Creation -- A 13.7 billion-year process

Posted on Feb 12th, 2010 at 8:55 AM

By Rich Peck

John Haught, a senior fellow in Science and Religion at Georgetown University, recently described the situation for students at Petkins School of Theology:

If the universe’s 13.7-billion year “cosmic story” was symbolized in a series of 30 books, with each volume containing 450 pages, and each page representing one million years, life doesn’t begin until the 27th volume. At page 385 of the last volume, dinosaurs become extinct. Human beings don’t show up until page 450 of the latest volume.

“All of which raises the question: Why would God take so long?”

Dr. Haught quotes Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a Jesuit paleontologist:

“An originally perfect creation would not be distinct from God. An originally perfect universe would be a world without a future, without freedom and without life. Life requires the indefiniteness of the future in which to unfold.”

“What would the world be like if perfectly designed?”

Dr. Haught said. “It would have no future.” In that sense, he said, the God of promise characterized in the Bible “is the ultimate explanation of evolution.” And faith could represent the way in which humans participate and propel the evolving universe toward a more hopeful future.

Thanks to the UM Reporter for telling us of this conference.

This doesn't answer all our questions, but it offers a more realistic assessment than blind faith that the earth and humankind marked the beginning of creation.

What a tremendous privilege we have to participate in the writing of page 450 of volume 27.



  1. Perhaps this discussion was intended to illuminate and help understand evolution relative to the scripture. Call me "slow on the uptake" or whatever, but it sure fell short of that mark for me. Apparently the statements in this article have some imbedded self proving logic. If so, I missed that logic. Simply could not get my hands (or my head) wrapped around it. The introduction started OK and the volumes of 30 books was a great and understandable analogy. After that, it went downhill. ... <> ... Huh? And then it continued. All very fuzzy to me. Even the simple last sentence makes no sense to me either. If we humans did not show up until page 450 of the last volume, how is it that we have a privilige to participate in writing the last page back in volume 27?

    Posted on Feb 15th, 2010 at 2:41 PM by G. James

  2. Let's be confused together. We can only hope that someone who has been wrestling with this issue will provide some illumination. If no further word is offered, we will just have to ask the creator when we graduate from this planet!

    Posted on Feb 15th, 2010 at 9:49 PM by Rich

  3. If we humans were important enough to be God's highest creations, solely privileged to be in His own image, then why did we show up more like an afterthought? Were we so wonderful that we required eons of practice? Being perfect, how would practice improve God's skill or his designs? Without delving into evolution, why do so many examples of destructive life-forms exist and proliferate at the expense of gentler,peaceful and beneficial creatures? Finally, if us having 'a future' is such a key point, how will religions who venerate life deal with the already looming over-population crush? No FINITE world can absorb an INFINITE number of births. I'm guessing we'll just keep on multiplying and expect a constant supply of miracles.

    Posted on Feb 16th, 2010 at 4:33 PM by Bill Camp

  4. When I was a young college student back in the 1960s I wrote songs and sang them for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Here's the words to the chorus of a song I wrote for the funeral of a friend who died in a car crash... "Reasons now are hidden in the fullness of God's plan, they're secrets that are kept from you and I. And the answers we are seeking, we may never understand. But I know some day, I'm going to ask him... why." still seeking for 66 years now....Morrie

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2010 at 1:14 PM by Morrie - St Louis