What would a world without Sin look like today? People would cooperate, share, and worship together. There would be no war or murder, hatred or violence. Lions would still hunt and kill zebras, but neither would be shot by poachers or poisoned by industrial waste. There would be some natural disasters such as storms, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Probably a few people would be hurt or would die in these calamities. But the numbers of victims would be much lower than they are now, because people would be free to live in safer places, they would warn others, they would take heed of the warnings and get out of the way, and they would care for displaced people as Jesus Himself would. God would be glorified as all people gave selflessly to help others in His name. Mankind would not fear the sting of physical death (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). Physical death would be viewed by all as a transition into eternal life with God (Acts 7:55-56). That world would not be heaven. But I would be willing to call that world without Sin "very good", because I believe God Himself did so in Genesis 1.
In February 1993 I went on safari in northern Tanzania after climbing Kilimanjaro. I visited Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Two observations surprised me: how green the African landscape was, and that a kill is a rare event. National Geographic and the Discovery Channel leave viewers with the impression of slaughter, of lions continually hunting and bringing down the grazing animals. Obviously a kill is exciting and filled with natural drama - it makes great TV. But when you are actually there, the reality is different. It's hard to observe a kill taking place, or even to discover one after the fact. Tour guides call each other on the radio when they find a kill, and all the safari minivans cluster around so the tourists can take pictures. The overall impression I got in the wilds of East Africa was one of serenity and peace. Yes, there is danger, but the entire natural spectacle is beautiful and magnificent! It doesn't look like an ongoing war of nature. The big picture is not one of struggle and cruelty, famine and death. Instead, it looks - not perfect, but "very good". Just like God said.
Essays: First Series Essays: Second Series Nature.
A detail from the "thought map" drawn by Jeremy Zilar as the Dot Earth blog was being developed in 2007.
Credit Jeremy Zilar.
A Socratic perspective on the relationship between ignorance, human evil, and the examined.
Earth at Risk: Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planet.
Some young-earth creationists assert that the earth is 10,000 years old, and others assert that the earth is 6,000 years old. That's a big difference: 4,000 years, or 67%. Bishop Ussher's chronology, derived from the Bible, clearly states that the earth is 6,000 years old. Extending the age to 10,000 years conveniently places the date of Creation and the Flood beyond the oldest trees, and beyond the pyramids and dynasties of ancient Egypt. I have heard the following accusation from young-earth creationists: You are interpreting the Bible in the light of science; you should be interpreting science in the light of the Bible. (I have not heard a Bible verse to back up that charge.) 10,000 years is not what Bishop Ussher said. What is the reason for changing his number? Creationists who claim 10,000 years, unless they do so for purely Biblical reasons, should hear that same accusation ringing in their ears at least once.
Let the Earth Bring Forth.
The phrase "let the earth bring forth..." occurs three times in Genesis 1 (verses 11, 20 with water, 24). It does not refer to simple growth from nutrients, because this chapter is about creation. The literal meaning of this phrase matches theistic evolution better than any other creation theory! It's almost a definition of theistic evolution, which is why I put it at the top of this essay. God commanded the earth to produce animals, and the planet did so according to His command.
But the original Hebrew word has more meanings than that. can mean the planet, the land and its inhabitants, ground, soil, country, or territory (Zodhiates, page 1600-1601). When the late Menachem Begin and other Zionists speak of , or Greater Israel, they are referring to Israel's pre-1967 boundaries plus Jerusalem and the West Bank of the Jordan River. They are not laying claim to the Himalayas. If we understand to mean the region of the Middle East, then the story of Noah's flood does not have to cover Mt. Everest at 29,028 feet.Let the Earth Bring Forth.
The phrase "let the earth bring forth..." occurs three times in Genesis 1 (verses 11, 20 with water, 24). It does not refer to simple growth from nutrients, because this chapter is about creation. The literal meaning of this phrase matches theistic evolution better than any other creation theory! It's almost a definition of theistic evolution, which is why I put it at the top of this essay. God commanded the earth to produce animals, and the planet did so according to His command.These verses contradict the idea of direct creation of non-human life forms. Carnivores
There are several verses in Genesis that are taken to mean that animals were vegetarian until the Flood. Genesis 1:30 states: "And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so." After the Flood, God states in Genesis 9:3 "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things."I like the idea expressed in Genesis 1:30 of God's providence for all creatures. I also like the idea of the Peaceable Kingdom, where the lion lies down with the lamb and there is no violence. We don't have a clear indication of when the carnivorous animals switched to eating meat, because Genesis 9:3 refers only to mankind. Job 39:27-30 could indicate that eagles were created as carnivorous animals, but it's not clear enough by itself. I have looked at the sharp teeth of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and they don't look like something created by an to chew vegetation. Since I understand the references to death in Romans 5:12 to mean spiritual death, the presence of carnivorous animals does not pose a theological problem. This issue is not essential for salvation. I simply don't know how Genesis 1:30 fits in with what I can observe about animals. When taken with verse 29, the two verses could be merely a description of who gets to eat what kind of vegetation (man - seeds and fruit, animals and birds - grasses and plants). I do know that verse 30 occurs in a section that describes God's providence for all creatures, and that is the faith message I can take from it.With regard to pre-history and evolution, we do not know how long satan has been allowed some measure of influence and interference in the world. The Garden of Eden sounds somewhat like a sanctuary set up by God to guard Adam and Eve against the outside world. Was there trouble and danger out there even before the Fall of Mankind?In any case, the creation account in Genesis 1-2 is incomplete. Astronomy shows us this in a spectacular fashion. I think that the biological account in Genesis is also incomplete. Who can completely describe the mighty work of creation in just 2 chapters? Not Moses, nor any other possible human author of Genesis. God Almighty rested for the only time recorded in the Bible! I think there is a lot more that happened historically than just those relatively few words in Genesis 1-2. I think a few sentences cover millions of historical years, such as in Genesis 2:7: "The time came when the Lord God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person."Is the Bible incomplete? Yes, John says so at the end of his Gospel, in 20:30-31: "There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name." John repeats the "incomplete" assertion in 21:25: "There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written."What we have is sufficient for Faith. The details left out are interesting, but they are not needed for Faith and Salvation. So we need not worry about the Bible being incomplete. We have enough testimony, both for our own faith and to witness to the world. I don't usually grind through the beginning of Genesis verse by verse, trying to match each one individually with a scientific or historical finding. I think that that approach obscures the greater faith message of the Author.
As the world’s population continues to increase at an alarming rate, this will and has put a strain on planet Earth’s resources and cause pollution. For the good of our future generations, there is an urgency to save Mother Earth. Thus Mount Vernon Sanctuary has decided and pledges to conserve and protect the remaining resources that Mother Earth has to offer to mankind.
Young-earth creationists commonly explain where Cain got his wife by asserting that she was a daughter of Seth, even going to great lengths in pointing out that there was plenty of time for this scenario to happen. This explanation presumes a two-generation gap between Genesis 4:16 and verse 17 (one for Seth to be born and grow up, plus one for Seth's daughter to be born and grow up and marry uncle Cain). People who object to jumpy narratives with big gaps between verses should not propose them. These claims damage their insistence that the first chapters in Genesis are strictly sequential. Furthermore, no matter how you think Cain got his wife, the narrative in Genesis 4 clearly jumps back many years to Adam between verses 24 and 25. A "jumpy narrative" is not a valid scriptural objection to the Days of Proclamation theory.