12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies…The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel. Joshua 10:12-14 ESV
I am a scientist who was blessed with a good education and a long career. Along the way, many atheist professors and colleagues have proclaimed the Bible’s perceived incompatibility with science, and thus they felt comfortable with a position of unbelief.
Several years ago, I went back to my college to speak to students about our common field of study. Arriving early, while chatting with one of the newer professors, he out of the blue referenced the above Bible verses. He stated as fact that these verses proved that there could not be a God since the sun and moon could never stand still.
We believers are often confronted with such positions. And as intelligent people, we understand the arguments, and some of us, including me, are sometimes set back and need to wrestle with these things on our own.
As believers, we have faith that if the Bible says God did something, He did it. Period. We can choose to leave it at that and move on, or we may choose to faithfully explore it a little more deeply.
The rest of this meditation is for those who choose to take a deeper look. It is not proclaiming any special knowledge or differing with a pure, literal interpretation of the Bible, such as a literal twenty-four-hour day in the six-day creation account in the Book of Genesis. Many believers are perfectly content and will move on to the next meditation, and that is fine.
But for those of us who have spent our lives trying to share the gospel with unbelieving scientists, we are motivated to ask for more. We do not consider it blasphemous to ask God to help us reconcile some of these things in our own mind.
Many years ago, I was trying to share the gospel with a beloved colleague and was pointing out something in the Bible about creation when he said to me, “Darwin threw a wrench into that.” This greatly troubled me, and I earnestly prayed to God for direction and guidance in interpreting the creation account in Genesis.
At about the same time as my prayer, another of my colleagues in another city, an agnostic, was putting a book in the mail to send to me. It was the only book he (or any of my colleagues) ever sent me. He said he saw it in a bookstore, thought of me, and bought it as a gift.
The book was called “The Science of God – The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom” by Gerald L. Schroeder. It specifically addressed the scientific interpretation of the six days of Genesis.
The premise of the book is that for the question, “Did God create the universe in six days or in 15 billion years?”, the answer is, “Yes”. Using Einstein’s theory of relativity, time is measured based upon one’s frame of reference. From the standpoint of someone standing in one point of space, the answer might be 15 billion years. But if One like God is moving out at the speed of light, away from the center of the Big Bang of creation, time would be compressed from 15 billion years down to six days.
From God’s frame of reference, it was a literal six days.
The bottom line is this: If God said He did it in six days, He did it in six days. We do not necessarily fully understand how He did it, but we do not have to. We cannot dismiss the science of God because we do not understand it. God kept it simple for the time being. He did not reveal the theory of relativity to Moses along with the Ten Commandments. But it is interesting that He did use one of Abraham’s descendants, Albert Einstein, to do so.
How about the sun and moon standing still for Joshua? How did God do that?
My answer is, I do not know. God is the Creator, He can do it any way He wants to. But to say that I do not believe in God because I do not understand how He could possibly do it is more of a reflection on me, the non-believer, than any reflection on God and His infinite ways.
God welcomes us to approach Him in faith to ask anything that is on our heart. He loves hearing from us.
Are there portions of the Bible that challenge your faith?
We share these struggles with the Lord and ask for His loving guidance and direction. We ask for faith to persevere even through tough times when the way is not clear.
Lord, help us to remember that you are God, and Your word is true. Reveal Yourself to us through Your word and Your presence. Grant us peace and understanding as we trust in Your goodness, grace, and loving power. We worship You, the Creator and Provider of all things. Amen