Categories
World History

Snake in the Grass

snake (close up of head)

O Adam, Where Art Thou?

Busted!

The Beginning of Dragons?

Kings, and Giants, and Gods. Oh, my!

Snake in the Grass

Enter the Villain.

It’s a serpent. That does not mean a snake. A snake is a serpent, but not all serpents are snakes.

A serpent has the lithe mobility of a snake. An eel can be called a serpent: a water serpent. It is usually described as serpentine.

We will see later that this serpent has legs. It is a wild animal, not livestock.

The serpent was the wiliest wild animal God had created.

It wound its way through the garden’s grove of amazingly beautiful trees that were bearing various delicious fruits. It looped between them until he saw his targets: Adam and Eve.

The serpent moved alongside.

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”

The question drips with feigned innocence.

O Adam, Where Art Thou?

Adam says nothing, and that is his first mistake.

In fact, Moses, writing in his signature extreme minimalistic style, doesn’t even mention Adam until Adam takes action much later in the story!

Eve speaks and the more she talks, the deeper she gets into trouble. But the first thing strange to us is that speaking to the serpent seems normal to her!

Eve says, “We may eat the fruit of the trees except for the tree in the middle of the garden. He says if we touch that tree we will die.”

Oh, Eve! It’s plain that the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has been dominating your thoughts. There is another tree in the middle of the garden: the Tree of Life. But Eve doesn’t mention that. She also adds a prohibition of not touching the forbidden tree. It’s not smart to add to God’s words.

Still, Adam says nothing.

The serpent zeros in on Eve, the weaker prey. “You shall not certainly die. (emphasis mine)” The serpent follows Eve’s lead and inserts doubt by adding to God’s instructions.

Adam remains silent.

“God knows that when you eat the fruit of that tree, you will be like God (by) knowing good and evil.” The serpent appeals directly to pride in the guise of wisdom.

Now we are at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Have we been strolling there while Eve and the serpent were talking? Or has Eve already been there admiring the tree?

Eve ticks off the virtue of the tree’s fruit. Good for food. Check. Pleasing to look at. Check. Desirable for gaining wisdom. Check.

She reaches for the fruit and—Adam says nothing. He does nothing.

Feeling very brave, she picks the fruit. She notes triumphantly that she hasn’t “died” from touching it (whatever dying means). Therefore, there is no harm in eating it. (Terrible logic!)

She eats it. Adam sees all of this and does nothing.

Eve is still living. She gives some fruit to Adam, and he eats it. (This is the first time Moses mentions Adam: “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Moses doesn’t even deign to name Adam!)

Then BAM! Their brains are barraged with all kinds of new thoughts. They have the knowledge of evil. They know how to cheat, how to steal, how to murder, how to wreck their relationship of perfect partnership. They feel shame and guilt and hate.

Their brains were not created to endure this knowledge. The pain! The stress! They want to die. No, not that! Dying sounds like something really awful.

If you logically accept what Genesis says, you have just learned the source of all mental illness. And you see that mental illness can never be cured, only contained and alleviated.

Is mental illness sin? No, Moses doesn’t say that. Mental illness is the result of Adam and Eve’s sin.

Busted!

God walked in the garden in the cool of the day. No humans came running to meet Him. “Where are you?” (As if He didn’t know!)

Adam: I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.

God: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the forbidden tree?

Adam: The woman you put here with me gave me some fruit, and I ate it.

Here is the original blame shifter! It’s God’s fault because he made the woman. It’s her fault for giving the fruit to Adam. Okay, he admits, he did eat it. But he doesn’t admit which tree grew the fruit.

God to Eve: What is this you’ve done?

Eve learns fast. “It’s the serpent’s fault! He deceived me! (This translates to “It’s not my fault. I didn’t know any better!)

God doesn’t give the serpent a chance to answer the charges. God is now the judge handing out justice.

God to Serpent: You are cursed above all animals, wild and livestock. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust for the rest of your life. Your offspring and the woman’s will be at war forever. (This refers to Jesus.) You will damage Him, but He will crush you!

God to Woman: Your childbirth pains will be extremely severe. Your desire will be for your husband (there is no agreement on what this means) and he will rule over you.

The equal partnership is destroyed.

Since that time, any relationship will have times of honest disagreement, and someone will have to make the decision. This is not a demotion to housemaid. But it is a demotion from co-president to vice president.

Interestingly, each person will be confronted with his or her weakness.

To Adam, who was never deceived by the serpent: Step up! Take responsibility!

For the woman: If a tie vote is broken in the direction you don’t like, step back and get with the program!

It is important to recognize that this hierarchy is specifically within marriage. It does not relate to professional relationships, for instance. And it in no way negates the brains or skills of women.

Women, if you don’t choose to be Vice-President, do the man a favor and don’t marry him. Marry someone else you do trust, or stay single.

God judges Adam: The command to subdue the earth stands, but it will no longer be a joyous walk in the garden. Thorns and thistles will thwart you (whatever they are). Gardening now becomes hard work. You will sweat to grow your food. In the end, “you will return to the dust from which you came.”

And then God threw them out of the garden and placed an angel with a sword to prevent them from returning and eating from the Tree of Life.

Now, that sounds petty. But, actually it was love. If they ate from the Tree of Life now, they would live forever in the miserable, stressful, guilt- and shame-ridden lives we all find ourselves in. That’s hell, not heaven.

But never fear. God has a plan.

The Beginning of Dragons?

Although this whole incidence of loss of innocence is ignored in cultural legends, the “serpent” is part of worldwide consciousness. Sometimes it is legless and wingless. Sometimes it has multiple heads and/or horns. It may have legs but no wings. It may have a beard. Some do have wings. Some breathe fire. And in Mesoamerica, it has feathers but not wings.

These are all forms of what we refer to as a dragon. In all cultures, serpents/dragons are supernaturally powerful and clever.

But there is a difference of opinion about character. In China, dragons are benevolent and wise. In European civilizations, they are destructive and evil.

Interestingly, ancient Mesopotamia, the earliest literate culture, describes both benevolent and destructive dragons! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon

May I share my personal hypothesis? Mesopotamia is closest to the truth as told by Genesis because the serpent presented itself as benevolent and wise, but it was really destructive and crafty. Its intent was evil.

Some cultures emphasize the dragon/serpent as it was created, but some describe it after its punishment.

Kings, and Giants, and Gods. Oh, my!

And now, we continue to the time when these beings existed. Guess what? They were all humans!

Read it for yourself: Genesis chapter 3

Photo credit: Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Categories
World History

The First Humans

God and Adam touch - from Sistine Chapel

The Biblical Adam and Eve

Going to Work

Humans in God’s Image

We Agree!

How Humans Differ from Apes

What Was Life like in the Garden of Eden?

The First Humans

We have examined the evolutionary explanation of the first human. Now it’s time to look to Genesis.

The Biblical Adam and Eve

Adam was made from dust. God breathed into his nostrils “the breath of life.”

God said, “It’s not good for man to live alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

He brought all of the birds and wild animals to Adam to see what he would call them. Adam named them. (Try that. I bet you can’t do it!) But Adam did not find a suitable helper.

So, God performed the first surgery. It was orthopedic! He took a rib from Adam’s side and used it to create the woman.

Adam said, “She shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.”

It has been noted that Eve was not taken from Adam’s head so she would be the boss. She was not taken from Adam’s feet so he could trample on her. She was taken from his side to partner with him in the work God gave them to do.

Going to Work

What was that work? “…rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” They were to be king and queen of planet Earth!

God also commanded, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

“Be fruitful and multiply” is the only command that humans have always enthusiastically obeyed!

The earth refers to the geological earth: the ground. It does not refer to subduing anything living. Humans were to rule non-human creatures, not subdue them. Also, humans were not commanded to rule over each other.

To subdue the earth means to bring it under control for the good of themselves and the creatures they kindly rule.

The diet of every living thing was to be all of the green plants. The diet of humans was also vegetarian: every seed-bearing plant and every tree with fruit containing seed(s).

I know. This brings up questions such as, “Then why did predators have teeth.” Or, “Didn’t this mess up the gastrointestinal systems of predators?”

Hey, I didn’t say Biblical theories don’t raise questions. And we may never know the answers. Moses writes on a need to know basis and this is something we apparently don’t need to know.

Humans in God’s Image

How could they accomplish all of this? Because man and woman were created in God’s image. At the very least, that means that people are in a different category from animals.

Therefore, there are three biological kingdoms: plants, animals, and humans.

We Agree!

All historians I have heard of agree on some things. In the earliest preliterate days, humans were smarter than apes. We just don’t agree by how much.

Let’s look at apes!

Apes have instincts. All animals do. This built-in action helps the apes survive.

You have instincts too. If your hand gets too close to fire, it jerks back. You don’t think about it at all.

Apes are intelligent. They solve problems using tools. An ape might use a rock to crush nut shells. A branch lying on the ground could be used to reach fruit. This is using nature as it is found.

Apes are even smarter than that. If there is no branch lying around, an ape can break one off of a tree. The ape might make it shorter. Maybe the twigs need to be removed. This is changing nature to make a tool.

They also remember this invention the next time the need arises.

However, that’s as far as apes go.

How Humans Differ From Apes

Apes are usually presented as being very close to humans, something like a second cousin. Are they?

  1. The National Library of Medicine says that there is a 4% difference between ape and human DNA. In fact, there are “35 single nucleotide differences” and “approxiamately 90 Mb of insertions and deletions” in the DNA. Read it here:. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16339373/#:~:text=Humans%20and%20chimpanzees%20shared%20a,Mb%20of%20insertions%20and%20deletions. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound close at all to me.
  2. Humans focus on the future. We are always thinking what we will do tomorrow. In fact, since “tomorrow” is not yet in existence within our world, it is actually the first part of eternity. Because we live in the future, always thinking about tomorrow, we invent tools to help us do our work easier, faster, or better next time.
  3. Humans also create the arts. Create means “to make out of nothing.” We can’t quite do that, but what humans can do is the next best thing. We can create out of our imagination. We don’t only modify and improve existing objects. We actually can create new objects, tools, toys, machines, shelters, clothing, weapons, and works of art.

This is different from problem solving.

You see, painting can’t feed you (unless you sell it). A drum can’t help you sleep. Quite the opposite! There is no reason for the arts…except they are fun!

Yet, humans in all times and places have produced art.

  • Humans have free will. We aren’t bound by instincts and survival problem solving. We can choose to act against instinct and survival. And we do—frequently.

What Was Life like in the Garden of Eden?

Dream Time is remembered in the human collective consciousness. Amazing!

There is a universal longing to return to that time. You see it at every zoo. You see it 24 hours a day on Animal Planet channel. People long to rule animals with love and be loved in return. Just think of all of the pets in the United States alone!

The Bible says those days will return. Prophecy is poetic language, which you may recognize in the description below. This scene is not an actual scene, but a description of the Peaceful Kingdom, as it has been called.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child shall lead them.

“The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

“The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.” Isaiah chapter 11, verses 6-8.

Don’t you long for a world like that? I do!

Read it for yourself: Genesis 1:27-31 and 2:18-25

Photo credit: Vieriu Adrian

Categories
World History

The Genesis Account of Intelligent Design

weather women before weather map

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?

Genesis: the Geological Time Table and the RATE Findings

The Original Earth

Does Genesis Verify Pangea?

Weather Alert!

The Genesis Account of Intelligent Design

We have already discovered that Genesis is the most authoritative account of ancient history. That does not mean we cannot question it or compare it to other sources. Just remember that we have proven Genesis to be the most authoritative history book.

Remember that Moses writes in the ancient Hebrew verbs indicating that his report is nonfiction. Also, recall that he writes in a minimalistic style. His goal is not to tell everything he knows, but to direct the reader to the most important history.

I will use the New International Version unless I tell you differently.

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?

Be an excellent journalist and ask the six questions.

Moses begins with, “In the beginning God….” In the beginning of what? Of everything: time, space, matter…. Nothing existed except the Judeo-Christian God. I will use “God” for the Judeo-Christian deity.

Who? God

What? He created everything including humans.

When? Let’s get back to this. It deserves a section of its own.

Where? God is everywhere at once.

How? He spoke and various things appeared—except for humans. He made the man of dirt (“the dust of the earth”) and later made the woman from the man’s rib.

Why? Unlike many cultural stories who say humans were made to serve the gods, Moses says God created humans for company. He loved the puny little things and wanted them to choose to love him back. How weird is that?

Genesis: the Geological Time Table and the RATE Findings

Let’s return to “when.”

Moses says all of creation was completed in six days. On the seventh day, God rested. (Not that God was tired: he was setting an example for humans.)

Now, some people try to have their cake and eat it, too. They don’t want to seem unscientific, so they try to jam the Genesis account into traditional geological time.

They say, “Well, a day is a period of time like…an eon…or a geological era.”

Sorry, folks, the creation story is written with narrative verbs. The seven days are literal. (Although an eon of rest sounds inviting sometimes!)

How long ago was Creation Week?

The traditional Jewish date of the beginning of Creation Week is October 7, 3761 B.C. However, there is a 165 year period under debate. The traditional date used the genealogies in Genesis and added the years from then to when the date was calculated.

The traditional Christian date for Creation Week is 4004 B.C. Archbishop Ussher calculated this and added dates to the King James Bible when it was first published in 1611.

Ussher used all of the genealogies of the Christian Bible, which brought calculations to known dates in world history. He added the gap dates between the end of the New Testament to his own time.

Since then, other biblical scholars have checked his work, using all genealogies, known historical dates, and scientific findings.

Ussher was found to be almost correct. The actual date of creation was 4 or 6 years earlier.

In case you are wondering, the recalculation of geologic time, using all of the RATE findings, makes Ussher’s date scientifically defendable.

And, by the way, there is an enticing nuclear decay spike during Creation Week! What was its cause and effect? We don’t know yet.

The Original Earth

Genesis gives a unique, specific description of the creation of planet Earth that is as bizarre to our minds as good science fiction.

  1. Genesis 1:2 (chapter 1, verse 2) says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
    1. All kinds of ideas clash in my mind!
      1. The earth was formless. Okay. (Struggle.) Got that.
      2. The earth was empty. That’s easy to understand.
      3. Darkness…well, yeah. Light hadn’t been created yet.
      4. The surface of the deep. What’s the deep? Deep what? Deep sea? That doesn’t seem likely since water gets its own note next. Deep as in the core of the earth? Maybe. How did an ancient Egyptian prince know this stuff?
      5. The waters. Okay. There were the waters and the deep. Got it. Sort of.
  2. After God created light, and then night and day (yes, a day began after sunset because the Earth was in darkness until light was made) Genesis 1:7 says, “God made the expanse and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above it….God called the expanse ‘sky.’”

Does Genesis Verify Pangea?

Weather Alert!

  • Genesis 2:5b-6: “…for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth…but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.” So…rain is an abnormal event!

Irrigation was the primary infrastructure interest in ancient Egypt and therefore of great interest to Moses.

Okay, my head hurts. I can’t take anymore.

I bet you could use a break, too.

Read it for yourself: Genesis 1:1-2:6

Photo credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/gorodenkoff?mediatype=photography

Categories
World History

Evolution or Intelligent Design? Which is Correct? Part 5

balanced scales

What Does Genesis Say?

Genesis and the Geological Ages Model

RATE Findings about the Age of the Earth

What Do You Think?

Should Genesis be Taught in Public School?

Evolution or Intelligent Design? Which is Correct? Part 5

What Does Genesis Say (about the beginning of life, and especially humans)?

  1. God existed alone until creation.
  2. He created all things as an expression of art.
  3. He created all things except humans by speaking them into existence.
  4. He created living things by “kinds.” We don’t know how that fits into our nomenclature.
  5. He created humans for a relationship, not servanthood as many cultural legends say.
  6. He created humans with a personal touch: man from dirt, woman from man’s rib.
  7. He completed the initial creation in 6 days. That’s 6 days of 24 hours each.

Genesis and the Geological Ages Model

The Geological Ages Theory states that the earth was laid down in various strata over time, with the oldest layer at the bottom. A model was constructed to illustrate this.

In general, everyone agrees with the theory and the model. It has been observed in nature.

But questions remain:

  1. Absolute proof of a geological layer’s age is only obtained when objects it contains are inscribed with a date, name, or event that can be verified independently.

How accurate is the model on deeper strata?

  • The model is an amalgamation of findings. It actually does not exist. In reality, strata are missing, flipped, and sometimes shuffled. Darwin noted this but did not pursue it.
  • Modern humans are theorized to have evolved 300,000 years ago. How does this mesh with the following facts?

Fact: Only 6000 remains of Homo sapiens have been found.

Fact: The oldest Homo sapien with the DNA of both the ancient paternal line and the ancient maternal line is dated only 5000 years ago.

  • Since we now know that DNA changes are neutral, but usually degenerative, how does that change thinking about other humanoid species?

RATE Findings about the Age of the Earth

In 1997, seven scientists questioned the accuracy of radioisotope dating. They called themselves RATE for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth.

The seven RATE scientists all held earned doctorates. They included 2 geologists, 1 geophysicist, 3 physicists, and 1 meteorologist. Their research took 8 years.

Here are their findings:

  1. Carbon-14 was found in small but measurable amounts in both coal and diamonds. There should be no Carbon-14 present since its half-life is 5,730 years. (RATE published the first literature on diamonds.)
  2. High concentrations of helium were found in zircon crystals that are radiodated at 1.5 billion years. At that age, all helium atoms should have escaped long ago.
  3. There is large-scale nuclear decay, as shown by the abundance of radiohalos (tiny spherical defects) in granite dated during the year-long event popularly known as Noah’s Flood, as dated by Genesis. Accelerated decay occurs several times during recent history, including during the Genesis Creation Week. These are significant, but not nearly as drastic as during the Flood. Is this what is throwing off older dating?
  4. Different radioisotope dating is sometimes found within the same sample. (The study included a large number of samples from around the world.)

Altogether, RATE’s research calls basic assumptions of radioisotope dating into question.

What Do You Think?

I know these blogs have been a lot to digest.

Think it over.

Remember the Rule is that the simplest answer is usually the right one.

Decide for yourself.

What is the origin and descent of Man?

Should Genesis be Taught in Public School?

It used to be taught, you know. Then it was thrown out because of the separation of church and state.

But that was never the original intent of the constitution. The separation was in political governance, not education.

Genesis is at least a strong alternative theory to evolution. And what if it’s fact?

Genesis is not the oldest factual historical document, but it is the oldest history book. It is certainly the oldest history book not written to aggrandize the author.

Besides, if we ban every book and scientific advance that references religion, we are left only with Enlightenment documents. And we can’t even use Enlightenment research based on books that reverence religion. Can we even use the research of religious persons who do not refer to their religion in print?

So why pick on Genesis?

Suggested readings:

Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 through chapter 2 verse 3

Behe, Michael. Darwin Devolves.

DeYoung, Don. Thousands…not Billions (a RATE report)

Photo Credit: lSerg through Unsplash

Categories
World History

Evolution or Intelligent Design: Which Is Correct? Part 4

Evolution vs Intelligent design part 4 (scroll manuscript)

Intelligent Design Has Answers

Who Done It?

Written Proofs

Who Wrote Genesis?

Moses’s Claim

But was Moses Writing History or Recording Cultural Legends?

The Final Choice: Evolution or Genesis

Evolution or Intelligent Design: Which Is Correct? Part 4

We come at last to our discussion of Intelligent Design. Will it fare better than evolution?

Intelligent Design Has Answers

If you admit that the amazing variety of species with complex and purposeful characteristics must point to a creator, most of these theoretical problems disappear.

  1. The origin of all life is from a consciousness, that is, a mind.
  2. Man did not ascend from apes. There are varieties within species, but no evolution between species. Humans have always been humans.
  3. Complex features were created purposefully for each plant or animal.
  4. Without the concept of evolution, why wouldn’t simpler life forms continue to exist?
  5. Since humans have not ascended from animals, Intelligent Design is in harmony with other sciences.
  6. A detailed description of man is not needed. He is little different today from at first.

Who Done It?

That’s all very well, but who is the creator? How and when did he create, and why?

Are we NPCs in a computer game or some Matrix-like situation? Dr. Behe explains that

these are radical positions from mathematical algorithms and other procedures. There is no proof.

These hypotheses fail the Rule: The simplest answer is usually true.

Also, logic says that a supernatural world (from our point of view) cannot be measured, described, or hypothesized by those within the “natural” world. In other words, if there is a “supernatural” world, someone from that world would have to tell us about it.

 One or more god from a pantheon as the creator is supported by cultural legends. We have already discussed those.

Written Proofs

We haven’t looked at these. Written proofs are valued because we know when the thoughts were expressed and that these reports have not changed over time. Four religions have written texts about the creation of man.

  • First century B.C.Tripitaka Buddhism: a variety of writers
  • 610 A.D.Koran Islam: received by Muhammed
  • 1500-1200 B.C.Vedras Hinduism: a variety of writers
  • Debated Genesis Christianity: Moses, Joshua, or scribes

Do you remember this? Rule: The reporter who lived closest in time to the event is

Probably the most accurate.

That rules out the Tripitaka and the Koran. It also rules out Genesis if it was written by scribes during the fifth or sixth century B.C. I cannot find which Vedra contains the creation story, and therefore when it was written.

Who Wrote Genesis?

The contestants are (drum roll, please!)…

  • Moses probably wrote it sometime after 1531 B.C.
  • Joshua wrote it while leading the people, sometime after the Moses’s death: 1451
  • Jewish priestly scribes in the fifth or sixth century B.C.

Moses’s Claim

  • The Holy Bible is a library with books arranged by genre. The 39 books of the Old Testament is believed by Jews and Christians to be authoritative. Many other books were written during the Old Testament period and the Intertestamental Period that are not authoritative, including the books of the scribes.
  • Within the Holy Bible, there are many references to the Books of Moses or the Books of the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
  • This authority has never been questioned by Jews or Christians.
  • While written in ancient Hebrew, there are many touches of a top-level Egyptian education. Moses was adopted by “Pharaoh’s daughter” and would have had the premier education available. Here are some examples:
    • Knowledge of the geography, military strength/tactics, and products of the whole civilized world.
    • The repeated use of the number ten, as in the ten plagues and the Ten Commandments. Egypt was the only civilization that used Base Ten like we do. All other civilizations, including the homeland of the Hebrews, used Base Sixty.
    • It is written in an ultra-minimalist style unique to Moses, which is similar to the writing a military report. Just the facts, Ma’am!

Was Moses Writing History or Recording Cultural Legends?

Dr. Stephen Boyd, a specialist in Ancient Hebrew, determined that there is a clear delineation between narrative literature (fact) and poetic literature.

This determination is made by analyzing the verb form overwhelmingly used in the passage.

The creation story including the creation of man was written as historical fact.

The Final Choice: Evolution or Genesis?

You can’t choose both. We’ll see why next time.

Suggested readings:

DeYoung, Don. Thousands…not Billions (a RATE report) This book contains Dr. Boyd’s study.

Photo credit: eranyadeni at unsplash