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Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke, part 11

I conclude my posts on David Snoke's A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Books, 2006).The last previous post is here.

In his last chapter, "Implications for Theology," Snoke repeats his view that ". . . powerful forces of the world in which we actually live are under God's control and give glory to him." (p. 177) He has written, in the book, about several such powerful forces, including the sea, and I agree that he makes a good case for the idea. If it is true, what are the consequences? Snoke says that they include these (see pages 177-9):
The forces of nature are not evil, although they may be dangerous and destructive.
God is pleased with His creation, including predatory animals, and it glorifies Him.
Humans are special.
Although humans are special, the universe is God-centered, not human-centered.
The balance of nature is beautiful.
God is good, but not necessarily safe.

Snoke goes further. He writes (I think correctly) that the "standard" stories of the flood, and of creation, emphasize the cute animals too much. He says that the real lesson, especially of the flood, is that "if God were to stop the balance of nature even for a short time, humanity would be swept away in an instant, and that God's ultimate judgment will come without warning in the same way." (p. 183)

The author discusses the differences between Young-Earth Creationism and the Intelligent Design (ID) movement in some depth. He concludes, as I have, that they are mostly incompatible. His emphasis is more on their different theologies, mine more on what they have said about each other. (Snoke is clearly in the ID camp.)

Snoke speaks of an important point, namely that, if the church majors on Young-Earth Creationism, it will cut itself off from being able to influence educated leaders in society. ("If the Bible is so wrong about the age of the earth, how can I expect it to be right about Christ's life and ministry?" would be a likely thought in the minds of such people.)

The author does believe some things, and he sets them out:
There was a real Adam, and a real Noah.
The diverse forms of life were created by God. (I have had correspondence with Snoke, and he does not believe in what is sometimes called macro-evolution, namely that even large groups of organisms, such as, say, the Echinoderms and the Chordates, came about because of natural selection operating on a common ancestor.)
There will be a re-creation of the universe at the Second Coming.

Snoke has added an appendix, which is his own translation of the first part of Genesis. I am not competent to evaluate the value of this.

I appreciate Snoke's book a great deal, and I am glad that he wrote it, and that I read it. It has made me think about a number of important issues related to origins. As I have indicated elsewhere, I have problems with the ID movement that Snoke is part of. But his forthright discussion of the uncritical acceptance of Young-Earth Creationism, showing how the Bible itself does not demand it, and even has evidence against it, is much needed.

Lest there be any doubt, everyone is not so pleased with Snoke's book as I am. Here's a review of the book, entitled "A pathetic case for an old earth." The review claims that Snoke's view of old-earth creationism comes from reading The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris, which is now nearly 50 years old, and ignoring more recent works which answer some of Snoke's arguments. The writer also says that Snoke has not done a good job of interpreting scripture.

Thanks for reading. Read Snoke.


zuma said...

I disagree Snoke mentioned that 'if God were to stop balance of nature even for a short time, humanity would be swept away in an instant, and that God's ultimate judgment will come without warning in the same way.'
God did bring warning that he would distroy all the flesh under heaven as mentioned in Genesis 6:17 as follows:
Genesis 6:17, "For behold I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die."
The same is mentioned in Genesis 6:13, "And God said to Noah, I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
The phrase, the earth is filled with violence, as mentioned in Genesis 6:13 gives a reason that our God decided to destroy all living things on earth was the result of sin, i.e. violence, among all mankind. They were evil on the sight of God.
God did not destroy the earth by stopping the balance of nature. He destroyed them through his mighty power with the creation of rain continuously non-stop.
Not only there was rain at the place where Noah was, the whole world was raining. Not only that, it rained for forty days on the earth. The following is the extract:
Genesis 7:17, "The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth."
To human beings, how could there be rains every way around the earth? It is impossible for men. But to God, all things are possible. God should have created rain everywhere so much so it lasted for 40 days.
God then gave the promise that Genesis 9:15, "I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."
The phrase, flood to destroy all flesh, in Genesis 9:15 implies that all flesh could not survive and it implies the continuous heavy rain all over the earth. Thus, God did not stop the balance of nature to carry out God's wrath. Instead, He used His mighty power to create rain continuously to destroy those creatures that were not in the ark.

Martin LaBar said...

Having it "rain continuously non-stop" as you say, strikes me as a perfect example of a change in the balance of nature.


zuma said...

'Rain continously non-stop' refers to God change the nature instead of change in the balance of nature. Change in the balance of nature refers to one has to increase and another to reduce so as to balance up. But this example shows one side that is God created rain continously.