Creative Creationists

Published on Author Christopher Fahey33 Comments
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I’ve always wanted to believe that rational scientific thought and creative/artistic thinking are not just incompatible, but that they are in fact closely linked. Both in my personal art projects and in my professional work as an interaction designer, artistry and science have always gone hand in hand. My peers and friends generally share this view, too, with most of the people I know having a nearly-equal level of interest in and understanding of both the sciences and the arts.

As a result of my prejudice, I typically think of designers and artists as people who are also deeply interested in science and technology. And I generally assume that artists and designers are naturally resistant to irrational or faith-based thinking.

So in reading about the recently-opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky — where visitors are shown absurd dioramas illustrating dinosaurs living side-by-side with humans in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago — I was struck by the New York Times’ gallery of photographs of the people who actually built the exhibits.

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Cast your eyes over to the right and you will see earnest young women and men who appear to be painting, sculpting, and architecting scientific displays. They look like the kinds of researchers you might see working on a university-sponsored archaeological dig, or like paleontologists assembling fossils in a Natural History museum exhibit. They look like smart and talented people. Which they almost certainly are when it comes to their artistic skills.

There’s just one problem: They are all idiot creationists.

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It’s painful to be reminded in such a stark way that designers and artists — and creative people in general — have long been perceived by the general public as irrational fuzzy-thinkers with a deep-rooted hostility towards science and technology. This is, in fact, the dominant stereotype, and it sucks to be reminded how much the stereotype is rooted in truth. Much like the stereotypical hippies protesting modernity by sculpting and painting at a 1960’s artist colony, these fresh-faced young creationist artisans combine genuine artistic talent with a profound level of ignorance or even hostility when it comes to science.

My last post discussed the intersection of fascism and artistic skill. While I am not equating Christian fundamentalism with fascism, they do share a devotion to irrational cultish thinking even as they attract creative talent to their ranks. The paradox is similar — how is it that artistic talent can co-exist with such irrational thinking?

Creativity is for Dummies

Futurist thinker Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and author of the excellent book “How Buildings Learn” has for many years been collaborating with Danny Hillis on a project called The Clock of the Long Now, which is described as “a monument scale, multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long term thinking”. When I had a chance to ask Brand if he thought that the clock was “art”, he emphatically denied it, expressing a palpable disgust for the very idea. I got the feeling that, to Brand, the term “art” degraded his project by equating it with what many perceive to be emotional/spiritual/expressive/touchy-feely things like sculpture, drawing, and painting. He sees himself as a rationalist, opposed to artsy-fartsy thinking.

I was disappointed that Brand would think this way. To me it’s just as bad when artists disavow the sciences as it is when scientific thinkers disavow the arts. To my thinking, Brand is an artist to the bone and I wish he would admit it instead of dumbly reinforcing the artificial wall between art and science.

There is a divide in this world, but it is between irrational and rational thinking, not between art and science.

Commercial Creativity

Interestingly, conservatives who work in creative fields or who have an interest in the arts have long resented this stereotype. I’ve personally known Christian fundamentalist commercial artists who felt completely alienated from their professional peers because of their beliefs. Religious conservatives resent Hollywood for its pervasive secular and atheist thought, and they have in recent years been producing show-business multimedia productions that rival Hollywood’s in size, artistry, and technical skill (see Alexandra Pelosi’s HBO documentary Friends of God for an overview of the evangelical entertainment industry. Here’s a nice YouTube clip about Creationism from the movie).

The artisans working at the Creation Museum are, in fact, not on loan from the Museum of Natural History or from the National Geographic Society at all. No, the Creation Museum’s exhibit director used to work at Universal Studios creating replicas of the fictional worlds in the movies.

So maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on these nice young people. Maybe they’re not dumb, but merely mercenary. Perhaps, to these craftspeople, the Creationist Museum is simply another kind of science fiction movie set. Another day, another fantasy to depict.

33 Responses to Creative Creationists

  1. I suspect that mercenary might even be too harsh. If, for example, the exhibit director has a family and is out of work (or gets a considerably better job offer from the Creation Museum), they might just be following the work.

    I do agree that there is an unnecessary and artificial wall between art and science. I would point to Legos as a strong example of an activity that uses both science and art.

  2. @SirNuke: I dont think “mercenary” is too harsh a term to describe working for people who espouse something you think is morally and factually wrong. I would never, ever, ever work for anything like the Creation Museum. These people are either true beleivers or they are mercenaries. There’s no middle ground, I think.

  3. Do we know that those that worked on this project aren’t ‘True Believers’?

    Furthermore, why is it that only secular scientists are the ‘True Scientists’ and anyone else’s opinion, whether based on scientific inquiry or religious dogma can be immediately dismissed on the basis that it doesn’t agree with what the established scientific community knows is true?

    Humanists can be every bit as narrow-minded as Christians / Muslims / Hindus etc etc etc

  4. I believe that you’ll find that historically speaking some of the greatest minds in art, science, and design have been ‘idiot creationists’.

    As someone who has long sought to fight the anti-intellectualism so prevalent in Christian circles entries like this cut me deep. I can speak first hand of the alienation that often occurs while wanting to learn all I can about web development and design, and hopefully be a contributing member of the community some day. Between defending rational and reasonable arguments for my faith to skeptics, and exhorting and encouraging my fellow believers to start being more rational and reasonable…it is no wonder I don’t feel like I fit in.

    The only thing that I can offer, is my experience and my mind. It seems to me, however, that people are not willing to actually be free-thinkers on either side of the argument when they make unqualified, gross generalizations about one another in contexts outside of appropriate settings for such weighty philosophical discussion.

    I love to argue about and defend my faith. I also love science, design, and a whole lot of other subjects. I just wish that the people I admire in design, development, and related industries that I find stimulating had not received such a souring impression from others about the beliefs that I hold.

    There is nothing I would like more than to hear from others about this though, so if you have comments, criticism, or just want to vent please feel free to email me: lukedary at hotmail dot com

  5. Christianity is “devoted to irrational cultish thinking?” That’s pretty inciendiary language. While I agree that science and rational thought should not be the enemy that some (and I stress *some*) Christian fundamentalists make it out to be, painting all of Christianity with such a wide brush seems just as unfounded and irrational as the thing you seem to be railing against.

    There are many Christians who do subscribe to scientific ideas and rational thought, and who believe that faith and science can co-exist. So I ask you: is everyone who believes in Creation an idiot?

  6. @Christopher
    What if the museum director has a family and has been out of a job for 6 months? Bills are pilling up, the temp hourly job at where ever isn’t bringing in enough cash, and they get a good offer from this ‘museum’. I personally wouldn’t blame them for taking the job in that circumstance.

    My point, however, isn’t that the museum director shouldn’t be faulted for this atrocity, but that we shouldn’t perform an online tar and feathering without sufficient knowledge of the circumstances of their employment. I do note that Universal Studios Florida is an amusement park, not a movie studio, so the director is likely either a creationist or a mercenary.

    Note that this creationism ‘museum’ is certainly not the first (see Wikipedia [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creationist_museums ]).

  7. While I think there is nothing at all wrong with anybody believing in god and holding their faith-based principles close to their heart, I have a HUGE problem with people trying to indoctrinate other’s into their faith. This is especially so when it is done belligerently.

    The whole point of things like the Creationist Museum is to affect the “debate” and fool more people into believing the Christian faith over logically verifiable science. Things like the Creationist Museum have nothing to do with one’s own personal faith, or the legitimacy of that faith — they are a tool to affect a cultural shift — they are quite literally a cultural weapon in an illogical faith-based war against rational thought.

  8. Since I haven’t posted in a while, I will respond to everyone who’s posted so far.

    @Rob Weychert: Yep, that’s a similar thing. Only I’d disagree in one respect: While I basically think the NRA is a bad thing, I do not think that they are irrational to nearly the same degree that Creationists are. I am far more comfortable with the idea of creatives being political conservatives than with the idea of creatives being psychotic fundamentalists. Thanks for the link.

    @Matt Turner: It sounds like you are saying that Science and Religion are equally valid ways of looking at the world. They are not. Religion cannot predict natural phenomenon, while science can. That’s one (pardon the pun) fundamental difference. If you define scientific truth as that which can predict future results of natural phenomenon, religion just doesn’t measure up and has to be dismissed by rational people. Creationism is irrational.

    @Luke: Cheers to you for trying to bridge this unneccessary divide without compromising your appreciation for the essential qualities of both sides.

    @jared: Please re-read my post. I was clearly and explicitly referring to “Christian fundamentalists”, not Christianity. (Why is it that no matter how painstakingly critics of fundamentalism try to differentiate fundies from mainstream religious people, they still get accused of generalizing the whole religion? Do mainstream religious people feel an unconscious affinity with the fundies, or is the subject just so touchy that reading comprehension is diminished? If I were a mainstream religious person, I’d be soooo mad at the fundies for giving all religious people a bad reputation.)

    @SirNuke: Well, let’s just hope you and I don’t ever find ourselves in a position where we have to choose between making insane propaganda and feeding our families.

    @dehfne: I hope I misunderstood, but he was pretty emphatic about it. For what it’s worth, Brian Eno also designed the Windows 95 default sound scheme, and I doubt Bill Gates would call Windows art either.

    @Dan: Creationists would say the same about us, though — that we are pushing our “beliefs” on them. To me, it is about their specific beliefs: They believe something that is irrational in the face of modern understandings of how things are. They basically do not believe in science itself. Like other fundamentalists, they simply want us all to live in the 4th century. I agree with your sentiment, though, insofar as the method and aesthetic the Creationist Museum uses to indoctrinate visitors into their Iron-Age mind-set is by emulating modern science. They dress up their faith in the garments of science in order to appear legitimate to a culture of confused people who might otherwise gravitate towards logical, rational thinking.

  9. If I’m not mistaken, don’t traditional museums base their exhibits on actual archaeological finds (so as not mixing animals from the Triassic era with those of the Jurassic)? In line with this, if the Creation Museum is replacing archeology (or maybe they aren’t – how else would they know to include dinosaurs?) strictly based on biblical texts, wouldn’t there need to be mention of dinosaurs and what-not in the bible for them to be able to exhibit them in the museum? I do recall bible passages such as “and the Lion shall Lay Down with the Lamb” but I’m still looking for the one that reads “and the Eozostrodon shall Lay Down with the Edaphosaurus” ;)

  10. This reminds of a recent encounter I had an Austin, TX, the oasis of blue in a sea of red.

    I was talking to my apartment building super while he was fixing a leak in my wall. He asked my about my background, I asked him about his. We talked about the differences in generation between he and I and how we each grew up in different circumstances but shared very similar values: hard work, discipline, a sense of humor, empathy, compassion. We then came to the same conclusion about how material-obsessed the current generation is and how nobody is saving money anymore. That led us into a lengthy discussion of the economy and how we both thought that the chasm between social classes was inevitably going to get deeper, and that countries like China were going to skyrocket while the U.S. was on a long decline.

    We came to a natural pause in the flow of conversation and in that moment I was thinking how cool and easy it was to talk to intelligent people in Austin vs. New York City and then I thought I should say something else to quash the silence.

    Before I could utter a word he says to me, “Well we really don’t have to worry because the rapture will just take of everything.”

    How does one respond to that particular curveball? I didn’t really know what the hell to say to that. So I didn’t say anything. I guess the odd look on my face implied to him that he should get off topic.

    Upon reflection, I realized that I shouldn’t be so surprised. Most people on this planet can successfully process dangerous and silly contradictions in their brains all day, and still lead productive and ethical lives.

    I just don’t feel like talking to them all that much.

  11. I didn’t mean that religious beliefs specifically vs scientific beliefs should be given equal comparison, I meant scientific beliefs and ideas from scientists with all kinds of religious backgrounds.

    Of course the idea goes that a ‘creationist scientist’ is some kind of misnomer because someone that takes the bible (or other religious text) seriously can’t because a proper scientist because they’re illogical.

    The point of view from creationists (full disclaimer – i am one) is that secular scientist reach their scientific ideas and beliefs through a humanistic interpretation of the world. E.g, we know we can discount creationism, not just because the belief is ‘irrational’ but because we KNOW there isn’t a god.

    Secondly and more generally, secular scientists won’t accept anything supernatural (perhaps ‘ghosts’ are an exception, lots of people seem interested in doing experiments at so called haunted mansions). Anyway, the point is that scientists won’t accept anything supernatural, because it is by definition outside of the remit of science.

    What I feel though, is that many scientists refuse to believe that science does not encompass everything in the universe with an explanation. And if there’s not a natural explanation then it doesn’t exist. That, to me, seems irrational.

  12. Matt Turner wrote:
    Anyway, the point is that scientists won’t accept anything supernatural, because it is by definition outside of the remit of science.

    Lots of scientists beleive in supernatural and religious things. Did you know that? Most scientists believe in God, even. But they do NOT call those beliefs “science”. Creationism is called a pseudo-science because it does not meet any definition of science, not because (as you suggest) the people who subscribe to it believe in God. Creationism is not falsifyable, it does not predict future outcomes, it lacks internal logical consistency, etc — it does not do what science’s rules say science must do, therefore it is not a science.

    Supernaturalism has no place within science because the supernatural, by definition, defies *all* explanation. One could argue, with just as much authority and scientific validity as Creationists argue their beleifs, that the whole universe was created 5 minutes ago by God, and that our brains were simply pre-loaded (by God) with memories of the past. You can argue anything you want if you forego the rules of science. Science only deals with stuff that fits its rules, everything else it leaves alone. Science does not address questions of spirituality or religion because science deliberately sets limits on itself.

    If you accept that science does not try to explain the unexplainable, which I accept, then can you not also accept that religion does not and should not attempt to explain the explainable? In my mind, creationism is an ethical and moral atrocity in every way, because (a) it lies about being a science and (b) it defiles the sacred mysteries of religion by injecting patently man-made explanations into a spiritual belief system.

    But most of all, I object to creationism because it wants us all to think that it is a type of science when in fact is not (as you yourself have said), and as a result it undermines science itself. Can you imagine if other sciences accepted the idea that “God said so” is an okay explanation? If the people who make our medicines, vehicles, and infrastructure didn’t work within a system where “facts” are not accepted until they meet science’s specific criteria, we would all be dead in days. If we accept creationism as science, we undermine modernity itself and risk losing everything we’ve gained in the fields of medicine, biology, psychology, geology, physics, and everything else that relies on science to distinguish between dangerous and sloppy research and accurate, safe, and reliable scientifically-based research.

    Do you really beleive that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago? Or do you merely think that God created the universe in ways that we can’t fathom, but that generally science is right about the timelines. Because if you think the latter, you’re clearly spritually- and philosophically-minded but technically not a literal creationist and you do not necessarily pose the threat to modernity that I fear. If you are a “6,000 year” type creationist, I’m frankly pretty frightened by you.

  13. Sorry to disappoint / frighten but I believe in creation literally as opposed to philosophically.

    To respond to a few of your points-
    “Creationism doesn’t make predictions about the future” Well, Creationism itself doesn’t, but Christian philosophy does make predictions about science and the [metaphysical] future. In fact, some of the great scientific discovery’s were made because the scientists behind them believed in God, and that if God is rational then it follows that his creation (what we study in science) is too. Newton, to name the most obvious example, believed in God and creation. So Christian scientists believe that there is a rational order that is discoverable in all facets of the world.

    Now, I readily accept that just because famous scientists or even any scientists believe in God and even literal creation it doesn’t make it any more true. Of course the same is true of evolution. Just because famous people, or even more people believe it doesn’t make any difference to whether it’s true or not.

    “If you accept that science does not try to explain the unexplainable, which I accept, then can you not also accept that religion does not and should not attempt to explain the explainable?”

    And what if science explains something for which in reality, there isn’t a natural explanation?

    Anyway, no, I can’t. Religion isn’t just about ‘blind faith’. Christianity as I see it has always been a rational as well as mystical thing. When I became a Christian it wasn’t just some ‘leap of faith’, if I didn’t think it made any sense then I wouldn’t have become one. If a religion can’t be at the very least defended as rational (even if some disagree with that defense) and is solely mystical or supernatural, then what value does it have (except for possibly morals)?

    In defense of the rationality of holding the biblical position on creation, a lot of the ‘evidence’ that is examined by scientists who believe different theories is the same evidence but approached with different preconceptions. E.g. the fossil record – it’s there for sure but interpretations are not the same. Carbon dating is measuring isotopes for sure, but the assumptions of past variables that impinge on those isotopes are not the same.

    If you work back through a family tree and extrapolate going back, you see we get back to one ancestor in around 7000 year The ‘evidence’ is there, the interpretation of who those ancestors were are not the same.

    If you want a pseudo science then try ‘Intelligent Design’. Creationism is not anti-intellectual (unfashionable perhaps). Interpreting evidence to fit the model of special creation is no less scientific than interpreting evidence to fit the model of the big bang. It just brings the philosophical part of the equation closer to planet earth. I will grant you that the origin of Creation as it is in the Genesis account was not from a scientist (Moses) as opposed to Evolution or the Big Bang (Darwin / Hubble). But if you consider it, then as has been proven (just never in the mind of the people that believe the opposite), it can be backed up with scientific inquiry without being an original scientific theory.

    Allow me to ask you if I may, do you believe there is more to life than atoms (or strings.. or quantum mechanics etc)?

  14. And what if science explains something for which in reality, there isn’t a natural explanation?

    Science does not even pretend to do that.

    Allow me to ask you if I may, do you believe there is more to life than atoms (or strings.. or quantum mechanics etc)?

    There may be, but I don’t feel bad about the fact that I will never be sure about either the stuff that science explains nor the stuff that science does not pretend to explain. In fact, I have a deep appreciation of the fact that so many questions will be forever unanswered. Even as science asks questions eternally, it is content to know that there will always always always be many questions, huge questions, which remain mysterious. I find that beautiful.

    Science admits to its limits. Creationism, and indeed religion in general, does not admit to any limits. I appreciate the humility of science.

  15. My point about science exlaining something for which in reality there isn’t a natural explanation isn’t that it pretends to, but that it happens by accident, and once a theory is born it is believed science can solve that problem.

    Religions may offer a more comprehensive worldview than science but Christianity at least, admits limits and unexplainables – “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness…”

    I think both science and religion can be guilty of false humility. If science is so humble why is it so demeaning of those that don’t agree with it? Especially ignorant non-scientist creatoinist people that step on their toes and say evolution is wrong. Surely it is at least conceivable that science is wrong, not just a bit wrong but on some things completely wrong?

    Naturally creationists are guilty of this too. Anything containing the word evolution is sadly automatically scoffed at. Even though aspects of it, such as natural selection, are readily observable.

    However, ‘atoms to man’ evolution will never be a cogent theory to my mind because the evidence isn’t there. If the evidence is there and so conclusive, then the BBC wouldn’t have to headline a ‘missing link found’ article every six months or so!

    I’ll make a scientific prediction about the future – as time goes on, excluding our external influence through science and medicine, the human organism will devolve. We have not reached the pinacle of evolution, we were at it once some 6000 years ago and have been in decline ever since.

  16. “we were at it once some 6000 years ago and have been in decline ever since”

    Wow. I’d sure like to see the evidence for that one. Where are those perfect specimens of humanity-past of which you speak?! You’re not even trying to present a cogent argument, just throwing random things out there, hoping it’ll stick.

    “I think both science and religion can be guilty of false humility. If science is so humble why is it so demeaning of those that don’t agree with it?”

    Science is not demeaning of those that don’t agree with it. Scientists aren’t afraid of being proven wrong but instead foster a community of peer review and open discourse. One of the great things about the scientific community is that it is intellectually rigorous — if a better theory is found, that theory is advanced because it is the best available, and most verifiable. What science and scientists are demeaning of is garbage that seeks to pretend that it is verifiable. If you want to challenge science or a specific scientific theory, you need more facts, not more righteousness.

    Religion and faith have nothing to do with scientific validity. Religion is a set of personal beliefs. Just because your book says we were created 6000 years ago does not mean that it is true. In fact, you should talk with some of the people in other parts of the world who have their own books which propose different faith-based time lines of human creation. If we’re going off of pure religious faith here, who’s to say that they’re book is the correct one? The answer is that you can’t because all you have to go off of is your personal faith which is scientifically unverifiable and may have more to do with your personal need to explain the universe and feel comfortable within all of the many as of yet unanswered questions than anything else.

  17. Very well put Dan. Of course this is my personal belief, what I was trying to say is that although it doesn’t agree with mainstream science, I don’t think it’s completely based on ‘personal faith’ either. To put it another way, I don’t feel like an idiot, mystic or even narrowminded fundamentalist (i’m not a fundamentalist in the american sense of the word) believing in creation.

    While I understand that there is a scientific community and theories are not only born, but improved, refined and changed by mutual criticism there is a not completely insiginificant number of scientsts who are christians that believe the creation as a theory is a better match for the evidence than evolution.

    Of course, creation isn’t a scientific theory like evolution. But because it totally rejects, as opposes to challeneging some aspect of the accepted theory of evolution, it is usually dismissed out of hand by the greater scientific community.

    And with regards to perfec human specimens – where are the millions of intermediary fossils between species? Both sides of the argument would say the ‘evidence’ is there – it is – it’s just interpreted differently depending on the point of view (in this instance humanist vs christian).

    That’s one reason I don’t like the ‘theory’ of intelligent design: at least creationists, and a good number of evolutionists accept that they’re not totally objective and impartial!

    Anyway, sorry to ambush the comments, do we know after all that whether those that worked on the exhibitions held the convictions of the museum or not?

  18. @Matt Turner: if some Noah’s Ark canid evolved, post-deluge, into today’s foxes, wolves, and domestic dogs (which is what the smarter creationists argue these days, since no boat could possibly fit all animal species), then where are the remains of the intermediate animals between this alleged Canis Deluvius and today’s modern Canis lupus familiaris? The doggie bones in question would be, what, 5,000 years old? You’re asking for intermediate fossils for species that existed only briefly (in geological terms) millions of years ago, and yet you are willing to overlook the non-existence of similar intemediate bones from mere thousands of years ago.

  19. Yes, on the basis that you’re talking about [the Canine family] natural selection [micro evolution] – which can happen rapdily.

    I’m talking about the fossils between species [macro evolution] – for all species. You know, the evolution which is supposed to have required millions of years (and yet even evolutionsists have to explain the apparently lack of time required for many species to evolve with the ‘cambrian explosion’). If most of the species at some point evolved from another one, over millions of years, then there should be lots of examples. Not a few dozen could be’s.

    I believe that the normal creationist response to this would be that typically when an animal dies (e.g. our dogs) they don’t fossilize, they decompose. The majority of fossils we have today, including things that couldn’t fossilize over a long period of time – jellyfish, fish eating other fish, fish giving birth etc were not caused by a cambrian explosion or long periods of time but by the flood (e.g. Noah’s Ark’s flood). This is also why most creationists believe the flood was global, as recorded.

    (Side Note: Yes, the idea that most fossils form quickly is indeed contradictary to the idea that if evolution happened slowly there should be lots of examples of it. I’m not saying fossils never form slowly, and that being the case if there is millions of years worth of evolution there should be something a bit more than there is today.)

    Anyway, I don’t want to get into a complete argument over specifics. I’m doubt anything I said was in the least bit convincing to you- my point is that creationists are not complete morons who put their brains on hold when it comes to science because they believe the Bible. The biblical account of creation is rationally defendable if you’re prepared to admit the possibility that God exists and could have done it. If that’s an unacceptable possibility to you, then there is really no alternative to believe about the start of our universe and how man came to be except evolution.

  20. The biblical account of creation is rationally defendable if you’re prepared to admit the possibility that God exists and could have done it.

    By “admit the possibility” you mean “accept as fact” — because otherwise, all of the theories you discuss regarding creation and the flood might equally ‘rationally’ be explained by alternate theories involving aliens, Zeus, the famous Giant Spaghetti Monster, or even me sitting here playing around with my computer… and I doubt that you are prepared to give those theories equal footing with the Biblical account. You are basically saying that a core axiom of the whole superstructure of creation theory is the existence of a supernatural entity, something that cannot be proven or disproven scientifically. And if you accept that, you have discarded scientific thought and moved into the realm of faith. And at that point anything is ‘rationally’ defendable.

    The Biblical account of creation isn’t even internally consistent from one page to another, by the way. Were Adam and Eve created at the same time or not? Was Adam created before plants or after plants? Genesis, like most of the Bible, is a logical mess, really, and can hardly be part of any theoretical infrastructure that claims to be “rational”.

  21. And the core axiom of evolutionary theory is the big bang. No one really has an answer, scientific or otherwise, as to what was before the big bang. If it was the start or just part of a cycle, if it was a cycle when did it start etc etc.

    I suppose you could say that is fairer than creationism because you’re admiting that you just don’t know as opposed to providing an answer that is solely based on ‘faith’.

    Either way they both reach ‘unknowables’. Creationism reaches it sooner (e.g. we don’t understand how God did it) but names a first cause.

    Evolution at least tries to answer the question of ‘in the beginning’ but doesn’t seriously try to answer anything before that or a first cause.

    The ‘evidence’ that is out there IMO strongly supports the view that the world was created in situ as it where. I can also see how it can support the theory of evolution.

    Just because God cannot be proven or disproven scientifically doesn’t mean that the idea of the act of creation itself cannot be defended rationally.

    If I said there was Spaghetti Monster and he created the world in a pan of primieval spahgetti, then I would find it hard to rationally defend that. But even though you try to place God and creation on the same level it’s not, because the creation part can be rationally defended – it fits the evidence (even if you believe evolution fits it better).

    I don’t believe Genesis is a logical mess at all. If you haven’t read it already then AIG has a pretty good summation of why there isn’t a disagreement between Ch 1&2 here http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i4/genesis.asp

    It’s not that i’m anti intellectual, rational or scientific. I quite happily ackknowledge natural selecition. It’s just for me I see the Creation story as set down in the Jewish religion as a better explanation of why we’re here – even considering the evidence (by which i mean the material world as we observe it) compared to evolution. But i’m not a Rationalist (capital R), I believe there is more to life than what is material, and furthermore that it is knowable. To quote the title of a book by Francis Schaeffer – He is there and He is not silent.

  22. My favorite theory (not that I beleive it, but I find it compelling) is that the Bible is literally true but that, in creating the universe, God did so in such a way that it the best way for us to ultimately understand and appreciate the wonderfulness of the thing he made would be for us to first invent the scientific method, and then for us to create new sciences and theories such as quantum theory and evolution. With these tools, we would then investigate the details of his creation… and in much the same way that Adam probably found rings in the trees in the Garden of Eden suggesting that the trees were older than the Earth itself, we are to this day finding evidence that the earth is millions of years old, that the universe is expanding, that the earth was spat out of the sun, etc. Our theories are as correct as they can be insofar as they actually work logically and help us make predictions about how practical sciences will operate. Our best scientific theories, no matter how much they may contradict the Bible, actually *work* — which is all science asks them to do. The beauty of this theory is that it does not contradict the Bible but it also does not undermine everything man has accomplished in the sciences. I think this theory is the only viable way for a person of faith to also be a person of logic. It’s far better than trying to twist your brain in knots trying to reconcile the Bible with the world we see around us. Perhaps the world that the Lord made is, in fact, unknowable except to the extent that we can do so using the terms and tools of the sciences we have worked so hard to cultivate.

    In Galileo’s treatise “The Authority of Scripture in Philosophical Controversies“, he says:

    Since the Holy Writ is true, and all truth agrees with truth, the truth of Holy Writ cannot be contrary to the truth obtained by reason and experiment. This being true, it is the business of the judicious expositor to find the true meaning of scriptural passages which must accord with the conclusions of observation and experiment, and care must be taken that the work of exposition do not fall into foolish and ignorant hands.

    … to command the professors of astronomy to confute their own observations is to enjoin an impossibility, for it is to command them not to see what they do see, and not to understand what they do understand, and to find what they do not discover.

    … It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved. The prohibition of astronomy would be an open contempt of a hundred texts of the Holy Scriptures, which teach us that the glory and the greatness of Almighty God are admirably discerned in all His works, and divinely read in the open book of the heavens.

    Galileo struggled with precisely the issue you and I are struggling with. But instead of denying what he sees (which is what you are asking hundreds of thousands of the world’s most learned scientists to do), he compares his observations with Scripture and asks himself “could my reading of Scripture be wrong?”

    It is the faithful person’s task to reconcile science and Scripture in a way that respects both. Creationism places Scripture above what we can see in “His works”, but is it not possible that *both* exist for human minds to interpret?

    Could it be that creationism’s interpretations of the Bible are *more* incorrect than science’s observations and interpretations of the universe around us? Surely the concrete world around us is far more measurable and verifyable than written words are. It may seem somehow wrong or heretical to de-prioritize Scripture, but if you think of it as being humble about your ability to accurately interpret scripture and being a little less humble about your ability to interpret the physical world around you, it is actually a pretty righteous ground to stand on.

  23. I do see your point. But when you consider the theories out there (i.e. creation – evolution) it’s evolution that does most violence to what the Bible plainly teaches.

    The scientific method.. wasn’t that invented by Francis Bacon? “There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”

    “It is the faithful person’s…”
    Faithful to what – truth, conscience, rationalism, empiricism, logical positivism?

    Christian scientists believe they are studying God’s creation ‘thinking God’s thoughts after him’. That has been the stance of famous scientists of the latter day. It is also the stance of a minority (although some are eminent) today. Prof. Stuart Burgess at Bristol university springs to mind. A friend of mine is an electromechanical engineering lecturer and researcher at Southampton University. They both understand and use the scientific method but they don’t accept the theory of evolution.

    I would just like to reiterate that most creationists do not reject all evolution. I personally understand and accept natural selection. It’s the area of macro evolution that I have a problem with. I accept species change, I don’t accept that fish become mammals… and then become aquatic mammals (so keen to get back in the water?), birds, repties etc etc.

    Also interesting is the recent interest in RNA (in the Economist anyway). To me the inside of cells is another example of the many ‘chicken and eggs’ in creation. DNA is decoded (by a process i won’t even pretend to really understand) by various protein ‘machines’, for want of a better term. Where is the information to make these machines stored? Yep, in the DNA. Which evolved first, the machine to read DNA, or the DNA? Come to think of it, how did information evolve…

    However ‘Evolve this!’ isn’t a valid argument against evolution. We’re just told that we don’t understand everything yet but we know the theory of evolution is correct so just keep quiet and wait until we understand the specifics.

    Just because most scientists believe in evolution and it’s a result of the scientific method doesn’t make it absolute truth. I believe that the majority of it is the product of science carried out on the basis of a godless philosophy. That is why scientists can still be scientists and christians without qualms. They’re using the same methods, but based on a christian philosphy? The believe that we have to make everything bend to science and scientific ‘truth’ is not scientific in itself, it’s scientism.

  24. I am a creationist, and after studying the differences between the two theories, I have found that the creation view makes more sense. When (micro) evolution happens, it always is in the opposite direction. If we were the result of evolution, we would have started as the highest being possible, working our way down to nothingness. This is only one of the interesting fact about the two different theories.

  25. It’s important to realize and accept the fact that many Christians are not creationists at all. Most Christians believe God created the universe, of course, but only a tiny minority thinks the Earth is actually 6,000 years old. Some Christians look at the physical world around us as one of God’s clear and deliberate messages to mankind. The world itself is God’s word, another “book” for us to read and interpret, just as much as the Bible is God’s word. In fact, maybe the physical world is intended to be a more authoritative source of insight than the Bible, since it’s far more likely that the words of the Bible, in the thousands of years man has been retelling them, copying them, and printing them, have been misremembered, miscopied, misprinted, deliberately altered, mistranslated, misinterpreted, or even completely lost by man — while it is pretty unlikely that man has changed managed to alter the “book of the world” very much. Have you ever wondered how much of the New Testament has been lost, hidden, or deliberately altered by the Roman Catholic Church during the thousand years it had exclusive and firm control over those texts?

    When you choose to believe the written word over the physical world’s version of the word, you are practicing a certain kind of immense pride yourself, I think, because you are putting greater priority on human stewardship of the word of God over what you can see with your own eyes. When you put faith in the written word, you are putting faith in thousands of years of human memory, copying skills, imperfect human translators, corrupt Popes, and much more. You are putting your trust, in short, in man. And because of this pride you may in fact be missing out on God’s true message to man, the message he has given us in the form of fossils, DNA, subatomic particles, and the configuration of the heavens. This is what Christians who are real scientists beleive: that nature itself, what we can see with our God-given eyes, is a far more authoritative view of God’s creation than what printed words can possibly tell us.

    In short, if the Bible and our own eyes disagree, we should believe our own eyes.

    I am not hostile to Christianity. I am hostile to any teaching that says that we are not permitted to believe our own eyes. Christianity, in fact, does not teach that we should not believe our own eyes. Men who call themselves Christians teach this. Creationism is, to me, faith in a particular group of human beings and their agendas rather than faith in God and His works, and that it is in fact antithetical to real spiritual faith.

  26. In short, if the Bible and our own eyes disagree, we should believe our own eyes.

    Wow, where to begin? Firstly, what we SEE WITH OUR OWN EYES. I’d say that scientifically, religiously and even related to evolution that statement doesn’t really make sense.

    Scientifically – Science is all about believing things we CAN’T see. Even pre-science people have believed in physical things that we can’t see. For example – the wind. No one has seen it but we all know it’s there.

    Of course the example of the wind also serves as a good illustration for religions things. Faith in God isn’t about disbelieving things you can see, it’s about believing things you can’t see.

    Evolution is not something anyone has seen. I’ll repeat that I don’t know many Christians who don’t accept natural selection. But, by definition macro evolution can’t be witnessesed and proven empirically (maybe if we start now?).

    Here’s some examples that to me show that evolutoin si given MORE importance than what we SEE with our eyes.

    If it wasn’t necessary to fit into the general theory of evolution would we really believe that animals started as marine life, somehow got on the land, and then that some, but not all of the mammals got back in the water?

    And what about flight? Avian flight isn’t just about wings and flapping – it’s about feathers, barbs, lungs, bone structure.

    Hmm.. maybe feathers originated as an insulating feature and were later adapted for flight. I mean, really? They’re not simple things! It’s not like there are a number of sequential steps between fluffy insulating material and flight enabling feathers. Each with tangential benefits to the creature. If you believe in evolution then you make it your mission to look for them because they must be there otherwise how did flight evolve? And of course that’s just birds, flight evolved 3 times in total.

    I guess you’re reading this shaking your head at my gross ignorance but I hope you see my point. It’s not what you see, it’s what you want to see. This IS true for creationists, admittedly, but it’s also true for evolutionists. Every bit as much. What we SEE doesn’t just leap out and say “i was created” or “I evolved”… “i’m 1000 years old” or “i’m 1 million years old” we interpret it. (and even if you believe in the creation because of the Bible, you can still interpret it via the Scientific Method as you mentioned in a previous comment to see if creation makes sense scientifically.)

    To deal with the Bible issue. I don’t believe the Bible contradicts what we see, because what I see confirms my belief in creation. Just like what you see confirms your belief in evolution.

    But if you then say that evolution is a better way to see it because it’s scientific, well then your ‘religion’ if I can put it that way is scientism. Having faith in science and beliving in the Bible (including creation) is not a paradox or somehow incompatible with reason. It’s just to accept that BOTH have their limitations to knowledge. Science is limited to say what happened in the past with regards to creation. If you don’t believe me look at this theory it’s come up with, it’s called ‘macro evolution’. (I jest, sorry) And the Bible is limited in explaining the natural world because it’s not a science text book. It’s a revelation of God’s plan of salvation, that happens to touch on science in places. (But, if you believe it’s Gods word, then where it touches on Science it should be correct… oh and the catholic church has nothing to do with it. There are several translations available today (King James, New International Version, English Standard Version and more) which are based on the majority, or all of the earliest manuscripts available. All free from Catholic influence.)

    For my in short. If the author of both (the Bible and of the natural world) as I believe he is, then I think the most logical thing for me to do is still believe in creation.

    I hope that doesn’t make me proud, it’s just what I see as the best explanation of where we are. It’s by no means impossible that I am wrong!

    P.S. When you put faith in terms of trusting particular mens interpretations of anything. Well yes, that’s true. But unless you’re one of those few people with truly brilliant and original ideas, that’s true of every single belief you hold. It is the believers responsibility to investigate and compare the claims of those that have gone before, or his own claims. Not to see what fits with the most popular trend in Science.

  27. When I write “eyes” I mean it metaphorically. I mean not just eyes, but all the senses, and more importantly I mean taking measurements, making calculations, using instruments, etc. It’s a metaphor for how science works — take measurements, derive theories from those measurements, use those theories to help make more measurements, and reject theories that prove impossible to actually use.

    We’re finding interim species every day. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack since we’re talking about billions of years and fossils are, for many species, nearly impossible to find, but we’re finding some. We’ve found insects with winglike gills, for example. And flightless dinosaurs with feathers.

    The actual manuscripts on which the KJV Bible are based were carefully chosen and maintained by Catholic monks for over a thousand years. Who knows how many early Christian texts exist in the Vatican whose doctrine contradicts Catholicism? Also, it’s not lke the early Protestants dug up new Hebrew or Greek scrolls from the Middle East to make today’s non Catholic Bibles — they simply re-translated the Catholic Bible, and (I think) took a couple of other known texts that were basically Catholic-approved and formalized them, too. In fact, all of the newly discovered non-Catholic Christian texts that have been unearthed since the Reformation have been rejected by Protestants anyway. This is crazy! It’s like you have found new material evidence, more credible than the evidence the Catholics gave you, predating it, describing Christ’s works and what his followers beleived, and yet you ignore it or reject it. My point is not to use Catholicism to discredit evangelical creationism, as everything I’ve said above also applies to the way Jewish and early Christian scholars manipulated the Old Testament, too, but rather to show that your whole world view is the product of blatant human manipulation, and that even within your view there is great dispute and logical inconsistency, making it a shaky foundation indeed to build a system to explain nature that rivals science’s test- (not text-) driven methodology.

  28. Yes, but like a lot of marketing research, the testing that’s being done is to affirm evolutionary belief.

    Take this article on flight evolution. It’s perfectly good and shows which theories can and cannot be tested.
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/flight/evolve.html

    But of course it’s presupposing evolution. The discover of natural selection by CD was scientific discovery. He observed, he recorded, he tested etc. But, in this readers opinion, everything after that was postulation. The postulation was accepted by some, who then and now look at everything in terms of macro evolution.

    When I look at the world with my eyes, senses, tests and measurements (not that I’m a scientist, but when I read new scientist or whatever) I’m still with creation.

  29. AUTHENTIC RECORD AND GEOLOGY SCIENTIS CAN’T CALCULATE THE AGE OF THE EARTH.
    The subject of evolution among those who understand it, must be aware that there is the danger of excessive subjectivity concerning one owns knowledge. This is not healthy, is a means of cultivating the mind with vain thoughts, and be fill with self examination. Is better, to be objective. The subject of evolution is easy to refute but difficult for man to apprehend. Evolution was a psychological, economical, sociological, political, philosophical, atheist; theory that have gotten into the kosmos( world system) is thought everywhere. This theory is having its end in a microscopic world. Darwin called cells and his follower’s genes or dna.
    Wiseman said: ‘even one who, like myself, has been for many years a convinced adherent of the theory of selection, can only reply: We assume so, but cannot prove it in any case. It is not upon demonstrative evidence that we champion the doctrine of selection as scientific truth; we base our arguments on quite other grounds’ (1870).
    Jacques Barzun In our century, said: Darwinism has triumphed as an orthodoxy, as a rallying point of innumerable scientific, philosophical, and social movements Mr. Darwin became the oracle, as Barzun suggests, and the Origin of Species the fixed point with which Evolution moved the world`(1930).
    Darwinism was accepted by eugenics which was Hitler idealism or dream, never accomplished in Germany but applied in North America, where is up to now working, nevertheless the biggest lied on humanity is ending microscopic world. Evolutionist as well those who support the design theory have fall into this category cells, DNA manipulation, little machines, it can get as little as the micro lenses can get. The fact is DNA manipulation does not exist. In plants where is the effects of manipulating a fruit plant by means of DNA? Why a blueberry is always small, big orange size would be nice. What about the clones like dolly, the fact is that never a clone has taken place.
    In the other hand Hawking and his theory that only get as far as the fact of the gap vers.2 of Gn. Chap 1 can get. Please pay attention to this.

    Rafael.
    Nee.
    We believe that the entire Bible is the Word of God, and every word of it is inspired. A very grievous thought in the mind of godly ones is that men have despised and opposed His Word. God’s children are grieved because men do not respect God’s statutes. Among the sixty-six books of the Bible, Genesis has been subjected to the most doubt. Those who oppose the Bible often try to overturn God’s clear revelation with geological ages and prehistoric discoveries. The evidences in geology prove to them that the earth has been in existence for tens of thousands of years, and that the record of six thousand years of history in the Bible is untrustworthy. In the name of science, the world hurls its attacks on the book of Genesis. Many dear brothers in the Lord are not that scholarly (the author being one of them) and become lost in this storm. Although geology does not form part of our meditation, for the benefit of all, we will study the Word of God by the Lord’s grace at the commencement of our meditation and will consider how perfect is His Word, so that we can silently behold His beauty in His presence. Genesis is God’s revelation, while geology is man’s invention. God knows the whole truth. As such, His revelation can never be wrong. Man only sees in part. As such, his conjectures are not accurate. When we place Genesis side by side with geology, we should follow Genesis and not geology, because it is God who stands behind Genesis. If there are any basic differences between Genesis and geology, the error must be on the side of geology. The authority of the Bible is undisputed. Everything that is contrary to the Bible is wrong. Thank God our Father that He has given us such a complete revelation. If there are any incompatibilities between God and man, we would rather give up man and accept God. If there is no incompatibility, should not feeble human beings all the more believe in the revelation from heaven? Men often laugh at the ridiculous stories of creation circulated among the Chinese, the Babylonians, and other countries. No scientist has to spend much effort to refute these myths. The reason is that there is not much weight to these traditions. This is why they have not attracted much attention. But men’s attitudes towards the Bible are very different. The very fact that they have tried their best to resist the Bible proves the power of the Bible. They cannot treat the Bible the same as the traditions of the nations because they have recognized the extraordinary nature of the Bible. All those who have read Genesis 1 cannot fail to marvel at the beauty of its record. How ordinary it is, yet how marvelous! It is a plain record and contains no theory or arguments to prove its authenticity. The writer of the book was not bound by the book, but was transcendent above its record. The true author of the book is the One who is far above the universe it describes—God. Had the recorder of the book, Moses, written this book according to his own learning and ideas, his thoroughly Egyptian-trained intellect would surely have been influenced by the Egyptian theory of creation. Yet who can detect a trace of Egyptian philosophy in Genesis 1? Why is this? It is because God was the One who inspired Moses to do the writing. Otherwise, how could Moses know that the land came out of the water? This is, of course, a fact established by geology and is a modern discovery. Had Moses not been inspired, it would be difficult to explain this fact. As to the development of life on earth, although the Bible does not support the theory of evolution, it does not altogether reject the fact that there was a progression. First, there were aquatic organisms, and then there was man. Would not a scientist marvel at the record of Moses? The omniscient God must surely have given inspiration according to facts; those who were inspired by such an omniscient God cannot be in error. Yet the Bible is not a textbook of science. Its goal is to guide sinners “unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Nevertheless, the Bible does not contain any scientific errors. If there are any contradictions with science, it is either a misinterpretation of the Scripture or a misjudgment of science. Many of the definitive statements by geologists in the past have been overturned! Many of their assertions have been proven wrong. Cummings said, “Geology has made mistakes in the past. It is possible that it will be wrong again. The hasty and loud assertions by those who are not too familiar with its theories may be proved inaccurate again.”Since the Bible is not a science textbook, it only mentions the “what’s” of creation without mentioning the “whys.” Science is interested in the “whys.” Of course, in many cases it is successful in doing this. But one must not overturn the “what’s” with theoretical “whys” just because man’s finite mental research has come into conflict with God’s record. What God said are the facts because He knows everything. If the world wants to study what God has said and why He has said it, it must not hold on to its own ideas while rejecting God’s authority. It is a good thing to have wisdom, but there is one kind of foolishness which is more blessed. Among Christians, there is a popular theory that Genesis 1:1 is a kind of general introduction, and that the work of the six days is actually an expansion of the record of verse 1. In other words, they consider the words “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” as merely a subject of Genesis 1. They say that in the first sentence the writer wrote down a summary of what he was about to say, after which he went at length into an explanation of this sentence. After telling us that God created the heaven and the earth, Genesis goes on to tell us the condition of the earth after creation, and how He created light, air, the land, the plants, and the animals day by day. This popular theory considers Genesis 1 as a record of the creation of the universe, and that the universe was created out of desolation. If we study the first chapter of the Bible carefully, we will see the error in this supposition! This erroneous supposition, not the Bible itself, has put the church into a great debate with the world. This supposition gives men the excuse to say that Genesis is incompatible with geology and casts doubts in the minds of many young people concerning the accuracy of the Bible. In Hebrew, the original language, there are altogether seven words in Genesis 1:1. Each of these seven words has independent meanings. God’s inspired record does not say that at the beginning of time, God molded the heavens and the earth into being, or that He made them out of some elements. It says that the heavens and the earth were created. How clear is the word created! To create is to make something out of nothing; it is to create something out of void. It is not to make something out of some existing elements. The word create is Bara in the original language. “In the beginning , God Bara the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The word Bara is used three other times in Genesis 1 and 2: (1) “And God created (Bara) great whales, and every living creature that moved, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (v. 21). (2) “So God created (Bara) man in his own image” (v. 27a). (3) “In it he had rested from all his work which God created (Bara) and made” (2:3b).To create is to make something out of nothing. The great whales and every living creature do not have an outward body only, but a life-element within them. The only way that this can be done is through God’s direct work of creation. This is why it says that God created the great whales and every living creature (1:21). There is a very good reason for the Bible to say “created” instead of “made.” In the same way, although man’s body was made from the dust, 2:7 tells us that man has a spirit and a soul which cannot be made from any physical material. This is why the Bible says that God created man according to His own image. In Genesis 2 there are three words for the act of creation: (1) Bara, which means to make something out of nothing. We have covered this briefly. (2) Asah, which means to make. This word is very different from the first. Bara is to make something out of nothing, while asah means that there is some raw material first, and then something is made out of the raw material. A carpenter can make a chair, but he cannot create a chair. In describing most of the work during the six days, this word is used. (3) Yatsar, which means to complete, has the sense of a potter molding a piece of clay into shape. This is the word used for formed in 2:7. Isaiah 43:7 shows the relationship between these three words: “Everyone who is called by my name, / whom I have created, formed, and even made for my glory.” To create is to make something out of nothing, to form is to mold into shape, and to make is to work from some material. Genesis 1:1 uses the word Bara. The phrase in the beginning is a further proof that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. There is no need of any hypothesis. Since God has said this, man should believe. If man wants to fathom God’s work in the beginning with his finite mind, he will only expose his own presumptuousness! “By faith we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God” (Heb. 11:3). Furthermore, who can answer God’s challenge to Job concerning the creation? God created the heaven and the earth in the beginning. The heaven does not refer to the heaven that surrounds our earth but rather to the heaven of the stars. This “heaven” has not changed since the creation of the universe. Although the heaven has never changed, the condition on earth has changed! If we want to understand Genesis 1, it is very important to differentiate between the earth in verse 1 and the earth in verse 2. The condition of the earth in verse 2 was not the condition at the beginning of God’s creation. In the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, His creation was perfect. God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, the condition of void and confusion in verse 2 was not the original condition at the time of God’s creation. How could God possibly have created an earth that was void and without form? We can answer this question by reading one verse alone. “For thus says Jehovah, / Who created the heavens— / He is the God / Who formed the earth and made it; / He established it; / He did not create it waste, / But He formed it to be inhabited: / I am Jehovah and there is no one else” (Isa. 45:18). How clear this is! The word waste in this verse is the same as the word without form in Genesis 1:2, which thou are in Hebrew. Unfortunately, translators of the Bible have not used the same word in both places. “He did not create it [the earth] without form.” Why then does Genesis 1:2 say that “the earth was without form”? It is easy to find the solution. In Genesis 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth that God created then was not void and without form. Later there was a cataclysm, and the earth became without form and void. Verse 3 does not refer to the original creation, but to a restored earth. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and then during the six days, He re-created the world. The world in Genesis 1:1 was the original world, while the world in 1:3 is our present world. Genesis 1:2 describes the transitional condition of desolation after the initial world and prior to our present world. We do not base our explanation on Isaiah 45:18 alone (even though Isaiah 45:18 alone is sufficient as a proof). We have other evidences. According to Bible scholars, in Hebrew the first word in verse 2 is a conjunction, which should be translated as and. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void.”The “and,” according to Hebrew usage—as well as that of most other languages—proves that the first verse is not a compendium of what follows, but a statement of the first event in the record.
    For if it were a mere summary, the second verse would be the actual commencement of the history, and certainly would not begin with a copulative. A good illustration of this may be found in the fifth chapter of Genesis (Gen. 5:1). There the opening words, “This is the book of the generations of Adam,” are a compendium of the chapter, and, consequently, the next sentence begins without a copulative. — G.H. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages, 1942, reprinted 1975, p. 31.
    “Therefore, what follows in Genesis 1:2 is not a detailed explanation of the record in 1:1, but an independent, distinct, and later event”. The creation of the heavens and the earth is one thing, and the earth becoming without form and void is another. Later we will explain why the earth became void and without form. About a hundred years ago, Dr. Chalmers pointed out that the word was in “the earth was without form” should be translated became. Dr. I.M. Haldeman, G.H. Pember, and others also pointed out that this word is the same as the word became used in Genesis 19:26. “And she became a pillar of salt.” If the same word is translated became in 19:26, why should it not be translated the same way here? Even the word became in 2:7 is the same word as in 1:2. Therefore, it is not hypothetical to translate 1:2 the following way: “And the earth became without form.” When God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was not without form and void. Later it became such. Let us read a few more verses:”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea,
    and all that in them is” (Exo. 20:11). Comparing these two verses, we can see that the world in Genesis 1:1 was very different from the world in 1:3. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, but in the six days, God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them. There is a vast difference between create and make. One is to have something from nothing, while the other is to improve the things that are in existence. The world can make, but it cannot create, while God can both create and make. This is why Genesis says that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Later because of the cataclysm, the earth became desolate, and “in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exo. 20:11).Second Peter 3:5 through 7 says the same thing. The heavens and the earth in verse 5 are the heaven and the earth in Genesis 1:1. Verse 6 speaks of the world flooded with water, which is the earth that was without form and void and that was under the water in Genesis 1:2. “The heavens and earth now” in verse 7 is the restored world after Genesis 1:3. There is a clear difference between God’s work in the six days and His work of creation at the beginning. The more we read Genesis 1, the more we will see that our explanation above is the proper one. In the first day light was called into being. Before the first day there was already land, but it was “without form and void” and was buried in the deep under the water. On the third day God did not create the land; He merely caused it to appear. F.W. Grant said that the work of the six days merely put a new order to the earth; it did not create something out of nothing. The earth was there already. The Bible never says that the earth was created during the six days. Grant also said, “At which point did the first day begin? Some may think that it began from desolation. Yet this is not true. The `evening’ on the first day indicates light had been there since the beginning. `The darkness he called Night,’ yet the `evening’ is a darkness that is already under the control of light.”In the first day God did not create the light; He merely caused the light to appear on the darkened earth. In the same way in the second day, He did not create the heaven. The heaven there was not the heavens, but the atmospheric “heaven” which surrounds the earth. This was not created then. Where then did the atmosphere come from? Our answer is that it was created in verse 1. Therefore, there was no need now to create; there was only the need to restore.”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” There is no detailed discussion here. We do not know if the primordial world was created in an instant or became what it was through an endless period of time. We do not know if it was completed in a few thousand years or millions of years. We do not know the shape and the size of it. All that we know is that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” We do not know how many years there were between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis 1. We do not know how long ago God created the heaven and the earth, and we do not know how many years after the creation of the primordial world did the desolation of verse 2 occur. But we believe that there was a long period of time between the perfect creation at the beginning and the later change into something that was without form and void.”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” How much later was it that “the earth became without form and void”? We cannot tell. But we know one thing: there was a long gap between the two expressions. This long gap between the first two verses of Genesis covers the whole prehistoric period. But from verse 3 until now there are less than six thousand years. Since we have proved that there is a big gap between the first two verses of the Bible, all the years which geology demands to exist and all the geological periods associated with these years can fall within this period. We do not know how much time passed on the earth and how many changes occurred on the earth’s surfaces and in the atmosphere before there was the condition of void and formlessness; the Bible does not say anything about it. But we can say for sure that the Bible never says that our earth is only six thousand years old. The Bible only testifies that there are six thousand years of human history. If the Bible has not said something, science can conjecture all it wants. But science cannot form conjectures on what the Bible has already said. After we understand the first two verses of the Bible, we can be assured that there is no contradiction between the Bible and geology. All the attacks by geology on the Bible are beating the air. How wonderful is the Word God has written! We are not saying this to please science. God’s revelation never wavers before man. We do not give up the Bible’s authority in order to accommodate man’s inventions. If there are any contradictions between the Bible and science, (and we would expect there to be some, because fleshly man is always at enmity with God), we have no intention to reconcile and annul these differences. The above assertion was not proposed after some geological discoveries, in an effort to reconcile the Bible with science. There were men in the ancient church who spoke about this. At that time, geology was not yet in existence! When men like St. Augustus interpreted Genesis, the world did not yet have the term geology! A Christian does not trust in human wisdom, but in God’s Word. We need nothing other than the sure rock of the Bible. As long as we have the “it is written” (Matt. 4:6) in the Scripture, everything is solved. Unfortunately, many apologetics have forgotten their ground; they change the words of the Scripture to accommodate man’s teaching. An example is given by A.W. Pink, who noted that after the translation of a certain Assyrian tablet, the apologetics enthusiastically reported that much of the Old Testament history was verified! This turns things upside down! Does the Word of God need verification? If the record on the Assyrian tablet coincides with that of the Bible, it only shows that the Assyrian tablets have no historical error. If they do not agree, it merely proves that the tablets are in error. Worldly men and vain scientists will of course scorn at our logic. But this only goes to demonstrate God’s Word which says, “But a soul’s man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he is not able to know them because they are discerned spiritually” (1 Cor. 2:14). We must never lower ourselves to appease men. It seems like a good idea to change the Bible to suit man’s taste, but doing so changes the true nature of the Bible. How wonderful is Genesis 1! It devotes only one verse to the description of the first creation! It uses only one verse to describe the desolation of the world! This is far less than the thirty or so verses that describe the restoration of the world! Who can come up with a composition that matches the record of Genesis 1? The subject is difficult, yet the explanation is clear; the facts span a long time, yet the description is simple. It does not talk about science, yet it is scientifically accurate. Who except God can compose such writing? The reason God did not say more than this is that He only intended to show man His own relationship with man. J.N. Darby said: This revelation from God is not a history by Him of all that He has done, but what has been given to man for his profit, the truth as to what he has to say to. Its object is to communicate to man all that regards his own relationship with God…But historically the revelation is partial. It communicates what is for the conscience and spiritual affections of man…Thus no mention is made of any heavenly beings…Thus also, regards this earth, except the fact of its creation, nothing is said of it beyond what relates to the present form of it. — The Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, reprinted 1970, p. 9.Indeed, God’s revelation is not given to satisfy human curiosity, but to manifest His Godhead, the world’s sinfulness, the way of salvation, and the coming glory and judgments. The present worldly knowledge is indeed dangerous. Unless God bestows grace on man, man would boast in himself and use the knowledge he acquires as a basis to oppose God. How difficult it is for an intellectual person to humble himself! Man can search for knowledge as much as he wants. But God will not supplement this with His revelation. This is why He does not say much in Genesis 1. Our present need is not more science, but deeper spiritual fellowship. Only this will reap real fruit in eternity. We have to praise God the Father because He is full of love! He not only created us, but re-created us, and made us a new creation in the Lord Jesus. Lord Jesus! How sweet is this name! God has given us His Son. What a marvelous grace this is!
    THE ORIGINAL WORLD AND AFTERWORDS DESOLATION
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth perfect. Later, after an unknown period of time, the earth which was originally good became waste and empty, without any life whatsoever. God then rose up to recreate the world; He restored the desolate world in six days. In the next chapter we will study the work of the six days. Now we will consider why the world became desolate. How could God allow the work of His hands to be destroyed? Why did such a catastrophe come upon the once beautiful earth? There is probably no other reason besides sin. The question we are considering has no perfectly clear explanation in the Bible. Nevertheless, we can find many shimmering lights in the Word of God which will enlighten us concerning this question and which will enable us to have a little more understanding concerning the former world and the cause of its desolation. Only the Word of God can guide us and our thoughts. The understanding of His Word, regardless of the question being discussed, always brings us edification. The greatest vanity is the reasoning’s in man’s mind which do not rest on the foundation of God’s Word. Although in reading Genesis 3 we cannot find Satan’s name, we all know that the serpent was Satan’s vessel and perhaps was even the embodiment of the devil. Revelation 12:9 say, “And the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole inhabited earth.” Genesis 1 gives no record of the creation of Satan. Where did he come from? This is a problem. Furthermore, we can see many evil spirits in both the Old and New Testaments; we meet them even more frequently in the Gospels. Where did they come from? We also do not see the creation of angels in the six days of work in Genesis 1. Where, then, did the angels who are frequently mentioned in the Bible come from? These questions are all related to our subject. Since the creation of the angels and the other supernatural beings is not recorded in Genesis 1, which covers the work of God during six days, we know that they were not created during that time. Since they were not created within these six days, when were they created? The only explanation is that they were creatures of the former world—the original, perfect world. As the fossil remains clearly show, not only were disease and death—inseparable companions of sin—then prevalent among the living creatures of the earth, but even ferocity and slaughter. And the fact proves that these remains have nothing to do with our world; since the Bible declares that all things made by God during the Six Days were very good, and that no evil was in them till Adam sinned…Since, then, the fossil remains are those of creatures anterior to Adam, and yet show evident tokens of disease, death, and mutual destruction, they must have belonged to another world and have a sin-stained history of their own, a history which ended in the ruin of themselves and their habitation. — G. H. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages, 1942, reprinted 1975, pp. 34-35.By reading Jeremiah 4:23-26, we see the reason why the earth became waste and emptiness. Verse 26 says that it was due to “His [Jehovah’s] burning anger.” Why was the Lord so angry? It was probably because of the sin of the creatures at that time. Isaiah 24:1 says that “Jehovah now makes the earth desolate.” Why would the Lord destroy the earth of His original creation? Judging from the history of our own world, we can answer that it was probably because of the sin of the earth’s inhabitants which forced God to judge them. We have said before that when we read Genesis, we do not see the origin of Satan. As we look into the cause of earth’s desolation in the beginning, our mind will naturally think “an enemy has done this” (Matt. 13:28). Other than attributing the cause to Satan, it seems that we cannot find any other clues in the Bible. We will study a portion of the Bible which seems to tell us the origin of God’s enemy and thereby we may know the condition of the former world and the cause of its becoming desolate. Let us now read Ezekiel 28:1-19. These nineteen verses are divided into two sections: (1) verses 1-10 concern the prophet’s warning to the prince of Tyrus, and (2) verses 11-19 concern the prophet’s lamentations upon the king of Tyrus. The first section, a word to the prince of Tyrus, is easy to understand. He was exalted with pride, considered himself God, and thought that he was wiser than Daniel. Due to his progress in commerce, he became puffed up. Therefore God punished him, causing him to be slain and destroyed by the terrible of the nations. Soon after this prophecy, Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans came and destroyed Tyre. Josephus believed that the prince of Tyrus was Ithobalus, who was called Ithobaal II in the history of the Phoenicians. Since we know that this prophecy has already been fulfilled, it is not difficult for us to interpret verses 1 through 10. But when we read on from verses 11 through 19, we find many places that we do not understand. Since this portion of the Word is very much related to the subject which we are studying now, we quote the text in full: Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou seals up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covered; and I have set thee so: thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more (Ezek. 28:11-19).This section is indeed hard to understand, for it contains many expressions which cannot be applied to any mortal man. If the “king of Tyrus” were only a mortal man, how could we explain the things in verses 11 through 15? How could the king of Tyrus have been in the Garden of Eden or upon the holy mountain of God? How could he have been the anointed cherub that covered the ark? None of the things mentioned here had been the experience of the king of Tyros’. We cannot explain this section simply by spiritualizing it. It is unfair if we spiritualize the interpretation of a section when we encounter difficulties in it. I believe that the first section (vv. 1-10) addressed to the prince of Tyros’ was a word spoken to King Ithobalus II, and the second section (vv. 11-19), the lamentation upon the king of Tyros’, denotes the coming Antichrist. Verse 2 of this chapter speaks of Tyro “in the midst of the seas.” By reading Daniel 11:41-45, we know that when the coming Antichrist will be in Palestine, perhaps he will dwell at Tyro. That is why he was called the king of Tyro here. Moreover, Antichrist is Satan incarnate; therefore, numerous expressions in this section refer to Satan himself. Mr. Darby said, “Verses 11-19, while continuing to speak of Tyro, go, I think, much farther, and disclose, though darkly, the fall and the ways of Satan, become through our sin the prince and god of this world.” Dr. A. C. Gaebelein also said that the king of Tyro is a type of the last great sinner (Antichrist), that behind this evil king, we see another power that is Satan; Satan was the power behind the king of Tyros’ then, and he still is the god of this age now, who rules the nations of this world. If we have studied the Scriptures carefully, we will realize that the justification for merging Satan and Antichrist in this passage into one being is not contrary to the general teachings of the Scriptures. We know that, although human beings have their own will, their walk is either directed by God’s operating (Phil. 2:13) or by the operating of the evil spirits (Eph. 2:2). Human beings are never totally free. Ordinarily, human beings are under the control of the evil spirits. Sometimes, in important matters, Satan himself, in addition to the working of evil spirits, will also participate in the work. Hence, we see him personally coming to tempt Christ in the wilderness. Later, in trying to hinder Christ from going to the cross, he personally used Peter. After that, in attempting to destroy Christ, he entered into Judas. Eventually, on the world stage he will be united to Antichrist. Scripture says that the works of Antichrist are “according to Satan’s operation” (2 Thess. 2:9); it is Satan who “gave him his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:2). Since Antichrist is the incarnated devil, the Holy Spirit speaks of him together with Satan in this passage. In these few verses, the superhuman aspects all refer to Satan himself, and the remainder to Antichrist. Since our purpose is not to study the question of Antichrist, but to know the creatures of the former world and the cause of its desolation, we shall put aside the verses in this portion concerning the Antichrist and concentrate on Satan, who is related to our subject. Now let us consider the words that refer to Satan. Ezekiel 28:12 says that Satan (Note: “Satan” is the name used after he had sinned; he was called the “son of the dawn” and also “Daystar” or “Lucifer” (Isa. 14:12) before his fall. “Satan,” which means “adversary,” is his name after the fall. For the sake of convenience, we shall call him Satan in the following paragraphs.) “Sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” This depicts his condition before he had sinned. He was superior to all the other angels. Phrases like “sealest up the sum,” “full of,” and “perfect” reveal that he was the greatest of all the creation. God had put him above all the creation. Being “full of wisdom” probably refers to his understanding of God’s will; if this is true, he might have had the office of a prophet already. The first part of Ezekiel 28:13 says, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering.” When we read Genesis 3, we indeed see Satan there. However, he was not being covered by “every precious stone”; he was tempting Adam and Eve. Hence, the two gardens of Eden are not of the same time. In Adam’s Garden of Eden, Satan had fallen, whereas here, it clearly depicts the situation before his fall. Hence, the garden of Eden here must be earlier than the one at Adam’s time. If so, then it must not have belonged to the present world but to the previous one. This Garden of Eden, like the coming New Jerusalem, had many precious stones, such as sardius, beryl, etc. The Garden of Eden where Adam lived was not like this. The Bible focuses only on the trees and does not say anything concerning their being covered with precious stones. Hence, the Garden of Eden here must be different from that of Adam and is much earlier. His being covered with the precious stones reminds us of the precious stones on the priest in Exodus. He probably had been appointed by God to be a priest. The latter half of the verse says, “The workmanship of thy tablets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee.” In the Bible musical instruments are used by kings. We see how David played the harp for king Saul. When the king of Babylon was destroyed, the sound of his lutes were said to be brought down to Sheol (Isa. 14:11). And when the king of Babylon was pleased, various musical instruments were played (Dan. 3). Satan was a king at that time and these musical instruments were given to him by God. The first half of Ezekiel 28:14 says that he is “the anointed cherub that covered.” Anointed indicates that he is consecrated. The work of the cherubim is to lead men to worship the Lord (Rev. 4:9-10; 5:11-14). Therefore, his work in the beginning was also to lead the creatures at that time in the worship of God. This also refers to his priesthood. The latter part of verse 14 says that he was “upon the holy mountain of God” and had “walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” The holy mountain of God probably is the place where God’s glory is manifested. As the priest of God, he would, of course, stand before Him to minister. What does it mean to walk “up and down in the midst of the stones of fire”? Ezekiel 1:26 reveals that the position of the cherubim is below the throne. Now when Moses took seventy of the elders of Israel up the mountain of Sinai, “they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness…And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount” (Exo. 24:10, 17). The paved work of sapphire stone in the appearance of devouring fire probably was “the stones of fire.” This indicates that Satan enjoyed a very high place, right below the throne of God, and was very intimate with God. Verse 15 says that he was perfect in his ways from the day that he was created, but that later God found iniquity in him. All of God’s creation was perfect; God is not the author of sin. Iniquity was initiated by the archangel who sinned. He was created and given a free will by God just as we were. Unfortunately God’s created angel abused his freedom! And how many people are still following his footsteps! The first part of verse 16 says that by the multitude of his merchandise they have filled his midst with violence, and he has sinned. We may refer this word solely to Antichrist. During the end time commerce will be very prosperous (Rev. 18). Many sinful things will be brought in because of this. This can be proven by history.Nevertheless; the same clause may be applied to Satan. Mr. Pember points out that “the word translated `merchandise’ may also…signify `detraction’ or `slander’; and we know that the very name `Devil’ means `the slanderer,’ or `malignant accuser'” (Earth’s Earliest Ages, p. 52). Thus, we can find out the meaning here. We see how Satan accused Job and tried to destroy him with insidious acts. Also in Revelation 12:10 we read, “Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, for the accuser of our brothers has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” The casting down here probably corresponds to the casting of Satan out of the mountain of God in Ezekiel. The reason for the casting out in Ezekiel and in Revelation is one and the same, that is, accusation (or slander). Perhaps what was recorded in Ezekiel was the conviction of Satan by God and what was written in Revelation was the sending of Michael by God for the execution of that conviction. Then why would God still allow Satan to remain in the heavens? The reasons seem to be: (1) the time of God has not yet come, and (2) His own children need the furnace to purge away the dross still in them. Ezekiel 28:17 reveals the cause of Satan’s fall. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty, and his wisdom was corrupted by reason of his brightness. The king of Babylon as described in Isaiah 14:12-14 bears much resemblance to this verse. Many servants of God believe that the Holy Spirit is not only pointing out the king of Babylon, but in a deeper sense, the cause of the fall of Satan who was behind the king of Babylon. In my view, the record in Ezekiel reveals the cause of his pride, while in Isaiah it shows the manner in which he exhibited his pride. It is probable that after comparing himself with God’s other creatures, his heart was lifted up. In the end he tried to exalt himself to be equal with God and thus suffered God’s judgment. “How you have fallen from heaven, / O Daystar, son of the dawn! /…But you, you said in your heart: / I will ascend to heaven; / above the stars of God / I will exalt my throne. / And I will sit upon the mount of assembly / On the sides of the north. / I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; / I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:12-14). Since he was so proud, God punished him. His authority in the heavens was removed and abolished by God. The remaining part of the prophecy in Ezekiel is not relevant to our subject, and we shall stop here. From the prophecy contained in this passage in Ezekiel, if our interpretation is correct, we can see how God created Satan the fairest and wisest of all His creatures in the former world and made him their leader. God placed him in the garden of Eden, which was long before the Eden of Adam. The things in the former garden, if not altogether different from those of the latter garden, were at least more numerous than the latter. They resemble the future New Jerusalem. He was a prophet there, teaching all the inhabitants of the earth with his wisdom to know how to serve God. He was also there as the priest of God, directing them in the worship and praises of God. He was also the king among the creatures, having been placed in a position that was above all the creation. He must have been in such a condition for a lengthy period of time (v. 15), but because of his sin, he became the greatest enemy of God. So far we have covered the origin of Satan. We shall now proceed to cover Satan’s angels and demons, which are under him, and to investigate how they fell and how this affected the earth, causing it to become waste and void. From the New Testament we see that under the hand of Satan there are two living beings: (1) angels and (2) demons. Let us first look at the angels. Matthew 25:41 speaks of “the devil and his angels.” Revelation 12:4 says that the dragon’s “tail drags away the third part of the stars of heaven, and he cast them to the earth.” The stars denote the angels (Rev. 1:20). Therefore 12:9 says, “And the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan,…he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.” These angels were probably the ones established by God in the beginning to assist Satan to rule the world. They were “the congregation of the mighty” and “the gods” in Psalm 82 (cf. John 10:35). When Satan fell, they either conspired or sympathized with him. Therefore, they fell together with him and became today’s “rulers,” “authorities,” “world-rulers of this darkness,” “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenliest” (Eph. 6:12). Note that the numbers are plural. These angels are not disembodied demons; they have ethereal bodies. This is why the Lord promises that the children of resurrection will be like the angels in the heaven. Satan has another class of subjects, the evil spirits. Demons and the evil spirits (or filthy spirits) are the same. We can tell this by checking with the translation of the Mandarin Bible. In Matthew 8:16, it firstly mentions the demons, then the spirits. But the Bible translators, seeing that the Holy Spirit used the words “demon” and “spirit” interchangeably, translated both into “demons.” In Luke 10:17 the word “demons” is in the original language, but in verse 20 the word “demons” should be “spirits.” In these two verses of the Bible we see the Lord Jesus acknowledged the “demons” and the “spirits” to be the same and thus the Chinese Bible translator again translated both as “demons.” Matthew 17:18 speaks of the Lord casting out a demon, yet Mark calls this demon an unclean spirit and dumb spirit (Mark 9:25). Demons and spirits are the same. These demons, or spirits, probably were the race who lived in the former world. They helped Satan in his sinning; or, perhaps after Satan sinned, they followed him rather than forsaking him and obeying God. Therefore, they were cut off by God and their bodies were removed from them. Hence, they became disembodied spirits. Although we cannot find any clear evidence in the Bible to confirm this theory, we can find some clues. In Matthew 12 we see the situation of a demon when he left the human body. He became helpless and wandered about. Besides the human body, he could not find another resting place. Therefore, he eventually returned to his original place, the human body. If they were not disembodied spirits, why did they have to enter into man’s body? As we read Luke 8, we see how the legion of demons was unwilling to leave the human body. When they had no way to remain in the human body, they even entered the bodies of the swine. Presently in the world they still cling to human bodies. Even some believers are unconsciously possessed by them. They are different from Satan and his angels who do not like to enter human bodies. Satan and his angels still have a spiritual body, but the demons do not. Their character and liking seem to prove that they are the disembodied spirits. Since they are disembodied spirits, where were they when they were disembodied? We know that the spirits of all the dead are in Hades. So, where do these spirits come from? They must have come from the former world. While they were alive, their habitation was probably the former world where Satan exercised his rule. In the Bible we can find another clue that tells us that there were inhabitants in the pre-Adamic world. Isaiah 45:18 shows that the world created by God in the beginning was not waste and empty. Since this verse speaks of the original world, one expression suggests to us the existence of mankind in the previous world. It says, “He is the God / who formed the earth… / He did not create it waste.” This clearly refers to the original creation. Following this it says, “He formed it to be inhabited.” This seems to clearly tell that the earth then was inhabited by some race. As we read the Bible further, we find clues which indicate that there is a detention place for the demons now. The legion of demons in Gadara must have known this. They were in great fear and begged the Lord that He would not “order them to depart into the abyss,” (Luke 8:31) because they would be tormented there (Matt. 8:29). Mr. Pember says that this “abyss” in the original language is abussos; and that “in some passages, such as the ninth chapter of the Apocalypse, this term is evidently applied to a fiery hollow in the centre of the earth: but it is also used for the depths of the sea, a meaning which accords well with its derivation” (Earth’s Earliest Ages, p. 60). In the future Satan will be detained in a bottomless pit in the center of the earth. This is revealed in the book of Revelation. The demons are also detained in an abyss now, yet some of them still have freedom. We must wait until God’s appointed time comes for them to be completely shut inside. This abyss is probably different from the one in the heart of the earth; it is in the sea. Furthermore, at the final judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) when all the prisoners will have been thrown into the lake of fire, there will be no more sea in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1). However, there may be only one abyss that is divided into two parts. There are other clues concerning the sea being the place of detention for demons. In the Septuagint Bible, the word “deep” in Genesis 1:2 is the same as “abyss” here. We have said that these demons are probably created races that lived in the first world. This corresponds to what we read in Genesis 1:2 because they originally lived on the earth. After sinning, their bodies were destroyed by God; their habitation was judged by God and became without form and void. The whole earth was covered by water and was characterized as “the deep.” It follows then that the spirits of the races at that time were in this “deep”! Finally, on the third day when God restored the earth, He commanded the earth to come out from the water and called the gathering of the waters the sea. This earth was prepared for mankind in the new world. Where then have the former demons gone? We can spontaneously answer that they went into the sea. As we read Revelation 20:13, we often do not understand why the sea will give up the dead which are in it. It is understandable to say that death and Hades will deliver up the dead which are in them, but why will the sea give up the dead who are in it? The common interpretation is that the sea surrenders the bodies of those who are drowned. If so, then the earth should also give up its dead because there are more bodies buried in the earth than in the sea. Yet the earth does not give up its dead. Therefore, the sea will give up the spirits of the imprisoned ones and not the bodies of the dead. Men’s spirits are in death and Hades; the Bible does not say that the spirits of man are kept in the sea. Then whose spirits will the sea give up? It will give up those who are from the other world, that is, the former world. The sequence here indicates this. “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them.” Those who lived in the former world died first. Therefore, they will be the first beings to be given up; then, we who are of this world will follow after because every man will be judged in his own order. Thus far we have seen the probable origin of Satan, his angels, and the demons. As to how man lived on the former earth, this is something beyond our knowledge. However, we can see some hints in the Bible. Many Bible scholars, Dr. Scofield being one of them, believe that Jeremiah 4:23-26 refers to the condition of Genesis 1:2, in which the earth was without form and void. Although the context of this passage is the desolation of Judah, these few verses of the Scripture have a notably broader view, as if God caused the prophet to view the desolation of the earth in the beginning. If our belief is accurate, then we know that in the former world there was “the fruitful land” and “its cities” (v. 26). The inhabitants then dwelt in cities and some took up farming as an occupation. When they were deceived by Satan, the burning anger of Jehovah came upon them (v. 26) and the earth became “waste and emptiness” (v. 23).From these biblical clues we see the original situation of the earth, the races who dwelt on the earth, the paradise, and the princes, etc. If we are not mistaken in our meditation, we can draw a conclusion concerning the first world and the cause of its desolation as follows: In the beginning of “time” (as opposed to eternity) God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was not waste (Isa. 45:18) but very beautiful and perfect. On this earth there were inhabitants and the number of the inhabitants was great. Before God created the earth and human beings, He had created the angels (Job 38:6-7). He assigned Satan, whom He created, as the leader to be above all the angels. Satan, the most beautiful and wisest of all, the prime of all God’s creation, dwelt in the Garden of Eden. God made him the ruler of the world; therefore, he was called “the ruler of the world” (John 14:30). Many angels were under his rule, and these angels shared in ruling with him. Then, because of his position and honor, he became proud. Due to pride, he rebelled and lifted himself up to be equal with God. He was not satisfied with being a creature, but desired to be the Creator. Therefore, he slandered God before the people and accused the people before God. God found out his iniquity and condemned him. When the time comes, he will be cast to the earth. One third of the angels (Rev. 12) followed him in rebellion and, therefore, became the angels of the devil. God has prepared hell for them (Matt. 25:41), and when the time comes, Satan will be cast into it. In the former world, the inhabitants of the earth, being under Satan and his angels’ rule, were also deceived and filled up with sins. (We can readily understand this when we consider our world situation today.) Therefore, God’s anger was fierce, and He completely destroyed the earth and all the races therein and locked up many spirits in the abyss in the sea. These evil spirits, angels, and Satan himself formed the kingdom of darkness. We do not know how long this period lasted. Later, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters again, and the Triune God began His restoration work on the world. After His restoration of the world, He created Adam and his wife and asked them to guard it, so that there would be man on the earth to cooperate with Him in heaven to stop Satan’s power. Perhaps God used Adam to test Satan to see whether he would repent. However, he came to tempt Adam; therefore, God cursed Satan. Because Adam fell, he could not bring the world which was under Satan’s rule back to God. On the contrary, the world Adam received from God’s hand was given anew to Satan. Since angels and mankind had failed, God came in the person of the Son to be a man, the last Adam. The Lord Jesus became God’s prophet, priest, and king. When He was on this earth, He was God’s prophet without blemish. When He was about to die, He was able to say, “The ruler of the world is coming, and in me he has nothing” (John 14:30). At His death all who are in Adam were crucified in Him. He was able to include all of the old Adamic creation in His crucifixion because He is God, and He is able to continue on as the new man. His human living had nothing to do with Satan. Through His death and resurrection, He regained the world lost by the first Adam. Every sinner, who is destined to die in the old Adam, can return to God and be saved if he rejects the first Adam through the death of the last Adam and joins himself to Christ in life. This is the meaning of believing in the death of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, whoever believes in the Lord Jesus becomes an enemy of the devil. In everything he attacks us, and in everything we resist him, his angels, and the demons. This is God’s purpose in saving man, and this is a real spiritual warfare. Satan was judged once on the “holy mountain of God,” and he was judged again on the hill of Golgotha. He has been convicted, yet his judgment has not yet been executed. When the time comes he will be cast down from heaven and when the Son of God returns to this earth, he will be cast into the abyss. After one thousand years he will forever suffer in the lake of fire. Now the Lord Jesus holds the authority which Satan had abused, and He will hold it until all traces of rebellion disappear. He has brought His own blood into the Holy of Holies and has cleansed the heavens; He is now a Priest of God. When He returns, it will be the time of the restoration of all things. He will be a King, ruling this world from heaven with all the overcoming saints, in the same way that Satan ruled with his angels in the former time. At that time He will teach the inhabitants of this earth to know God’s will and to worship God, in the same way that Satan did in the former days. The situation in the millennium will be like the situation in the world before Satan sinned. Christ will restore all things to the condition in the “beginning” in order to accomplish God’s original purpose. After this He will burn up the whole world, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth in which the righteous will dwell. Therefore, as God’s children we ought to have a deeper enmity for the devil. For thousands of years God’s only purpose has been for man to be joined with Him to destroy Satan’s authority. Our God is a law-abiding God. He will not take back by force the world which was lost through man. Therefore, He sent His Son to become a man in order to regain what man had lost. We, men who have been saved, ought to cooperate with the unique “Man,” the Lord Jesus. In our life, in our work, in our environment, in our dwelling, and in the world, we should resist the works of the devil. Our resistance is in firmness of faith (1 Pet. 5:9), and not by means of fleshly weapons (2 Cor. 10:4), which is the way of social reformers who are being utilized by the demons. Satan was wise and beautiful! But because of his pride, he ended up in complete ruin. It is dangerous for frail mortals to esteem themselves wise and beautiful! Beware, lest being lifted up with pride, you fall into the judgment of the devil (1 Tim. 3:6). Being self-exalted with pride is not a blessing to man; wisdom rests only with those who fear the most high God Jehovah.
    THE EARTH RESTORED THE RECOVERY OF THE EARTH IN SIX DAYS
    We have seen that in the beginning God created a perfect world. Later, because of the sins committed by Satan and those who dwelt on the earth, they and the earth were judged by God, and the earth became without form and void. Now we will see God’s work of restoring the earth. In the book of Job, Job mentions the failure of Satan’s rebellion in order to show that it is foolish to dispute with God. “He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? which removed the mountains, and they know not; which overturned them in his anger; which shakes’ the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble; which commanded the sun, and it rises not; and sealed up the stars” (Job 9:4-7). When did God do this? When did He shake the mountains and the earth, and alter the position of the celestial bodies due to man’s stubbornness towards Him? Since the time of Adam, such an act of God in the world has not been seen. This passage must be a description of God’s judgment on Satan and on the earth under his dominion when he rebelled. At that time God shook the earth and overturned the mountains. The calamity came so swiftly that the mountains were overturned unnoticed. In addition to the earth, the positions of the celestial bodies were also affected. Because of God’s judgment, the sun disappeared completely and the stars did not shine. The world was plunged into darkness. There was no sun and no heat was produced. Consequently, this led to the glacial epoch on this earth. Then, after a long period of time, possibly due to internal heat at the earth’s core (Rev. 9:2), the ice gradually melted. However, the sun had not yet appeared and the stars were still “sealed up.” When the Spirit of God began to move, there was the deep, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Job not only mentions God’s judgment, but also His work of restoration. He says, “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, / and treadeth upon the high peaks of the sea; / which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, / and wonders without number” (Job 9:8-10, Heb.). The phrase “spread knows? / Or who hath stretched the line upon it? / Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? / Or who laid the corner stone thereof; / when the morning stars sang together.” No matter which earth is referred to here, whether the original created earth or the restored earth on the third day, one thing is definite: before the earth was formed, the stars already existed. As the earth was being formed, morning stars were there singing together, praising the work of God. In Genesis God was only rearranging the stars that were there before. After He had gathered the light into the sun and had made it the great light, He restored the stars and made them appear in the sky to meet the needs of the earth. The Holy Spirit inspired Moses to describe God’s work with human words because the Bible is written for man. He did not speak of the positions and functions of the sun, moon, and stars, but only mentioned their relationship to the earth and man. Although seasons, days, and years have to do with other creatures, the use of the celestial bodies “for signs” is specifically for man, since no one besides man is able to observe the motions of the celestial bodies in order to make signs. God only speaks about the positions and functions of the sun, moon, and stars according to man’s viewpoint. He does not mention other matters. In man’s eyes the sun is the greatest light, the moon is the second, and the stars are still smaller lights. Is it not wonderful that God has prepared such an immense universe for men as small as we? On the fifth day, after the dry land and the celestial bodies had been restored, God prepared to create living organisms to inhabit the earth. “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” (v. 20). God’s commandment expressed God’s purpose. “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moved, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind” (v. 21). God created these things out of nothing. We do not know what materials God used to make fish and aquatic life. As for the birds, 2:19 tells us that they are made out of the ground. Science tells us that living organisms first existed in the water, then on the ground. Aquatic organisms are the most primitive species among all the animals. Even today, the ocean is still home to the majority of the living creatures. Birds, on the other hand, are the most primitive species of all warm-blooded animals. We can see how closely science resembles the description in the Bible. Although science proves these words, faith believes without the help of science! On the sixth day God went on to create the beasts, the cattle, and the creeping things. Finally, He created man in His own image. We will discuss the creation of man in more detail in later messages. Here we will deal only briefly with the subject. Chapter one covers the creation of man in a brief way to show us man’s position among the creatures, while chapter two describes the origin of man in detail to show us man’s relationship with God. We should notice that man was “created” by God (v. 27). Man did not evolve from a lower class of animal. The word “creation,” as we have mentioned, means the making of something out of nothing. It is a special work of God and not a natural process of evolution. The Bible does not give credence to the theory of evolution, which will forever be a vain idea! On the third day God ordered each type of vegetation, the trees, grass, and vegetables, to yield seed after its kind. Grass cannot change into a tree, neither can one tree change into another kind of tree. On the fifth day aquatic life and birds were all after their kinds. On the sixth day the beasts, cattle, and creeping things were also after their kind. Every creature is after its kind. The Bible does not tell us how these kinds were classified, yet the words “after his kind” is sufficient proof that in those days every creature was of a different kind. Since God has said that everything was “after his kind,” the boundary of each kind was set by God. There is absolutely no possibility for one kind to evolve into another kind. Plants cannot change into animals; even one kind of plant cannot change into another kind of plant, neither can one kind of animal change into another kind of animal. We Christians believe in the Word of God. Anything beyond “thus saith the Lord,” we will not believe. How much less should we listen to a theory that is contradictory to the Word of God? The Word of God is sufficient to solve all the problems. The world may be scornful of our logic, but we are satisfied with God’s Word. Pitiful mortals do not believe in our God. As a result, they drift aimlessly and devise theories for themselves on which to base their faith! They think that it is too incredible for God to bring something out of nothing into being, and to make man out of the dust of the earth. To us, however, for

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