Skip to comments.Vanity: Genesis As Science, Chapter 1
Posted on 03/18/2012 6:38:49 PM PDT by EnglishCon
A few people asked me to write this, after a couple of comments I made on another thread. The first few chapters of Genesis are, with minimal mental gymnastics, a clear and accurate statement of science, as we understand it today.
I am not talking from any particular creed here. Though a Catholic, (and without any authority!), I am from a background of a devout Protestant and much less devout Jewish culture who is, like many people, simply looking for answers. My training was as a Biochemist, at a time when we were first starting to map the genome. So, feel free to take this with a grain of salt, or a bargeload. This is not doctrine. Not meant to persuade or compell people to my views. Heck, I am still working out my views! My faith is solid. So is, to me, the evidence.
It is simply to analyse Genesis under the same scientific method that nuclear physics is examined. I will, for clarity, be using the King James Bible, available on-line at http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/KjvGene.html, as it is the version most people both know and accept. I will be simplifying some concepts - not losing the core concept, but trying to make them accessible. And please forgive me for any formatting screw-ups, I am more used to writing and passing things on to editors!
1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3: And 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. 5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Verse 3 is the core of the story here. "Let there be light." According to current cosmological theories, roughly 13.7 billion years ago, there was nothing at all. Without form and void in truth - there was no space, no time, nothing. Then that nothngness exploded. Why? We haven't got a clue. While we know it happened since the universe's background microwave radiation hum confirms that, We don't know why. We can never know why. Yet we know that the dark, formless universe exploded for no reason, creating it, and by extension us. We are told why, the word was spoken, and the universe in all it's glory was created.
6: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7: And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8: And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Stars don't come from nothing. Nor do planets. We can see the slow, steady aggregation of gases into stars. We have pictures, again testifying to the glory of God. Stars form from clouds of hydrogen gas. The heavier elements get spun out and away from the protostar. Eventually, the star's gravitational field gets strong enough to light the star. It is another flare of light, with the sudden solar wind forcing the light gases well out and starting random aggregations of heavier elements spinning and collecting. Getting bigger while orbiting the star. Outer planets catch a lot of the gas blasted away when the star ignites. Inner planets are looking at the heavier stuff that doesn't shift much under light pressure.
9: And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto 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 the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13: And the evening and the morning were the third day.
This is a twofer. A spinning ball of molten rock eventually cools down, though it keeps on spinning. There is water there. It can't escape, gravity is too strong. Something that hydrogen can do, water can not. It simply stays in the air as vapor, until the surface temperature cools to a level where it can condense and land. Then, of course, it finds the lowest level it can. You know the phrase "Water finds it's own level."
Our original atmosphere was totally unbreathable. That is in the rock record, not a guess. A mix of Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Methane, a teeny bit of sulfur, with a tiny bit of Hydrogen and a mass of water vapor thrown in. Genesis mentions the seas for a reason. All life comes from the sea. The first life to creep out of the sea and onto the shore was plants.
14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16: And 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: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon 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: And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
OK, for this one I have to hit more rogue science than accepted science. I apologise for that. Roughly 3 billion years ago, after photosynthesis started, we got hit, hard. A huge blast of molten rock headed into orbit from the Pacific Basin like a homesick meteor and aggregated around our satellite. It is slightly rogue, but we know that lunar rock and Earth rock are identical. We have been there and checked. The rocks are identical.
20: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his 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 fowl multiply in the earth. 23: And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Every last living organism comes from the sea. Our blood chemistry proves it conclusively. Whether iron based or copper/magnesium based, if I take 10cc of blood from you, I can guarantee that the salt proportion is identical to the sea a couple of billion years or so ago. Again, there is no guess work involved, we have seas that have been dry for that long for comparison of the proportions. God is here clearly stating that we came from the sea. No get outs, no do overs. We even, if you want to be slightly fanciful, have a nod to dinosaurs. After all, they, or at least some of them, eventually became winged fowl.
24: And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25: And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
This is the difficult one. One that I have problems with, since evolution and this statement of the Word seem at first glance to be at odds. So I am going to repeat something. Forgive me for stretching slightly to make a point.
We don't breathe water. Yet we came from the sea - that is from both the Word itself and the evidence as we understand it. We see random action. He does not. By definition God gets no surprises, he sees the consequences of everything. As a side note, that must be boring. Never a single surprise unless you deliberately don't look. No wonder he gave us free will! (Sure, I know. Putting human motivations and limitations on the Lord is demeaning. It is also tempting.)
Still, look at the order we are given. Fish, Fowl, every other living thing third. The classic chain of evolution. Plants first and so basic that they are every living thing's meat. Without plants, we simply die. Fish to reptiles/amphibians. Reptiles to birds and mammals. Mammals to primacy under God.
This was fun to write. Difficult, as I am more a biosciences person than a physicist, but fun. If there is sufficient interest I will do the same for Genesis 2.
Once more, I want to repeat. I don't seek converts to my viewpoint. How can one do so, when their viewpoint is "This makes sense but I am guessing the mind of the unknowable here." If you firmly believe that the world was created 6000 years ago as it is, may His peace and blessing be upon you, and I apologise for wasting your time. Part of this is seeking to explain things to myself.
Yet I want to pre-emptively defend myself from some of the more common comments, as I am not a total fool. The universe, and all that is in it, works through fixed and immutable laws, as far as we are aware. Shift the numeric value of any major constant by under 1% and we are a dust of sub atomic particles. The presence of constants themselves are profound indicators of the creator. One of my professors, way back when university was a place to learn and not an indoctrination center, said the mere fact that universal constants exist is one of the strongest arguments for God.
By their works shall you know them. We are told that. By the Lord's works shall you know him. He laid out, in terms a person who has never heard of an electron or the speed of light or Planck's constant can understand, where we came from and how.
Thank you for reading. May he bless and uplift us all.
Your's is a common experience.
I have done my part - informed the world at large there are many, MANY, Conservatives who understand science, know what a Scientific Theory is and understand and embrace the differing yet related and adjacent thought quadrants of science and faith.
Prepare for the standard bombardment, which I will ignore.
This is my last post on this thread — I hope you find the enlightenment you seek. It shall only come from the enlightened.
You know something?
As a bioscience nerd, grass is amazing to me. About 30,000 years ago, some breeds of grass started exhibiting a thing called polyploidy. A duplication of their complete genetic code, that made the grains bigger.
Think of the odds of a single plant with that mutation surviving. If you have difficulty, plant some corn and watch the racoons eat it the day before you intend to harvest.
That was somethint impossible. Yet it lead to modern culture.
Before one begins to make verse 3 the point a couple of things need be addressed. Genesis 1:1 is a declaration, without any time signature as to when the beginning began, or how long.
Verse 2 begins with that big word AND meaning a continuation and explanation of what happened to the 'state' of the perfect creation. Now other elected writers pen much about verse 2 such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Solomon, Moses in the book of Job, Peter, Paul and Christ made mention to verse 2 in referencing the 'foundation' as translated in the New Testament.
Verse two describes as Peter calls the heaven/earth that WAS being flooded in IIPeter 3, as does Moses. Genesis 1:2 describe the rebellion of Lucifer described in Isaiah 14:12..... and Ezekiel 28:12 .....
What Genesis 1:3 does is describe an 'environmental' clean up to make this earth once again inhabitable. Peter says in IIPeter 3 there are 3 different heaven/earth ages and we in the flesh are in the world that is now. And Peter also explains how God keeps time, that a day with the LORD is as a thousand years.... so that would mean the 8 days of creation took 8 thousand years.
So, you believe the earth sits atop some structure and that the sun moves around the earth. When literally interpreting scripture, you cannot pick and choose
Psa 104:5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
Let them bomb.
In all honesty, I don’t write for non paying sites unless I get a call to do so - and it is annoying as it disrupts my work.
This time I got one. Two words - write this.
Sometimes I wish he’d just leave me alone ....
Can you expand please, FRiend?
Partially it is 3 AM here, partially I have zero desire to misinterpret you.
Also consider early cooling with respect to waters covering the face of the earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_Early_Earth Then consider late heavy bombardment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Heavy_Bombardment
Ah - I have always considered the waters of heaven to be the gas tides, driven by the stars, that created the sun and the planets. In a metaphorical sense it is true - there is a flood of gass and heavier elements.
Sure, it ain’t orthodox, but what you expect from a three religion guy!
>>Put another way, I refuse to believe that such achievements as the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony are nothing more than the residue of some cosmic hiccup.<<
So you admit to (and admire) stochastism in the world as we know it.
The “spark of genius” shall remain under the control of the Lord. But the general lengthy progression by generations is a clear spokesmodel for the observed effects of TToE.
You are clearly the latest data point on an accelerated line of smart people who sochastically continued thought evolution.
My brothers and sisters are pretty sharp so I like to think my ability to analyze has a bit of that same general theoretical impetus. Or, more accurately, is representative of it.
Either that or you have some ‘splainin to on how God chose you to be smart...
(btw: this is NOT a comment on the thread in general. After a 1st or 2nd comment my rule is to be mute.
"...let's turn to a passage in Heller's Creative Tension. He points out that recent developments in deterministic chaos theory have demonstrated that "there are strong reasons to believe that a certain amount of randomness is indispensable for the emergence and evolution of organized structures.... Randomness is no longer perceived as a competitor of God, but rather as a powerful tool in God's strategy of creating the world."
"He quotes the physicist Paul Davies, who wrote that,
"God is responsible for ordering the world, not through direct action, but by providing various potentialities which the physical universe is then free to actualize. In this way, God does not compromise the essential openness and indeterminism of the universe, but is nevertheless in a position to encourage a trend toward good. Traces of this subtle and indirect influence may be discerned in the progressive nature of biological evolution, for example, and the tendency for the universe to self-organize into a richer variety of ever more complex forms."
"In a similar vein, he quotes A. R. Peacocke: "On this view God acts to create the world through what we call 'chance' operating within the created order, each stage of which constitutes the launching pad for the next."
"So the bottom line is that if your life were totally planned, it couldn't be. In other words, the more you attempt to tamp down randomness and chance, the more you are likely to create disorder. To put it another way, there is a higher principle at work, which uses randomness and chaos to break up evolutionary impasses and "lure" the system toward its own destiny, so to speak. We must surrender to this destiny, as each of us, to paraphrase Sri Aurobindo, is a "unique problem of God."
"Or you could say that "the answer is the disease that kills curiosity," or that twoness resolves the problem of oneness through the discovery and synthesis of eternal threeness, in which Love abides. ....."
Your entire note makes Genesis verse 1 a lie.
If Genesis verse 1 is a lie, the account of creation is a lie.
If the account of creation is a lie (and if your theory were correct it would be) all of Genesis is a lie, and so also is the whole Bible. Be honest and say so.
One has two options:
(1) By man came death
(2) By death came man.
I choose (1) and therefore I believe in The God and His progressively revealed Word.
Your scheme necessarily requires that you have chosen (2), and hence do not believe in God's Word; hence you do not believe in the God of the Bible.
I am a reasonably competent Ph. D. in the physical chemistry of inorganic oxides and semiconductor materials, and a successful scientist in both academics and the commercial world. I believe true science supports a six-day literal creation as exactly described in Genesis. I believe as well that the entrance of sin and death into a perfectly created world was due to deliberate disobedience of The God's single, non-negotiable command by our federal and genetic head, under the agitation of the Consummate Liar, who is also the source of the evolution falsehood.
I was not there at creation, therefore I believe.
Prove that I am wrong, if you can (and you can not).
I reject your "science" and repudiate your doctrine. Evolution and Genesis are not miscible and cannot be harmonized. Day-age theory is a farce.
Wishing a greater faith for you --
Genesis 1:2 describes the end of what Peter calls the heaven/earth world (age) that WAS... The rebellion of the devil wherein all life was destroyed as described by Jeremiah 4:22-27 no life survived that destruction. IIPeter 3:5-6-7-8 Peter is not the only writer that penned what is now a mystery to the majority.
1. Does God live in this Universe or outside of it?
2. What role does perspective play in understanding Genesis?
3. You have noted God’s signature in everything from the laws of physics to the microwave buzzes of the universe. How powerful is God?
4. What does Hebrews 11:1 mean?
"Without a doubt, the ultimate Black Swan is whatever it was that permitted merely genetic human beings to emerge into full humanness just yesterday (cosmically speaking), some 50,000 years ago. .....
"....once man consciously enters the sensorium of time and space, he is implicitly aware of both Absolute and Infinite, and therefore Love, Truth, Justice, Beauty, Virtue, and Eternity. These are the things that define man, not his genome. ....."
"It is terribly naive to say that science (especially modern science) deals with the "real world." It actually begins with the ponderable world -- the everyday world of the senses -- but eventually creates a wholly abstract world that is taken to be more "real" than the ponderable world. (Importantly, it also begins with certain implicit religious assumptions purloined from the Real, such as the idea of an intelligible cosmos that can be comprehended by rational observers,....)
... This process of abstraction leads to patent absurdities such as the belief that DNA explains life or that the brain creates consciousness, rather than vice versa. Both the brain and DNA are digital, while the human is analogue. ......Suffice it so say that revelation deals with the Real world, not the abstract world of science or the ponderable world of everyday existence. (To be perfectly accurate, it also has has to do with the dependence of the ponderable upon the Real, or their intersection;we are not dependent upon physics, but upon the Creator who created physics.)"
"....science is always provisional, whereas theology is always about the permanent and atemporal. What we call the "Big Bang" is merely the extrapolation of a certain model used by physicists to understand the physical world. In these models, at a certain point, the "history" of subatomic particles disappears into "nothing." Therefore, some people make the hasty conclusion that this must be the same "nothing" out of which God created the universe.
But this is not only wrong, but it demonstrates a peculiar lack of imagination. The "nothing" of the physicist is merely the area beyond the horizon of his model. There's still "something" there -- it's just that the physicist's model does not permit him to even hazard a guess as to what it might be.
But the Nothing of theology is a much vaster principle, having to do with the emanation of Being from Beyond-Being. This is what I meant the other day when I said that in my book I was not trying to equate the Big Bang with God's eternal creative act, but to use it as a "fable" to retell that timeless story. As I said on p. 2, "Borrowing freely from Christian, Greek, Jewish, Hindu, Taoist and other sources, the creation to which it refers did not happen just 'once upon a time,' but occurs continuously, in the timeless ground anterior to each moment."
"Put it this way: neither the cosmos nor this book have a proper 'beginning,' but both have a center, a center that starts where science ends and must therefore be described in mythological terms. The purpose of myth is to help us re-collect what we have forgotten about our timeless source, our eternal nature, and our ultimate destiny. ........"
Water is ubiquitous throughout the universe and I have read how a lot of water could have accounted for an early cooling and crustal formation at a time when classical models predicted a magma surface.
And now we have evidence that massive amounts of continental crust were produced almost immediately upon Earth formation.