Friday, December 8, 2017

Extended Creation Events

Do creation miracles still occur? We have discussed infrequent, spectacular transcendent creation miracles, fascinating transformative creation miracles, and constantly occurring sustaining creation miracles. According to this scheme we may select a sequence of historical events from the origin of time/space/matter/energy to the events of this present moment. These creation events may be considered a series of miraculous events. We propose that miraculous creation events have been ongoing and continue even in our day.

Some may remind us that Genesis 2:2-3 indicates that God rested from all the work of creating that he had done. On God’s time scale we do not know how long he rested or exactly when and how he created additional species. During the countless eons of Genesis days (time periods) of creation events described in Genesis 1, there were many recurring geological phenomena which caused extinctions of previously created life. Following these extinctions, they were replaced by new species. For example, paleontologists have precisely dated the sudden demise of dinosaurs at 66 million years ago. They have also described the rapid appearances of new mammal species which replaced them. Historical geologists call these appearances an “explosion” of mammalian diversity.

We posit that rapid appearances of new replacement species in the fossil record are instances of additional creation events. Due to their suddenness, we believe they are examples of transcendent creation miracles. An oft-cited example in our blog archive is the sudden appearance of many new phyla of animals at the onset of the Cambrian Explosion about 540 million years ago.

When we study the many astronomical, atmospheric, hydrological, geochemical, and tectonic conditions which have changed over the course of our Solar System’s long history, we could easily make a strong case for dozens of transformational miracles. We provide three brief examples of conditions resulting from complex, ancient transformations. (1) In early Earth history a brightening sun and volcanic release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases provided enough warmth to prevent Earth’s liquid water from freezing. (2) Earth underwent the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE). Limited for billions of years, the planet’s atmospheric oxygen composition underwent a large spike when the Cambrian Explosion began. Oxygen had been produced from phytoplankton such as marine algae and cyanobacteria. In our day we enjoy “just right” oxygen levels. (3) In more recent times numerous glaciation episodes produced diverse, rich, heavily productive agricultural soils in regions such as the US Midwest. In the “corn belt” where our family resides, glacial soils produce wonderful agricultural bounty. These examples are but a few of hundreds of transformational miracles producing the conditions we enjoy today.

Perhaps the most comprehensible and common miracles are the sustaining miracles provided by the forces, energy, and matter surrounding us each moment of our lives. Matter in our surroundings is literally held together. The characteristics of atoms, molecules and compounds remain orderly and coherent—characteristics that seem unlikely in view of a tendency toward chaos and deterioration in the physical systems humans produce. (Think of our children’s playrooms. Objects in them become disordered unless heroic “ordering” efforts are scrupulously applied. What if the components of atoms, molecules, and compounds which compose the children’s toys possessed no physical order? An orderly children’s playroom is not even conceivable!) If we grant that we are surrounded by invisible forces and energy holding our physical system together, we may also express our worship of the Creator of all things—the enabling God of the Bible. We also sense that the framework of our physical life is connected with an indescribable consciousness connecting us with God because we are created “In His Image.” We may not understand the full meaning of “In His Image.” We understand, however, that in God all things consist (Colossians 1:17 KJV). Many other translations use “hold together.”

Our English language is rich with multiple meanings of words. One example is creation, create, or creative. Our present post attempts to expand the meaning of creation as well as the related concept of miracle. It is our perception that we worship the Biblical God of creation miracles, past and present. In our devotional experience, these truths bring us closer to a more meaningful worship of the Creator.