Creation Groans

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 10, 2015 13 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

For all the science that says the earth is the ideal place for life to exist, one does not have to look very far to see it is a dangerous place. The natural disasters we see are simply incredible. We have tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding, heat, cold, ice, desert, wind, etc. Where I live in El Paso, Texas, we are quite safe from natural disasters. We see tornados every other decade, never have to deal with hurricanes, we are impressed with a 2.5 earthquake, and we don’t even have windstorms like what I experienced in Colorado. We get to deal with heat, dry, and dirt. But not everyone gets off that easy in terms of natural disasters. And it brings up a question. Why do natural disasters happen?

There are scientific explanations for how they form and what they do, but science cannot explain why. It can only explain what happens. But Scripture gives us some insight to why “nature” gives us the disasters. Take a moment to read Romans 8:18-25. Leading up to this passage, Paul has been talking about the problems and challenges we face as Christians - the trials, the mocking, the ridicule, the persecution, all of it. Paul tells us that it is only temporary and he has his goal set on eternity. But he says something very interesting in this passage, that creation groans with the same longing: for the ultimate redemption and restoration that we as Christians should expect. Hold up a second! The creation wants restoration? Is that not personification, and therefore poetry, and therefore not necessarily factual? Yes, people do make that kind of ‘logical reasoning.’ Let me explain.

In Genesis 3:17-19, we learn of the curse that came as a result of what Adam did. Adam himself was not cursed, though he did directly get the results of his sin: mortality and separation from God. When God addressed the serpent, he cursed the serpent. When God addressed Eve, he cursed Eve. But when God addressed Adam, he cursed the ground. He cursed the creation, everything that was placed under Adam’s authority. Genesis 1:26 tells us not only that man was made in God’s image, it also tells us that God gave authority or dominion to man over the creation. I frequently hear from the Old Earth crowd that man’s sin had nothing to do with animals. I beg to differ, because such an argument does not understand the aspect of authority. In Romans 8:20, we learn that the creation was not a “willing participant” of the corruption placed upon it. That tells us the reason why animals kill each other and why we see natural disasters was not a result of “that’s how God made them,” but rather a result of the choices of another: Adam.

The creation was cursed because of Adam’s sin and it has been groaning ever since, longing for the redemption and the release from the curse that will come when the consummation of all things will take place. Now, this restoration and redemption is going to take place in the same way that ours will: through death and resurrection. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. The results, the natural consequences of sin, is death. Christianity does teach that Jesus dealt with the penalty and the problem of sin, but it is often misunderstood, even by many Christians. I’m still getting a better grasp of this myself, but when one studies 1 Corinthians 15, we learn how this penalty and problem of sin is dealt with: through death and resurrection. I read an article recently from a Theistic Evolutionist who claimed that the Young Earth crowd cannot give a theological answer for “if the penalty of sin is death, why do Christians still die?” I would answer that by this article’s author does not understand Christianity. Yes, Christians still die, but we die “in Christ,” both spiritually and bodily, and not apart from Christ. The difference is that those in Christ will be resurrected. Those apart from Christ will face the judgment and second death.

And what Paul is pointing out in Romans 8 here is that in the same way Christians will face temporary trials and sufferings, longing for the full restoration, so does Creation. To be frank, this world, the creation, and the universe we live in is going to perish. It is going to burn. But like with those who are in Christ, the creation will be resurrected, restored, and what it will be is so far above and beyond what we can imagine. We get a glimpse of this in Revelation 21-22.

The glimpse we got of what the world looked like prior to the Flood is actually just going to be a shadow of what is coming when Revelation is fulfilled. But look at this. In Romans 8:24-25, Paul explains what faith is. He doesn’t use the word “faith” but he explains what it is. First, let us clarify it by the clear Biblical definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1. Faith is the assurance (or confidence) in things hoped for, evidence for things unseen. Yes, faith does involved things we currently do not see. But faith is not blind. It has evidence and it has confidence. Blind faith does not have confidence. What faith does is have you standing firm with absolute confidence that what you hope will take place… will take place… and you will act up on that hope being true and fulfilled. When you look at the whole chapter of Hebrews 11, you see how they had faith. It is nothing of the sort that atheists think it is. Paul tells us in Romans 8:24-25 that while we do not see this restoration taking place yet, we wait for it, long for it, and pursue after it with perseverance. That means we stand firm no matter what is thrown at us.

This world is not eternal. It is going to perish, but God is going to raise it up in a new glorified form, we cannot properly conceive of that. Just look at the New Jerusalem. It is roughly 1,500 miles in length, width, and height. That is like going from Los Angeles to Chicago. Texas is a big state and going across it from western tip in El Paso to Beaumont on the Louisiana border is about 1,000 miles. This is 1,500 miles. Over 2 million square miles. Bigger than the nation of India. And that does not include the height. Mt. Everest is not even 6 miles above sea level. This city will be 1,500 miles above the ground level. Take a look at this scale model if this city were to be placed on earth today. It is going to be one heck of a sight to see. And while I cannot see this new creation today, like Paul, I too long and wait for the day that I will.

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ashleyhr said...

I've just posted about part of your blog HERE:

Charlie said...

That's fine. Ashley. That was the article I was referencing. I won't try to refute it here, because this is not the place to have that debate. Only a couple of his questions could garner slight thought with basic Biblical knowledge. The rest shows he really doesn't know the Bible, let alone our position, just like most other challengers to our faith. So, that's fine that you shared it with him. I'm not going to expect a response from him that has any value if any at all. If he has any sort of integrity, he'd remove his claim that we cannot answer them. Challenge us? Yes, he can try that. But to claim we cannot answer them? As one friend put it: "I was expecting him to be able to pitch 100+ mph with that claim, yet what he gave us was T-ball."

Nathanael Eisner said...

Howdy Sir Charlie Wolcott,

I just wanted to let you know that I have provided an answer to the 10 Questions of Tyler Francke, because I make use of your info on the two questions it applied to. I wanted to give you and others a “second chance”, as it were, at being answered properly. I wish I could have used everything you said that was relevant to the issues, but that would not make for a personal response, just a copy-paste. Keep up the great work! Part 1 – Intro & Q1 Part 2 – Half Q2 Part 3 – Half Q2 Part 4 – Q3 & Q4 Part 5 – Q5 Part 6 – Q6 Part 7 – Q7 Part 8 – Half Q8 Part 9 – Half Q8 Part 10 – Q9 Part 11 – Half Q10 Part 12 – Half Q10 & Conclusion

Charlie said...

Nathaniel, that is awesome. The real reason I did not want to get into it here is because there is a good chance that Steve Riser is going to address these questions for his blog posts here. I know he was thinking about it, but was not sure if he was actually going to use it. But one of my favorites was his complaint of "If there was no death before sin, how would Adam and Eve know what it was to take the warning seriously?" My response to that question is: "If Adam and Eve were going to die anyway regardless of whether they ate of the tree or not, what was the point of the warning?" His question is a direct attack on God's character and his ability to communicate. His whole position is that way. I call it "Hath God really said?" And I know precisely where that line of thinking comes from.

Nathanael Eisner said...

Oh, thanks for the heads up! I’ll need to keep my eyes peeled for his answers, because it’s been fun comparing the different answers I’ve found. Not to mention see we do have answers, these are far from unanswerable. Anyone else you know that have answered, beyond the ones posted on the blogpost itself?

Yes we do… the most subtle beast of the field with the adversary within.

Thank you!

Charlie said...

I shared it with several groups on Facebook and got a variety of responses. The primary response was a series of facepalms. And one thing I learned about the author was that he is a writer from Biologos, the major Theistic Evolutionist group that has demonstrated a total lack of true understanding of both science and Scripture. Yet, many claim they are Christians, just because of their claims. Not all who claim to be Christians are Christians. There are many pretenders out there. And some of them are really bad actors.

ashleyhr said...

Biologos DO understand science. And they have integrity.

Charlie said...

If Tyler Francke accurately represents Biologos' position on science and doctrine, no they don't understand either of them. And your opinion of what they understand or not does not carry much weight around here. I've read a number of their things. It's pretty bad on both aspects. When you try to please both crowds of opposing worldviews, you will get both sides painfully wrong. The atheists do love Biologos because they know that Biologos is no threat to their attempt to eradicate God from the picture. We are such a threat. And we're not going away.

ashleyhr said...

I was referring to Biologos the organisation. And I referred to them understanding science - I made NO claim about their theology (I suggested they have 'integrity' because they aren't science deniers and they somehow manage to reconcile their faith with their scientific understanding). In addition you have not to my knowledge (unless in a past blog) demonstrated that they - Biologos in general - 'don't' understand science or get it 'painfully wrong'. (The blog post of 24 June by Francke, which I have only skimmed, and which Breeden and Eisner have since critiqued, was not really about scientific topics but about theological ones.)

Charlie said...

I'll give you one chance to retract your statements before I prove you AGAIN misrepresented what I said.

ashleyhr said...

Go ahead, Charlie. (Or alternatively censor this - which I have saved - if you suddenly don't have the 'bottle'.)

I have misrepresented precisely NOTHING you said. NOTHING. Why are you so aggressive?

I am metaphorically scratching my head but I ASSUME that you are attempting to point-score - in a not very adult fashion - along the lines discussed below ...

In my last comment where I wrote "I made NO claim about their theology" I merely clarified MY position - in case you were reading too much into it. I did NOT expressly say that YOU were writing that the theology or the doctrine of Biologos is 'painfully wrong' (though I also know that that IS what you believe).

You HAVE said that Biologos have "demonstrated a total lack of true understanding of both science [and Scripture]". And you HAVE said of Biologos that "I've read a number of their things. It's pretty bad on both aspects. When you try to please both crowds of opposing worldviews, you will get both sides painfully wrong." The 'aspects' in question being their positions on science and doctrine. (Are you REALLY quibbling simply because I wrote 'theology' rather than 'doctrine'? Please do not say 'yes'!)

I'm frankly bemused by your ultimatum. But perhaps I'm being dense and you will 'reveal all'?

I look forward to your 'proof' of my alleged misrepresentation of your words.

At present I am retracting precisely nothing. I stand by what I wrote.

ashleyhr said...

In short I did NOT suggest that YOU were suggesting that MY earlier comment DID discuss the theology/doctrine of Biologos.

Charlie said...

Ashley, here is what you said regarding my comment.

//In addition you have not to my knowledge (unless in a past blog) demonstrated that they - Biologos in general - 'don't' understand science or get it 'painfully wrong'.//

Here is what I actually said.

//I've read a number of their things. It's pretty bad on both aspects. When you try to please both crowds of opposing worldviews, you will get both sides painfully wrong.//

I do not suspect this is a deliberate misrepresentation, but a combination of lack of understanding what constitutes "science" and what a "worldview" is as well as reading too fast. This is still a misrepresentation. You keep demonstrating that you do not understand what these terms are because you keep equivocating them. So let me spell it out for you.

"Science" is a PROCESS. A method which you use skills of hypothesis, observation, experimentation, analysis, and reporting. This is in agreement to the definition that Oxford gives which you cited a while back, but completely different than your use of the word in all your threads. I am literally scratching my head trying to think of a time where you have actually used this word and the context has a remote linking to this definition. Because every time you talk about science, you use it in a philosophical sense. You may intend it, but that is how you are using it. I have been asking for a LONG time for an experiment where I could follow the lab manual and get the same result that Evolution is the only option. None has been brought forth, which means Evolution is NOT science. It is actually a worldview. There are limits to what you can do with science. You accuse us of being science-deniers but have never brought anything that fits this definition that we deny. What we reject is the interpretation of the evidence which is a worldview issue.

A "Worldview" is the framework of how you see the world around you. Science requires a thing called "observation". Your worldview will determine what you think you are seeing. It will also subconsciously enforce or reject possible meanings to what you are observing. You have often cited the fossil record against us. Your worldview tells you 'millions of years', because your worldview tells you that the mainstream scientists know what they are talking about and it rejects any notion of the Biblical account. I see the fossil record and I immediately think of Noah's Flood. I do not reject science. I reject the secular understanding which keeps God out of the picture. But also understanding what science is and what it has demonstrated by observation and experimentation, the secular model of how the fossil record got there does not make scientific sense. Noah's Flood does...if you took to the time actually try to understand what all is involved, you might get that we are not lunatics. You may think we are, but that's your opinion.

So where I come from, Ashley, you are the last person who can say anything about science or who is a science-denier. By your own admission, you have no scientific background. You took one class. Because I do have a science background, I do have the right to say whether Biologos is doing bad science or not. They aren't doing ANY science. They are philosophically trying to blend two worldviews. And they are getting both worldviews wrong. As a result of that, they will get everything else wrong with it. In regards to integrity, any who claims to be a follower of Christ and then deny his plain teachings (including regarding Genesis) and put Scripture as second-tier authority (they never claim it but that is what they actually do in practice) are liars and have integrity issues.