Creationist Wisdom #908: Four Little Words

Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s a column, really) appears in the Republic-Monitor of Perryville, Missouri (population 8,225). It’s titled God’s first words, and the newspaper has a comments section.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Tim Richards, pastor of the Refuge Church Oakwood. We can’t find their website. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

If you have ever wondered about God’s first recorded words in scripture you need not read far. You can find them in the third verse of the Bible. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3, NLT) The difference between God’s words and ours is that his words have power we cannot begin to understand.

Okay. Now what? The rev says:

Edwin Hubble’s presentation to the American Astronomical Society on January 1, 1925 created a massive shift in scientific thinking. At the time most scientists believed our Milky Way galaxy might be the complete universe. Hubble was convinced the universe was much larger. He observed the amount of red light coming from the most distant stars and theorized they were much farther from earth than previously thought. His presentation that day in 1925 began to change scientific opinion and the size of the known universe increased by a factor of 100,000.

Actually, what’s known as the Great Debate was in 1920, and Edwin Hubble wasn’t involved. However, his work resolved the issue a few years later. Let’s return to the rev:

Almost a century later the Hubble telescope has seen an estimated 200 billion galaxies and research NASA reported on in 2016 suggests that there could be as many as 10 times more galaxies than previously thought. As significant as that is, the idea that the universe is still expanding makes Hubble’s theory even more remarkable.

Come on, rev — let’s have the creationism! Ah, now he gets to it:

Here is the significance of that discovery. If current scientific thought is correct and if we understand God’s first 4 words to still be active, those words are still creating galaxies at the outer edges of the universe.

Ooooooooooooh! After that he tells us:

Four words created an ever-expanding universe that science now believes measures a mind boggling 93 billion light years in diameter. That is the power of God’s words.

Powerful words indeed! The rev continues:

We need to be reminded of the power of those words because if God’s first words are still creating galaxies, none of the problems we bring to him will ever be too big.

That’s very comforting. And now we come to the end:

His resources make our biggest problems as they say, “small potatoes.” While our challenges may overwhelm us, they never tax God’s unimaginable power.

That was an awesome letter, Rev. It definitely enhances our appreciation of Genesis.

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12 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #908: Four Little Words

  1. “His resources make our biggest problems as they say, “small potatoes.” While our challenges may overwhelm us, they never tax God’s unimaginable power.”

    Yeah, right: genocide, child abuse and rape whether done by the religious or not are just small potatoes. If this god has so much power, he/she/it could stop this evil. The rev must be a real comfort to those who suffer.

  2. Oddly enough, I’m not seeing much in the reverend’s column other than multiple references to a mythical entity known as god whose reputed powers
    are beyond understanding or description. Which is kind of standard “soft” christianity sermon fare. Its not blatantly creationist and does not contain hostile references to established science . IMHO. I’m not outraged by the content of the column. The sermon leaves much to the imagination and level of understanding of how one reconciles religious beliefs with actual science.
    Hammy is way worse. Of course I haven’t followed this pastors other columns so have no idea if he is a dyed in the wool crazed creationist science hater or just an “embellishing the wonder of god” sermon writer high on mystical wonder. he seems non militant in this piece. No???

  3. Dave Luckett

    I agree with ochwill. This is no more than a standard homily, showing more awareness of science than most. It’s in line with any of the Abrahamic faiths, and not objectionable, except to a dyed in the wool antitheist, which I am not. I don’t know about galaxies being created at the edge of the Universe, but as an error that’s small beer beside Comfort’s crocoduck or Hovind’s incontinental drift or Ham’s bronze age poop elevator.

    I heard much in this style in my far-distant youth. My father was interested enough in astronomy, as it was in those days, to have accumulated a few books for the layman, and he referred to it from the pulpit. I had a small telescope, and used it to find my way around the southern night sky, with the fold-out star charts in a book I got for Christmas. I remember finding the Andromeda galaxy, which showed only as a slightly blurred misty speck, and thinking, “That is two million light years away, and I am now looking at more stars than I can see in all the rest of the sky put together.”

    Maybe, if you feel no awe at that, you can say you’re not religious. Well, I’m not, but forgive me if I feel awe anyway. And to know that the Andromeda galaxy is next door, a mere step away, only increases the effect. I find myself grasping for meaning, knowing that there is no reason outside my own head why the Universe should have meaning at all. That’s religion for you.

    But then again, what’s inside my own head is part of the same Universe, too. Maybe the need for meaning that appears to be installed there is as real as the galaxy in Andromeda. I don’t know. I never did.

  4. Awe is an entirely legitimate response when we look up at a star-filled night sky, or contemplate the beauty of the cosmos. Positing a god responsible for all that is just an anthropomorphic response.

    Before the god could speak anything into existence, and create light, first he had to create stars, and before he could do that, he had to create gravity. We’re back to the apple pie conundrum. Follow the continuum back far enough, you reach a point where there’s so many requirements, each one occurring naturally, and you begin to see the god as entirely extraneous to the whole thing.

  5. Like Ochwill, I see nothing creationist about the Reverend’s letter. He seems to accept the scientific consensus on the nature of the universe.

  6. Granted, the usual definition of creationism on this blog is:

    1. rejection of Evolution Theory;
    2. God of the gaps;
    3. Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy.

    So Rev TimR doesn’t qualify. Yet.
    But to the defense of our dear SC I put forward the quotes “God’s first recorded words in scripture” and “are still creating galaxies at the outer edges of the universe”. This attempt to give a supernatural explanation for a 100% natural phenomenon is goofy enough imo to deserve a special mention. It has been countered a long time ago by the well known, and probably apocryphal “je n’ai besoin de cette hypothese” (I don’t need that hypothesis). As such it completely agrees with IDiocy. Given “a mind boggling 93 billion light years in diameter” (let’s ignore the little problem that the word “diameter” doesn’t make much sense for various reasons) it’s totally possible that our dear SC has found us an Old Earth Creationist.
    But who knows, he might accept theistic evolution instead. Let’s consult Genesis again: “let the earth bring forth”. Well, in a way that’s what evolution is about. Five more powerful words still active today, creating beings capable of using internet to mock His Word every day, if not every second. If that makes sense to you you’re a better person than me (which of course sets the bar pretty low).

  7. Paul D. says: “Like Ochwill, I see nothing creationist about the Reverend’s letter.”

    The thing that got my attention is that no matter what science discovers, Genesis accounts for it. No data can ever contradict the bible. If the Great Debate had gone the other way, and the Milky Way were the entire universe, that too is what “Let there be light” means. I don’t know exactly what the fallacy is, but it’s certainly involved in creationism. We always see them taking the latest discoveries and claiming that it was in the bible all along.

  8. Dave Luckett

    The fallacy is the unfalsifiable proposition. If there is no conceivable evidence that could falsify a proposition (such as “The Universe was created by God”, or to put it another way, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth”) then the proposition falls outside the bounds of rational enquiry.

  9. Dave Luckett says: “The fallacy is the unfalsifiable proposition.”

    Yes, that’s it. God-did-it. You can’t prove he didn’t, can you? Nya, nya, nyaaaaah!

  10. Thanks Dave Luckett and “the voice from above” . I took away some knowledge and looked up some logic fallacy descriptions like the one Dave points out. And thanks for the feedback on my earlier post Thanks Curmudgeon for writing the article and allowing us to work through it..

  11. We need to be reminded of the power of those words because if God’s first words are still creating galaxies, none of the problems we bring to him will ever be too big.

    Assming, of course, that those are God’s words, and not merely those of whoever wrote them down. And where’s the proof of the former?

  12. Eric Lipps quotes the rev: “if God’s first words are still creating galaxies”

    I didn’t notice this at the time I blogged, but those distant galaxies we see were created billions of years ago. The rev seems to assume that because they appear young to us now, that means they are young.