Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Secret Things

The fronticepiece for Part Four of Fossil Hunter quotes from Job 40: 1-5

Then the LORD said to Job,"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it." Then Job answered the LORD and said, "Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add nothing more."
Author Olson follows up this notion in his epilogue by reminding us that "the study of science shouldn't make us more arrogant; it should make us more humble. When it comes to the details of creation, we could all take a lesson from Job. Sometimes the best, most profound answer is to say that we don't know and put our hands over our mouths. Some things really are too wonderful for us to understand."

I couldn't agree more.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law."

Some things just are not given to us to know. The future, for example. No matter how we strain and strive and struggle to predict, we just flat don't know the future. (Except as we believe pertinent promises of God)

Likewise, details of the past, and particularly of creation, are not given to us to know. Genesis 1:1 simply states, "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth." Given the magnitude of that accomplishment, that is an awfully spare account. God clearly didn't see it as something whose details we need to know. (Most likely we wouldn't be able to understand them anyway.)

God's word tells us that angels exist and that they pre-existed us. Clues scattered throughout the scriptures tell us they had some kind of history involving rebellion and reconciliation, but most of the details of that history have not been given to us.

We don't even know if the physical laws that govern the earth now were the same as what governed the earth in the distant past. Since the physical laws are actually God's laws and are maintained by Him in accordance with His will, it is possible there were different laws in times past. Angels are, after all, very different creatures from us, at least as we are right now, and would require a completely different environment.

How do we know if the rates of isotope decay have been consistently the same over 4 billion years? That light has always traveled at the same rate of speed? We don't know. And we have no way of determining the answer since we can't go back in time and measure things. Yet much of scientific thought today assumes all is now as it has pretty much always been.

The Scripture tells us that God alone is immutable, not His laws for the operation of the universe. He can break them (a miracle) or change them when He wills. In fact, He will change them at the end of human history.

Obviously finding out what those laws are and how they work has resulted in many wonderful improvements in our way of life. But trying to go back into the past when no man even lived and determine the details of what happened, and even more difficult, how and why, is overreaching into areas that don't concern us and is supposing that we can be like God, knowing all that He knows. Those matters are closed to us. He's told us what we need to know about such things: He made everything, and He restored the earth in six days so He could place man there to show something of His own glory to the angels and to men.

What happened to the dinosaurs, all the details of the prehistoric world, how exactly the angels fell and were restored is basically irrelevant. What a person thinks of Christ and of His word is crucial.

Next week: The fossil record that "proves" evolution is true.