EVOLUTION AND CREATION
It is an age old debate since the theory of evolution was suggested in the early 1800’s. Did God create everything, right down to the leaves on a tree, or a bee on a flower, to the moon and the stars in the sky-or was it all just part of a natural process that goes on without any divine intervention? To fully understand each of these beliefs, and others, we need to fully understand what the processes of Evolution and Creationism are, and what they are not.
Evolution, first of all, does not dismiss the idea of an all powerful creator. It merely explains the natural processes that occur on our planet everyday, and how the world gradually evolved over billions of years. Some religions dispute this belief, stating that the bible is absolute proof that the world was literally created in six days, and other religions deny evolution, but also deny the six day theory as well. Some believe in such terms, as “Christian Science” or “Intelligent Design” to explain how Christianity and science work together to formulate the evolution theory, or claim also that the bible can be scientifically explained through religious beliefs.
The man who started the whole debate, Charles Darwin, was born on Feb.12th, 1809. His father was a medical doctor, his grandfather a renowned botanist, and he was a child of great wealth and privilege. At 16, he enrolled in Edinburgh University. In 1831, he embarked on a five year journey on board the HMS Eagle to study species around the world to formulate a theory on evolution. He was especially interested in South America and Galapagos Archipelagos, with their varied rare species of reptiles, birds, and fossils.
He noticed a change in fossils and geological land masses, and also noticed migratory changes of species in birds(transmutation). He published his theory,”On The Origin of Species” in 1859, and although he grew up believing in Unitarianism, he never doubted the truth of the bible. He was torn in giving up the idea as God as an ultimate law giver for the laws of science, and couldn’t explain the presence of evil with the evolutionary theory. He later proclaimed himself an agnostic.
Other later trials and debates have been fought in court rooms and schoolrooms across the country. The Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925, in which Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes incriminated himself by teaching evolution. After the launch of the space age, science took a front seat to creationism, and several years after that there have been countless cases on whether religion should be taught with science or separate from it. 95 % of all scientists today agree with the Evolution Theory, as much of the Creationist religious community continues to reject it.
Tomorrow, we will look at what the bible says about creation, and what the scientific community says about the Creationist theory as well. Until tomorrow, here are today’s links:
CREATIONISM-GOD AS CREATOR
We all know the first words of the bible, even if we haven’t read it personally-“In the Beginning, God created the heavens and Earth.” Unless you’re an atheist, or of another faith such as Wican or Hinduism, you have no reason to doubt this statement. Even scientists, with all their theories and proof, cannot prove or disprove the validity of such a claim. Their theory is that everything just suddenly came into existence(the big bang). Although this can be scientifically explained, it does not disprove the existence of God. Scientists have recently come to the conclusion themselves that the universe may be an eternal process, and ours may not be the only one.
Creationism, however, is another issue. Although fundamentalists believe God created the heavens and Earth as well, they reject the scientific notion that states that this took billions of years to progress. They believe that everything was literally created in six days, and that the world is less than 10,000 years old. Theistic evolution or Evolutionary Creationism attempts to reconcile religion with scientific findings. There are several problems with the fundamentalist viewpoint; one is the fact that man was created with woman to expand the human race. If this were so, Adam & Eve had children, and they had offspring, which they did, Cain and Able would have had to have sisters. The bible says that they take wives, but doesn’t explain how. If they had married sisters, this would istexplain the reproduction issue, but this belief is against the bible and God’s laws. Agnostics have gave a solution to this dilemma in the book, “The Life of Adam and Eve.” Whether you choose to accept this explanation is up to you, but incest is a common theme elsewhere in the bible. Getting back to the six day issue, many current religions refer to Eons instead of literal days. Scientists can prove the age of certain rock formations by the process of carbon dating. It is not an exact to science, but it has been proven to be pretty accurate.
Another issue of fundamentalists is the age of the Earth. They claim that after the great flood is when civilizations really began. The story of Noah and the flood is a familiar one, but many current Theologists believe that the flood was more a local one, and not a global one. A global one would wipe out most species of land animals, and it is doubtful two of each kind of animal could rejuvenate a whole species. The size of the boat also makes this literally impossible ; as big as it was, it couldn’t hold that many animals.
Many people have embraced both the theory of creationism and evolution as one entity. Neither one can be proved or disproved without using the other to support their theories. Tomorrow, we will look at how creation fits into the scientific community, and what scientists really think about the presence of an all superior being. Until tomorrow, here are today’s links:
WHAT DO SCIENTISTS THINK ABOUT GOD?
You’re probably thinking that this is a cut and dry question, and the fact that science refutes the existence of a spiritual being, you would normally be right. Amazingly, over 50% of scientists today believe in God or a higher power. Some past scientists who had this view of evolution and science coexisting were Galileo, Newton, and Max Planck. Einstein himself struggled with the issue of creation, being of an Orthodox Jewish background. One of the great arguments of creation is the question of how something can come from nothing.
Picture of the early universe, just after the big bang
Current physicists believe in a theory called Spontaneous Creation; that there was nothing but a vacuum, or dark energy, or a form of gravity, and that a minute particle of matter and antimatter collided, forming the big bang. Although this does explain our existence, it does not explain how something can come from nothing. Scientists, such as Steven Hawkings, who is a proclaimed atheist, was one of the first to come up with possible solutions to this dilemma. One is that, time has no beginning or end, and space time itself can be altered by the laws of physics, sort of an eternal loop. Another is that more than one universe exists, a multiverse, where universes are born and die eternally. Another is the traditional, where matter just popped into existence.
Hawkings states that “religion believes in miracles, but they aren’t compatible with science.” My argument is that, isn’t the creation of the universe a miracle within itself? Science has done nothing to prove how the universe came into existence, only that it has by a process that we are only beginning to understand. One day, we will prove how the universe was formed, but even when we do, we will not be able to prove a higher power didn’t create it. It is a catch 22 that will never be fully understood.
There are two more theories that I will discuss tomorrow about life on Earth. One is called Pamsperia, the belief of extraterrestrial bodies bringing amino acids to form life here; and the other is the most far out of them all-that we are the offspring of an alien race, genetically designed. Until then, here are today’s links:
WE ARE THE PRODUCTS OF OUR OWN ENVIRONMENT
As I have stated previously in my origin of life series, many scientists believe we are the product of Panspermia, which is the believe that life came from somewhere else, such as comets, asteroids, or other planets. They cite from evidence that bacteria itself is very versatile, and can survive in harsh environments such as space. It can survive proton bombardments, ultravolet radiation, and extreme cold. Meteors and asteroids have been known to carry amino acids and carbon, the building blocks of life, protected inside their surfaces.
There is belief that Mars was much warmer while our Earth was young, contained liquid water, and possibly Oxygen. As the atmosphere deteriorated from possible collisions, pieces of the planet may have came here with microscopic organisms that reseeded here on Earth. 7% of all Mars rocks end up here on Earth. Organisms from Mars were indeed discovered, but there is still debate whether they were real or not because they were destroyed before a conclusion could be made. This theory is a feasible one, as well as the Panspermia theory, but what about the theory that we are really aliens from another world?
WE ARE DEVO, ARE WE NOT ALIEN?
In the movie Promethus, it is revealed that aliens planted the seeds on Earth to create life. As far fetched as that sounds, it is the one of the main themes of the ancient alien theory; that we are nothing more than a genetic experiment by a highly advanced race. There are some legitimate scientists who are more likely to believe this theory than in a higher power. Russian scientists believe that human DNA was encoded with an extraterrestrial signal by an ancient civilization, and that the mathematical code cannot be explained by evolution. If this were true, think of the implications it would have on mankind; its culture, beliefs, and whole sense of what we know as history would change.
Ancient alien theorists state that the proof is all around us; in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in the lines of Nazca, and even in the Bible. If this is true, we would have totally rework of theories about God, creation, and the belief in the supernatural. Once we reach the stars,and plant our seeds elsewhere in the universe, will we become the creators? If we were the product of an alien race, who created them? This whole creation issue can be quite mind boggling when you really ponder it.
Tomorrow, I will conclude this series with my own insights and beliefs about these issues. Until then, here are today’s links:
When I was a child, I remember having to attend church every week no matter what. I had no choice in the matter because my father was the pastor, and for a while the service was right in our own living room. At first, I didn’t like his sermons, being young and somewhat easily distracted, but as I grew older, I learned to appreciate them. Through my pre-teen years, and as my father retired from the ministry, I kept my bible close because it gave me spiritual support and guidance. In my teenage and college years, I wandered from my beliefs and got into partying and staying out all night.
Once I settled down, in my late twenties, I regained my beliefs and joined a Baptist church where my sister attended, and have been a member ever since. When my father lost two daughters, and grew ill with cancer, I watched him slowly lose faith, and even though he didn’t come out and say it, I knew he was angry with God. As he died, and my mother, daughter and I were left in the home, I asked her one day if she thought Dad was in Heaven. “He’s probably six feet under the ground just rotting,” was her answer. I knew then that she only supported my father through the ministry because she felt she had to, and she really didn’t believe in any of it in the first place.
As I have researched through science web sites. articles, television shows, and books, I too have found myself questioning my beliefs. There is one thing I have learned over the years; Neither science or religion offer concrete evidence of our origins. Science claims to offer all the answers, but we still don’t know key aspects of our universe; how the big bang was created, how old it is, and what will happen billions of years from now. The same is true of religion; we know who the key players were, but we have no physical evidence that they even existed other than scripture.
My take on our creation is this; the answer is somewhere in the middle. Between science, religion, and the ancient astronaut theory we will find the answer. I have said to my wife many times that the other gods that are spoken of in the bible may have been beings from other worlds pretending to be Gods, and that our true creator could really be a god or an alien, depending on your point of view. Now I know some of you are saying that I’m nuts, but in reality, it isn’t any more far fetched than other theory. I have a friend who believes the grays are really demons in disguise as aliens, and once again, this is not as far fetched either. How can you believe in angels if you don’t believe in demons as well?
However we were created, it is up to us to carry on the next stage of evolution. There are some that fear that this might be a cybernetic existence, where we are part man and machine, like the Borg in Star Trek. If this does happen, let’s hope we don’t completely lose our humanity as well. Even if you don’t believe in the afterlife, people still have a soul of life or energy or aura. All living things produce and release energy, and all things are made from the same stuff. Until we are eternal ourselves, we will always wonder how we got here and what is to happen after we’re gone.
Join me Monday for a special tribute series to the deceased members of the original Star Trek series in honor of the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, one of my favorite actors. Until then, have a pleasant weekend.