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On a Functionally Mature Creation

by Daryl E. Witmer

A straightforward reading of the Bible seems to imply that God created the universe thousands, not billions, of years ago. But many scientists vehemently disagree with that position and contend that the universe is indeed very old. So… who do we believe? Is the Bible misleading or is modern science misled? Is there any intellectually credible means of reconciling the two views? Enter – the Functional Creation postulate.

What is the Functionally Mature Creation postulate?

Simply stated, it is the view that when God completed His work of creation, it was mature and functional – all ready to be enjoyed by man, and fully able to sustain him. Much of what God created may have left a superficial appearance of history where there was no actual history. This view is also sometimes referred to as the apparent-age, or mature (full-grown) earth, position.

Are you saying that God created Adam and Eve, the animals, and all the plants to look older than they actually were?

Yes. And think about it – if God created all that He did from nothing (ex nihilo) as the Bible says that He did, what other approach would have been possible or practical? It would hardly seem reasonable for God to have created Adam as an infant. And hours after he was created, that first human being would have become hungry. Adam needed peach trees with peaches already on them (Genesis 1:11). He needed a horse that he could ride, not an embryonic foal. So the animals were also created fully functional – walking, flying, etc. (Genesis 1:14-25). It’s simple to figure which came first – the chicken, not the egg. The plants were bearing seed and the rocks were created with isotopes. If you had met Adam 60 minutes after he was created, you may have – at least initially – thought that he had been around a lot longer than he was.

But this is beginning to make God sound deceptive. How can I trust in a God who just ‘invents’ history?

If God just arbitrarily and artificially ‘invented history,’ I would agree – there’d be a problem with that. But He didn’t. There were good reasons for Him to have created the earth with the superficial appearance of age, i.e. to make it functional for human beings. Some scientists believe that even features like tree rings (which are often considered to be only age-indicators) actually serve a critical function in the life of the tree. If God created light in transit from the stars, it wasn’t to deceive us about the age of the universe. It was because starlight served a critical function, i.e. an aid to navigation and a means of measuring time (Genesis 1:14-19). Now if God had created Adam with a navel, that would have been deceptive. The navel serves no useful function – and no, filling it with salt into which to dip your celery while reading a good book does not qualify as a useful function.

What about red shift as an indication of how long and how far light has been traveling to reach us?

Physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys has presented an interesting possibility in regard to how far away the galaxies actually were when the light started out on its trip to earth. The Bible says that God “stretched,” or “spread,” out the heavens (Isaiah 42:5, 45:12, 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12). Since these heavens were created before the stars and planets, this stretching presumably refers to the fabric of space itself. According to Dr. Humphreys, there exists a solution to Einstein’s gravitational field equations which may allow for a very rapid expansion of space and all things in it. Dr. Humphreys’ theory raises the possibility that the universe inflated to its present size in less than 6000 years. Thus, starlight began its journey toward earth when galaxies were much closer, smaller, and less energetic than today. Such an expansion would involve all matter symmetrically, and would not be detectable by those “on the inside,” as it were. However, it could account for observed redshifting in the wavelengths of this stretched starlight. (Source: ChristianAnswers.Net)

Are there any other occasions when God might have used such methodology in His creative acts?

Jesus once turned water to wine (John 2:8-10), which no doubt appeared as aged wine to those present. This was not to deceive them, but to effectively meet their need.

What are the implications of a Functional Creation view?

This view would explain the common perception of a very old universe while leaving intact the perspicuity of Scripture, thereby discouraging the sort of unmerited figurative interpretation that can lead to the demise of other key doctrines of orthodox Christianity for which there is no scientific basis, i.e. Virgin Birth, Resurrection.

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