Any Christian that chooses to adopt the idea of an earth which is older than the direct numbers presented in the Bible, roughly six thousand years, will need to account for several things, one of which is the fact that it would be difficult to accept a claim which agrees with the estimated age of raw materials, rocks, water, etc, but does not agree with the estimated age of human remains. This is, of course, resolved if one accepts the idea of divinely controlled evolution, but that too comes with its own set of challenges. Those challenges are what I would like to focus on right now. Can evolution and Adam be reconciled?
When reading Genesis 5, we are presented with the genealogical record of patriarchs leading from Adam to Noah. Most of the names have very little information regarding them, but one thing that does stand out is the substantial ages that are associated with each person. Methuselah is especially noticeable, as he lived for 969 years before his death. This chapter of Genesis has spawned quite a few questions, and many of them still remain unanswered today. Perhaps, if we break down the way that we approach this chapter, we might be able to glean some additional information.
The Garden of Eden is such an unique story in Genesis as it portrays the fall of mankind into sin or rebellion against God. What I find most fascinating is the common interpretation of the story, that Adam an Eve were first ignorant of good and evil. It is assumed that they lacked the ability to distinguish between bad and good. However, this distinction requires reason and intelligence in order to be performed. Understanding the story in this way presumes God created Adam in an animalistic state and his sin was actually rewarded by elevating him to a full human state. This actually goes against the idea that all of mankind started with Adam, who was created directly by, and in the image of God. When we throw in the commonly portrayed talking snake there is quite a bit to unpack in this story.
Yom is the Hebrew word for day, and is used as such throughout the Bible. In most cases, there is no question of the meaning of the word due to the surrounding context. However, when it comes to the creation of the universe, or anything really, we don't have any context at all unless we know two things; the thing that is being created, and the process that is being used to create it. These are two things that we really do not have an understanding of when we look at the book of Genesis. We do not know what the universe is, and we most definitely do not know, with complete certainty, the process by which it was created.
What if we could create living beings that are programmable, self-healing, and organic? Would we do it? What would we program them to do? Perform medical procedures and deliver medications? Examine and sterilize food sources? We may just find the answer to that sooner than we think. A team of scientists at the University of Vermont have already created these creatures using stem cells from frogs. What I would like to explore today is whether or not this technology, despite its potential positive applications, is ethical. To put it more plainly, is it ethical to create living beings and deny them free will?
When reading Genesis 11, the most unquestionable takeaway is that God miraculously changed the languages of the people so that they could no longer communicate and that prior to this there was only a single language used. In almost every interpretation of this story, at least the ones which I have read, this is the case. Personally, I would like to question this for a moment.
If God loves us, why are people starving in the world? This question is commonly posed as a rebuttal to the idea that God is good and loves us. I must admit that this is tough question at first. It certainly seems to contradict the idea of an all-powerful, loving God. However, I think that, as with most moral objections to God, this is a classic case of projection. Let’s break it down and take a look at this question from a few different perspectives.
We use our ability to reason for a great deal of things, and I think the answer to this sort of question lies mostly within the definitions used. What is reason, and for that matter, ultimately, what is truth? Can we reasonably determine the cause of the universe? Or even ourselves? Let's take a look at some of these questions and see how things shake out.
As American citizens, and in many other countries, we are told that we are free. In fact, we have laws that guarantee our freedoms. At the very same time, we are told what we can and cannot do. We are told what we can and cannot eat or drink. We are told what we are allowed to buy or sell. Are we truly free? Please consider the following thought experiment from Robert Nozick.
You are the accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All that awaits you is death. Anything that exists does so merely by chance and exists purely without reason, meaning, or cause. This is based on the idea that a perfectly balanced universe has existed in perpetuity for all eternity without cause. This is not far from a religious belief that a perfectly balanced being (God) has existed in perpetuity for all eternity without cause.