Yesterday I managed to make my greenhouse not green. It took some time to clear all the algae from the panels but now it lets light inside far more effectively than it used to. Just in time too – today the entire thing has been well rinsed with rain. It did leave me knackered but looking at it now, it was worth it.
Back to the theoretical stuff. This is not coming out in order because I don’t have it ordered in my mind. That’s part of the reason for this digression. Another part is for you folk to tell me which bits I have wrong. Thanks for all the corrections so far – the bits I have wrong are most likely the reason I have never managed to fit this all together.
It’s not like a book, It’s more like a thesis. Get all the ideas and part-ideas sorted out individually then see if they can fit together. Here, then, is another bit.
We have established that the universe is a pretty damn strange place. It started out very strange indeed and has become even stranger since. Things happen that should not happen. Gravity appears linked to matter we cannot see, even though the amount of gravity involved suggests something very big indeed. Then there is that eternal and probably eternally unanswerable question of where all that stuff in the sky came from.
Religion says it was deliberately created. Science says it just happened. There is no real difference between those two statements other than to compare it to a piece of ordnance that was deliberately exploded, or the same piece of ordnance that was left to become unstable and explode spontaneously.
It’s not a perfect analogy – the bomb in question would have had to be created by someone, and science does not accept that any intelligent entity was involved in the Big Bang.
It’s not the spontaneous creation of all matter in the universe in an instant that divides science and religion. It’s simply a question of who lit the fuse.
Then there is the eternal evolution vs. perfect creation argument. Evolution is not the issue. The age of the earth is the issue. Why not go after geology or astrophysics, both of which set the age of the earth and solar system in the billions of years? Why only evolution? Evolution is just the easy target. It is a theory with holes in it and will always have holes in it unless someone happens across layers of rock strata with perfectly preserved transitional forms, one above the other. Plate tectonics, geological faults, migration of evolving species and many other factors mean that that is unlikely to ever happen – and it would not convince the creationists even if it did.
Plate tectonics is also denied by creationism for the same reason – they do not accept that enough time has passed for the continents to have moved all that much. That they are moving now is undeniable. It’s measurable. The rate of movement means they haven’t moved very far in 6000 years.
I have had this discussion with the Jehovah’s Witnesses who call sometimes. I used to give them copies of New Scientist in exchange for the magazines they gave me, but I stopped buying New Scientist a long time ago, since what it now contains is often based more on faith than the Watchtower. They claim that their version of 6000 years only applies to Earth, and the billions of years of the Universe is of no concern to them. But that is a problem.
Did God create the entire universe then just sit and stare at it for billions of years before remembering ‘Oh! I haven’t created Earth! That was the whole point of all this’. So then he creates an Earth that appears to be billions of years old and fills the ground with fossils of all the things he intended to make but has no time now. That does not make sense to me.
The 6000 years is the number of a man. There are no dates in the Bible. We can pretty accurately date Christ to roughly 2000 years ago because that’s when the Romans were in that part of the world. They kept records of everything, even the number of nails used. They do not have a record of Christ but then to them he was just another nailed-up guy among thousands.
Genesis, though, is a short summary of a very long timespan indeed. It goes from the creation of everything right through Adam’s membership of Eden being revoked, up to a world where angels have been diddling with the daughters of men and a world so full of wicked people that Noah had to build a boat to save a few from the flood.
Back then, according to Genesis, people lived for hundreds of years. Eventually God had enough of us hanging around for centuries and placed a limit of 120 years on us. Before that there were people living almost a thousand years. Now that part does make sense.
Adam had no navel. A mistake shown in many a portrait, including the ‘Pull my finger’ one on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. He was not born, he was made. Eve had no navel either. Both were made to be immortal and were in this place called Eden which was not the whole Earth, but a small part of it. Between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as I recall.
Interesting aside – Science places the origin of modern humans in north east Africa, not all that far from where the Bible puts Eden. If science had placed the origin of humanity in, say, Peru, then it would defy creationism. But it doesn’t.
Back to Adam. He was immortal while in Eden. Seasons did not change there – he didn’t need clothing so it certainly wasn’t like Scotland. He would have not counted years. As an immortal in an unchanging perfect environment, why would he? How could he, he had not yet eaten of the Tree of Knowledge so could he even write or add up? What would he write, and to whom?
So you have religion inside Eden and science outside it. Huge lizards develop and die out. Massive dragonflies and scorpions roam the land. Adam knows nothing of this. What can be happening? God has only made one man, he can let the life on the rest of the Earth develop as it chooses. It’s an interesting spectacle but of no consequence to his chosen favourites.
Adam and Eve would not have aged until they were expelled from Eden and even then, Adam lived for a few hundred years (I’ll look it up when I dig my Bibles out of the pile of books). I once read a paper by a theologian who plotted the ages of the Biblical characters. They all lived a long time at first but the ages followed an exponential decline before flatlining at an average of about 70 and maximun of 120. Exactly what you would expect if an immortal lost his immortality and his children interbred with mortals.
Let’s play Devil’s advocate. I like that game.
If Eden was real, it’s still there. I explain why you can’t find it with the ‘Hiding’ in ‘Jessica’s Trap’. Let’s assume it was real. Adam could have been in there for a million years before God ripped out a rib and made Eve. He must have made reproductive parts at some point too because Adam had little use for one when he was first made. It would have just been a thing that got snagged on brambles.
Adam and Eve could have then been in Eden for millions more years while God experimented with letting life run its own course on the rest of the planet. He would have seen the dinosaurs get too big and too troublesome and wiped therm out with a well-aimed rock. He would have seen the apes starting to develop along human lines and might not have liked that very much. Another rock? No, he had a better idea.
He sent Serpent (not Satan, his time came later) to tempt Eve into eating from the Tree of Knowledge (a sort of primordial Internet) and that gave him a reason to send his perfect humans out into the rest of the world and wipe out these damn Neanderthals that threatened to spoil his plan. The rest of the Bible makes clear that this was the plan all along, that God knew perfectly well what was coming and that can only be because God planned it that way.
Then we have war in Heaven. Why? Well, suppose God had let the angels play around on the rest of the planet while he concentrated on Eden. Now he’s sending Adam and Eve to sort out their proto-humans and the angels aren’t happy. Some rebel. One in particular tries to claim dominance over the world he used to be allowed to play in. This one causes so much trouble that God eventually says ‘Okay, I will let you have dominance for a while, then I am going to kill you and your followers’.
The angel, Lucifer (or Azazael in Enoch), agrees because angels are not really all that much brighter than humans and he thinks that in a few thousand years he will find a way to win. No chance. Any created thing can be disabled by its creator. It’s like your vaccuum cleaner thinking ‘One day he will forget to pull out the plug and then the carpet is mine’.
Adam’s age in the Bible can only refer to the years after he was booted out of Eden. Immortals do not count years. The 6000 years (based on an edited Bible too, since the early Church left out a good few books under Constantine) can only apply to the time Adam left Eden.
As for evolution, surely any God would give his life-creation the ability to adapt and change as its environment changed? Then there are the animals. Adam named all the animals in Eden but not one of those animals was booted out with him. The ones out here are not the ones that were in there. We can have no idea what animals were in there.
Well, except the snake. Who was damned to crawl on his belly and have no limbs. To which he would have responded ‘Um… I’m a snake already.’
The cat is not yet among the pigeons with this one. So far the cat has only sent the pigeons a few nasty notes. It will, no doubt, be enough to get some blood pressures rising.