The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Sumerian tale regarding a heroic protagonist that goes on a tremendous journey. Along the way, he meets a person who was divinely chosen to survive a massive flood on a boat which he had built himself. Sound familiar? Of course it does, this portion of the Sumerian story is remarkably similar to the story of Noah. In fact, there are a great number of similarities between stories found on Sumerian tablets and Genesis. This is commonly used to discredit the Bible itself, with the claim being that Genesis is simply a plagiarized version of older creation stories. The question I want to ask is, should we really be surprised by this?
The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Was Isaac truly fooled by Jacob on his deathbed, or does this narrative from Genesis 27 convey a deeper meaning regarding the nature of the world? There are many lessons to be learned from the story of the rival sons of Isaac, but I wanted to focus in on this particular scene, where Isaac seemingly blesses Jacob by mistake, to investigate the possibility of a deeper meaning in the text. Of course, in order to get to the end, we must start at the beginning.
Humanity has had many opinions about the earth’s role in the universe throughout our brief history. Only recently in our history have we even understood that there was much more to the universe than earth, that we might be able to travel beyond earth. For many centuries we thought that the earth was the center of the universe, but the Copernican Principle taught us that the appears to rotate around our sun just as the other planets within our solar system do, and that the earth is not particularly special within the universe. This seems to fly in the face of the Judeo-Christian idea that the universe was created for humanity. If we don’t exist within a special place in the universe, how could the universe be “for us”?
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?
This is an important question to address as we examine the possibility of a local flood. Why save Noah if others could survive? Why not have Noah leave the area? Why build a boat? Why save the animals? Noah could have just left the region with his family, cattle, and belongings. Doesn't this prove that the flood must have been global?
The term Nephilim is a greatly debated title used in Genesis, and other books of the Bible. Not only is the origin of the Nephilim debated, but also their physical attributes and nature. In Genesis, the Nephilim are contemporary to the author, and so it appears that there is an assumption that the reader will understand who, or what, the phrase is referring to. Given this, let’s examine some of the possible origins, and thus nature of, the Nephilim.
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.
Can Panpsychism align with Christianity? Panpsychism revolves around the idea that each particle in the universe is inherently conscious at some level. This idea has recently been embraced in the scientific community as a means of explanation for the origin of consciousness. Is this a philosophical and theological concept that Christians need to grapple with?