Leftovers of the Initial Creation Event

 With a nod to the spectacular, we recently posted accounts of the ‘great planetary conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn, a spectacular rare total solar eclipse, a beautiful comet visitor, and a fireball meteor which spread treasured fragments of cosmic matter on our home planet’s surface. We resist focusing exclusively on overly spectacular astronomical phenomena. Everyday environmental events provide plentiful examples of natural wonder.  

There is nothing boring about sunrises and sunsets, the common star-filled sky (and perhaps the cloud cover obscuring the stellar show), ubiquitous common insects, (even in the spring), gentle rain events, plant growth, ordinary animal behavior, and  dozens of other daily events in which we are immersed.

Bear with us as we develop our case for divine creation, utilizing the term “leftover,” not in a pejorative but rather in a positive sense.

We highlighted both the spectacular and the mundane in our opening paragraphs. Both suggest a rich history. What came before? In terms of the ‘spectaculars mentioned in our opening paragraph: Are the gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn “leftovers” of a divine creation event? Is Earth’s Moon, a main player in solar and lunar eclipses, a “leftover?” Are comets, fireball meteors, and meteorites “leftovers?” We ask, “Leftovers from what?” In terms of more ordinary phenomena including mountains and living things, could we make a case for creation’s leftovers? If we agree that the Big Bang, occurring 13.8 billion years ago,was God’s initial act of creation in our universethe answer is an emphatic “Yes.”

For many, the issue of a young earth is important. They interpret the seven “days” as literal rather than figurative. They do not acknowledge that Genesis days could be anything other than literal 24-hour days. Their position forces then to the conclusion that Earth and the universe itself is only six to ten thousand years old.

The position of our blog and the position of the John Ankerberg ministry is that diverse interpretations of the Hebrew yom (day) in early chapters of Genesis allow for a very ancient Planet Earth and universe in accord with multiple discoveries of historical science. Most scientists are in agreement that there is overwhelming evidence that the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago. On the same time scale Planet Earth originated about 4.5 billion years ago and simple life first appeared about 3.8 billion years ago. Fully modern humanity appeared very recently—about 50,000 to 65,000 years ago. At that time there was a significant leap in the ability of homo sapiens. That human achievement leap is described as a cultural explosion. Some analysts call this ability leap evidence of a divine creation event.

Recently I was challenged to recommend a book supporting the relationship of science and faith. I offered a volume by theologian C. John Collins, entitled “Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?” (Crossway Books, 2003). The 400-page volume is a comprehensive defense of Collins’ confidence in science and its relationship to faith. Collins states, “I have already given you my reasons for rejecting the claim that the Bible teaches a young earth…” He outlines theories proposed by theologian/physicists John Polkinghorne and Ian Barbour:

     “About 15 billion…years ago, space, time, and the universe began when the initial 

     singularity—all the matter and energy compressed into a point with zero

     dimensions—suddenly began expanding unimaginably rapidly. (Theorists disagree

     on how rapidly, and how the rate has changed over time.) After the first three

     minutes, atomic nuclei could form, yielding helium and hydrogen; after about

     500,000 years, the lighter elements could be formed. After about a billion years 

     of expansion, the stars and galaxies began to form, in which the heavier elements

     were produced. Some of these stars have died and some have scattered their

     matter—this is how the basic building blocks for biological systems became

     available. About 4 1/2 billion years ago planet earth was formed, condensed out

     of cosmic clouds. Biological life first appeared on earth about 3 – 3 1/2  billion

     years ago.”

Note the citation of the formation of planet earth in the quote above. As planets formed from the gas cloud, likewise, comets and meteors formed in the same way. In Collins’ words they formed from rocky masses and frozen gases which “bashed into each other and fused.” In our times planets, meteors, meteorites, and comets remain as “leftovers” from the initial Big Bang creation event. These leftovers are composed of “heavy elements” formed from “light elements” helium and hydrogen. Primeval stars exploded into supernovae. Light elements fused and spread heavy elements, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and other heavy elements into space. Living things are now composed of light and heavy elements—“leftovers” from the Big Bang. (Carl Sagan in his TV series Cosmos once voiced, “We’re made of star stuff.” Sagan was not a Christian, but he was correct in his “star stuff” utterance.)

Throughout Earth history our Creator has performed miracles. In other posts we have categorized miracles as (1) sustaining, (2) transformational, or (3) transcendent. We recognize the Big Bang as “God’s initial creative act.” In this universe it qualifies as a transcendent miracle. The origin of life on our planet, including fully modern humanity, is a transcendent miracle. Other events such as the formation of planets from gas clouds could be classified transformational miracles. Everyday maintenance of the orderly physical system exemplifies ongoing sustaining miracles. In all these categories, our Creator is at work to manifest His glory.

The Creator endowed matter with a coherent set of physical laws and physical constants by which the current cosmic order has achieved its present maturity. We speak of a wondrous endowment: God’s handiwork is present in thousands of ways within our sphere of existence. Science has discovered how the manifold physical systems operate. We observe creation miracles each day. For these gifts we offer God our thankful worship.   

2 Comments

  1. Daniel Nursall on February 22, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    So Adam and Eve stood upright 50,000-60,000 years ago? Why would God give us a detailed account of creation in Genesis if He used some other long drawn out process with His science kit to make everything? Your whole outline doesn’t rely on a single piece of scripture. Every opinion you put forth is based on science and your interpretation of it. Death was clearly introduced by Adam’s sin and the need for Christ to come and die was put in motion at that very moment. Billions of years requires death prior to the fall and diminishes God’s power and glory in creation. It calls into question what He clearly stated and re-stated to Moses in Genesis. Sin and death go together. Did God created a world of suffering and upward mutation over billions of years and use sin and death to arrive at a point where He created 2 people? If sin and death existed prior to Adam and Eve how were they innocent in the garden? Did they introduce sin and death when they disobeyed God? If they didn’t why we’re they punished and what would the purpose of Christ’s death on the cross be? If Adam and Eve were created from the dust of the ground as Genesis says how old were they 5 seconds after God made them? The answer is 5 seconds! Yet they were fully mature adults and would look to us like they were perhaps 20-30 years old. Our ability to measure or calculate is flawed if everything was made fully mature and complete. I’m going with God’s account in Genesis and literal days, the plain reading and interpretation of the account. I don’t agree with your viewpoint at all. I’ve been watching the JA Show since the 1980’s when Walter Martin was a regular guest. It grieves me that the show has taken this position. It’s one thing to show both sides young and old but to decide that the universe is billions of years old and leave it at that is not good. It undoes the gospel and that will have spiritually deadly consequence’s going forward. Praying for you

    • JA Show Staff on February 23, 2021 at 10:28 am

      Thank you for your thoughtful response, we know this is a discussion with varied opinions, to further clarify The John Ankerberg Show’s discussion on creation, we recommend Step by Step Through Creation with Dr. Hugh Ross

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