RE: Creation Stories Redux

Creation Stories Redux

Hello, Chris, thank you for your reply. Please forgive the very long delay in responding. Between family, work, other responsibilities, and my astronomy and amateur radio projects, it was hard to find time to sit down and write a thoughtful response, which would hopefully address most of the points of discussion you brought up.

The claim there is lots of evidence

I'll start off with a bold claim, that there is actually no evidence whatsoever, anywhere, that makes it necessary to believe the popular cosmic origins myth. The whole thing is actually a lot of interpretation layered on to what we observe around us, with the many gaps filled in by a lot of nebulous storytelling.

Really, the issue is not about the evidence, that is to say, it is not so much about the actual observations and data. Rather, it is how that data is explained or interpreted. You and I, depending to some degree on our particular interests, are looking at the same evidence — the same sun, moon, stars, earth, people, etc. The question is which origins explanation fits it better. My contention is that, whether you are looking in outer space, or right here on earth, that the secular[1] explanation for it all has many serious problems and does not explain well what we actually see. On the other hand, the Bible's explanation fits well with our observations, if we take into account all the core parts of the Biblical narrative: Creation, Fall, Global Flood, and so forth.

One fascinating area of study is the planets of our solar system. There are many interesting differences between the different planets, which are problematic for the secular model. They are problematic, because the secular model expects that the planets should all be forming basically through the same processes and the same materials in a spinning accretion disc. For example, there is great variation among the planets in their orbital obliquity, which is "the angle in degrees the axis of a planet (the imaginary line running through the center of the planet from the north to south poles) is tilted relative to a line perpendicular to the planet's orbit around the Sun"[2]. All of them are at least a few degrees off, and several are off by over 20 degrees. Uranus is tilted over side-ways (97.8 degrees), and Venus is retrograde, meaning it rotates the "wrong" direction and so is considered to be tilted up-side down.[3] Not to say somebody couldn't make up some interesting story for each planet, to explain how it might have been forced into that position, but you should recognize that such explanations are suppositions or guesses; those explanations are not something you are forced to believe based on overwhelming scientific evidence, but rather by your commitment to the secular model.

Regarding laws of physics

Force or tendency, sure. Force or tendency do not imply consciousness. Gravity is a force. If I fall from the top of the Empire State building, I will tend to fall with an acceleration of approximately 9.8 m/s^2. No one would argue that there must be a consciousness involved in any of that.

Might I challenge you by asking, why is the value 9.8 m/s, and not 5 m/s, or 20 m/s? Of course, I'm really talking about the gravitational constant, but you understand what I mean. And what about all the other constants in physics? Ask any knowledgeable physicist, and they will tell you that there are many such constants in the universe that are very nicely tuned for our continued existence. They may not want to give Anybody credit for that, but they will recognize it.[3b]

Gravity is an interesting force that indeed dominates our lives: step off the edge of a cliff and you will go down, no matter what your personal feelings happen to be about the effects of gravity. Find a big enough cliff, and it likely will end your life as well. Thankfully, parachutes, gliders, and planes are available, yet these things do not negate the rule of gravity, they simply compensate for it. Is it really plausible to imagine that we, who are conscious beings, are dominated by a force, indeed many forces, that are neither conscious nor have any Agency to explain them? That, along with the evident fact that such forces operate the same everywhere in the universe (at least, everywhere we have been) implies that "laws of physics" is not just a metaphor. There is a Will who operates upon us, whether we like it or no, and he is One Will dominating all else.

This is not a hard thing to believe. The problem is, rather, that we are not comfortable with the implications. Mindless Forces are one thing. But an all-powerful Will can speak, can command, and can judge.

God proving his existence through healing

First of all, I wish to express my sincere sympathy for those striken by blindness or other biological handicaps — I wouldn't desire to go through what you struggle with. Nevertheless, I would not believe somebody if they told me that being healed is all it would take for them to believe in God. Why? First of all, Jesus himself healed many people during his public ministry, including restoring sight to the blind. Interestingly, none of Jesus' enemies ever accused him of trickery or doing fake miracles.[4] Yet, Jesus was rejected by his people and crucified. In the end, most people rejected Jesus because he wasn't what they wanted — Jesus came not just to do miracles, but to challenge people about their inward moral failings, and to change them from within — that is, to give spiritual light and healing.

In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, as told by Jesus, the rich man ends up tormented in a fires of hell, and he asks if Lazarus can go back to warn his brothers about the awful fate that awaits them. But Abraham says

If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. — Luke 16:31 (ESV)

That is, if you won't believe the things God has already told you, then fancy new miracles on-demand won't do the trick. If you won't believe that the human eye, with all its wonderous intricacies, was made by God, then why would you believe if your eyes were suddenly healed?

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lᴏʀᴅ has made them both. — Proverbs 20:12 (ESV)

I might add also that one of the most celebrated Christians in history was blind — Fanny Crosby. Crosby was blind since infancy, and wrote about half the hymns in our traditional hymnbooks. She has been famously quoted[5] as saying

It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me?


When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!

The Value of Life

Many people, even in my own experience, have said that they cannot believe in God because of the suffering and evil which he allows to exist in the world. We call that the Problem of Evil. As you have anticipated, I do not have any final, all-encompassing answer to that. I could spend a few paragraphs making arguments as to why that it is good, in-and-of-itself that God created us as beings with the ability to choose, to love, to hate. And I could point out good things that have come out of suffering and evil that I have seen or read about. In the end, though, I must say that I am trusting that if God is wise enough and powerful enough to create the universe and keep it running, then he must have a good reason for allowing evil to exist. This is, in a nutshell, the answer that God gave to Job when he demanded an explanation for his own suffering, and the other seeming disparities in the world. I'd really encourage you to study the book of Job, especially the last few chapters.

I'd also like to challenge you with another question: why is it that the suffering of people matters so much, or for that matter at all? What is it that makes people any different than the scum that grows on the bottom of rocks, which live and die by the trillions each day? When a grandmother dies a miserable death, while being eaten up by cancer, what is that more than just an interesting chemical and biological process?

Maybe you say, "the grandmother is sentient" or "the grandmother feels pain". First of all, what does that mean? What does it mean to feel or to be aware? And even then, what does it matter? What is the purpose or scandal of pain in a universe that is simply going through successive deaths and re-births, or maybe just heading towards a slow, cold death, depending on which guess you want to make. Science has no answer to these questions.

The Biblical Faith teaches us that God created us to be more than just chemical and biological processes. The real us is not simply chemistry, but a mysterious conjunction of the spiritual and physical that feels and knows, loves and hates. It is only that reality, combined with our knowledge of God's justice and goodness, that gives the Problem of Evil and Suffering any context.

Genocide in the Bible, Hell

One of the most used and least creative accusations against God is cruelty. First of all, if God gives us the ability to make choices, and then sternly warns us of the consequences of the wrong choice, and then we make the wrong choice, and suffer the consequences, we should be blaming ourself, not God. This is what happened in the garden of Eden. Interestingly, Adam not only knowingly chose to rebel against God, but afterwards blamed God for it, saying that God was the one who gave him a wife that gave him the fruit. Much of the same sort of excuses are being made today. Question: how good of a person are you? Have you cared for others as you should? How have you treated your neighbors, your friends, your family?

It is important also to note the vicious, unstopping, and fissiparious nature of evil. Its hunger is never satisfied, even when it has consumed all light and all joy. It expands and expands to fill all space, unless stopped by an outside force. People (including many Christians) incorrectly teach that hell is a payment for sin, in the sense of X number of sins gives you X amount of suffering. That is not true. Hell is a tourniquet on evil. It is a boundary for that which will accept no boundaries, and a fixed and final state for those who, with their God-given right of choice and being, wish to separate themselves from the only source of joy and life and blessing.

Regarding genocide in the Bible: if God is to be just and holy, he must either separate himself from evil, or meet evil, and destroy it. The latter we call judgment. People ask why doesn't God drop in today and fix all the problems in the world? Because the world is evil, and that would require judgment, and it wouldn't be pretty. Read the book of Revelation to get and idea of what that is going to look like, when it happens. And it will happen. But for now, God is giving people time to repent and turn to him, and also giving the world time to show just how evil it really is — how much it deserves judgment. God doesn't judge nations on simply what he knows they will become, but what they prove themselves to be. For example, in Genesis chapter 15, God prophesies the coming judgment of the Amorites, but he does not bring judgment on them for many years, because their "iniquity is not yet complete" (KJV) that is, their evil had not yet reached a point where it clearly was deserving of a massive, cleansing judgment.


I haven't studied Gnosticism for many years, so I doubt you'd want me quoting from dusty tomes on my bookshelf. I'll simply say that the God of the Bible that I have studied is not anything like the god (gods?) of gnosticism which you have described. In Scripture (Exodus 20:11) YHWH describes himself as the creator of heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. He allows no rivals and recognizes no superiors. In Isaiah 45:6 and 7:

I am the Lᴏʀᴅ (YHWH) and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things. (NKJV)

Though YHWH allows evil to exist and flourish for a time, for purposes that are not entirely clear, yet he is not cold to it. He hates evil, and it grieves him at his heart (Genesis 6:6). He is full of compassion, and he cares for the weak and the oppressed.

End Notes

[1] I hesitate to use the term "secular" because it might imply that there is some way to live life without theological or religious beliefs, whereas I believe that everyone has at least unacknowledged religious beliefs which drive their thinking and behavior.

[2], accessed January 31, 2023

[3], accessed January 31, 2023

[3b] Some would retreat to the "multiple universes" explanation. However, this idea, beside not explaining why all these universes exist, is not a scientific idea, since it cannot be tested by a scientific experiment. Of course, you are free to believe things that are not scientifically verifiable, but you can't pretend that science forces you to believe it.

[4] He was once accused of doing miracles through the power of Satan, but the miracles were still considered genuine.

[5], Accessed January 31, 2023

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