am not suggesting Christians shouldn’t think and explore and discover. But I think we need to start with God first. That’s why I think we should start by saying I believe God can do the impossible. With that perspective, we will never doubt God’s written revelation when there seems to be an inconsistency with what science (or archeology or history) says.

    Look, scientists said that when Mount St. Helen erupted, it would be a hundred years or more before the ecosystem would recover. Wrong! They were shocked! Surprised! What actually happened didn’t fit their models.

    Isn’t it possible that just maybe all our astronomical models, our mathematical computations, our quantum physics might not work together the way we think?

    My point is, God is beyond us, not subject to the way we view His universe, and we should never lose sight of that.

    OK, this will be my last comment on the subject. I’m beginning to repeat myself, which is a sure sign that the discussion isn’t moving us forward into greater understanding.

    I will say, you seem to agree with me that God is transcendent, except when it comes to the working of the universe. And this is the part that I admit seems to me to close God in when everything else seems to show Him as high and lifted up. Just my observation.

    Thanks for putting in the time on this thread.

    Becky

    Like

  31. “The one thing I’m mystified about is your willingness to admit that we can’t know how God achieved the miraculous.”

    I suppose this is partly because I’m a perfectionist and partly because I think He has made it abundantly clear if we could only read what He wrote. Science is just the collective knowledge of what we’ve read so far. God is omniscient, after all. Plus Jesus told His disciples that He wanted to tell them (and us) of heavenly things, but we wouldn’t or couldn’t understand them. Therefore, I think God is a transparent God who doesn’t hide or even attempt to hide what He’s done, who He is, or how He did what He did. If He wanted to share information with His disciples, why wouldn’t He also want us to know the deep things of God? I admit I’m not God, but we are made in His likeness. That’s got to count for something. Maybe it means we are capable through time and effort to arrive at some level of understanding approaching God’s. No one can say whether this is or isn’t possible so I prefer to believe it’s attainable unless someone shows me scripture saying otherwise.

    “I will say, you seem to agree with me that God is transcendent, except when it comes to the working of the universe. And this is the part that I admit seems to me to close God in when everything else seems to show Him as high and lifted up.”

    It seems I can’t say very much without being misunderstood. The story of my life, I suppose.

    Instead of me trying to respond directly to your last post, consider this: I could believe in a God that was transcendent and created the universe. Occasionally this God would step into our existence and make some kind of change to it. Why? Because He’s God and He can do whatever He wants whenever the mood strikes.

    And as it turns out, that is the God I believe in. I just think that instead of the above scenario showing off His strengths – His transcendent ability to do whatever whenever – I think it’s actually a weakness. The above picture of God shows a God that had the power to create the universe, but not necessarily the power to predict how it would work out. Thus, the universe is somehow flawed and needs fixing and tweaking. That’s how I view your argument.

    I suppose we could both be right. Our God could be perfectly capable of doing whatever whenever, but He could also have setup the universe such that it needed no tweaking. It’s a compromise but probably the most correct view. Speaking of most correct, science, unlike scripture, is never complete or finished, but that can be a strength rather than a weakness. I think you see me as dependent on the science when I have one foot firmly planted in scripture. It’s the two together interpreting each other that leads me to my conclusions just like the interpretation of scripture is dependent on using other scripture.

    I admit my view does not and cannot (and therefore doesn’t even try to) explain or understand miracles. On the other hand, my views do explain how our Creator-God could have created it all while still remaining true to the words of the Bible. Oh, I can’t explain the flood either. So, weighing the two views out ((Bible – Miracles – Flood) + Science)) VS ((Bible + Miracles + Flood) – Science), I’ll take my view. I know God is the transcendent Creator of the universe and the author of all scripture and my scientific brain most needs those two things to be compatible. We don’t know what causes miracles either way so it makes no real difference where that falls. The only thing I really lose is the flood, but look at what I gain! All the things that science has uncovered about how God did what He did VS how the Flood happened. That’s not even a choice for me. In my opinion there’s far more that gets put right by this view than gets messed up. And whatever else is lacking, well, I put my hope in the future to bring the two even more in agreement with one another.

    Like

  32. Thus, the universe is somehow flawed and needs fixing and tweaking. Daniel, it IS flawed. That’s what sin did.

    Becky

    Like

  33. Oh, now I see where you’re coming from.

    Yes, it is flawed but God didn’t make it that way. Satan and sin made it flawed but that was after God created it. God made it perfect.

    This exposes a different question. How, exactly, is the universe flawed? I think we both agree it is, but I couldn’t say exactly how I believe that is manifested. Sounds like this is an opportunity for another blog post.

    I don’t remember if I said so, but one of the posts that cemented my reading your blog was your excellent thoughts on Job. I really liked that particular post. I thought you nailed all the aspects on that. I’d enjoy reading a post on this topic too if you’re up for it.

    Thanks again!

    Like


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: