Starting Points

Starting Points

Starting Points

Continuing in the book review series on Genesis and the Big Bang by Gerald L. Schroeder, Ph.D…

There are two significant discoveries (or as Schroeder calls them, “starting points”) that continue to elude scientists — the origin of the universe and the origin of life.

Regarding the origin of the universe, Schroeder writes,

When we try to describe the conditions at that crucial interface between total nothingness and the start of our universe, we are confronted with a point of space having infinitely high density and infinitely small dimensions. In the language of physics, such a point is called a singularity. Singularities cannot be handled mathematically in the dimensions we experience: the length, width, and height of things and the passage of time. Changing to imaginary dimensions of time allows the math to be handled but does nothing to remove the fact that an untenable singularity existed in real time at the Big Bang.

Different theories have been proposed and disproven along the way, and as of right now, scientists acknowledge both the likelihood of a finite beginning of the universe and the inability to understand how that beginning happened.

Regarding the origin of life, Schroeder writes,

The answers provided by science for life’s origins are no more satisfying than those provided for the universe’s origins. Since the monumental “Conference on Macro-Evolution” was held in Chicago in 1980, there has been a total reevaluation of life’s origins and development. […] There is now overwhelmingly strong evidence, both statistical and paleontological, that life could not have been started on Earth by a series of random chemical reactions. Today’s best mathematical estimates state that there simply was not enough time for random reactions to get life going as fast as the fossil record shows that it did. The reactions were either directed by some, as of yet unknown, physical force or a metaphysical guide, or life arrive here from elsewhere. But even the “elsewhere” answer merely pushes the start of life into an even more unlikely time constraint.

Thankfully, Schroeder goes into great detail in later chapters on both of these monumental, complex problems. Schroeder concludes,

The problems of our origins, problems that most of us would have preferred to consider solved by experts who should know the answers, in fact have not been solved and are not about to be solved, at least not by the purely scientific methods used to date.

Scientists, atheists, and others may have a hard time understanding why people without answers turn to an ancient text for enlightenment or revelation. The way I see it, we should consider every bit of information available and postpone rejecting ideas that have not yet been disproven — whether that information comes from imaginary mathematical dimensions or an ancient text.

Chapter two, “Stretching Time,” is mind-blowingly awesome. In it, Schroeder provides a logical defense for this claim that might seem incredible to scientists:

This first week of Genesis is not some tale to satisfy the curiosity of children, to be discarded in the wisdom of adulthood. Quite the contrary, it contains hints of events that mankind is only now beginning to understand.

Likewise, Schroeder provides a logical defense for this claim that might seem incredible to theologians:

When the Bible describes the day-by-day development of our universe in the six days following the creation, it is truly referring to six 24-hour days. But the reference frame by which those days were measured was one which contained the total universe.

So, how can Schroeder reconcile billions of years with six, literal 24-hour days?

In chapter two, Schroeder explores:

  • The Biblical Calendar
  • Special and General Relativity
  • Time Dilation
  • Stretching Time

I’m really looking forward to writing the next blog post in this series.

 

Related: The Search

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert November 16, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Alice, you want to explore every available imaginative proposal without limits. You will not live long enough. Look what you wrote about how close the answer of origins is: it is nowhere near nor likely to man’s cleverness. God has confounded man’s wisdom. Yet He gave us the answer in six literal twenty-four hour days which you refuse to run with its most understandable literalness. That’s characteristic of your unbelief and evidence of your unsaved state and why you and your dad cannot be completely reconciled. Why do you fight God so? God gave you the answer, yet you continue to waste your time on vanities of all sorts. I have only one sibling and that’s my brother Ronald. I was the only Bible thumper in his wedding and he and his bride fought against everything I said for several years. One day he realized he was fighting and decided to try listening. He came to true faith and regretted his rebellion for the joy and truth he found in the literal perfect Holy Bible. Alice, Schroeder is unwittingly demonstrating to you how much a waste of time it is to search for an answer contrary to the Genesis literal account. Yor life-time will end without an answer. It is a basic question that needs to be answered and God knows we need the answer, so He gave it to us and much much more because He is gracious. Why won’t you believe it?

  • Mary Vanderplas November 17, 2014 at 5:27 am

    I like how he describes the problem of science being currently unable to explain what caused the big bang, the initial conditions of the expansion of the universe, as well as the origins of life, the leap from rocks to algae on rocks. And I agree that most of us would like to have answers to the questions of origins, though I don’t think that coming up against the limits of our knowing necessarily breeds disappointment, but may inspire awe. While I don’t disagree generally with your statement about the need to be open to information from different sources, I’m wary of attempts to look to the Bible to supply scientific information about how the universe and life came to be. To be sure, for those who believe, Genesis 1 tells us why there is something, not nothing. But to say that it provides information that fills in gaps in scientific ignorance or that sheds light on the scientific questions pertaining to origins is, for me, to read the text as something it wasn’t intended to be.

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 17, 2014 at 10:46 am

      war·y/ˈwerē/ adjective
      feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems.

      So, Mary, it sounds as if you don’t believe it is scientific for God to have SPOKEN things into existence from nothing in six literal twenty-four hour days. To write Genesis 1 tells merely why there is something is an extremely low view of God’s Book, the Holy Bible. You elevate science above God and reduce the majesty of God to meaninglessness. Shall we address you as “your Majesty Mary Vanderplas”, the goddess of knowledge who judges God?

  • Lanny A. Eichert November 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    http://www.creationmoments.com is an excellent source of < two minutes radio broadcasts that prove young earth is the only answer. Spend the couple minutes it takes to be right. You'll be glad you did.

  • Stephen Helbig November 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    “I’m really looking forward to writing the next blog post in this series.” ~ Alice

    Today I received my copy of Schroeder’s “Genesis and the Big Bang Theory: The Discovery Of Harmony Between Modern Science And The Bible”, and with much enthusiasm, (Gr. entheos), I read the first three chapters. I too also look forward to your book review, for in my reading thus far I find his ability to reconcile the language of ancient texts and sages with that of today’s science, and to quote Schroeder, ~ “They are identical realities that have been described in vastly different terms.”

    p.s. ~ ‘Jeremiah (23: 29) we read: “Behold, My words are as fire, says the Lord, and as a hammer that shatters the rock.” Based on the parallel context of these two phrases, the Talmud teaches that “just as a hammer breaks a rock into many pieces, so can a single biblical passage have many meanings.” The result is that there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage.’ ~ Schroeder (Chapter 1)(Kindle Locations 315-318). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    p.s.s. ~ ‘Maimonides taught in regard to Proverbs 25: 11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a filigree vessel of silver”— the vessel (the literal meaning of the text) is beautiful and valuable, but the golden apples held within the vessel (the inner meanings of the text) are even more beautiful and valuable.’ ~ Schroeder (Chapter 1)(Kindle Locations 374-375). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    p.s.s.t. ~ “Have these seemingly unequivocal scientific revelations sounded the death knell for religious tradition as we have known it? Are the worlds of science and religion mutually exclusive? The truth is just the opposite. The newly won knowledge of the universe is in fact the fertile ground for tradition’s flowering.” ~ Schroeder (Chapter 1)(Kindle Locations 426-428). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Stephen, if “a single biblical passage can have many meanings” does that mean it can even have contradictory meanings? Would that be why “there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage?” Are all meanings and opinions valid? Whose meanings and opinions are these? Why isn’t this bringing the Scriptures into confusion? Have you failed to answer these questions?

      • Stephen Helbig November 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm

        Lanny In regards to your above questions let us start with ~ God is not a God of confusion but of peace. In answering these above questions let me address that which has failed in your mind in regards to my “p.s. ~ Jeremiah (23: 29)” comment above.

        You ask, “Why isn’t this bringing scripture into confusion?” My response is the word of the Lord is a living word to meet with each in his/her own heart, right where we are. Like fire, it is quick and piercing, and penetrating into the hearts and consciences of men, and it has different effects on different objects, just as fire which hardens some things and softens others.

        You ask, “Whose meanings and opinions are these?” The answer ~ ‘Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, SAID THE LORD, that steal “MY WORDS” every one from his neighbor’ (Jer. 23:30) ~ So we can see the hammer in the “HAND OF THE LORD”

        Are all meanings and opinions valid? ~ I’ll answer with Romans Chapter 14 and follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. What is valid for one is not for another.

        And in regards to your quote ~ If “a single biblical passage can have many meanings” does that mean it can even have contradictory meanings? Would that be why “there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage?” Let me start by saying “Wisdom is the ability to hold two contradictory truths in the mind at the same time”, and in reference to the abundance of opinions of particular scriptures we must rest in that which the Lord has given. So as to clarify a partial answer to these above questions of yours let me end with this passage and an experience placed within me early on ~ . In the late 1970’s, (then in my mid twenties), I realized that my life thus far was very incomplete, and began to seek things which would come from above, from the God of the universe. So at this point of time in my life I prayed the sinners prayer and “had just received Jesus Christ as my personal savior” asking him to come into my life as Savior and Lord; (not fully understanding that he had been there all along.) To shorten a very long story, let me jump to a scripture fond in 1 Corinthians 11:14 to help clarify concerning this question of yours. Now the first time I read this scripture found in Corinthians, I was in a used book store seeking an inexpensive bible the very same week I said the sinners prayer, and very new to the things of God. I proceeded to pick several bible from the shelves to see their condition, and upon pulling one particular bible down and flipping thru the pages I noticed that there was only one verse HIGHLIGHTED in yellow on all the pages of this particular bible now in hand. So I stop, read the passage highlighted, ~ “Does not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man has long hair, it is a shame unto him?”(1Cor. 11″14). ~ Now today some 35+ years later this verse has a deeper and more significant meaning than it did on that day when I first found it, for I was standing there with very long hair thinking how can this be true. what does this mean?, even Jesus had long hair. Upon questioning what this passage could possible mean, I was impressed to cut my very long hair. You see back then my very long hair had been a shame to my natural father in his corporate business world. But today I realize there is much more meaning to this particular scripture. The inner meanings of scripture are even more beautiful and valuable.

        • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2014 at 11:36 pm

          Stephen, do you apply “what is valid for one is not for another” to Exodus 20: 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

          • Stephen Helbig November 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

            Application for ~ “what is valid for one is not for another”

            Lanny one definition of “valid” is that which is “acceptable according to the law” so in this usage I would have to say the phrase, “what is valid for one is not for another “ in regards to covetousness is indeed applicable to Ex. 20”17“.

            However in reading your original question, “Are all meanings and opinions valid?” I understood your question to be in reference to the context of multiple meaning and layers of scripture, so in forming a response, “my response” ~ “what is valid for one is not for another” was based on and in reference to Romans Chapter 14 and the various leadings from our Lord found in that chapter. “What is valid for one is not for another” can be clearly seen thru out that chapter, supporting the idea that scripture can indeed have multiple layers. My response was within those parameters, showing there can be multiple layers while interpreting scripture. It is also obvious that not every interpretation of scripture is valid when taken from that context, for in today’s carnal church system of man — “religious Babylon”, — there exists many false teachings, however I did not feel that was necessary to state, because it is and was so obvious. No scripture is of private interpretation but must be written on our heart by the Lord and His leadings to LIFE FOREVERMORE.

            p.s. ~ Let us also notice that even in Babylon God honors His people! God always honors the seeking heart and faith — even in spite of their weakness, failures, immaturity, carnality, and the fleshly system they may be bound in.

            • Lanny A. Eichert November 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

              Stephen, do you mean to tell me according to the liberty of Romans 14 there is freedom to be covetous of your neighbors’ wife and to pursue her? The prohibition doesn’t apply to everybody? Exodus 20: 17 can have many meanings, in fact, a plethora of valid opinions?

              Are you also getting the notion that those meanings and opinions are God’s intentions from the liberty expressed in Romans 14?

            • Lanny A. Eichert November 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

              Stephen, I quote you, “It is also obvious that not every interpretation of scripture is valid when taken from that context.” You contradict your own self. You set up a system of interpretation and then say it doesn’t work in every situation. Romans 14 is not a chapter of instruction on how to interpret Scripture, so your starting foundation is all wrong.

              Stephen, it doesn’t work at all if it isn’t consistent. Changing the rules to fit the situation is inconsistency. Don’t you see it is inconsistent to say a single biblical passage can have many meanings and levels and there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage; and worse yet, to give that credit to God?

              • Stephen Helbig December 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm

                Lanny, I am constantly amazed and dazzeled with your reasoning, and the ability to not discern properly the true heart of mine. This conversation started with your November 19, 2014 (10:23 am) comment and I’ll quote you ~
                “Stephen, if “a single biblical passage can have many meanings” does that mean it can even have contradictory meanings? Would that be why “there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage?” Are all meanings and opinions valid? Whose meanings and opinions are these? Why isn’t this bringing the Scriptures into confusion? Have you failed to answer these questions?” ~end quote.
                Lanny, I sensed a contentiousness and had a hard time with the ongoing possibilities of development. My comment previous to yours had some quotes by Schroeder that I took to be quite enlightening and positive, and the quotes are as follows ~

                QUOTE #1 ~ p.s. ~ ‘Jeremiah (23: 29) we read: “Behold, My words are as fire, says the Lord, and as a hammer that shatters the rock.” Based on the parallel context of these two phrases, the Talmud teaches that “just as a hammer breaks a rock into many pieces, so can a single biblical passage have many meanings.” The result is that there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage.’ ~ Schroeder (Chapter 1)(Kindle Locations 315-318). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
                QUOTE #2 ~ p.s.s. ~ ‘Maimonides taught in regard to Proverbs 25: 11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a filigree vessel of silver”— the vessel (the literal meaning of the text) is beautiful and valuable, but the golden apples held within the vessel (the inner meanings of the text) are even more beautiful and valuable.’ ~ Schroeder (Chapter 1)(Kindle Locations 374-375). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

                In your asking are all meanings and opinions valid, the obvious answer is NO, “not all are valid”, (which I already addressed in my Nov. 19th & 21st comments). HOWEVER you missed the point entirely, which was to focus on the true spirit of the word and finding many layers to its work in us. On November 19, 2014 you asked 6 questions of me, which I truly tried to address in my following comment on November 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm, only to find a different direction once again developing into a new straw argument, and missing my original intent in regard to your use of the Exodus verse on November 19, 2014 at 11:36 pm.

                Finally let me try to address these last questions of yours.
                You ask November 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm ~“Don’t you see it is inconsistent to say a single biblical passage can have many meanings and levels and there is a plethora of opinions on each biblical passage; and worse yet, to give that credit to God?” ~ My answer is NO it is NOT inconsistent, and YES I do give credit to God for we all are HIS workmanship.

                You ask November 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm ~ Are you also getting the notion that those meanings and opinions are God’s intentions from the liberty expressed in Romans 14? ~ My answer is ~ Yes for God meets each of us right where we are at, as Paul clearly states ~
                “(1)Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (2)For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (3)Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: FOR GOD HATH RECIEVED HIM. (4)Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: FOR GOD IS ABLE TO MAKE HIM STAND … (19)Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. ~Please note Lanny, these variances here her in Romans14 are in regards to the same word of God for both parties whether weak or strong.

                You also ask November 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm ~ “Stephen, do you mean to tell me according to the liberty of Romans 14 there is freedom to be covetous of your neighbors’ wife and to pursue her? The prohibition doesn’t apply to everybody? Exodus 20: 17 can have many meanings, in fact, a plethora of valid opinions?” ~ end quote
                My answer is ~ Once again I’m truly at a loss, (of every jot and tittle), on how you connect the dots. Yes there are indeed different meanings and ways to state (Ex,20:17), ~ “DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS”. Let me try to explain in the simplest form I can. Exodus 20:17 states ~ “Thou SHALT NOT covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. ~ Notice the “THOU SHALL NOT”. Yet Jesus states to us something DIFFERENT saying “THOU SHALL” LOVE thy neighbor as thyself, which is much different and has a much deeper meaning in fulfilling the perfect law of Liberty, fulfilling this SHALT NOT found in Exodus. Two general observations may be made. One is on the negative character of the commandments as a whole. Law prohibits but we see Jesus fulfilled the law, and Jesus taught their foundational positive affirmations and capableness. The cold negation “SHALT NOT” really rests on the converse affirmative being the GREATEST IS LOVE. ~ TWO VIEWOINTS YES INDEED! ~ A deeper layer of meaning resides in the latter.

                Let me now continue with how I answered your question“. based on your choice of the word “VALID in regards to your question concerning the verse you used in Exodus 20:17. First of all I say emphaticlly “No” I do not condone covetousness in regards to anything that is thy neighbors (wife or otherwise). When I stated ~
                Application for ~ “what is valid for one is not for another”
                Note I responded as follows ~
                “Lanny one definition of “valid” is that which is “acceptable according to the law” so in this usage I would have to say the phrase, “what is valid for one is not for another “ in regards to covetousness is indeed applicable to Ex. 20”17“. ( see my comment November 21, 2014 at 10:50 am)
                ~ NOW Please NOTICE the intended meaning of this “What is valid for one is not for another” has to do with and concerns itself directly with ~ “the neighbors and his wife”, (“the one”), (the one that which GOD HAS JOINED), theirs is indeed VALID, valid for one and is indeed lawful for that man and wife. ~ IT IS NOT VALID for me, you, or anyone else for that matter, to covet in any way, ~ the quote “what is valid for one is not for another” we being the another I pray that this clears up any misunderstanding.

                p.s. ~ Lanny, I am sorry for the delay in responding to the many questions in your above.
                comments, but I was out of town over The Thanksgiving Holiday Season and again will be
                leaving town for the upcoming Christmas Season. ~ Blessings to you and all.

    • Alice Spicer November 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Oh great! I look forward to reading your comments and quotes. You might think about writing a guest blog, also 🙂

      • Lanny A. Eichert November 19, 2014 at 11:51 pm

        Alice, since I just asked about Exodus 20: 17 to Stephen, what about verses 8 – 11, especially verse 11 for you on how literally twenty-four hours was meant by God. The commandment concerns the seventh twenty-four hour day of the week. Comment, please.
        For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

        • Alice Spicer November 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm

          Schroeder doesn’t dismiss the literal 24 days. Perhaps this will become more clear on future posts on this series.

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