|Return to Part 1|
God values patience enormously, and He has taught us its importance by making it be a fruit of the Spirit
“Patience is better than pride”
There are numerous examples in the Bible demonstrating that God has a propensity toward not “rushing” the things that He does. As such, it would be completely out of character for God to “jam” the creation of the universe and everything in it into six, literal 24-hour days—that is, into a period of time which, from God’s perspective, would be considered infinitesimal.
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty”
From our very limited human point of view, it is difficult to comprehend how the unpleasant and difficult conditions in this world could have been planned by God, from the beginning, to be this way. The belief of many is that such adverse circumstances could not have existed prior to Adam and Eve’s sin, and that God’s so-called “perfect” Creation was ruined by human rebellion and sin.
As a result, such things as “pain” and “work” are not recognized, by many, to have been present in the world prior to humankind’s original sin. Pertaining to pain, though, it is written that Eve’s pain in childbearing would be greatly increased
As for work, it is written that God put the first man, Adam, into the Garden of Eden “to work it and take care of it”
Incidentally, God told Moses to have the people designate a place where people could go to relieve themselves (that is, eliminate their digested waste) and to dig a hole and cover up their excrement
After Adam and Eve sinned, pain and work were increased—not only as part of a woman’s birthing process, but also in the way mankind tilled the soil to obtain food from it. Prior to the spiritual fall of Adam and Eve (via sin), Adam’s tending of the ground (work) was a pleasurable and very fruitful experience, because it was done in the Garden, a place specially prepared and blessed by God and containing trees that were good for food
Following Adam’s sin, though, the ground was cursed, and God decreed that only “through painful toil” would Adam be able to eat of it
There is increasingly overwhelming scientific evidence, especially since the onset of the 21st Century, that the universe and the earth are very ancient (about 13.7 and about 4.56 billion years old, respectively). As such, some within the “young-earth” creationist camp have adopted the point of view that, for whatever reason, God made everything that we see look really old, even though they believe everything is relatively young. Personally, I have a huge problem with this position.
In essence, God’s imparting an “appearance” of great age to the universe, if the universe actually were young (say, only a few thousand years old), would qualify as God’s being a great deceiver. In fact, since God has commanded us not to deceive nor to lie to one another
Since God apparently created Adam as a grown, adult man, it often is speculated, by those who embrace the “young-earth” viewpoint, that God could have created the universe in a “mature” or “full-grown” state as well. A problem with this idea is the fact that only man, not the universe, was made in God’s “image”
It is reasonable to suppose that Adam possessed the attribute, along with God, of being always “fully developed”—since he, too, had the capacity of living forever in that created form, had he not sinned. (I believe Adam would have lived forever, if he had been allowed to eat of the tree of life in the Garden—
Today, we can observe the furthest boundaries of the universe with the aid of extremely high-powered telescopes and other technologically advanced equipment, such as the Hubble Telescope (see “A Dime’s Worth of Difference”). Unlike Adam’s spirit, soul, and glorified body (assuming he will acquire the latter one day), which will live on for eternity, this present universe (heavens and earth) will pass away and will “die,” in that it will cease to exist.
Although I do not believe that the universe is a “life form” or that it is “alive” (an assertion, made by some, with which I completely disagree), the expansive growth of the cosmos is similar to that of a living organism. Our universe’s beginning was as that of an imperceptibly tiny point. Essentially, it was a minuscule “seed” that was implanted into the “womb” of emptiness and whose “fruit” has expanded or “grown” into a gigantic cosmological “body,” containing life (on earth, at least).
Interestingly, two of Jesus’ parables about the “kingdom of God” appear to illustrate this:
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough”The infinitesimal mustard seed is implanted and then grows and spreads out into a large organism (tree), which eventually is capable of harboring and sheltering life. Furthermore, a baking loaf of bread, containing leaven, is similar to an “inflating” universe as it expands.
There is yet another perspective concerning the amount of time it took God to create the universe. Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts certain things about matter, space, and time. Basically, the faster something moves, the slower time passes relative to it.
This fact actually has been proven by setting two identical atomic clocks to exactly the same time, placing one on a spacecraft orbiting the earth, and leaving the other one behind. When the one which had been traveling at a high rate of speed returned, it was running a little slower than the one which had remained stationary. This is because time actually had passed slower relative to the swiftly moving clock than to the fixed clock.
Now, consider the tremendous amount of mass in the universe and the extraordinarily high velocities at which matter traveled for a time, following the initial expansion of the universe from an infinitesimal, outwardly-exploding point. Relative to God, who can move through space infinitely fast, the absolute period during which He created everything was very short—i.e., six 24-hour days.
However, this same period would have seemed to be very long (i.e., billions of years) relative to us, positioned on the earth and observing the distant past through very high-powered telescopes. The outward velocity of galaxies and solar systems is much slower now than when the newly-created matter was moving at an incomprehensibly high rate of speed (although, for some time, it has been speeding up and will continue to do so indefinitely). So both theories—six literal-days and six age-days—are correct, depending upon one’s frame of reference and position of observation.
There are several examples in Bible accounts where the second of a pair was blessed more than, or in some way was greater than, the first one that came before it. Similarly, I believe that the second Creation will be greater than the first.
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Although Ishmael was the elder, God promised Abraham that He would establish His everlasting covenant with Isaac, not with Ishmael
Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob, the latter being called Israel. God appointed the older to serve the younger
Jacob's fourth son Judah also had twin sons, Zerah and Perez. Zerah's hand came out first, so technically speaking he was the “firstborn” into the world. However, Zerah drew back his hand, and Perez was the first to emerge fully from the womb
Jacob's first son, Reuben, legally had Jacob’s birthright. However, Reuben disqualified himself to receive this birthright by sleeping with one of Jacob's concubines, Bilhah
Furthermore, when Jacob was near death, his son Joseph brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to be blessed by Jacob
King David—a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Perez—had another man killed and took his wife, Bathsheba, as his own. Because this displeased God
Not only did God give Solomon greater wisdom than any other man (besides Jesus) before or since, and more riches and honor than any king
Therefore, special blessings were bestowed upon all of these who were not first-born sons of their fathers:
The first man, Adam, had perfect communion with God until he sinned. The fact that he sinned, however, was an indication that he was imperfect from the moment he was created, having been formed out of the dust of the ground
“The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam [Jesus], a life-giving spirit”
As the “last Adam,” Jesus had perfect communion with the Father, and He never lost it because He never sinned. Jesus took sin, death, and the fleshly nature of man to the cross. He rose on the third day; and through Him, anyone who believes in Him can be made alive forever
Before sin even occurred, this first Creation contained darkness, a manifestation of evil. Evil was contained within the tree of the knowedge of good and evil, as well as within Satan. Like Adam, this Creation is beset with darkness, evil, and death. Just as David and Bathsheba’s first son died on the seventh day
However, this present, dark universe will be replaced by another, brand new universe, full of light
Here is a quote from God Himself: “I am making everything new!”
Thus, a brand new realm will come into existence when God creates again, after the seventh “day” of rest is over. However, that perfect, pristine heaven and earth of the future will “live” on—immaculately, gloriously, and eternally—with no end.
When Jesus returns at the end of the 70th Week, He will renovate and reconfigure much of the present heavens and earth (an imperfect Creation) into a glorious, magnificent, “Garden of Eden” state, which will last an additional 1,000 years. However, this will not be an act of “creation” but, rather, of “remodeling” and “transformation.” The Millennium will be the final portion of the seventh “day” of God’s “week,” where the seventh “day” (during which we presently exist) is a lengthy Sabbath of God’s cessation from any creative work of something out of nothing.
Thus, contrary to what is believed by most scientists, and even by many people of faith, this universe (the visible and invisible heavens and earth) will not continue to exist for eternity. Rather, after the Millennium is over, this realm of Creation, and even one-dimensional “time” as we know it, will be terminated. Then God will bring into existence a new heaven and a new earth
The one-way “time line,” on which we presently exist, had a beginning
As God’s “great white throne” appears, just prior to His final judgment at the end of the Millennium
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for themIf there will be “no place for them” (earth and sky), this seems to indicate that they will be gone. This should not be surprising, since Jesus said this:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass awaySpeaking of the Messiah to come—who would be in the line of David
(Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33).
Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—and I will not lie to David—that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the skyDavid’s line of kingship will culminate with the rule and reign of Jesus. Furthermore, there is an indication that the Messiah’s throne will endure as long as the moon and the sun, which have been established “forever”
Yet, at the end of the Millennium, the sun and the moon will pass away when the present heaven and earth pass away, and then the creation of a brand new universe (“heaven and earth”) will take place:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any seaFurthermore, in the eternal new Creation to come, there will be no need for a sun or a moon. This is because the glory of God will be its light, and there will be no night
The first heavens and earth—the present universe as we know it—will have disappeared; they will have perished and will have been discarded, although God’s existence never will end
On the contrary, the destruction of this universe will be comparable to “throwing out the garment” altogether. It will be like “cutting off” or “circumcising” the present Creation on the eighth “day”—which happened to all Jewish boys
Where will the old heavens and earth go, at the end of the Millennium? Earth and sky will have “fled” from the presence of God, as He sits on His great white throne to pass final judgment
This present universe was made by and through God, the unified Father and Son
In the Bible, words like “forever” and “everlasting” have been translated (or mistranslated) from words such as olam (in the Hebrew), aion (in the Greek), and alma (in the Aramaic). These words more properly signify an age, eon, or era, which denote a lengthy but finite period of time. It would seem, then, that “forever” (the period during which this present Creation and everything in it will exist, until the end of time as we know it) should be distinguished from “eternity” (which will be the continuance of the new Creation’s existence, without end).
This present Creation, and everything in its present form within it, will last for a finite period of time. Following the Millennium, the “living dead,” standing before God’s throne, will be judged according to the deeds they had done during their lives, as recorded in the books of their works
Even one sin or failure to meet God’s perfect standard results in the first (physical) death
The other possibility is that, although one sin is enough to condemn anyone to suffer the first and second deaths, the degree of God’s punishment of unsaved souls depends on the number and severity of sins committed during life. Thus, there may be a higher intensity of punishment for unsaved individuals who have committed more or greater sins and less good deeds, while there may be a lower amount of punishment for those who have committed fewer or lesser sins and many good deeds.
Furthermore, Paul explained God’s punishment in store for those who do not know Him and who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, and John implied the consequence of not believing in God’s Son:
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power...Paul indicated that non-believers will be punished with “everlasting destruction,” and John implied that non-believers will “perish” rather than have “eternal life.” In both cases, it sounds like those people’s souls will be destroyed and cease to exist, and they will remain in a state of permanent annihilation and nonexistence, eternally, which also will be the fate of this present Creation.
(2 Thessalonians 1:8,9).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
All of this would seem to challenge the concept that lost souls consciously will endure an unending eternity of torment and suffering. Just as the first death of the physical body involves a loss of awareness of the corporeal senses, perhaps the second death of the non-glorified spirit body will bring about a permanent loss of consciousness, and even a nonexistence, of the soul. This would seem to be more in line with a merciful God who may not punish individual, finite beings, who are guilty of a finite number of sins, to an infinite degree or for an infinite amount of time.
God called the things He had created “good”
However, this Creation never has been ideal, in the way that we, in our limited comprehension and understanding, would view “perfection.” His works are perfect
This imperfect universe, in which entropy and decay take place and in which pain and suffering impact every human life, may still considered to be the perfect work of a perfect God, since it perfectly fulfills His overall good purpose. This Creation has been corroding and deteriorating from the very beginning, and it almost always has been tainted by sin, at least commencing with the prideful rebellion of Satan
Furthermore, even before the creation of the world, Christ the Lamb was chosen, eventually to be slain and to shed His blood
Before Eve and Adam ever sinned, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
On the other hand, God’s new Creation
Ultimately, though, the new, perfect Creation will come in conjunction with the passing away of the old, imperfect creation, as well as the elimination of rebellion, sin, and death. Paul wrote that “when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears”
The new Creation never will be tainted by sin, nor will it decay or deteriorate; and righteousness always will reign
It would take, essentially, an infinite amount of time for an inately flawed person (which each of us is) to create something that, according to God’s standards, is “perfect.” Similarly, I feel it is reasonable to suppose that it would take a great deal of time for a perfect God to create a “very good” (not pristine and perfect) universe. Sin complicates everything and has had to be “factored into” the outcomes of all actions, which I believe were set forth by God in the beginning. This Creation represents the “old order of things,” which will pass away
On the other hand, absolute perfection is simple and natural for God, which is why it may take only a brief moment for the brand new Creation to come into existence. In fact, it could be that the new Creation already exists but presently is “concealed” or “hidden,” awaiting its magnificent revelation at the proper time.
That fresh, pure, unspoiled Creation, in which the New Jerusalem will exist, will not be a “restored” or a “renewed” form of this present one, as many suggest. In that brand new, flawless, untarnished Creation, there will be no death
At the end of the Millennium, Satan will have been cast into the lake of fire, never being able to escape
“Very good” is better than “good,” but it is not nearly as good as “best.” “Best” will be “perfect”; but “very good” is not, nor has it ever been, “perfect.” This present Creation, indeed, is “very good”; but the perfect new Creation to come will be the “best.”
Throughout the Bible, darkness has been associated with evil and with un-Godliness (for example,
I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.Furthermore, in the brand new Creation to come, there will be only light and no darkness or night
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil
One might question, and understandably so, why a perfect God possibly would have created this realm, in which we presently exist, to be imperfect, from its establishment (see “very good” vs. “perfect”). One even might be compelled to believe that, if God spent billions of years creating, crafting, and fine-tuning this universe and earth into what we now observe it to be, He actually is an imperfect God, desperately “struggling” and constantly “tweaking” things to make everything as “good” as He possibly can, since He initially was incapable of making it perfect. Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact is that God easily could have created a perfect, complete universe, in an instant of time—which very well may be how He will create the brand new heavens and earth
Of course, the latter type of existence would have been equivalent to communicating and having a “perfect” relationship with “yes-robots” who, by their very essences, always would have been good, righteous, and upright. Because they never would have been aware of the concept of evil, they never would have had the opportunity of choosing between good and evil. That is, they never would have been able to choose God and goodness, willingly, since a choice involves deciding between two or more options, and the only option ever available to them would have been God and goodness.
What kind of eternal existence would this have been for God? Presumably, it would have been monotonous, unstimulating, and unfulfilling to Him. His greatest creatures (humans) could not have loved, esteemed, praised, or worshiped God the way He desires, because these actions involve free will choices, which would not have been given to angels, nor to mankind, in a perfect, pristine universe containing no evil or sin.
In this present, imperfect Creation, there always was the potential for man to sin and die
God made the knowledge of evil available to angelic and human beings, inside of an imperfect Creation, knowing that they frequently would choose it—and, in fact, I believe “pre-programming” them to do so. Thus, I believe, God’s predestination and our free will are both equally true and in effect. Only this way, eventually, could God have a Creation which will contain, exclusively, those who will realize
In our present imperfect, perishable, mortal bodies of death, we are slaves to and prisoners of evil and the sinful nature
In that new and perfect Creation, never again will we choose evil, because evil will not exist there. We always will think first of God, and others, rather than ourselves. In effect, our defective desires, which enable us to choose evil, will have been given voluntarily back to God and will be replaced, permanently, by His good and perfect will.
I, for one, am more than willing to give my free will back to Him and allow Him to “re-program” me only for works of goodness and righteousness, with only His perfect Will being done within me, for all eternity, just as the Will of Jesus will be done on this present earth after He returns
There are numerous other issues separating the creation camps of “young” universe/earth and “old” universe/earth. In fact, the number of differences separating these two opposing views is huge. An exhaustive study of these differences cannot be done properly in a mere commentary, such as this one. A detailed study of these topics is covered in many excellent books on the market.
Here are some common questions, concerning creation, which are better addressed outside of this commentary:
(Audio Book, 7 CDs)
|— for atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists who are skeptical that a personal God created the universe and everything in it, including the earth and all life upon it.|
|— for “young-earth” creationists who believe that the word “day” in Genesis 1 must indicate strictly a “24-hour” period.|
|— for those who believe that the creation account, described in Genesis 1 and 2, is a mere fantasy having nothing to do with real science.|
Further information can be found about the “old-earth” view at Reasons to Believe and at Answers in Creation, and about the “young-earth” view at Institute for Creation Research and at Answers in Genesis.
Dr. John Ankerberg used to embrace the “young earth” view of Creation. Now he strongly accepts and supports an “old-earth” view of Creation. A comprehensive article by Dr. Ankerberg generally reflects my positions on the topics of creation and evolution. The views, quotations, and documentation of numerous authoritative sources have been included in this lengthy article. The first part of the article discusses the “creation vs. evolution” issue, and the second part of the article discusses the two major views about creation (“young-earth” vs. “old-earth”):
Here is another very lengthy commentary, by an unknown author, which generally reflects and details my views:
|Return to Part 1|
|Summary of Commentaries|
|Who Is God?|
|The Rapture||The Endtimes|
|The Final Battles||The Beasts|| The Creation
|God’s Covenant: with Israel or the Church?|
|My Beliefs and Faith|
|Bible Question Emails
and Ted’s Responses
|The Holy Bible
(a novel by Ted)
of the Human Eye
Comments or questions? Email Me.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.