Occasionally people ask me about my faith. In particular, how I can believe in God because, after all, the Bible says that God created the world in six days and, in fact, says all kinds of things that most scientists today say are completely untrue. They then reason with me that if the scientists have proven that what was written in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is wrong, then how can I have faith in the Lord? In my book, Essence of Wisdom for Parents, I share the value of faith in a family context. But how can we depend on Christian faith to help guide us as a parent, and still believe what we learned in science class?
Formulating an answer to this question got me to thinking about what it would be like if God explained to Moses how he really created everything – the way the scientists now know to be true?
The second book of the Bible, Exodus, records how God shared with Moses, face to face, His story of creation. Exodus records that Moses met with God in a special tent, called the Tent of Meeting, and Moses recorded the first five books of the Bible based on what he learned in these meetings with God.
Below, I’ve had a little fun, envisioning how this might have played out.
Moses arose early one morning, and came into the Tent of Meeting to ask the Lord a question that he had been thinking about all night. He asked: “Lord, will you tell us who we are and where we came from? And Lord, can you tell me all about, you know, life, the universe, and everything?” The Lord replied, “It is right that you want to know these things so that you can understand who I am, what I have done for you and what our relationship was meant to be. I will share this with you and you will share it with all of Israel through my words which you will record.” The Lord continued on, “Moses, grab yourself a stack of parchment, a ballpoint and something soft to put your tuckus on, I will answer these questions for you, but it will take a while.”
“Uhhh…okee…dokey – Lord” replied Moses, beginning to feel quite unsure as to what he was getting himself into. He didn’t quite know what God meant by a ballpoint, but thought it best not to ask. He would just have to wing it.
Once Moses was settled, the Lord Himself reclined back on some pillows that had been laid in the tent, took a long energizing breath and asked “Moses, are you ready?”
Moses dipped a quill into the inkwell, and looked up. “Ready Lord!”
God began His work 13.7 billion years ago. Out of nothingness God created a multi-dimensional space consisting of 26 orthogonal dimensions, all perfect and pure, then, in a mighty stroke, God created a great perturbation in this space. The dimensions rippled and began to break apart into trillions upon trillions of bound up min-whirlpools, each a wondrous binding of n-dimensional space. These whirlpools of space pushed each other causing, what was now an immense ball of chaos, to expand rapidly. The expansion rolled out like the crest of a wave rolls across water. In fact, the crest of this wave defined, for the first time, the experience of time elapsing. With the creation of elapsing time, energy was also created, a few nano-seconds later, quantums of energy began to bind themselves into mass, and thus, God created the first building blocks of what you know as the universe. In the next few nano-seconds after that, …
“Moses, you look a bit confused? Ahhh, you want me to explain to you how I transformed the energy into mass, right?”
“Uh, yes Lord, yes, how you transformed, that uh, energy, into um, what do you call it, mass.”
“But, before you do that, if I may so humbly ask my Lord, what exactly is a billon, and what is a multi-dimensional…uh…thingy?”
“Dimensions, Moses, you know, like the dimensions in a standard x-y Cartesian coordinate system, except I created a space of 26 dimensions, instead of 2. Life wouldn’t have much depth to it with just two dimensions would it Moses?” God chuckled.
Moses, however, failed to chuckle back as expected.
“Moses, just curious here, but how are your math skills?”
“Well,” replied Moses, “Pharaoh did put me in charge of counting the grain.”
“Counting the grain.” The Lord responded with a tone that had that same inexplicable mix of depression and listlessness that Moses had heard in his father-in-law’s voice so many times.
Moses shook off some past memories that started to pop into his head, and replied: “Counting the grain, yes, that’s right.” And the pride began to re-crystallize in his voice, “I put a bead in a barrel for each bushel of wheat that the farmers brought into the storehouse. This way I was able to keep a clear record of how much was harvested! Tracking the food supply was one of my most important duties.”
The Lord inhaled deeply, paused for a few moments, and then said, with great gentleness, “Moses why don’t you go out to the tribes and grab a mathematician to help you out. Your brother Aaron helped you by doing the speaking for you and that worked out well, I think it not bad to let a mathematician help you out here as well. How’s that sound to you?”
“Well Lord,” said Moses, “I did appreciate having the help before, but if you recall, I was the only Israelite that was educated in the Pharaoh’s house, remember the basket and the river? The rest of these guys mostly mixed straw and mud to make bricks.”
“Lord,…Lord, are you OK? You want me to have someone fetch you some water?”
“No Moses, no, I’m fine, just thinking a bit here.”
After a moment, the Lord looked up and again spoke: “Tell you what Moses, let’s take a different tack, we’ll try sailing at this from a different direction, shall we?”
The Lord looked at Moses, waiting for Moses to appreciate this bit of Godly wit meant to set Moses at ease. Disappointingly, Moses did not reflect a countenance of appreciation for the wit, nor did his countenance change to that of someone at ease.
Nevertheless, God continued, “Moses set aside what you have written so far, and grab yourself another sheet of parchment. In fact, send that last bit out and have someone just burn it will you?”
“We are starting over Moses, take this down…”
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light “; and there was light.
God paused, as Moses scribbled hastily, his quill whipping back and forth. As he finished writing the last few words he looked back up at God and blurted, more hastily then he ought, “formless and void? Nothing but darkness and light? Where’d someone find some shade? What was it, just flat desert over the whole world? Deserts get pretty old after a while,” as Moses was speaking these words, his eyes finally wandered up toward God’s face, but the signals that his brain began to send, upon seeing God’s face, did not reach his mouth in time to stop Moses from continuing “that just sounds awful …” Finally, and thankfully, the signals did reach their destination and his words trailed off.
It was during this exchange, that God began to think that He will probably, at some time in the future, need to implement a plan B for the salvation of his people, but I digress.
The Lord answered, with a bit of tightness in his voice, “Moses, it was fine, in fact it was more than fine, it was good! Now if you are finished,” the Lord continued,” I will continue.”
God saw that the light was good ; and…
The Lord and Moses spent many more days together as the Lord shared with Moses all that He, and the generations of God’s people for the next 3300 years, would need to know about our relationship with Him and the love that He has for us. As the days wore on, Moses finally did attain that countenance of ease that the Lord desired for him because Moses was His child and he loved him. (Really, He did.)
In fact, history records that after spending this loving time with the Lord in the tent of meeting Moses’ face actually began to glow. Much like Rudolph’s nose, I’ve always imagined. (But more golden-like than red.)
In appreciation of Douglas Adams who struggled with the same deep questions as Moses in the most realistic science fiction book I’ve read, the four-book trilogy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.