A case study of what Astrotheology is not
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Genesis 1:1-8 KJV
Hartnett's model guided by Genesis
University of Western Australia physicist and cosmologist, professor John Hartnett (1952-) actively develops cosmological model that fits to the seven days of creation in the beginning of the Bible. Within this model he gives an interpretation of the curious "waters above" and "waters below" that God separates on the second day of creation.
His interpretation of the waters was published in Creation Ministries International context first as an article The ‘waters above’, Journal of Creation 20(1):93–98, April 2006 and included in his book John Hartnett, Starlight, Time and the New Physics. Creation Book Publishers, 2007.
Hartnett's interpretation of the waters of creation simplified from Hartnett 2007, 93-94:
- Earth was made first and the entire Universe on the Fourth Day of creation
- Earth was made out of water
- Waters were divided to those upon Earth and those orbiting beyond Neptune where they protect the future living inhabitants of Earth
The disks of gas, dust and debris recently observed with modern infrared and millimetre wave instruments in nearby star systems are considered to act as locators to large colliding bodies. These observations are problematic for the evolutionary nebula theory of the formation of planetary systems, but can be easily interpreted from a creationist worldview. I propose that these cratering bodies are analogues for the ‘waters above’, which in part were used by God during the Curse and the Flood. In this view, the ‘waters above’ would represent all the bodies, large and small, that lay beyond Neptune in our solar system, including all the cometary material, mostly made of water ice. The total amount today only equals about 0.43 M⊕ (Earth masses), but before the Curse it may have been as much as 100 times more. Some of these large colliders left their mark on the earth’s surface as impact craters, as seen today from space. Some may even have triggered the Flood. Spectroscopic analysis of the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Quaoar reveals that its surface comprises crystalline water ice and ammonia hydrate (NH3.H2O). Both of these should have been destroyed by energetic particle irradiation over timescales of 107 years, so their existence is evidence for a young solar system andagainst a 5-billion-year timescale. In addition, Quaoar’s spectrum, in the 1 to 2.5 μm band, is very similar to that of Charon, the moon of Pluto, which has long been suspected of being a captured KBO. Evidence is thus mounting that these objects may be the remains of a watery halo as in the ‘waters above’.
J.G. Hartnett 2006
Genesis and Science mixed
Hartnett represents a highly educated modern physicist whose scientific contribution to cosmology and astrophysics is internationally recognized. His creationist writings are famous among Christian creationists around the world and provide for many the ultimate proof that God indeed has created the Universe and that science is in harmony with Genesis.
Unfortunately, neither the cosmological explanation of the 'waters above' created after Earth and before the Universe nor the interpretation of what the writer(s) of Genesis 1 wrote is true.
The two persons, divine and human, are neither mixed nor changed in the Son of God. It is also impossible to divide or separate the two natures in Jesus, Son of Mary.
With this Chalcedonian hermeneutics we can also humbly approach the study of the Cosmos as believers in the Word of God.
- Let us not mix Genesis and Science together.
- Let us not change the true nature of Genesis or of Science.
- As Christian believers we accept the claim that Genesis is both divine and human
- As Christian believers we accept that we cannot define (divide, separate) what in Genesis is divine and what human.
Astrotheology in practice
This criticism is an invitation from a Theologian to an eminent Cosmologist to repent!
Following the paradoxical model expressed in Chalcedonian Ecumenical Creed there is a path forward that allows professor Hartnett to continue working by all his ability and strength as a student of Cosmology and also allows him to study Bible and creation as a genuine believing Christian.
Hermeneutically correct approach would be to study the 'waters above' as a modern commentary to Genesis, splendid ideas what could be in question, without forcing such concepts into the text as the true meaning or as the divine revelation in the text. We cannot define the divine separate from the human as the bishops of Chalcedon noted in 451 AD.
Hermeneutically correct approach would be to study the 'waters above' using all the tools available for scholarly research of the Biblical text. Taking Genesis as it is in its own time, its own historical, geographical and prescientific context, as a genuinely Geocentric text with poetic beauty. Without denying its truly human and historically bound nature. We cannot define the human separate from divine as the bishops of Chalcedon noted in 451 AD.
So, being practical, how would this affect Hartnett's creationist publications?
Well, it would introduce the real Bible into his writings and teach his students around the world what this eminent scholar can learn from the World of God.
The presence of Ea in the Urwasser of Sumerian mythology might be a good starting point.
Maybe followed by the dividing of Tiamat in Babylon.