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Sunday, August 02, 2009

The diversity of God's creation

I have been struck by the number of times that the Bible is inclusive about God's creation, in reference to how good it is, and, I believe, to our responsibility to care for all of it. (See here and here for posts on what the Bible says about environmental stewardship.)

Genesis 1 concludes by saying that everything God had made was very good.

In Genesis 6:19-20, God's instructions to Noah were to have representatives of all of the animals on the ark. (I have questions about Noah's flood, a lot of questions. One of them is as to whether the flood was world-wide or not. I'm not sure. But I am sure that Noah thought it was, and, therefore, he must have believed that he needed to preserve all the animals from the area around him, if not from the entire earth.)

In Psalm 24:1, the Psalmist tells us that the entire earth, and the things that live on it, belong to God.

Psalm 104:24-25 attempts, in two verses, to describe the amazing diversity that God created. It also says that God made them all in His wisdom.

Colossians 1:15-20
speaks of Christ, and says that He created all things, and that He holds all things together.

All things were made good, in God's wisdom. Therefore, we have a responsibility to preserve them.

Thanks for reading.

5 comments:

FancyHorse said...

As you say so often in Flickr, isn't God a great artist? Amen, and a great designer, architect, creator, Savior!

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, FancyHorse.

Daniel Smith said...

Regarding Genesis 6:19-20 and the world-wide versus local question, I am now the latter. I must also mention that understanding the flood has caused me the most mental anguish of any scriptural interpretation in my life.

(Brief Bio: I grew up believing the obvious and literal explanation from scripture. It was only about 10 years ago that I wrestled between the two views knowing that only one could be correct AND that I neither wanted to lower biblical standards nor lose scientific credibility. In essence, my own struggle was represented by the competing views of ICR and Reasons To Believe (reasons.org). I eventually chose the latter because RTB places a high value on scriptural inerrancy but also maintains scientific standards and thus credibility. In my opinion ICR is not a credible viewpoint.)

It's hard to explain my understanding but I will try. The logic goes like this: If the bible is true and God is who it says He is then He is all-powerful and can neither lie nor is He capable of any deception or evil. Thus, being all-powerful He created the entire universe and established all the physical laws that govern it at every level. These laws are what scientists discover about how our universe and life function. God also intervened in human history and authored by way of dozens of surrogates His living word which we now have in book form. Thus, God can't lie, the bible is infallible, ... and so are the laws of nature, our sciene, which God Himself setup. The entire setup is self-referential so that there must not and cannot be any contradiction between science and the bible. To believe that either is problematic is to deny God's authority, His power, or His person.

Thus, modern science allows us to fill in some of the gaps in history that the Bible glosses over. Archaeological and geological evidence do not support a world-wide flood, but a local one in the plain of what is now the middle east does and it fits the description given in scripture. Furthermore, the animals in the ark had to eat and drink for an extended period. The food and water had to be stored somewhere so, technically, the ark can't be filled up with just animals. Accounting for the food storage space and you're left with a much smaller area for creatures big and small. Consider verse 21. This has to go somewhere.

Now, the best explanation I've heard is that the animals on the ark were what we would call farm animals - chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, or their ancestors. Basically, it makes sense that God would have Noah put on the ark creatures that were beneficial or necessary for the survival of Noah and his family after the flood waters receeded. Again, verse 21 could refer to and include seeds for the planting of crops after the flood.

I grant that much of this is speculation and logic. I also grant that it defies the obvious wording of scripture, but I would also point out that there are still words in Hebrew that we don't know the meaning of. Why couldn't there be alternate meanings for some of the words in the flood passages too that would make the passages clearer that have been lost to time? It stretches credulity, but I don't think to the breaking point.

RTB is better at explaining this so I will refer you to their web site at reasons.org

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, Daniel Smith. The Flood, as I mentioned, gives me pause, too. I appreciate your thoughts.

Daniel Smith said...

You are welcome. I appreciate your posts.