What is the Mature Universe Theory?

Question
What is the Mature Universe Theory?
Answer
The Mature Universe Theory (MUT), also called the Mature Earth View, or Mature Creation, asserts that God created Ex-Nihilo a young universe (YEC) approximately 6,000-10,000, years ago with "actual age." It observes that God created the universe with integrity in six (6) literal 24-hour Days with some age or maturity.

When properly understood, MUT explains why there "may be" things with actual age, older than 6,000-10,000 years old. God made the universe with wisdom (Prov. 8:23-27), which includes making things with maturity, not just with the appearance of age, but real actual age. When God created, he not only created the sun, moon, stars, plants, tree, animals, etc., but all the complex intersecting processes functionally complete right from the start. In other words, they were able to fulfill the purpose for which they were created in the Day they were created. God's evaluation of his own work was that his completed creation was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). God spoke and a mature universe happened (Psa. 33:6-9).

MUT is clearly the teaching of Scripture. For instance:

(1) Mankind: Adam was not created as a mere infant, but having real age. He could:

(a) Rule: Adam understood God's blessing and was old enough to rule the earth/universe,and not eat Gerber's Baby food (Gen. 1:29-30).

(b) Work: Adam was placed in the Garden to care for it, to work in it (Gen. 2:15).

(c) Reason: Adam knew the difference between the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the other trees in the Garden (Gen. 2:16-17 ).

(d) Name the Animals: Where did Adam receive his Ph.D.? He didn't, he was created mature, as seen in he fact that his I.Q. had to be exceptionally high as he named the animals (Gen. 2:19).

(e) Witness: After Adam awoke from his divine-induced sleep (Gen. 2:21), he literally saw a mature woman (Gen. 2:22), whom he later named Eve (Gen. 3:20). He did not mistakenly think that she had already actually lived for some 20, 25, or 30 year period (she wasn't among those he previously named, cf. Gen. 2:19), but he himself witnessed a mature Creation; Adam literally witnessed the creation of Eve with actual age.

(f) Get Married: Adam and Eve were old enough to be married (Gen. 2:18, 20-25).

Therefore, Adam was created by God with real age, he had the ability to work, he had a matured I.Q., he could maturely reason, and he even married. He himself was a witness to the Mature Creation of Eve.

(2) Sun: God made the sun (Gen. 1:16). The sun ruled the earth by Day, providing not only light, but just the right amount of heat to warm the earth. God didn't just slowly turn up the burner of the sun (without the heat from the sun within a week the global surface temperature would drop below 0 degrees F and within a year below -100 degrees), rather the sun was created to provide heat for the earth from the Day it was created (Gen. 1:19) and prior to the fourth Day, God heated the earth using other supernatural means.

(3) Stars: God made the stars (Gen. 1:14-19). When he made the sun, moon, and stars, he used the phase, "And it was so" (Gen. 1:15) indicating the immediate result. [1-4] As the Psalmist says, "For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm" (Psa. 33:6-9; cf. Psa. 148:5; Lam. 3:37). The nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is some 24 trillion miles from earth and it would take over four (4) years for its light to reach the earth. But its light was seen upon its very existence, upon the Day it was made. Therefore, the stars and the light emanating from them and reaching the earth were both created at the same time. This indicates a mature universe.

(4) Sea and Bird Life: God made mature sea and bird life that could be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:20-23).

(5) Land Animals: God made mature land animals that could be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:24-26). So the answer to the otherwise-unanswerable question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" is of course, "the chicken."

(6) Fruit Trees: Some fruit trees are seen as already bearing fruit. They were mature in their Creation (Gen. 2:16-17).

Some sadly dissent from MUT believing it to be a false view. They essentially state that God is being seen as deceptive in that he only gave things an "appearance of age." However, God, who can't lie (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18), is very clear; as shown above he did not create things with a mere "appearance of age," but with "actual age." So, there is no deception on God's part, if he created everything fully mature and then reveals this fact in Scripture. And even if God didn't reveal them, he still is not being deceptive, as the "secret things belong to the LORD our God ..." (Deut. 29:29).

For the universe to have immediate functionality, complete complex systems within other complete complex systems had to exist. These systems, such as photosynthesis, didn't develop over millions of years, but rather were placed within Creation being fully functional (mature) in the Day they were created. For instance, consider the oxygen cycle:

Oxygen is used in breathing, decomposition, rusting, and combustion. How is oxygen then replenished into the atmosphere to support and sustain life? Plants, trees, phytoplankton, etc. create oxygen using a process called photosynthesis. In brief terms, a tree uses sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce energy and then releases oxygen. However, God didn't wait the numerous years it would have taken for the plants and other sources to produce enough oxygen to sustain Adam's, Eve's, and all the animal's lives in the entire earth. Rather he created a mature universe.

Even the New Testament gives us brief glimpses of a Mature Creation. Most of Jesus' miracles while was upon earth were instantaneous; and none of them took 1000s or million of years to happen. When Jesus "cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out" he "who had died came out" (John 11:43-44). The creation of wine in John 2:1-10 is another example. Not only did Jesus, in his first miracle "upon" earth, as compared to Creation being his first miracle "above" the earth [Gen. 1:2], create wine, but it was the best wine (John 2:10), indicating it had a mature age. In the creation of the bread and the fish (John 6:1-13), the fish were mature enough to eat, not mere hatchlings.

Even in the man born blind from birth (John 9:1-7) we observe an instantaneous miracle. Jesus miraculously creates sight and in doing so tells a story within a story, relating it back to the original Creation. While this was a literal miracle of Jesus healing the blind, we shouldn't miss that this text brings us back in some measure to God's original Creation of a mature universe:

(1) The man was blind "from brith" (John 9:1) and God birthed the universe and "darkness was over the face of the deep" (Gen. 1:1-2).

(2) Jesus did, "the works of God" (John 9:3; cf. John 1:1-3, 10) and Creation was the Trinity's work (Gen. 1:1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29; cf. let "us" make... in "our" own image ...).

(3) Jesus said, that he needed to "work the works of him who sent me while it is day" (John 9:4) and God's first miracle was to create light (Gen. 1:5).

(4) Jesus said, that the "night is coming" (John 9:4) and after Creation came the Fall (Gen. 3).

(5) Jesus said, "no one can work" (John 9:4) and after the Fall (Gen. 3) man's covenant of works (Gen. 2:16-17; cf. Hos. 6:7) was tainted by sin; only the work of the sinless Christ alone could now save man (Gen. 3:21; Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:12-19).

(6) Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 9:5) and God said, "Let there be light," and there was light" (Gen. 1:3); God sent his Son ("light," John 1:4, 7-9) into the world.

(7) Jesus, "spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva" (John 9:6) and "a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground - then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground" (Gen. 2:6-7).

(8) Jesus said, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent)" (John 9:7) and God "sent" his Son ( (John 3:17, 34; 5:36, 38; 6:29, 38, 57; 7:29; 10:36) and re-created his elect (2 Cor. 5:17), as is evidenced in that Christ is the Lamb of God (cf. Gen. 3:21) that taketh away the sin of his people (John 1:29, 36; cf. Matt. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:19-20).

(9) The blind man became a seeing man immediately (John 9:7). The new creation in Christ is immediate (Saul [Acts 9:1-19], Lydia [Acts 16:14], the jailor [Acts 16:25-34]), not gradual. Even, the Apostle Paul, drew an analogy from God's Creative fiat, which resulted in the shining of light out of darkness (Gen. 1:3), to the gracious command, which results in the light of the glory of salvation in Christ shining into the darkness of one's own unregenerate heart (cf. John 3:1-8). He writes, "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The Father of lights (Jas. 1:17) sent his Son to be the light of the world (John 8:12), who gave salvific light to his people (John 1:9-14).

As was his methodology, John joined together Creation (John 1:1-3), the new-birth (John 1:12-13; 3:1-8), and here a literal miracle of Jesus healing a blind-man. So, John through the Holy Spirit is teaching a triple-lesson: (1) the miraculous healing of a blind-Man; (2) the miraculous Creation of a mature world; and (3) the miraculous saving of a soul. Hopefully, as Jesus "anointed the man's eyes with the mud" (John 9:6) and he saw (John 9:7), we can now see that God made a miraculous mature universe.

The evidence is overwhelming that God created a mature universe fully capable of sustaining life. To deny this fact is to deny the inspiration, inerrancy, clarity, and authority of God's Word.

Footnotes

[1] Biblical Hebrew employs a rule called the "vav ha-hipuch." The preceding "v" flips the tense from past tense to future, or vice versa. Thus, the Hebrew, yehi-chen, means "it will be so" and the Hebrew, vayhi-chen means, "it was so." Gen. 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30 use the Hebrew vayhi-chen meaning, "it was so."

[2] "Scripture pictures God's creative word as bringing immediate response. When the Bible talks about God's creative word it emphasizes the power of his word and its ability to accomplish his purpose." Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 277.

[3] Ross who actually affirms Progressive Creationism even states, "The text reports that it happened as decreed: "and it was so." The word "so" (ken, from kun) is much stronger than it may seem. It means that, like an established thing, the light and darkness found their fixed place in the order of creation." Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 109.

[4] "'And it was so' seems to be redundant. However, it relays an idea over and above the mere execution of the divine will. The phrase has a temporal aspect, meaning that this event has come to pass and it has been in existence and operation ever since. It also becomes stereotypical for the remainder of the days of creation." John D. Currid, A Study Commentary on Genesis: Genesis 1:1-25:18, vol. 1, EP Study Commentary (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, n.d.), 66.

Various Creation Positions

What is the Big Bang Theory?
What is the Day Age Theory?
What is Ex-Nihilo?
What is the Framework Hypothesis?
What is the Gap Theory?
What About Hebrews 11:3?
What is the Intelligent Design Theory?
What is Old Earth Creationism (OEC)?
What is Progressive Creationism?
What is Theistic Evolution?
What is Young Earth Creationism (YEC)?

Related Topics

What is the meaning of Day in Genesis 1?
Are there two different accounts of Creation?
What is BioLogos?
Did man eat meat before the Fall and the Flood?
A Universal or Regional Flood?
What about the evidence of Carbon-14 dating?
What About Dinosaurs?
Scientific Evidence for YEC?
How could there be evening and morning the first three days of Creation?
Extraterrestrials and the Bible?
Can a person be born an atheist?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).