Feedback archive Feedback 2014

Did something precede creation week, and why did God introduce suffering?

CMI-US CEO Gary Bates answers some questions about his article, Geologists are not biased? Peter M. from the UK writes:

iStockphoto suffering


Did the fall of Adam mean that God in some way had no other choice but to curse the world? Also did God choose what the consequences of the fall would be and if so why did he choose Physical suffering? I find it difficult sometimes to reconcile a God who cares so much for our well being on the one hand with what to us can seem like unnecessarily cruel disease and affliction that we have in the world.

I hope my questions seem reasonable; I really would like to know your thoughts on these matters.

Gary Bates responds:

A couple of things to remember:

  1. God foreknew the Fall, so He knew what the eternal consequences for mankind would be as a result of their rebellion. Remember that God is outside of universe/Earth time so He already had a plan in place to redeem the situation before mankind fell. And He did this by instituting a penalty of death. In addition, God has to judge consistently with his nature as He cannot allow sin to go unpunished.
  2. So, why physical punishment? Remember that everything was perfect, so if that perfect state had been allowed to continue while sinful man was spiritually separated from God then the eternal consequences would have been even worse than the situation now. This is because mankind would not have noticed anything wrong with Creation, and thus, would not have realized their separation from God for eternity. The fact that we ponder our mortality (and indeed the very reason why you are noticing that bad things happen and are questioning why they are allowed by God) should cause us ask to realize that something is wrong with Creation. None of us are reconciled with death (Read Understanding death).

To repeat, the big problem we would have faced if God had not introduced death as a punishment is that we would have been eternally separated from God (worse than death). Now, only through death can we be reconciled back to God if we believe in Jesus Christ and His ability to save us. Think about this: If someone committed a murder but was just allowed to continue living a normal life with no consequences of his/her actions, how would we be able to demonstrate the action was wrong if there was no judgement or penalty to fit the crime? The greatest disaster in the history of the universe was the Fall of man because it affected the creation so greatly.

Michael G. from Norway writes:

I am a big supporter of the work you are doing and you have all helped me enormously with many questions I have had. I believe that God created us without the use of evolution, but that said, I would like to point out what I believe to be a mistaken assumption you are making with regards to Genesis 1.

It starts with "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth", and goes on to describe the earth as "formless and void, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters". God then says "Let there be light" and after seeing that it is good he proceeds to START the first earth day by separating light from darkness (planetary rotation?). This means that BEFORE the first day starts God has created: space (the heavens), hydrogen and oxygen (and combined them as water), one can assume the other elements as land has been created (although still under the "deep"), there must be a source of heat (the water is not ice), etc. Light (the stars?) are also created before the first day, and the important thing to note is that until the light is separated from the dark (the earth starts spinning?) no time period is given! God then uses six earth days to make the planet habitable and create all life, but the text does NOT say how long the earth or the universe has been in existence.

This would explain why stars billions of lightyears away can be seen today: a planet of unknown age made recently habitable in a universe of unknown age. This is not in conflict with the text as I see it (including day four which can be read either as God creating the sun, moon and stars or as God making them visible on earth). Genesis 1 ends by saying that God was finished with creating "by" or "on" the 7th day, not that he used 6 days to create! What are your thoughts on this? God bless you all.

Gary Bates responds:

Mike, respectfully all these questions have been answered on our site. So I think you need to take the time to research the site, otherwise I would have to repeat it all here (actually the feedback rules you checked asked you to do this before submitting questions). I will link you with some articles on this, but one thing to keep in mind is that God does not exist in time (as we know it). Before the universe existed there was God (Genesis 1:1). Time is a created entity which began when the universe began (even the secularists believe this). See If God created the universe, who created God? Moreover, what you are describing is a kind of gap theory or even a ‘soft gap’ to allow for billions of years. Also see How can distant starlight reach us in just 6,000 years?

But the big question is: why are you trying to find places in Scripture to add billions of years anyway? You cannot deduce these long periods of time just from reading the text alone. They come from outside, secular sources that believe in evolution. So, as a Christian one has to decide what authority are you going to use to interpret our world. A secular interpretation of science or God’s Word? Another comprehensive article that covers all sorts of views to add long ages is An old-earth answer provides only problems. Thanks and I hope you will take the time to read the links and that you find them helpful.

Published: 20 September 2014