H S K J
BIOL/RELT421-Issues in Science and Society- Winter 2014
The origins of the universe has been a subject of many theories and explanations (Linder, 2003). Some believe in the scientific explanations and the Big Bang Theory is the foremost of them (Linde, Linde & Mezhlumian, 1994). Many, on the other hand, believe in the creation as what was told in the Holy Bible (Van Till, Stek, Snow, & Young, 1990). This paper will portray the notable characters that shaped the theories and beliefs about the origins of the Earth.
Hugh Ross, Leonard Brand, and James Gibson are the three key people who have made significant contributions in explaining the origins of the universe in relation to the Bible story (Reasons to Believe, 2014). The website of the ‘Reasons to Believe’ states that Hugh Ross is an astronomer by profession and he is committed in faith to Jesus Christ. Ross linked scientific research about the origins of the universe and the story of creation in the Bible. He is the president of the religious group, Reasons to Believe. (Reasons to Believe, 2014; Bebber et al., 2014)
One of the best reviews about Hugh Ross’s teachings is the article in the ChristianAnswers’s website written by Van Bebber and Paul S.Taylor (Bebber et al., 2014). The article states that Hugh Ross beliefs are based on the concepts that the world was created billion years ago and such was the case expressed in the Bible. It notes that Hugh Ross believed that a day for God is equivalent to a billion years for us (Bebber et al., 2014).
While Hugh Ross tried to link science research to the Bible, some of his beliefs are inconsistent to the scriptures. According to the ChristianAnswer’s website, Hugh Ross teaches that most of the stars have already existed, for about 15 billion years, before the Creation Week (Bebber et al., 2014). However, some interpretations of the scriptures note that God created heavens and earth for six days (Holy Bible Exodus 20:11). There is inconsistency between ‘most of the stars existing for 15 billion years before the Creation Week’ and ‘God creating the stars during the six days period’. Van Bebber’s and Paul S. Taylor’s article says that according to Hugh Ross, we are currently in the 7th day of God and such day will not end until a new heaven and earth are created (Bebber et al., 2014). .
Another point that Hugh Ross raises about creation and origins of the earth, as specified by the ChristianAnswer’s website, is the belief that before Adam existed there were already animals and human beings (Ross, 1994). It explains Hugh Ross’s perception that natural disasters such as meteor collisions, supernovas, typhoon, and hurricane wiped out the said living things. It also notes that Adam and Eve were created from dust 6 to 60 thousand years ago. Such a period is much younger than the billion years of earth existence claimed by the scientific research (Bebber et al., 2014). It also contradicts the Bible assertion that Adam was the first man ever created.
According to Van Bebber’s and Paul S. Taylor’s article in the ChristianAnswer’s website, Hugh Ross believed that God created human like animals. Thus, it led to the rise of Neanderthals, Cro-magnon, and the likes, which are considered animals and not human (Bebber et al., 2014). While Ross is not an evolutionist, his suggestion of such a possibility provides for the validity of Darwin’s evolution theory without negating the creation story of the Bible.
The second person with significant contributions in understanding the origins of the universe is Leonard Brand, the author of Faith, Reason, and Earth History (Brand, 1997). As per the Andrews University Press release, Leonard Brand is a Professor of Biology and Paleontology for four decades. His book entitled Faith, Reason, and Earth History is about an explanation of the earth origins and history based on the Bible scriptures (Brand, 2014).
Kurt P. Wise’s review on Leonard Brand’s work, Faith, Reason, and Earth History, states that Leonard Brand rejects the idea of evolutionism and believes in the story of creation as stated in the Bible (Wise, 2014). However, Leonard Brand stressed the importance of respect for the differences of beliefs about the origins of earth and life. Kurt P. Wise also notes that Leonard Brand recognized that the human beings have limited answers to environmental and scientific questions about earth history. Hence, people should recognize such limitations. Scientist should also be honest with the uncertainties of data (Wise, 2014).
According to the review, Leonard Brand believes that the story in Genesis is true and God created each species (Wise, 2014). Brand reviewed all types of scientific research on origins of earth such as the study of aborigines and geology. He finds that all human put forward theories and explanations have inaccuracies and unanswered questions that led him to accept or recognize human limitations (Wise, 2014). The boundless and perfect explanation of the Holy Bible supports earth history beyond research and data analysis. God’s explanation in the Bible is strengthened by faith and makes people feel the truth in His words without the need of complex questions and data analysis (Wise, 2014).
Andrews University Press stresses that Leonard Brand believes that Faith should consider scientific data as a means to improve understanding of the earth origins based on what the Bible states. Likewise, scientists should also be honest and humble to accept that no matter how adept the research on the history of earth, there are still information or phenomenon that cannot be explained by the human mind (Brand, 2014).
The third person that made religious contributions explaining the earth history is L. James Gibson (Gibson et al., 2007). Adventist News Networks’ website states thatJames Gibson is the Director of the Geoscience Research Institute of the Adventist Church. He is also the co-editor of the book, Understanding Creation (Rasi & Gibson, 2011). James L. Gibson, in his article entitled ‘Why Our Book “Understanding Creation” Was Written’, explains that the book is a helpful material in dealing with questions about creation and the scientific challenges about it. He notes that the book’s cord discussions include creation, morality, and the Sabbath day. It discusses explanations on questions about Darwinism, big bang theory, radiometric dating, plate tectonics, dinosaurs, and fossil records (Gibson, 2014).
James Gibson stresses that God’s scriptures are a revelation to us and that it is the most reliable source of information about creation. He considers the scientific perspective about the earth that nature is ruled by fixed laws and God has no intervention in any events might be a God’s insult to human pride. Similarly, the explanation that the human beings are sinful fallen beings are also insult to humanity, but the ideas that God created heaven, earth, and people to have everlasting life are comforting and gives hope to humanity (Gibson, 2014).
Gibson wrote another report entitled Issues in Intermediate Models of Origins, where he discusses each of the queries of creation in the biblical context. Among his most notable remarks about the creation that negates the scientific theories is the definition of evolution. According to James Gibson, evolution is a term used to define change over time and such concept does not necessarily defines universal ancestry common to all beings (Gibson, 2006). Thus, it is not fair to say that all or any human beings evolved from animals.
James Gibson reviewed all scientific models of the origin of the universe such as plate tectonics, fossil fuels, and dinosaurs; he concluded that all the scientific models suffered from problems such as inaccuracies and questionable facts. He stresses that although there are many questions about the biblical model of creation, scientific explanations also have many questions and issues. Based on this, he affirms the belief that Christianity should not be abandoned. The scientific research cannot be considered as reliable truth about the origins of the earth (Gibson, 2006).
It is a human nature to ask questions about his surroundings and origins. God endowed us with reasons to understand various occurrences in our lives, surroundings, culture and beliefs (Bebber et al., 2014). We, as individuals, have components. We have the physical body, mind and intellect, emotions, and spirit. If we rely only on tangible evidences, we are only appealing to our physical body, mind, and intellect components in the search or acceptance of truth. However, we have emotions and spirits that can discern and feel some things that are not tangible. Such are things that you can perceive as truth only by feeling and experiencing them (Bebber et al., 2014).
The questions and adept scientific research that disregard biblical perspective on creation are actually questioning not only the origins of earth but of the existence of God as well. Such can be explained to the scientists’ strength in physical body, mind and intellect but weakness in emotions and spirituality (Bebber et al., 2014). One of the reasons, why we cannot accept science research as the only truth about the origin of the universe and creation of life aside from the many flaws, inconsistencies, and questionable issues it has, is because it disregards some components of our being humans (Bebber et al., 2014). The other components are emotions and spirit, which elicit faith, feelings, and truth. These cannot be quantified and turn into data. An individual can only experience the God’s existence and scriptures through emotions and spirit (Bebber et al., 2014).
The biblical story on creation explains all the living things that exist now. The occurrences after creation also fit the history in the ancient times when God came down to the heaven in the person of Jesus Christ. Such, alone, is a good proof that the biblical story on creation is the most reliable information. The scientific research can only be used to support the biblical story but those alone are not sufficient explanation and consideration as the sole truth about the origins of the earth. Such an ambiguity is due to the limitations of the human mind that is prone to mistakes, shallowness, and other fallacies (Bebber et al., 2014).
The strength of God can be tested on how many people still believe in the religious story of creation. For some, God is found in many unexplained phenomena. Many unexplained natural occurrences of nowadays, that are very new to sciences, are proof that there is Someone very great that exists that can cause all of these on earth, because He is the one who created it. Newly discovered natural phenomenon are not readily understood and explainable by the scientists. The notion that someone very great and omnipresent is responsible for such mysterious occurrences on earth should not be disregarded. There is no need for further proof of an existence of a great human being or an individual that caused great things on earth (Bebber et al., 2014). The earthly creatures are dependent and react to someone or something. Someone else should elicit the force to enable the initial action in the creation. That someone is the greatest being, the God.
Bebber, Mark Van and Taylor, Paul S. (Wise, Kurt. 2014. “Progressive Creationist” Hugh Ross, who is he and what does believe. ChristianAnswer.com. Retrieved from http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c014.html
Brand Leonard. 2014. Faith, Reason, and Earth History - 2nd edition A Paradigm of Earth and Biological Origins by Intelligent Design. Andrews University Press. Retrieved from http://www.andrews.edu/universitypress/catalog.php?key=198
Brand, L. (1997). Faith, Reason & Earth History: A Paradigm of Earth and Biological Origins by Intelligent Design: Andrews University Press Berrien Springs.
Gibson, L. J., Roberts, R. L., Smith, D., Núñez, M. Á., Rasi, H. M., Maran, K. L. (2007). When faith and reason are in tension. Dialogue, 19(2), 5-8.
Holy Bible Exodus 20; 1
L. James Gibson. 2014. Why Our Book “Understanding Creation” Was Written. Adventist News Network. Retrieved from http://news.adventist.org/en/all-commentaries/commentary/go/0/why-our-book-understanding-creation-was-written/
L. James Gibson. March 2006. Issues in Intermediate Models of Origin. The Foundation for Adventist Education. Retrieved from http://fae.adventist.org/essays/34B_Gibson_J.pdf
Linder, E. V. (2003). Exploring the expansion history of the universe. Physical Review Letters, 90(9), 091301.
Linde, A., Linde, D., & Mezhlumian, A. (1994). From the Big Bang theory to the theory of a stationary universe. Physical Review D, 49(4), 1783.
Rasi, Humberto M. & L. James Gibson. (2011). Understanding Creation: Answers to questions on faith and science Hardcover.
Reasons to Believe. 2014. Dr. Hugh Ross. Reasons to Believe. Retrieved from http://www.reasons.org/about/who-we-are/hugh-ross
Ross, H. (1994). Creation and time: A biblical and scientific perspective on the creation-date controversy (Vol. 187): NavPress Colorado Springs, CO.
Van Till, H. J., Stek, J. H., Snow, R., & Young, D. A. (1990). Portraits of creation: Biblical and scientific perspectives on the world's formation: WB Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Wise, Kurt. 2014. Young-age Creationsim Grows Up. Access Research Network. Retrieved from http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od201/br_youngagecreationism201.htm