"A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature."

- Fred Hoyle

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

- Psalm 8:3-4 NIV


what it reveals about origins.


For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

- Romans 1:20 NASB

9.1 What does natural revelation reveal about origins?

We know that the Bible originated through a process involving very ordinary men and very ordinary writing tools, with the small but critical addition of God's direction and providence. Only on very rare occasions did God intervene in ways that circumvented what we would describe as the natural order of things. So in terms of natural revelation, we ask this:

What does the created universe indicate in regard to the origins of universe, the earth, and life itself? Were our origins the result of God's pre-planned processes, or his sudden and direct intervention?

First, the subject of the verse from Romans quoted above is God's "invisible qualities" (discussed previously). All the nuances of when and how everything originated are not per se invisible qualities. On the other hand, neither this verse nor others touching on natural revelation necessarily limit what can be learned about God from the observable universe. Either way, we must proceed carefully.

Our interpretations of the Bible must be held firmly, but not so idolatrously tight that we lose the willingness to re-evaluate those things which we think we "know". The great scientist and Christian Johannes Kepler reminds us that the first recourse of the scientist should not be to look towards the miraculous. While God is certainly capable of having instantly created all we see, it is also possible that God has not acted in that way.

Note: The positions I am taking in the following paragraphs do not reflect those of either traditional "old-earthers" or "young-earthers". (The two positions are compared here.) At the likely price of disappointing both sides, this is simply the result of my own interpretation of modern science coupled with years of Bible study.

Concerning the universe,
I slightly favor belief in an old universe probably along the popular figure which is currently thirteen billion years old (twenty years ago the popular figure was fifteen billion years). This is considered to be more easily calculated than the age of the earth, or length of time that humanity has existed. The advantage is in the observation that all galaxies and superclusters appear to be rushing outward from a common center. If so, their paths are traceable backwards and their trip time becomes measurable. Of course, this assumes a roughly even expansion rate and relatively little historical change in the speed of light; both for which there does seem to be some doubt.

Consequently, one cannot rule out the possibility that the universe either began as something larger than a mere theoretical point, or expanded somewhat differently than traditional models predict.

Regardless of whether the universe is young or old, our solar system constitutes only a microscopic portion of it, which is perfectly illustrative of Psalm 8. The psalm rhetorically asks what is man that God should bother to think of him out of all the vast splendor God has created. The more vast the universe, the more in awe we should be that its Creator bothers to care about us. That is partly why I favor a universe that is overwhelming in every aspect - it humbles us. Of course, the psalmist's question still makes its point even if the universe were created this morning.

Concerning the earth: I interpret the majority of evidence to be pointing towards an age in the hundreds of thousands of years. That is much older than having been created in 4004 BC as once calculated by James Usher in the 1600's, but far younger than the billions of years theorized by proponents of Darwinism in the late 1800's. At the very least, the fact that absolutely nothing has carbon dated older than around 55,000 years is very curious. (Details on carbon dating and radiometric dating methods here.)

No one is proof-positive of how planets typically form, or if Earth's origin conforms to that pattern. Who knows how far upward or downward age estimates will continue to be revised. One thing is agreed upon, however: The many aspects in which life is narrowly sustained on this planet (more). Each aspect exists by phenomenally thin margins. These aspects, perhaps as many as 150 or so, have been the subject of entire books; some authored by nonbelievers, others by believers. (See a list here.) How are these narrow margins to be explained?

Miracle, chance, or pre-designed improbability?

If we knew more about planets in other solar systems and knew that others harbored life, Scripture's description of God's crafting of the earth might be properly interpreted as phenomenological in nature. But until such time, it appears that balances within life, the earth, and the universe are constructed both delicately and deliberately.

Concerning life: different creatures abound in heaven and different creatures abound on earth. Just as the Bible does not indicate the full extent of creatures that may abide within heaven, neither does the observable universe as yet indicate the extent of the creatures that may abide within it. (What about life on other planets?)

What we do know about life is that even where certain chemicals abound, the so-called "building blocks of life", the probability of DNA arising by accident is still effectively zero (discussed here). That comes from the Nobel winning discoverers of DNA. Of course, if and when someone convinces me they know more about DNA than its discoverers, then I will listen to them.

We also have overwhelming evidence against Darwinian evolution as provided by many non-Christian anti-creationists (here). Evidence by scientist-Christians is just as convincing, but the former case is one which no skeptic can as easily dismiss as biased. In total, science indicates that life is a deliberate, intelligent intervention wherever it shall be found.

9.2 Of what is there to be afraid?

While most Christians agree on God's special creation of life and on an earth probably younger than put forth by most evolutionists, some Christians oppose belief in an old universe. Although I cannot refute the possibility of a young universe (theologically or cosmologically), I do believe that proponents of this position sometimes share one or more of the following mistaken assumptions:

1. "An old universe leaves the door open for evolution."

No, it doesn't. It doesn't because calculations by secular scientists (indeed, practically anti-Christians) such as Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, and Francis Crick declare the accidental formation of life to be impossible, even given a universe twice that of fifteen billion years old. Their calculations are partly the basis for the growing field of intelligent design. Even if one disbelieves in God, one does not have to keep clinging to refuted Darwinism or other antiquated nineteenth-century beliefs.

Furthermore, to not believe in an old universe for fear that something you don't want to be true might be true is a very slippery slope. When you reject natural revelation and instead base your beliefs on fear, or on interpretations you refuse to re-evaluate, you have basically become an idolater. You have lifted up personal opinions, either yours or someone else's, over that which God has placed in front of your eyes. You have become the medieval Catholic bishop shunning a gaze into Galileo's telescope - something that speaks very poorly of your science, and of yourself.

2. "The Bible says six days so it means a literal six days."

While the text does categorize God's creation of the cosmos as falling into six days even before such things as days existed (one complete revolution of the earth), believers recognize that not every statement in the Bible is intended to be interpreted literally.

You'll find a more complete discussion on "days" here, but the end-run around a lengthy word analysis is to ask if Scripture ever tries to communicate something more than simply the words being employed. For example, research the words "lamb" or "word" or "lion", and then compare their literal definitions to the God to whom they are so often used to refer.

Or whom did Jesus say was "the Elijah who was to come"? Did he not say John the Baptist (Matthew 17:9-13)? Was he not revealing that the correct interpretation of this particular prophecy was far more metaphorical than perhaps everyone had been anticipating?

This is not playing fast and loose with interpretation (a critical issue thoroughly discussed here), this is diplomatically urging believers that where natural revelation seems to be saying one thing, and written revelation another, we must bring the two together. We must unite them with humility and using our absolute best interpretation of what we both observe about creation and read in the Word.

3. "The universe may have been created to only look like it's old."

This is also referred to as being created in a mature state (like when Jesus created fish and bread on a mountainside to feed the multitudes). First, fish and bread are products of cyclical processes. We know what a mature fish should look like because we are familiar with their complete life cycle. The same with bread. These acts were specifically done by Jesus for an express purpose. However, we comparatively have no idea what a mature universe should look like, nor do we need the universe to have any particular appearance at all.

The Congress of Astronomers in 1969 declared the expanding universe to have a beginning and, by all appearances and measurements, it is not slowing down. The universe is a linear, once-in-forever event. We thus conclude the universe to have no life cycle; thus nothing mandating that God give the universe its present appearance in order to make it appear right. Astronomically speaking, there is no right appearance, and any appearance at all is going to be interpreted as natural whether the observer believes in God or not.

We also know that the observable stars and galaxies are at varying distances from the earth. The time it takes light to travel these distances is both varied and great - greater than the short time that some give for the age of the universe. This requires that God either created everything far away, along with photon paths already in route to the earth, or that the speed of light and speed of outward rushing objects has greatly changed.

The photon path idea seems extremely forced, though there is admittedly some evidence for change in the speed of light, and possibly forthcoming evidence for a radical deceleration of outward rushing objects. If true, this might be evidence for a young universe, but not for a universe created with the false appearance of having expanded from a common center.

How likely is it that God would create everything to appear to be rushing out from a common center from which it never actually came? Admittedly this is a very weak argument; but if God did so, one might argue this to constitute something along the lines of a "false witness". How likely is it God arranged numerous parts of the universe with false appearances such as crater impressions from meteors which never fell, expanding debris fields from exploding stars which never were, or fossils of creatures that never existed?

This returns us to our very first rule about natural revelation. If God does not lie to us in his written revelation, there is no reason to believe he lies to us in his natural revelation. Reality is what it is because God has made it so. Therefore our arguments must constrain themselves to using our best science, using our best scriptural interpretations, and this: How does creation appear to have been created, because unless stated in the Bible otherwise, that is likely how God created it AND intends for Scripture to read.


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"Good science" is a sort of amoral high ground for all who accept empirical evidence as trustworthy.

Science is defined elsewhere, but its support is claimed by both sides in the god vs. no-god debate.

This section reinforces the endorsement Christianity has for scientific thinking and methodology, and reminds believers of the importance of God's revelation of himself in nature.