A co-worker once asked me, “In light of all the science available, how can an intelligent person like you buy into the creation myth?” He was referring to my belief in the literal Biblical account of six twenty-four hour periods when God created everything. My answer surprised him. I said the simple phrase, “initial conditions,” and after a pause (I knew I had his attention) I elaborated. By the time we finished talking he said something like, “that actually makes sense. I never heard anyone explain it that way.” Here’s what I said.
The first miracle in the Bible is God creating everything, including all life and mankind. You can find the story in the first three chapters of the Bible (Genesis 1:1-3:24). And the first miracle of the Lord Jesus is found in John 2:1-11 which is pasted below.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, “They have no wine.” Jesus saith unto her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” His mother saith unto the servants, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.” And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
It’s important to emphasize that this “beginning of miracles” happened at a wedding. As was discussed in a previous post, God’s creation itself was about a wedding. So right off the bat, we may grow suspicious that the first miracle in the Scriptures and the first miracle of the Lord Jesus may be related in some deeper way.
At first glance, it may not appear that changing water into wine is all that big a deal. After all, later on the Lord Jesus will heal blind men (John 9), and lepers (Luke 5), and calm stormy seas (Mark 4), and even raise the dead (John 11). Changing water into wine doesn’t seem very dramatic by comparison. So what’s the big deal? Everything is the big deal! You see, there’s really only one major chemical difference between water and wine. And that difference is the element carbon or what scientists call, “the element of life.” They call it that because every living thing is composed of it: from the tiniest amoeba to the blue whale and every living thing in between including all plant life. Water (H2O) is made of oxygen and hydrogen. Wine contains alcohol (C2H6O) and various sugars (e.g., C6H12O6), each of which contain oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. The Lord Jesus didn’t just do some mundane thing that day. He created. And that He chose a wedding for the place to do His first miracle points us to creation itself.
Looking a little deeper, we may notice also that this wine was the best wine at the wedding. Well, everybody knows that good wine must be aged. And to the governor of the feast, this was good wine. But was it old wine? By the measure of taste it was old. But how old was it, actually? Actually, it was only minutes old. The Lord Jesus created something with the appearance of age. And if the governor of the feast were to guess the age, no doubt, he would have guessed wrong. But that doesn’t mean his measuring tool (i.e., his tongue) was necessarily wrong. It just means his assumptions regarding the “initial conditions” were wrong.
Let me now explain what I mean by “initial conditions.” “Initial conditions” is a mathematical term referring to the starting information needed to solve certain kinds of math problems. For example, your car can travel 500 miles on a tank of gas. You go on a trip and when you get there your tank is empty. How far did you drive? …. If you thought to yourself, “that’s easy: 500 miles,” then you assumed the gas tank started full. What if the tank was only half full when you started? You need to know those initial conditions to answer the question.
If the governor of this wedding feast we’ve been discussing thought the wine were old, he would be assuming that this wine started the way all other wine started out: as grapes that got crushed and then fermented, etc, etc. But this time, the wine didn’t start out that way and it would have been impossible for him to know it apart from someone telling him. It’s the same for scientists today. We live in a universe where if everything started out in some “big bang” (what scientists assume to be the initial condition) then everything would have to be very old for it to look the way it does today. But what if there never was a “big bang,” and, as the Scriptures tell us, God ordained the celestial bodies (Gen 1:14-17, Psalm 8:3) and put them right where they are? How could the “big bang” scientists ever get it right by just using their measuring tools?
I told my friend that day that I didn’t know much about the methods used to date the earth, but I figured they might be right. All it shows to me is what I already believe from the Scriptures, that God created the universe with the appearance of age – just like the Lord Jesus had done with the wine at that wedding.
[As I wrote this, it occurred to me that this is exactly what the Lord did when He created Adam and Eve. How did they look one minute after God created/made them? Like a baby? Or like a full grown adult? They, too, were created with the appearance of age.]
I lost touch with that co-worker a long time ago. But I’m glad I had opportunities like this one to share things from the Scriptures and illustrate that an “intelligent person like him” shouldn’t be afraid to look into God’s Word – even with a skeptical and scientifically oriented mind. God’s Word will stand up just fine to honest questions. I hope he did.
some pictures from http://www.bibleplaces.com