|Announcing the new website
This website describes the Creation Narrative of Science—a fairly complete narrative only within the past fifty years—and compares it point by point with the Bible's Creation Narrative, primarily presented in Genesis.
The comparison is done by asking short questions such as:
• Why does Day One of the Genesis account begin with the creation of light?
• What does it mean that the earth was without form and void in the verse before Day One?
•How did the dry land of Day Three appear out of the oceans?
This website is still under construction, but it is pretty complete through the first half of Day Three—the formation of dry land. I think you will find the remarks and conclusions surprising and in some cases that they give new insights into the nature of the Genesis narrative. Work is continuing on the remaining parts of the Genesis narrative.
The 19thpsalm.org provides background and additional information for the matters that the creationnarrative.org website discuss.
David C. Bossard
The Purpose of this website
This website is my personal reconstruction of how God created the Universe and Life, based primarily on the findings of Science.
The human ability to understand these things is a direct gift from God, the "Silent Speech" in Psalm 19. This speech is an unexpected and miraculous declaration of the glory of God and his handiwork which God deliberately wove into the fabric of his creation. Modern science exists because of this silent speech. As science has advanced in recent decades, it has developed an increasing ability to understand the speech, resulting in astonishing and totally unexpected insight into the actual ways that God carried out his creative work. This speech was woven into the creation from the very beginning of time, and has been lovingly nurtured by God as a special witness to his Glory, a record especially preserved for its unfolding in these modern times.
Who would have had the arrogance to expect that such insight is possible? Or that God would grant special favor to the modern times in this remarkable way? Indeed, as this insight has unfolded, it has always been met with initial doubt and disbelief until its truth becomes overwhelmingly evident. Because of the totally unexpected and astonishing depth of understanding that it yields, I see it as a firm indication of God's intense desire to share his Glory with humanity in these rudderless days, through the silent speech of Psalm 19.
The remarkable scientific discoveries of the past 50 years -- especially in genetics and astrophysics -- have revealed more "signs and wonders" about God's handiwork in creation than has any comparable time in history, except when Jesus walked the earth. It makes me wonder what God has in store for humanity, why this unfolding of natural revelation at this time?
Other websites that I have developed (and which you, of course, are welcome to visit), are:
- The HMS Challenger Library and the Golden Age of Geology Library.
These libraries are part of my 19thcenturyscience.org website; and
- The website of the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, IBRI.org.
See that site for a statement of IBRI's purpose and membership.
Those sites record, for the most part, the thoughts and views of others with expertise in science and theology (although my own views appear on occasion), but this website gives my own views, for which I alone am responsible.
Scattered throughout are some theme boxes, explained here:
Nobody including me can have an expert understanding of all aspects of God's Creation. Even the most knowledgable person has to rely on the integrity and clarity of others outside of his own particular area of expertise. Fortunately, there are readily available, lucid treatments of many aspects of the science: that is one continuing and gratifying result of the sincere efforts of many scientists to reach out to the person who seeks understanding.
This website is a celebration of Psalm 19, a celebration of God's glory and handiwork as displayed in the natural world -- not just displayed, but codified in a "Silent Speech" that God intentionally wove into the fabric of his creation to proclaim his glory and handiwork.
My plan is to describe my understanding of how God went about creating the natural world, listening to what that silent speech says, as best I can interpret it by heeding what scientists say. Perhaps I have in some cases gone out on a limb and re-stated some matters. There is no intent to deceive or to pretend particular expertise on my own part, but simply to clarify the narrative.
The best teachers try to develop an intuitive sense, and some authors try to express things in a way that gives one an intuitive feel for how things proceed. I hope that the comments made in this website follow that model of intuition -- even at the risk of an occasional mis-statement.
One thing that will, I hope, be clear as you read on: I firmly believe in the God as presented in the Bible, and that the Bible, correctly understood, does not contradict true facts about the natural world -- also correctly understood. I also believe that the Bible's God is not a hands-off God, and that he did and does guide the affairs of nature and of mankind according to his plan and will. I do not believe that God -- as some claim a "fair-minded" God must -- lets nature evolve by itself without any interference.
All scientists operate under a set of metaphysical assumptions -- which they may or may not express explicitly. For example, many scientists believe that everything we see in the natural world has come about by purely natural processes. This is more than just saying -- as a sort of definition -- that science deals only with nature as it exists and with natural processes (which is my own view). It is an assertion that nothing else is needed to account for the world as we see it (which is not my view). It is an assertion that there must be natural processes that account for everything we see; that the universe that now exists and its underlying physical laws and constants are the products of purely natural forces, even though we have no idea of what they are; that the first life must have evolved from non-living material by purely natural processes, even though we cannot describe or demonstrate how this might have happened; that advanced life must have evolved from primitive life by purely natural processes.
The important thing to realise is that these are metaphysical assumptions, and that one can hold very different assumptions and still be completely scientific. Science is different from metascience. Science deals with things that can be demonstrated or falsified by another competent scientist who may have entirely different metaphysical views.
A true scientist always tries to find natural explanations for observed facts (such as the fact that life exists on the earth and that at one time life did not exist on the earth) -- or at least explanations of pieces of these facts. But it is not "proof" to simply assert that we are here and therefore it must be possible to get here by natural processes.
This website operates under some basic beliefs, which amount to my metaphysical assumptions about science and the natural world. I assert that these beliefs do not compromise my ability to work and reason as a true scientist.
1. God created the natural world.
• All of the natural world, including the natural laws by which it operates, including space and time itself, are creations of God.
• The natural world has a purpose: to proclaim God's glory, and to provide a suitable place for humans, his supreme creation. Every aspect of nature contributes to this purpose; there is no "wasted" effort in creation. Everything in creation occurred in the fullness of time and for this specific purpose.
• Everything in nature is created (ultimately) for the benefit of his human creation.
-- This sidesteps the question of evil in the world: are some aspects of creation formed with evil intent? I will not address this issue here.
2. God himself exists outside of the natural world. It is wrong to think of God as made up of anything that is part of the natural world. God is timeless -- time itself is created. God is not energy -- energy is also created. God does not exist in space and is not subject to space restrictions; he is dimensionless and at the same time infinitely dimensional. I don't pretend to know how to explain these things, because they are beyond anyone's comprehension.
3. God uses natural processes to carry out his creative work, whenever such processes can achieve a needed result.
• The main task of science is to seek out the natural laws and processes, and to explore their limits.
• God did not create by fiat anything that could be created using natural processes. This is a self-limitation that God imposed on himself so that scientific discoveries relating to the creation process would accurately reflect what in fact occurred. God did not create "holes in my socks" to give a false appearance of age (As Bertrand Russell suggested).
4. God intentionally designed his creative work so that it would reveal his methods and handiwork to the skillful observer.
• This is the silent speech in Psalm 19.
5. God is a "meddling" God. He meddles with his creation. This is how the God of the Bible is described, supremely exemplified by the central Biblical message of redemption culminating in his provision of salvation through the Lamb of God: "He himself will provide the lamb." That promise was fulfilled in terrible poetry: Jesus, the Lamb of God was crucified and died at 3 PM, April 3, 33 AD, at the exact time the Passover Lamb was slaughtered in preparation for the Passover celebration on that year.
• Since this is true of the Bible's central message of salvation, it is reasonable to expect that God would also meddle in his creation activity. This is what makes the main task of science non-trivial: there is no reason for the Bible-believer to assume that the present state of nature is exclusively achieved by natural methods. The task of science is to determine the limits of what can be done naturally, but not to assume that everything can be done by purely natural processes -- that assumption leads to lazy science. We view our subject positively -- demonstrating what can be done by natural processes -- rather than negatively -- what cannot be done naturally. In the process, of course, the unexplainable is highlighted. That is the essence of the sharp points.
6. God loves the inquiring person, whom he rewards with insight and wisdom.
• He is an honest God: he will not intentionally deceive, but he is subtle (as Einstein once said), and rewards the seeker in proportion to the honesty and dedication devoted to understanding his creation.
• He is a communicating God, and he has communicated through special and natural revelation.
• He is a consistent God.
• He is a loving God.
The Bible describes God as actively involved in his Creation. Indeed, the central theme of the Bible is God's activity in history on behalf of mankind to bring about redemption and healing.
Given the fact that this is the God of the Bible, one would naturally expect that God was actively involved in creating the natural world. A totally hands-off God, who allowed the physical and biological world to evolve by purely natural processes is not recognizable as the God that one sees described in the Bible.
On the other hand, there are broad aspects of the natural world that do appear to proceed according to fixed laws and principles, without the apparent need for intervention. In fact, the confidence in these laws makes it possible to form a firm understanding of physics, chemistry and biology. One outstanding example is the behavior of the stars: God ordained them to be the timekeepers for humanity -- "Let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years." (Genesis 1:14). These are designed as exemplars of natural works which operate with eternal precision and attention to the natural laws -- so precise that it is possible to determine the future or past appearance of the skys from any vantage point, and at any time within thousands of years of the present, and with an accuracy of a few seconds in position and time.
This leads me to the following conclusion, based on my lifetime of observation: God appears to use natural processes whenever they suffice to achieve a desired end. When the desired end cannot be had by natural processes, however protracted they may be, then God intervenes.
Based on this conviction, I see the role of a scientist to try to determine the limits of what can be done by natural means. There is no pre-determined limit of investigation here -- but on the other hand there is also no presumption that every natural phenomenon must be the result of purely natural means.
For further information on this subject see the Comments on Psalm 19:1-4.
^Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science, (1935) p. 70. The full quote is: "We may all have come into existence five minutes ago, provided with ready-made memories, with holes in our socks and hair that needed cutting." Cited in Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, Free Press, 2009, p. 13.