The Genesis of Man
The characters within my novel Flying
a Kite enter into debate about the meaning of Genesis with regard
to creation. Despite all that, it is a light, accessible story.
This article goes much deeper into some of the things talked about.
My non-fiction work Reality
Check: Science Meets Religion also covers some of this ground.
This article seeks to explore those mysterious areas of the Holy
Bible, to show how it is validated by modern science, and to provoke
further thought into the complementary aspects of science and religion.
Creation Versus Evolution
Genesis 1 gives us a detailed account of how the universe was completed.
Before analyzing what it says, do remember it was written by an unknown
human author, goodness knows how long ago. We are going back the 2,000
years since the birth of Christ (covered by the New Testament), plus more
than the 2,000 years that the Old Testament concenrates on; in other words,
to pre-history. So take into account the author(s) of Genesis would have
no comprehension of science or astronomy and they may well have been recording
legend handed down over generations before it was written.
of Genesis would certainly have no knowledge of evolution. We can also
be confident they believed they were on a flat earth at the centre of
all creation: or "the universe" as we now call it. They imagined
God created everything for them: including the dome of the sky and the
lights upon it (which we prefer to call stars).
column of the table below is a summary of what Genesis 1 tells us, where
creation is divided into "days". (Although the concept of time
measurement in "days" must be regarded as a rather loose term.
More on this later.) The right-hand column is a summary of what science
tells us about how our world came about and evolved to the present age.
in Genesis 1
FROM THE BIBLE (Genesis 1)
v1-5. Formless earth with oceans. Day and night.
[This implies the earth, and hence other stars, were present. How
else could there be day and night? How else could a "day"
be measured if this was a real "day"?]
The Big Bang took place. Time began. Energy
and matter came into being. From that point the total amount of
energy would never change.
v6-8. The waters of the earth and sky separated.
An atmosphere developed on the earth.
v9-13. Dry land emerged from the seas. Seed-bearing
plants. Trees. Vegetation.
Light allowed bacteria and sea life to develop. Plants, trees
and vegetation also grew and developed.
v14-19. Sun, moon and stars separated day from
night. It says these were to show when religious festivals were
to begin. [This is where things go a little off-track. This is discussed
Initially there would have been a lot of volcanic dust in the
atmosphere and this would have made it quite dark and impossible
to see any stars. But they must have been there—even though
man was not! Once the sky was clear life would really take off.
v20-23. Teeming life within the waters. Birds
in the skies.
Evolution is steaming ahead, life creeping out of the waters,
taking to the skies.
v24-end. Living creatures on the land.
The first humanoids evolved.
This sequence describes everything up to evolutionary
Man. God has not yet created a Man with a soul. (He called such
beings "sons of God" in Genesis 6.) DAY 7 is dealt with
at the start of Genesis 2, which is an interesting point I take
I take this to be those well before 300,000-400,000
years ago when Homo Heiddelbergensis ("Heidelberg Man")
important thing to notice here is that the biblical account in Genesis
1 details the correct sequence for evolution. That is amazing!
It proves that somehow the author received God-given inspiration,
since mankind was not around to witness creation or evolution. It was
not until Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species on 24
November 1859 that mankind began to understand evolution.
there is a hiccupon Day 4. After the (inspired) account implies the sun
is present on Day 1, because "day and night" are mentioned,
the sun is also mentioned as being set in place by God in verse
14 (on Day 4), where God says: "Let there be lights in the expanse
of sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve to mark
seasons and days and years... God made two great lights—the greater
light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night."
human-beings are involved in anything there is ample scope for error.
As when an author seeks to clarify something he or she does not fully
understand by putting his or her own spin on it. This must be what happened
here. The writer assumed everything in the sky was put there as a kind
of celestial calendar, along with the sun and moon, purely for our illumination.
Errors make this human error clear. Firstly "days" have already
talked about, even though the sun, which helps define a day, is only mentioned
at verse 16. Also, as we well know, the early life described on days 2
and 3 could not have come about without the presence of sunlight. Yet
verse 3 introduced light, and clearly the author would not have understood
the implication of his God-given inspiration when he wrote (or first passed
on the word) of this.
errors revealing the limitations of the author's true knowledge, combined
with the true account of the beginning of our world and evolution, provide
scientific corroboration of the spiritual nature of Genesis. That knowledge
had to come from somewhere other than man. The correctness of Genesis
1 provides the scientist with an explanation for how the Big Bang came
about in the first place. Science and the Bible are complementary and
neither is whole without the other. What beautiful synergy! Science does
not know where all the energy came from which started the Big Bang. Religion
tells them: God. God is beyond space and time: because he created them
of Conservation of Energy states energy cannot be created or
destroyed, but it can be transferred or transformed from one form to another
(including transformation into, or from, matter). The total amount of
energy in a closed system never changes. All that energy allowed the Big
Bang to set into action the chain reaction that would lead to our ever
expanding universe anda the mysterious nuclear binding energy that holds
the nucleus of atoms—and hence our world—together. Of course
science tells us we're talking billions of years for the universe to expand
to its present state, not days. A week was regarded as a suitable period
for early celebrations, which is probably why the author of Genesis 1
divides creation into seven days. All neat and tidy!
our universe is observably ever expanding creates a problem for Creationists
who insist on it having been created over 7 days. Why? If the stars, including
our own sun, our earth and our moon, were created in a day, we must assume
they took up initial positions favourably placed to avoid gravitational
disaste. So how come they are now moving apart? Did God create them stationary,
in an instant, and then start the acceleration (as if from a central point)?
Does it not make more sense for them to start from a central point and
then to be placed at moving start positions? We do need to apply some
logic if we expect to understand this kind of stuff.
argue there is not a creator-God, like Richard Dawkins in The God
Delusion, generally take extreme comparisons: such as Creationist
theory versus science, his favourite eggagerated comparison. Hardly fair,
given many Christians do not deny science. Even the Catholic Church now
officially recognizes that evolution is likely to be part of the process
of God's creation. In 1996, in his message to the Pontifical Academy of
Sciences, Pope John Paul the Second gave a defence of theistic evolution
talking of 'a caring God who employed evolution'. Part of what he said
was: "New findings lead us towards the recognition of evolution as
more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has
had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following
a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence
in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned
nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favour
of the theory."
So he accepted
the biological implications of evolution so long as it is carefully balanced
with the spiritual perspective. And that line followed on from John Paul's
predecessor, Pius Eleven, who said: "If the origins of the human
body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual
soul is created directly by God." There is written evidence that
the Catholic Church now accepts Big Bang and evolutionary theory [see
Paragraph 63 here].
I attempt to provide some evidence as to why Big Bang and evolutionary
theory should be accepted by those who also believe in God. Why should
God not have chosen to use evolution? It might take time, but God has
plenty of that!
Why Two Creation Stories in Genesis?
Genesis 1 covers Days 1 to 6 of the creation story, but Genesis leaves
it until the first three versus of Genesis 2 to tell us that God then
rested on the 7th day after completing his work—thereby termination
the first creation story. What then follows is another account of creation
starring Adam and Eve. Why does this end part go to another chapter? Perhaps
because that time of rest was a very long time.
So why another
creation story in Genesis 2? This time man comes first: before the Garden
of Eden, trees, birds and animals. Then Eve is created from Adam. Why
does it differ? Given how the flow follows on from the preceding chapter,
I suggest we read the first two chapters of Genesis as a sequential account
of human development, where Genesis 2 contains a recap. I think it is
another example where the author feels man comes first, at the centre
of everything, and all the other stuff was put there for him... including
Eve, in the end: company for Adam. Adam gets to name all things.
that, in its own colourful way, Genesis 2 tells us about a further stage
in both the physical and spiritual evolution of man.
It appears to be much more allegorical, given things such as talking serpents.
But is it?
tells us that the original line of human beings split, as confirmed by
the discovery of what has been called Homo Heidelbergensis, remains dated
at around 300,000-400,000 BC. The split led to Neandertal Man and Chromagno
Man. The latter led to Homo Sapiens, our ancestors, including Homo Erectus.
There was interbreeding between our ancestors and Neandertal, and caves
in Israel show they co-existed and used similar tools, although the more
primitive Neandertals died out, probably killed of by our lot. By the
time 'modern man' evolved, his brain gained the outer layer called the
neocortex and expanded from around 1lb to some 3 lbs. This allowed
for increased intelligence and reasoning capacity.'Thinking man' had arrived.
of how to tame fire and use it for heating and cooking was one of the
things which led to the physical advance. Cooked food meant easier digestion,
more calories, more brain food, and the ability to support that much larger
brain. Genesis 2:7 tells us "God took some soil from the ground and
formed man out if it". I suggest what this really means is that the
raw material from evolution was used for this new breed of man, a man
with a bigger brain... and a mind and soul! This man lived alongside
the mindless race and, to distinguish them, Genesis calls these advanced
beings the "sons of God". This is quite clear in Genesis 6:1-3,
which states: "When men began to increase in numbers on the earth
and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw the daughters of
men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose." The
fact there were two different races, and one was clearly spiritually superior,
confirms God had a creative hand in the development of our ancestors as
well as natural evolution. This tells us that both science and the Bible
are correct in their beliefs, and offers us a viewpoint which allows this.
I believe God waited until natural development through evolution led to
a being worthy of being given a soul. Natural evolution was a deft process
for God to use in order to ensure his chosen creatures were the superior
race on earth.
and Eve story seems a bit allegorical, especially when it comes to talking
serpents, and it is tempting to dismiss it. But I shall now take a deeper
look at that, in order to show there may be more truth in it than you
might initially imagine.
Exploring the Garden of Eden
Firstly I want to explore the Garden of Eden, as described in the Bible.
Genesis 2:9 tells us God planted two trees in the centre of this garden:
The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and
Evil. My researches into this have led to numerous different theories
which attempt to explain what is going on here, and no one can claim any
particular one is true. However, the following gets closer to anything
else I have yet found in providing a logical explanation for these mystical
trees. So let us take a wander in the garden.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
© Rafael Guimarăes dos Santos,
Banisteriopsis Caapi vine, October 2004
In Western Christian art, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good
and Evil is usually depicted as the apple. This may have originated as
a Latin pun: by eating the malum (apple), Eve contracted malum
(evil). Maybe we think this because of religious artists' poetic licence.
The Bible does not specify apple. (Some joker says is must have
been a pear, because it was the pair below it which caused us all so much
the prophets and rabbis identify the serpent of Genesis 3 as "Ha-Satan",
the one who deceives and accuses 364 days of the year. (Only on one day
is Ha-Satan not able to accuse: on Yom Kippur, the Day of
Atonement.) Ha-Satan, in this capacity, is many times translated
as 'the prosecutor', and is apparently charged by God to tempt humans
and to report back to God all who go against His decrees.
It is common
to identify the serpent as Satan. But what if the Tree of Knowledge of
Good and Evil at the centre of the Garden of Eden, was the hallucinogenic
a serpent-shaped vine? (It is also known as the Banisteriopsis
caapi vine.) The term "ayahuasca" comes from the Quechua
language. The word "huasca" is the usual Quechua term for all
vines. The word "aya" refers to something like a separable soul
or the spirit of the dead; hence the two common English translations,
'vine of the soul' and 'vine of the dead'.
of the Amazon drink or inhale a preparation from this. The effects appear
in thirty to forty minutes and last around four hours. They claim to see
serpents who teach them the medicinal and sorcery uses of other plants.
The shamans are said to be able to see galaxies and planets, distant relatives,
lost objects, the cause of a patient’s sickness and to even travel through
space and time. So we have two things here: a snake-like vine and hallucination.
Imbibing causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, even vermifuge (evacutation
of worms), so there is a price to pay for its hallucinogenic properties.
So I propose
this. If the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the ayahuasca,
there would be good reason for God to tell Adam to stay away from its
forbidden fruit. Apart from making him feel groggy, to say the least,
its hallucinatory properties would lead to him reaching forbidden access
to an enhanced level of consciousness: and perhaps to good as well as
evil spirits. As a result of partaking of this fruit, Adam and Eve realized
they were naked. Hence Adam and Eve disobeyed God, committing the first
sin of the new advanced human being. As a result God said his time would
be limited to his physical life on earth and they were banned from the
garden and all access to the Tree of Life. Perhaps this meant
they would never have a spiritual afterlife in heaven.
this explanation gives rise to some grounds for the introduction of a
serpent. The tale might have got twisted a little between Adam and the
author of Genesis 2!
The Tree of Life
©Iaminfo, Moringa Oleifera:
flower and fruit. Taken at MacRichie national park, Singapore, January
Back to the jungle and another fruiting tree that might be the Tree
of Life. It is called the Moringa Oleifera and is perhaps
the most nutritious source of plant-derived food. Moringa is the Tamil-Dravidian
name. The Hausa name for the tree is Zogale, meaning the helper. It is
sometimes called the cabbage plant and is exensively used in Afro-Arabian
the natives of India, parts of Africa, Asia and South America have benefited
from the Moringa’s leaves, pods and flowers, which are rich in nutrients
important to humans and animals. The seeds are used to purify surface
water and can produce a 90.00% to 99.99% bacterial reduction in previously
untreated water. Given there would not have been many diseases around
in Adam's time, the beneficial effects of using this tree's seeds to purify
water are obvious: extended life! But not, I think, to live for ever.
Tree of Life is referred to the Hebrew word olam is often translated
as 'for ever' where it usually means 'for a very long time'. [More]
So when it says in Genesis 3:22: "And the LORD God said, Behold,
the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he
put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live
for ever," this could be translated as "and live for a very
many of the people mentioned in Genesis lives for so long might be partly
down to the pods of the Moringa, and its use in water purification. [More]
Or maybe because there was not much disease then?
I might be wrong about the trees in the centre of the Garden of Eden,
but the foregoing does, at least, serve to demonstrate there might well
be a true explanation for some of what it says in Genesis 2 other than
myth or imagination: namely hallucination! Perhaps it was not
a talking serpent that tempted Adam and Eve but the fruit of a tree that
led to them believing snakes were involved in their downfall: the first
act of disobedience of God's direct commands, and hence the first sin.
has shown that the most ancient book of the Bible, namely Genesis, does
actually contain an accurate account of the sequence of evolution, something
its authors could not possibly have known about without God-given inspiration.
Their understanding of the world was limited to one in which they imagined
they were on a flat earth created just for them, with sun and stars formed
just for them. Yet the influence of God is clear within the writings...
which may well record stories verbally handed-down over generations before
being written down. It is small wonder there may be a few human errors.
Yet not only does Genesis 1 correctly describe the evolutionary sequence,
it begins its account from what we know of as the 'Big Bang': long
before man had evolved!
famous for having headed the Human Genome Project in America,
is Francis Collins, author of The Language of God—a Scientist
Presents Evidence for Belief. So do not assume all scientists take
Richard Dawkin's stance against there being a creator-God. And bear in
mind this is the man knows more about the human genome and its relation
to evolution than just about anyone else on the planet.
ultimately aims to derive a Theory of Everything, a theory which
pulls together everything it can observe. Some scientists think that would
obviate the need for a God. To me, however, it would prove the unity of
all things and a stablility that can only be explained by one creative
force: a single God.
outcome of this article is that science and religion are shown to complement
each other. As the world greatest scientist, Albert Einstein, once said:
"Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."
Please read my book Reality
Check: Science Meets Religion for a deeper analysis of this, including
refutation of many of the traditional arguments against there being a
God, and logical evidence to prove the brain and mind are separate entities,
allowing our consciousness and mind to live on after physical death in
spirit bodies. You might also like to read my novel, Flying
a Kite, for an entertaining tale of those tasked with finding answers
to some of these tricky problems; whilst a novel, its End Notes point
to facts supporting everything its fictional characters discuss.
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