Saturday, August 03, 2013

Continuity and Discontinuity

Scientists claim that they have proved that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that all life evolved over millions of years. Their conclusion is based on two critical assumptions.

  1. Materialism
    This is the assumption that the physical world is all that there is. It follows that all explanations of reality must be based on material things, what can be observed.

  2. Uniformity
    This does not mean that thing have always been the same. They have not. It assumes that the physical world operated in the same way as it always has. Things change now in the same way as they always have. If you look at things today, and see how they change, you can work out how they were yesterday. This uniformity assumption allows scientists to roll history back to measure how the earth has changed and discover how life has evolved. (The 4.5 billion years is derived by measuring change that would take that long, if change was occurring throughout that time at the same rate as it changes now).
Both assumptions are inconsistent with the Christian faith.
  1. Spiritual Continuity
    A spiritual world operates in continuity with the physical/natural world that scientists observe. We live in a multi-dimensional universe in which the spiritual dimensions exist in parallel to the three-dimensional physical world. Angels and evil spirits can move between the spiritual and physical dimensions, but humans only see the physical side of existence. Events in the physical world are shaped by activities in the spiritual realm. If we just look at the physical world in isolation, we miss much of what has happened.

  2. Physical Discontinuity
    The uniformity assumption is broken by the huge discontinuity that occurred at the fall, following a massive intervention from the spiritual realm. Even Christians have underestimated the extent of this discontinuity.

    When Adam and Eve sinned, they put themselves and the earth that God had entrusted to them under a curse. The curse removed God’s spiritual protection from the earth. The millions of angels, who had rebelled against God, probably before the fall, were given a free hand to work their mischief and evil on earth. They were more united than they have been since, because they were still loyal to their leader called Lucifer. The ones who would be shut up following the flood were still free (1 Peter 3:19; 2 Pet 2:4-5). The spiritual forces of evil were at the height of their powers and there were not many people, so they were able to concentrate their attack on animals, plants, and the physical world.

    It did not happen instantaneously, but the spiritual forces wrought terrible change on earth.
    • The earth, which was created good, began to groan under stress (Rom 8:22).
    • A benign safe world was turned into a dangerous place.
    • Plants were modified to become harmful to humans
    • Vegetarian animals became carnivorous (Is 65:25).
    • New bad species may have been formed.
    • The food chain changed dramatically.
    • Weather patterns changed, so that storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes became frequent.
    • The earth was changed so that earthquakes and volcanoes became normal.
    The last two were partly the result of the flood, which was caused by the collapse of the firmament and the breaking up of the springs of the earth (Gen 7:11). (The flood was also a discontinuity, but not on the scale of the fall).

    The curse on the earth following the fall allowed the spiritual forces of darkness to work massive evil and disruption on earth. The world was totally changed and everything that was previously good was messed up. This is why the cross is much more than personal salvation. The cross dealt with the cosmic effects of sin, and the earth is waiting and groaning for the children of the cross to understand its fullness.
The huge discontinuity of the fall destroys the uniformity assumption. It means that scientists cannot look back from what exists now to what happened before the discontinuity. Looking at what exists now will give a distorted and confusing view of what existed before the fall. The intervention of the spiritual into the physical world following the fall means that scientists cannot discover the origins of the earth by looking at what exists now.

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