Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 1
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Isaiah 40:26 is an imperative command to lift up our eyes and see who created these stars. Psalm 19says that the starry heavens reveals His glory even without the need for language. Day and night the heavens reveal knowledge. Psalm 97:6 says the heavens reveal His righteousness and all the people see His glory. The word righteousness [tsedeq] means what is right and just.
Yet astronomical evidence is commonly used to ridicule a biblical chronology of around 6,000 years. Every creationist argument against the astronomical and geological "billions of years" has failed. Hundreds of millions refuse to even consider the gospel because we have no consistent answer to the evidence for a very old universe. Yet the Bible says it is in the heavens that God’s greatness and justice are seen.
There is a simple answer to the dilemma creationists have struggled with. You do not have to be a mathematician to examine this evidence because it is visible. Only in the distant heavens can we see the past, the way things were long ago. This distant light substantiates the literal words of the Bible with the strongest kind of evidence, visible evidence. It is also in the distant stars that we can see the visible evidence for a biblical chronology.
If a biblical world-view is visibly self-evident, why do Christians struggle with things like the distance to the supernova SN1987a? The light from this star explosion was reflected from a surrounding ring of gas. Using only trigonometry, the light was shown to have been in transit for 168,000 current earth years.
On the subject of earth history and the age of the stars, Peter wrote that the first thing to know is the arché of the last-day mockers. The word first (Greek proton) means chief, first in rank, first in a succession of things. II Peter 3:3 - 6. Peter quotes the last day mockers: panta houtôs diamenei apo archés ktiseôs.
Panta: the whole, the totality, the oneness of the whole.
Houtôs: in this manner.
Diamenei: to remain permanently in the same state or condition, to remain the same in being or relation. The root word in diamenei is meno: to abide. Dia intensifies meno - to abide persistently - to remain unchanged.
apo: the separation of a part from the whole; the going forth or proceeding of one object from another object.
archés: in schools this word meant the first principle, the fundamental law which controls the universe.
ktiseos: the act of founding a city, the act of creation, the sum of all things created; an institution or ordinance.
The word arché can have different meanings depending on the context. The context for Peter’s arché prophesy is the physical stars and the earth. Peter says when they maintain this they ignore the evidence that the stars are of old and the earth was inundated. Origen, who began his life as an Alexandrian school teacher, gave the various meaning of the word arché in his Commentary on John’s Gospel. He wrote, "There is also an arché in a matter of learning, as when we say that the letters are the arché of grammar. The Apostle accordingly says: 'When by reason of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again that some one teach you what are the elements of the arché of the oracles of God.' Now the arché spoken of in connection with learning is twofold; first in respect of its nature, secondly in its relation to us; as we might say of Christ, that by nature His arché is deity." In the context of education, the Greeks used the word arché to mean a first principle, the elementary starting point. Origen says the starting point for reading, the arché of grammar, is the alphabet.
The pagan Greek philosophers debated for generations seeking for an arché on which to found a system of natural science. Each major philosopher proposed a different first principle, a different arché. The difficulty they faced was the problem of change. All early people believed that change was fundamental, that everything changed. They believed that planet orbits changed and even the length of life had deteriorated since the days of the patriarchs. The philosopher's problem was: if matter itself changes, a true science is impossible.
Here is my paraphrase of Peter’s quote of the last day mockers: “Since the fathers slept [died], all things remain the same in being or relation, since substance was formed, which is the first principle.”
The Bible says no prophesy is of a private interpretation. Did Peter really mean that in the last days they will have a first principle that all things, even matter itself, is immutable? Does the Bible elsewhere make statements that are consistent with the idea that matter itself changes? Is this indeed the first principle of our day, the historical foundation for last-day reasoning?
We can actually see the past. All atoms in distant galaxies clocked slower frequencies than local matter. The most-distant galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field shine with most of their light in the infrared. The more-distant it is, the more-ancient it is, the slower the atomic frequencies. When we compare the most-distant galaxies with those in our neighborhood, we can see the progression as the arms of galaxies move out. The Old Testament repeatedly states in Hebrew that the heavens are continually spreading. When we compare galactic orbits at various distances (eras), we see that the stars and gas are spiraling out from galactic cores. We can see that no orbit is clock-like. The visible evidence fits Isaiah's words. Isaiah 40:25 - 26 God says He is the one who CONTINUALLY calls the stars to come out. In spiral galaxies, we can see the simple evidence that orbits change in a systematic way. Every property of matter visibly changes over the vast continuum of the cosmos. Primordial matter neither had the extension, the motions or the light frequencies of local matter. Paul clearly stated that the whole creation is in bondage to phthora. In the context of physics, the philosophers used this word for matter itself changing: deterioration without destruction. Romans 8:21 - 22
What exactly is a first principle, an arché? Why did the Greeks spend centuries debating an arché on which to found a system of natural science? Do we in our day have a first principle, an arché? Is our first principle the one Peter predicted? Was science historically founded upon the assumption that all matter does not change? Is this assumption visibly false in the distant heavens? In the context of earth-history and the age of the stars, Peter says this is the first thing, the most important thing to know. In the next article in this series I will examine our first principle and how we got it.
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 1
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 2
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 3
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 4
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 5
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 6
- Essay:Victorious Biblical Astronomy Part 7