The Science of God by Gerald L. Schroeder

Schroeder is both a physicist and a devout Jew. I got this book out of the library after reading his first book, Genesis and the Big Bang, which was fascinating in its explanation of how the 6 days of Creation in Genesis and the 16 billion (ish) years of time since the Big Bang are the same.

I was first introduced to this concept watching The Genesis Code, where the concepts are explained simply with helpful props like teddy bears, football players and sci fi movies. If you are at all interested in learning how the ancient biblical text describes the Big Bang and the correct order of Creation in a way that is totally consistent with modern scientific findings, I suggest you start with the movie, then, if you care to read more deeply, get the book.

There are just a few points I want to pluck out of this latest read to share with all y’all.

First, on page 38, Schroder notes that Stephen Jay Gould, one of the leading lights in the “We don’t need no stinkin’ God” neo-Darwinist camp, several times quotes the closing lines of Darwin’s Origin of Species thus:

“There is grandeur in this view of life. … Whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

Schroeder then points out that in all six editions editions of Origin of Species that appeared during Darwin’s lifetime, that passage actually reads:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

Second, on page 193, Schroeder answers a question that is often put to him. “If the Bible is true, why doesn’t it teach about dinosaurs?” His answers is … “But it does.”

In Genesis 1:21 we are told that on day five God created the basis for all animal life. Among the categories of animals listed is one named taninim gedolim. Gedolin means big. The singular of taninim is taneen, which appears elsewhere in the Bible and its meaning is known to be reptile. So Genesis 1:21 translates, “And God created the big reptiles.”

Third, on page 205-206: “Perhaps the most recalcitrant of problems in finding accord between Bible and science is the Flood at the time of Noah (Gen. 6-8), approximately 4,100 years ago. … Though flood stories are common to many ancient cultures, lines of native American civilizations show no break at the time of the biblical Flood.”

I’ve always figured the flood was huge, but not global. We’re not talking about a culture that had satellite photos and supersonic air travel. “The whole world” for primitive people was limited to the part of it that they knew. But I’m no Bible scholar, so I also always figured I could be wrong.

Schroeder says I’m not. Two words are used for “world” or “earth” in the Flood account, aretz and adamah. Both words can mean either local environs or the entire planet. For example, Gen. 4:14 says Cain was banished from the face of the adamah. But we know he didn’t go to sea or leave the planet. He was banished from the part of the world that he knew and where he was known.

12 Comments

Filed under Creation, Darwinism, Science

12 responses to “The Science of God by Gerald L. Schroeder

  1. You’re killing me, Chrissy! I wish I had more time to read some of this stuff. I personally think this is one of the most fascinating armchair topics. Sounds like that’s a good book. As a technical guy, I’ve been interested in the basis for the radiometric dating methods for years, and I think it’s a crime that the “old earth” as well as the 16 billion year old universe have been successfully indoctrinated into us, because I believe it distorts our view of ourselves and our own history. I don’t buy it. I don’t know how old this universe is, but after decades of studying the theories, I’m convinced that “they” have no idea either. From what I’ve seen, it could be quite young. It’s a shame they’re not honest with us, because if they were, people might realize that this natural world is a lot more temporary than we’ve been led to believe. (IMO) 😉 Nice post!

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    • chrissythehyphenated

      My faith is based on a whole lot of things that have nothing to do with these debates. I enjoy reading about the subjects because they are very interesting to me in and of themselves and I don’t have any tension because I figure, however it happened, God did it.

      I am particularly enjoying Schroeder because he is a devout Jewish physicist who goes back and forth between the two worlds of science and Jewish Bible studies with great ease. He sees science and scripture as totally complementary, two ways to help us on our great journey of knowing God better and better.

      As for the age of the Earth, I find either choice equally uplifting. If He did it all at once, shazam. What power and glory! If He did it over millennia, Holy be His Name!

      Consider the possibility that the whole warm Earth full of tropical plants and dinosaurs era could have been His way of providing us moderns with fossil fuels. It’s like a God-sized version of the books I began collecting long before I had actual children because I wanted those someday kids to have those titles at hand when their minds were ready for them.

      One of the natural substances I depend on to cope with my disease is coral calcium powder. The stuff is mined from ancient coral reefs that grew under water ages ago, but is now long dead and above water where it is safely mined without damaging existing live coral reefs. Sometimes when I’m taking it, I feel this tremendous sense of awe that all those years ago … however many they were … God grew these coral reefs so I could have this important medicine now.

      We call people who have college funds for their kids “good parents.” How much more so our Heavenly Father devoting millennia to preparing for our needs?

      The all-at-once power of instant Earth a relatively short time ago is potent. But He did that with the Big Bang. As a mom and grandmom, I am honestly drawn more to the long caring and concern demonstrated by dinosaurs and coral reefs.

      As for the six days of Genesis, I was content for decades to just leave it be. My faith didn’t depend on understanding what “day” meant. But when I saw The Genesis Code and understood for the first time the incredible beauty of what God wrote into that word “day” … I literally wept.

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      • What are you saying, Chrissy? That, as a grandmom, you are naturally drawn to really old things? 😉 Kidding!

        I agree with what you say about the wonder of creation, whether it be old or young, and don’t get me wrong. There’s evidence that it could be extremely old. But I grew up being a science geek who subscribed to Scientific American and always assumed the prevailing theories were well-vetted and true. For ME, the moment of tears came when I realized that almost nothing I thought I knew about the universe had any basis at all. Virtually everything we consider as fact about cosmology, is based on fiction that was concocted, in most cases, by men whose chief motivation was to build a cosmology that was as far as possible removed from anything resembling the Judeo-Christian view, so that it could be, at last, dismissed as myth. One notable exception is the Big Bang Theory itself, which was first proposed by Catholic Monseigneur Georges Lemaitre,
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître,
        but isn’t it strange that the Wikipedia entry on the BBT doesn’t mention his name until the 500 words and 3 paragraphs into the piece? Even then, it’s certainly not mentioned that he was a Catholic (gasp) priest. But all you really need to know about scientific integrity of cosmologists is in the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph: “The Big Bang is a well-tested scientific theory and is widely accepted within the scientific community.” Anybody who knows anything about the scientific method should be willing to admit that the BBT is exactly the kind of theory that cannot possibly be tested, at all, in any way, by its very nature. It is a speculation that can be supported by observations, but it cannot be tested. Furthermore, any time anyone tells you that something is a scientific fact or that something is “widely accepted within the scientific community” has ceased to be scientific and has become a propagandist or simply a liar.

        I only mention this because it is hard for me to see beauty in what I know involves so much outright deception and fraud. It may still end up being the truth, by accident, and in that case I could be persuaded. Until then, I’m content in not having any idea how long our sun has been burning, but I have a very strong natural sense, given the shocking rate at which it is depleting itself, and the failure of helio-scientists to come up with a really good model for it, that it is nowhere near a billion years.

        Thanks for the beautiful response!

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      • “If He did it over millennia, Holy be His Name!” We’ve had this discussion before, Chrissy, although not in depth, but I will say it again: “If He did it over millenia”, He is a liar, the Bible is a fraud, salvation is a myth, the cross an unnecessary and ultimately useless gesture, and I’m an atheist. Theistic evolution is bad science and bad religion. I can’t gag it down.

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        • Frankly, back in the day, I didn’t see it your way, but now I tend to. It’s not so obvious with critters, but when it comes to human evolution, which unequivocally requires that we be descended from critters, it makes the Bible out to be myth and God a liar, like you say. The fact that theistic evolution says that it was by design, instead of accident, doesn’t change that fact. It’s an attractive theory, just like Chrislam might be attractive to some (gag), but I don’t buy it, either. And we don’t have to! The evidence doesn’t support it, despite all the shouting and attempts to cram it down our throats. From what I’ve seen, from an objective scientific viewpoint, Darwin disproved himself a century ago, and we still haven’t got the memo. I was just at the Museum of NH in WDC a month or so ago, and once again, I could hardly keep my lunch down from the disgusting display of snake oil song and dance. I told my son at the time that I was embarrassed for all the foreigners in the museum, most of whom were people of color, who must surely make the obvious conclusion from the displays that they were clearly “less evolved” than the lily white scientists laboring behind the glass on monkey bones. It was overwhelming and inescapable. What a crock. Everyone on earth is fully human. No more; no less. That’s what God has made clear, and that’s what we observe. If it were not so, we would have pockets of throwbacks around the globe who were genetically incompatible. Yet we do not. They want us to believe that the Neanderthals were a group of throwbacks who went extinct, but there’s evidence that they did not go extinct, but that they may have had a mutation that continues today in certain groups, and certain famous individuals, like King Akenaten. Yet, the caveman myth persists, perpetrated by NSF grants and hubris.

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  2. chrissythehyphenated

    While puttering around with my OLD fabrics ;o), I came across this gorgeous tribute to God.

    Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon (Video)

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