The following text is taken from Treasures in Heaven. The creation narrative in this text includes Peter’s revelation about three Heavens and three Earths. We are currently in the second Heaven and Earth.
Creation, Theory and Prophecy
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
The history of mankind identifies a fascination with prophecies and life in the hereafter. As intelligent life, we have a conscious awareness of our past and present, but do we have a future that extends beyond death? No question on Earth has received more attention. Whether embracing life after death, or accepting no exit from this world, the question remains central to all philosophies and religions. Even if one dismisses the existence of life on the other side, the question of one’s real purpose in this life requires an answer. Ironically, an honest pursuit to find one’s destiny invariably leads straight back to a familiar thought: Why are we here in the first place?
The answer is divided along two lines: Either there is a divine purpose for the Earth or there isn’t. We are simply passing through history, or history is being made through us in the form of a greater, supernatural purpose.
Fundamentally, we all seek the obvious: love, belonging, and a sense of worth that satisfies the soul. Whether we are a success or a failure in these vital areas of life is determined by our beliefs. What we believe determines what we become. Our response as intelligent human beings should be only to take great care in determining our personal convictions.
Unfortunately, the history of man has demonstrated that beliefs—be they personal or societal—are too often based on speculation and false information and not on scientific fact, or an underlying, inherent truth. In the seventeenth century, the famous astronomer Galileo said that Earth revolved around the sun and was arrested for it. His evidence contradicted existing theory, and the “establishment” didn’t like it. In essence, that moment in time represented the struggle that has saturated recorded history: the forces that seek enlightenment and the forces that seek to extinguish it.
When it comes to explaining the origin of life, no two theories are more opposed to each other than “creation” and “evolution.” Whereas creationists believe that supernatural intelligence created life as we know it, evolutionists contend that life originated from single-cell organisms, which evolved into modern-day species. Hence, together, these two theories give us the opposites:
Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from pre-existing species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must have been created by some omnipotent intelligence.35
Charles Darwin promoted the idea that supernatural intelligence played no role in man’s creation, and “it was because Darwinian Theory broke man’s link with God and set him adrift in a cosmos without purpose or end that its impact was so fundamental. No other intellectual revolution in modern times so profoundly affected the way men viewed themselves and their place in the universe.”36
In the year 1838, Charles Darwin lit the match that gave birth to evolutionary theory. In that year, he recorded the following statement in his notes: “Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work. worthy [sic] the interposition of a deity, more humble & I believe true to consider him created from animals.”37
Darwin held to the belief that man’s arrogance produced creation theory. He contended that it was much more reasonable to assume that mankind evolved into its current state. In his publication, On the Origin of Species, Darwin stated, “I should infer that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.”38 According to Darwin, the unbroken chain of life extended back millions of years, and artifacts of prehistoric man presumably represented man’s ancestral roots.
Whereas Darwin claimed a connection between modern man and antiquity, the apostle Peter revealed a separation between modern man and antiquity. Peter described three separate creations: original creation, our present creation, and the future creation:
[B]y God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. [I]n keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:5–7, 13)
This astonishing revelation opens a window into our past, present, and future.
First, our past: “[B]y God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” This is God’s original creation. Then, “By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.” It is critical to understand what Peter said: The world was deluged and destroyed. The word for “world” means, “the order of the world, the ordered universe, the ordered entirety of God’s creation.”39 In other words, it wasn’t just the first Earth that was destroyed. Peter said the entirety of the first order was destroyed. Thus, the destructive waters swept across the Earth and heavens. (These “waters” have nothing to do with the flood of Noah. Whereas Noah’s flood brought consequences confined to this current Earth, the waters spoken by Peter brought consequences that ended the first Earth and heavens.)
Peter then addressed our present: “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” This present heavens and Earth are reserved for fire. Ultimately, fire will destroy this second heavens and Earth, but not until after the Day of Judgment (the Great White Throne).
Finally, Peter prophesied of our future: “[I]n keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” This is the third and final creation as presented in Revelation 21 and 22.
With this understanding of Peter’s revelation, this text now turns to the revelation given by John, Paul, and Moses. As God is the author, it is evident that Peter is in agreement with all three biblical writers. Additionally, Peter’s New Testament revelation sheds light on the Old Testament story of creation.
In Genesis, Moses said:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:1, 2)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This account of creation is in agreement with Peter’s account of creation: “by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” This is God’s original creation: the first heavens and first Earth.
Then, as revealed by Peter, “by these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.” This fact adds additional insight to Moses’ creation account.
Firstly, the “waters” spoken by Peter that destroyed the world are the same “waters” spoken by Moses in Genesis: “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” These “waters” destroyed the first order and formed the “void”—or gap in time—between the first Earth and second Earth.
Knowing the first Earth was destroyed, the first Earth became without form, and void of life because of the “waters.” Thus, the English translation, “the earth was without form, and void” has to be understood as “the earth had become without form, and void.” Supporting this position, the Hebrew word for “was” is “to become.”40
Armed with Peter’s revelation and Moses’ revelation the following is clear: The first Earth—which once teemed with life—became void of it. Looking back in time, God’s first Earth is, “Creation in eternity past, to which all Fossils and ‘Remains’ belong.”41
Looking to the present, God’s second Earth is the home for modern man.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Gen. 1: 27, 28)
God told man to “replenish the earth.” Why? Why would man replenish the Earth if it never had life prior to man’s creation? In light of Peter’s revelation, replenishing an empty Earth makes perfect sense.
Following the void, God reinfused life back into the planet. The apostle Paul said God created various forms of life, each having their own distinct flesh and seed: “God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another” (1 Cor. 15:38, 39). Thus, God brought forth the present order: “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved.”
Our second order differs from the first order, and likewise, our second order will differ from the third order: the new Heaven and new Earth. When the apostle John prophesied of a “new sky (heaven) and a new earth,” he referred to this present creation as “the former sky and the former earth” (Rev. 21:1). With the creation of the new Heaven and new Earth, the “former order of things” will pass away (Rev. 21:4).
(Note: When the new Earth is created it will be the third Earth and this present Earth will become the “former Earth.” Some Bibles state that our current Earth is the “first Earth” (Rev. 21:1). However, this interpretation cannot be correct in light of Peter’s revelation. Our current Earth is the second Earth, and thus, the Greek word is correctly translated “former” Earth, which one day will represent the “former” order of things.)
To summarize, John illuminated the present and future, and Peter illuminated the past, present, and future. Significantly, Peter’s revelation about the first and second creation—and the gap between creations—is in direct contradiction to Darwin’s theory of evolution, which states that modern man was not replenishing an empty Earth but was an extension of life’s earliest beginnings.
With the theory of evolution diametrically opposed to creationism, the obvious question arises as to whether scientific evidence ever supported either position. Do fossils demonstrate an evolution of or a creation of a species? This issue was addressed by a biochemist named D. B. Gower. In his article titled “Scientist Rejects Evolution,” Gower cited material evidence when he stated that fully developed species appeared at given points in time—all along the time continuum. Gower wrote:
The creation account in Genesis and the theory of evolution could not be reconciled. One must be right and the other wrong. The story of the fossils agreed with the account of Genesis. In the oldest rocks we did not find a series of fossils covering the gradual changes from the most primitive creatures to developed forms, but rather in the oldest rocks developed species suddenly appeared. Between every species there was a complete absence of intermediate fossils.42
Fossilized evidence supports the instantaneous appearance of various creations. It does not support an ongoing evolution within a unified creation.
Even with all the research conducted in the twentieth century, a scientific link between mankind and another species never materialized. Michael Denton, an Australian molecular biologist, addressed this ongoing issue of evidence in his 1986 book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis:
The fact is that the evidence was so patchy one hundred years ago that even Darwin himself had increasing doubts as to the validity of his views. The only aspect of his theory which has received any support over the past century is where it applies to micro evolutionary phenomena. His general theory that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without factual support.43
Although Darwin’s theory of evolution finds support on a micro level (evolution occurring within a given species), Darwin’s general theory—that man evolved from an entirely different species—remains a “highly speculative hypothesis.”
Emerging evidence continues to reveal a picture other than what Darwin painted. Late in the twentieth century, a group of German and American scientists extracted DNA from the bone of a Neanderthal/Neandertal man. (Either spelling is correct.) (Neanderthals lived between 300,000 B.C. and 30,000 B.C. in the Middle East, Western Asia, and Europe.) The scientific team compared Neanderthal DNA to that of modern man, and found that the Neanderthal sequence fell well outside the range of variation found in humankind. Dr. Mark Stoneking, associate professor of anthropology at Penn State, stated: “These results indicate that Neandertals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA to modern humans. Neandertals are not our ancestors.”44
How can a scientist definitively state that life within modern man is absolutely linked to other pre-existing life forms? To draw such a conclusion from existing evidence would be an unthinkable departure from the “scientific method,” for in applying this approach, a valid conclusion demands unmistakable evidence linking cause and effect. Michael J. Behe, associate professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University and author of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, addressed the issue of causation in the following manner:
“Evolution” implies that random mutation and natural selection powered the changes in life. The idea is that just by chance an animal was born that was slightly faster or stronger than its siblings. Its descendants inherited the change and eventually won the contest of survival over the descendants of other members of the species. Over time, repetition of the process resulted in great changes—and, indeed, wholly different animals. That’s the theory. A practical difficulty, however, is that one can’t test the theory from fossils.45
Adding to the dilemma, Darwin openly acknowledged his need to transcend classic scientific boundaries in order to produce his evolutionary conclusion. In a letter to a Harvard biology professor, Darwin wrote, “I am quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science.”46
This position held by Darwin is clearly understood in light of the observation made by British scientist L. Merson Davies: “It has been estimated that no fewer than 800 phrases in the subjunctive mood (such as “Let us assume,” or “We may well suppose,” etc.) are to be found between the covers of Darwin’s Origin of Species alone.”47 Without question, this approach produced an unsettling effect on objectivity. As stated by Michael Denton:
Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.48
Ironically, although scientists and prophets disagree with Darwin’s conclusions, they agree with one of his observations. Darwin observed, “when a species has vanished from the face of the earth, the same form never reappears.”49 This observation agrees with creation theory. Once a species is extinct, it cannot regenerate itself.
Evolutionists contend that extinction occurs when a species evolves out of existence; when the evolutionary cycle is complete, the species simply ceases to exist. In contrast, creationists state that a species doesn’t evolve out of existence, but rather dies out of existence. Extinction comes by way of the death of an entire life form. A species ceases to exist because the seed that produced that species died with it. Like the dinosaur kingdom, which went into decline some sixty-five million years ago, no extinct kingdoms of life have ever reappeared. Without seed, there is no possibility of life.
No conflict exists between creationists and Darwin’s view about the regeneration of life. It is with Darwin’s conclusion that the prophets, apostles, and scientific evidence disagree.
The conclusion—that modern man is the product of lower intelligence—excludes the need for the existence of higher intelligence. Darwinian theorists need irrefutable evidence in order to believe in a supernatural creator. The irony is that the same theorists discard this standard upon accepting the theory of evolution as fact.
If fossilized evidence supports creation theory, why not embrace the current facts and the possibility of supernatural intelligence? Could it be that an entire dimension of life cannot be measured in a laboratory? Can love be analyzed in a test tube? No, but no one doubts its existence. Can we be sure that life is confined to the boundaries of human intellect? Perhaps it is profoundly unscientific to conclude that nothing exists outside of our own sphere of understanding. What if the prophets and apostles are right about the existence of another intelligence? Then the riddle of the universe is no longer shrouded in mystery.
As stated in the biblical writings, God’s word “fueled” the birth of the cosmos (the ordered universe). The prophets and apostles speak of creation as an ongoing materialization of organized matter.
In contrast, existing theory speaks of an explosion of dispersing matter. Known as the “Big Bang,” the theory assumes that a “cosmic egg” exploded, shooting various materials throughout the dark expanse of space. “One second, according to theory, there was nothingness. The next, our cosmos sprang into existence.”50
Recent astronomical findings, however, have called into question this position. In the article titled “Big Bang Theory under Fire,” William C. Mitchel wrote: “[E]vidence against the BB [Big Bang] has been building to the point where the world may soon start to doubt it.”51
Until recently, astronomers generally believed that the cosmic expansion was gradually slowing down as a result of the gravitational attraction exerted within the known universe. This logic was not lost on the Big Bang model, which assumed that a cosmic blast would ultimately produce a decelerating cosmic expansion, the obvious assumption being that an explosion that took place billions of years ago would be slowing down by now.
The problem with this assumption is that the cosmos is engaged in the opposite direction. Astronomers have discovered “that some mysterious force [is] acting against the pull of gravity, causing galaxies to fly away from each other at ever greater speeds. In one sense, the idea is not completely new. Einstein included such an ‘anti-gravity’ effect in his theory of general relativity.”52 Yet, as the twentieth century drew to a close, “no one expected that the effect would turn out to be real.”53 Recent astronomical findings reveal that invisible energy is driving the galactic expansion, “and it seems likely now that this expansion will continue indefinitely.”54
This finding has given birth to a “harrowing new theory about the death of the universe [which] paints a picture of ‘phantom energy’ ripping apart galaxies, stars, planets and eventually every speck of matter in a fantastical end to time.”55 Robert Caldwell of Dartmouth University, lead author of this theory, explains that it is one possible outcome for solid astronomical observations made in the late 1990s. (It wasn't long ago that many cosmologists believed the universe might reverse course, and that normal gravity would win, causing everything to collapse inward.)
The energy that is driving the galactic expansion is referred to as “dark energy.” What is dark energy? At this time, scientists cannot explain it; they can only detect it.
Adding to this cosmic puzzle, astronomers have discovered the presence of unseen matter in space. Called “dark matter,” this material represents another unseen force in the cosmos, and some forms of this material are theorized to be radically different from matter found on Earth.
Ordinary matter on this planet is composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons, otherwise known collectively as atoms. Although the newly discovered dark matter exhibits this type of structure, more exotic forms of the material are thought to be composed of a “sea of massive particles.”56
The discovery of dark matter is considered to be “groundbreaking.” This unseen matter exerts a gravitational pull on celestial objects, and “by measuring these mysterious effects of gravity, researchers determine how much extra gravity is present, and therefore how much extra mass, or dark matter, must exist.”57
Kim Griest, a physicist at the University of California, has worked since the mid-1990s on a project called “microlensing.” It is a process used to “infer the presence of unseen objects by noting how more distant light is bent as it travels past the hidden object.”58 With this system came the discovery of dark matter.
More than three dozen elusive white dwarf stars have been found in a halo of objects surrounding our galaxy, marking the first direct evidence for previously unseen “dark matter” and lending support to a widely held theory that there is much more to the universe than meets the eye.59 “[C]urrent theories can’t cope” with such a finding and it would “trigger a revolution” in ideas about how galaxies and stars form and evolve.60
The coming revolution in thinking about the origin of the universe and its continuing expansion is the direct result of unseen forces at work in the cosmos. Traditional theories find no comfort in this new astronomical evidence. Could it be that the cosmic expansion is not slowing down because there never was an explosion to begin with?
As William Mitchel reminded all of us, “It is all but forgotten that the BB [Big Bang] is not fact, but an unproven theory.”61 Not only is it unproven, the theory has already gone bust in the minds of modern scientific thinkers. As cited by Eric J. Lerner in his book, The Big Bang Never Happened, “in the past few years, observation after observation has contradicted the predictions of this theory.”62
Recent astronomical findings are overturning traditional thinking about the cosmos and, simultaneously, the collected data point to huge gaps in our understanding. As stated by astronomer Richard Ellis of Caltech, “I find it very worrying that you have a universe where there are three constituents, of which only one [i.e., ordinary matter] is really physically understood.”63
If astronomers acknowledge the presence of energy and matter that exceeds our current understanding, then what else in the cosmos exceeds our understanding? If life exists among ordinary visible matter, does life exist among invisible matter? Why couldn’t there be unseen intelligence that exists in another world in another life form? Can spirit beings and angels also exist?
If unseen forces are at work throughout the galaxies, are unseen forces also at work upon the Earth? Could it be that recent astronomical evidence is just beginning to reveal the fingerprints of a higher intelligence?
If unknown energy exceeds the gravitational attraction of galaxies, is it possible the source of the energy is that which also created the galaxies, the Creator?
If science has provided a new understanding of the cosmos, it cannot help altering the way we think about the origin of the universe, man, and his destiny. Truly, there is more to the universe than can be detected by normal empirical means. If our long-held assumptions about creation are incorrect, then where is the human mind to turn?
At the start of the twenty-first century, we should ask: Is it more logical to conclude that the prophets and apostles were divinely inspired? Or were they just trying to explain our world with their own understanding of it? It cannot be both. The biblical writings either speak of our past, present, and future or they do not. Pursuing this thought, I would like to turn your attention to the archaeological community as it pertains to the Middle East.
In the mid-nineteenth century, archaeological explorers were drawn to the Holy Land in search of the past. Their collective efforts focused on one central thought: to determine the accuracy of history chronicled in the Bible. After more than one hundred fifty years of searching, the results obtained by the archaeological community have been staggering. David Rohl, author of A Test of Time, states: “Without initially starting out to discover the historical Bible, I have come to the conclusion that much of the Old Testament contains real history.”64
In essence, archaeologists have discovered corroborating evidence from extra-biblical sources, and on numerous occasions have demonstrated the reliability and plausibility of what was recorded thousands of years ago. Through ancient artifacts, scientists have given the modern world a glimpse into life that once was, revealing a voice that speaks to us from the past.
With regard to the authenticity of the biblical texts, extraordinary evidence surfaced in the mid-twentieth century. The Dead Sea Scrolls, which have been referred to by scholars as the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times, were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in caves along the shore of the Dead Sea. Among over eight hundred scrolls are the oldest known versions of all but one of the books of the Old Testament. The rest offer an intriguing picture of life in the Holy Land at the time Jesus taught in Jerusalem.
The conclusion drawn by scholars is that the biblical texts found in the scrolls are in substantial agreement with translations of the Old Testament used today. Significant among the scrolls is a virtually intact copy of Isaiah; it predates the earliest known Isaiah manuscript by one thousand years.
Scientists have concluded that the Dead Sea Scrolls were transcribed between the years 200 B.C. and 68 A.D. (This conclusion is based on carbon 14 dating: a highly accurate process that measures the decay of carbon 14, which is a radioactive element that erodes at a constant rate over time.) Of additional importance, the scientific community revealed that the critical biblical manuscripts were dated prior to 100 B.C. This is worth noting because the biblical scrolls found in the twentieth century provided documentation that the Messianic prophecies (about the first coming of Christ) were written before the dawn of the first century.
The apostles who wrote to us during the first century—speaking about the fulfillment of these Messianic prophecies—revealed that God communicated divine prophecy to Earth by way of the man called Jesus.
The record that Jesus lived in the Holy Land is not disputed. Reputable historians agree that the story of this prophet was not just a legend; historical writings support the claims made about Him. Hence, it is not a matter of whether Jesus lived, but rather, was He the Son of God?
Some people dismiss Jesus Christ as a fake hero. Yet millions hail Him as Savior and Lord. Whatever people think of Him, nobody can deny that His life represented a pivotal point in human history. His influence on humanity is unquestioned. Historian Phillip Schaff described the overwhelming influence of Christ’s life:
This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar and Napoleon; without science he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.65
To conclude, scientific evidence has given us reason to believe the biblical account of creation is not simply the product of fertile and imaginative minds. If the biblical account of creation is true, then what of the biblical accounts of prophecy? Jesus Christ would have us understand this: It is not a matter of whether Earth has been informed of its future but a matter of whether its population heeds it.
Astronomers and archeologists have given us an entirely new way of looking at the Earth and the universe. Perhaps we all owe it to ourselves to be more open to another way of knowing.