Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Biblical Cosmology

Cosmology simply means the scientific study of the universe's origins and development. To that end the popular cosmology today is Darwinian in its roots; generally a derivative of the Big Bang Theory. But what is the cosmology of the Bible? What does God's word say regarding the universe's origin and development? And as Christians who claim to be worshipers and followers of Jesus Christ, do we choose to believe what that word says regarding these fundamental issues?

In the beginning, strictly speaking, there was only God. God existed and will always exist in three separate persons: the Father, the Word (or the Son) and the Holy Spirit. Before material existence, before time began, there was only God, Genesis 1:1; John 1:1. God is the origin of all creation. The farthest reaches of the cosmos, the depths of the ocean, the complexity of the atom, and inner heart of man; all of this is the handiwork of God. God spoke and it came to pass.

The universe sprang from nothing at the word of God, Hebrews 11:3. We are told that we must accept that statement by faith. It is no different with Darwinian science. No man can go back in time to see the beginning, and of these competing views only one can be correct. Both are taken by faith in those that accept them. One speaks of an eternal God who caused the universe to exist. The other speaks of absolute nothingness that suddenly spontaneously became something, or infinite regression (a concept that teaches the universe is infinitely old). The evidence favors special creation by an intelligent agent. For the Christian we name this "agent" God.

Genesis is a historical record of God's creative activity at the universe's conception. We read of Him creating the heavens, the sun, moon, and the trillions of stars, and also creating the earth as the domain of mankind, Genesis chapter 1. The wording of Genesis forbids an allegorical interpretation, since the writer records that between days there was night and day, suggesting the 24-hour day/night cycle we are presently familiar with. Faulty theories such as the Day-age Theory or the Gap Theory are vapid compromises with Darwinian Evolution. The record of Genesis stands as the creation account and tells how material existence, including us, arrived.

Mankind was made in God's image; male and female were made in the image of God, and dominion of the earth was given to them as stewards of God, Genesis 1:27-28. God created sexual union between a man and his wife for the purpose of procreating, or in the words of the Bible, "filling the earth," Genesis 1:28. Shortly after man's creation our race was led astray by Satan and sin was introduced into God's perfect creation.

Sin is an aberration of what is normal. We must take care that because something has become common-place that does not make it normal. Murder, lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, blasphemy, are not normal actions; they are the result of sin's entrance into the universe which perverted God's image in us. Like a computer program that incurs a copying error, the program begins to do things we would rather not have it do, and generally bad things at that. These things may become quite common-place but they are not normal; normalcy would be a perfect submission of obedience to God's will so that God might pour out His blessing upon us perfectly. Sin has ruined the relationship between God and mankind. It's like a tree falling down on a telephone line; the link that man had with the Lord was severed. The problem being was that man was holding the axe that felled the tree.

Sin brought death, another aberration. Man was not created to suffer separation from God, which is what death is. Separation from God was the natural penalty for sin, Genesis 3:22; Isaiah 59:1-2. Since the Bible clearly teaches that God is life and has life in Himself, then being separated from God causes spiritual death. To pass from this life in such a state (separated from God) results in permanent separation. That is the nature of what the Bible terms "the second death," Revelation 21:8. Man is born in a sinful state inherited from his ancestors, and is likewise a sinner by choice. Recall the concept of the computer program making a copying error? Many generations later, genetically speaking, we see the physical results of sin's presence astoundingly clearly. Cancer, AIDS, STD's, miscarriages, etc show the human body's capability for error. This was not always so, and may partly explain the massive longevity of our earliest ancestors, Genesis chapter 5.

Romans chapter 8 strongly intimates that when Adam sinned that the universe suffered the consequences, since he was entrusted with the stewardship of God's physical creation, Romans 8:19-22. The scientific laws of thermodynamics agree with this assessment. Paul writes that the creation was subject to corruption, and as time transpires it waxes worse and worse. The laws of Thermodynamics state that the universe is slowly winding down and the quality of its existence is diminishing. It is going from a highly ordered state (in the past) to a state of greater entropy or chaos. This agrees with the Biblical cosmology of the universe.

We don't want to submit; we don't want to obey; we don't want to admit that we are sinners in need of grace. We are proud creatures. In essence we sentence ourselves there because God already paid for our sins in Christ when our Lord died on the cross in our stead. Yes Christ makes the exclusive claim that He alone provides salvation, John 14:6. This statement by default makes all other faith claims religious impostors if Christ is in fact God and only capable of speaking truth. His warnings are from love; they are not meant to condemn the followers of world religions, but to spare and save them from a fate they do not have to embrace. Christ died for the lost, of which we were all at one point. Yet if that person ignores the Lord and continues on his way then he also accepts the consequences for seeking his own way to eternal life when Christ offered freely the only viable means of receiving both pardon and immortality.

God willing, I will continue with this brief study at a later time. I pray that it is fruitful and thought-provoking. God bless.

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Ian.

    I especially enjoyed your analogy of a the computer malfunctioning. I once tried one of the speech recognition programs. When it didn't recognize what was said, it formed something that sounded similar to what it thought it heard. If not corrected immediately, it then accepted it as correct and would use that phrase again. Sometimes it was hard for me to recognize what I'd been saying if I didn't catch the error right away. We do the same thing.

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  2. Excellent post, Ian! It takes a foolishly misplaced faith to believe in evolution -- that order could spontaneously form from chaos, and that something could arise from nothing.

    Any compromise with the truth so clearly laid out in Genesis begins a slide down the slippery slope -- if we don't accept 6 literal days for God's creation, why should we accept the death, burial and resurrection? Scientific theories come and go, but the Word is eternal and unchanging, and God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

    Thanks again for this illuminating post, and God bless,

    Laurie

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