An explosion of productivity
The age of the earth and the universe is at the center of the debate between young earth creationism and evolution. The Bible clearly teaches that the earth and the universe were created about 6,000 years ago. The grammar and vocabulary of Genesis 1, the genealogies, particularly those in Genesis 5 and 11, and other information in the scriptures make this plain. Any attempt to compromise the plain reading of the text of the Bible and evolution is a perversion of the scriptures. The hypothesis of evolution requires millions and even billions of years to even have the slightest chance at being true, which even then is a Biblical and scientific impossibility. Many of the early modern scientists including those that are considered the founders of many branches of science, believed in the Biblical account of a young earth creation. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1800s that some scientists started to believe in an old earth and evolution. It is no coincidence that this was also the time of the beginning of the decline of Biblical faith in the scientific community, although there are many professional scientists today that believe. Contrary to what people like Bill Bye say, their faith does not interfere with their ability to do science just as it did not the earlier scientists. Their view was and is that their faith is the reason they do science and it directly informs them. This is a broad subject that cannot be fully covered here. You can read books like “Evolution: Fact of Fiction” by Ricky Pavlu, “The Genesis Flood” and other books by Henry Morris, “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen C. Meyer, “In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood” by Walt Brown, a vast array of books, articles, dvds, and more at answersingenesis.org, and a chapter summarizing major points in “Back to the Basics” by Rick LoPresti as well as a two-part video on the same information at bibleforever.com.
For the purpose of this discussion, let us examine one aspect of the description in Genesis 1 and read and believe its plain reading, which is a basic principle of Biblical interpretation. Interestingly, it is a concept that even evolutionists believe in part. It is impossible to fully comprehend the idea of eternity. We perceive everything through the window of time. If there was such a thing as a time machine and we could travel backwards and forwards in time, we could not go to where God did not or will not exist. He is infinite and eternal (Ps 139, Is 57:15, Jer 23:24). We use words like big and strong to describe Him, but they are so insufficient. He cannot be measured by time or space and is not confined by them. God instituted time and space in Genesis 1. Before that there was nothing but Him. We do not know precisely when the Lord created the angels, but there was a situation going backwards eternally wherein only God existed. Not even the tiniest microscopic space particles existed. Then, God created everything out of nothing (Gen 1, Jn 1:1-3). Scientists who like to use Latin call this ex nihilo. There was nothing at all but God, and then suddenly there was an explosion of productivity in which in six short, literal days He produced the creation we now see. This is the part that even evolutionists agree on. They believe that an explosion produced everything we see. They call it the big bang, but the big bang idea not only has its own internal scientific dilemmas, it is not in harmony with the Bible. For one thing, the order of creation is wrong. Evolutionists also acknowledge what they call the Cambrian explosion. In their interpretation of the fossil record, there was a sudden explosion of varied and complex life forms which in their time scale happened in a very short time. They cannot reconcile this explosion of productivity with the idea of evolution over billions of years, but for the young earth creationist, this is exactly what we would expect to see. This is dealt with in much greater detail in “Darwin’s Doubt”. God created the earth and the universe in a sudden explosion of productivity.
There are other explosions of productivity in the Bible. The flood was a sudden destruction of everyone and everything in the whole world except those on the ark Noah built (Gen 6-9). After the flood, there was a rapid repopulation of the earth and people, animals, and plants on it. By Genesis 10 and 11, there were already numerous city-states all over the middle east and the surrounding areas of what is now eastern Europe and northeastern Africa. Genesis 14 describes a war in the days of Abraham which involved nine nations. This was about 1,600 years after the flood. God told Abraham that his descendants would move to a nation that would afflict them for four hundred years, and afterward He would bring them out into the land of promise (Gen 15:13-16). This was fulfilled by the Israelites’ slavery in and exodus from Egypt (Ex 1-15), and their possessing the promised land under the leadership of Joshua. When Abraham’s family went into Egypt, they were only seventy people (Ex 1:5). Within four hundred years, they had become a mighty nation that even Egypt feared (Ex 1:7-10). Since the censuses taken in Numbers show over 600,000 adult men capable of war (Ex 12:37, Ex 38:26, Num 2:32, Num 26:51), it is estimated that the total population of Israel at that time was two to six million.
Some people mistakenly describe the period between the Old and New Testaments as the four hundred years of silence in which God was not speaking or acting. That is not true Biblically or historically. The Bible does not describe God as One who would sit idle for four hundred years, and history tells us of many miracles God did for Israel such as those upon which Hanukkah is based. Also, in times of apparent inactivity, God is usually preparing people and situations for a time of great activity and productivity. We should not confuse activity with productivity. Many people are busy accomplishing nothing. God does not waste His investment on vanity like men do. He is the ultimate fruitful One (Jn 15:1-16). This period of apparent inactivity led directly into the first coming of Christ during which there was an explosion of spiritual productivity unlike anything the world had ever seen. As abundant as the productivity of Jesus was as recorded in the four gospels during His time on earth, we do not even know all of it (Jn 20:30-31, Jn 21:25). We only have a sampling of highlights of His great work which culminated in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
Before His ascension, Jesus told the apostles to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Holy Ghost before they began to spread the gospel (Lk 24:44-49, Acts 1:4-5). They waited for seven days until they received the gift of the Holy Ghost and began to preach (Acts 2). That period of seven days came after a forty-day period between the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:3). That period of apparent inactivity led to an explosion of productivity by the early church recorded in the book of Acts.
History and nature are also full of examples of periods of apparent inactivity followed by explosions of productivity. The Carpenteria Palm tree is the fastest growing tree. It can grow as much as six feet per year. Yet this amazing growth is preceded by a period several months to a year before the seed even germinates. Then it must develop a strong root system to be able to withstand the winds and storms it will be exposed to in the tropical climate it grows in. Most trees have elaborate root systems under the ground which enable them to stay erect and to draw their nutrition from the ground. Some trees have as much unseen underground as they do above it. Every homeowner and landscaper has been amazed by the rapid growth of weeds whose roots have not been removed.
This seems like a cliché to some who have heard it before. To those in a period of apparent inactivity, it may not provide much comfort or encouragement in the moment. However, we all must have these periods to become all that God wants us to be. A tree trunk with no growth rings would seem a strange thing. We also must go through different periods and endure the waiting game. Sometimes God is just giving us a rest so we can be ready for a sudden increase in activity and productivity which we would not otherwise be able to endure. Elijah made his great proclamation of a drought and afterward went into a period of inactivity for three and a half years (1Ki 17). This was followed by the great confrontation on Mount Carmel (1Ki 18). After this, Elijah fled from Jezebel to Mt. Moriah (1Ki 19). As he was fleeing, he rested under a juniper tree. An angel brought him food. After he ate a little, the angel told him to eat more so he would have strength for his journey which was too great for even this great prophet who outran horses (1Ki 18:45-46). When he arrived at Moriah, he went into a cave in his discouragement. A still, small voice from God sent him into another period of activity and productivity. He anointed his successor and began his training, anointed two kings, and continued his ministry to Israel until he rode a chariot to heaven. The hard part is trusting God during the down times, especially the longer they get. Abraham waited twenty five years for his promised son, but he “hung in there” even through discouragement until God brought His promise to pass (Gen 12-17). Christians are spiritual descendants of Abraham (Rom 4, Gal 3). Let us submit to the process of God as he did so we too can receive the end of that faith. Then, God can truly be glorified as He demonstrates His ability and faithfulness so all can see and believe Him.