(January 30, 2014)
There are so many aspects of the beginning of the world that we simply don’t understand. I mean that through both a religious and a scientific sense. The problem, however, is when we pretend to knowledge that we simply don’t have. It is tempting to say that we know what actually happened, because the Bible tells us something, or because science tells us something.
In both cases, we risk wresting what we think we know beyond all recognition. The Bible is a journal, and having written a journal I can tell you that mine has mistakes in it – even when I am doing my very best to make it accurate. A prophet’s journal, though far better than my meager efforts, would likewise be imperfect because the prophet is also imperfect (there is only one perfect Man). But even more obvious is the fact that we only see things from our perspectives, and so we cannot know everything that we might otherwise want to know or think to know. Was the Flood global? The Bible is written by those who had a limited perspective – if Noah wrote the journal that was passed down to Abraham (and from Abraham to Moses), then the question is what did Noah see. Is it not possible that Noah saw the entire Earth (from his perspective) covered in water?
It is the same issue with science. The best scientists I know always tell me the same thing. Science can do a reasonable job of telling you what is happening now, but as you go backwards or forwards in time science becomes less capable. To make the point simply, science focuses on probabilities. If science can take something that they think strongly, they say (hypothetically) that it is 99% likely that this is what happened. But as they go further back, they make more “likely” assumptions based upon probability. Even if each of those assumptions are strong, it doesn’t take long for the probabilities to decrease. A 99% assumption based upon a 99% assumption is only 98% likely. Carry that out 100 times, and you are left with only a likelihood of 36.6% – still substantial, but not the slam-dunk that you would think. And that is with only 100 compounded probabilities over the course of six millennia at an incredibly high predictive rate.
Long story short (which I got on as I thought about what it meant when the earth was divided in the time of Peleg), is that we simply don’t know much about the how, or even the what, of what happened in our ancient past – either through the Bible or through science. What we do know is that we know enough to guide us in these days, and we also carry the promise that when the Lord comes He can teach us how He did what He did, and I trust that it will all make perfect sense at that time.