God Wouldn’t Have Circumvented Natural Laws in Creation – Jeremiah 31.35-36

One of the common explanations of the miraculous Creation, as many understand Genesis 1 to mean, is that God ignored natural laws/natural order along the same lines as the Resurrection, although we have two very different things there. This discounts all of the theories (facts) about the speed of light, the size of the universe and other such things which must be denied in attempting to prove that the 6-Day interpretation is the only inerrant interpretation of Genesis 1. In essence, they see to frame a literal interpretation of Creation as a miracle, something that is not actually seen in Scripture. Further, they require that God bend, break or destroy natural laws, such as the speed of light, in order to hold to their theories.

Interesting enough….

God says otherwise:

35 Thus said the LORD, Who established the sun for light by day, The laws of moon and stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea into roaring waves, Whose name is LORD of Hosts:

36 If these laws should ever be annulled by Me — declares the LORD — Only then would the offspring of Israel cease To be a nation before Me for all time. – JPS

35 It is the LORD who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says:

36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!” – NLT

35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name:

36 “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” – NASB

So, unless you decide that God can only be speaking after the Creation, or some other excuse for not reading the text ‘plain’, one must conclude that due to measuring the speed of light, the universe is older than 6000 years…. way, way older.

Sure, you could refer to the understanding of cosmic decrees which more than likely is what is in the Prophet’s mind, but then… you wouldn’t be reading the text plain, literal, and the what not… now would you?

Post By Joel Watts (10,049 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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23 thoughts on God Wouldn’t Have Circumvented Natural Laws in Creation – Jeremiah 31.35-36

  1. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth”. Psalm 33:6. If Jesus created the stars by blowing them out of His mouth, does that mean the natural order happened after the other galaxies were created.

      • In Religion at school we were taught that the Creation story and Adam and Eve were made up – didn’t happen.

        • See, that’s the wrong way too. It is not an either or thing, in my opinion, but what is the Truth of the story that matters.

  2. You know, I am going to laugh when we get up there, if God says, “You are all wrong.” The trouble is that Evangelicals seek to have some sort of consistent way of approaching the genre. Literal unless the context makesut apparent otherwise, and if you don’t agree, then you don’t believe in the imerrancy of Scripture. I would say each interpretation has something to offer to the tradition of the Creation narrative, and on the subject of Young Earth, Kent Hovind does the best job, especially with evolution. Is any interpretation out the perfect. No, but the Scriptures do pledge a level of authority, and we honor the text by dialogue in the body with all views, even, as much as I despise his views, Ken Ham. Or my best friend, who is an old earther gap theorist, a bit of a dominion theologian (not what I would class him completely), etc. So I am in the midst of a fascinating matrix.

    • David, how can you trust a conspiracy theorist like Hovind? I mean, the man is in the Federal pen?

      I think that Scriptures are the theological plan and not a science text book

  3. There is another option… you make a few presumptions that you do not need to. Example you presume that God did not create creation in a steady state: meaning God creates a star and part of that creation includes the photons and gravitational waves as they would exist as if it had always been there. There are other presuppositions but my doctor is here

      • no it does not. You simply presume a photon must have originated in the star, it need not have. this does not break any natural order any more than creation ex nihilo does

        • I don’t do ex nihilo either, more of ex deus….

          I disagree, RK, respectively, but the point of the goal is that one has to read into the text, seek the context, or deny the plain meaning to get around what it actually says. Regarding natural order/laws, everything that we know at the moment says that light must travel such and such, and by measuring that, we can ascertain the age of the universe. Anything else would be assuming something no mentioned explicitly in the text or denying what God says here.

  4. This is GENIUS. Thank you Joel. I’ll be adding this to my quiver for future discussions.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why the so-called “plain reading” is so acceptable. It truly robs the text of so much of its beauty by reduction.

    When did people forget how to read? Has cable news ruined American’s ability to read/filter/interpret so badly that everything must be spoon-fed to us via 24 hour news coverage?? Or are the masses truly building their faith on a house of cards that requires constant defense?

    • Amen and amen, Sean.

      I so much more appreciate the Scriptures now that I seek to understand what they actually mean.

      • I spent the better part of my life breaking them down as an atheist to debate the YEC/literal crowd. Since converting I’ve applied the same critical eye (and my BA in English) and found that a literal reading is even more shallow for a Christian than it was for an atheist.

        Arguably, I think even non-believers could get on board with the beauty and meaning if literalists would get out of the way. It’s sad that such tiny roadblocks can’t be removed to bring people into relationship with God.

        • 1) I am not certain how a BA in english helps directly with a Hebrew (or Akkadian) text.
          2) Literal reading is not the same as literalistic. Literalistic ignore intent and genre. LIteral includes both. Thus there are many literal readers who are not Young Earth Creationists where all literalistic rewarders are Young Earth Creationists.

  5. Joel,
    I don’t get the same sense from that text at all.

    Thus says the LORD,
    who gives the sun for light by day
    and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the LORD of hosts is his name:
    36 “If this fixed order departs
    from before me, declares the LORD,
    then shall the offspring of Israel cease
    from being a nation before me forever.”

    The Holy Bible : English Standard Version., Je 31:35–36 (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

    What I do see is that YHWH is saying that His promises to Israel will be just as sure as the sun and the moon in the sky. If He causes them to be removed, then Israel can fear His unfaithfulness.
    I think it’s a somewhat literalistic reading to put the laws of physics and the Creation account anywhere near this text.
    Just my $0.02

    • Read the next verse too, Jason – and note ‘fixed order’ refers to natural order.

      And, you have sorta proven my point about ‘somewhat literalistic’ readings, such as seeing Genesis 1 as scientific creation. We readily pick and choose our reading styles to fit our points. Everyone does this.

      • Joel,
        It seems to me that it’s best to confine God’s statement to the fact that these heavenly bodies will remain, and so His promises will do the same. What you’re doing is reasoning from the lesser to the greater, which we know is permissible in logic; but is it permissible to do so in regard to a very specific statement in Scripture? The natural order of which he speaks is that they are there and aren’t going anywhere.
        I also think that it’s a different thing when we read this figurative language and when we read Genesis 1&2. After all, we know He’s using a figure of speech here. On the other hand, the Pentateuch is narrative (read Sailhamer on this). Narrative can indeed contain figures of speech. I believe it’s going to be very difficult to prove the Genesis creation account as poetry, figurative speech, or anything other than narrative.
        Never the less, in one sense, this is a dead horse. I’ll not continue to beat it. Or is it because I am the dead horse? Oh well, gotta get to the grill and smoke some of those baby swine back ribs.

        • Jason -

          What you are doing is proving my point, completely. We choose to read Scripture based on our assumptions of what we need it to say.

        • And while Sailhamer may have a point, he misses the fact that a narrative can be, in of itself, a giant figure of speech. Genesis 1 which is different than Genesis 2 is very much a narrative, but it a myth narrative (and not the sorta myth as explained by the Martha the Talking Dog this morning on PBS)

  6. Hi, everyone. I feared to go too far because I like to break natural laws.

    Like I was supposed to be forever a man with an attention deficits and a minor problem of brain motor. I was supposed to take medical drugs until my last breath, but I’ve battle it and I’m no longer “ill”.

    So continue to break natural order with tai chi and meditation to continue to rise over my personal limits.

    I believe in God (I also believe in darwin theory), so feared to be wrong to have that ambition.

    But, with that text, I think I will be OK (I don’t need atheist judge here).

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