Plan for creation (was Re: My Daughter is a YEC)

From: george murphy (
Date: Mon May 27 2002 - 20:26:13 EDT

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    Walter Hicks wrote:

    > george murphy wrote:
    > > Walter Hicks wrote:
    > > .................................
    > >
    > > > The only argument that I think could be valid is that God has a
    >use for the rest
    > > > of the 15 billion years of space-time that does not include
    >mankind. My suspicion
    > > > is that such may well be the case, but I certainly cannot
    >support it from the
    > > > Bible.
    > >
    > > ............................
    > > A spheroidal earth, the Copernican model, Maxwell's
    >equations, DNA as the
    > > basis for genetics, & the idea that representative democracy is a
    >better form of
    > > civil government than monarchy - to name just a few of many - are
    >also ideas that
    > > can't be supported from the Bible. We don't get our
    >understanding of the way the
    > > physical world works from the Bible. & while our understanding
    >of God & God's
    > > relationship with the world is to be based upon scripture, it's
    >not to be achieved by
    > > limiting our thinking entirely to the Bible: If that were the
    >case we wouldn't even
    > > understand the Bible because we wouldn't know its language, geography &c.
    > That is an excellent point, George. So I ask you pointedly: Do you
    >believe that God had
    > much, much more than Mankind in mind when He created this extensive
    >15 universe-years of
    > space time? Evidently C.S. Lewis did but I know that many
    >Christians feel that the
    > universe was created only for mankind and get that implication form
    >the Bible -- not
    > science. That can make a big difference in what is (to them)
    >"credible" theology and
    > what is not.
    > Comments?

             We have to be very careful in talking about God's purposes
    for creation lest we
    impose our ideas of what is fitting, reasonable &c as constraints
    upon God. The idea of
    creatio ex nihilo means, among other things that the creation of the
    universe was not
    necessitated by anything external to God. Thus we should restrict
    our statements about this
    to what can learned from scripture & (with some tenativeness) what
    can reasonably be derived
             I think that one of the most significant biblical statements
    in this connection is
    Ephesians 1:10
    (to which I have referred previously), that God's "plan for the
    fullness of time" is "to
    gather up all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on
    earth." This indicates
    that the divine-human Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, is God's purpose
    for creation. Humanity
    is a central part of this purpose because it is the species in which
    the Word has become
    Incarnate: the flesh of God is human flesh. But God's purpose is
    certainly not restricted
    to humanity. The Ephesaisn text says explicitly that it is for "all
    things in heaven and on
             That's a theological claim with good scriptural support. A
    bit more speculatively
    we can bring in our scientific understanding of the world. With an
    evolutionary view of the
    world humanity is organically related to other species past and
    present, and even has a
    common history with the stars and the big bang. These relationships
    and this history is
    also assumed by the Word in the Incarnation. Thus an evolutionary
    view suggests a way of
    understanding how the Incarnation affects not just homo sapiens but
    the whole universe -
    something that it much harder to understand if humanity was created
    separately from other
    species. (This is essentially the argument set out in my old article
    "A Theological
    Argument for Evolution" in the March 1986 Journal of the ASA.)
             & if the evolution of an intelligent species as preparation
    for Incarnation is part
    of God's plan then it would seem that a universe at least several
    billion years old would be
    required in order for stars to form & make carbon, 2d generation
    stars with planets to form,
    & life to evolve.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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