The Inspired Answer
In a time of universal deceit—telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
When converted to Christianity in my late-twenties, I was filled with wonder at the reality of God, something I had never expected because of my secular background.
I came into an authentic relationship with God outside of the church and it took a while before I discovered that church attendance could be helpful. Meanwhile, I enjoyed regular fellowship with a group of friends and attended different Christian meetings that came my way.
I perceived conflicting viewpoints between what I had learned as a Geology student and what many Christians believed about the Creation of the world and the life forms on it. I was convinced that the world had come about by a slow growth process over millions of years, while some Christian friends believed it to be a special act of 6-day Creation only a few thousand years ago. What I had learnt in Geology, and what I had seen for myself on field trips, made this “Young-Earth Creation” model for the Earth and Cosmos seem preposterous.
For example, I pondered the extensive bedding layers in sedimentary rocks separated by discontinuities representing epochs of erosion rather than deposition, and then new beds of sediments deposited on top again, sometimes at different angles because of folding of the first sediments, and these sequences repeated time and again. I had inspected examples of these discontinuities myself in the bush. Where comparable sediments occur in the present era, significant expanses of Time have passed.
And what about the varved clays which sedimented out differently summer to winter such that they illustrated annual seasons similar to the growth rings on trees? Bell Canyon varves alone would indicate deposition for around 260000 years and those in the American Green Shales an even longer period of formation. Yet some Christians seemed to suggest all this had happened during the short crisis of Noah’s flood—which seemed unreasonable. But most things about God were brand new to me; therefore, I remained open to be convinced otherwise.
Happily, I had by then enjoyed some very definite real and personal experiences with God, such that my belief in him was confirmed experientially and was not immediately shaken by these seemingly “wild” Christian theories about the origin of the Universe and of life on our planet. Experience always trumps theory, for me at least.
Were my Christian friends deceived, then, about the nature of the Creation? This did not seem likely, as they were knowledgeable about God and generally sensible about life. They were intelligent, educated professional and business people. While my belief in God was secure, my knowledge about him and how he did things was at a very formative stage.
Slowly, uncertainty crept in. I began to question the things I had learned in Geology and other branches of Science. This indecision troubled me over a period of weeks.
At one of our fellowship meetings, a man I highly respected told us how God had given him some answers he had needed, through reading the Bible. He had first prayed, then opened the Bible to random pages and spent a while reading, during which process his questions had been answered. In common with my friend and millions of others, I had already found that God communicated things personally during the prayerful reading of scripture, so I decided to ask God to show me similarly, also from a relevant scripture reading, the answers to my questions. I am not recommending this as a substitute for serious study or an example to be followed; I am simply recording what happened in my life on that occasion.
I spent a while on my knees beside my bed asking God to show me how he had created the Universe. I had no doubt that he had done so. None whatsoever. The mystery was—how had he done so and over what time period? I told God that if he showed me it was all in 6-days, and that was all there was to it, I would accept that and question it no further. It was in this attitude of faith and total willingness to change my views that I opened the Bible at random and began to read.
The verse I opened to was thrilling and came with insight that resolved my problem.
I have been hesitant to describe this here, because it may appear that I am claiming that “because God showed me, it is the complete truth and don’t you dare disagree.” Not at all! My experience is that while God may initiate fresh insight on a certain topic, he still intends for us to forage and learn more. As Jesus instructed,
Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you. Because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 quoted from the International Standard Bible.)
The above translation provides the true emphasis in the original biblical Greek, using the present imperative tense that implies continuity of activity.
God had given me personally a satisfying answer that thrilled me. It became a foundation for the development of my further studies. These have informed my ongoing deeper comprehension of God and his creativity—and over the years became the inspiration for this book.
On my knees all those years ago, I had opened my King James translation of the Bible at Psalm 139. Verses 15 and 16 jumped out at me:
My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the Earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Several things struck me immediately.
*The words “curiously wrought” suggested there is a mystery to how God makes a person.
*The phrase “in the lowest parts of the Earth”, suggested life may have a derivation or formation linked to the Earth itself, as claimed by Evolution.
*The most important and life-changing expression to me was “in Thy book all my members (body parts) were written (decided) which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them”.
The words “in continuance were fashioned,” pointed to a process, not to an instantaneous action. Most significantly, “when as yet there was none of them”, indicated to me that we pre-exist in some pre-planned stage, even if just in God’s mind in Heaven, before we actually appear on Earth. I saw at once a detailed two-stage plan, with “in Thy book” referring to God’s pre-planning of the psalmist’s life before he was humanly conceived on Earth.
I perceived that God’s acts of Creation described in Genesis would also have likely occurred first in Heaven “when as yet there were none of them” in our Universe. Their subsequent appearance in our world could then happen over whatever timing God chose. This could be consistent with an evolving Creation.
The immediate insight and comprehension I gained all those years ago gelled for me into the foundational principle of God’s design and implementation.
God can choose to create in Two Stages:
First stage in Heaven
Later stages on Earth.
For simplicity, I term this God’s “Two-Stage Process”.
Tragically, the way that God often does things has never been fully understood either by Bible translators nor by Christians in general, contributing to the pitiful morass that Christianity is in today with so many unnecessary variations of doctrines. Conflicting teachings on Evolution and Creation are firmly in this unwarranted category.
There is debate amongst scholars (which goes without saying) over what these verses in Psalm 139 might mean and different Bible translations use different wording. For example, the NIV and most others write “days” instead of “members”, which gives the startling, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be”. This alternative would make it even clearer that we pre-exist in God’s plan in Heaven before we are formed on Earth. It would also go some distance to explain the common expression recorded by hundreds of NDErs, i.e. returnees from a Near Death Experience, who have been told they were being sent back to Earth because “Your Time is not yet”.
Suffice to say that the instant interpretation I received on my knees does not depend upon which version of the Bible is read. More importantly, it is absolutely consistent with what we find in other parts of scripture, if we forage for ourselves, especially in the sections of the Bible that are seldom taught.
Even today, God personally does many things on our planet that do not involve Evolution—such as answered prayer, miracles, fulfilment of ancient biblical prophecies, and other actions that we will look at in this book, starting with one miracle in this next chapter that reveals something extraordinary about God and Time.
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