The Creationism vs Evolution Controversy
Why do we still have this controversy between creationism and evolution? What is it that drives creationists to advocate their views when so much scientific evidence refutes their claims? There are nine factors that all should consider:
1) Jesus never mentions a word concerning the Genesis creation story. If Jesus didn’t find it necessary to mention it, then why should any of the Christian faith be concerned? The gospel of Jesus is not concerned with how or where we came from. It is entirely about where we should be going and how to get there.
2) In 66 AD the Jewish population, fed up with Roman rule and taxation, revolted. Rome sent in legions of soldiers resulting in the destruction of the temple, the slaughter of the priesthood and destruction of copies of the Torah. Fortunately the Romans were not thorough in their attempt to stamp out Judaism, but suppose they had been. In the absence of the Old Testament the Christian religion would continue to function. Again why then all the concern over the Genesis creation story? Jesus stated clearly who he was, what his message was and that all have sinned and are in need of salvation.
3) Young-earth creationists insist that Biblical passages be read literally word for word as absolute truth. This stance ignores the fact that although the original information may have been from God, its subsequent transmission was by humans, and humans are not infallible. If Biblical text is taken literally, then there are instances where one will be required to accept that God resorts to mass murder1 such as the Flood of Noah or the killing of Egyptians in the Exodus stories and in other passages where God appears to act irrationally and to be incompetent. God has never caused the death of anyone, and God certainly is not irrational or incompetent.
4) The misconception that if one accepts evolution, then one must abandon the creation story of Genesis and thus bring the validity of the entire Bible into question and perhaps lose one’s faith. Acceptance of evolution has no detrimental effect on one’s faith, and there are many evolutionists who are people of faith.
5) The story of creation, as described here in, is not a supernatural creation but a description of evolution as told by an ancient Hebrew lacking the ability to express the story in a manner that would be readily understood in the 21st century. It provides Christians and Jews alike with the first demonstrable example of revelation because there is no way the author could have known, or even guessed at, things that would not be known until modern times; information that could only have come from a higher intelligence. Read ‘The Creation Story’ and “The Fall of Man’ (see below).
6) Authors, submitting articles to creationist publication or doing research for creation societies, are required to sign a “Statement of Faith” (see note 1). This requirement precludes any research into the possibility that the creation story is the story of evolution. No researcher or scientist worthy of the title would allow themselves to be restricted in such a manner.
7) Several years ago a letter was sent to a number of creationist organizations asking if they had considered the possibility that evolution was what the Genesis account was describing. From the responses received it was apparent that they had never considered such a possibility.
8) During the past half century young-earth creationists have attempted to have their view of creation taught alongside the theory of evolution in our nation’s schools and have found themselves in court ten times and lost every case including before the United States Supreme Court (see note 2). After such a string of losses one think that creationists come to their senses and reexamine their means of interpretation.
9) Consider the number of scientific organizations (see note 3) representing hundreds of thousands of scientists worldwide that reject creationism, the 77 scientists who won the Nobel prize and signed a letter (see note 4) denouncing creationism or the 15,000 ministers and rabbis (see note 5) who have accepted evolution and rejected creationism.
10) What I believe to be a major reason for rejecting evolution came during lunch break at a creationist lecture. I having a pleasant discussion about evolution a group of young-earth creationists. the discussion turned to the human family tree, the group grew agitated and got up and left exclaiming did not evolve from some ape.” appears that vanity plays a major role in rejection of evolution. I did not have an opportunity to tell them that humans did not evolve from apes but apes that branched off from the humanoid line between 6 to 7 years ago. is difficult for most to comprehend such a vast stretch of time. is best illustrated by dividing 6.5 years by an assumed average age for the first birth at 18 years. results in over 360,000 generations. the mothers, or fathers, are lined up 4 feet apart, the line of your ancestors would stretch some 274 miles, the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
1) Statement of Faith (that must be signed by creationist researchers)
a) The Bible is the inspired Word of God and is historically and scientifically accurate throughout.
b) Nature reveals the Creator’s handiwork. The study of the natural world by means of the scientific method will help us understand the created order.
c) Plants, animals and man were specifically created as independent functional units by God in six normal, consecutive days.
d) The Genesis Flood was a historical, global event.
e) The genealogies recorded in Scripture limit the maximum age of the earth to less than 10,000 years.
f) Death was introduced by the fall of Adam and Eve, making salvation necessary through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
2) Court Cases that have rejected the Teaching of Creationism in Schools
Since 1968 the teaching of creationism in schools has been challenged incourt ten times, twice before the United States Supreme Court, and in all ten cases creationism lost and creationism declared a “pseudoscience”.
3) Scientific Organizations that Support Evolution and Reject Creationism
4) 77 Nobel Laureates Call for Repeal of Louisiana Science Education Act
In 2008 Zackary Kopplin, a student at Rice University, and Sir Harry Walter Krotoschiner, a Nobel prize laureate, composed a letter and eventually had it signed by 77 scientists who had been awarded the Nobel Prize. The letter is addressed to the Louisiana legislature and urges the legislature to repeal a law, The Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008, that would mandate the teaching of creationism in Louisiana schools.
5) The Clergy Letter Project
The project was organized in 2004 by Michael Zimmerman, then a biology professor and dean of the College of Science and Letters at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.He was motivated to create a petition by the actions of the school board in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, which had passed some anti-evolution policies in the summer of 2004. Zimmerman was a veteran of similar disputes in Ohio, when he was a professor at Oberlin College. After Zimmerman watched Christian fundamentalist clergy from Dover, Pennsylvania on the television program Nightline insisting that decisions about teaching evolution in schools was equivalent to a choice between heaven and hell, he recruited the husband of the head of the university Psychology Department, the Rev. John McFadden, pastor of the First
Congregational United Church of Christ in Appleton, Wisconsin, to write a letter describing how science and religion can co-exist. A letter that as of 31 December, 2018, has been signed by 16,377 Christian Ministers, Jewish Rabbis, Unitarian ministers and Buddhist Ministers, supporting the teaching of evolution and rejecting the teaching of creationism in public schools.
The Six Days of Creation
Many fundamentalists insist that Genesis be taken literally and according to their interpretation the universe, the Earth, and all life were all created in the space of six twenty-four hour days, approximately 6,000 year ago. This reckoning follows a time-line set centuries ago by Bishop James Ussher Archbishop of Ramah and Primate of all Ireland in his tome (see note 1) ‘The Annals of the World iv’ published in 1650. He declares that creation of the universe, Earth, and life began on Sunday the 23rd day of October 4004 BCE, according to the Julian calendar. The time from Adam to Noah, at the time of the flood, is 1,656 years. Add subsequent genealogies found in Genesis chapters 10 and 11 and then the time from Jesus to the present equals approximately 6,000 years. This time line conflicts with modern science that finds the age of the Earth to be 4.6 billion years and that of the universe to be 13.73 billion years.
The 24 hour day Problem
Throughout Genesis chapter one the word “day” is used and gives rise to young-earth creationist’s claim that the universe is only 6,000 years old and was created in six twenty-four hour days. In Hebrew the word for day “yum” can refer to a 24 hour day or an undefined length of time. The claim that the days of creation are 24 hours long is not supported by the Bible. Thus:
King James Bible Genesis 2:17
17 - “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (to die is ‘muth’ in Hebrew).”
King James Bible Genesis 5:3-5
3 - And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
4 – After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years, and he had sons & daughters.
5 – So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. (again the Hebrew word ‘muth’).
The Hebrew Torah and various concordances all confirm that this translation is correct. Adam ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil prior to his eviction from the Garden of Eden and had sex with his wife Eve only after exiting from the garden resulting in the birth of their son when Adam was 130 and then lived for an additional 800 years. Therefore, the elapsed time from his eating the fruit until his death was at minimum eight hundred years and nine months and perhaps more than nine hundred years; certainly not a 24 hour day.
Some contend that the death that Adam first experienced was spiritual death and eight hundred to nine hundred years later experienced physical death. This is not in accord with the Hebrew word for death (muth) found in the Torah in English, the scholarly translation by E.A. Speiser in the Anchor Bible series, nor in any of the Biblical concordances. In each instance, the word “muth” refers strictly to physical death. In addition 2nd Peter 3:8 makes it clear that God’s reckoning of time is different from that of humans. “---with the Lord one day is as a thousand years. And a thousand years as one day.”
Genesis 1:5, Day One
5 - “God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
If the light is from the sun then why doesn’t God mention that the light is the light of the sun or use the words ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’? The light cannot be the sun as the sun is not created until the fourth day according to Genesis 1:14-19. Genesis 1:16 makes this clear “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night...” which is clear evidence that the sun was created only on the fourth day.
Throughout the history of the universe there are epochs of vast time marked by the appearance of light and its subsequent disappearance. Light was indeed trapped in darkness as Genesis 1:2-4 declares and doesn’t appear in the early universe until the epoch of reionization 380,000 year after the Big Bang and then eventually fades as the universe cools and does not appear again until 300-400 million years later when the first quasars ignite. Eventually these early stars drift way from one another and darkness once again ruled the universe and thus the end of day one.
Genesis 1:7-8, Day Two
These verses seem to be describing accretion and the formation of stars and perhaps the Earth itself. Strange there is no mention of light to mark a day. Perhaps the Earth was forming in darkness prior to the ignition of the sun and thus, with the absence of light from the sun, day two ends.
Genesis 1:9-13, Day Three
It is entirely possible that life may have had a beginning prior to the ignition of the sun. Life may have formed around hot water vents deep in the early ocean of Earth before the sun finally ignited its thermonuclear reaction and light returned.
The Age of the Patriarchs Problem
Of all the arguments young-earth creationists put forth for a young age of the Earth, none is more exacting than the Patriarch’s list as found in Genesis chapter 5 verses 1-27. The list of the patriarchs found in Genesis, linked together from the birth of a son to the birth of that son’s son, gives a time-line from Adam to Noah at the time of the flood of 1,656 years. Table - 1 lists the age of each of the Pre-Flood Patriarchs and the Post-Flood Patriarchs at the time of their death and their age at the time of the birth of their successor.
Table -1 Age of the Patriarchs as Expressed in Genesis
it would seem Genesis clearly states that the universe and the Earth are less than 10,000 years old. This seems to present an obstacle impossible to overcome. Where then does the answer to this dilemma lie? Skeptics point out that the Genesis genealogy must be a fabrication because it has humans ranging in life spans of 365 years for Enoch to 969 years for Methuselah; these life spans far exceed the oldest age for any human for which there is any reliable evidence. All evidence strongly indicates that the average life expectancy has been rising and not descending as literalists contend. For example, 5,000 years ago the average life span was less than 35 years. Little more than 200 years ago the human life span was not much more than 45 years and with a high mortality rate for children − about half the children failing to reach adulthood. Only in the last century did medical science progress to the point where life expectancy began to rise to the present level of nearly 80 years. It is of interest that the Bible, Genesis 6:3, claims that the maximum age of humans will be 120 years. Not long ago the only human with a verifiable record lived just a short time past 120 years. All other record holders for old age have lived on average about 114 years.
In order for humans to attain the advanced ages described by the Patriarch’s list they would have to be immune to all disease and to have dramatically slowed the aging process; two steps that modern science has yet to achieve. Thousands of years ago living conditions were unsanitary, diseases were rampant, medical knowledge was primitive, if non-existent, there was death from starvation caused by crop failure and/or depletion of game, polluted water, warfare, accidents, and civil strife, all contributed to a short life expectancy. No skeletal remains have ever been found that indicate an age at death much beyond 100 years. If young-earth creationists insist on making the claim that humans lived to hundreds of years old in the past then they must provide physical evidence, and such evidence they have consistently failed to provide.
The Patriarch List of the Bible lists ten patriarchs and the Kings List, as recorded in Sumerian cuneiform tablets, as described by Berossus (SEE NOTE 1), priest of Bel Marduk and a historian of Babylonia who lived sometime between 356 BCE-261 BCE, lists ten kings. Some biblical commentators declare that the Sumerian King’s list Table – 2 was based on the Hebrew Patriarch’s list as found in Genesis chapter 5. Assyriologists soundly disagree and place the age of the Sumerian Kings List as predating the Patriarchs list by a few hundred years, if not in an even more remote time. If the Hebrew list was derived from the Sumerian list, then why doesn’t it agree? My speculation is the Hebrews had an oral genealogy that went back only a few thousand years, and they reduced the Sumerian to match theirs. If so, then how did they do this?
Table – 2 Patriarchs List vs. Berossus Sumerian Kings List
In E.A. Spiecer's Anchor Bible book of Genesis, there were references that lead to an obscure article written just before the turn of the 20th century and published in the 1913 edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica. The author was Professor Julius Oppert (see note 2) (1825-1905), a French Jewish Assyriologist, who was born in Germany but was naturalized as a French citizen in recognition of his services during an 1851 archaeologist expedition to Mesopotamia. In 1857 he was appointed professor of Sanskrit and comparative philology in the school of languages connected to the Bibliotheque Nationale (National Library of France). He was fluent in English, French, German, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and the language of the Sumerians. Oppert’s influence on Semitic scholarship was profound, and in 1881 he became a member of Academie des Inscriptions et des Belles-Lettres and in 1891 became president of the Academy. Professor Oppert became a renowned authority in Assyrian culture and the decipherment of Sumerian cuneiform tablets. He noted, as did E.A. Speiser, that there is a parallel between the story of creation in the Bible and the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh. On page 42 of The Anchor Bible book of Genesis E.A., Speiser states:
“It is suggestive at any rate that the biblical account of the ark (of Noah) landed
on a peak in the Ararat range, whereas the Akkadian version has it grounded on Mount Nisir, in the vicinity of modern Sulaimaniya. Armenia had various connections with the Hurrians, and the Hurrians had intimate contacts with the Hebrews. On this roundabout reasoning, the Hurrians could have served as intermediaries in the transmission of the antediluvian lists to biblical chroniclers.”
If the Biblical Patriarch List was derived from the Babylonian Kings list, then the problem becomes more complicated because the Kings list ranges in the tens of thousands of years from 10,800 to 64,800 years versus Patriarch lifetimes of less than 1,000 years in the Genesis version. Obviously no king or dynasty has ever lasted tens of thousands of years.
The Biblical story of the flood of Noah has much in common with the Sumerian version except with the account of the time that transpired from the creation of the universe to the universal flood of Noah. Professor Oppert determined that that those involved in writing the Genesis version, or those who may have edited it at a later date, reduced the time frame of the Babylonian version to match the perceived genealogical history of the Hebrew people.
Professor Oppert’s calculations (see note 3) are somewhat difficult to follow but may be reviewed in their entirety on pages 67-69 of the 1913 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia.
According to Professor Oppert the Babylonians assumed a sexagesimal unit of measure based on 60 rather than on our decimal system based on 10; however, our reckoning of time and measurement of angles are all based on Sumerian concepts. 60 seconds, 60 minutes and 360 degrees in a circle, etc.
Quoting Professor Oppert’s article:
“The Chaldeans admitted the eternity of the world without any beginning; but the existing astronomical bodies had a commencement. From the creation of these astronomical bodies to the great cataclysm, or the Deluge (Noah’s Flood), they assumed a sexagesimal unit, the number of the seconds in a day; that is, 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours = 86,400 seconds, and called it a lustra. The unit of the Babylonian school was 60 months, or 5 years, times the seconds in a day (a lustra); that is, 432,000 years (86,400 x 5 = 432,000).”
The Hebrew scribes took the 86,400 years of the Babylonians and divided it by the number of weeks in a year; that is, 86,400 / 52.1739 weeks in a year according to their reckoning and came up with 1,656 years. They then divided the 1,656 years into 72 periods of 23 years or 1,200 weeks; apparently they did this reduction so that the time frame would match their genealogical legends. Professor Oppert determined that the Patriarch list was calculated as follows:
Adam to Jared 130+105+90+70+65 = 460 x 86,400 / 1656 = 24,000 weeks
Mahalalel to Methuselah 162+65+187 = 414 x 86,400 / 1656 = 21,600 weeks
Lamech to Noah 182 + 600 = 782 x 86,400 / 1656 = 40,800 weeks
Total 1,656 years = 86,400 weeks
A simpler way to see the calculation is to take 24,000 Babylonian weeks in the first line and divide by the weeks in a year (52.1739) to arrive at 460 years. Professor Oppert goes on to state: “The corresponding Babylonian figures relating to the ten antediluvian Sumerian kings are:
The first three together = 93,600 years = 18,720 lustra
The following two together = 108,000 years = 21,600 lustra
The remaining five = 230,400 years = 46,080 lustra
Totals 432,000 years = 86,400 lustra
The Bible (Genesis) has ---------------------- 86,400 Weeks
The Chaldean texts have -----------------------86,400 Lustra
What legends the Hebrew and Chaldean authors used in apportioning the years assigned to each of the Hebrew patriarchs and the Chaldean kings appear now to be lost to history.
E.A. Speiser made a cryptic remark in one of his writings, indicating that he believed the Babylonian figure of 432,000 years came from a source farther to the east of Samaria. The origin of the Hebrew and Chaldean chronologies seems to trace back to the oldest extant religious text the Rig Veda. The figure 432,000 years is the length of the present age in Hinduism; that is, the Kali Yuga. There are four ages in Hindus (see notes 5 & 6)
Krta Yuga = 1,728,000 years
Treta Yuga = 1,296,000 years
Dvapara Yuga = 864,000 years
Kali Yuga = 432,000 years
MahaYuga = 4,320,000 years
The Hindu text appears to record time in eras just like modern science breaks the history of the Earth into eras from the Hadean to the present Pleistocene. It may be that the Kings in the Sumerian text are not kings and the patriarchs in the Biblical text are not human beings but geological ages.
In the Hindu religion Brahma is the Allah of Islam, the God of Christianity and the Yahweh of Judaism. Brahma is the creator of the universe and one Maha Yuga x 1,000 equals one day of Brahma or 4,320,000,000 years. It is interesting that this length of time nearly matches the age of the Earth as determined by modern science or perhaps indicates when the precursors of life first began to form shortly after the formation of the Earth at 4.5 to 4.6 billion years ago. Recent finds indicate that primitive life may have been present at 4,290,000,000 years ago.
A day and night for Brahma is 4,320,000,000 x 2 or 8,640,000,000 human years. A year of Brahma is 8,640,000,000 human years x 360 days in a Hindu year or 3,110,400,000,000; that is, three trillion one hundred and ten billion four hundred million years. The life time of Brahma is 100 of these years or 311.04 trillion years, a Maha Kalpa. Science estimates that the universe will reach heat death at some time after 100 trillion years. Amazing how people in a distant age could come up with figures that match modern science. According to the Hindu text at the end of this time, the universe is no more. At the end of this vast age Brahma does not die in the usual sense; rather Brahma rests and after a period of time, some say 100 million years, Brahma thinks a thought and the creative cycle begins once again as it has in the past and will in the future. Interestingly, the latest concepts of how the universe began involves the collision of ’branes’, vast entities of immense size that set off a Big Bang and the creation of matter and energy. These collisions occur periodically over vast stretches of time and appear to have been doing so for an incalculable number of times and will continue to do so for an incalculable number of times in the future and seem to agree with the Hindu version of creation. The number of times this has occurred is a number beyond our ability to calculate except to use the words “an infinite number of times”.
Skeptics have posed the question “If God made the universe, well then who made God?” Brahma, like the God of the Christians, Hebrews, and Moslems, has no beginning and no end and is eternal. Perhaps God is something beyond space and time. As sentient humans, we are aware that we have a beginning and an eventual end. We find it near impossible to imagine something that never had a beginning and will never have an end. Mountains will arise and eventually they will erode away; our sun will eventually become a red giant in about 5 billion years, and then become a dead cinder, and eventually all the stars will exhaust their fuel and become dark. In some vast age the universe itself will finally become vacant, cold, and dark. In science it is the time well beyond 100 trillion year in the epoch of heat death of the universe referred to as the ‘Big Freeze’. Interesting how the ancients came up with these immense numbers that just happen to agree with modern science.
Summary and conclusions
Professor Julius Oppert believes the Biblical account is taken from the Sumerian Kings list and that the Hebrews reduce the Kings list of 432,000 years to meet what they perceived to be their genealogy. Apparently the Sumerians obtained their age of the Earth from the oldest extant religious document. That source gives the day of God as 4,320,000,000 years, which is a time-line in close agreement with the latest findings of when life first appeared on Earth. It is interesting to note that these ancient texts were written in an age of scientific ignorance and evoke the question of how could these ancients have arrive at lengths of time that approximate modern scientific findings.
There are those that will undoubtedly object to a connection between ancient Hindu texts and the Biblical book of Genesis. Rather than object, they should realize that the connection from Hinduism to the Chaldean and then to the Hebrew is a confirmation of the validity of Genesis as a record of evolution and not a myth. Even so, there will be those who will resist accepting any association between the Bible and other religions. It is human arrogance, ignorance, and bigotry that posit that their religion is the only true religion and reject the possibility that other religions, other cultures, may contain truths. Perhaps in time, they will consider that a supreme intelligence would not favor any of its creations more than another, any more than a human mother or father would favor one child to the neglect of the rest. Each civilization received the word and recorded it in a manner compatible with their culture. If we read about other religions and look for things that are common, we may see common threads. The Rules of Reciprocity7is an example because it occurs in virtually every religion on Earth, and these rules constitute the very foundation of all religions.
3) http://prajnaquest.fr/blog/wp-content/uploads/Babylonaica-of-Berossus.pdf Pages 18-19
The Genesis Creation Story
In some quarters there is much ado about how the universe and life on earth came to be. Some accept the findings of modern science and others rely upon a literal reading of the creation story in Genesis. For those of the Christians faith a simple resolution involves asking the question “Does it matter how we came to be?” Jesus never mentions the Genesis creation story. His gospel is not concerned with where we came from but is solely concerned with where we should be going and how to get there. If Jesus didn’t find it important, then why should any of the Christian faith?” Perhaps it would be better to leave the creation story to rabbis to explain and concentrate on the gospel of Jesus that is found only in the New Testament. Unfortunately that simple answer will not satisfy many who adhere to creationism. If there is to be any hope of a resolution between the Genesis version of creation and that of modern science, then a common sense approach involves trying to match the events in the Genesis creation story to events in evolution as described by modern science. Many rabbis and biblical scholars conclude that Genesis 1 and 2 are written in symbolic language and not as a description of scientific origins. They could be correct but there are things described in Genesis that closely parallel modern science. Some say that the Bible is not a science text book. They are correct but if the story came from God then it reasonable that what is described should match the findings of modern science. The key is to understand that it is unknown how the Genesis stories originated. Moses, the presumed author of Genesis certainly was not an eye witness to the events described. Is it possible that the stories are the result of a vision given to Moses by God or is Moses committing to writing stories from an unknown source from the distant pass? If the stories result from a vision then we must make allowances for human error in their recounting. Moses would also have no way of determining the passage of time or if shown something microscopic, or as massive as a galaxy, Moses would not be able to discern the scale. There is no evidence in Genesis that God dictated the stories to Moses or assisted in any way in the writing. We must therefore make allowances.
Several years ago a number of creationist organizations were contacted and asked if
they had made any attempt to reconcile the Genesis account with that of science. The few answers received indicated that apparently no such effort has ever been undertaken. Perhaps it is time to make such an effort.
Before any analysis can begin, it will be necessary to obtain an accurate translation of Genesis. The King James Bible, that is generally cited, was authorized by King James the 6th of Scotland, and the 1st of England, and was translated and compiled between 1604 and 1611. In the ensuing years more documents have been discovered that have allowed a more accurate translation and have eliminated many errors in translation and archaic words found in the King James Bible. There are two excellent sources:
The Torah (in English) published by the Jewish Publication Society of America.
The Anchor Bible Book of Genesis, by Ephraim Avigdor Speiser, is a very scholarly translation with copious notes and commentaries composing 75 percent of the book and was originally published by Doubleday & Company, New York, 1964, Library of Congress Card Number 64-21724. It is now published by Yale University Press. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchor_Bible_Series
E.A. Speiser (1902-1965) received his Ph.D. from Dropsie University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, now known as the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. It is the world’s only institution exclusively dedicated to post-doctoral research on Jewish civilization and writings. Speiser was Chairman of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Oriental Studies and was fluent in several Semitic languages, including, of course,Hebrew. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephraim_Avigdor_Speiser
IN THE BEGINNING
King James Bible, Genesis 1:1-5
1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2) The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3) Then God said, “Let there be light”’ and there was light.
4) And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Anchor Bible: Genesis 1:2
The Anchor Bible translates the last part of sentence 2 as:
2- “--only an awesome wind sweeping over the water.”
Some creationists contend that God created the universe from nothing and science starts with something. Neither the Bible nor science is clear as to what was in existence, if anything, from before the beginning. According to modern science, at the commencement of the birth of the universe, all that would constitute the universe was confined to an incredibly small speck smaller than an atom that burst forth in what is now referred to as the “Big Bang.” Television documentaries portray the Big Bang as a blinding flash of light and a thunderous roar. This makes for a dramatic beginning scene but is completely false. At the commencement of the Big Bang all that existed were fundamental gluon and quark particles so incredibly hot that the four fundamental forces of nature − electromagnetism, gravitation, strong nuclear interaction and weak nuclear interaction were all unified in one fundamental force.
With temperatures in the trillions of degrees Fahrenheit atoms, much less anything material, could not form and thus the universe was ‘without form’. Light was trapped in the super dense plasma and darkness prevailed. The universe was also expanding at an incredible rate and to the ancient author what better way to describe it as an “awesome wind.”
As the temperature and density of the universe began to decrease, hydrogen began to form but was ionized; that is, no electrons are bound to the proton nuclei. As the universe further cooled, electrons were captured by the hydrogen ions, forming electrically neutral hydrogen atoms. This process is known as recombination. At the end of recombination the photons mean-free-path became effectively infinite, the universe became transparent and photons could now travel freely. In lay terms, light finally emerges from the darkness just as Genesis 1:4 states; only it did not happen in one 24-hour day but after 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The universe continued to cool and the initial light faded, and the universe entered what astronomers call the “Dark Age.” See exhibit 1 below.
Exhibit – 1 The Expanding Universe
King James Bible, Genesis 1:6-8
6- Then God said, “Let there be a firmament (expanse according Young’s Concordance) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7- Thus 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.
8- And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
With temperatures in the trillions of degrees Fahrenheit, water could not exist in the nascent universe. The ancient author would have no way of describing the chaotic soup of elementary particles, or the later swirling clouds of gas and dust, other than through the use of the word “water,” a swirling fluid. Eventually the great mass of hydrogen gas created at the beginning began to accrete into clumps that drew in gas and grew massive enough to ignite a thermonuclear fusion reaction that formed immense stars known as quasars. These early stars quickly consumed their fuel and went super nova spewing forth into the cosmos the heavier atoms that formed under the immense pressure and heat of these primeval giants; materials from which stars, the earth and other planets would eventually be composed. As the universe continued to expand the quasars drew farther and farther apart, and darkness once again descended upon the universe. Thus, with the coming of light and the fading of light, a second day.
The use of the words “day and evening” in the opening chapter of Genesis has formed the basis for the creationist contention that the use of the word “day” means a 24-hour period, and, thus, the universe, earth and humans coming into being over the course of six days of 24 hours each. What creationists failed to take into consideration is asking the question “What is the light that is mentioned in the text?” The sun is not mentioned until the fourth day, and if it is not the sun in Genesis 1:3-5, then what was it that produced the light. There are some possibilities.
If the light was the result of the sun obscured by a heavy cloud layer, surely the writer would have had experience with viewing the sun as a hazy light-spot in heavy cloud cover and would have referred to the light as the sun or certainly later, when it would have become clear that the light was from the sun. If the Genesis author recognized that the light was from the sun, why then would he not use the phrase “sunrise and sunset” rather than the phrase “morning and evening?” Since the author doesn’t do this, it leaves one to consider that the author is not certain of the source of the light. The coming of light and the disappearance of light are what constitute a day and a night to the Genesis author in the absence of any means of determining actual time. As we shall see, there are many times in the history of the universe that epochs are denoted by the coming of light and the coming of darkness. Genesis 1:3-5 can be considered as a means of describing vast stretches of time. See the articles The Six Days of Creation and The Age of the Patriarchs Problem (http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/Nr41SixDays.pdf) for a further discussion of time.
King James Bible: Genesis 1, 9-13
9- Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so
10- And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
The scene then changes from the early universe to the solar system where it was still dark and in the early stages of the creation of the sun and planets about 9.2 billion years after the Big Bang. Science refers to the early water as the Lapetus Ocean and the land mass as a super continent referred to as Columbia or Nuna that formed 2.1 – 1.8 billion years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth#Water_in_the_development_of_Earth
King James Bible: Genesis 1, 11-13
11- Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
12- And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the fruit tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
13- So the evening and the morning were the third day.
Biblical critics have long used Genesis verses 1:11-13 to show that the story of Genesis is but a fabrication as anyone knows that plants cannot grow in the absence of sunlight, with the exception of mushrooms and other fungus, and the text clearly states that the sun does not appear until day four. Surely the Genesis author would realize that plant life cannot exist without sunlight. How many times must the author have laid a covering over a grassy area to form the floor of a tent and weeks later removed it and noted that the grass has turned yellow and dead; and yet he places plant life before the appearance of sunlight? In addition, critics claim, according to Genesis 1:20-22, seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing plants evolved long after life appeared in the sea. Ginkgo trees are believed to be the first seed bearing plants and appeared around 276 million years ago. The time line for the first fruit bearing plants is not so certain but believed to have occurred between 120-190 million years ago and surprisingly grasses only appeared 60-55 million years ago.
Once again, it is important to emphasize that the Genesis author is describing things and events in terms that he can relate to and, moreover, that subsequent generations will accept and pass down to future generations. A century and a half ago it was assumed that the first life on earth required sunlight. Subsequent findings have determined that the early Earth did not have a protective layer of ozone high in the stratosphere to block the deadly ultraviolet rays of the sun that would have been fatal to any form of life at the surface that was not protected from direct exposure. First life forms most likely formed deep in the seas around thermal vents (smokers) or in clay strata where they were protected from the destructive light of the sun.
These early life forms only needed to utilize the absorption of gases, water, minerals, and heat to sustain life. Eventually blue green algae evolved that produced and expelled oxygen as a byproduct. Over millions of years these blue green algae released billions of tons of oxygen into the carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen atmosphere and replaced it with an oxygen / nitrogen atmosphere. Some of the oxygen formed an ozone layer high in the atmosphere and blocked most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and made life near the surface of the seas possible and eventually possible on land.
The early seas were a virtual zoo of primitive life forms and some undoubtedly were long slender blue green algae that had a greenish cast to them that the Genesis author took to be grass. Other forms were brachiated with many limbs that gave the appearance of a tree. Certainly the author would have no other way of describing such a cellular organism having no knowledge of something that is living yet invisible to the naked eye.
Many early life forms reproduced by budding. A growth would develop on one of the limbs and eventually separating giving the Genesis author the idea that the “tree” was bearing “fruit.” The nucleus inside the budded “fruit” would give rise to “fruit with the seed inside.” Plant life indeed had its beginnings long before the rise of fauna (animals). To demonstrate this, look at the following pictures of what early plant life in the sea may have looked like.
If you were shown these pictures in a dream or vision, having no knowledge of evolution, would you perhaps mistake them for plants or perhaps a tree with fruit with the seed inside? The author of Genesis would have no idea that what he saw was deep in the sea, microscopic or was from a distant age. All of this is taking place in darkness in the absence of the sun. Is this absence due to the sun not yet having ignited or is this the result of the Genesis author erroneously placing first life prior to the ignition of the sun. On day four, the sun finally ignites and so ends “day” three.
Algae conjugate (Green Algae) courtesy of Rozzy Chan
King James Bible: Genesis 1, 14-19
14- Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years;
15- “And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
16- Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.
17- God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18- And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19- So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The scene then shifts from the darkness of the deep sea to a sun lit surface and results in the order in which the Genesis author places subsequent events.The ignition of the sun would account for a “morning” to the Genesis author, but what would constitute the evening? Prior to about 600,000 years ago the earth underwent an ice age like none since. The ice didn’t cover just Europe and half of North America, as in the last ice age; this ice age covered the entire earth. Speculation as to what caused the ice age involves bacteria that was absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and replacing it with oxygen. Eventually the depletion of carbon dioxide allowed a run-away ice age. Science was puzzled for a long while as to why life didn’t disappear under such harsh conditions. Ice would have blocked sunlight and made evolution and survival of photosynthesis life highly unlikely. Recent discoveries have revealed that if ice forms slowly it is transparent and would allow some sun light to enter. In the Antarctic life is swarming under just such ice. Then about 600 million years ago the ice age came to an end, probably through volcanic activity and the spewing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Evolution now accelerated in what has become known as the Cambrian Explosion and the earth soon had complex organisms with fins, claws, and teeth. Evolution was now on a fast track.
King James Bible: Genesis 1, 20-23
20- Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let
birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
21- So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves (every kind of
crawling creature according the Anchor Bible), with which the waters abound, according
to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22- And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on earth.
23- So the evening and morning were the fifth day.
The use of the phrase ‘after their kind” is a mistranslation. The Torah and Speiser translate it as ‘every kind of “; that is, a variety of. During the Cretaceous period life in the seas proliferated and gigantic aquatic predators evolved. It is interesting that the Genesis author mentions life in the sea but does not use the word “fish” but the phrase “living creatures.” Could this be because what was there were strange creatures such as trilobites and eurypterids that did not appear like any sea creature he recognized? The word ‘crawling’ is an apt description of life in that early age as life first crawled before fish evolved that swam.
So far, the Genesis author’s description follows closely the scenario of evolution, but critics have noted that birds did not appear on earth until the late Triassic long after animals had appeared on dry land. Birds are now believed to have evolved from Coelurosaurian (a group of Theropods) dinosaurs around 155 million years ago and their ancient ancestor is most likely the Archaeopteryx.
What then was it that the author saw that caused him to mention birds? A probable answer is dragon flies. No, not your modern day insects, the largest which is hardly fist size, but dragon fly like insects such as Meganeuropis permiana of the early Permian, with wing spans nearly three feet across. Giant winged insects that the Genesis author mistakenly took for birds or deliberately called birds fearing that his contemporaries would not believe that there were flying insects that large. Log onto-
What could the author possibly be referring to when he mentions evening and morning? Morning would have been the coming of light after the end of the great ice age of 600 million years ago but what would constitute evening? About 240 million years ago nearly all life was extinguished from earth in one of the greatest of all extinction events when ninety-five percent of all life disappeared from the land and sea. Scientist speculate that it was caused by the basalt lava flows from the eruption of the Siberian traps, a massive series of super volcanic eruptions that also spewed tens of millions of tons of ash and sulfur vapor into the stratosphere causing darkness to fall upon the earth and shutting down the food chain that sustained sea life and an end to nearly all life on earth. Thus, evening came to earth. Eventually the eruptions ceased, the skies cleared and life exploded once again.
King James Bible: Genesis 1, 24-25
24- Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind (various kinds of living creatures): cattle and creeping things and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”’ and it was so.
25- And God made the beasts of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind... And God saw that it was good.
This mistranslation gives creationists the basis for their belief that all life forms were created in their present form and variations in species are due only to micro-evolution. Both the Anchor Bible and the Torah present a more professional translation that indicates what was written merely stated that God created many varieties of animals and does not preclude evolution.
Anchor Bible: Genesis 1, 25
25- God made various kinds of wild animals, cattle of every kind, and all the creeping things of the earth, whatever their kind. And God was pleased with what he saw.
Torah Genesis 1:25
25- God made wild beasts of every kind and cattle of every kind, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. And God saw that this was good.
Vertebrate animal forms moved on to land about 360 million years BCE. The first were amphibians, animals that were fish like with fins that also served as feet. Mammals did not become the dominant life form on earth until after the mass extinction of the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago. The latest findings indicate that a 6-mile-wide asteroid struck the Yucatan peninsula of modern day Mexico some 65 million years ago that resulted in massive firestorms, a thousand foot high tsunami and the formation of a smoke and dust layer high in the stratosphere that blotted out the sun and caused a shutdown of plant growth that decimated the herbivores and thus the extinction of the carnivorous dinosaurs. Others feel that the dinosaurs were already either extinct, or nearly so, because of massive volcanic activity and that the meteor strike was simply the final blow. Some small mammals survived and flourished in the absence of dinosaur predators. The evening of day five began with the asteroid impact and ends with the greatest of all events, the coming of humankind.
King James Bible: Genesis 1, 26-31
26- Then God said, “Let us make man in our (my) image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing the creeps on the earth.”
27- So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.
28- Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29- And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seeds; to you it shall be for food.
30- “Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”, and it was so.
31- Then God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Humankind’s roots trace all the way back to the first life forms that can be identified through fossil remains as far back as 3.8 billion years ago. However the first humanoids that walked upright appeared only about 6 to 7 million years ago in the Neocene.
The King James translation of verse 26 appears to say that there was more than one God when it uses the words “us” and “our”. The Anchor Bible corrects the translation to a single God of creation. Creationists claim that humankind were made essentially in their present form as supposedly verified by the final verses of chapter one. A careful reading of the verses does not necessarily support this view. The verses simply state that God made human-kind but gives no information on how this was done or what these early humans looked like; therefore the creationist contention is based on opinion, not on fact. It is only in the second chapter of Genesis that science appears to deviate from the Biblical verses.
In the first chapter of Genesis the description appears to agree with the findings of modern science. The conditions during the initial stage of creation were:
- Light trapped in darkness only to be released 380,000 years later.
- Formlessness as atom could not form in the intense heat.
- A powerful wind that could be interpreted as rapid expansion of the nascent universe.
- Accretion of gases to form the first stars, their ignition and the appearance once again of light in the universe.
- Development of life in the sea and emergence of life on to land. Genesis 1:20-23.
- Creation of land animals and the creation of the humanoids. Genesis 1:24-31
- Finally creation has reached its end. Genesis 2:1-4
For a detailed description of the history of the earth and life go to:
Genesis Chapter – 2
Some writers in the past have claimed that there is a conflict between the first chapter of Genesis and the second chapter in that they seem to present two different versions of creation. I don’t see any conflict. The first chapter describes the creation of the universe and then the biological and geological history of the earth. The second chapter focuses exclusively on the biological history of the earth with particular emphasis on humankind.
King James Bible: Genesis 2, 1-4
1-Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.
2- And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had done.
3- Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
4- This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day
that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Genesis chapter 2, verses 1-4. Verse 3 indicates that God rested from all his work of creation. This can be interpreted that the major creation events had ended. The heavenly bodies were in place, life had been created, and no further epic events would take place. It is of interest that verse four of the second chapter of the King James Bible states “-in the day that the Lord God made the earth and heavens.” The manner in which the sentence is constructed gives the impression that the word “day” may be used in its less common usage which simply means an undefined period of time. It might be translated as “During the time that the Lord God made the earth and heavens.” See the article ‘The Six Cays of Creation’ for further discussion of time.
King James Bible Chapter 2: 5-7
5 - Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth and there was no man to till the ground.
6 - But a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 - And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (from clods in the Soil according to the Anchor Bible), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being
In the early history of the Earth conditions were dry. It was not only asteroids and comets crashing into the earth that contributed to watering the earth, but it was also most likely volcanic eruptions that poured vast amounts of water vapor into the atmosphere and thus “flow up from the ground to water the whole surface of the soil.” Science posits that life began very early in the earth’s history and arose from primitive forms that may have formed in the interstices of montmorillonite clay. The King James says ‘dust’ but a better translation is ‘clods of soil’ suggesting clay. The Hebrew word used is ‘aphar’ a word that can mean dust or clay. Science and Genesis once again agree.
What era in the history of the earth the 4th through 6th verses are describing is a mystery; however, the subsequent verse hints that it was dated to the very early era when life began. In this verse the creation of life is described as originating in a clod of earth that closely reflects modern sciences position that life may have arisen between the narrow spaces between layers of Montmorillonite clay probably deep under water around thermal vents. Montmorillonite clay has a negative charge that serves to hold delicate strands of RNA in place so that it can link with others to form the basis of the first life on earth. At first this life is referred to as “man” and later it will be called “Adam” which Speiser believes is a play on the word “Adama” or earthling, something derived from the earth but not necessarily complexed life. “--blew into his nostrils the breath of life.” appears to be the Genesis author’s way of saying that the early cellular matter became alive.
If allowance is made for the limited ability of someone from a distant age, devoid of a modern understanding of nature, then the Genesis account of creation essentially agrees with modern science. All that the objections by creationists have accomplished is nothing but a needless confrontation and a failure to recognize and accept an interpretation that validates the biblical story of creation.
Chapters 1 & 2 of Genesis were meant to describe the history of the earth and early life as a lead in to the Bible. It was not intended as a ‘science book’ and leaves out many events but does in many places agree with science. Again it must be emphasized that this may have been the result of a vision, or dream, from God but revealed by a human with a very limited knowledge of nature. With so many events described that match modern science and in the proper chronological order of occurrence it gives reason to believe that Genesis is describing evolution. The faithful can abandon creationism and accept evolution as the means that the creator used to bring about the earth and life upon it. Science, and evolution, is based on research done by scientists and documented in papers submitted for publication in scientific journals. Papers that are first go through a peer review before acceptance. In all of the papers that form the basis of science none make the claim that there is no God or need for a God in the development and evolution of life. Evolution only describes processes and is incapable of determining whether there was a God involved in the process. Any contention to the contrary is based solely on statements not backed up by evidence. True there are those in and outside of science that have taken it upon themselves to claim that evolution eliminates the need for a God; however they offer no evidence only their opinion. It is worth repeating that Jesus never mentions the creation stories of Genesis 1 & 2 as his gospel is solely about where we should be going and not where we came from.
THE FALL OF MAN
The Problems Generated by a Literal Reading of Genesis Chapter 3
The Genesis story of Adam and Eve, if taken literally, has God leaving his new creations in the presence of a devious serpent and with access to deadly fruit. Adam and Eve being naïve they listened to the serpent’s advice and partook of the forbidden fruit. Accordingly, we present day humans are to suffer for their disobedience. The foregoing are questions frequently raised by critics that creationists and main stream churches seemingly have no rational answers for:
1- Nowhere in the text is there any indication that God taught Adam & Eve what is good and what is evil. Failure to do so left these naïve creatures vulnerable to overtures of the serpent.
2- Why did God fail to inform them that the serpent could not be trusted?
3- Why are we to suffer death and punishment for an act committed long before we existed? Adam and Eve disobeyed God and it is they alone that should be punished, not those who were not involved.
4- Why was the fruit allowed in the Garden of Eden? If God cared for his creation why was there easy access to the forbidden fruit that by partaking of it would result in death?
5- Why was it necessary to punish Adam and Eve when God could have prevented them from disobeying Him but failed to do so?
6- Once God discovered that Adam & Eve had tasted the forbidden fruit God did nothing to stop sin from spreading to future generations by separating or sterilizing Adam and Eve.
Consider the third question as it is the one most often raised by skeptics. The most common answer given by theologians “We are the children of Adam and Eve and through them we inherited sin.” They are wrong as there is nothing in Genesis that indicates a transfer of sin to future generations. The text of chapter three explicitly involves only Adam and Eve. It is however inferred that there was transference of sin to future generations when Cain killed Abel. The question that should be asked is
- By what mechanism was this transmission of sin possible?”
- What would have happened to Adam & Eve if they had not eaten the forbidden fruit? Presumably they would have lived indefinitely. Death was punishment for eating of the forbidden fruit and it would be unlikely God would punish Adam and Eve with death if they had obeyed him. Interesting that the first life on earth was the Prokaryote that didn’t die but continually divided by meiosis1 into identical cells and thus was essentially immortal. It was also non-sentient, and thus incapable of sin. At some point far back in time a genetic mutation took place that changed one of these benign, non-sentient life forms into a Eukaryote life form that employed sexual reproduction. See exhibit 1. It was only with the arrival of sex and the Eukaryote life, a form that divided by mitosis1 and result in non-identical cells, that death enters and senescence developed leading eventually to the ability to sin.
- If a genetic mutation was involved, then the story begins to make sense because a genetic
mutation can be passed on to future generations. If this hypothesis is correct, then the logical place to conduct a search would be in the DNA of the human cell. To Moses, the presumed author of Genesis, the X shaped chromosomes in the human cell, when aligned, probably appeared to him to be a rib cage. Strange that God would select one of Adam’s ribs to form Eve. Why didn’t God simply form her from clods of soil in the manner that Adam was created? A plausible answer appears in Exhibit 2 detailing the chromosomes of the male and the female that shows the female with 23 paired chromosomes. The male also has 23 chromosomes but not all are paired. One part of the male 23rd chromosome is deformed and gives the impression that there is a missing rib. If, as the Genesis story alludes, Eve was formed when one of Adam’s ribs was removed then Adam must have originally had a complete set of chromosomes. An asexual with all chromosomes intact would be a logical source and once a rib was removed Adam came into being. The asexual was technically female and thus Eve was first, not Adam, something that the patriarchal society of the Genesis author’s time would have never accepted. This missing rib heralded a major change in the development of life on earth. This mutation produced unique life forms that would eventually lead to sentient life. Sentient life that could control their own actions and thus introduced the potential for good or evil. Is this what the author is trying to describe with his limited understanding of nature? Could it be that the serpent is RNA inserting a fragment of genetic material, the forbidden fruit, into a cell’s DNA and thus causing a mutation that gave rise to a life form that was capable of what the author would call ‘sin’?
- According to Genesis 3:24 God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden and “He placed a cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword that turned every which way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” A search of the internet reveals Microtubule Spindle Fibers are in the human cell at the time of cell division, they do wave back and forth, look like flaming swords and prevent the dividing chromosomes from returning to their former condition; just as Adam and Eve are barred from returning to Eden. See Exhibits 3 & 4.
- In the King James Bible Genesis 2:7 states that Adam was formed from ‘the dust of the ground’. E.A. Speiser in his translation of Genesis1 states ‘God Yahweh formed man from clods in the soil’. A clod of soil is another way of describing soil that sticks together suggesting clay and it was in the interstices of Montmorillonite clay that science believes first life arose. Such clay has the property of acting as a jig keeping molecules together so that they can form more stable compounds that otherwise would disintegrate.
If the foregoing is correct then rational answers to the questions posed at the beginning emerge.
1- In order for God to teach Adam and Eve right from wrong then early life must have ears to hear and a mind to comprehend; obviously early life forms had neither.
2-5 - If Adam and Eve were the first Eukaryote cells then the development of sex and the beginning of senescence was a natural act that had to happen if life were to evolve to its present form. This step in evolution had nothing to do with disobedience or punishment.
- In the tract ‘The Patriarch’s List’2 the six days of creation are not 24 hour days but immense epochs of time. Adam supposedly was to die the day he ate of the fruit and yet he lived on a minimum of eight hundred years and possibly in excess of nine hundred years. If the story of the Patriarchs of Genesis is traced back to its origin, in the oldest extant religious document, their combined life spans is not 1,656 years but 4,320,000,000 years; right in line with modern science.
If the foregoing is coupled with the findings of ‘The Creation Story’3, where there are things mentioned that could not have been known until well into the 20th century, then it is almost certain that what Genesis is describing is evolution. The odds that Moses would by mere chance describe these things, and have all the events in the proper chronological order of occurrence, are unlikely in the extreme. If these findings are correct then theologians, creationists and skeptics have failed to recognize an interpretation that is solidly in line with modern evolutionary science and offers a validation of the Bible.
Why does the Genesis Creation Story seem to read like a myth?
Fundamentalists insist that the text of Genesis is the direct word of God and must be taken literally. This concept is where the problem starts. There is no indication that God dictated the story to Moses, the presumed author. Most likely Moses received a vision from God and then, lacking the necessary words and understanding, wrote down in his limited capacity what he had seen. If what Moses is trying to describe is evolution then his description must be accepted by the people of his time or else the story will not be passed down to future generations. If many people in the 21st century have difficulty accepting evolution then how much more so would it have been in Moses time in an age of gross ignorance of the workings of nature? Accordingly it was written in a manner that would be acceptable to people of his time.
1) Genesis, the Anchor Bible Series by E.A. Speiser, Double Day & Co. 1964
2) A separate tract (The Patriarch’s List) demonstrating that the ‘days’ of creation are vast ages.
3) A separate tract (The Creation Story) detailing the many points in Genesis 1 that match modern science
Exhibit 1 Artist Christiana Kouzman's Illustration of Meiosis versus Mitosis
Exhibit - 2 Is the missing 23rd chromosome Adam's Missing Rib?
Courtesy Nancy Koster
Exhibit 3 Artist Christiana Kouzman's illustration of Spindle Fiber Bundles that look like flaming swords swaying back and forth rearranging the chromosomes Adam and Eve) so they cannot return to their former condition. Is this the Flaming Sword of Genesis 3:24?”
The Flood of Noah
Was there a World-wide Flood?
According to a literal reading of Genesis there supposedly was a world-wide flood. The first clue that the literal reading is misleading is found in Genesis 6:7 where God supposedly is destroying all life on earth and that would include little children and infants. How does one reconcile this with Jesus who never caused the death of anyone? Why would the author attribute the cause of the flood to God? In the era that the flood took place it was commonly assumed that if there was a natural disaster it was God, or the Gods, punishing humanity for some transgression. The Bible however provides clues that there was a massive terrifying local flood but not a world-wide flood and thus God did not cause the death of anyone. This is demonstrable as there are three experiments anyone can conduct that will demonstrate that this is so; experiments that could have been conducted at any time during the last three thousand years.
Evidence from Genesis that there was no world-wide flood.
In Genesis 8:11 the dove that Noah sent out returned with a fresh olive leaf. If the olive tree had been completely submerged under water, as Genesis 7:20 states, and for five months as Genesis 7:11 and 8:4 claim, the tree would be dead and leafless. Any arborist, or olive orchard operator, can testify to that fact. Recently Allen Snelling of Answers in Genesis mentioned my experiment and stated ‘Olive trees in the time of Noah were hardier and could have survived submergence in water.’ His claim is not backed up by any evidence. The following experiments demonstrate the flood was not world-wide. According to creationist interpretations the olive tree would have been submerged in darkness under hundreds or thousands of feet of water preventing photosynthesis and in salt water that is deadly to plants thus hastening the plants death.
Experiment One – The Olive Tree
Purchase a small five foot olive tree from a local nursery, place it in a burlap sack with two bricks on the bottom for weight, secure the top of the sack around the truck of the olive tree and attached a cord to facilitate lowering and raising the tree. Completely submerge the tree in a swimming pool, or suitable body of water, and leave there for not five months but three. The first month nothing will appear to be happening. The second month leaves will began to appear on the bottom of the pool. At the end of the third month the tree will be leafless. Raise the tree from the pool and plant it in potting soil and care for it. After a month a gentle flexing of the outer branches will cause them to snap off. At the end of another month the trunk will snap off. The tree is not only leafless but dead. The dove therefore could only have returned with a leaf from an olive tree that had never been underwater and thus there was no world-wide flood and God did not cause the death of anyone. See slides 1 & 2.
Experiment Two – What would the herbivores eat once they left the Ark?
Obtain a small aquarium, or other suitable deep container, a plastic planter pan and several square feet of grass sod. Place grass sod in both the aquarium and the planter tray and cover the aquarium with window screen to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Water both for a month to insure that the grass is growing and healthy. At the end of the month add water to the aquarium and completely submerge the grass under six or more inches of water. In one month’s time syphon off the water in the aquarium. The best way is to take plastic or rubber tubing and hold in a U shape and fill with water. Pinch the ends of the tubing and place one end under water in the aquarium and the other lower down to a drain or receptacle. What is left of the grass sod is yellow stinking inedible goo. See slides 3 & 4.
Experiment Three – Noah’s Vineyard
After the flood Noah is said to have planted a vineyard. If so the vines would have been planted in soil that was saturated with salty sea water and would have quickly died. Obtain a second plastic planter tray, clean the existing one and obtain a bag of potting soil and a variety of seeds. Barley, oats, rye and wheat seed can be obtained from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (see note 1). Fill each tray with potting soil. Label one Water and water the soil well with plain water. In the other mix up a salt water solution by filling a one gallon milk jug half full with tap water and adding salt water from the ocean making a half and half solution If ocean water is not readily available then make up a solution of salt water by adding 2 1/3 ounces of common table salt to a gallon of water and use this solution. If you do not have a scale then measure out a little more than 4 1/2 level tablespoons of common table salt per gallon of water. If you use sea salt or rock salt grind it to a powder first. This produces a salt solution equal to half that of ocean water (see note 2) assuming that creationist will claim the flood water was fresh water. Water the soil with the salt water solution and label this tray Salt Water.
Some creationists will insist that the ocean was less salty in ancient times or that the flood water did not combine with salty sea water. They have yet to offer evidence supporting their claim or to explain why there are 71 trillion tons of salt 1,200 feet under southeast Michigan and still larger deposits in the Midwest (see note 3). Next create four furrows in each tray. Plant a variety of seeds in every row and lightly cover with soil and place in a location where the trays will receive sunlight. Water both lightly if the soil begins to dry out. In about seven to ten days green growth will emerge from the tray with plain water. Nothing will emerge from the salt water tray. Grape vines are especially sensitive to salt water and Noah would not be able to grow grapes as stated in Genesis 9:20, or any grain crops, with soil saturated with salt providing proof that there was no world-wide flood. See slide 5. If the flood waters were thousands of feet deep, as creationists seem to suggest, then as the water drained away and evaporated in low lying areas it would produce a very high salt concentration that would poison any plant growth for many years.
There is a potential fourth experiment involving placing meat outdoors exposed to the air. Anyone should know that in short order any flesh under the sea would be consumed by scavengers and flesh on land by maggots and nothing would be left for the carnivore other than bones.
Other facts to considerCreationists claim that the flood of Noah created the Grand Canyon by carving out many cubic miles of earth and rock. What then do they expect the swirling waters of the flood would have done to the top soil around the globe. Much of it would be washed out to sea along with seeds, nutrients, worms and bacteria that plants depend upon. In other regions plants and seed would be buried under vast layers of sediment.
According to the Genesis chronology creation began around 4004 BCE and there were 1,656 years from the time of Noah until the flood of Noah. The flood would have thus occurred around 2350 BCE. Interesting that there is evidence that there were a number of civilization at the time that did not experience a flood.
The people of Stonehenge were building their monument from 2400-2200 BCE.
Harappa, an early city of the Indus Valley was occupied from 3200-1200 BCE
Unas of the Egyptian 5th dynasty 2381-2345 and then Teti of the 6th dynasty 2345-2313 BCE.
How would fish survive the flood?
One might think that the fish in the world’s seas, rivers and lakes would easily survive a worldwide flood. Not so! There are three categories of fish:
Fish born in fresh water but live their adult lives in salty seas.
Fish spawned in the salty sea but live their adult lives in fresh water.
The above are collectively referred to as Euryhaline fish as they are able to adjust to a wide range of water salinity.
Are fish that can live only within a narrow range of water salinity and the great majority of fish are of this type. They include fish that can survive only in fresh water and will often be unable to survive if the salinity levels of their surrounding water varies more than .05 percent, according to the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII).
Fish that can survive only in fresh water include:
Centrarchidae – Sunfish, bluegills
Characidae – Piranhas
Cyprinidae – Carp, Minnows, Goldfish, Koi
Dipnoi – Lungfish
Percidae – Perch, Walleye
Fish that can survive only in fresh water include (continued):
Polypteridae – Ropefish, Reedfish, Dichirs
Siluroids – Catfish
Fish that can survive only in salt water include:
Scombrinae – Bonito, Maceral & Tuna
Thunnus - Albacore
If the flood was worldwide then the above species would have gone extinct due to the mixing of fresh and salt water. Yet these species are alive today testifying that the flood was not worldwide.
Was there a local flood?
According to Genesis 7:11 and 8:14 the flood lasted 12 months and 10 days. That is an unusually long time for a river flood but it does match the flood
caused when the Mediterranean Sea broke through the debris blocking the mouth of the Bosporus flooding the Black Sea creating a massive water fall some two miles in width and three to four hundred feet high pouring in ten cubit miles of water a day. It caused the shore of the Black Sea to advance on average at the rate of a thousand feet a day as described in the book ‘Noah’s Flood’ (see note 4). Such a flood would have been terrifying to those in the area causing them to flee. If Noah had drifted far out into the Black Sea he would eventually have lost sight of land and by his reckoning the whole world must be underwater. In the ancient world natural disasters were typically considered brought on by God as punishment for some human misdeed and would lead Noah to believe the world had been destroyed by God. This view probably was reinforced by Noah finding no other people when he landed; they having fled inland to escape the flood.
Translation once again causes problems. The King James Bible says that the mountains were covered by water (Genesis 7:20). But the Hebrew word ‘har’ (see notes 5 & 6)may also mean a low hill. The King James also infers that the flood was over the entire earth (Genesis 7:17-21) whereas ‘eretz’ can also mean country size or a very large expanse of land but not the entire earth (see notes 5 & 7).
Some creationists claim that the water burst forth as a fountain from fissures in the ground. True a fountain can be viewed as spouting water upward but it can also be a fountain with water pouring down from a basin or like a waterfall. Genesis 7:11 “—on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up—“. The word ‘deep’ refers to an underground source in only Ezekiel 31:4 and 31:15. In eleven other places, and specifically in Genesis, it refers to the ocean (see note 8). “Broken up” is a good description of sea water breaking through the debris blocking the Bosporus. Jesus mentions Noah only once to illustrate an event that is unexpected and occurs suddenly (see note 9). The flooding of the Black Sea fits that description. Professor Alan Dirkin of McMasters University in his auricle, ‘New Historical and Geological Constraints on the Date of Noah’s Flood’, addressing the flood of Noah comes to the same conclusion as I did that the ark was almost certainly constructed of reeds. He also offers a solution to the problem of ‘three decks’ mentioned in Genesis. Perhaps this refers to the horizontal beams on the side of the Mudhif. I wonder if what is described is the number of stories high the Mudhif is. He also points out a problem with the Black Sea flood scenario in that the Black Sea did not drain away as the Genesis account states. An answer to that problem it may be that the current in either a river flood or the flooding of the Black Sea would have sent a water craft far from the shore and Noah would see in all directions nothing but water resulting in his contention that the whole world was flooded. However, as he drifted toward shore he would see land masses protruding out of the water and that would give the illusion that the water was draining away.
Was there a Noah’s Ark?
Look at the painting (slide 6) and the replica of the ark at the Ark Encounter Park in Kentucky as shown the website www.arkencounter.com. Notice anything wrong with both images? Neither is coated in pitch as Genesis 6:14 requires. Genesis states that Noah’s ark was constructed of gopherwood (see note 10) but Hebrew scholars and Christian theologians can’t agree on what type of wood it is. Some believe it is some species of pine others cypress, cedar or oak. Whether carvel or lap strake/clinker cladding (see slide 7) is used in construction of the hull the hull would be water tight and a coating of pitch would not be necessary.
Whether the hull cladding is carvel or lap strake this presents a problem as the joints must be water tight. Think of a wood wine barrel where the staves have to be planed with precision to match adjacent boards in order to form a water tight fit. It is very doubtful that this could be accomplished with the primitive tools available to Noah. Noah would also have to fell trees with a stone or copper axe and then split the logs with wooden wedges to form planks. This results in a badly warped board.
A major problem is the quantity of planks that would have to be produced for a wood ship 450 feet long by 75 feet wide and a height of 45 feet. If the planks are 12 inches wide then the total length of the planks, if linked end to end, would stretch some 33 ½ miles at minimum. Answers in Genesis claims that there were 3,100,000 board feet of lumber required to build the replica in Williamstown, Kentucky. That would require the equivalent of 587 miles of 12 inch planks; a board foot being a plank 12” wide x 1” thick x 12” long. Noah would have cutting tools made only of copper and possibly bronze as the Iron Age is 900-1,000 years in his future. He would spend half his time sharping tools that would quickly dull.
Another problem is how to fabricate the keel framing, the timbers along the bottom of the ship that act like a backbone. There are no 500 foot trees and so the keel would have to be laminated with multiple beams fastened together with wood dowels or possibly bronze or copper rods. The latter is problematic as both copper and bronze at the time were in short supply and expensive. Neither would have sufficed to hold the keel together and in mildly rough seas the keel would most likely shatter sinking the ark. The S.S. Wyoming (see note 11) was a wooden ship slightly shorter than the Ark and in mildly rough weather the yawing, pitching and rolling of the ship cause its seams to open. As a result it leaked so bad that a steam pump had to be installed to keep it from sinking. Obviously Noah would not have access to a steam pump and would have a very difficult time bailing out water from the bilge.
What was the Ark constructed of?
If Hebrew theologians can’t determine what type of wood was used in the construction of the ark (see note 10) then perhaps they should consider gopherwood to be a Hebrew phonetic rendering of a foreign word such as the Sumerian word ‘guffa’or ‘kuphar’ (see note 12) meaning a reed coracle that was coated with pitch just as Genesis requires. See slide 8. In Genesis the Hebrew word for ark is “Tevah’. This same word appears in Exodus 2:3 to describe the birds nest constructed of bulrushes that held the infant Moses. A bird’s nest is an apt description of a coracle.
A coracle would be too small to accommodate eight people and a variety of animals so perhaps it was mentioned only to indicate the material the ark was constructed of. The Sumerian story of Enu Elish, from which much of the Noah story may be derived, clearly states “Wall, wall. Tear down this wall of reeds and build an ark”(see note 13). What Noah most likely constructed was a ‘Kelak’ (see note 12), a reed raft. Such a raft could easily be constructed by eight people using only local materials found near the edge of the Black Sea. The Danube delta has vast reed beds and flakes of obsidian, a volcanic glass, are found in central Turkey and were at the time a prized trade item and would provide a sharp tool to cut the reeds. Hemp and flax grow in the area and their fibers would provide cordage. Noah most likely also had a ‘Tarada’ (see note 12), a reed canoe or a Guffa coracle (see note 12) for fishing. Most likely the ark would have been constructed of bundles of reeds stacked together to form a raft and may have looked somewhat similar to the reed Mudhifs of the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq. See slides 9 & 10. The Mudhifs in Iraq rest on pilings or mounds of soil as the depth of the water in the marsh area is too shallow for a raft.
To construct the reed raft ark Noah would harvest reeds, lay them on the shore to dry in the sun and then may have driven two rows of stakes, a cubit apart (18 inches), into the ground and laid cords on the ground and filled the space between the stakes with reeds. See slide 11.These piles of reeds would be tied together to form reed logs. These logs would be lain in rows with subsequent logs place and tied atop at a ninety degree angle See slide 12. A multilayered raft 5-6 feet thick would be unsinkable and would flex in rough weather where as a rigid ship would be in danger of breaking in half. Noah could erect a reed house for his family and pens for the animals. See slide 13.
In Noah’s days there were lions, hyenas and jackals in the area and to safeguard his animals he may have driven poles several hundred feet out in deep water and poles on land. In the evening he could board his animals and pull his raft far out into deep water. In the morning he would reverse the process. See slide 13.
Did Animals Arrive from all over the World?
Creationists have not provided a reasonable explanation of how animals from all over the world somehow manage to navigate the Arctic, cross oceans. deserts and mountain ranges and find Noah’s ark. Many animals cannot tolerate cold weather and thus could not traverse through the Arctic. Herbivores would find no food traversing the ice sheets. Some creationists believe animals may have floated across the ocean on rafts of vegetation. Such rafts might take up to a year or more to reach a shore in Africa. What would the animals eat in the interim? Creationists have no rational explanation of how pandas found the special bamboo along the way that they require or koalas the eucalyptus leaves they require. The idea that the pandas and koalas switch to alternate food has never been observed. Creationists have yet to explain how Noah managed to collect and store the tons of ants and termites that anteaters would require.
Strange that Noah’s says nothing about any exotic animals that he has never seen such as kangaroos, platypuses and gorillas. Could it be that he didn’t find it necessary to describe the animals as they were his livestock? In addition to the some 5,500 vertebrate animals species (see note 14), See Slide 15, Slide 14 lists the amount of food and water that would be needed by 462 animals for 375 days. The requirements amount to more than one million gallons of water and over five million pounds of feed. Now multiply these amounts by just the 5,500 species of mammals times an average of 2 of each, and Noah would require the feeding and watering of 11,000 animals requiring nearly 24 times as much food and water; specifically 25 million gallons of water and in excess of 60,000 tons of food. Answers in Genesis claims that there were 16,000 animals and birds aboard. That would require more than 34 times as much food and water. Answers in Genesis supposedly solves the feeding and care problem by assuming that all the animals were very young. According to zoo keepers young animals require far more attention than adult animals. Noah obviously would have to provide far more feed than he could produce as a subsistence farmer and conceive of a means of storing the massive amount of required water and preserve perishable food stock. Noah would require a far larger ship and the assistance of many farmers.
Noah would have to travel all over the world and collected 390,000 species (see slide15) of trees and plants and in addition around a million insect species (see note 14) in lands unknown in his age. Then there is the matter of the man-hours required to feed and water the animals and plants. Any major zoo can provide information on the number of animals they have and the number of people that are directly involved in their care. The International Zoo Year Book lists nearly 100 zoos world-wide, the animals housed and the employees required to care for the animals. Simple math will show that the man-hours each of the eight humans aboard the ark would have to work to feed, water and care for the animals, trees, plants and insects far outstrips the hours in a day by a very large factor. Compare the above with what Answers in Genesis claims (see note 16).
Deadly Gas Generation
Answers in Genesi (see note 16) estimates that the animals aboard would generate some 12 tons of manure and urine waste a day but there would be no danger of asphyxiation as the methane generated would be vented out the windows nearly 5 stories up. What they fail to understand is there is more than lighter than air methane gas generated; there is carbon dioxide and deadly hydrogen sulfide gases. Many a utility worker has descended into a sewer manhole or manure pit without an oxygen mask and suffocated after one or two breaths. 12 tons of manure and urine would make the bilge a very dangerous place. Removing 24,000 pounds of manure and urine at the rate of 40 pounds every 10 minutes would require 100 man-hours or virtually the entire crew working non-stop for 12 1/2 hours. Where then would they have time to feed and water the animals and tend to their own needs? As for the problem of animal waste on a raft urine would leak through the reeds to the water below and animal manure would be swept off the side. Answers in Genesis and creationists need to revise their thinking.
- Moses, the presumed author of Genesis, was not an eye witness to the flood of Noah, an event that happened at minimum a thousand years before his time. Moses was committed to writing a story that had been orally passed down for centuries from an age of gross ignorance of nature.
- If one insists on interpreting the scriptures literally then they must accept thebelief that God has engaged in genocide and the death of children and must reconcile that with the non-violent nature of Jesus.
- It should be obvious that there was no world-wide flood and the story is based on a terrifying local flood, a family that rode out the flood with their farm animals on a craft constructed of reeds and a tale that over the centuries has acquired a religious spin. The Answers in Genesis interpretation of Genesis results in an utter ridiculous story not supported by any evidence.
3) Detroit Salt Mine, http://scribol.com/anthropology-and-history/urban- exploration/the-giant-
4) Noah’s Flood by William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Touchstone ISBN 0-684-81052-2
8) Young’s Analytical Concordance, page 240, Deep, 9.
9) Mathew 24:37; Luke 17:26-27
13) Tablet XI, Column 1 of Epic of Gilgamesh by John Gardner & John Maier. Vantage Press, Random
Slide 1 - Olive tree on day one. Olive Tree 15 June, 2015]
Slide 2 - Olive tree three months later. Dead and leafless. 15 September, 2015
Slide 3 – Grass sod on day one
Slide 4 - Grass one month later. A stinking mass of goo.
Slide 5 On the left Barley, Oats, Rye & Wheat 10 days after planting.
On the right seeds in soil saturated with salt no growth appears.
Slide 6 The traditional depiction of Noah’s Ark.
Note the absence of a coating of pit
Slide 7 Various styles of ships cladding
Slide 8 A guffa (Kuphar) coracle fashioned of reeds and coated with pitch.
Just as Genesis 6:14 specifies.
Slide 9 Mudhif of the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq. Mudhif is on pilings as the water is
only 4 feet deep and too shallow for a raft.
Slide 10 Interior of a Marsh Arab Mudhif.
Slide 11 Layering of reed logs to for a reed raft
Slide 12 A Jig for forming reed logs.
Slide 13 Representation of what Ark may actually have looked like.
Slide 15 Estimated number of Animal, Insect and Plant Species on Earth
In the past I have been asked ‘Do you believe in God?” My standard answer is “I don’t know. What do you mean by God?” This is followed by an astonishing “Surely you must be joking!” I respond with “How can I answer your question when all that you have given me is a single word without any details?” Down through the ages atheists have insisted there is no God and theists have proclaimed that God does indeed exist. Neither atheist nor theist has ever provided evidence that would conclusively support their claims. All that can be accomplished is to provide speculation on what God may be based on what limited information there is in various religions.
Dubious Definitions of God
Rather than commence with speculation of what God may be perhaps it would be more productive to examine what God most likely is not.
Genesis 6:7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
If this verse is taken literally then God is engaged in genocide and that includes the killing of little children and infants during the world-wide flood of Noah. How does one reconcile this with Jesus who never caused the death of anyone and laid down his own life for humankind? If taken literally then God sets a poor example for his creations and violates his own commandment prohibiting murder.
In the 11th chapter of Exodus God supposedly kills the first born of the Egyptian people in order to compel Pharaoh to let the Hebrew slaves go free. Pharaoh is the only one with the authority to free the Hebrew slaves, not the citizen of Egypt, and yet they must suffer for Pharaoh’s stubbornness. This is not a credible description of an all intelligent and loving God.
To some God is a bearded figure in human form often addressed as a male. This depiction arose in ancient times and is clearly an attempt to portray God in a form people of the time could relate to.
Speculations on what God may be if God is not in this universe
For me an insight came many years ago when I was a newly registered representative of a stock brokerage firm in Beverly Hills, California. As a new hire I was assigned the task of contacting dormant account holders to see if business could be re-established. One of my contacts was an old lady living in an apartment just off the main boulevard. She invited me in and as we commenced to talk she asked me if I would like some tea. The curtains were closed and it being a sunny day my eyes took time to adjust to the dim light. She spoke in a soft voice and as my eyes adjusted to the low light I notice she had a tattoo. I was shocked as at that time no woman wore a tattoo as it was considered low class. As my sight improved I saw that the tattoo was a series of numbers. She noted that I was observing her tattoo and explained that she had been captured by the Nazis early in 1945 and was recruited as a slave laborer rather than being sent directly to the gas chambers. The Russian army over ran the area a few months later and thus she avoided death. I have never forgotten what she said next. Her voice turned bitter and acid as she exclaimed -
“I don’t believe in God any more. Where the hell was God when six million of his chosen people were being butchered by the Nazis?”
I have never forgotten that remark and have asked a number of theologians for an answer. Most had no answer except one pastor who claimed that it was “Because they, the Jews, had rejected Jesus Christ therefore God would not help them.” I dismissed this reason as idiotic. What human would refuse to save another simply because that person didn’t accept that human’s belief system. That pastor ignored the fact that the Nazis also sent to the gas chambers some two million gentiles, many of whom were of the Christian faith, and during the course of the war tens of millions were killed and yet God did not intervene. There is no evidence that God has ever intervened and prevented a war, pogrom or holocaust.
There are two possibilities. God doesn’t exist or God is unable to directly intervene. The latter is possible if God is not in space and time but, for lack of a better description, is outside of this universe or God is within the universe but in a form that precludes direct intervention.
Is God outside of the Univ
We of this universe are finite; that is we have a beginning and an end. We are born grow old and eventually die. Everything in this universe follows this pattern. Mountains arise and over vast stretches of time erode away. Even the universe has an end after trillions of years when it finally reaches heat death. God however is said to be ageless having no beginning or end. We humans of this finite universe cannot comprehend how something can exist and yet have no beginning or end. If God is outside of the universe perhaps God is of a radically different nature and cannot enter this universe. When I was young it was fun to dip a loop in soupy water and form bubbles. Years later I saw someone dip a very large loop into a large pan of a liquid plastic substance and form a very large bubble. That person could create the bubble but any attempt to enter the bubble would destroy it. Perhaps that is the nature of God.
Is God in Another dimension
In physics there are particles that seem to appear out of nothing and disappear into nothing suggesting that maybe there is another dimension, another reality or a parallel universe. Could this imply that God is in another dimension?
God Defined as the Laws of Nature
In the Rig Veda in the hymn of ‘The One as Creator’. It states :“Then was not non-existent nor existent”. At first reading this sentence seems to be nonsensical. Commonsense requires that something either exists or it doesn’t as there is no middle ground. What is it that can be non-existent and existent at the same time? The key to understanding this statement is to ask “What is existence.” In physics there is a long list of attributes that define existence. If something has volume, mass, electrical charge, or any attribute on this list of physical properties then it has existence. But this verse clearly indicates that whatever the One is it has none of these attributes. The Christian New Testament gospel of John begins with the words: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
What is it that exists but doesn’t exist in the physical sense? Could the Word be an ancient way of describing an equation of physics, a law of nature? The laws of nature have no physical existence and yet they do exist and were present at the beginning and are everywhere in the universe and control the functioning of the universe. If this concept of God is correct then God would indeed be responsible for the creation of the universe, earth and life but not be capable of intervention in human affairs.
In the Beginning
At the beginning of the universe there was one force that separated into four; electromagnetic interaction, the weak nuclear interaction, the strong nuclear interaction and gravity. Could it be that what we refer to as God is these fundamental forces? Imagine you have a piece of wood in front of you. What is that wood made of? Molecules and the molecules are made up of atoms and the atoms of neutrons and protons and they of gluons and quarks. According to String Theory these fundamental particle are composed of loops of vibrating strings of energy. Could it be that God is at this fundamental level or is this just a manifestation of God?
God is outside of the Universe
Of all the objections to evolution randomness seems to be of major concern to creationists. Surely all that we see must be by design and not through some random process. Creationists claim that the chance of life evolving by mere chance is one chance in a number greater than all the atoms in the universe; that is, impossible odds. Consider a lottery where the chance of winning is one chance in one centillion. A centillion is a 1 with 303 zeros behind it. A rational person would say it would be senseless to invest in such a lottery as there is no chance of winning. Look in the mirror. There is your winner, you. The odds quoted are a very rough calculation of the chance of you being born by tracing back your ancestry just 6,000 years or approximately 300 generations. You being here was not predestined but the result of a long series of random events the most recent being your mother and father meeting, having sex at a time your mother happened to be fertile and a particular sperm cell out of a 100 million or more reaching and penetrating one of the 400 eggs your mother was born with. That same event had to happen for 300 generations each of which involved randomness. The slightest deviation and someone else would be here in your place. Randomness is the mechanism employed in nature. Consider all the 11 million life forms that are here today, the billions of bacterial and viruses and those that have come and gone in ages past. Why so many? Randomness is the mechanism that supplies an answer.
Those that promote Intelligent Design propose that there must be an Intelligent Designer (ID) who precisely set certain physical functions that allowed our universe to form. Even a slight deviation and our universe would not allow the creation of life. They seem to have a valid point but then contend that God does not resort to the randomness of evolution. Could it be that God did set these parameters and employs randomness? Several years ago I was watching a television game show and one of the tasks a contestant was given was to release a ball that rolled down a tilted board covered with pegs with a number of slots at the bottom. The object was to get the ball into a particular slot at the bottom of the board. As the ball was released it would bounce around from left to right back and forth as it hit various pegs just like a ball in a pin ball machine. During the program no one released a ball that reached the winning slot. I thought about how one would increase the chances of getting a ball into that slot. Simple, increase the number of balls released. The more balls released the greater the chance that one or more of them would drop in the winning spot. I thought about this and wonder if this isn’t how a God outside of the universe would increase the chances of at least one planet would be of the right size and in the “Goldilocks” zone and be suitable for the development of life.
Look up in the sky some clear night from a light pollution free area and note the number of stars that are visible. Astronomers say that with good eye sight you may be looking at 1,500 or so stars. These are the stars that are visible with only the naked eye. The actual number of stars in our galaxy is believed to be between 100 and 200 billion and there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Some estimates claim there are 10 sextillion stars or 10 x 1021; that is, 10 with 21 zeros behind it. Why so many? If the earth is only little more than 6,000 years old, as young earth creationists claim, then why would we see so many? Could it be that God is outside of the universe and this is the only way to insure that there will be at least one planet in an ideal condition for the development of life?
The Missing Details
Genesis claims that God created the universe, the earth and life on earth. That is the same as a contractor stating “I created that building.” That statement simply states that the contractor built the building but does not offer any information on how that building was created. Obviously the contractor didn’t wave a magic wand and it all magically appeared. The contractor excavated trenches, built forms, installed rebar and anchor bolts and poured concrete just to form the foundation and then went on to frame the building, install plumbing, electrical and a host of other tasks. Genesis does the same by simply making a general statement but leaving out the details. Evolution supplies the details of how God accomplished the task. Evolution describes a series of steps that resulted in the present day earth. It does not mention who or what caused the creation as that is a subject evolution cannot answer leaving it up to theologians and the individual to provide an answer.
Will We Ever Know?
Imagine for the moment that you meet a person blind from birth. That person has no concept of what vision is except that it is something that allows those that are not blind to detect things from a distance. Now imagine how you would go about explaining to that blind person the different colors of the spectrum. You might say that blue is the feeling of cool, white the feeling of very cold. Red represents warm and yellow hot. Do these definitions adequately describe the various colors? Certainly not. In order to comprehend the various colors that person would require normal eye sight. Perhaps we are like the blind person in that we do not have the faculties necessary to clearly see or comprehend God.
Will we ever answer the question of whether there is or is not a God and if there is a God what is God? There is no way of presently answering that question or whether we will ever have an answer. People of faith believe there is a God but have no concrete evidence to support that belief. On the other hand there is no concrete evidence that God does not exist. Maintain your faith and remove yourself from the creationism versus evolution controversy as it accomplishes nothing. If you are person of faith then accept that evolution may well be the means that God had to employ to bring about creation and get on with your life.