A Designed Universe Does Not Mean A Mechanistic Universe
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
When the Bible talks about the design of the creation, many Christians that this means that God designed the universe with certain principles so that it could operate on its own without His attention to every detail. The Bible itself, however never says this. This idea is a result naturalism, which is assumed in our educational materials about the world around us. The source of this idea is naturalistic evolution. The purpose of study is to look at what Scripture actually does say about how the creation operates.
Read Psalm 19:1. This is often used to refer to God's design of the creation and how the creation He made responds to Him. What we want to see is that this response of the designed creation is not the result of God's action in the past as much as it is the result of God's loving interaction with His creation.
Genesis 3:14-19 begins to help us see why God is continually involved with His creation. We see here that sin is shown to have its physical and material effects on the creation. This is substantiated by St. Paul in Romans 8:19-23. Our loving God not only laments the effect of sin on humans, the crown of His creation, but the effect of sin on all of the creation. While we may consider that a device that we make and use has no feelings - that it just operates according to certain principles without feelings or need of love - God Himself does not view His creation in this way. The fact that He talks about its groaning and suffering tells us this. Therefore we should not view His creation as the same kind of a mechanical device as, say, our automobiles, which operate unfeelingly according to the principles and capabilities that were designed into them at the factory.
Read Job 36:26-30. Many people are used to reading these verses in a mechanistic way that God may be said to be doing these things because He so designed them in the beginning that they would do these things. But let's let Scripture interpret Scripture. The text says that God is actually doing these things. Verse 26 must be understood before the following verses here. God is said to be unknown to us, and ageless in years. This points out the limitations of our perspective on God. Though Scripture reveals more to us about God than we can understand, such as the Trinity, God is still largely unknown to us. How, for example? Hebrew parallelism explains an example in the next line, "The number of His years is unsearchable." In other words, God is much bigger than we understand - much greater in all that He can do. For example, we can only pay limited attention to one thing at a time. God, who is unlimited, can pay unlimited attention to unlimited details all at the same time! Therefore He has no need to create the universe with laws and principles so that it can operate without His exhausting Himself with every detail constantly.
More than this, Scripture points out that He is aware of even the least important (to us) details of the creation. Here we see how He designs the rain for various purposes. Read Psalm 148:8. There we see how even the wind has a "word," or instructions from God as to what to do. Now look at Luke 12:6-7. God is even aware of every sparrow that dies, and how many hairs are on the head of every human being at any given time. The point is that Scripture repeatedly talks about God as intimately involved with every detail of the creation at all times, leaving no room for a mechanistic view of the creation. Such a view is a good example of how evolutionary ideas rub off even on faithful Christians.
What of the physical laws of the creation upon which modern science is built? We may conclude, very simply, that these laws describe the way in which God usually chooses to do things in any given situation. Water, just sitting around in clay jugs or any other container, usually just sits and exchanges gases with the atmosphere, evaporates, and stores or releases heat, depending on the relationship of the water's temperature with the surrounding air. We have seen it happen thousands of times. This is what God usually does when we leave water setting around. But that's not always what He chooses to do. We know of one situation in which He chose, instead, to turn the water into wine. Iron usually sinks in water, unless it is specially designed to have sufficient displacement. No one would question that this is how God usually operates when iron encounters water. But we know of one specific instance when God choose instead to make the iron float. And so it goes today. Even with our limited knowledge of how things will turn out, every Christian knows examples of situations in which the Lord did not do things according to the usual, but He chose another outcome.
We have come to call the usual way in which God chooses to act, natural law, once we figure out that a certain outcome is predictable. We have come to call outcomes which are different than we expect, miracles. Our mistake has been to think that God is less involved with natural law than with miracles. When we do this we have begun to define the world and order our thinking according to evolution's naturalism. God's Word teaches us, as we see in our sampling of Scripture from above, that God is intimately involved in every detail of His creation -and this makes His intimate concern in our lives through His forgiving love in the Gospel all the more powerful and wonderful on a day-to-day basis!
Copyright Â© 1988 Bible Science Newsletter, author unknown.
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