Fable or high-tech report?
2015/09/02 1 Comment
Fable or high-tech report?
When God approached Moses and asked him to write down the account of Creation, did He intend to compete with legends of the origin of the world, or He had in mind cosmology of the 21st century? At the surface, Creation may look like an old fable that lacks wisdom and logic, even when compared to the theory of evolution, but there is a chance that it presents highly sophisticated report of what has actually happened that is far beyond what Moses was able to learn and imagine.
This document is written primarily for those who want to track my progress in producing a document about Creation of the universe. It will change from time to time. Everyone is welcome to provide comments and suggestions.
How can anyone in the 21st century believe that God created the world in 6 days about 6,000 years ago? We know that stars exist for billions of years, the Earth revolves around the Sun, our solar system lays somewhere on the outskirts of the Milky Way, the Moon is not a light at all but a mirror… There are too many discrepancies between modern science and the Bible to treat the Creation story as true.
Could God have revealed to Moses some modern concept of cosmology to make Creation story more palatable for a modern man? Obviously He could have. But what would He achieve by doing it? Evolutionists are not interested in discovering the truth; they just “cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.” Michael Ruse, a leading anti-creationist philosopher admits that “evolution therefore came into being as a kind of ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.” No matter what God could have done, evolutionists would refuse it and accept “scientific claims that are against common sense… in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs… because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Stephen Hawking, “an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is widely considered to be one of the greatest scientists alive today,” announced that “Our universe didn’t need any divine help to burst into being,” and “there is no God.” God knew that modern scientists, and all those who depend on them, will not be looking for the truth, therefore He did not ask Moses to include any concepts of modern cosmology in the account of Creation.
The Theory of Evolution with all its siblings and other theories that attempt to explain the origin of the universe without God will never succeed. Nearly 2,000 years ago Apostle Paul declared that all attributes of God are observable since Creation, and there will be no excuse for not believing the Bible. Those who refuse to believe the Bible do it because it tells the truth about God and it is God who people refuse to accept. Professor Richard Lewontin, Michael Ruse, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and others confessed it clearly enough. Therefore I will not argue with the theories they patched up and defend; they do not hold any water anyway and were disproved on many counts by creation scientists. Instead, I will consider those arguments that seem to undermine the biblical story of Creation.
Various intellectuals and scientists attempted to debunk probably the strongest argument against the story of Creation — light from distant stars. Some Bible scholars invented so called the Gap Theory which inserts billions of years between the first two verses in the Bible. According to this theory, the universe was created endless time ago (verse1), hence we receive the light that travelled to us for billions of years (in agreement with the modern cosmology). And the 6-day Creation that took place 6,000 years ago is described in verse2 and onwards. So, the problem with light from distant stars seems to be solve. But really?
The Gap Theory seems to have influenced Adventist scholars because they accepted the idea of very old stars by saying that “The «heavens» of Genesis 1 and 2 probably refer to the planets and stars nearest the earth.” But the concept of a local 6-day Creation and the ancient origin of the universe does not solve the problem of light from distant stars. The argument is based on speculation and only aggravates the situation. Our Sun (no doubt created 6000 years ago) must have existed 4.5 billions of years (according to the sources that promote the argument of ancient light from distant stars), therefore it could not be created during the 6-day Creation. The stars closest to our Solar System share the same history — billions of years in existence. So, what is the point in embracing human speculations like the Gap Theory to derive the meaning of the Bible? We are guaranteed to acquire confusion and a weakened faith in God who should be our first point of contact in the matters of Creation.
A potential danger exist in manipulating the Bible to align it with some statements of science. When scientists discover that they wrong at some point, they discard wrong statements overnight and align the whole body of knowledge with the new claim. What will happen with those who profess to believe the Bible yet twist it to harmonize with a particular scientific claim, when scientist discard it and their new claim agrees with the original teaching of the Bible without the need for “correcting” God? Will they keep twisting the Bible to save their face or hide under the carpet? I suggest that we humble ourselves and choose to remain silent until God let us discover what the Bible teaches about the light from distant stars, instead of pretending to know everything and putting things in print as evidence of our pretentious claims.
Even if we completely ignore the problem of light from distant stars and a faulty Gap Theory, we face another difficult issue with the account of Creation. Modern science and cosmology convince us over any doubt that the earth is not flat, that it orbits the Sun, that it rotates on its own axis, that the Sun is one of octillions of stars, that many stars are bigger than the Sun, and so on and on. At the same time, when we read the account of Creation written by Moses, we may have the impression we read some fairy tales or some stories designed for primitive people: God divided waters from waters, the next day He divided waters from soil, then He asked the land to sprout vegetation, etc.. Is it really how God created the universe?
God knows exactly how He created “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” We do not. But we know that Creation is far more complex than we observe on the surface. We know that God had to design and build atoms, DNA, neurons, cells, chemical bonds, 4 fundamental interactions, and many other elements that interact with each other in ways that even the wisest of us can only begin to understand. Should we expect that God shared with Moses some little portions of what we know now and asked him to include them in the account of Creation? How much time would he need to learn and how many words would he have to invent and define so that his contemporaries could learn enough to understand his writing? And even if there were a few, would the story of Creation be widely accepted or rather widely mocked? It seems to me that such a scenario does not make much sense and this is why God chose to simplify the description of Creation. Moses was then able to describe it and many generations after him accepted it as a true description of Creation story.
God did not tell Moses some fables to write down as a story of Creation. He gave him some visions in which Moses could hear God’s voice and see the results of creation. Then Moses wrote down his understanding of Creation to the best of his ability, and although his understanding was strongly influenced by the Mesopotamian model of the world, God inspired him to write a document that was readily accepted by humanity for more than 3,000 years. When we look beyond the surface of “primitive” writing, we may be sure that the story of Creation is true. And if we analyze it properly, we can see when God created electromagnetic radiation, atoms, gravity, nuclear interaction, and other complex concepts known to the modern cosmology and other sciences. We can also reconcile a young universe with the light from distant stars. And when we do it, we will see how silly the Theory of Evolution and the Gap Theory are, and how wise our God is.
Below I list some guidelines that I have followed when analyzing the story of Creation.
- God presented to Moses the true, but simplified account of creation.
- The account of Creation is highly advanced and matches modern science and cosmology.
- God gave Moses visions so that he experienced concepts and described them as accurate as he was able to, although he might not have understood them properly.
- Moses wrote an introduction to the account of Creation after he received all visions about the 7 days, which is a natural sequence of writing (as John did in the book of Revelation). It is consistent with his own understanding, but not necessarily with modern science.
- The account of Creation contains much more information that meets the eye, it is up to us to look beyond the surface.
- Descriptions used by Moses agree with modern science, they just look like baby language trying to describe what the baby begins to understand.
- Moses used many concepts that he was familiar with to explain concepts that he could not fully grasp, but under God’s inspiration he did not make blunders; instead he left some hints for us to figure out God’s original intentions.
- The account of Creation is consistent and informative enough to be understood by humanity as it is, although without much details and many questions unanswered.
- God is omnipotent and may use miracles as He wishes, therefore some aspects of Creation may remain as possible only for God alone (but it does not mean that we do not understand what He did).
- I will use some scientific information to show that Creation agrees with modern cosmology or science in general, but there will be no need for complex ideas, formulae, etc. like in other works that deal with explaining Creation.
- I will show how to understand interpretation given by Moses (based on the Mesopotamian model of the world) and how to understand what Moses experienced in light of modern science.
- I believe that most people with primary education should be able to understand, remember, and explain the account of Creation in light of modern science.
- The account of Creation (and the Bible in general) should be read more literarily than it is usually done (eg. “the heavens” means what Moses believed it to be — all stars included, not a section of heaven that is intended to explain billions of stars supposedly in existence for billions of years, which is required to debunk arguments against Creation).
- Moses had other tasks to accomplish when writing the account of Creation. He used the opportunity to emphasize the idea that God did not have to fight monsters to qualify for the position of deity (He was the one who created monsters), he did not use the names of false gods, although the words for the sun and moon (worshiped by people as gods) were known to him.
- Angles watched God as He created the universe and admired all God did. Most likely He explained many things to them or they would not understand what God was doing.
- I will use some fictitious scenes where God explains to angels what He does, as a way to communicate with my readers. I will create a scenario where God takes all angels away from the Earth and focuses their attention on creating the Moon who is bound by gravity in the orbit around the Earth.
- I will show how Moses left some hints in text, eg. the soil that sprouts vegetation.
Creation on the surface
God chose Moses to describe how the universe was created. As a future pharaoh, he was educated in “all the wisdom of Egyptians, and was mighty in words.” Although his concept of the universe was most likely limited to the Mesopotamian model of the world, Moses was still the best man for the task.
The concept of Creation was probably known to God’s people since Creation, and Noah took with him the knowledge to the post-Flood world, yet it was only handed down by word of mouth and could be distorted during its 2,500 years of existence. Job was the first person who wrote in Hebrew and Moses could have learned from him the art of writing in this language, and now we know he proved to be “mighty in words.” No wonder that God asked him to write down document of extraordinary importance.
After Moses wrote down the account of Creation, it was widely accepted as a true description of the origin of the universe. Until the year 1610, “philosophers and astronomers still subscribed to the view that the Earth stands motionless at the centre of the universe.”
Although the Theory of Evolution as a whole is proved to be impossible, there is one particular argument against the account of Creation that seems invincible. It is based on an undeniable fact that we observe light from the stars that are billions of light years away from our Solar System. Since the speed of light is proved to be the highest speed possible in the universe, it becomes clear that the distant stars had to be created billions of years ago.
Several attempts were made to defend the 6-day Creation about 6,000 years ago, but after detailed analysis they proved faulty. They either deviate from what the Bible teaches, or require unnatural interpretation of some verses to make it appear that the Bible supposedly teaches them. I suggest that the account of Creation fully defends itself; it just requires to be properly analyzed and the problem of light from distant stars simply disappears; hands down. In addition, the whole account of Creation opens itself as a highly sophisticated description of God’s activities and it agrees with modern cosmology.
God gave Moses a vision in which he was shown what was required for him to be able to write what God intended him to know and write down. During the vision Moses heard God speak, and he also makes a clear distinction between what he heard and what he saw. But before he began to write down the account of Creation, he had to make a proper title and an introduction. If the Bible was set according to modern desktop publishing rules, we would see in the Bible something like this:
|Title||In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth|
|Introduction||The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.|
|Content||Then God said, “Let there be light”; … Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. Gn1:3–2:1. nasb|
So, Gn1:1 is not describing some historical events separated from the rest of the Bible by billions of years as the Gap Theory supporters want to make us believe. It is just a title, not the content. The first event described by Moses is begins with the words of God: “Let there be light.”
Before Moses engaged in writing the account of Creation as he saw it in the vision, he wrote a little introduction based on what he experienced during the vision. When he heard God’s words “Let there be light” it was clear to him that there was no light before Day1, therefore he made a note: “darkness was over the surface of the deep.” When he heard “let it separate the waters from the waters,” it was clear to him that waters already existed, therefore he wrote in the introduction “over the surface of the waters.” When he heard God’s words “let the waters below the heavens be gathered in one place, and let the dry land appear” it was clear to him that the land (or soil) was mixed with water and therefore it had to exist as well. Therefore he wrote in the introduction “the earth was formless and void” like mud. The dry land could only appear when winds dried it up. This concept was fresh in his mind when God caused a strong wind (ruach רוּח) to dry up the bottom of the Red Sea for Israelites to cross it the next day. Therefore he placed the wind (ruach רוּח) that was moving over the surface of the waters in the introduction. He did not forget to mention God who was the Author of Creation who caused the wind to blow to reveal the dry land.
To me it is clear that the title (verse1) and the introduction (verse2) are provided by Moses, the introduction is based on what Moses deduced from his own understanding of the account of Creation, and “the heavens and the earth” meant to him everything there is in the material universe including stars (and except for God and angels who are spirits). To describe the totality of material universe, this time in the narrative and not in the title, Moses uses the words: “the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them.” John is using similar words: “in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them.” In the title to the account of Creation Moses wrote only “the heavens and the earth” which is sufficient to describe the whole universe, because the detailed account that follows makes it clear that even galaxies are included.
Being inspired by God, Moses did not make any errors that would contradict modern science. We just need to see beyond what Moses was able to see.
names for lamps
One may wonder why Moses did not use proper names for the sun and moon in the account of Creation. He is using these terms when describing the dream o Joseph who saw “the sun (shemesh שׁמשׁ) and the moon (yareach ירח) and eleven stars (kokab כּוכב) that were bowing to him.” The reason was simple — the sun and the moon were worshipped by many nations as gods, and Moses did not want anyone to understand that these false gods had any part in creation of the world. The Sun and the moon were created by God Yahweh to be lamps, not gods. Later on Moses informed that God forbade people to mention the names of false gods, therefore he himself did not do it.
Moses knew many legends who describe gods who qualified for the position by fighting monsters that live in waters. He also knew that pharaohs and other people claimed to be gods and demand worship. Therefore he made it clear that God Yahweh did not fight for His position because He created all things — seas and great monsters.
Moses strongly emphasized the chronology of Creation by specifying precisely the evening and the morning of each day, and counting each day, that lead to the seventh day at the climax.
Moses described God who was announcing to the angels that He was about to create lights above the Earth. None of the lights was mentioned by name, only several purposes for their existence. Then he said, in his own words, how he understood the events of Day4. He most likely was not sure which lights were to fulfill which purposes, but was sure about 2 lights and 2 purposes assigned to them. Therefore he reported:
God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. Gn1:16nasb
Afterwards, Moses listed all other functions for a completeness of his report, probably without much knowledge which lights were for signs, seasons, etc.
It seems to me that God intended some ambiguity as to the functions of the lights and creation of stars. After all He was the one who said precisely what He wanted, and left Moses to describe what he could make out of it. The words “He made” are added by the translators to make the meaning easier to understand. But I suggest that the Complete Jewish Bible renders the original text very clearly, and without adding and words:
God made the two great lights — the larger light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night — and the stars. Gn1:16cjb
If Moses did not decide to use a parenthetical statement in which he described the purpose of the Sun and Moon, he would simply say:
God made the two great lights () and the stars. Gn1:16cjb
The original text uses just one verb that refers to both — great lights and stars. No matter how this verb is translated, it has the same meaning in relation to all celestial bodies. And because the stars are mentioned in this verse as being created as was the Sun and the Moon, there is no reason to argue that some stars existed (for billions of years) before the 6-day Creation of the universe. All stars were created in Day4, as Moses clearly reported. No other place in the story of Creation talks about some other creation of stars. So, the matter should be settled.
Deeper under the surface
We know that the day begins and ends with the sunset. But there was no sunset before Day1. How could God show angels who witnessed Creation that Day1 began with darkness and the darkness of Day1 is not the darkness that existed before Day1?
The sunset is a precise description of the beginning of the next day. But there are also other signs of the beginning of the next day that do not require the sun or light. Before the sun sinks fully beyond the horizon, the stars began to appear in the sky. Because there was a total darkness before Day1, the stars that began to appear on the black sky marked the beginning of the first night in the universe.
But how should we understand the existence of the stars in the first night in the universe? The stars were created in Day4. Yes, that’s true. And there is also interesting distinction between what God created in Day1 and Day4. In Day1 God created light rays (or אור), and in Day4 He created lamps (maor מאור) that produce light rays. So, in Day1 God produced light rays that were coming from places in space where God created stars in Day4.
One may ask how could God create light rays first, and only a few days later the lamps (Sun, Moon, stars)? The answer is simple: God can. If He said that He created (or אור) in Day1, then He did! If He said that He created (maor מאור) in Day4, then He did! How?
God did not need to grow olive trees, press olives, and secretly deliver the oil to the pantry of the widow of Zarephath. He did not have to grow wheat, harvest it, grind it, and fill up the bowl. He did not need to employ all bakeries in Jerusalem to bake bread for 5,000 people. Therefore He did not have to create the Sun, Moon, and stars to get light rays for the first 3 days of Creation. Day1 was designated for a different purpose than to create nuclear reactors (stars) that burn huge amounts of hydrogen that is compressed by gravity to the 4th state of matter (plasma); this is the work of the first 3 days of Creation. So, why did God create light rays and whatever else was necessary in Day1?
 http://www.space.com/20710-stephen-hawking-god-big-bang.html (17 April 2013)
 http://www.cnet.com/au/news/stephen-hawking-makes-it-clear-there-is-no-god/ (accessed 27 Sep 2014)
 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. Rm1:20nasb
 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Rm1:18nasb
 Seventh-day Adventists Believe… A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines Copyright © 1988 by the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, p71.
 Kornreich used a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way’s estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 100 octillion stars, or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a “1” with 29 zeros. http://www.space.com/26078-how-many-stars-are-there.html
 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, Ex20:11nasb
 Moses wrote Torah between his age of 80 and 120, which is between 2,448 and 2,488am, or between 1313 and 1273bce. The Encyclopedia Britannica published in 1771 agrees with the idea of a young earth and lists Creation of the world as a true event that took place in the year 4007 before Christ. (minimum 1273 + 1771 = 3004 years).
 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? … When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? Jb38:4–7nasb
 Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. Ac7:22nasb
 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Gn1:3nasb
 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” Gn1:6nasb
 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. Gn1:9nasb
 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind [ruach רוּח] all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. Ex14:21nasb
 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Ex20:11nasb
 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, Rv5:13nasb
 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” Gn37:9nasb
 Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth. Ex23:13nasb
 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves Gn1:21nasb
 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Gn1:14–15nasb
 These words are not in the original text
 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah. 1K17:16nasb
 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. Mt14:21nasb