Cosmology, Cosmogony and Originology
- Grady McMurtry
- April 04, 2020
When we discuss science and the question of origins we use two words that are often misunderstood and therefore are often misused. These words are cosmology and cosmogony.
In English these two words are composed from three Greek words. In Greek the word cosmos means order, arrangement or system.
Evolutionists, such as the latest greatest American atheist Dr. Carl Sagan, use this word to mean the world or universe which came into existence by chaotic and random processes without a creator, designer or outside intelligence of any kind. Dr. Sagan even wrote a book with the title Cosmos and hosted a TV series on (the dreaded) PBS by the same name promoting this propaganda.
The word doesn’t mean what Dr. Sagan suggested that it did. The word means quite the opposite. The evolutionists are guilty of using the "word meaning switch" when using the word cosmos to promote their philosophical position.
The suffix "-logy" comes from the root word logos so often thought of as "the Word" of God. This word ending deals with the concepts of dynamic motion and articulation. The combination of cosmos with logos then yields a word that describes the dynamics and motion of the world or universe. The word "cosmology" then deals with the operation of the world or universe.
The suffix "-gony" comes from the same root as the word "genesis" which means "beginnings." Thus the ending of a word with "-gony" would deal with the starting, origin, initiating, beginning or becoming of that subject. The word "cosmogony" deals with the origin of the world or universe.
In science when we deal with the Laws of Motion, the process of Photosynthesis or the deposition of sedimentary layers that compose the Fossil Record we are working in the arena of cosmology. When we deal with how these laws, processes and evidences came into existence; when we are discussing the origins of natural systems; we are working in the arena of cosmogony.
How does the study of origins relate to the scientific endeavor? We need to look at the Scientific Method and those elements that would be part of science. If we want to make valid observations and make credible experiments about our universe what must we have?
First, we must be able to use our natural senses to make observations. We would use our senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, sound and position to consider the environment and conditions that surround us. The event we are interested in should be observable to us.
Second, in order to have validity and predictability we must be able to consistently repeat the event. One time occurrences fall outside this parameter.
Third, in order to be able to prove or disprove an idea, an hypothesis, we must be able to collect data and to design a test, an experiment, to determine the validity or invalidity of our idea. An idea which is not testable remains an unproven idea, thought or speculation when invoking the Scientific Method of Proof. An unprovable idea is accepted based on faith alone, or it might be proven true by using a different method of proof; but, the Scientific Method will not help you.
Fourth, some people add the concept of falsifiability within the framework of the Scientific Method. If we cannot think of a way that we could falsify our thoughts then how would we be able to know which ones were true and which ones were not true? Without the ability to falsify our concepts, to weed out the good from the bad, then the scientific world becomes a chaos of claims which lacks a sieve to determine what is true, what is truth.
We make observations, gather data and we try to unify an explanation for the phenomena at which we have been looking. Then we should be able to construct experiments or methods which would falsify our theory.
Let us say that we observe various objects falling from a tall tower or the motion of birds in flight. We then construct experiments to test our hypothesis about these events. We gather data pertinent to our hypothesis and then state that given the data we have we propose a model to explain these phenomena. Once we have enough data to support our hypothesis (our underlying explanation of events) we elevate our model to the level of a theory.
As an example, Sir Isaac Newton (arguably the single greatest scientist of the past 400 years and a creationist) made extensive observations concerning the physics of gravity, motions of objects on earth and the motions of planetary bodies. He then derived his models of gravity and motion. After enough observations he elevated his models to theories and finally these became scientific laws which are now universally accepted. No experiment has ever been devised which negates these laws nor their predictive power.
This is the manner in which empirical science is conducted. This is the way the practice of properly done science works.
This outline is directly related to the issue of the study of origins. In a study of origins we make observations, gather data and claim support for our hypothesis. We collect a lot of data and we are able to propose a model with an accompanying set of predictions. We end this process at the point of elevating our model to a theory. We are unable to go further!
We cannot move the Theory of Special Creation, and creationism, to the exalted position of a scientific law - much as we might like to! Why?
We are incapable of devising experiments to test historical onetime events directly. We cannot repeat what may or may not have occurred in the past. We are left to speculation not experimentation. We are incapable of designing an experiment which would falsify our theory.
The function of pure empirical science is to look at the operation of the universe. When we attempt to ascertain the origin of the universe, of the plants and animals, or of man we run into an insurmountable wall from the scientific viewpoint. Neither you, nor I, nor any scientist of the past, present or future was/is/will be a witness of the origin event. We did not/cannot/will not be able to observe it, test it, repeat it, or analyze it by experimentation.
Therefore, the study of the origin of the universe is not strictly a scientific endeavor. We do use the scientific methodology in the construction of our models for the origin of the universe and man, but the study of origins is not the strict application of the rules of science.
The origin of the universe is not directly observable. The origin of the universe cannot be repeated nor reproduced in a laboratory. It follows from these that the origin of the universe is not testable. No explicit test may be used to test the origin event. Since these three things cannot be satisfied it becomes obvious that we cannot devise a test that would falsify our models for the origin of the universe.
It is very important for us to realize that when we are talking about the origin of the universe or man we are not talking about cosmology, we are talking about cosmogony.
Perhaps, given all the information and our understanding of it, we should consider using a recently coined word. Given that the study of origins is as valid a study as any other scientific endeavor; given that God has certainly mandated that we should know about, study and understand our origins, purpose and destiny; why don’t we just call it what it is - Originology.
Originology would be the articulation of origins, the study of origins by extrapolations. The use of this word would prevent the problem of confusion between the use of the words cosmology and cosmogony when discussing the models or theories of the origin of the universe. After all, the methodology that goes into cosmology is not directly applicable to the origin of the universe.
How then should we, as students of the Bible and believers in its inerrancy, approach a model of origins?
Our presupposition is that the universe is a created entity and must reflect the nature, characteristics and attributes of its Creator. We reason that our Creator God has a triune nature in one being because He created a universe (a unity with diversity = uni-verse) with three dimensions. He created man as a three part being within one body.
Only a triune God is a Creator that is knowable by us!
A unitarian god, if he decided to create, would create a place which reflected his nature. If he is a single unity, he would have spent an eternity communicating only with himself. He would be totally self-oriented, a selfish being, and not capable of making himself known to others - he has never had to know how to do so. Therefore, a Unitarian religion has in fact a god who is unknowable.
A god who is comprised of a dual nature has a similar problem. He would have only had communication with himself and would have only the ability to communicate with a being of equal stature. He would be two dimensional, and could only create things that were two dimensional. In essence, he would be flat. He would lack many attributes and could not know how to communicate with three dimensional beings.
A triune god would have spent an eternity communicating as a three part family unit. He would know how to communicate with one or two other beings as well as having self awareness and individual thought. A triune god is not a selfish god, he is not self-oriented. A triune god would create a place reflecting his three dimensional nature. He could then create time for the purpose of finite beings to exist in that three dimensional place. Finally, in a divine act he could make himself known to his created beings by appearing as one of them and speak to them face to face.
Only a triune God is a Creator that is knowable by us!
This is why the founders of the modern Scientific Method, men such as Newton and Bacon, were creationists. They understood that if a triune god created the universe, and he is knowable, then facts about the created universe were certainly knowable. The Scientific Method that they developed is only useful because the universe is ultimately knowable!
The universe is ultimately knowable because it was created by an ultimately knowable triune God. This is the only framework within which the Laws of Gravity, Motion, Thermodynamics and all other scientific laws make any sense.
We see His triune nature stamped throughout the universe. Matter exists in three dimensions. Water, and most other materials, exists in three states - gas, liquid and solid. Man reflects His Creators being by having a triune nature.
Man exists by having a spirit, soul and body. Our spirit provides us with God awareness. (There is no such thing as a true atheist in the Christian Biblical Worldview. Read Romans 1:16-32. Every human being has a spirit and, therefore, every human being knows that there is a God.)
Our soul provides us with self awareness. The soul is comprised of the intellect, emotions and will; what we think, what we feel and how we tell our bodies to move around.
Our body gives us awareness by others and allows us to function physically in a physical universe. Our bodies allow us to operate within a three dimensional physical universe.
Continuing with this logic, this is why all the societies throughout history that have believed in either a Unitarian god or a polytheist religious system have never produced a coherent way of viewing the world. Polytheism is merely many small gods competing with each other for superiority. Polytheism is really just evolution applied to religion. The survival of the fittest within the ranks of many small gods. Unitarian and polytheistic religions yield societies that become fragmented and finally end in chaos within their cultures.
Only the cultures that came out of Judaism and the Protestant Reformation in Europe developed coherent worldviews because they were built on the nature of a triune God. Believing Jews and the Protestant Reformers realized that the Creator God was transcendent from His creation while at the same time He was knowable. If God is knowable then His universe is knowable.
Believing Jews and the Protestant Reformers acknowledged an orderly God. An orderly God produces an orderly universe.
Those who would believe that God created the universe out of a chaotic state (men such as Dr. Hugh Ross), or through a chaotic process (those who are Deists and Theistic Evolutionists) deny His very nature as revealed in the Scripture. A God of order does not produce chaos. Indeed, He says that He did not create the universe out of chaos.
"For thus says the Lord [YHWH], who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place [empty, void, chaotic, formless], but formed it to be inhabited). I am the Lord, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness declaring things that are upright." (Isaiah 45:18-19)
"He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning “made them male and female.”’" (Matthew 19:4) (See also Mark 10:5)
"He [Jesus] said to them ‘Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.’" (Matthew 19:8)
The Father says He did not start with chaos, that He started the universe whole and complete. He only used seven days to give us a pattern for our lives, not because He needed that long an amount of time to do it. He is an awesome God who is able to create matter where there was nothing before. He can create instantaneously because He is omnipotent. He may bring things to pass over a long period of time, but He is not weak, neither is there anything that He does not know. He is omniscient.
The Son says that man and woman were present at the beginning, being made on the sixth day of creation, and did not come into being after millions and billions of supposed years. Now either God is a liar or He isn’t!
We need to understand the difference between cosmology and cosmogony. Even more so, we must all be careful to be good students of our Originology.