The Ruin of Creation
by: Lambert Dolphin
The Original Creation was very Different from our Present World
A previous article in this series discussed the uniqueness of creation week as described in Genesis One. The events of creation week were never to be repeated. That is, God is not now creating the universe. During "creation week" the universe was created in stages as the hand of God first brought into existence spiritual and material building blocks. Then God molded the four basic building materials---matter, space, time and energy--- into finished form. The universe was formed as a habitat for men and angels, and then filled with living creatures. As completed on the Seventh Day, the universe was exquisitely beautiful, self-renewing and free from defects or flaws. The statement of Gen. 1:31-2:3 indicates that God was thoroughly pleased with all aspects of His creative handiwork after its completion. Six times in Chapter 1 God inspected His handiwork and declared that it was "good," (v. 4, 12, 16, 21, and 25). When all was completed his seventh and final blessing was to pronounce everything "very good."
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.
The "hosts" (Heb: tsaba) can refers to the numberless stars, or the angels who exist in vast numbers ("myriads of myriads") in the created realm called the "heavenly places." Hosts can be armies of men, or simply all the living creatures who populate the spiritual and the material creations. The universe is compared to a house in Scripture. One first builds the structure of the house, then the house is furnished. Finally the inhabitants move in. The entire process has then been completed and the house put into the use as the owner intended before he began construction. The above statement "very good" rules out an earlier fall of the angels which was hypothesized in the so-called "Gap Theory" which suggested an original creation in 1:1, an angelic devastation between 1:1 and 1:2 and a restorative creation afterwards. The Gap Theory has been effectively eliminated by Hebrew scholars who point out that such a reading of the text is grammatically very unreasonable.
Death Came into the World Through Man
In the realm of human behavior we know that death came into the world through the sin of Adam. Passages such as Romans 5:12-14 remind us that death was originally foreign to man. Death, as described in the Bible means not only the dying of the body, but spiritual separation from God accompanied by the symptoms of boredom, loneliness, loss of purpose, crime, violence, blights, disease, and a thousand miseries common to our daily human experience. In spite of all the advances of science and medicine, health, education and sanitation, the mortality rate still stands precisely at 100%.
Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned---sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come [i.e., of the Messiah, or Last Adam]
One consequence of the fall of man is the so-called "curse on creation," described in Genesis 3:17-19. Since life and blessing come from God, and God inhabits the spiritual realm, earth's reduced fecundity after the fall can be thought of as a disruption of the power flow of the sustaining energy of the spiritual ream into the physical realm of our "two-storied" universe. The previously perfect "coupling" between the spiritual and the physical dimensions was reduced or disrupted by Adam's sin. Active evil also began to operate in the spiritual world as well as in the physical.
...And to Adam God said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, `You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Evil Began with the Angels, Not With Man
But evil in the universe did not begin with man, evil began with the angels, in fact. with Lucifer, the highest of all the angels. Lucifer, later to become Satan the Destroyer, was originally God's prime minister in the court of heaven until he revolted along with a third of the angelic hosts. Hebrews 2:5 says that the age which is to come (the millennium) will not be under the jurisdiction or rule of the angels. This statement implies that the age we live in now is under the rule and government of the angels. A careful study of the angels and their work as revealed in the Bible shows that God uses the angels not only as messengers but also as his instruments in the government of the forces of nature (storms, winds, floods, hurricanes, etc.). Angels are also mighty "princes" in charge of the affairs of nations (Daniel 10:10-21).
Nature Disrupted by the Angelic Revolt and the Fall of Man
The disruption of the old creation resulting from the fall of Lucifer and a host of angels is the root cause for death coming into human experience, as noted above. What is often overlooked, is the fact that nature itself was also drastically affected (Genesis 3:17,18, Romans 8:19-22) by the angelic revolt. Lucifer before his fall evidently held "the highest and most important post in the administration of the universe...what we would call God's prime minister to use a human analogy." His defection from his high post in God's government of the cosmos was serious indeed, not only for man, but also for nature.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
What are some of the possible consequences the fall of the angels may have had on the creation itself? These disruptions in the physical universe seem to have included some or all of the following:
The "quality" of time experienced by our first parents in the Garden of Eden was drastically changed at the time of their fall.
At least five separate "curses" from God which are consequences of human sins are mentioned in Genesis. In some way we do not yet understand the fecundity of nature was reduced by these curses, indicating a reduction of sustaining power from God into the physical creation. Opportunistic weeds, bugs, diseases and maladies are some of the results.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics was apparently not in effect before the fall---the universe was previously self-renewing, The Second Law can be stated in three ways: Energy to do useful work is becoming less available with the passage of time. Orderly systems have a tendency to fall apart, collapse, rot and decay with the passage of time, and The information content of a system (a measure of the degree of order) tends to decrease with the passage of time. Our once orderly, perfect universe is running apart, losing its order and splendor and becoming inexorably more chaotic with the passage of time. There was quite possibly no radioactive decay before the fall due to a greatly stability of certain atomic nuclei which are now unstable or marginally stable. Radioactive decay may be a consequence of the fall, (see Colossians 1:17, 2 Peter 3:10).
Catastrophes and "natural" disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and famines were unknown in the creation before the fall. Predatory behavior in the animal world was unknown. Thorns, thistles, pests, and disease were unknown.
The Bible tells us of the importance of the spiritual realm in all of life. The subject of events, happenings and laws governing the spiritual world is off- limits to science which must deal primarily with measurements and observations only of the physical realm.
When Did the Revolt of Lucifer Occur?
At what point in the unfallen time of the old creation did Lucifer rebel thereby throwing a monkey wrench of the universe? We do not know. It must have been sometime after Genesis 1:31-2:1. Though the angelic hosts were in place in the created "heavenly places" of the invisible realm, and though the physical universe was complete, at the end of creation week, scripture is clear: at that point in time everything (visible and invisible) was very good.
The "Gap Theory" was championed by C.I. Scofield, Arthur Custance and others in an earlier generation--in order to accommodate scientific ideas of an old universe. Hebrew scholars have since shown that the grammar of Genesis 1:1-2 will not allow for an interval of time between verses 1 and 2 as the Gap theory suggested. In fact, the verses of Genesis are connected by the generous use of the waw connective, usually translated "and." The Gap Theory suggested a cosmic war by Satan which destroyed the original creation. However the closing verse of Genesis 1 and opening verses of Chapter 2 state that the heavens and earth were "very good" (sinless) and complete with "all the hosts thereof." (This would include angels). Therefore Satan had not fallen at the end of creation week--that came later. The Gap Theory does not hold up in light of good Bible scholarship. Genesis is meant to show a continuous sequence of creative activity by Elohim over 6 days. The angels fell "first" at some point early in earth's history (though the flow of time in the heavenly places does not mean the same thing as time frames on earth). Evil is in existence by the time we reach the events beginning in Genesis 3.1. How long Adam and Eve were in the Garden before Satan succeeded in luring them away from their innocent trust and reliance on God we do not know. We are given Adam's age---130 years---at the time his third (?) son, Seth, was born outside the garden, (5:3). No children were born to Adam and Eve before their fall and presumably they would have discovered sexual intercourse not long after Eve was taken from Adam's side.
Another question which is difficult to answer is the following. When did the physical universe become disrupted by the fall of the angels? Was it at the time Lucifer fell, or was it when man fell? The New Testament warns us about the dangers of uniformitarianism in connection with the flood of Noah---not in reflecting back to the Garden of Eden events and the fall. This seems to suggest that the laws of nature and the laws of physics were further disrupted by evil at the time of the flood. Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4, 5 tell of a sub-group of fallen angels who were removed by the Lord to the prison of Tartarus at the time of the flood. It is not unreasonable therefore to suggest that a physical model for energy and entropy in the early universe may need to take into account a new disruption in the cosmos at the time of the flood. 2 Peter 3:5,6 seems to also suggest this, "by the Word of God heavens subsisted long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which (water) the world that then existed was deluged (kataklustheis) and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire..."
The uniqueness of creation week was a speculative model of how the entropy of the universe may have varied during creation week, and after the fall of the angels and man, was presented for discussion and illustrative purposes. Entropy measures for us not only the energy in a system available for doing useful work, but also the degree of order in the universe. Creation of the high degree of order found in living things implies a large decrease in entropy which in fact has been estimated by calculation Thus, entropy during creation week was evidently decreased by two processes: God created matter and energy and filled energy reservoirs, and order was brought out of disorder by the artistic craftsmanship of God who is the Wise Master Builder, (Proverbs 8:22-31). The universe apparently had its lowest entropy on the Seventh Day and we could expect this level to be constant thereafter had evil not entered into the universe. Evil did enter in, resulting in death for man and nature alike. These considerations and constraints from the Bible show clearly why we must be careful to avoid uniformitarian assumptions when attempting to understand the early history of our universe. As followers of Jesus Christ we can also affirm that creation is dual: material and physical-and can not be rightly understood without revelation and guidance from our Creator. Of greater importance to us than understanding the old, ruined, creation is entering into the new creation God offers us through faith in His beloved Son.
While the concepts of a fallen race of now-depraved humanity and a ruined creation are depressing concepts, the Bible assures us that God sustains the universe moment by moment, guiding, directing and governing in all the affairs of men, angels and nature.
A New Creation is Under Construction Now
God is now building a new creation. Eventually He will take the wraps off this new universe and allow the old to disappear. God's plan for a new creation is not advertised on television nor the object of study in our leading universities today. The plan and program of God are foolishness to most of mankind. The Bible says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." Are you part of God's plan for a new creation? God's work of re-creation starts with the human heart, with you and me. It was to make this new creation possible that Christ died on the cross, reconciling all things to himself 2000 years ago. If you have not already done so, won't you open your heart to the Creator of the universe and allow Him to make you new? It won't be long until God makes all things new---don't be left out!