Monday, July 14, 2008

The Fifth Day

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures”. . .So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds. . .God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas”. . .And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23

Question: Did God create the Great White shark? How would you answer this question? What theological waters would you have to navigate if your answer is “yes”? If your answer is “no”?

Comic from The Far Side Gallery 5, by Gary Larson

(click image to enlarge)


  1. Andy:

    Question 1: Did God create humanity on the 6th day?

    Question 2: Did humanity eat everything right away (including animals)?

    Question 3: Did humans look the same at first, or were there representatives of every race and ethnicity right off the bat?

    Answer these, and you get an answer for your question...

  2. A fitting follow-up to a post referencing Western Australian surfing stories...

  3. If God did not create the great white, then who did?

    I guess the question which Andy is really asking is: "What kind of God would create a mouse, and then create the cat to eat the mouse". Is it the same God who speaks of love for all mankind in the Hebrew bible - or is it perhaps no God at all - it simply evolved over time by a non-interventionist God? Or perhaps it just happened over time - end of story.

    The question is as old as time itself, and still awaits an answer.

  4. Andy and Gordon:

    Another question, per Genesis 3, did God create the Thistle or was it a result of Sin?

    Again, you have an answer...

  5. Oh, and if you believe in an eventual paradise (an Eden restored), perhaps another fitting answer is Isaiah 65:25 (NLT)

    "The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

    Allegory or truth ("I, the LORD, have spoken!")?

  6. Charles,
    Your questions aren’t really questions. However, I will attempt to answer them as if they were.

    1. I prefer the second creation story found in Genesis 2:4

    “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

    “When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.

    “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

    2. The Bible doesn’t say.

    3. I assume that Adam and Eve were members of the human race. I’m not sure about color or ethnicity.

    As for thistles, I believe God created plant life.

    Now it's your turn to answer my question.

  7. Andy,

    OK, I will bite :-) Assuming there was an agenda behind the question, I responded with questions that perhaps would provide... ehh...this whole discussion can't be serious right? (Honestly, I am waiting for someone to pop in and yell, PSYYCH!!!!)

    Short answer hopefully gleaned from all of scripture: YES!

    Based on the entirety of scripture, and specifically inferred from Genesis 1-3 & Isaiah 65, sin has distorted God's creation, just as sin has distorted us (diseases, defects, illness, anger, rage, war, hate, murder, etc.) and will be eventually restored to pre-sin Edenic reality.

    Whether or not the Great White was created at the beginning or is a relative of a now extinct species - can't answer that - I wasn't there! Regardless, just as diversity has developed over time in humanity (races, ethnicities, genetic variations), diversity has developed in the rest of His creation.

    This is my view. God bless!


    P.S. Gordon - I don't for a second believe the cat/mouse scenario was in God's plan, c'mon....

  8. Is Andy really serius? Oh well, he may be - who knows . . . perhaps he is trying to tease out some or other solution to the age old question of good and evil - or should I say the question of God and evil? If Andy is serious then it's a tough one.

    Perhaps we may need to return to history to remind ourselves that the Biblical account which you have outlined does have serious problems - and I am sure you are aware of those. However I would like to give the question some perspective, if I may.

    I suspect we may have to accept that the Genesis account IS a myth - a bold effort by an ancient people to shape an account of creation which takes care of the eternal question of pain and suffering. I sense that those altogether remarkable and thrilling words 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' hint at a far greater mystery which lie beyond the layers of the 'story' of the mythical fruit - which so tragically imparted a knowledge of good and evil.

    The book of Job approached the question head on (or did it?) by simply having God tell us to mind our own business - and the cat and mouse/great-white-shark conundrum was thereby laid aside for greater minds than ours to contemplate.

    I must accept Job's non-conclusion, simply because we can propose no solution ourselves - in spite of contemporary Jewish scholars' noble attempts at doing so. I like to think that there are evidences lying scattered all over the planet which hint at an intelligent designer - consider the biochemistry of the photosynthetic process. But I do hesitate to go beyond the admission that there is an intelligent 'God' out there - unless of course we accept the often expressed thought that when it is all over and done with we would not have wanted it any other way. But then again, that may be a terrible insult to those who have suffered through the ages for no reason at all.

    However, going back just a little in history we need to remember the holocaust, and ask why a loving all-knowing God would allow such a scenario to occur. Shattered families, gassed women and children, a completely scarred history - would you as an all-knowing mother wish to give birth to children when you know the outcome of such an action.

    I would especially commend to you the book written by one Jewish Holocaust scholar '...and Heaven shed no tears' - Henry Herzog, Menard Press 1996. An excellent article, which may lead us further into Holocaust studies is found at Wikipedia. Although the article is incomplete, nevertheless there are some challenging and creative thoughts expressed by the gifted minds of Jewish scholars (as well as a few Christians).

    (An all-knowing mother? I suspect that if the Genesis account was written and finally edited by female scribes it would not have been Eve that ate the apple, but Adam - I merely echo the thoughts of Elizabeth Shussler Fiorenza?)

  9. Gordon,

    Very intriguing comments providing much fodder for deep cogitation...

    I also find it very astute of you to boil this discussion down to the question of Evil presence: "Why does God allow, or by proxy, cause/create evil?"

    That is a much deeper question and discussion, but directly related to whether God created the Great White Shark as we know it now - an incredibly efficient and ruthless killing machine - and very much like what humanity has been throughout the millennia.

    Yet, basing my philosophy/belief on Genesis 1-3, and various other tidbits of Creation and Pre-Creation scattered throughout scripture, I stand by my earlier comments, as difficult as they may be to completely understand - and ultimately accept.

    Currently, I am slowly making my way through a rather difficult read. I recommend reading "Satan and the Problem of Evil" by Gregory A. Boyd. Some questions posed and answered:

    1. "Where does evil come from?"
    2. "If there is a sovereign creator God, as Christian faith holds, is this God ultimately responsible for evil?"
    3. "Does God's sovereignty mean that God causes each instance of sin and suffering?"
    4. "How does Satan, his demons and hell fit into God's providential oversight of all creation and history?"
    5. "If people act freely, does God know is particular every human decision before the choice is made?"

    God bless,


  10. Thank you for your comments Charles - and also the book title.

    Some twenty or so years ago one of the publishing houses in America published Richard Rice's book 'The Openess of God'. I understand he is now a professor at Loma Linda University. You can read what subsequently happened to his book here:

    This book may well be worth including in your reading list relating to the openess of God toward history. No doubt it does pose problems, whichever way we look at God, but I feel it is essential to try and grasp the nettle rather than cutting it down and completely ignoring it.

    In my own experience I see the Old Testament as a remarkable ancient 'think tank' about God - see for instance the psalms, which express so many different views of God; Ecclesiastes, Chronicles - a differing view on earlier history. And then also the second creation account found in Genesis. And what about the contrasting accounts of Jesus expressed in the Synoptics as against the Gospel of John.

    The above is all about a fascinating literary effort to come to grips with who God is. But finally I do believe that Jesus and scripture, both windows to God may not be ignored. THey are two vital solutions to the puzzle about the meaning of life.

  11. Andy,

    Now that a discussion as been engaged regarding your questions of the Great White, I am curious as to your response to what has been put forth as a response.

    I would also like to understand your motive(s) for such an interesting question.



  12. Charles,
    I was delighted by the comments.

    I use cartoons because they are a close to perfect blog post. They produce a quick, almost involuntary emotional and intellectual response to issues that I consider important. I am convinced that reflecting on that experience is a good thing.

    In addition, my “modified” cartoons, along with my reviews of Adventist publications, have created a successful niche product in an increasingly competitive online marketplace. Adventist Perspective blog has become an online voice in the conversation that will determine whether or not our church will remain a vital and relevant Christian institution.